Thanks for the feedback on yesterday’s post about changes after embarking on a whole food lifestyle (definitely check out Britt’s post with her experiences). Since I’ve cut out refined flours, I rarely eat bread-type things.
I am not sure why but I even have this thing against whole wheat flour. I’d much rather eat whole grains, in their original form, than rely on flours (unless I am making the flour myself in my food processor).
But here I am, enjoying pizza without any flours in sight.
Be forewarned, this isn’t your typical pizza crust.
Super flexible with any combination of beans and grains, I spotted this at Everyone is Vegan many moons ago. Here, white beans and cooked quinoa are whipped together with flax and spices to create a lovely bread-type crust.
The crust takes longer to bake than your typical pizza crust, which means you get the benefit of glorious roasted veggies. I normally wouldn’t put onion on my pizza, but I will if it is roasted as it is here. Red pepper also roasts well. Broccoli gets that delightful crispy edge. And the best part: laying kale overtop the veggies results in a pizza topped with kale chips!
Since I used the miso gravy from the Dragon Bowl, does that make this a Dragon Pizza?
Other pizza crusts, toppings, etc, I’d like to try:
Gluten-Free Chickpea Flour Pizza Crust from Making Love in the Kitchen
Choosing Raw Pizza with Quinoa Buckwheat Crust and Guacamole from Choosing Raw
Roasted Garlic and Beet Socca Pizza from Sprint 2 the Table
Caramelized Onions on a Sweet Potato Socca Pizza from The Lean Green Bean
Mediterranean Date & Olive Pizza on a Chickpea Crust from Cara’s Cravings
Quinoa Oat Flatbread Mini Pizza with Spinach Hummus, Roasted Beets and Red bell pepper from Hobby & More
Cilantro-Hemp Pesto Pizza from Farmers Market Vegan
Butternut Edamame Pizza from Sketch Free Vegan Eating
Tex-Mex Pizza with Kidney Bean and Quinoa Crust from Dates & Quinces
Caramelized Onion, Shaved Butternut and “Goat Cheese” Pizza from Diet, Dessert & Dogs
Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Topping from What Would Cathy Eat?
Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Spread from She Let Them Eat Cake
Tomato-Tahini Pizza Sauce from Aria
Thanks for all the encouragement guys after my last post. The comment didn’t phase me too much as I know when my recipes turn out well… I love being able to share that same joy I experience, hence the blog and hence hosting meals with friends.
Sometimes I feel like I am on a roll in the kitchen. A week filled with great dishes, each one working out perfectly.
And then, it dries up.
Last week, I did the unfathomable for me. I threw away food.
Over the Christmas holidays, I made homemade sauerkraut. I scoped out pickling salt after my grandmother’s insistence and followed the recipe to a T. 5 pounds of cabbage with 3 tbsp of salt. Nothing fancy. No seasonings. After its first night, it needed a bit more liquid to completely cover the cabbage, so I added some more salt water. I used a (very heavy) car battery [long story how I have that...] to really pack the cabbage down. And then I waited.
It said it would take 4-6 weeks.
After 2 weeks, it started to grow mold on the surface (also known as scum or bloom). Which I removed. Apparently it is normal?
Another 2 weeks went by, more scum. The cabbage tasted like cabbage. Not even that salty.
After another 2 weeks, the scum was making the house smell. I knew sauerkraut could make a house smell, but I figured it would smell like sauerkraut.
The cabbage still didn’t taste like anything more than cabbage in a muted salty broth. Six weeks in, no change and lots of mold. That’s enough.
So it got tossed.
I am a sauerkraut failure.
Oh well, I will have to shell out the big bucks for the really delicious Bubbie’s sauerkraut instead.
What else has been going on in my kitchen?
Sadly, my lackluster results were mostly the meals I had picked to share with friends. I hate it when that happens. Although I know I am my harshest critic when serving others.
I made the White Bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigiano from Terry’s new cookbook. The soup itself was pleasant and my guests really enjoyed it (moreso than myself). It became more special when you added the chickpea flour parmigiano which added a lemony tang to the soup. The soup ended up improving as leftovers and Rob adored it atop his weekend besan chilla.
