Although I’ve never had a monk fruit nor ever seen one, I’m intrigued by this new sweetener option. I am ever the snacker so having options that are not only filling but more nutritious is really important. We stock the pantry and refrigerator with protein snacks such as meats, nuts and cheeses – beef jerky and imitation crab are two of my favorite go-to snacks. We have a recipe for a hearty salad that was originally designed as a side dish but we have incorporated into our list of acceptable snacks. It’s filled with vegetables and beans – the only concern we have is the dressing / marinade that helps blend the flavors and give it some moisture. We managed to adjust the oil levels from the original recipe we were given but adjusting the sugar more than we already have caused it to taste a little bitter. We think we finally have a solution for that by replacing the sugar with Monk Fruit In The Raw, a no calorie sweetener.
The salad, although named “bean salad” when we got it is a bit of a misnomer. In actuality, it is a bowl full of vegetables with the inclusion of black-eyed peas. It’s supposed to include Lima beans as well but ummm… No. Not in this house. We like the version we have created and so do the kids. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right? The kids are eating vegetables… that’s the definition of “not broken” in my book. September is childhood obesity month and I’m glad that isn’t something we need to worry about within our household. By incorporating foods like this that our kids enjoy, we are able to give them healthy options to snack on while also providing side dishes that are filling and pack a wallop in terms of vegetables. Since it contains a combination of 7 vegetables and beans, we decided it deserved a more fitting name.
7-Ingredient Vegetable Salad
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup red pepper, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 can shoe peg corn
1 can black eyed peas
1 can young baby peas
1/3 cup salad oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup Monk Fruit In The Raw
In a small saucepan, combine dressing ingredients. Cook until all ingredients are completely dissolved. Continue to cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
While the dressing is cooling, you can start prepping the vegetable base. Open each can, drain in a colander, rinse and add to a large mixing bowl. We use a glass measuring bowl with a lid that can go right into the refrigerator. Chop and add the remaining vegetables to the bowl. Yeah, it’s a tough recipe, isn’t it?
By the time you are done chopping vegetables, the dressing will be cool enough to use. Pour the dressing mixture over the vegetable base and mix well. Refrigerator overnight, mixing occasionally. Assuming you don’t snarf it down, it will be good for at least two weeks.
I’m always looking for alternatives to use on my oatmeal, in my coffee and in recipes. Monk Fruit In the Raw fits with my goals of finding a low calorie (or in this case, a NO calorie) sweetener. It is made with real fruit, contains no added table sugar, molasses or sugar alcohols and has a simple, sweet taste. Families looking to reduce added sugars can utilize this without sacrificing sweetness or taste. For this particular recipe, the sweetness comes through. I actually could cut the amount down some – or increase the amount of vinegar.
While I haven’t tried Monk Fruit In The Raw in baking yet, that is mainly because I don’t bake that often. When I do bake, I tend to eat it all. That’s not good for me; utilizing Monk Fruit In The Raw for my next baking project might be a good alternative. Aside from that, I need to focus on vegetables – hence the 7-Ingredient Vegetable Salad Recipe!
Hopefully you’ll like it as much as we do!
For more information on Monk Fruit In The Raw, like their page on Facebook, follow on Twitter or visit their website where you can check out the recipes or use the conversion chart to incorporate it into your own recipes.