Remember Z’hug? Last year I found this really cool recipe in FEAST Magazine—one of my local favorite publications. The author introduced us to this herbal, pungent and hot condiment called Z’hug, and I couldn’t wait to give it a go. The trouble was, it called for Thai Bird’s Eye chilies, which were nowhere in my farmers market. But I love to “make do” and challenge my culinary creativity, so I used what I had and came up with a pretty good version of Z’hug.

This year—thanks to Sasikumar Balasundaram—that’s my new friend Sasi from Sri Lanka—I’ve got those pretty little bird’s eyes! However, at this point, why go backwards? I decided to do a new version of Z’hug–AGAIN–and it turned out pretty tasty, I think. I used it to dress up fresh steamed broccoli and cooked quinoa, plus a few other choice ingredients to make a great vegan salad that spotlights those end-of-season herbs and the last heat of summer. It’s the perfect pack-it-and-go healthy dish for lunch at the office or a short hike in the autumn leaves. It just gets tastier and hotter with time.

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Once the basic salad was created, I started playing around with toppings, like fresh heirloom tomato slices, cucumber chunks and diced avocado. And what about fall apples?? Get creative and let us know how your version turned out.

Sasi and I have started sharing recipes, food and class time. We are both taking a class at the La Vista Ecological Learning Center—a place I’ve mentioned before when we visited La Vista Farm, located on the Center’s property in Godfrey, IL. La Vista is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to be. And in a future post I hope to talk about the class I’m taking and the very smart, kind and caring folks I’m learning from. The class is called A World of Health: Connecting People, Place, and Planet. Could I have picked a better topic? So more to come on that. But for now, I strongly encourage you to check out La Vista, if you live in my neck of the woods. If classes like this appeal to you, see The Northwest Earth Institute to review their entire series. It’s easy to set up a learning circle among your friends and family and order class materials. What a great place to share you Broccoli and Quinoa Salad with Green Gal Z’hug!