Category Archives: Salads

I needed this kale and quinoa salad today…

After making soups and soft foods for weeks for Andy, I had a serious longing for something crunchy…and spring made me think of greens and other good garden veggies. A family member served up a wonderful salad yesterday, which I’ll share another time after I make it, but it had carrots, quinoa and chickpeas in it, which inspired my cooking session this morning. When I was at Costco the other day, they served up a quinoa tabouleh that had mung beans in it, which I’ve never cooked with before, and that added a little more inspiration.  Here’s the result:

KALE & QUINOA SALAD

  • Quinoa, 1/2 cup dried
  • Chickpeas, 1/2 cup dried
  • Mung beans, 1/4 cup dried
  • Carrots, 1-2 good-sized carrots
  • Apricots, 6 dried, organic, unsulfured
  • Olives, Green Mediterranean, 8-10
  • Green onions, 3-4
  • Kale, 6-8 leaves
  • Romaine, 6-8 leaves
  • Red cabbage, 1/8 small head, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1 TB or less
  • Lemon, juice of 1 to 1-1/2
  • Salt, sprinkling, to taste
  • Szeged hot paprika, sprinkling, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa, chickpeas and mung beans separately. For 1/2 cup quinoa, I use 1 cup of water and 1/4 tsp. salt, and it takes about 15 minutes. For the chickpeas, I use 1/2 cup chickpeas and 2 cups of water, and it takes about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. For the mung beans, I use 1/4 cup mung beans, 1 cup of water, and it takes about half an hour. You’ll need to keep an eye on these — they should remain firm. These can all be cooked ahead and set aside or refrigerated.
  2. Wash, cut up and cook the carrots until just tender.
  3. Wash the kale, Romaine, red cabbage and green onions and chop roughly. Wash and dry, then sprinkle a little olive oil over them and rub in.
  4.  Chop the apricots and olives, and toss into the greens with the cooked and cooled carrots.
  5. Add the lemon juice, salt and hot paprika to taste and toss again.
  6. Finally add the cooked and cooled quinoa, chickpeas and mung beans, taste, and adjust seasoning.

The salad is a wonderful blend of textures and flavors with the slightest hint of Middle Eastern sweet and salty from the apricots and olives. A lovely entry to spring.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Guacamole

I broke my small mortar and pestle a few months back. This week they had some nice granite ones at Costco, larger than what I had before. Thinking longingly of my three very ripe avocados at home, I decided to get one and enjoy guacamole for lunch. When I got home, I took it out of the box to get started right away and found, much to my dismay (being an instant gratification type), the mortar and pestle require seasoning, and the process takes several days. Oh well.

By Sunday I was up and running, though, and those avocados were just as good today, probably even better. Here’s how I made it, quick, basic and very easy:

GUACAMOLE

Ingredients

  • Avocado, 3 very ripe
  • Jalapeno, 1
  • Tomato, 2 very small
  • Green onion, 2-3
  • Cilantro, a few sprigs, chopped (should make about 2 TB)
  • Lime, juice from half of one juicy lime, more to taste
  • Salt, 1 tsp.

Instructions

  1. Mince green onion, jalapeno (you can start with 1/2 jalapeno if you’re heat sensitive), chops cilantro and petite dice tomato.
  2. Cut around avocado, take out seed, scoop flesh into a seasoned mortar with a spoon. Add lime juice and salt.
  3. While holding the mortar on a slight tilt, mash the avocado/salt/lime juice mixture into the sides of the mortar with a swooping motion. Push avocado to side of mortar.
  4. Add the minced green onion and jalapeno to the other side of the mortar, and press a bit with the pestle, then stir into the avocado using the same swooping motion up the sides of the mortar.
  5. Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed. Add diced tomatoes and mix in fairly gently. Do not mash the tomatoes. If you’re not serving right away, hold out the tomatoes ’til serving time.
  6. The best way to store avocado and prevent browning is to spread onion across the top of it, and cover with plastic wrap. When ready to serve, remove the wrap and pit, stir gently, check again for seasoning, and fold in tomatoes.

