Ginger! It’s warm, sharp, tangy, and yet seldom burns the tongue and isn’t likely to inflame any pepper allergies. So! I made carrot-ginger-chia dressing (Salad Samurai recipe) to drench my lunch in. Mmm.
It turned out a burnt orange shade because I used a purple carrot and a red onion – it’s what I had! Still good though.
All vegans love falafel, right? And I haven’t really made other Middle Eastern-type dishes this month. So today’s the day.
I’m writing this post ahead of time, the day after the US election. I am not happy about the result. It’s a distressing day. I’m not all that hungry, if I’m being honest. But I do have some leftover baked falafel that I plan to eat with a simple yogurt dressing (Kite Hill, please and thank you) over salad greens.
On Wednesday nights, I try to make something that comes together quickly, because I go to Pilates when I’m normally working on dinner. Lately, of course, I have time to get everything prepped before I go–either have everything ready to cook and serve or make it and let it cool off. Tonight I ended up trying a recipe from Salad Samurai I’d flipped past but never tried before, and man, I won’t sleep on it again. This is a pretty good bowl, and easy too!
The main components are sweet potatoes (roasted in chunks), collard greens (raw or gently cooked), black beans, scallions, spicy nuts, and an orange-based dressing. I used walnuts instead of the recipe’s pecans because that’s what I had on hand; I also threw in a cup or so of leftover cooked quinoa just because. It’s spicy and bright and delicious. You could probably buy some spicy candied nuts and use baby greens for something even faster, but this was simple enough.
This was so many things, but all of them simple. The lemongrass tofu comes from Salad Samurai, and I’ve made it before (for the pad thai salad), but I thought it might work in this context. The other two dishes come by way of the Thrive Foods book, which I’ve only cooked out of once. Well, technically, that was a raw thing (some energy balls involving all kinds of obscure “superfood” powders I ended up spending $$$ for at Whole Foods that now live in a gallon zip bag in the bottom of my baking tub, but I digress!), so this is the first time I *cooked* with the book. It’s basically a vegan nutrition book with a section containing collected recipes from a variety of sources (well-known vegan/raw food restaurants, friends of the author’s, etc.), and it’s not the most well-organized reference, so I really had to sift through it for inspiration.
What drew my eye was this “Asian” carrot salad with a ginger-lime dressing, fresh herbs, sesame seeds, and avocado. I threw a whole bunch of big, fat, locally-grown carrots in the food processor with the shred blade, and ended up with twice as much carrot as necessary. And even setting aside half of the shreds, this was a pretty massive salad. Hopefully it makes good leftovers.
I opted for a simple rice dish to bring things together, and this recipe was from Ravens Restaurant in Mendocino, Calif., which is attached to the Stanford Inn, an all-vegan rustic/fancy lodge that I’ve had the great fortune of visiting three times. I’d go back right now if it wouldn’t fill me with checking account dread. It’s beautiful and cozy and the breakfasts are wonderful. So why not try to make their seaweed rice? It’s not the same, but it’s a lot cheaper and doesn’t require a four-hour drive.
A nice Sunday lunch, via Salad Samurai. Although I enjoy pad thai, I don’t have a favorite pad thai recipe because too often I find the sauce/noodle balance out of whack, so I thought I’d give this less-saucy version a try. It’s fresh and crunchy and tasty–and the lemongrass baked tofu is pretty great; I will make that again–but I wish for a bit more salty peanutty-ness. That’s an easy fix: ADD MORE PEANUTS.
I love fresh rolls/salad rolls made with rice paper. For Vegan MoFo last year, I made a much more elaborate version. That’s why I’d had my eye on this version in Salad Samurai, because vegan pate made with walnuts and black lentils is a hell of a lot more approachable than homemade vegan fish (made from tofu skin and agar), and with a more reasonable amount of prep.
First, gotta get everything ready to roll. Besides the pate–which I made the day before–all I had to do was chop up some veggies and herbs: lettuce, cucumber, carrot, radish, green onion, cilantro, and, what the hell, avocado. I set out a pie plate for hot water to soften the rice paper, a dinner plate for assembly, and a salad plate to pile up the winnings.
For each roll, gotta make a neat little pile of fillings and roll it tight. The paper shouldn’t get soaked in the water, only dampened, because it’ll continue to soften. Once you’re ready to roll, it’ll be perfectly pliable and won’t tear as easily as if you’d let it get too wet.
After a few rolls, you re-learn your own tricks, like putting somethin’ pretty like cilantro on the last fold so it’ll show through the translucent rice paper. They might not be perfectly or effortlessly uniform, but that’s OK. It’s just dinner.
Although the cookbook suggests a soy-mustard dipping sauce, I opted for the mock nuoc cham from Vegan Eats World, which is sweet and sour and had the side benefit of using up the remaining shredded carrot and adding a bit more herbs (fresh mint).
Occasionally we like to go to my boyfriend’s mom’s house and cook a meal together, taking advantage of her lovely garden and bountiful lemon tree. Today I suggested we take on a kinda-Greek theme–hummus, falafel, all that. I like having an excuse to plan a menu outside the usual weeknight dinner.
To keep it simple, we went with the falafel salad from Salad Samurai, hummus with beets, chopped fresh veggies to fill in the gaps, and some store-bought whole wheat pita.
It was pretty good.
The hummus was of my own devising. What we threw in the food processor:
Can of chickpeas
Dollop of tahini
Splash of olive oil
Juice of one meyer lemon
Half of a small beet, precooked a little so it’s tender
A few sprigs of dill, chopped
Several cloves of garlic
All in all, a successful meal.
Later, we went to the beach and made a sand castle, just for the hell of it. And we saw dolphins (maybe).