A few days later, I made this soup, a Roasted Garlic and White Bean Soup that I modified from Jessica. Like the last soup, this one didn’t wow me either. I always have high expectations when people say this was the “best dish ever”. I don’t think I seasoned it properly but it was still good. Just not GREAT. I liked the chunky yet creamy roasted garlic and white beans (I used marrow beans from Whole Foods). I omitted the nutritional yeast since my go-to vegetable broth powder includes nutritional yeast (I use Tess‘ delightful Chicky Baby Seasoning, by the way). I think kale would be better, but I substituted collard greens since they needed to be used.
And lastly, I made Sarah’s Split Pea Sunshine and Saffron Soup. I didn’t even photograph it because it turned an ugly murky green after being pureed thanks to the (unpeeled) kabocha squash. The soup had such promise- split peas, kabocha squash, carrots, leeks and a host of savoury spices including saffron. I even made the cute (but labour intensive) sunshine carrot cut-outs!
I used red split peas for the first time (courtesy of Whole Foods in Mississauga) and it took over 4 hours before they softened for my liking. It was gorgeous before I threw my handheld blender in there. That’s when the flecks of green were pretty. It was also pretty tasty in the little spoonfuls I tried. But the blender muddled the soup – in looks and taste, unfortunately.
Hopefully your cooking adventures have been better!
Any tips for homemade sauerkraut??
When reflecting on my top meals of the year, I had a hard time picking my favourites. Did I want to highlight the easy weeknight meals, or the more elaborate concoctions? Taste was number one on my mind, and I have had great successes in my kitchen this year.
My secret? Great recipes but most importantly fresh ingredients. It’s the fresh lemon juice, the garlic cloves and the vegetables. The beans cooked from scratch. I still scour the flyers on a weekly basis, but Sunny’s is my go-to grocer, as the produce is fresh and always reasonably priced. The fresh herbs from my garden were also a huge flavour boost this summer. I never knew I loved thyme so much until I wiped my plant clean before the winter. Rob’s chili plant also provided us with tons of chilis, which we subsequently dried this fall.
While I am still a weakling with regards to chilis and peppers, my tolerance towards garlic has definitely increased over the year. When I made the 15-Minute Zippy Garlic-Basil Marinara with Zucchini Noodles for my family, they commented on the strong garlic flavour. They enjoyed it but weren’t used to the garlic. For me, it was perfect with 5 cloves of raw garlic, and I really had to think about it before the garlic registered. I didn’t even bat an eye when I used 6 cloves of raw garlic in the Black-Eyed Pea and Kale Salad, 8 (pan-fried) cloves of garlic for The New Best Salad Ever, 10 cloves of (roasted) garlic with broccoli and chickpeas, 14 cloves of raw and roasted with this Spanish stew, or a whole 1/3 cup (12 cloves) with my baked beans. I love my garlic.
Tess‘ recipes introduced me to meals with fresh citrus juice and lots of garlic. I go through garlic so fast that I can buy the package with 40-50 pre-peeled garlic cloves before it goes bad. I also can easily stock up on lemons and limes and need frequent replenishment (whereas a year ago, sometimes I would use the limes to clean my pots!). I honestly feel like this has been a blessing to my cooking – the flavours really pop. Fresh lemon juice makes a world of difference compared to the bottled stuff.
I always plan out a week’s worth of meals, cooking them on a weekend, usually opting for a bean dish, a grain dish and either a soup or salad. I also try to make sure I don’t go too long without a recipe from Tess! Sometimes I go into Tess recipe withdrawal.
My Mom warned me that I might start to smell like garlic if I eat too much raw garlic. She didn’t mean my breath, rather my sweat.
This time, when I picked another highly-rated recipe from Tess, her Asian Kale Salad from The Two Week Wellness Solution (recipe also here), I erred on the side of caution: I decreased the agave, ginger and garlic (sacrilegious, I know!) while increasing the lime juice and omitting the orange juice. Adding edamame made this into a delicious main-course salad. There was a perfect merriment of flavours with a zippy and sweet dressing with the earthy kale and creamy edamame.
To be fair, no one has ever said I smell like garlic – certainly not from my pores.. garlic breath, perhaps? So, have no fear and increase the garlic to your tummy’s and heart’s content!
How many of you have New Year’s Day traditions? Christmas, sure. Thanksgiving, yup. Easter, ok. But New Year’s Day? New Year’s Eve gets most of the love and January 1 usually is a day to relax and unwind.
