Surf n’ Turf, + iHerb Giveaway

Happy Sunday, friends. I appreciate your kind words about my mom’s boyfriend’s son — they meant the world to me.

So in my last post, I mentiond that I grew up eating a little differently from most of my Greek fam. They were carnivorous; red meat made me squirm. They liked their veggies cooked through; I liked mine crunchy. They liked dishes that were salty and heavily flavored; I liked my food plain. Of course, there were things we all agreed on: my Grandmother’s spaghetti (which, even though slathered in butter and made from white pasta, was quite tasty); my mom’s wonderful broccoli, made with tons of lemon and olive oil; giant salads, which adorned the table at every family meal, and which, as the resident veg-aholic, I was usually put in charge of; and, in later years, my vegan baked goods, which totally transformed my mom’s conception of vegan sweets and treats.

So while there were things we didn’t all agree on — such as lamb, and the 101 uses my Yaya found for it — we did agree on a bunch of things. One of our main areas of unison was this: there were lots of mainstream American foods we didn’t know much about, and hadn’t tried. I don’t think I ever tasted a sugary cereal growing up. I had my first soda at the ripe old age of ten (ripe, sadly, by mainstream standards). There were no hot pockets or pop tarts at home, no chips or cheetos or even oreos. This doesn’t mean our pantry was perfect: there were other things, like spray margarine and Lean Cuisine, that were, in retrospect, pretty foul. But we were fairly cut off from the cornucopia of processed food that is the American supermarket.

More than that, there were lots of classic American dishes that we never grew up eating. Sure, my Mom made the usual sorts of comfort food dishes on occasion — veggie pot pie, for example, or tuna casserole — but most of our food was Mediterranean in flavor: grilled fish, chicken or zucchini broiled with lemon and tomatoes; pasta with pesto and veggies. And because that’s what we ate at home, that’s usually what we ate when we went out to restaurants, too. So there were tons of restaurant offerings that remained mysterious to me well into my adult years.

One of these was “surf and turf.” Believe it or not, I was twenty the first time I learned what this was, vacationing in a hotel with my father and his family. It sounded like such a fun dish, until I learned what it was: a side-by-side offering of steak and seafood, oftentimes fried. To me, that reeked of an animal protein overdose. Needless to say, it’s not a dish I’ve ever tried — I’d guess that many women haven’t — but the name has always amused me.

This weekend, I found myself with a pantry full of dwindling bags of sea veggies. You know, bags that have less than a real portion left, but are taking up space while I wait to finish them off. I thought I’d whip up some seaweed salad. As I contemplated that prospect, I also realized I had a portobello cap in my fridge that I hadn’t found a good use for yet. Portobellos, of course, are often called upon to represent “meatiness” in a vegan meal. And sea vegetables are just the closest I’ll get to touching fish. So with these two components at the ready, I decided to try my hand at my own version of “surf n’ turf” — vegan, raw, and healthful.

This salad is wonderful. Really. It’s salty, savory, and fun to eat. Mix the seaweed around with the kale and mushrooms, and you’ll happen upon lovely, intermittent pockets of flavor. Mushrooms, along with my hempesan, provide an earthiness, while the seaweed gives it a delicate and salty touch. The kale, meanwhile, is crunchy and a great contrast to the rest of the meal.

Note: every time I post a sea veggie recipe, someone asks if there’s a substitute to be had, since he or she hates seaweed. Sorry guys: the sea-veggie flavor is a fundamental component to this dish. So if you’re not into dulse or wakame, I’d say you’ll be missing out!

The process:

Gena’s Surf n’ Turf Salad (serves one VERY hungry person)


1/2 bunch curly kale
1/3 cup each: shredded carrot, cabbage, zucchini
7 grams (or so) each: wakame, dulse, arame
1 portobello cap
3-4 tbsp hempesan
1 1/2 + 1 tbsp olive or hemp oil (separated)
2 tbsp nama shoyu
1 + 2 tbsp lemon juice (separated)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil


1) The night before eating: mix 1 1/2 tbsp olive or hemp oil, 2 tbsp lemon, 2 tbsp nama shoyu, and 1 tsp sesame oil together. Slice portobello and submerge it in the marinade, leaving it overnight.

2) The next day, remove mushroom from marinade, storing it in the fridge. Reserve the marinade.

3) Soak your seaweed (wakame, dulse, arame) in water for at least 1-2 hours. Rinse. Transfer the seaweed to your leftover marinade, and let it soak for at least an hour. When it’s done, remove seaweed and place it in a sieve; press gently to squeeze out excess marinade. Discard the marinade that’s left, or save it for something you’ll marinade right away; there should still be quite a bit of it.

4) Wash, rinse, spin, and chop the kale. Place it in a large bowl with the carrot, cabbage, and zucchini, and then massage the whole thing with 1 tbsp lemon, 1 tbsp hemp or olive oil, a salt and pepper to taste. Add a little drizzle of agave if you’d like to. Set aside.

5) Top the kale salad with half of the seaweed (you can save the other half for another meal!) and the mushroom. Sprinkle 3-4 tbsp hempesan over the whole thing.

