Recipes from the Critical Issues Forum

The Critical Issues Forum is steeped in the tradition of offering differing perspectives and new insights that serve to enlighten our community. In that spirit of exploring new ideas, the food at each luncheon is far from standard fare, offering our guests the chance to indulge in a bit of a culinary journey. The Critical Issues Forum Committee in collaboration with Fandangles' is proud to offer luncheon selections that feature organic and healthy food selections, with some uncommon ingredients.


Sweet Potato Salad


1.5 lb sweet potato
2 C diced Granny Smith apples
1 C diced celery
6 oz pecan pieces
1.5 C mayonnaise
1.5 tbsp lime Juice
2 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Peel and cube the potatoes, place in a pot with enough water to cover the potatoes, bring to a simmer and cook until tender about 20 minutes. Place in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with lime juice. Chill.

Peel, core, and dice the apples. Add to the potatoes together with the celery and nuts. Add enough mayonnaise to coat well. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill before serving.


Crispy Pear And Pineapple Mint Salad


2 C pear chunked
2 C pineapple chunked
1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
1 tbsp basil (leaf) chopped
8 C red cabbage chopped
1/4 C peach nectar
1/4 C honey
1 tbsp salt
1/4 C lime juice

Cut pear and pineapple into chunks, chop red cabbage. Place in medium size bowl.

In a small bowl, add chopped mint, chopped basil, peach nectar, honey, salt, and lime juice.  Whisk well.  Pour resulting dressing over ingredients in the medium bowl, toss and cool for at least one hour to let flavors mingle, serve.


Spicy Chicken & Spelt Salad


1/4 C soy sauce
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh garlic
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger root
1 serrano chili pepper minced
1 C spelt
2 C water
4 chicken breast (6 oz.)
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1/4 C chopped parsley
1/4 C chopped cilantro
3 C carrots thinly sliced
2 C red cabbage thinly sliced
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 C diced green onion
2 tbsp rice vinegar

Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, vinegar, peanut butter, cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic, and serrano in a small bowl and set aside.

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan, add spelt, return to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until tender (about 1 hour). Drain and set aside to cool.

While the spelt is simmering, add approx. 1 quart water to a saucepan. Bring it to a boil. Add chicken breasts. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through (about 15 minutes). Remove chicken and allow to cool.

Once chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size chunks and place in a large bowl. Stir in spelt, bell pepper, green onions, parsley, cilantro, carrots, and cabbage. Pour sauce over salad and stir well to combine.

Calories per serving: 76. Serving size: 1/2 cup.

Tropical Red Quinoa Salad


4 C red quinoa
1 C edamame (shelled)
1 C chopped cilantro
1 C shaved coconut
1 C sliced almonds
1 C diced red bell pepper
1 C diced green onion
1 C raisins
3/4 C lime juice
1/4 C balsamic dressing
3 C diced mango
1 tsp salt
3/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Prepare quinoa. Add 8 cups of water and 4 cups quinoa to a sauce pan. Bring to a vigorous boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes (until tender, white spiral threads will protrude from grains), drain any excess water and cool.

In a bowl add balsamic dressing, olive oil, lime juice, and salt. Whisk together vigorously.

In a mixing bowl, add all remaining ingredients, quinoa, and dressing. Toss well and chill.

Calories per serving: 162. Serving size: 1/2 cup.

Neopolitan Vegetable Wedge


3 C grated zucchini
1 tsp salt
1 C diced onions
1 tbsp butter
1.5 tsp chopped fresh garlic
1 C grated carrots
3 tbsp flour (white)
1/2 tsp basil (leaf) dried
1/2 tsp oregano dried
1/4 C fresh parsley
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 eggs
3 C ricotta cheese
3/4 C romano cheese (grated)
1/2 lb shredded mozzarella
1/3 C breadcrumbs

Sprinkle grated zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon salt, place in sieve and let drain 15 minutes. Squeeze out all moisture.

In a large skillet combine onion, butter, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, saute 3 to 4 minutes. Add zucchini, garlic, carrot, flour, basil, adn oregano. Stir over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add parsley and lemon juice.

In large bowl, combine eggs, ricotta, mozzarella, and 2/3 cup romano. Beat well. Add vegetable mixture and blend thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste.

Coat 10-inch springform pan with Pam (or substitute) and sprinkle breadcrumbs in bottom. Pour mixture into pan. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350. Bake an additional 30 minutes. Turn off oven and let set with doors open 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool minimum 10 minutes before serving or serve at room temperature.

Remove breadcrumbs for gluten-free diets.

Calories per serving: 262. Serving size: 1/12 pie.

