VeganYumYum » salad Yup, I'm back. Thu, 08 Nov 2012 23:25:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Avocado Wasabi Salad Thu, 28 Jan 2010 06:22:04 +0000 Lolo Avocado Wasabi Salad

Yes, I know. It’s a salad.

Who wants to go to a vegan website and see a recipe for salad? I keep salads to an absolute minimum around here. So when one does show up, it’s a freakin’ delicious salad.

And this one is definitely freakin’ delicious.

I’ve had the idea of an avocado based salad dressing kicking around in my head for the last few days, and an avocado kicking around my kitchen counter. This salad is easy to throw together, and is a great entree salad, or a side salad for a dinner party or some such get-together.

The dressing is rich, and despite the title, is pretty damn tasty even without the added wasabi. You have my permission to leave the wasabi powder out altogether if you don’t like it or can’t find it.

I don’t know if my wasabi powder is old and has lost its kick, or if you need a massive amount of it to make things spicy (anyone with experience want to weigh in?), but this dressing was as mild as the day is long. It added a great flavor, but no heat. You may wish to add in your own wasabi powder slowly, tasting as you go, just in case yours is spicy.

The other ingredients are simple but flavorful as well. Pan-fried wasabi-soy chickpeas, sauteed broccoli, toasted almonds, and shredded carrots. I find this mixture goes particularly well together, adding crunch, sweetness, protein, and color. And they all pair wonderfully with the dressing.

Avocado Wasabi Salad

Speaking of the dressing, it’s pretty ugly stuff. This isn’t something you’re going to want to serve on the side for your guests. Toss it with the lettuce and then serve it. Just trust me on this one. You’ll see when you make it.

Avocado Wasabi Salad
Serves 4-6

Greens of your choice for 4-6 people
1 Carrot, shredded
2 tsp Vegetable Oil, divided
1/2 to 3/4 Cup Broccoli, chopped small
1/3 Cup Toasted Slivered Almonds
1 Recipe Wasabi Chickpeas, below
1 Recipe Avocado Wasabi dressing, below
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Wasabi-Tamari Chickpeas
1 tsp Oil
1 Cup Chickpeas
1 tsp Wasabi Powder
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 Tbs Low Sodium Tamari/Soy Sauce

Avocado Wasabi Dressing
1 Ripe Avocado, diced
2 tsp White Wine Vinegar
3 Tbs Hummus, plain or garlic
1 tsp Stoneground Mustard
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Wasabi Powder
1/4 to 1/3 Cup Vegetable oil

Begin by whisking the dressing ingredients together, except for the oil. Whisk until smooth. If your avocado isn’t super ripe, you may wish to blend the dressing in a food processor. Slowly add oil until emulsified and the dressing is smooth, refrigerate until ready to use.

Toast your almonds in a dry pan over medium heat if they are not already toasted. Set aside.

In the same pan, add 1 tsp of oil and add broccoli. Sautee over high heat until the broccoli is beginning to color in spots and is bright green, but still tender-crisp. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside.

Add the second teaspoon of oil to the same pan and add the chickpeas. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook the chickpeas until they are golden on all sides, using a spatula to loosen them as necessary, but don’t worry if they stick a little. Add the wasabi powder, sugar, and tamari and stir well. Remove from pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, add your salad greens. Add the broccoli, 3/4 of the chickpeas, 3/4 of the almonds, and 3/4 of the carrots. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Plate the salad, and garnish the top with the remaining chickpeas, almonds and carrots. Crack fresh black pepper over the top. Serve immediately.

If you are serving the salad later, do not add the dressing until the last minute.

PS – I have a new “like” button down there over the comments if you want to heart a recipe without commenting. :) And if you’re interested in what I’m cooking, and what us in line for the blog, become a fan on facebook.

Avocado Wasabi Salad

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BLT Salad Tue, 21 Jul 2009 21:03:48 +0000 Lolo BLT Salad

This salad isn’t exactly… healthy. What it is, exactly, is delicious. And it has a surprise. There’s no lettuce. The greens are baby spinach, and raw kale.

Stay with me, here!

Yes, I said raw kale. I know you are thinking that I have finally gone off the vegan deep end. But I swear, the water is nice!

You can eat raw kale, too, if you pay attention to these three things: the kind, the cut, and the preparation. Follow these three steps and I swear you’ll be eating your kale raw and loving it.

The first step is finding the right kind of kale. Lacinato kale is perfectly suited to eating raw. I find that it’s thinner and more tender than the other varieties, but sadly, it’s not nearly as common. Look for long, thin, flat leaves that are slightly dimpled.

Lacinato Kale

It’s not always obvious what the best cut is for a certain dish. Small, thin strips of kale is integral for this salad, or any meal where the kale is served raw or lightly cooked. When the kale is cut this way, the dressing has a much easier time tenderizing the kale without having to cook it. Larger pieces of kale would be much harder to eat.

With regular lettuce, you wait to add the dressing until just before serving. Otherwise the salt and acid in the dressing starts to break down the fresh, crisp greens, leaving you with a soggy mess. With a kale salad, this is to your advantage! Dress the salad ahead of time and refrigerate it for a bit. The dressing will soften up the kale just the right amount. Plus, the addition of a creamy dressing compliments kale’s flavors nicely.

