Category Archives: Vegan

Everything is Awesome

Summer Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

I’m a firm believer in go-to-recipes – ones that always turn out perfect and can be varied to fit the event.  Pasta salad has the advantage of being not only an easy recipe but one of those recipes that can also unite vegans and meat-eaters.  Growing up my mom had her go-to variation and my first few pasta salads were basically her recipe – but over time I decided to branch out and have established my own “standard”.  While a few of the characters might change based on what’s growing in the garden, I keep the same dressing and rarely ever switch out the beans!

Everything is Awesome

Serves: Serves 5-6, as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb tri-color rotini
  • 1 tsp garlic scrapes, diced (or 2 cloves garlic, diced)
  • 1/2 vidalia onion,
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, presoaked and well washed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 argula leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta per box instructions, then drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the vegetables and place in a large pyrex bowl. Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, and herbs.
  3. Toss the pasta with the vegetables then stir in the dressing.
  4. Top with feta (optional) - then serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/07/everything-is-awesome.html

I generally enjoy this pasta salad with bbq tofu but with the addition of the beans it works just fine as a cold dinner – and generally it is eaten solo for lunch the next day.  It can also be made in advance, just be sure to add a tbsp of EVOO to the bowl and then toss well in order to insure it doesn’t dry out.  I’m sending this over to July’s Simple and in Season since everything about this recipe screams summertime!  This month Sally at MyCustardPie is hosting this awesome round up as our normal hostess is quite occupied with a new baby boy!

In gardening news I’ve now harvested almost a dozen cherry tomatoes, with more popping up every day!  I’ve also collected two jalapenos, what is most likely the last of my argula (which was used in this recipe!), and I’m still waiting on my first eggplants.  There’s a chance I’ll need to pull my veggies inside later this week, something about  a July Polar Vortex – which is another advantage of having a pot garden!

Be Unforgettable

Vegetable Pancit

Pancit

One thing I love about blog challenges is that they push me out of my comfort zone, on the flip side one thing I hate about blog challenges is how they push me out of my comfort zone.  When I saw the theme for /52weeksofcooking was Filipino I was once again thrown for a loop – but unlike other challenges were I was totally in the dark at least this time I had some friends who could help out.  After crowd sourcing ideas and recipes, I decided to make a vegetarian variation of Pancit – a dish I had heard of but never experienced.  Traditionally this dish features one of the white meats and while I debated adding tofu I decided to stick with the normal vegetables featured in the dish just in MUCH larger amounts.

Be Unforgettable

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 scallions, cut half way up the green
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 lb napa cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 lb red cabbage, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 lb thin rice noodles
  • 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, low sodium

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large work or sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and white part of the scallions. Cook for 7 minutes, and then add the broccoli and carrots. Continue cooking for 5 minutes before slowly adding in the cabbage, being careful to not crowd the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring to prevent sticking.
  2. Meanwhile bring a pan of water to a boil and cook the rice noodles per instructions on bag (or box). Once cooked rinse with cold water and set aside.
  3. Add the cooked noodles to the vegetables and stir in the teriyaki, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Toss well then top with the green part of the scallions.
  4. Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/07/be-unforgettable.html

I was blown away but how flavorful this dish was, especially considering how quickly it came together.   Based on the fact he took his chopsticks directly to the pot I think it’s safe to say my other half also greatly enjoyed this dish!  Next time I might leave out the teriyaki sauce since the recipes I found online were rather split on including it – but it was a nice addition to the dish!   Looking forward to seeing where /52weeksofcooking sends me next!

Sock You

Spicy Kale and Tomato Sauce

Spicy Kale Sauce

It seems the end of one growing season is already here as I look outside to see lots of wilted greens that weren’t picked in time.  I’m hopeful that the farmer’s markets but have some for at least the next week or two – but soon I’ll be forced back to the grocery store in order to get one of the staples of my diet: kale.  It wasn’t too long ago that I was living a kale-free existence, unaware of this amazingly healthy and tasty treat.   Now that I know it’s there – I essentially add it to everything!  It adds the perfect crunch with just a hint of bitter, which is perfect for me since I’m allergic to the more common acids (aka citrus).  I also understand that kale is not for everyone but I firmly think that’s just because everyone hasn’t tried kale!

Sock You

Serves: Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 5 roma tomatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 basil leaves, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, diced
  • 1 cup kale, torn

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. Add the roma tomatoes, seed side down and cook for 7 minutes, then flip and use a spatula to break down the tomato. Add the fresh herbs and continue cooking for 5 minutes before adding the kale, half at a time.
  3. Once the kale has cooked down, cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Then Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/07/sock-you.html

I served this sauce over some whole wheat pasta but spaghetti squash or polenta would also work well.   What’s next? Kale cookies? Kale Cake?? Probably not, but I plan to continue this love affair as long as possible – unless I turn my skin green in which case I might back off.

Now for other gardening news: first red tomato has been picked!  There is one more that’s on the verge of ready and another 3 dozen or so close behind.  I’ve also jumped up to 8 fairy eggplants and 5 jalapenos :-) I have a feeling July is going to be a delicious month!!!