In the Southern US, one New Year’s tradition is to eat black-eyed peas for luck. Apparently, it represents fertility. Eating greens symbolizes wealth and pig represents a link to slavery. All three components are typically eaten together in a dish called Hoppin’ John for a lucky new year.
Personally, any time one eats beans and greens it is a reason to celebrate. I’ll pass on the pig, please.
As the year of the bean concludes (or is just beginning), it is nice to revisit some new finds. My mom introduced me to black-eyed peas when she made them as Mango BBQ Beans. They were much nicer than the kidney beans. Small, yet meaty, they paired well with the sweet and smoky baked beans.
Since then, I have been hankering to cook with them some more. This recipe for garlicky and lemony black-eyed peas and kale was so good Tess included it in both Radiant Health, Inner Wealth and The Two Week Wellness Solution (and on her blog here) and my slightly adapted recipe follows.
If you use canned beans (or peas?), this is a wickedly fast recipe to make. However, I made my own BEPs from scratch. Adding the vegetable broth, bay leaves and onion really boosts the beans since it all gets absorbed by the beans. Combined with the garlic, lemon, and kale, this is a tasty pot of beans that is low in fat but full of flavour. Yes, there are 6 cloves of garlic, but they are cooked and more subdued. You can eat it hot from the pan, but I preferred the chilled leftovers – perfect for lunch on New Year’s Day or your next potluck.
Here’s to a new year filled with beans and greens!
Here are some other recipes with black eyed peas that I’ve had my eye on:
Hoppin’ John from Simply Recipes
Black-Eyed Pea Masala from Fat Free Vegan (
we’ve Rob made this [and I ate it] already and it was a gorgeous, subtly spiced dish)
Black-Eyed Pea and Caramelized Onion Salad from Chow
Bulgur and Black-Eyed Pea Salad with tomatoes, Onions and a Pomegranate Dressing from Bon Appetit (looks very similar to my Turkish Bulgur Pomegranate and Almond Salad)
Middle Eastern Black-Eyed Pea Stew from Adaba Foods
Baked BBQ Black-Eyed Peas from Vegan Soul Kitchen
Southwestern Bean Salad with Black Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Peppers, and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Hottie Black-Eyed Peas and Greens from Appetite for Reduction
Spicy-Smoky Black-Eyed Peas from Plant Powered
Spicy Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens from Branny Boils Over
Caribbean Curried Black-Eyed Peas with Plantains from the Post Punk Kitchen
Trinidadian Black-Eyed Pea Soup from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian
Creole Black-Eyed Peas from Fat Free Vegan
Pineapple and Red Pepper Salad with Black-Eyed Peas from Fresh365
Cinnamon-Flavoured Black-Eyed Peas from 660 Curries
Black-Eyed Peas and Leeks with Marjoram and Tarragon from 101 Cookbooks
Black-Eyed Pea and Tempeh Beanballs from Appetite for Reduction
Black-Eyed Pea and Barley Stew from What Would Cathy Eat?
There is no television in my house.
Thus, I do not watch the food channel or other cooking shows.
It is not that I don’t need help in the kitchen, though. I am mainly a self-taught, learn by experience (and sometimes from my family/friends) kind of cook. I love cookbooks that explain and educate so that I can figure out how and when I can modify the recipe to my own tastes.
Truthfully, I still firmly believe that I don’t make anything too complicated and anyone can make the recipes on my blog. Because if I can do it, so can YOU!
Rob bought me the Cadillac, I mean Excalibur, of dehydrators for Christmas. While I quickly made some snacks and treats (apple chips, zucchini chips and kale chips, galore!), what I really wanted to make were crackers, flatbreads and wraps. After giving up refined flours, I have only enjoyed these at raw restaurants so I was itching to make them at home.
However, dehydrating is not as simple as it may seem. I made these zucchini wraps after only consulting Gena’s recipe at Choosing Raw, but it took 12 hours for them to dry and by that time, they were more chip than wrap. Tasty, but very hard to roll. So I consulted the lovely youtube and found this great tutorial. I needed some visual guidance.
It was here that I picked up some great tips. First, I was worried that my wraps were too thick, but thinner wraps would actually be more likely to break. To help dehydrate them better, I could flip the wraps over mid-way (and there is an easy way to do that with an extra tray). Lastly, the best tip I found out in this video, is that if you over-dehydrate something, you can always rehydrate it with some water!!
