Category Archives: Salad

Salad or Dessert?

Around the end of February, I decided to give up sugar. I wanted to cleanse my body, get over the cravings of an addiction, and add in another layer of healthy living to my life.

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Here are some negative qualities of sugar that I’ve come across in my reading:

  • empty calories

  • bad for the liver

  • linked to cancer

  • fattening and can lead to obesity

  • can cause heart disease

  • can be highly addictive

How much sugar did I actually consume before eliminating it from my diet? Well, being a (mostly) vegan, I don’t eat cookies and cakes and such, but I do like chocolate! My latest chocolate binge began in December and carried on into the new year. There is always a lot of chocolate around during the holidays and then once Christmas is over, chocolate goes on sale and ya gotta buy it because it’s such a deal! And, I have to admit, I was eating milk chocolate – so deliciously sweet and smooth; so very not vegan; so very addictive!

Eating Chocolate

So, at the end of Dine Out Vancouver, I said, “That’s it! No more sugar!” I anticipated that it was going to be somewhat trying when I embarked on this sugar elimination campaign, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be too difficult. I was wrong! It was, and it continues to be, hard. It’s been about six weeks with no sugar and I still get cravings! At first, the cravings were every day, mostly in the evening. Nowadays, those cravings have tapered off, but every now and then, maybe a couple of times a week, when I’m relaxing in the living room in the evening, I get this restless craving for something … a nice big bite of milk chocolate! So, how do I deal with these cravings? Well, I live with a terrific partner who, for the most part, stays away from refined sugar. I’ve discovered Larabar, an energy bar made from dates and nuts.

larabar peanut butter

Plus, “Tom” and I have been exploring sweet replacements for sugar. We’ve always eaten a lot of fresh fruit, but now we eat more during the evenings – the danger time zone when fighting sugar addiction – such as fresh pineapple, mango, oranges, apples, bananas. (“Tom” is cutting up some pineapple as I type)!

And this brings me to the recipe I want to share with you. This salad is so sweetly, deliciously yummy that you could (and I have) eat it for dessert! The recipe was developed by Sherry Strong of Return to Food (http://www.returntofood.com/).

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Now before you freak out about the colour and look of this salad, let me explain! I used my spiralizer for the first time to make this salad and I made spirals our of some wonderful organic purple carrots that I received in my CSA box. Looks kinda weird, but taste was yummy!

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1 large carrot, spiralized or grated

1 large apple, spiralized or grated (skin on)

zest and juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup raisins, chopped

handful of walnuts, left whole or coarsely chopped

Toss the carrot and apple in a bowl with the lime zest and juice. Stir in raisins and walnuts. Eat! Simple, quick, healthy, satisfies the craving for sweet. Yum!

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Another Dinner Party – White Bean Salad and Strawberry Chocolate Mousse Pie

This summer saw a few dinner parties. I posted about the party “Tom” and I had here. The next dinner party was a casual bday celebration outside on some friends’ patio. It was a potluck – not in the literal sense where everyone brings whatever, and all guests take their chances on what food is available, but where the hosts provided the main course and the guests brought complementary food. Our hosts made Puttanesca sauce with pasta, so I thought I’d bring a salad. But what kind of salad goes with the strong flavours of Puttanesca sauce? Here’s what was recommended by Moira Hodgson in Oprah Magazine:

White Bean Salad

(adapted from Moira Hodgson)

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3 cups cooked navy beans

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1/4 red onion, diced

1 large tomato, diced

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsps. white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. water

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

1/2 tsp salt (or more)

sprinkling of black pepper

Gently toss the beans, bell pepper, onion and tomato together. Whisk the dressing ingredients together then pour over the beans. Gently mix together and let marinate in fridge for a couple of hours. Bring to room temperature to serve.