I took the picture out in back on the first sunny, slightly warmer day than we’ve had. As we were eating, I was reminded of picking avocados off the trees in the back yard in Arizona and in Israel for breakfast. Even on our best days, we can’t grow avocado around here.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Cauliflower-Plus Rice

Cauliflower-Plus Rice

“Cauliflower Rice” is a big deal these days with pictures all over the internet. Most often it’s used as a rice substitute — I’ve even seen it used for a pizza “crust.” I had some leftover pieces of cauliflower and broccoli that I wanted to use up so thought I might give it a try as a dish in its own right. My challenge was to come up with a preparation that would fly with those who like to cover cauliflower with cheesy sauces.

This simple little dish turned out to be delicious, very filling — and a great way to use up those parts of a cauliflower head or broccoli bunch that I didn’t use when I made earlier dishes with the florets.

So easy! I just chunked a forlorn-looking left over (raw) carrot, the broccoli stems and the section of cauliflower I had. I put the broccoli stem chunks and the carrot chunks into my food processor first and pulsed until they reached an even, gravelly texture and set aside. Then I did the same with the cauliflower. The cauliflower is softer than the broccoli, so it’s easier to get an even texture with separate processing.

I mixed my veggies together and steamed them briefly in a pot, turned them out into a bowl and contemplated them for a moment trying to figure out how to serve them up without cheese. I decided to salt the dish and add a chipotle-mayo mix I like to make up with Hamilton Creek’s Just Mayo (vegan) and some excellent dried chipotle seasoning I keep on my shelf. That met with everyone’s approval, including mine, both warm and cold. Nom…nom…nom.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Lemony Mushrooms, Lentils & Greens

Lemony Lentils, Mushrooms & Greens

LEMONY MUSHROOMS, LENTILS & GREENS
Ingredients

  • Lentils, 2 cups dry
  • Crimini mushrooms (Baby Bella), 1 lb.  sliced
  • Greens, rough chopped (I used kale this time – if using a “softer” green, just add in at the very end)
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
  • Hot paprika, 1/4 tsp.
  • Juice of fresh lemon, 1 TB (or to taste)
  • Salt, 3/4 tsp.
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2 TB

Instructions

  1. Rinse and cook the lentils until just done, about 25 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Wipe the mushrooms to clean, then slice them.
  3. Wash and chop the greens. Mince the garlic.
  4. Add 1 TB olive oil to a pan, then add the sliced mushrooms and pan roast until browned and liquid is evaporated. I periodically stir and push the mushrooms to the edge of the pan so the liquid moves to the center and evaporates more quickly.
  5. Add the minced garlic to the mushrooms and saute a moment longer.
  6. Add the chopped greens and saute until it softens some. If I use a “softer” green like spinach, I’ll add the lentils to the pan first, then the spinach at the very end.
  7. Add the second TB of olive oil and the lentils, lemon juice and salt and saute until well blended.
  8. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Things I made with my CSA veggies this week

Oh, I love summer, and I love my CSA! My food tastes so much better when I work in the fields for it and contemplate what I want to do with all those gorgeous veggies! Here are a few items from this week:

Salad ... with my beautiful greens, tomato, cucumber, beets, green onion, avocado ... and always dressed with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt and sometimes freshly ground black pepper.
Salad … with my beautiful greens, tomato, cucumber, beets, green onion, avocado … and always dressed with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt and sometimes freshly ground black pepper.
This one was a delicious surprise. I made one of my favorite bean dishes, Navy Pea Beans with chopped red or green onions, lots of fresh dill, extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt and a bit of hot paprika. This time I topped it off with squash – patty pan, zucchini, summer squash, roasted with olive oil, salt and smoked paprika.
Ratatouille Soup with chunks of eggplant, zucchini squash, patty pan squash, summer squash, onion, tomatoes, tomato paste, mixed greens, oregano, basil, salt and hot paprika.
Ratatouille Soup with chunks of eggplant, zucchini squash, patty pan squash, summer squash, onion, tomatoes, tomato paste, mixed greens, extra virgin olive oil, oregano, basil, salt and hot paprika.
One of our favorite dinners, varied by available veggies. A stew of tomatoes, onion, patty pan squash, zucchini, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano on a bed of edamame pasta (sometimes I use black bean pasta). I added some chopped greens on top this time but often add a lot of them into the stew.
One of our favorite dinners, varied by available veggies. A stew of tomatoes, onion, patty pan squash, zucchini, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano on a bed of edamame pasta (sometimes I use black bean pasta). I added some chopped greens on top this time but often add a lot of them into the stew.
Cabbage steaks. Yum.
Cabbage steaks with a little sauce. This one was a mustard sauce. Vegan pesto is good. Chipotle Just Mayo is good. Yum.

