Archive | salad RSS feed for this section

A vegan food diary

24 Sep

Inspired by all the great “What I Ate Wednesday” posts, I decided to do my own little food diary entry today.  I think it’s really helpful to see how other vegans construct their meal plans and it gives me ideas for things I can do to mix up the inevitable weekday monotony.  Today was a lot of purchased foods because I got up too late for breakfast at home and was super busy at work.

Breakfast: Berry Upbeat smoothie from Jamba Juice

Lunch: vegan hummus wrap and Peet’s soy pumpkin latte. The wrap was pretty disappointing–bland hummus and the veggies consisted of shaved carrots and purple cabbage. Who thought that sounded like a good idea??



Snack: salad from my university’s cafeteria


Dinner: leftovers from a pretty disappointing casserole I made last week from the new book One Dish Vegan. It’s layers of butternut squash, potato, cauliflower, spinach, and walnut parmesan with a white sauce drizzled on top. It was super bland even though I added loads of fresh herbs and made extra walnut parm. It also makes for terribly unattractive food porn. Sorry, folks!


So, not my proudest day of food but at least it was pretty healthy! 😛


MoFo #16: Portobello salad with spicy mustard dressing

17 Oct

2012 banner

Well, the inevitable has happened: I’ve falled behind on my MoFo posts!!! Yesterday was supposed to be my salad day and even though I made the dish, I was too tired to write and upload photos. So here it is, to be followed in rapid succession by tonight’s soup post!

I guess this salad from Veganomicon isn’t necessarily a fall food, but it does have warm roasted mushrooms and a mustard maple dressing, which seems like a perfect cool weather salad. You start off by marinating some portobello caps, then roasting them in the oven for 30 min. Usually I just marinate my veggies (including mushrooms) in olive oil, red wine vinegar, and Italian seasoning, but I might switch to this recipe — a mix of wine, olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and garlic. Pretty simple, but the wine really made it delicious!! I used some old chardonnay that’s been sitting in the fridge for a few months and it came out really well.


The rest of the salad is pretty easy — greens, red onion, avocado, and chickpeas. The dressing is like a honey dijon, but the sweetener is maple syrup.


We were both really impressed by this simple salad. The flavors just melded together really well and we were too stuffed to eat the rest of our dinner. Definitely a keeper!

MoFo #9: Autumn root vegetable salad

9 Oct

2012 banner

Happy Tuesday!  My fall salad post for the week is the autumn root veggie salad with maple fig dressing from Veganomicon.

This salad feels fancy but it’s actually pretty simple — just field greens, roasted beets, sweet potatoes, and plain potatoes. It’s just kind of time- and dish-intensive. The beets are supposed to be roasted whole and the potatoes and yams are supposed to be boiled. Well I just cranked up the temp in my oven, pre-chopped all the veggies so they would cook more quickly, and roasted them all at the same time in individual foil packets. It was so much easier (and less to clean up!) that way!




Excuse my ugly oven. I had a pie spill its fillings a while ago and I kept the smoking down by pouring baking soda on top of the mess…which I still haven’t cleaned up!

I pretty much hate making salad dressings, so this was my least favorite part, especially chopping an entire cup of sticky mission figs. They get sauteed with onions and garlic, which smelled amazing, then the pan is deglazed with a little white wine.


After adding some maple syrup, dijon, and balsamic vinegar, the mix gets a whiz in the blender to yield a really chunky salad dressing. I think it would also be a great dip or a veggie glaze.


I hastily threw everything together into the final salad because I was impatient and hungry. So it’s not the prettiest pic I ever took but I love all the colors! And it was delicious to boot. There’s something to be said for adding feta to sweet salads like this and I felt like it would have been a good addition. I think I’ll have to root around for a vegan feta recipe before I finish up these leftovers.


MoFo #2 — Apple & Endive Salad with Maple Pecans

2 Oct

2012 banner

Happy Tuesday! It’s fall salad day and today’s recipe is from one of my favorite books, Veganomicon. I love this book so much that I’ve given it as gifts and make sure to carry it in my luggage on trips to see my parents. It’s got lots of omni-friendly comfort food recipes as well as fancy pants stuff that I like to save for special occasions. Mofo is a great time for me to try out some of the fancier recipes (like a salad that requires 45 min prep time!), so last night I made pear & endive with maple candied pecans.

Toasting and candying the pecans makes this salad a little time intensive, but boy is it worth it! I love candied pecans — we give them out every year as Christmas gifts and even take them on hiking or backpacking trips as a sweet and energy-packed snack. This was the first time I used maple syrup as the sugar source and it was really delicious. It was also way easier to keep the sugar from crystallizing on the pecans.