I thought I had zucchini flatbread, but with a brush of water, I could roll them into zucchini wraps. Therefore, I made the recipe again, this time flipping the wrap over after 3 hours. I let it dehydrate one more hour and it was finished. A little sprinkle of water is all that it needed to become pliable to roll. However, they are still delicate and there is no fancy tucking of the rolls, though. Just rolling.. At least for now, until someone teaches me otherwise.
My only new tip is that these wraps don’t keep very well once assembled. The fillings will fall out unless you wrap them in plastic/wax paper. Just as they will absorb water, they will absorb the moisture from your filling, too. Therefore, they are best eaten freshly wrapped.
These wraps have good flavour as-is: nutty from the flax with a hint of zucchini. Season it with your favourite seasonings if you want something more pronounced. I wanted my filling to shine, so I kept the wrap without extra flavours.
Currently, I am testing recipes for Terry Hope Romano’s new vegan cookbook, Vegan Eats World, and I stuffed my wraps with her filling for Rice Paper Rolls with Kale and Asian Pear with a Peanut Coconut Sauce. I can’t share the recipe, but it is delicious. Truly. One of my favourite recipes from the book so far.
Each aspect makes this wrap shine. I loved the juxtaposition of a lime-coconut-kale salad with Asian pear, packed next to some noodles, next to a spicy and creamy peanut-coconut sauce. Terry uses her peanut sauce as a dipping sauce, but I preferred it to be right inside the wrap, making it a lot less messy with my zucchini wrap. With the rice paper roll, the dipping sauce worked well, though. It really was the perfect merriment of flavours- sweet, sour, spicy, creamy. Feel free to add in some baked tofu for a complete meal.
This is my submission to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.
Last weekend, Rob and I had pre-Christmas dinner with his family. Our families are located a bit too far from each other to want to drive between both cities on Christmas Day so we went to Woodstock a week earlier. Rob’s mom was a sweetie and gave me full reign over the kitchen to whip up a few dishes. She took care of the traditional Polish dishes while I had more of a hybrid/fusion contribution with braised cabbage, borscht (recipe to come) and this kale salad. In the aftermath of the gathering, Rob let me know that his parents couldn’t stop raving over this kale salad. People raving over kale salad, doesn’t that make your heart skip a beat? First of all, let me apologize for the less-than-stellar photos. That’s the sacrifice for making a new recipe for guests away from home. Trust me, though, that the salad is stellar. Wilted kale. Garlic roasted butternut squash. Pomegranate arils. Smothered with a lemony vinaigrette. Oh so festive with a green base and sparkly red jewels. This is my version of Sarah’s Poppy Seed-Crusted Butternut Squash with Kale and Pomegranate Salad. As you can tell, I nixed the poppy seeds altogether. And the shallots. I also increased the amount of garlic, added a lot more kale and used more fresh lemon juice and salt. It is hard to muck up a salad with such delicious ingredients, so add what you like. This made a ton of food, and the beauty of kale salads is that the leftovers are just as good… which is what I brought home to photograph for you. This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to Ingredient Challenge Monday for squash and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend. (more…)
I went to the St Lawrence Market this weekend to buy some kale. I was pining the HUGE $2 bundles of kale. Last year, with only one bundle I made Brazilian Potato-Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo (Caldo Verde), Vanilla Sweet Potato and Kale Curry, African Pineapple Kale Peanut Stew AND Cranberry Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash. The bundles were that huge. This week, they had smaller bundles, all from the top part of the plants. Still a great deal at $1.50 and actually more manageable to eat in a week. I bought 2 bundles because I planned for a kale chip marathon this weekend. While I also scored a delicata and kabocha squash (I have yet to try them but I hear they are wonderful), I wasn’t able to find celery root (aka celeriac) which was my main reason for visiting the market. I guess, I will have to head back next week.
While I feel like the winter heralds the end of fresh vegetables (my local farmer’s market has already closed for the season), without physical snow, there is still lots of food from local sources. In fact, I still have kale growing in my own garden! It became much more prolific since the first frost. The winner of the kale plants we planted this year was the Vates Blue Curled Kale. It is a dwarf plant, so the plants are smaller and don’t take as long to grow (dinosaur kale takes 90 days to grow, whereas these need only 30 days). The leaves are smaller and more tender, thus they are perfect for wraps. No need to steam, because they taste wicked awesome fresh from the garden.