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Middle Eastern Style Green Beans (Lubiyah) Redux

Middle Eastern Style Green Beans (Lubiyah)
Middle Eastern Style Green Beans (Lubiyah)

This is a green bean stew I made with my CSA beans. Virtually every Middle Easter/Mediterranean country has its version of beans stewed in tomatoes with garlic, lemon and olive oil. You’ll find my original recipe here.

I made a couple of small changes this time: 1) I didn’t want to use my beautiful fresh tomatoes from the CSA because we like to eat them fresh while we can and barely adorned. Instead I used canned petite diced tomatoes — a 19 oz. can will replace what’s in the original recipe. I also wanted it a little “soupier” since the beans needed to cook longer, so I added some water with the tomatoes. 2) Other than the garlic, I added the seasonings toward the end of the cooking time, and I reduced the hot paprika some due to sensitive palates in my family these days.

These beans included yellow, green and purple — so cool! I have to double-check the exact varieties. I love picking things and taking them home to eat.

CSA Veggies . . . Working My Way Through

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PATTY PAN SQUASH

Lots of patty pan squash this week, so I made up this salad of roasted patty pan, roasted peppers, red onion, grape tomatoes, cucumber and a little curly kale.

For the roasted veggies, I rubbed them in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, spread them on a pan and sprinkled with salt and smoked paprika (what an amazing aroma!).  When everything was finished and cooled, I mixed them with a tiny bit more extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt and hot paprika. This is the result.

CORN ON THE COB

We also enjoyed some delicious corn and fresh tomatoes with basil. I posted the tomato earlier this week. I discovered a neat trick with the corn. My microwave died, and Meijer’s was out of the wonderful Chipotle Just Mayo from Hampton Creek, so I used Hampton’s Mayo and mixed in some of the amazing chipotle peppers dry seasoning I picked up. Then I cut the two ends off each piece of corn (in the husks) up to where the corn starts. I put those in a hot oven, about 550 degrees. When the husks were pretty well charred, the corn was done.

I pulled it out (used potholders for that as much as I could) and pulled off the husks with the silks. When the corn was still hot but cool enough for me to handle, I spread the chipotle mayo on it, and…well, oh my. It was really good!

One thing I love about my CSA

Stir fry of onion, Bok choy, radishes.
Stir fry of onion, Bok choy, radishes.

I love having a box of fresh veggies, many things that I don’t ordinarily get, then trying things out with them. Sometimes combinations surprise me! – like this Stir Fry of chopped onion, Bok choy stems, salad radishes (that’s the Julienne veggie) and Bok choy greens, added last. Add a bit of salt, a few drops of soy sauce if you wish, and oh, my, was it good!

Here’s a note about how I stir fry: I cut all the veggies first. I heat some extra virgin olive oil in a wok and often throw in a little minced garlic first. This time, I don’t believe I did. Then I add the onions, sauteeing until soft. Then I add the remaining “hard” veggies, most “hard” first, sauteeing for a few moments after each — reserving any greens. When the veggies start to brown a bit, I add a little salt and soy sauce, stir and cover if needed to steam the veggies for a couple of minutes.  Uncover and add the greens, stir together and sauté briefly until the greens are wilted, adjust seasoning, and serve.

I also made Fatoush with what I had on hand instead of the usual, and it, too, was delicious with a creamy vegan dressing:

FATOUSH

Ingredients

  • Mixed greens, any you have on hand or like. Bok choy and Butterhead Lettuce featured heavily in this one.
  • Garlic scapes
  • Green onion
  • Red cabbage (I usually use it but don’t see it here – must have forgotten)
  • Tomatoes – organic grape tomatoes, quartered
  • Radishes – organic, Julienne
  • Cucumbers – organic, sliced and quartered or Julienne
  • Pita – Whole wheat Lebanese pita, cut into squares and toasted
  • Sumac  to sprinkle