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I also decided to bring a dessert. I have been making my chocolate mousse pie for some time now, but I wanted to add in another layer … literally another layer, but also another layer of flavour. I had some late season local strawberries in the fridge so I created this:

Strawberry Chocolate Mousse Pie

(my own creation)

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2 packages Oreo cookie type cookies

2 tbsps. coconut oil

1 recipe chocolate mousse

  • 1 full package (200 grams) organic fair trade baking chocolate (I use Camino semi-sweet)

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  • 1 package silken tofu

  • 1/2 cup almond milk

  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla (liquid or powder)

  • pinch sea salt

1 cup strawberries

1 tbsp. maple syrup

several strawberries cut in slices

Crumble 1/2 of the cookies in a blender, then transfer to a pie plate. Crumble the other 1/2 of the cookies in a blender with the coconut oil until well mixed. Mix the dry and oiled cookie crumbs together and press up the sides and into the bottom of the pie plate.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.

Slip the tofu into a pot of boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes (helps get rid of any beany taste).

Put the tofu into the blender with the milk and blend until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate, vanilla and salt and blend for 2-3 minutes until very smooth. Pour the chocolate mousse into the pie plate on top of the cookie crumb base. Put in fridge for an hour or so until the mousse cools and firms up.

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Put the cup of strawberries into a blender and blend until liquid. Add in the maple syrup and blend briefly. Ladle the strawberry puree onto the chocolate mousse, letting the puree spread on its own to the edges.

Top with sliced strawberries.

Chill in fridge for at least an hour. Serve straight from the fridge.

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Vegan Raita and Kachumber Salad

Over the weekend, I made a new curry … well, new to me … or rather, a new take on a familiar curry. I found a great recipe for Chana Saag (Curried Chickpeas and Spinach) in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbook, Isa Does It.

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The recipe, as I said, was for Chana Saag … Coconut Chana Saag as a matter of fact:

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Now, I’ve made Chana Masala (curried chickpeas) before and I’ve made different types of Saag (spinach curry) and I’ve made curry with a coconut milk sauce, but this recipe kind of combines all of this – chickpeas, spinach and coconut milk – and turns out a really delicious curry. Try it out why don’t you? It’s pretty easy and quick to make and it’s very tasty.

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So, yep, I decided to make the curry, but I wanted some interesting sides to go along with it. Of course, I cooked some rice – white basmati with peas (“Tom’s” favourite) – but I really wanted a salad. I did a little research on Pinterest and on the internet and discovered that curries are often accompanied by a salad called Kachumber Salad. The name alone is enough reason to make it! This salad is usually made up of chopped cucumber, tomato and onion with a bit of acid and salt as a dressing. I changed this up a bit by adding cabbage and using green onion. As for the raita (yogurt and cucumber or other chopped/grated vegetables), it’s a standard condiment for curries, so I decided to invent a vegan version of raita using cashews to replace the yogurt. “Tom” and I were very pleased with not only the curry, but the salad and the raita, so I thought I would share the love and post the recipes. I really hope you try one or more of these recipes next time you’re cooking Indian. And please use the comment section to tell me what you think.

Kachumber Salad

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1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 tomato, chopped

about 1 quarter of a small head of savoy or green cabbage, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped

4 or 5 leaves mint, coarsely chopped

juice of a lime (2 tbsps.)

1/2 tsp salt

Combine the vegetables, cilantro and mint in a bowl and gently toss. Pour in the lime juice and sprinkle in the salt and gently toss again. Leave the salad to marinate for a bit, maybe 20 minutes. If you leave it too long, the juice from the cucumber and tomato will dilute the salad. This salad is best eaten all at once. This recipe makes 3 servings.

Cashew Cucumber Raita

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1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight or soaked for an hour in boiling hot water

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsps. water

juice of 1 lime (2 tbsps.)

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1/8 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and grated

1 green onion, chopped

handful of cilantro, finely chopped

4-5 leaves mint, finely chopped

Put the cashews, 1/4 cup water, lime juice, cumin, ginger, cayenne and salt in a blender and blend for 1 t0 2 minutes until everything starts to blend together. Stop, scrape down the sides and add 1 tbsp. water. Blend again for a couple of minutes. Add another tbsp. water if needed to make everything blend smoothly, but not too runny. Blend for a total of 5 minutes for the smoothest results.