BLT Salad

There are many fake bacon products out there. My favorite is what I’ve used in this recipe, Lightlife’s Smoky Tempeh Strips. While the package says “Fakin’ Bacon” I find that it’s not at all like what I remember of the real thing, but I still like it. It’s smoky and salty and tangy, and it’s AWESOME in this salad (or on sandwiches). But as awesome as it is, bacon it is not. If you’re looking for something that more closely approximates the texture and flavor of bacon, there are probably other brands out there, but I haven’t found one that I like.

One last note: due to the sturdy nature of kale, this is the perfect picnic and pot luck salad. You can throw it together ahead of time and it’ll be perky and crisp when you get around to serving it. If you’re looking for a side dish that can stand up to summer entertaining, this recipe is a good bet.

BLT Salad
4-6 Side Salads

1 Head Lacinato Kale (aka Tuscan or Dinosaur Kale)*
1 Package Lightelife Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips**
2 Tbs Peanut Oil, divided
1 to 1 1/2 Cups Baby Spinach, Packed
1 to 1 1/2 Cups Sweet Cherry Tomatoes (about 25)

1/4 Cup Vegenaise Mayo
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Lemon Juice
2 tsp Agave Nectar
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*You can also use regular lettuce if you like, just make sure not to add the dressing until just before serving.

**Sub baked tofu, another mock bacon, or my Smoky Miso Tofu.

Wash and dry kale. Using kitchen shears (or a knife, or your fingers), remove and discard the center stem from each leaf. I find scissors makes the job quick and easy:

Deveining Kale

Stack the kale leaves on top of each other and slice into thin strips with a sharp knife:

Chopping Kale

Place the cut kale into a large bowl. Whisk the dressing together and toss with the kale until evenly coated. If you are using regular lettuce, keep the dressing separate until just before serving. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, longer is no problem.

Meanwhile, prepare the “bacon.” Slice the tempeh strips into thin, small pieces, and pan-fry in 1 Tbs peanut oil for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp on the edges. Drain on a paper towel and set aside:

Fakin' Bacon (tempeh)

Next, add another tablespoon of peanut oil to the same pan you cooked the bacon in (don’t wash it out!). Cook the tomatoes with 1/4 tsp salt for 3 minutes over high heat, or until beginning to soften and the juices are starting to come out. Remove to a bowl, with juices, and set aside.

Assembling the salad

Once you are ready to serve the salad, chop up the baby spinach and toss it with the kale, making sure everything is now covered in dressing. If you are using regular lettuce, mix in the dressing now. Add 3/4 of the bacon and the tomatoes and toss again. Plate, topping the salad with the rest of the bacon and some freshly cracked black pepper. Serve.

BLT Salad

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Chili Almond Asparagus Wed, 27 May 2009 23:25:27 +0000 Lolo Chili Almond Asparagus

Sorry for the absence, I got pretty sick and needed to take some time off from… everything. Before asparagus season passes us by (it will be gone before you know it!), I thought I’d offer up this simple but flavorful and beautiful side dish.

There are lots of times where I’d like to make a little side dish, but I just don’t want to work too hard at it. Here’s a great recipe for just such an occasion. It’s fancy enough for company, but easy enough for everyday dinner. I first got the idea when I tossed some asparagus in a powdered faux-chicken soup stock and then roasted them. It gave the asparagus a lovely flavor, while helping the spears get golden brown and slightly crispy.

The bare-bones version of this recipe is just tossing the asparagus in oil, a little soup stock powder, and roasting until tender. This version here is the next-step, adding just a few ingredients for a lot more flavor.

Chili Almond Asparagus

Chili Almond Asparagus
Serves two to four as a side

1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds, roughly crushed and divided
1 Tbs Powdered Soup Stock (I used Bill’s Chik’nish Seasoning)
2 tsp Red Chili Flakes
1 lb Asparagus Spears, trimmed
2 Carrots, peeled
2 tsp Peanut Oil (or any kind you like)
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil (or any other kind)
Fresh Zest and juice of 1 Lemon

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Roughly crush the almonds so that most are ground fairly fine, but there are some larger pieces of almonds left in the mix. Mix together 1/2 of the ground almonds, the soup stock powder, and the chili flakes.

Trim the carrots to the same length, roughly, as the asparagus spears. Half the carrots lengthwise, then quarter them, and continue cutting each piece lengthwise until you have lots of long, flexible, thin strips of carrots.

Asparagus and Carrots

In a large bowl, toss the carrots and the asparagus spears in the oils. Sprinkle the almond seasoning over the asparagus and carrots and toss well, making sure the coating sticks to the veggies.

Chili Almond Seasoning

Arrange the veggies in one layer on a parchment covered baking sheet. If there is any seasoning left in the bowl, scrape it onto the veggies.

Before roasting

Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the veggies are tender and starting to color. Finish under the broiler for a few minutes (watching it, it’ll burn easily) until brown and crispy in places.

Top with the remaining almond pieces, lemon zest, and season with a sprinkle of lemon juice if desired.

Chili Almond Asparagus

This is best served hot/warm. The asparagus should be cooked through and tender, but not mushy. It’s a perfect compliment to any spring dinner or lunch.

Chili Almond Asparagus

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Potato Salad Two Ways Thu, 23 Apr 2009 22:25:48 +0000 Lolo Potato Salad with Fava Beans

I never was a potato salad person. I’m not sure why. I think it’s partly because when someone else makes potato salad, you’re not exactly sure what’s in it, and it’s just this mass of white lumpy stuff. Plus, people tend to add raw onions to potato salad, which ruins it for me instantaneously.