6) Dinner is served.

Talk about treasures from land and sea. This salad is packed with nutrients: rich in iodine, vitamin K, folate, and B vitamins from the sea veggies; vitamins A + K, iron, and calcium from the kale; and protein, essential fatty acids, and more B vitamins from the hempesan, not to mention additional fatty acids if you use hemp oil.

In other words, this salad is a whole lot more nourishing than the fried, butter slathered original dish — at least in my book. So the next time the CEO of your company waxes poetic about the steak+lobster plate at a business dinner, you can smile inwardly, confident that you’ve got an even healthier alternative up your sleeve.

Hope you all get a chance to make this one soon!

Before I go, a lil’ giveaway for you all! I’m sure quite a few of you have seen giveaways for a $50 shopping spree on iHerb already. Well, I’m joining the bandwagon: Abby, over at iHerb, was kind enough to offer me a sample shopping spree of my own ($50 worth) and an additional giveaway to one of my lucky readers! What’s iHerb? It’s a no fuss, no gimmicks online supplement store, featuring everything from “superfoods” to baking goods that are allergy friendly. Other stuff that makes iHerb special:

1) 95% of Orders placed before 1 pm, PST, ship the same day.
2) Free Domestic UPS Ground Shipping for Orders over $40
3) Free International Airmail Shipping for Orders over $60 and 3 lbs or less
4) They sell products for up to 50% off suggested retail prices
5) They carry close to 19,000 products that include vitamins, herbal supplements, health food and personal care items

What did I purchase in my shopping spree? I picked up some of my fave MegaZymes enzymes; some almond flour, which I’ve been meaning to try out; and some probiotics. Basically, my supplements of choice. The items arrived almost immediately, which was a major plus!

If you’d like a chance to pick up some goodies on iHerb, here’s the deal:

1) Leave a comment on this post, saying one supplement or product you might like to try
2) For an additional entry, tweet the contest or link to it on your blog, and tell me you did

That’s it! Winner will be announced next Monday, May 10th. In the meantime, if you simply can’t wait to shop on iHerb, go ahead and use the code UGE458 at checkout, which will get you a $5 discount.

Good luck!

And finally, before I go, Diana recently reminded me that I forgot to announce a winner to my Sun in Bloom giveaway. D’oh!!! I’ve been so distracted lately. The winner of a complimentary entree at Sun in Bloom is #59 — my friend and soon to be hot mama Lauren!!!! I am so happy to pass this on to her. Congrats, Lauren! I can’t wait to hear what you think of the restaurant.

OK, kids. I’ve got lots to do this Sunday. For now, peace!


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Categories: Main Dishes

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  1. I would love to buy some larabars or amazing grass bars- I’ve been working back to eating all raw and I could use some good raw snacks! Going to tweet now!!

  2. This is a great giveaway! I’ve shopped at iHerb twice before and they are great! If I get the giveaway I’d buy some Stevia! We don’t have stevia (or agave or anything like that) in Sweden, and as I don’t eat sugar, it makes life a bit boring. Thus I would buy Stevia and make some great cookies during the summer. Yum!

  3. I would love to try so much of their stuff, but I think my top pick would be chia seeds!

  4. I’d love to try their Apple Cider Vinegar products, both the bottled and the capsules. Also, that salad looks AMAZING.

  5. I still haven’t tried nutritional yeast. There’s so many great recipes out there that call for it, and I’d love to try it!

  6. Hello Gena!

    I have been enjoying your blog page since I found you through a recipe on You have provided an inspiration in your simple approach to raw food preperation!

    I could not wait to use the iherb discount. I purchased and recomment Betaine HCl. I usually get Source Naturals brand but it is not in stock. I am trying the Now brand which got very nice reveiws. This product really helps me break down meals heavy in nuts. . .which I do sometimes enjoy. I am not a vegan, so if I share some sushi with my hubby, I pop a tablet for ease in digestion. It helps with the breakdown of proteins. I could go on and on. . .just check it out! It has been a wonderful product I swear by.

    Once again, I send thanks for sharing your blog with the world!

    With Gratitude,

  7. Oh man so many options and things to get off my NEED items list and iHerb totally looks like is where its at! I really am in need of a good probiotic! I want to try Dr. Ohhira’s…I’ve tried many, none real impressed with. I need a good multivitamin too, being newly vegan I’ve been not feeling so well at times..really thinking I need to start supplementing! Such things are hard to afford sometimes but iHerb is an awesome site Thanks so much Gena=)

  8. I really need to get some multi-vitamins as I’m out or even soon get more probiotics and have been wanting to try Dr. Ohhira’s. But I would change my mind at last minute and most likely get some raw cacao powder and maybe a bag of Vega Whole Food Smoothie Infusion and some liquid stevia.

  9. Loved all the salad ideas on the other post–thanks!

    I would buy chia seeds (I go through them so quickly), nutritional yeast and maca powder.

  10. I’d pick chia seeds, Since I’m addicted to them.
    I loved this post. Both my parents are Egyptian, so I didn’t grow up eating a typical American diet either. I never had tuna casserole until I was 30 and my husband made it for dinner one night. Turns out I wasn’t missing out. Not a casserole fan.