For What

Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese

Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese

I’m thrilled that summer has finally arrived, yet sad that days are already getting shorter.  It seems like winter just ended, and yet I’m already seeing stories advertising “back to school” and “fall fashions”.  If it’s alright with them I’m going to stay in a firm state of denial until at least labor day – I need my long hot day of sun!  Today’s recipe features my favorite summer ingredient (which won’t come as a shock to anyone): tomatoes.  To say that I’m stoked about the emergence of tomatoes at the local markets doesn’t begin to cover it as few things are as awesome as a summer tomato.  Since I’ve only been able to harvest a few little cherry tomatoes so far I needed to figure out a recipe where I only needed a few in order to make a big POP.  As an added necessity I had half an avocado and a bit of fresh bread that needed to disappear before heading to visit family in NYC.  What better way than a lazy (but delicious!) grilled cheese sandwich?!?

Tomato Avocado Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of your favorite bread
  • 2 tbsp yogurt spread (or unsalted butter)
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 4 slices of favorite "cheese" or cheese (I used Colby)

Instructions

  1. Evenly distribute the butter on all sides of the bread.
  2. Heat a large griddle over medium heat and place two slices of bread on it, allow to cook for about 2 minutes then remove and set aside. Place the other two slices on the grilled, cook for two minutes, and then flip.
  3. Place a layer of cheese on the toasted side of the bread, then add half of the tomato and avocado slices. Place one last layer of cheese then top with the reserved pieces of bread - toasted side down.
  4. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, then gently flip, and press sandwich down for 30 seconds. Cook on the final side for 7 minutes, or until desired browning level.
  5. Remove and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/06/for-what.html

I served this up with some fresh coleslaw – the recipe for which is forthcoming – and it was the perfect summer dinner.  Heck, this would also make the perfect summer lunch, or brunch, or linner or whatever!

In gardening news the new tally is:  41 tomatoes (only 1 is close to picking), 4 jalapenos, 7(!) fairy eggplants, and the fine beginnings of a rosemary bush.  My containers might not give me the same options as my awesome box garden in VA but it’s certainly doing its best to give us in fresh veggies.

The Power

Cheesy Toast

cheesy_toast

I totally blame Becca over at Amuse Your Bouche for today’s post – when I saw her cheesy toast variation the other week I got a total craving.   I don’t remember the first time I had cheesy toast but I’m going to guess it was a case of my mom not having enough bread for grilled cheese sandwich and going with an open-faced variation.  Also should note as this point that I’m a HUGE fan of open-face sandwiches so thanks mom :-)  This extends as far as stripping my burgers which is why I tend to load up my cheesy toast with all sorts of goodies.  I want the bread to just barely be hanging on so in part it does become a balancing act of figuring out how many toppings a piece can handle. I also used two different spreads (or smears) as I couldn’t decide which one would work best, one being vegan and one being not so vegan.  That is of course assuming that vegan bread is being used, something I can assume since I made my own peasant bread using dairy-free stick “butter”.

Cheesy Toast

Serves: Serves 4, as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 slices bread (assuming 1 per person)
  • 2 tbsp tofutti cream cheese (or dairy cream cheese)
  • 1/2 tbsp chives
  • 2 tbsp yogurt spread
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 pieces Daiya slices, provolone variety (or dairy variety)

Instructions

  1. Place the kale in a small bowl and massage in the olive oil over 5 minutes, toss in the pepper and set aside.
  2. In another small bowl, blend together the cream cheese and the chives until well mixed. Set aside and allow to continue softening.
  3. Preheat oven to Broil - Low
  4. Spread the cream cheese chive mixture over half of the bread pieces and then layer on the tomatoes and the massaged kale. Top with a slice of cheese.
  5. Repeat the process with the yogurt spread on the other two pieces. Then place all the slices on a cookie sheet.
  6. Broil for 5-7 minutes, or until cheese has melted and has started to bubble. Allow to cool on the sheet for another 5 minutes then Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/06/the-power.html

The more I use Daiya, the more I’m starting to enjoy it in the melted form.  The texture still drives me crazy when it’s raw but that all goes away once it melts.  I’m also hoping to find some more varieties of cashew cheese as there are occasions where I can’t melt the cheese but would still like to have some, such as cold salads.  I’m also sending this open faced cheese sandwich over to 52weeksofcooking for their historic foods challenge since this Depression Era treat has become a comfort classic over the past (almost) 100 years.   Also cool to note that the original version was open-faced and it wasn’t until the 60s that the top piece was added.  Important to note that the cheese on toast is historically different than an open faced cheese sandwich, something that has been around since the 15th century – the toasting makes all the difference!

In gardening news, I have a good dozen green cherry tomatoes growing and today my first little pepper joined the party.  I’ve also got lots of purple flowers on my fairy eggplant but so far no lil eggplants, fingers crossed that will change.  I’ve never done a container garden before so I’m looking forward to seeing how it does in comparison to my awesome box garden.  I’m also hoping that the guy who bought my place appreciates the awesome box garden and is using it.