Since Mr. Chickpea doesn’t like pears, I swapped them for apples. Then I realized I only had green apples and my pics would look really boring. I rooted around in the cabinets for something red, deciding on a pinch of red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and some leftover pomegranate seeds. I think I’ll do this every time I make this recipe because wow — although I didn’t really taste the pomegranate, the smokiness and slight bitterness of paprika along with the kick from the chile flakes really made this salad delicious.


The verdict:
I don’t know if I would use endive again — it’s hard to find and expensive ($2 per piece!!) and I think you could sub in chopped hearts of romaine and not miss a thing. I didn’t have white balsamic, which is recommended for the dressing, so I’d like to try a sweeter vinegar and see what it’s like. The red wine vinegar, which is what’s recommended as an alternate, was just ok. The sweetness of the pecans and fruit complemented everything so well, and it’s such a light dish and seems so fancy, that this is definitely in the running for my salad course this Thanksgiving!

Some salads

28 Sep

I can’t believe it’s 85 degrees at the end of September! Wait, yes I can! As a native southern Californian (and current Bay Area transplant) I have never experienced a true fall. Crisp winds, dim sunlight, colored leaves, cozy coats, and hot soup…these are the things I dream of. I know “the grass is always greener” and such and when I inevitably have to move somewhere cold and icky for my post-doc in a few years I know I’ll long for coastal California weather. Until then, I’m going to complain and use the heat as an excuse to have cold, raw food for breakfast lunch and dinner!

Today for lunch I went to a little cafe on campus and had the best best best salad (I actually have it almost every day). It’s got romaine, grape tomatoes, red onion, sweet white corn, black beans, jicama, and tortilla strips on top all tossed in a cilantro lime vinaigrette. Nothing special but it tastes amazing and they give you the most gigantic bowl along with some French bread so it’ll keep you full till dinner! I forgot to take a pic but I think you get the idea!

Tonight I started off just making a simple green salad but it seemed way too boring so here’s my version of curried chicken salad:

Chick peas are absolutely amazing in mayo-based mock-meat salads. I’ve seen them used in place of tuna (with a little sea weed flavoring to add “fishiness”) and chicken. I know I probably swiped this recipe from a cookbook but now I just kind of wing it.

Curried Chick Pea Salad:
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/4-1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1-2 Tbs vegan mayo (I like Vegannaise best)
1 tsp curry powder
salt, to taste

Mash up chick peas with a fork or in a food processor.  Add onion, celery, curry powder, and enough mayo to moisten everything.  Add salt to taste.  Serve on salad or in a veggie sandwich!

I just threw some on top of my salad (the white stuff is a little ranch dressing from Appetite for Reduction) with some chopped chives.  Simple, healthy, and yummy!

While I was making dinner I used leftover veggies to make salad for lunch tomorrow.  I grabbed a handful of chick peas from the can I used to make chicken salad with and made a little cous cous while I was chopping, and voila!

The recipe comes from Appetite for Reduction, but it’s a pretty basic concept.  I think the book calls for quinoa but I didn’t have any so I subbed cous cous and it’s still really tasty.  There’s also some romaine, carrot, red onion, and tomato.  It’s not pictured but I used the balsamic vinaigrette from AFR too.  That stuff is awesome!  It doesn’t use any oil and all the fat comes from pureed cashews.  Genius!  And it’s amazing on this salad.

Remember what I said about eating cold food in this hot fall weather?  Well, I lied a little.  Last night the boyfriend and I were craving pumpkin so we made a pumpkin pie.  We had to turn on the fan to counteract the heat of the oven but it was worth it! 🙂

It’s not beautiful, but it was really good and you can’t really tell the difference from non-veg pumpkin pie.  I used pumpkin pie filling and just mixed in a package of pureed silken tofu and a little more spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice). I hate most crusts so we made a cinnamon graham cracker crust instead. My oven is stupid and I burned edges a bit so it’s a little ugly but still tasted fine!

Cookbook Challenge Week 1 – Isa & Terry

19 Sep

Over at the Post Punk Kitchen forum we are embarking on twelve weeks of vegan cooking, drawing from some of the most popular vegan cookbooks. This is a great way for me to get out of my cooking funk and try out new recipes from books I’ve owned for ages. I’m sure I’m like a lot of people, in that I buy a book, try out a few recipes, and then file it away. What a waste!! I’d love to eventually work through every cookbook I own (and sooner rather than later, so I can think of some great recipes to serve at our wedding reception in July).

This week’s challenge is to make recipes from books by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero.  I’ve recently discovered how amazing the salads are from Veganomicon and we just happen to be experiencing a nasty heat wave so it looks like this week I’ll be making salad!

I’m starting off with “Quinoa Salad with black beans and mango”. It’s a pretty easy recipe and calls for quinoa, black beans, mango, red bell pepper, cilantro, and scallions tossed in a little red wine vinegar and olive oil. I subbed cous cous since I was out of quinoa and it was super tasty!