  11. I’d really be interested in the chia seeds…I’ve seen recipes for chia seed pudding all over the blogosphere, and after extensive research (ancient Aztec superfood?!), I have deemed it worthy to possibly help sustain me as I complete an ashtanga-based yoga teacher training program starting in June. 🙂

    PS: That salad looks deliciously pretty.

  12. I would love to try Chia Seeds, I’ve been reading so much about them but I haven’t picked them up yet.

  13. I want that salad! From iherb, new chapter prenatals (fingers crossed) and I’ve been wanting to try digestive enzymes, no particular brand…

  14. I’d love to try chia seeds, cacao nibs, or coconut oil. I’ve heard SUCH good things about so many items on the site though… it’s hard to choose!!

  15. I would love to try the brewer’s yeast and raw cacao powder. The cacao powder for making vegan brownies and treats for the kids.

  16. I would like to try the jarrow brand of brown rice protein powder. Its not sprouted but it looks like a good deal.

  17. hey, there are so many products I still haven’t tried like nutritional yeast, maca powder, chlorella .. would be happy to order 🙂

  18. I would also get some probiotics. I’ve been having a problem with candida overgrowth and need to get my digestive tract back in shape.

  19. I would definitely be down for testing out bee pollen. I’m also frightfully interested in turmeric as a supplement. Woo hoo!

  20. So hard to choose, but I really want to try nutritional yeast! and raw cacao would definetly be in that order too 🙂

  21. I would absolutely love to try maca powder! I’ve heard many great things about, and it’s one of those things I”ve always wanted to buy. Thanks so much!

  22. I’d like to try cacao nibs, nutritional yeast or chia seeds!

  23. i’d definitely try some supplements i can’t seem to find easily here, like vitamineral green powder or amazing grass powder.

  24. Lucky me that I love the taste of seaweed! I discovered Dulse through your blog (blt sandwiches) and it is currently my favorite seaweed. And I’m a big fan of the portabellas, so I do plan on making this dish soon. Although I must admit that I have never before heard of surf n’ turf. Maybe it’s an east coast thing? Because we don’t really eat much fish and chips either over here in California. Or maybe I’m just in the wrong scene for this business.

    I would love to try probiotics or sunflower lecithin (I’ve heard about it from everyone’s favorite raw twins).

    And I send out the sincerest sympathies to your family and the family of you mom’s boyfriend’s son.

  25. I’ve been really wanting to try maca powder and spirulina, but they’re so expensive! Thanks for the giveaway!

  26. Wow – how have I never visited and cacao nibs??? It’s incredible.

    I’ve been dying to try coconut oil.

  27. I’ve been SO incredibly inspired by your blog! I’m just starting on my raw and vegan journey, so I’ll go with chia seed, some vegan protein powder, or raw cacao!
    love and peace for all that you do!

  28. Oooh how fun! If I won I would definitely want to try Amazing Grass… I’ve heard so much about it recently!
    Surf n’ Turf looks awesome btw. Totally craving some marinated portobellos now! 🙂

  29. I would definitely stock up on my Amazing Grass and Spirulina! Thanks for the opportunity!

  30. i still haven’t tried chia seeds! i like them in fruition bars, but want them for overnight oats!

  31. I would restock my supply of fish oil supplements and would love to try spirulina!

  32. I would live to try the Sun Warrior Rice Protein powder…it’s just been a bit out of my price range.

  33. I heart raw cacao, so that’s at the top of my list. But I would also splurge on some lucuma since it’s not available at my local store.

  34. I have been wanting to try some chia seeds FOREVER and this gift would be just the motivation! 😉

  35. I would love to try some digestive enzymes…I have recently switched to part time raw vegan food (3-4 days a week) and my digestive system is still getting adjusted (read: Lots of gas!)

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  36. I need to make this, stat. I’ve been waiting for a hearty salad like this, and I think the boy might even eat it because of the shroomies!

    If I win the giveaway, I will re-stock on my seaweeds. I miss them 🙁

  37. I plan to try this recipe later this week– I love portabellos and seaweed, and I’ve been meaning to use up the last bit of my package of wakame. 😀 I’d love to use iHerb to replenish my collection of beloved sea vegetables.

  38. I am really interested in trying Amazing Meal or another form of supplement or enzyme to help with my digestion 🙂

  39. I would stock up on lotion. Iherb carries my daughter’s lotion for a fraction of the price of the stores.

  40. That salad looks so amazing!

    On to the giweaway, i’d definitely get some raw
    nuts. I haven’t ever tried nooch so that would also be on my list, too. Thanks for the giveaway!

  41. Thanks so much for the opportunity! One thing I’d want to try for sure is the Amazing Grass Chocolate Powder! I’ve heard so many great reviews.

  42. I would like to try maca powder and several bath and body products from Avalon Organics.

    Also, that salad looks delicious. I became a vegetarian before ever trying the steak & shrimp ‘surf-n-turf’ but this salad is something I definitely plan on trying!

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