Cooking Up a Fresh Feast

By Zoe Helene / April 2, 2012

Leslie Cerier The Organic Gourmet_inline1

Author of five cookbooks, including Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook, Going Wild in the Kitchen and The Quick and Easy Organic Gourmet, Leslie Cerier has a gift for creating special diets without sacrificing flavor and satisfaction. We caught up with Cerier as she was preparing for her weeklong cooking class at Rancho La Puerta in March.

What happens in your classes?
I show people that it doesn’t have to be super complicated to put healing, healthy, delicious food in your mouth. It just requires being stocked with some great essentials and knowing how to work with those essentials. And people have fun.

You teach classes in “seed-to-table” cuisine. What does that mean?
Seed-to-table cooking is a celebration of the earth’s bounty. It’s about creating recipes from what you just picked from the garden or what the farmer just harvested. It’s about walking through the organic farm or garden and letting the beauty and the bounty inspire you, then taking that happy feeling into the kitchen and cooking up something luscious.

What are the benefits?
You know your food. You follow the chain of the food from the ground to your mouth. You understand its origin, its quality and its potency.

Why is local food important?
Local is the most fresh you can get, and there’s nothing tastier. Plus, fresh is more nutritious. Also—and this is important—buying local supports local farms.

And why organic?
Organic is essential when you’re looking at the highest good and the bigger picture. If you poison the soil, you poison the planet and you poison yourself. That’s common sense.

Cook with the Organic Gourmet
Leslie Cerier teaches classes at eco-spas and resorts around the world. This spring you’ll find her at:

Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
Stockbridge, Massachusetts
March 2-4

Rancho La Puerta
Tecate, Baja California, Mexico
March 10-17

Esalen Institute
Big Sur, California
March 18-23, March 23-25

OSM ONLINE > Find an extended version of this interview and the recipe for Leslie Cerier’s delicious nori rolls at

Leslie’s Pantry
Leslie’s staples are made with wild-harvested and organic ingredients.

Bob’s Red Mill whole grains, whole grain
flours and nut flours, including glutenfree

Frontier Natural Products Co-op Fair
Trade – certified organic herbs, spices,
extracts, flax seeds and sea vegetables.

Lotus Foods exotic heirloom varieties of
organic certified rice.

Maine Coast Sea Vegetables
organic dulse, kombu, kelp, wild
nori, alaria, sea vegetable snacks and

Navitas Naturals organic cacao butter,
paste and powder; goji berries; maca
powder; coconut oil; hempseeds and more.

Nutiva organic hemp seeds, hemp oil and
coconut oil.

Selina Naturally Celtic, Hawaiian and
Portuguese sea salts, olive oil, ghee, nut
and seed butters.

Shiloh Farms organic grains, beans,
dried fruits, nuts, seeds and sweeteners.

South River Miso organic, aged misos.

Leslie Cerier The Organic Gourmet_inline2

Lemon-Parsley Dressing

This light, refreshing dressing is great on
green salads, coleslaw, steamed vegetables
and cooked grains.

Makes about 11⁄4 cups

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
11⁄2 cups parsley leaves
2 scallions (white and green parts)
1 tablespoon chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor
and blend until smooth and creamy.
Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.

Leslie Cerier The Organic Gourmet_feature

Lemony Quinoa Salad with
Toasted Sunflower Seeds

With its bright, sprightly flavors, this is
a wonderful springtime dish. To make the
sunflower seeds more easily digestible,
soak them overnight.

Serves 6 to 8

3 3⁄4 cups water
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
21⁄2 cups quinoa, rinsed
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
3⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium-size
saucepan. Add quinoa, lower heat, cover and
simmer for about 15 minutes, until all water is
absorbed. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and
let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, toast sunflower seeds in a dry
skillet over medium heat, stirring often, for 3 to
5 minutes, until they are aromatic and start to
pop. Add sunflower seeds, lemon juice and oil
to quinoa and stir until well combined. Taste
and adjust seasonings if desired.

Reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free
Recipes for the Conscious Cook by Leslie
Cerier (New Harbinger Publications).


Zoe Helene
Zoe Helene

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