I went to Whole Foods to look at all the pretty produce to get inspired and they had these teeny tiny new potatoes that were begging me to buy them. They were about the size of walnuts, red and yellow, and completely adorable. Yes, I totally buy food based on how adorable it is sometimes. Don’t tell anyone.

All of a sudden I knew I had to make potato salad, even though I’d never made it myself. So I asked my contacts on twitter how they liked their potato salad. I think I got 40 to 50 replies, and no consensus at all. Some people like creamy, other prefer a vinaigrette. Onions and celery ruin it for a good number of people, others can’t eat it without. The only generalization I could come up with is that people are only guaranteed to like the potato salad they make themselves, and that even one offensive ingredient can ruin the whole thing.

That’s comforting for party planning, isn’t it?

I decided to make two very simple potato salads (simple but totally tasty), one with a creamy dressing and one with a vinaigrette. That way you can each take the base recipe you prefer and then add all the pickles/celery/hot sauce/red pepper/tomatoes/onions/sweet potatoes/celery seed/relish you want!

Fresh Fava Beans

Right next to the potatoes was a huge pile of (not so adorable) fava beans. I knew they’d make a great addition to one of the salads. They’re wonderfully green and nutty, but also fleeting! Grab them fast, because they’ll be gone before you know it. If you can’t find them, use shelled fresh edamame or shelled peas.

Fava beans do require a bit of prep work, so be forewarned. You need to shuck them, then blanch them, then remove them from their seed casings. It’s not hard work, but it does require you to set some time aside.

Potato Salad with Fava Beans

Potato Salad with Fava Beans
Serves 2-4

1 1/2 to 2 lbs New potatoes, halved
1 1/2 Lbs Fresh Fava Beans, or 3/4 cup Edamame or Peas

1/2 Cup Vegenaise Mayonnaise*
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbs Fresh Herbs (I used parsley and marjoram)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Fresh Black Pepper

*This brand is highly recommended. It’s the closest to non-vegan mayo I’ve found, by far.

Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Refrigerate it until ready to use.

Shuck the fava beans by “unzipping” them and breaking open the pods. Blanch the whitish-green beans in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes. Remove and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking. Use your nail to break open the seed cases and squeeze out the bright green bean. Set aside.

Boil the potatoes in well-salted water until tender but not falling apart. You can also cook them in a pressure cooker on the second ring for 4 minutes, using the natural-release method.

Let the potatoes cool, but not all the way. When the potatoes are still hot/warm, but cool enough to handle, mix them with the dressing and fava beans. Let sit for several minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate until ready to serve. I think it tastes the best at room temperature or slightly warm, so serving them shortly after preparing is best.

Potato Salad with Herbed Dijon Vinaigrette

Potato Salad with Herbed Dijon Vinaigrette
Serves 2-4

1 1/2 to 2 lbs New potatoes, halved

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp White Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp Fresh Black Pepper
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 Packed Cup Parsley, chopped
1/8 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Sugar

Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. A small blender like the magic bullet works well to help emulsify the dressing, but you can easily whisk it by hand. Set aside the dressing until ready to use.

Boil the potatoes in well-salted water until tender but not falling apart. You can also cook them in a pressure cooker on the second ring for 4 minutes, using the natural-release method.

Let the potatoes cool, but not all the way. When the potatoes are still hot/warm, but cool enough to handle, mix them with the dressing. Let sit for several minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate until ready to serve. I think it tastes best at room temperature or slightly warm, so serving them shortly after preparing is best.

For a little twist, you can reheat leftover vinaigrette potatoes under the broiler until crispy and heated through.

Potato Salad, two ways

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A YumYum Thanksgiving Tue, 25 Nov 2008 02:00:42 +0000 Lolo A YumYum Thanksgivng

Like a lot of people, I usually travel for Thanksgiving instead of hosting myself. This year, however, I’m able to create a full Thanksgiving dinner. I decided to do it a few days early in case any of you are still looking for some ideas for your own holiday meals.

I was really inspired by Vegan Menu’s Seitan Roulade and decided to take my own stab at it. It seemed like the perfect centerpiece. My recipe is very different than his, but if you’re looking for another filling idea, definitely check out his post!

The seitan in this recipe is easily made from vital wheat gluten. It’s wraped around a delicious, homemade herbed chestnut stuffing and then baked. I served it with fresh tangerine cranberry sauce, broiled green beans with slow roasted tomatoes, and fluffy mashed potatoes. Not pictured is a lovely mushroom gravy made with fresh vegetable broth.

You did all make your own vegetable broth, right?

The majority of this meal can be prepared in advance, so if you have the day before Thanksgiving to start cooking, your meal will be well under control by the time you wake up on Thanksgiving morning. Less time in the kitchen means more time celebrating with your loved ones! I’ve included a game-plan at the end of this post so you have an idea of exactly what you can do in advance.

To save even more time, stop by Trader Joes and pick up a box of their already prepared steamed and shelled chestnuts, packed in an airtight bag–not canned! This will save a ton of prep work and roasting time. I haven’t seen these available in any other store, but if you have any tips, do let me know in the comments. Prepping them from scratch works, too.

Alright, there are a lot of recipes to get to, so let’s get started!