Tuna Edamame Salad


12.8 oz tuna (line caught)
8 oz edamame (shelled)
2 tbsp fresh thyme
2 tbsp fresh basil
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh garlic chopped/grated
1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 C diced red onion
1/2 C diced celery

Zest and juice lemon, chop basil, dice red onion. Mix all ingredients in bowl. Makes approximately 10 1/2-cup servings.

Calories per serving: 195. Serving size: 1/2 cup.

Orange Souffle

Ingredients - Blackberry Glaze

1 C blackberries, whole
1 C sugar
1/4 C water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp cornstarch
Ingredients - Souffle
1 C sugar (divided)
4 eggs (separated)
4 tbsp gelatin
1/4 C water
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 C heavy cream
1/2 C triple sec syrup (alc or non)
12 tbsp blackberry glaze
Preparation - Blackberry Glaze

Prepare double boiler. Put all ingredients in double boiler. Heat over medium heat while stirring constantly. Smash berries while stirring.

When mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat adn push mixture through sieve to remove seeds. Cool and store until needed.

Preparation - Souffle

Combine 1/2 cup sugar with egg yolks in top of double boiler, stirring constantly. Cook 5 minutes or until thickened. Cool slightly. Soften gelatin in cold water. Stir into egg yolk mixture. Add liquor and lemon juice. Mix well.

Beat egg whites with remaining 1/2 cup sugar.

In separate bowl whip cream stiffly. Pour egg white/sugar over cream. Pour hot mixture over cream and egg white mixture. Gently fold together and spoon into souffle dish or sherbet glass.

Chill at least 4 hours.

Spoon or drizzle blackberry glaze on souffle before serving.

Calories per serving: 201. Serving size: 1/12 souffle.

Organic Turkey Sandwich


2 slices whole grain bread
1 tbsp pesto sauce
1/4 C roasted red peppers
2 oz cooked turkey breast
2 tbsp chevre cheese

Spread pesto on bread, layer the remaining ingredients to assemble your sandwich.

Calories per serving: 425. Serving size: one sandwich.

Sesame Chicken Baby Greens Salad


3/4 C cranberries (dried)
3/4 C pine nuts
3 3/4 C halved green grapes
8 C romaine hearts
16 C spring mix organic
8 chicken breasts (6 oz.)
8 tbsp honey
4 tsp black semame seeds
4 tsp white sesame seeds
8 C your favorite apples
4 C water
1 C extra virgin olive oil
1 C rice vinegar
1/2 C honey

Dressing: Place all dressing items in a food processor or blender, process or blend until smooth. Makes approximately 10 cups. Each salad uses approximately two tablespoons.

Salad: Chop romaine hearts for salad. In a large bowl mix greens and romaine. Sprinkle with cranberries, pine nuts, and grapes. Grill chicken until cooked. Rest chicken two minutes, cut into strips. Coat strips in honey and then coat with sesame seed mix.

Plate three cups salad and one chicken breast per serving.

Calories per serving: 240. Serving size: 3 cups.

Chilled Mango Soup


2 C mango
1/4 C sugar
1 lemon
1 1/2 C half and half

Zest and juice one whole lemon. Place mango, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and half and half into blender or food processor. Cover and process until smooth and creamy.

Calories per serving: 110.

Fennel Apricot Salad


3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz fennel
1/2 C sliced red onion
2 oz dried apricots
2 tbsp fresh thyme

In mixing bowl add oil, lemon juice, thyme, honey, salt, and pepper. Whisk together. Add fennel, onion, and apricot. Mix well. Allow to marinate one hour at room temperature. 

Note: Celery may be substituted for fennel if you wish.

Calories per serving: 88. Serving size: 1/4 cup.

Organic Penne, Bean, and Tomato Salad


2 C halved grape tomatoes
1/2 C sliced red onion
1 tsp chopped fresh garlic
1/4 C basil (leaf)
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic syrup
1/2 tsp salt
3.5 C northern beans
1/8 tsp black pepper
3 C whole grain penne rigate

Cook pasta (al dente), drain, and cool. In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Toss to coat well. Let stand 15 minutes, chill.

Calories per serving: 80. Serving size: 1/4 cup.


Banana Raisin Chia Pudding


1/3 C sugar
3 tbsp Kraft minute tapioca
2 3/4 C 2% milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 sliced bananas
3/4 C raisins
2 tbsp black chia seeds

Mix sugar, tapioca, milk, and egg in medium saucepan. Let stand 5 minutes.

Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a full boil (a boil that doesn't stop when stirring). Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chia seed (pudding will thicken as it cools).

After pudding cools, place banana slices in the bottom of serving container, spoon on pudding, and sprinkle with raisins.

Calories per serving: 152. Serving size: 1/4 cup.