Mix the cucumber, green onion, cilantro and mint together in a bowl. Pour in the cashew mixture and mix well. Let sit for a few minutes then taste and adjust for seasoning. (If your curry is quite hot and spicy, you might want to add more cilantro and mint to the raita; if it’s a milder curry, you might want to add some more cayenne and/or cumin).

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Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing

Salads are pretty great, don’t ya think? I mean, there’s gotta be an infinite number of ways you can combine some vegetables, maybe some grains or some noodles, possibly some fruit. And then there’s the dressing. You can take your same ol’, same ol’ salad and add a new dressing and it’s not so same ol’ anymore, is it? Or you can take your standby dressing and pour it on a different base of vegetables and you’ve got something new! Take this salad for example. I introduced this salad way back in April 2014 – a chopped salad with all the ingredients arranged separately in the bowl – and, last week I recreated it with a few different vegetables and a new dressing. Voila! A new salad!

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The salad ingredients choices are my own, but the dressing is inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing.

(http://minimalistbaker.com/mexican-quinoa-salad-with-orange-lime-dressing)

Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing

(Ingredient amounts depend on how many servings you want to make. The dressing makes about 4 servings.)

quinoa, cooked

red cabbage

carrots

orange bell pepper

green onion

lettuce

cucumber

Dressing

1/2 ripe avocado

juice of 1/2 lime  (3 tbsps.)

juice of 1/2 orange (3 tbsps.)

2 tsp agave nectar

1 tsp hot sauce

1/4 tsp cumin

a sprinkle of cayenne (less than 1/8 tsp)

2-3 tbsps. water

Arrange the quinoa and vegetables in individual bowls. I like to chop up one ingredient and arrange in the bowls, then chop up the next ingredient and arrange in bowls and so on.

Put all the dressing ingredients except the water in a tall container and blend with an immersion blender. When things start to get too thick, add in the water, 1 tbsp. at a time until the dressing blends smoothly and is pourable but not runny.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad ingredients. Admire your artistry, then toss everything together in your personal bowl!

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Vegan “Cheese” Sauce and Garlic Aioli

I made another yummy taco salad last weekend. I had a house guest staying so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out some new recipes … you know, give “Tom” a break from being the only taste tester. The new recipes we sampled were vegan taco “meat”, vegan “cheese” sauce and a cashew garlic aioli. All were pretty good, but the cheese sauce and the aioli were outstanding!

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The cheese sauce is made from potatoes and carrots! I found the recipe on A Dash of Compassion. Here it is:

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Vegan “Cheese” Sauce

(adapted from A Dash of Compassion’s Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce – http://www.adashofcompassion.com/2016/06/my-favourite-taco-salad-with-spicy-lentils-and-easy-vegan-cheese-sauce/)

Serve the cheese sauce with this taco salad or make nachos or however and wherever a cheese sauce goes in your world! 

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2 cups peeled and chopped potatoes (about 4 or 5 medium sized potatoes)

3/4 cup chopped carrots (about 1 large and 1 small or 2 medium carrots)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup sunflower oil

1/3 cup water

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 tsps. salt

Cook the potatoes and carrots together until very soft. Drain, rinse with cold water, set aside to cool a bit. Combine everything in a saucepan and blend with an immersion blender. Add more water, 1 tbsp. at a time, if needed to make a pourable sauce. (I added 2 tbsps. water).

Cashew Garlic Aioli

(adapted from Vegan Heaven’s Vegan Sour Cream – http://veganheaven.org/recipe/vegan-taco-salad-lentil-walnut-meat/)

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Use this aioli anywhere you would use sour cream or mayonnaise. We ate it as a dip for fresh-from-the-garden vegetables and as one of the condiments for the taco salad.

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1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight or soaked for an hour in boiling water

2 tbsps. lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup + water

Drain the cashews from their soaking water. Put cashews, lemon juice and garlic in a blender. Blend for about a minute. Add 1/4 cup water and blend again. Add more water, 1 tbsp. at a time, to the blender in order to get the sauce to blend freely, but not so much to make the sauce too runny. Blend for 5 minutes in total to get a smooth sauce.