Edit Dec. 2008: The seitan part of the roulade apparently sucks! It worked fine for me, but lots of readers are having trouble with it. Until I revise the recipe, beware! Make it at your own risk! :)

A YumYum Thanksgiving
Serves 8

Seitan Roulade with Chestnut Stuffing

2 Cups Vital Wheat Gluten, (1 box of Arrowhead Mills brand)
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp Salt
2 1/3 Cups Warm Vegetable Broth

Mix gluten, yeast, and salt in a large bowl until well combined. Add the vegetable stock and gently mix with your hands until all of the dry mixture is moistened. You should have a soft, squishy, wet dough. Knead a few times, and agitate the dough by squeezing and pressing it.

Dump the dough out onto a large cutting board and use your fingers to press it out to a 12×18″ rectangle. If the dough is too springy, let rest for 15 minutes before rolling it out. Cut the dough into quarters:


Heat a large, non-stick skillet over high heat with some olive oil. Briefly pan-fry the seitan pieces until just barely golden brown on both sides. This gives color, flavor, and kick-starts the cooking process so your pieces will be easier to handle.

Pan Fried Seitan

Set aside until you’re ready to roll up the roulades. Make the stuffing.

Chestnut Stuffing

2 Tbs Olive Oil
2-3 Shallots, chopped finely
10 Cremini Mushrooms, chopped (1 cup after chopping)
2 Ribs Celery, chopped
1 Box Trader Joes Prepared Chestnuts (about 1 1/4 cups, chopped)
7 Fresh Sage Leaves, chopped
2 Thyme Sprigs, leaves only
1 Tbs Fresh Chopped Marjoram
5 Cups Cubed Bread, (for homemade, see note)
1/2 to 1 Cup Warm Vegetable Broth

Note: If making your own bread, take 1/2 of a 1 pound loaf of sourdough and slice into cubes. I leave the crust on! Spread out the bread on a baking sheet and bake at 300º F for 30 minutes, tossing half-way through.

In a large, deep skillet, heat oil and saute shallots until beginning to color. Add mushrooms and carrots and cook until softened. Add herbs and chestnuts. Add bread and toss. Add broth 1/2 cup at a time until stuffing is softened but not overly soggy. Season with salt and pepper. If not using for roulades, place stuffing in an oiled casserole dish and bake at 350º for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. If using for roulades, set aside to cool.

Place stuffing on top of a piece of seitan, covering the whole surface. Roll up the seitan, stretching it to make as tight a roll as possible. Let the roll rest on the seam.

Rolling the roulade

With kitchen twine or any cotton string you have, tie up the roulade so that it doesn’t unroll:

Tying the Roulade, method #2

Repeat for the three other sheets of seitan. Place the tied roulades on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Lightly brush with olive oil. Bake at 350º for 30-40 minutes, turning half-way through, until golden brown.

Seitan Roulade with Chestnut Stuffing

Let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing. Remove strings before serving!

Seitan Roulade with Chestnut Stuffing

Broiled Haricots Verts with Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Broiled Green Beans with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
2-3 Pints Grape Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350º F. Coat tomatoes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Bake for 40-60 minutes until very soft and beginning to color. Can be made a day in advance.

Broiled Green Beans
16 oz Haricots Verts (or regular green beans)
Olive oil
1 Pinch Sugar

Coat green beans in oil, and season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Place them on a baking sheet covered in foil.

Green Beans

Broil beans (just a few inches from the heating element of your oven) for 4-6 minutes or until softened and slightly browned. Toss with warm slow-roasted tomatoes and serve.

Mushroom Gravy

2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Cup Chopped Cremini Mushrooms (measured after chopping)
1 Pinch Salt
2 Fresh Sage Leaves, chopped
1 Stem Fresh Thyme, leaves only
1 tsp White Wine Vinegar
Black Pepper
3 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
3 Tbs Flour
1 Cup Vegetable Broth
Soymilk, for thinning

Heat oil in a large skillet and add mushrooms, salt, and herbs. Cook for 4-5 minutes until softened and add vinegar. Stir well. Add a few grinds fresh black pepper and remove mushrooms from pan. Don’t clean out the pan! Turn the head down to low. Add margarine and flour and whisk until a paste (or roux) forms. Slowly add vegetable broth, whisking all the time, until mixture is smooth. Turn the heat back up and whisk until the mixture thickens into a gravy. Add soymilk in small splashes if gravy becomes too thick. Season with salt and more pepper to taste.

Tangerine Cranberry Sauce

1 16 oz Bag Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
Juice from 1 Tangerine (about 1/3 cup)
Zest from 1 Tangerine

Heat all the above ingredients over medium high heat in a sauce pan. Stir occasionally.

The cranberries will pop, and after 10-15 minutes of cooking the sauce will thicken and no longer be watery. Refrigerate and serve when needed. Garnish with fresh slices of tangerine if desired.

A YumYum Thanksgivng

I also served fluffy mashed potatoes, but I figured you probably don’t need a recipe for that. However, I can say that making mashed potatoes in a pressure cooker is my favorite way to prepare them. Since the potatoes are not submersed in water, they are extra light and fluffy. And they cook so fast, too! If you have a pressure cooker, dig it out to make your potatoes this year. You won’t be sorry.