This is a delicious wrap that I adapted from The Two-Week Wellness Solution. Tess initially made these as tostadas, but I really enjoyed these as wraps. I pretty much adore all of Tess’ recipes and had bookmarked these for the longest time due to their positively glowing reviews. Then Ashley posted her version, and I knew I had to try it.
It looks so daunting with all the ingredients, but it is actually really easy to make. The mashed black beans seasoned with lime, cumin and onion are the star of the wrap, contrasting nicely with quinoa as well as lime-spiked carrots and green onions. The avocado adds a creamy touch. Try it as a tostada, or a wrap, but any way will be delicious. This has been one of my favourite meals. Enjoy!
For once, my Mom could snicker that her grocery store was better than mine.
You see, I was on a mission to buy parsnips to make this stew. My trusty Sunny’s didn’t have any.
I found parsley root, with beautiful parsley leaves attached to it. It looked almost identical to a parsnip, which to my eye, is a white carrot. However, they don’t taste the same. Good thing I didn’t buy it!
I had to venture to a “normal” grocery store. Or T&T, since they have parsnips. I bet the Farmer’s Market would have some, too.
While we’re at it, let’s push the boundaries some more (truthfully, parsnips are not that adventurist for me). I don’t like licorice but like tarragon. Why not try fennel? I am so happy I tried it, because I loved this stew, fennel and all!
Continuing with my white bean kick, and my abundance of kale, I modified Isa’s Quinoa, White Bean And Kale Stew from Appetite for Reduction. I thought it might be plain and boring, but it was anything but. It was sublime. A great, comforting stew with tons of mellow flavours without bogging you down. I substituted the leek for onion and fennel, swapped the white potatoes for sweet potatoes, upped the carrots and parsnips and used up the last of my kale including the stems, which was only 1/2 lb.
Thankfully, this soup makes a ton. I will be slurping it up all week and then some!
I honestly had a hard time deciding which white bean and kale soup to make, and here are some other soups that caught my eye:
Turkey Sausage and Quinoa Pasta Soup (veganized of course) from Shape
White Bean, Roasted Garlic and Kale Soup from The Domestic Vegan
This is my submission to this month’s Simple and in Season, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday, to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend and to both Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring parsnips.
Be prepared for some serious veggies this month. Last month was beans. This month will feature loads of greens. A spotlight on the various ways of eating delicious cruciferous vegetables, which include veggies as seemingly varied as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and daikon (white radish). Each one loaded with vitamins and many of them top my superfood chart. Trust me, they do not need to be boring. Anything but!
Here we go, case in point here. A party in my mouth.
Brazilian food tends to do that for me.
Just like Moroccan food, Brazilian cuisine is known to be meat-heavy. However, there are endless recipes for delicious vegan alternatives. In my own kitchen, I can create quite the flavour fiesta.
While selecting a random recipe for this month’s No Croutons Required, I was thrilled when this Brazilian Black Bean and Vegetable Stew from The Tropical Vegan Kitchen was an option. It marries two other dishes I have made: a hearty feijoada with black beans and mushrooms as well as a a black bean soup spiced with cinnamon and mango. The results could not have been better – both in the flavour department and in the colour department!
This stew is filled to the max with colourful veggies (sweet potato, red pepper, green pepper, tomato, kale) on a background of black beans. Garlic, cumin and thyme flavour the broth. While I cooked the stew, it was also spiced with orange zest. I was worried it would be overpowering. It wasn’t until I added the final hit of lime juice that I was seriously satisfied with my beautiful and delicious stew.
This is my submission to this month’s Simple and in Season, to this month’s Sweet Heat featuring chilis in soups, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekends, to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to this month’s No Croutons Required (co-hosted by Jacqui and Dom) featuring random cookbook recipes.
We had lofty garden plans. We can grow herbs and hot peppers very well, but some of the veggies never materialized. Some just died like the zucchini, cucumber and rhubarb. I harvested some Swiss chard but not enough to make a whole salad. And the only thing I really wanted to grow from the garden was the kale. I planted different kinds of kale- dinosaur or lacinato, Red Russian, and Vates blue curled kale. The vates blue curled kale grew the best, but even then, it wasn’t much. A handful of leaves, tops.