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Asian Noodle Salad with Sesame Tamari Dressing

So, anyone else get sucked into Pokemon Go?

Like I did?

I don’t really know very much about Pokemon beyond a few famous characters:

 

Pikachu1

Pikachu

Jigglypuff1

Jigglypuff

Squirtle1

Squirtle

 

 

 

 

 

 

But sitting at a triple Pokestop with lures catching multiple random Pokemon and eavesdropping on the conversations of the other much younger players taught me that there are some very desirable and rare Pokemon out there and I’ve caught a few! Here are some of them:

 

Arbok1

Arbok

Exeggcute1

Exeggcute

Scyther1

Scyther

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been having so much fun with Pokemon Go that I’ve been a bit distracted! I even missed a massage appointment yesterday because I was so immersed in the Pokemon Go experience! (I rescheduled and have written reminders to myself in various locations so I won’t forget!)

Fortunately, Pokemon Go has not replaced Vegan Meal Creation and I want to share a yummy cold noodle salad I made last night.

Asian Noodle Salad with Sesame Tamari Dressing

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1 375 gram box of spaghetti noodles (whole wheat or added fibre)

4 small-medium carrots, grated or chopped up in a food processor

1/4 of a small purple cabbage, small-medium dice

5 green onions, diced

1/2 a large red or yellow or orange bell pepper, small-medium dice

1 cup green chickpeas (or sub edamame)

several beet leaves, diced (or 2 or 3 handfuls of spinach leaves)

handful of cilantro, diced

Dressing

4 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp tamari sauce

2 tsp Bragg Liquid Soy Seasoning

4 tsp agave nectar

4 tsp rice vinegar

2 tsp minced garlic

1/8 tsp chili flakes (or more if you like it spicier)

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside in a large bowl.

Put all the vegetables into another large bowl.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together. Pour the dressing over the noodles and use some tongs to toss until evenly coated. If you have time, let the noodles marinate in the dressing for an hour or two or more in the fridge.

Add the noodles to the vegetables and toss until the vegetables are evening distributed through the noodles. If you have time, let the salad marinate for 30 minutes or so in the fridge.

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Banh Mi Sandwich

Here I go again! Posting on my blog! Four times in less than two weeks! I’m realizing that the more I post, the easier it is. I get into a kind of routine – make delicious food, take pictures of food, upload pics to WordPress, begin a draft, finish draft, hit publish! Done! Of course, more frequent posts means poorer quality pictures because I don’t take the time to set up. I’m often eating the food while taking photos! Or I don’t want the food to get cold while I take pictures. Or the food is so delicious that I have to quickly snap off a few pics before we eat it all! Anyway, I’m pleased with myself and my blogging frenzy and I hope you are finding some recipes, and maybe some pictures that please you!

Today, I’m writing about a Banh Mi sandwich that I made for supper tonight. The inspiration came from Blissful Basil blog and the Shitake Banh Mi Tacos posted there yesterday. I really liked the sound of the pickled vegetables and the Sriracha cashew mayo, and, of course, I liked the idea of mushrooms replacing the traditional meat in this sandwich. I have never eaten, let alone made, a Banh Mi sandwich before so I was kind of excited to be finally trying one! Once I started making my sandwiches,  however, I realized that I’ve actually made this sort of thing before. Last summer, my son and I made sandwiches for everyone (7 people) when we were all staying in a cabin on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I was the only vegan there so while my son was filling up buns with a variety of sliced sausages and cheese, I filled my Hoagie roll with leftover marinated baked tofu and leftover grilled zucchini and eggplant. It was delicious! I keep meaning to recreate that sandwich, take pictures and write a blog post about it, but it just hasn’t happened … yet! In the meantime, try out this vegan Banh Mi sandwich.

Mushroom and Zucchini Banh Mi Sandwich with Sriracha Cashew Mayo and Pickled Vegetables

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Sriracha Cashew Mayo

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1/2 cup cashews

1/4 – 1/2 cup water

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsps. apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. sriracha sauce

1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp salt

Soak the cashews overnight or soak them for an hour or more in boiling water. Throw all the ingredients (use 1/4 cup of water to start with) into a blender and blend for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add a bit more water if needed and blend for another 3 minutes. If you use the full 1/2 cup of water, you will have more of a sauce than a mayo so if you want it thicker, use less water.