Here’s how you can save time by preparing parts of this meal ahead of time:

Anytime before:
-Make vegetable stock, refrigerate for 1 week or freeze

One or Two Days Before:
-Make bread cubes for stuffing
-Make seitan, roll it out, pan fry it
-Make the stuffing
-Roll up the roulades, cover in plastic wrap, refrigerate
-Make the cranberry sauce
-Slow roast the tomatoes

The Day Of:
-Bake the roulades (40 Minutes)
-Broil the green beans (4-6 minutes)
-Make the gravy (10-15 minutes)
-Make the mashed potatoes (15-20 Minutes)

So yeah! That’s what I’m having for Thanksgiving this year. What are you having?

Seitan Roulade with Chestnut Stuffing

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Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole Wed, 12 Nov 2008 20:40:31 +0000 Lolo Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole

It is absolutely that time of year again.

I can’t say I’ve ever really been a huge fan of green bean casseroles. I think canned beans has a lot to do with that, along with the whole, you know, not vegan thing. I got some beautiful organic green beans in my veggie box yesterday, and I figured I’d do an updated, fresh, vegan green bean casserole.

But it’s been done. And done right. By the ever-brilliant Susan of FatFree Vegan Kitchen. Check it out! Fresh beans and a homemade gravy; there’s nothing canned about it.

So Susan had scooped me by about two years. What was I going to make? Well, I realized that since I didn’t really like green bean casseroles all that much to begin with, why make a casserole at all? And why not make the fried onions from scratch? And leave the gorgeous beans whole and beautiful?

Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole

If you like green bean casseroles, by all means, go over to Susan’s blog and make that one! It’s the one I would make, and it’d probably be the first green bean casserole I’d like. If you’re up for it, use the homemade fried onions from here to top it off. I know people love French’s, but homemade ones don’t have hydrogenated oil, TBHQ, or propylene glycol in them. And you can make them ahead of time, too!

If you don’t like casseroles all that much, but do like fresh beans, fried onions, and mushroom gravy, then give this a shot. It makes a beautiful starter or side dish.

Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole
Serves 8

Fried Onions
2 Medium Onions, sliced thinly
2+ Cups Soymik (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
All-Purpose Flour (or your fav. gluten-free blend!)
Oil for frying

Mushroom Celery Gravy
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Cups Sliced Mushrooms
2 Ribs Celery, diced
1 pinch Salt
4 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
4 Tbs Flour
1 to 1 1/2 Cups Soymilk*
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Thyme
Black Pepper

1lb Fresh Green Beans
Scallions, for tying
Pepper, for garnish

*I thought it would be really smart to use the soymilk I soaked the onions in to make the gravy. It wasn’t. It gave the gravy an overwhelmingly raw-onion taste, and ruined it for me. Unless you really, really like onions, I suggest using fresh soymilk for the gravy.

Fried Onions
Begin by making the fried onions. Cut the ends off the onions, peel them, and slice them in half lengthwise. Slice them thinly into half-moons. Try to keep your slices all the same width so that the onions cook evenly.

Sliced Onions

Soak the onions in 2+ cups soymilk for at least 10 minutes. Heat oil over medium heat in a wok or other pot to a depth of 1-2 inches. I’ve found that I can use less oil to fry in a wok; since the sides are curved the oil pools in the middle.

Grab a handful of onions from the soymilk, shake them off a little, and place them in a bowl. Coat with flour completely, tossing with two forks to keep your hands clean. Use enough flour so that they’re not soggy.

Onions and Flour

Test the oil by putting one onion in, if it bubbles up, it’s ready. Guard against the oil being too hot – it should take 7-9 minutes before the onions start to turn golden brown!

Fry for 7-9 minutes a batch, turning occasionally, until the onions are very crispy and caramelized. The onions themselves should be a very rich golden brown, beautifully caramelized, and the breading a light golden brown. Drain on a paper towel or cloth, and sprinkle with salt to season.

Fried Onions

If making ahead, store in an airtight container until ready for use.

Green Beans
Next, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the green beans for 1-2 minutes, or until tender crisp but still bright green. Shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking, drain and set aside.

In a skillet, saute sliced mushrooms and celery in 1 Tbs of oilve oil until tender and fragrant. Season with a pinch of salt. Remove to a bowl and add earth balance margarine to the same pan over low heat (don’t bother to clean it out!). Once melted, add flour and whisk well to create a roux. Slowly add in the soymilk while whisking, turn the heat up, and whisk while it thickens to form a smooth sauce. Add thyme and salt to taste, adjusting the thickness by adding more soymilk if needed. Stir the mushrooms and celery in.

Slice the chives in half, lengthwise, and use them to tie up little bundles of green beans. You can reheat the green beans before serving by placing in a low oven or quickly steaming.

Tying Up Green Beans

To serve, place a few spoonfuls of gravy on a dish, and place the bean bundle on top. Sprinkle with fried onions and grind fresh pepper over everything. Enjoy!

Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole

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Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles Thu, 03 Jul 2008 20:08:31 +0000 Lolo Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles

It’s officially Summer; I can’t deny it any longer. I’m eating way more than my fair share of tofu sandwiches, and even the heat emanating from the toaster can be too much for me sometimes. If you can find some part of the day to boil noodles (in the cool of the morning, or before bed), you can make them ahead of time and be done with the only cooking required for this dish.