Imagine my surprise when we went to Rob’s parents place over the (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend and they had this monster of a beauty in their backyard:
Lacinato or dinosaur kale is an heirloom variety of kale that is dark green with textured leaves. It is more tender and sweet than your standard curly kale, and works really well in salads. Armed with oodles of kale and a couple hours before the Thanksgiving feast, I quickly made myself at home in their kitchen and got to work making a salad. It sure is fun to cook in a well-stocked kitchen and garden! Lacinato leaves are more narrow, as well, but they can easily be removed with gentle traction (as seen in this video). I rolled all the leaves together and then cut them into thin slices, akin to a thick chiffonade. I grabbed some dill from their backyard and added it to a simple lemony vinaigrette, inspired by Ricki. Topped with grated carrots, julienned raw sweet potato and toasted pumpkin seeds, there was a nice orange visual with a serious satisfying crunch. The lemon-dill dressing complemented the salad without being overpowering.
I will likely be known as the kale salad girl by Rob’s family. Two holidays, two raw kale salads. For Easter, I brought the raw kale salad with beets, raisins and almonds. Thanksgiving, was this raw kale salad. Personally, I have no qualms sharing my joy of kale.
They urged me to take home the rest of the kale. I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I left them the leaves at top so the plant would continue to grow. Kale apparently tastes better after the first frost, so I have hope there is still more kale to come!
While the Baked White Beans with Garlic, Lemon, and Herbs takes an hour and half to bake, it doesn’t take that long to prep. I have become used to cooking my own beans on the stovetop, and routinely cook a big batch, freezing them in 1.5 cups portions with the bean cooking liquid. This way, when a recipe calls for a can of beans, I have exactly what I need in my freezer. I also have canned beans for all my emergency bean needs because as I am learning, my freezer isn’t actually that big.
This is a super quick soup, courtesy of Tess and thus literally bursting with flavour. White beans, kale and a host of flavours (garlic, lemon, celery seed, dill) are combined for delicious results. While you usually have to simmer a soup for complex flavours, here you only have to blend and heat. Almost an instant soup. With a dirty blender and a pot.
I adapted it from Radiance 4 Life, by increasing the kale and using lemon pepper for extra zing. Funnily enough, I hate celery but don’t mind celery seeds and thought they helped create many levels of flavour. The balsamic vinegar works well for the soup as well, but it makes the soup a bit murky. If you have white balsamic vinegar, this would be the time to use it.
I’ve tried very hard to resist it, but next weekend, we’ll be hosting a gathering for Rob’s family. I think I am most nervous about all the unpacking I still want to do instead of the menu!
You see, I have been learning from the master. I consulted my mom about her recommendations for feeding 10.
For salads, she suggested a leafy green salad and another heartier salad (be it bean-, grain- or vegetable-based). Only one dip for vegetables. Meat for the barbecue. In addition to fruit for dessert, add a baked good.
Sounds like a good plan, indeed.
You’d think I was the Queen of Salads, but I still want to try something new. Instead of experimenting on my guests, I decided to audition my salads.
I figured the Polish crowd would love a cucumber salad, and made a super cute cucumber ribbon salad with a ginger-lemongrass dressing. Rob liked it but it did not pass my test. It wasn’t special enough; nothing really stood out despite using interesting ingredients. Blocked. Not fit for company.
Next up, something to try-out for the bean salad. Attempt #2: Creamy Cashew Kale and Chickpeas.
Adapted from Cara’s Cravings, who based hers off of Susan’s at Fat Free Vegan, this is a deceptively decadent dish. A creamy cashew-based garlic sauce coats wilted kale speckled with sweet red bell pepper and chickpeas. I preferred it fresh and warm from the stove top, but the leftovers were great at room temperature, too.
Despite seemingly unorthodox, it tastes great. My raw kale salad was a hit with the gang last time. I really thought this could be a contender for the party.
But I am trying to limit myself to one heavier salad and I think the 11-Spice Lentil Salad with Capers and Currants wins this round. I think they will prefer the lentil salad, a bit more “normal” and with all the flavour you want. It is also more simple to prepare in advance.
This dish will have to wait until I go to my next potluck (any takers on who wants to host the next one?? I’ve claimed the salad!).