Pickled Vegetables

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1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks

1 daikon radish, cut into matchsticks

1 small cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tbsp. maple syrup

1/4 tsp salt

Put everything into a mason jar, shake and swirl for 15 seconds, then put in the fridge until you’re ready to make the sandwiches. (PS – all the vegetables came from my CSA box)!

Mushrooms and Zucchini

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1 1/2 tbsps. maple syrup

1 tbsp. tamari

1 tbsp. chile-garlic sauce

1/2 tsp rice vinegar

10 – 15 shitake mushrooms, sliced in 2 or 3 pieces

10 – 15 cremini mushrooms, sliced in 2 or 3 pieces

6 thinnish slices of zucchini

Whisk the marinade ingredients together and set aside. Toss the mushrooms into a hot pan (heat the pan over high heat for a minute before adding the mushrooms), turn the heat down to medium-high and dry cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn. Let the mushrooms release their liquid and let the liquid start to evaporate a bit. Add the marinade and continue cooking to let the liquid evaporate a bit. Turn off the heat. Brush some of the mushroom marinade onto both sides of the zucchini slices. Put the zucchini under the broiler for 3 minutes, flip and broil for another 3 minutes. Slip the zucchini slices into the pan with the mushrooms.

Assembly

French bread

cucumber, cut into thin slices

Cut the loaf of bread in thirds, crossways. Cut each section in half lengthwise. This will make 3 sandwiches. For each sandwich, open up the bread and pick out some clumps of bread in order to make a hollow on both sides. Spread both sides of the bread with the Sriracha Cashew Mayo. Fill the hollows in the bread with a scoop of mushrooms, 2 slices of zucchini, 2 slices of cucumber, a scoop of pickled vegetables. Put the bread halves together and eat! This is a messy sandwich so have a napkin standing by. This sandwich would be good with some of that Asian Slaw I made last week!

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July 20 – I made a scrumptious salad from the leftovers of this Banh Mi sandwich! I tore up a few leaves of lettuce, quartered some grape tomatoes, and sprinkled in a handful of chickpeas. Then I added in some leftover pickled vegetables and the leftover mushrooms and zucchini. I topped it all with a generous serving of the leftover Sriracha Cashew Mayo. Very yum!

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Dinner Party Extrodinaire!

“Tom” and I just finished hosting a great dinner party. It was such a relief to get this party going because it was prefaced by organizational challenges – procrastination, rescheduling, commitment, on again, off again. Usually our little gang of dinner partyers has our dinners scheduled ahead of time, but not this time for some reason. Funny thing is I’ve had the menu planned for months! So once we nailed down a date, I was raring to go! Here is the menu:

Cauliflower Ceviche *

Mexican Fiesta Taco Salad with Cilantro Cashew Cream *

Slow Cooker Refried Beans *

Chocolate Mousse – Strawberry-Cherry Parfaits *

fresh fruit (watermelon and cherries)

* see below for recipes

You can find the recipes for the Taco Salad and the Chocolate Mousse on my blog – see links above.

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Cauliflower Ceviche

(adapted from Dora’s Table’s Cauliflower Ceviche)

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

1 cup of diced tomatoes

1 cup of peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber

1/2 Serrano pepper, minced

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

3 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp (or more) salt

Put the cauliflower florets into a pot of boiling water and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into a big bowl of cold water. When cool, chop finely. (I threw the cauliflower into my mini-food processor to chop). Put all the chopped vegetables in a big bowl, add the cilantro, lime juice and salt and mix together. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes. We ate this with tortilla chips and alongside the taco salad as a kind of salsa.