Earlier this year I was reading Coconut and Lime, and where Rachel had the brilliant idea of making a peanut sauce without peanuts. Her stand-in was sesame paste, and she created a fabulous sesame noodle dish that I couldn’t get out of my head. I absolutely had to make a sauce based on sesame paste. My recipe is different than hers (though hers is mighty tasty, so if you don’t care for my version give hers a try), but she was definitely the inspiration for this sauce that has quickly become a staple in my house.

Notes on Tahini and Sesame Paste
I use tahini in this recipe, which is a paste commonly used in the Middle East made from hulled sesame seeds.  The seeds can be raw or roasted, and the flavor will vary depending on which one you choose.  My favorite tahini is Arrowhead Mills Organic Sesame Tahini, which is unroasted.  It’s not too bitter, and it stays smooth and easy to use even after refrigeration.  Roasted tahini will also work great in this recipe, but the flavor will be noticeably different

Sesame paste, on the other hand, is an Asian ingredient that turns the whole sesame seed, including the hulls, into a paste.  It’s stronger than tahini, so you usually need much less in your recipes, and using too much can cause the dish to be more bitter than you expected.  While you can find tahini at any supermarket now (look near the peanut butter), Asian sesame paste still seems religated to specialty markets.

Tahini Noodle Prep

This dish is largely raw, which cuts down on a lot of the work, and prevents your summer kitchen from becoming a sauna. I’ve found that if you cut your veggies small enough and have a great sauce, you’ll be surprised at what you can serve raw. If you like, you can lightly steam the broccoli, but it really is tasty simply cut into tiny florets. If you follow a raw food diet, feel free to substitute the cooked wheat noodles with cucumber or zucchini noodles, or whatever raw noodles make you the happiest. Pretty much anything will work as the base of this dish.

The other benefit this dish is that it keeps really well, so I like to make a big batch to keep in the fridge for lunches, snacks, or meals to go.

Oh! And one more thing! Have you tried Whole Foods’ whole wheat spaghetti yet?  It tastes exactly like regular spaghetti, only it’s better for you than the stripped down stuff.  If you’re looking to add more whole grains into your diet, this is a super easy–even unnoticeable–way to do it.  They are by far the best whole wheat noodles I’ve ever had.

Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles
Serves 4 to 6

1/2 lb  Whole Wheat Spaghetti, cooked, rinsed in cold water, drained
2 Carrots, peeled and shredded
1/4 Green Cabbage Head, shredded
1 Stalk Broccoli, florets only, cut very small
A Handful Fresh Mint, chopped, optional (cilantro or basil would be good, too)
Sesame Seeds and More Mint, for garnish

Tahini Sauce
1/4 Cup Tahini, see section above
2 Tbs Low Sodium Tamari, or nama shoyu, or regular soy sauce
3 Tbs Water
1 Tbs Sugar, or raw agave nectar
1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
1 tsp Chili Sauce or 1 Chopped Fresh Chili
1 tsp Dijon or Stone-ground Mustard
1 Pinch Salt, if needed
Lots of Fresh Black Pepper

Cook the noodles and rinse under cold water. Drain and set aside, coating lightly with oil if desired to prevent the noodles from sticking. These can be made well in advance.

Coring CabbageCut your cabbage into quarters, then use a large chef’s knife to remove the core from one of the quarters, as shown at left. Discard the core, and wrap up the other three quarters for later use.

If you have a food processor, use it to shred your carrots and your cabbage. Use the shredder blade that has many holes for the carrots, and the blade that has one single slit for the cabbage. A box grater will work just fine for the carrots and a knife for the cabbage if a food processor is not available.

Chop the broccoli into small florets, creating pieces no bigger than small grapes. Toss all the veggies together and add the pasta. Stir together the sauce, tasting to adjust if needed.

When you’re ready to serve, add the sauce to the noodles and veggies and toss with your hands, coating everything evenly. Add chopped mint at the last moment, if using. Garnish with more mint and sesame seeds.

Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles

This will easily keep for a couple days. If you’re a big fan of sauce, you may want to double the recipe. This recipe makes just enough to coat the noodles.  Extra sauce will really come in handy after the completed dish has been refrigerated for a bit; I find noodles really soak up sauces so it can be nice to have some extra on hand.

If you’ve tried tahini and disliked it, give it another chance. It’s kind of vile on its own, so balancing flavors is very important with this ingredient. If you want a little tahini flavor but can’t quite use the full 1/4 cup, consider adding some peanut butter in lieu of tahini. Personally, I find this a really refreshing change from the typical peanut sauces, and since it’s so easy to make, why not give it a shot?

Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles

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Apple Cranberry Salad with Fried Seitan and Almond Dijon Dressing Tue, 25 Mar 2008 19:03:08 +0000 Lolo Apple Cranberry Salad with Fried Seitan and Almond Dijon Dressing

I rarely post salads. As tasty as salads can be, I want to do my part in convincing the world at large that vegans don’t survive solely on lettuce. But this salad? Whoo boy. I love this salad.

My husband calls salads like these “tossed sandwiches” and I’m inclined to agree with him. Our favorite salads aren’t just lettuce; they usually included our favorite veggies, a tasty homemade dressing, tofu or seitan, and sometimes fruit and/or nuts. We don’t make wimpy “house salads” with a few leaves of lettuce and some sliced tomatoes. Our salads are entire meals that look like they’ve exploded in the bowl.

While I think this is a perfect salad, the fried seitan is really tasty and would go great as part of a non-salad meal (with mashed potatoes and gravy? Yes please!) or shoved in a sandwich. It’s crispy and delicious and meant to resemble country fried chicken.