Ingredients for Sauce

  • Mayonnaise, 1 cup (I use Hampton Creek Just Mayo – vegan)
  • Tahina, 1/4 cup
  • Garlic, 1/2 – 1 clove mashed (opt.)
  • Salt, 1-2 tsp. (start with 1 tsp. for dressing, add additional to salad after mixed)
  • Hot paprika, 1/4 tsp.
  • Lemon, freshly squeezed, 1/4-1/2 cup, to taste (start with 1/4 cup for dressing, add additional to salad after mixed)

Procedure

  1. Prepare salad ingredients: slice greens 1/8-1/4″, then cut across into 2-3″ pieces. Quarter grape tomatoes or petite dice plum tomatoes. Julienne cucumbers and radishes.
  2. Stack the pita pieces, cut through them lattice-work style so you end up with 1-2″ squares, roast in a 200 degree oven until crunchy, cool thoroughly and set aside or bag for later use. I like to use whole wheat Lebanese pita, available through a local Arab bakery. Lebanese pita is larger than pocket pita and thinner. Makes a great “crouton.” Stored properly, they keep for a long time once toasted and thoroughly dry.
  3. Make the dressing. For a vegan salad, use a vegan mayo. Your dressing should taste salty and lemony because by the time you add it to the salad with its moisture, it will lose some potency. I start a bit lighter on the seasoning, then add the remainder if needed when the salad is made up. You don’t need to use all the dressing at once — if you have leftover, just store in a covered jar.
  4. Put all salad ingredients into a bowl. Add toasted pita so you have 2 parts salad to 1 part pita. Add some dressing and a pinch or two of sumac (available in Middle Eastern stores and online), and mix gently but completely. Add more or less dressing to your liking.
  5. Sprinkle additional sumac over the salad and serve.

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

My New Wednesday Tradition: A Simple Salad

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On Wednesdays I work at the farm (CSA).  I bring home my 3/4 bushel box of food, beautiful food, and I just can’t wait to have something while it’s so fresh. I enjoy a simple salad each week with whatever looks like it will work in a salad.

I’m not a greens-tearer. I like my salad in bite-sized pieces, so I cut the greens. This week I used butter head lettuce, mizuna, spinach, another green (not sure what it was), radishes, beet greens, raw beet root and scallions. I dressed it with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt and freshly ground black pepper (tho the radishes were spicy enough to carry it).

Oh, this was a treat! I think I ate about a gallon.

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If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Two New “Salads” for 2016

A Beautiful and Delicious "Thanksgiving Medley"
A Beautiful and Delicious “Thanksgiving Medley”

I watched Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food on PBS earlier this week, and I thought that part of what we need to do is revise this style of thinking that calls veggie dishes either a “side” or a “salad.”

In the new style of eating recommended by people like Dr. Joel Fuhrman, in which 80% of your diet should be veggies, there is no longer such a thing as an entrée or a main part of the meal. I like to eat Middle Eastern style, with a collection of veggie concoctions, all equally significant on my plate, for nutrition, for eye appeal and for taste.

But old habits die-hard, and I’m not sure what to call these lovely dishes … so for the time being, they will have to remain, like the dishes on those extraordinary Middle Eastern Mezze tables, salatim or salads.

That picture at the top of this page…that’s a dish I made for Thanksgiving, simple and delicious.  It contains Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cranberries and pecans, an unlikely combination.

I roasted the butternut squash and pecans separately, each with some cinnamon and maple syrup. I also roasted the Brussels sprouts and when they were almost finished, threw the cranberries onto the Brussels sprouts roasting tray for a brief moment. I folded all four ingredients together and added a little more syrup, cinnamon and a bit of salt to taste. It was the perfect Thanksgiving dish — or anytime.

Italian style potato salad.
Italian style potato salad.

This Italian Style Potato Salad and the Thanksgiving Medley above were both inspired by recipes I found on Pinterest. The Potato Salad is one I made as part of an Italian style vegan Shabbat dinner, the same one that featured that amazing vegan pesto and Tuscan Bean Soup.

I used three kinds of new potatoes in the salad: purple, yellow and red, cut them into quarters and cooked and cooled them separately. I also cooked some 2″ cut green beans and set them aside to cool along with the potatoes. When all were cool, I put the potatoes and green beans into a bowl, added some chopped Italian parsley, sliced red onion, pitted Calamata olives and quartered grape tomatoes. I folded all together with a little extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt and Italian seasonings (oregano, marjoram) and a bit of crushed red pepper.

Yes, this kind of food makes it easy to be vegan.