This was the first time I made this dish. It was pretty good and was well received, but I think the next time I make it I will take it up a notch. I only put 1/2 a Serrano pepper in because I wanted to be careful about the heat, but I could easily have put the whole thing in. (You just never know with peppers … you can get a super fiery one or a fairly mild one)! Also, the dish needs more lime juice or vinegar or something to up the tangy taste. This will make the dish more liquidy, but after marinating, the ceviche could be transferred to another bowl leaving the excess liquid behind.

Cilantro Cashew Cream (This stuff is crazy delicious!)

(adapted from Oh She Glows’ Cilantro Lime Garlic Cashew Sauce)

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3/4 cup cashews, soaked overnight

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

1 large garlic clove, minced

3 tbsps. fresh lime juice (the juice of 1 whole lime)

2 tbsps. avocado

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup water

Drain the soaking water from the cashews. Through everything into the blender and blend for 2 or 3 minutes. Stop, scrape down the sides and blend for another 2 or 3 minutes. (Unless you have a high powered blender then you can blend it until smooth in 2 minutes).

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Slow Cooker Refried Beans

(my own recipe)

image2 cups dry pinto beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained

1 small onion, diced

4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp hickory black pepper, if you have it, otherwise use plain black pepper

1 tsp chipotle paste (I make paste by throwing a can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce through the blender, then I store the paste in a jar in the fridge)

5 cups vegetable broth

Throw everything in the slow cooker and cook on high for 5 hours. Turn to low, coarsely mash the beans in the pot with a potato masher, and keep warm in the slow cooker until ready to use. I stirred a tsp of hickory smoked salt in just before serving. (The refried beans will probably be a bit runny. When they cool down, they thicken up. You can also reduce the liquid in the slow cooker by 1/2.)

Strawberry-Cherry Parfaits

(makes 5 servings)

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1 recipe chocolate mousse

2 cups strawberries

2 cups halved, pitted cherries

2 tbsp maple syrup

5 cherries with stem attached

Make the chocolate mousse ahead of time and leave in fridge to set for a few hours. Put the strawberries in a small saucepan over medium to low heat and add the maple syrup. Bring to low boil then let simmer for 30 minutes. Put the cherries in a small saucepan and heat over medium to low heat. Bring to low boil and let simmer for 20 minutes.

In parfait glasses (I don’t have parfait glasses so I used wine glasses), begin the layering process. Set out the glasses, and put a layer of chocolate mousse in each. Then put in a layer of strawberry compote, another layer of chocolate mousse, then a layer of cherry compote, and finish with a layer of chocolate mousse. Of course, you need to put a cherry on top!

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Looks like a mess when it’s all on the plate, but don’t let that fool you! It was all dee-licious!

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Asian Slaw and Roast Veg

I can’t believe I haven’t posted here since February! What’s the matter with me? I know I had lots of ideas for posts. I took a few pictures of meals that I considered posting … like my first ever batch of gnocchi and a black bean-farro burger. I’ve been eating lots of meals that I’ve already posted on Mostly Vegan which, I suppose, reinforces that they were (are) good recipes! Well, today, I’m going to post recipes for the meal I made for supper tonight. It’s not extra special, but it’s tasty. I wanted to use up some vegetables from my CSA box and here’s what I came up with.

Asian Slaw

(adapted from Scaling Back’s Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing)

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1/2 small green cabbage, finely sliced

1/2 Napa cabbage, finely sliced

1 large carrot, julienned

handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped

2 tbsps. rice vinegar

1 tbsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. tamari

1 tsp honey (or agave nectar)

1-2 cloves, garlic, finely minced

handful of peanuts, chopped

Toss the cabbage, carrot and cilantro together in a big bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients together then pour over the cabbage and toss. When serving, sprinkle on the peanuts.

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Roast Vegetables with Miso-Tahini Sauce

(adapted from Dishing Up the Dirt’s Bok Choy Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing)

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3 beets, peeled, chopped into 1 inch cubes

2 potatoes, peeled, chopped into 1 inch cubes

1/2 onion, chopped in 3 pieces

2 patty pan squash, chopped into 1 inch cubes

3 carrots, chopped into pieces the same size as other veg

(You can use whatever combination of vegetables you want and you have on hand. I used these vegetables because they were what I had leftover from last week’s CSA box.)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tbsps. white miso

1/4 cup tahini

2 tsps. honey (or agave nectar)

1 1/2 tbsps. rice vinegar

1/4 cup warm water

1 tbsp. lemon juice

Toss the vegetables with the oil, arrange on a large roasting pan, and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Flip the vegetables around on the pan and roast for another 10 minutes.