I’ve given directions for making the seitan from scratch (it’s not hard!), but any pre-made seitan should work. The main benefit of making it from scratch is being in control of 100% the flavoring and texture, but feel free to sub store-bought seitan if you want. It’s FANTASTIC with homemade seitan, but I bet it would still be pretty good with commercial stuff too.

The dressing is almond-based, flavored with lemon, mustard, and spiced with Old Bay seasoning. The fried seitan also relies on Old Bay. It’s a wonderful commercial spice blend that you should seek out if you’ve never tried it. You can find it at any major grocery store, and it gives the perfect seasoning to the fried seitan. The ingredients are (copied from the bottle): Celery salt, Spices (Including mustard, Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Bay Leaves, Cloves, Allspice, Ginger, Mace, Cardamom, Cinnamon), and Paprika. It’s so good.

You can make the seitan ahead of time (up to a few days in advance) and then deep-fry it when you’re ready.

Apple Cranberry Salad with Fried Seitan and Almond Dijon Dressing

Apple Cranberry Salad with Fried Seitan and Almond Dijon Dressing
Makes two entree salads

1 Head Lettuce (Romain, Green, Butter, whatever)
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Granny Smith Apple, thinly sliced
1 Recipe Creamy Almond Dijon Dressing (recipe below)
2 Fried Seitan Cutlets (recipe below)

Creamy Almond Dijon Dressing
Makes enough for two salads

1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds (blanched or raw)
1/2 Cup Water
2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
1 1/2 tsp Tamari or Soy Sauce (low sodium)
1 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tsp Dijon or Stoneground Mustard
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and no pieces of almonds remain. Refrigerate until needed.

Chicken-Style Seitan
Makes four cutlets

1 1/2 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten
2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
3/4 Cup Cold Water
1 Tbs Tamari or Soy Sauce (low sodium)
3 Tbs Soymilk
1 Tbs Olive Oil

Braising Broth
2 Cups Water
1 Vegetable Bullion Cube

Mix the dry ingredients together. Combine the wet ingredients and stir well. Add wet to dry and knead until a dough is formed. Add more liquid if needed. The gluten will develop very quickly. Knead a few times on your counter, forming a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, forming four triangular wedges. Squish/Pound/Pull the wedges into 1/2″ thick cutlets. Take your time shaping, letting them rest if needed.

Once they’re the right thickness, put a large, high-walled skillet on medium heat, adding the water and bullion cube to make a braising bath. Once it starts simmering, add cutlets and turn down the heat and cover. It’s important that you DO NOT boil the cutlets. Check several times to make sure the broth is just barely simmering. Boiling isn’t a disaster, but it will change the texture of the cutlets, making them spongier and rubbery.

Simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. You can now refrigerate the cutlets in their broth for later, or fry immediately. I think cutlets that have been refrigerated over night before frying have a better texture, but you can use them right away.

Fried Seitan
For four cutlets

4 Seitan Cutlets (recipe above)
32 Oz. High Heat Oil (for frying: canola, peanut, etc)

Seasoned Dry Mix
3 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 1/2 Cup All Purpose flour
4 tsp Baking Powder

Wet Mix
1/3 Cup Seasoned Dry Mix
3 Tbs Mustard (dijon or stoneground)
1/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Soymilk (or more water)

Fried SeitanHeat the oil to 350º F in a 10″ skillet, cast-iron is best. Mix together all the dry ingredients except the baking powder. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. Add baking powder to the remining dry ingredients and mix well.

When oil is heated, dip a seitan cutlet in the wet mix coating well. The dredge the cutlet in the dry mix and gently slip it into the oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Drain well on a paper towel and slice if desired.

Assemble the Salad

Toss lettuce with the salad dressing and plate. Add sliced apples and dried cranberries. Place 1 sliced fried seitan cutlet on top and drizzle with more dressing. Serve while the seitan is still warm.

Apple Cranberry Salad with Fried Seitan and Almond Dijon Dressing

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Celery Rémoulade Mon, 12 Nov 2007 21:38:13 +0000 Lolo Celery Remoulade

Sometimes you need to trust the classics.

Two times I found a celeriac in my possession, and two times I let it go to waste. I wanted to use it. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to eat it.

Every article I read about celeriac starts the same way: It’s ugly and unpopular, but I swear you’ll like it! It’s humble, gnarly, and caked in dirt, but just try it! It’s tough and fibrous, but treat it right, and you’ll fall in love.

Celeriac certainly has a small but passionate fan club. But even much-loathed brussels sprouts make it to the table during the holidays (I, for one, adore them), and no one has ever attempted to serve me celery root. I figured that if it actually tasted good, it must be such a pain in the ass to prepare it that it wasn’t worth the time.

CelariacA brief rundown of celeriac: It’s a root vegetable, and it’s not simply the root of green ribbed celery, but a related plant. It’s about the size of an oblong baseball (or slightly larger), and it’s covered in twisted, knotted roots that collect dirt. The prevailing flavor is celery, but a milder, nuttier flavor than the crispy stalks provide. Some people taste notes of anise, but I didn’t detect that personally. It’s in the same family as carrots, coriander, cumin, fennel, parsley and lovage. It keeps ridiculously well in your refrigerator; wikipedia says you can get 3-4 months of storage out of it if it doesn’t dry out. I wouldn’t keep one that long, but I mention it to underscore the fact I seriously did not have an excuse for not eating the first two I had; it’s not like they went bad.