Now I am still considering what to make for dessert. I have an idea, but open to your suggestions with your favourite desserts.
How was your holiday weekend?
Mine was great! It was a great time to connect with Rob’s family, relax and we were also able to squeeze in a short (if you consider 6 hours short for 88km, but still brutal) bike ride on Good Friday.
As I mentioned earlier, I was was a bit hesitant about what I would eat over the holiday weekend while being away from home, considering I have cut out dairy, fish, meat, refined flours and sugars. In the end, there was no need to be stressed at all. Rob suggested making a few things while we were down, and I picked out some dishes that I knew tasted great, used relatively common ingredients and would appeal to a wide range of people.
In the end, I made the red lentil and lemon soup for Good Friday, the black bean, cilantro and apricot salad (substituting fresh orange juice for the mango nectar which was just as good) and my staple hummus recipe from my university days: peanut butter hummus (no tahini or sesame oil needed!). They were all well received, thank goodness!
The main meal over the weekend was Sunday Easter brunch, which was filled with an overabundance of Polish goodies. Nearly everything had meat or eggs, but I was able to contribute some greenery. I chose to share this salad that my family and I enjoyed over Christmas. While a raw kale salad would be different in itself, I figured the beets would bring some Polish-style comfort to the new dish.
Adapted from Ainslie at Everyone is a Vegan, I really liked the mixture of the massaged/wilted kale with a sharp lemon dressing, raw grated beets with sweet dried fruit (a mixture of raisins, currants and dried cranberries works well) as well as crunchy toasted almonds. Before I made this salad, I didn’t know you could eat raw beets, but you can, and they taste great. A tip for working with beets, though: if you buy them with the greens, leave yourself a long piece of stem to hold. This way, when you grate it, your hands don’t get nearly as purple (not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but I’m just suggesting how to stay clean!).
This is also a perfect salad for parties, since you can make it advance, and if you make too much, the leftovers keep well for a few days. What a super salad! Judging by how many people have invited themselves over to (not yet) our new abode, I better start compiling a list of easy, crowd-pleasing dishes like this for company.
When I posted my favourite recipes from 2010, I found it amusing that phoo-d astutely pointed out that I love chickpeas. I knew I liked them, but it wasn’t until I noticed that 4 recipes had chickpeas, that some of my most memorable meals have involved these nutty gems. As I delve into more meals that focus on vegetables, beans and whole grains, chickpeas and other beans have become more prominent in my kitchen. I have also been trying to integrate more nutrient-packed foods into my meals, spurred mainly by these vegetable ratings.
I was obviously tickled pink when I found this spin on Italian minestrone with chickpeas, butternut squash, kale, red pepper and tomatoes in Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. Oh, and carrots, too. A rainbow for the soul: every ingredient is chock-full of nutrients. Adapted, slightly, from this recipe, this is a mix of superfoods simmered in a basil-thyme broth. A splash of red wine vinegar at the end is an important part to lighten the dish. The flavours worked really well together, creating a light, healthy and hearty stew. I didn’t even serve it with a grain, it was that filling. This was a cheery, warm hug during a dreary winter.
A big round of applause for Rob for posting some awesome recipes over the past week!
Gosh, sometimes life just becomes incredibly hectic. At times, it can be hard to juggle work, research, social commitments, and all of a sudden there is crunch time! Rob saw I was stressed and offered to help with the blog (what a sweetie, eh?).
No worries about food, because I was still cooking up a storm. In fact, I feel almost guilty about taking so long to tell you about this lovely kale salad. I have shared the recipe countless times since I made it, but have yet to blog about it. Trust me, it is fabulous.
This is a kale salad. A salad made with raw kale. I know you are raising your eyebrow, thinking that kale is so bitter and tough, why would you eat it raw? Well, it is more of a wilted kale salad because you massage it into silky oblivion, kneading in the flavours.
I was (loosely) inspired by the raw kale salad in Lucid Food, and kept it as a creamy salad with the addition of avocado. It is combined with a splash of olive oil and garlic for a luscious dressing. I chose to top the salad with a tart Granny Smith apple as well with grated raw beet (yes, you can eat it raw) instead of carrot which made the apple turn a brilliant shade of magenta. Toasted almonds add another layer of nutty crunch.
A perfect salad for potlucks, and even for leftovers (gasp!) because you actually want this to be a wilted salad.