Put the dressing ingredients (miso, tahini, honey, vinegar, water, lemon juice) into a 2 cup measuring cup and whisk together using an immersion blender.

Dish up the vegetables into a big bowl (serve on top of some short grain brown rice or other grain if you want), drizzle with the Miso-Tahini Sauce. Spoon a generous serving of the Asian Slaw into the bowl as well.

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Mexican Fiesta Taco Salad

Okay, I’m posting on Thanksgiving Day (Canada), but I’d better warn you that this isn’t a Thanksgiving dinner recipe … it’s a recipe that carries a lot of thanks though! I’m so thankful that I came across this yummy recipe and I’m sharing it with you to give you thanks for reading my blog! See, it is about Thanksgiving after all!

I’ve been dying to share this Mexican dish with you for ages. This recipe was inspired by Oh My Veggies The Ultimate Vegan Taco Salad. I have made this countless times – for a family dinner party, for friends, many times just for “Tom” and I, each time a bit different and each time delicious. I’m a big fan of Mexican food and I love to find ways to spice up different combinations of plant based foods to give it a south-of-the-border (south of the USA border, that is, not south of the Canada border) taste. See my menu for a Mexican Fiesta for other Mexi taste treats.

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The original premise was to replace taco meat with something that resembles ground meat in both taste and look, but is not meat. The original recipe calls for farro to serve this purpose. Spice it up a lot and serve it with lots of fresh vegetables and beans and you’ve got a vegan taco salad. Well, I’ve made this with farro, with spelt, with short-grained brown rice, with potato cubes. I’ve used black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, refried beans. I usually leave out the tortilla chips, sometimes serve them on the side and occasionally crumble them on top. Anyway, the variations are endless and hinge on the ingredients on hand, time, purpose and food craving of the moment! So here is the basic recipe followed by my variations/additions:

Mexican Fiesta Taco Salad

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1 cup farro, cooked *

1/2 cup mild salsa (I use Herdez)

2 tsps chili powder

2 tsps ground cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

pinch cayenne pepper

salt to taste

1 head iceberg lettuce (or Romaine lettuce), shredded

1 large tomato, coarsely chopped, or several grape tomatoes, halved

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans **

1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen and thawed)

2 avocados

juice of 1/2 lime

2 tsps finely minced garlic

1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

optional – crushed tortilla chips

salsa

Cook your farro in a rice cooker using 3 cups of water to one cup of  farro. Once cooked, stir in the salsa, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne and salt. You can stir everything together right in the rice cooker. If you are cooking the farro in a pot, once the water has been absorbed and the grain is soft, stir everything straight into the pot with the farro.

Make the guacamole by scooping out the insides of the avocados into a bowl, adding in the lime juice and garlic and mashing everything together.

Assemble the salad by laying down all the lettuce on a platter. Sprinkle on the tomatoes, then the black beans, then the corn. Spread the guacamole over top (or dollop it on all over as it’s kind of hard to spread). Finally, spoon the farro all over the platter. If you want, you can sprinkle on the green onions, cilantro and crushed chips or you can serve them all on the side for diners to add to their plates/bowls as they want.

* instead of farro you can use spelt, wheat berries or short grain brown rice. You can even use potatoes – chop about 4 potatoes into little cubes, toss with a bit of oil and roast in a single layer in the oven at 400 degrees; stir in the salsa and spices.

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** use 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed) or you can use your own homecooked beans. I cook our beans in a slow cooker on high for about 3 to 4 hours, drain, cool, dole out into freezer bags in 1 1/2 cup portions, freeze. Another option is to omit the black beans from the salad and serve some refried beans on the side. You could try this recipe for crock pot refried beans or just heat up a can of refrieds.

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