I remembered today that I had a third, fragrant celeriac taking up room in my refrigerator thanks to my CSA. Stewart was at the office, so I figured I could scrape the whole mess into the trash and pretend nothing had happened, should something go awry. All I needed was a recipe.

People use celery root in a lot of dishes (supposedly), but the classic recipe is something called celery rémoulade. It’s French, and it seems to be as popular in France as cole slaw is here in the states. Since it’s easy to prepare, and widely consumed, I figured celery rémoulade was a good bet. But I needed one final piece of insurance—I adapted a recipe from Julia Child. If I didn’t like celery root prepared this way, chances are I wasn’t going to like it at all.

I’ll quit stalling and tell you what I thought. Holy crap this stuff is good. It wasn’t at all bitter, and shredding and tenderizing the root changed what might have been described as tough and fibrous into delightfully crunchy. The celery flavor tasted… well… warm. If warm was a flavor instead of a feeling, it might taste like celery rémoulade. The creamy Dijon dressing really brought it together, and I can’t wait to have some with my dinner. You should definitely, definitely try this out.

Celery Rémoulade — Adapted from Julia Child
Serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Celeriac

1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard (check label and make sure there are no eggs in it!)
3 Tbs Boiling Water
1/3 — 1/2 Cup Mild Oil (canola, safflower)
2 Tbs White Wine Vinegar
1/4 tsp Salt (or more to taste)
1/3 — 1/2 Cup Veganaise (vegan mayo)
3 Tbs Fresh Parsley, chopped

Place salt and lemon juice in the bottom of a large bowl. Rinse the root and remove as much dirt as possible with a brush. Using a large, sharp chef’s knife, remove the skin, cutting away the twisted roots. Working quickly (the root will discolor if exposed to air too long), quarter the root and shred finely in a food processor. Add the shredded celeriac to the bowl containing the salt and lemon and toss well, making sure all of the pieces are coated. Leave to tenderize for 20 minutes while preparing dressing. The lemon juice will protect it from browning.

IMG_8883.jpgShredded Celeriac

Place another bowl over a pot of warm water on the stove, warming the bowl (like a double-boiler). Add mustard and water and whisk well. Gently drizzle in the oil and whisk to emulsify—take your time so the dressing doesn’t “break”. Dribble in the vinegar, whisking all the while. Add salt.

Rinse the celery root with fresh water and dry well, rolling it in paper towels and squeezing out as much water as you can. Put it back in the bowl (dry the bowl, too) and add the dressing and toss well. Fold in the Veganaise and parsley.

You can eat it immediately, but this refrigerates well. The longer it is refrigerated, up to a few days, the more tender the celeriac gets.

Celery Remoulade

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Tofu Kale Stir-Fry and Green Bean Salad Wed, 18 Jul 2007 18:47:55 +0000 Lolo Tofu Kale Stirfry

So how do you feel about freezing tofu?

Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. Freezing definitely changes the texture of the tofu. It makes it… hole-ier? My totally unscientifically proven theory is that while tofu looks like a homogenous material, it’s not. When it freezes, the water expands in different areas, leaving behind little miniature tofu caves when you thaw it. This makes the tofu rather sponge-like. This can be good or bad, depending.

It certainly makes your tofu easier to press. You can almost wring it out over the sink like a sponge. Squeeze it between your palms and voila, pressed tofu. But it will suck up liquid just as easily as it releases it. If you’re making baked tofu, use a milder marinade than you might normally, and use more of it. It’s going to suck it up like nobody’s business.

Here, I cubed it and stir-fried it. Frozen tofu is an okay candidate for stir-frying, but beware. It’ll soak up oil just like anything else. “Wow, I thought I put oil in the pan.. where’d it go? Better add more!” You’ll find it later. A tofu cube full of hot oil isn’t my idea of fun. I’d recommend using something non-stick here to prevent an unfortunate dining experience.

But it’s okay if it sticks a little. It’s actually preferable. When it sticks, you can scrape off the sticky parts and you get these fun, crispy tofu crumble things in your final dish. The cubes don’t suffer for it, you just get some great added texture.

This recipe isn’t anything earth shattering, but it’s fast, easy, and super adaptable.

Tofu Kale Stir-fry
Serves two

1-2 Tbs Oil
1 Block Extra Firm Tofu, frozen, thawed, pressed, cubed
1 Bunch Kale, deveined and ripped into small pieces
1/2 tsp Chili Flakes
1/4+ tsp Ginger Powder (or a bit of fresh ginger, minced)
2 Tbs Low Sodium Tamari
2 tsp Sugar (for a sweeter version, optional)

Heat the oil on high in a well seasoned wok or large non-stick pan. Add tofu carefully, avoiding hot angry oil splatters. Use a wooden spoon to move the tofu around, until it begins to color.

Add kale, chili flakes, and ginger. Cook well, stirring and scraping bits off the bottom, until tofu is golden and kale is getting brown caramelized spots on it. Add tamari and optional sugar, stir well for a few moments, serve immediately with fresh ground pepper over the top.

What’s that in the background? A little green bean salad from the cookbook. I made the salty version of the stir-fry because the salad was sweet

Glazed Green Bean Salad

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