This summer other than learn how to barbecue (which was mostly Rob’s domain), I definitely increased my side salad repertoire. Potato salads a plenty, as the produce shifted, I worked with my abundance of tomatoes. Along with an abundance of fresh basil, this was a simple end of summer salad. Toasted bread defines this as a Tuscan bread and tomato salad, aka panzanella.
A warming twist with the addition of roasted beets accented by salty fried capers (one of my favourite culinary discoveries last year!) and roasted chickpeas (my addition). I contemplated substituting the bread with the chickpeas, but since we actually had some bread, I included them both. The toasted bread sopped up the red juices wonderfully.
The recipe comes from Gena Hamshaw’s new cookbook, Food52 Vegan, a hardcopy spin off her The New Veganism column. The premise of her column, and cookbook, was to celebrate vibrant recipes that happened to be vegan. Foods that don’t scream “healthy!” but are nourishing while focusing on whole plant-based foods.
The recipes are approachable and will appeal to people who are not vegan. The recipes are a mix of classics and modern adaptations. Want a Five Minute No-Bake Granola Bar? Or the Perfect Pumpkin Pie for a traditional Thanksgiving meal? Gena has you covered. There are simple recipes like Roasted Ratatouille with chickpeas and most complex meals like a Carrot and Fennel Pot Pie. Whereas the Jamaican Jerk Chili with Quinoa and Kidney Beans is a fun twist on chili. Unlike Gena’s first cookbook, there is no particular focus on raw foods and the recipes seem a bit more grown up. Although that last point may be debatable with recipes for Butternut Mac and Cheese recipe and Lentil Sloppy Joes.
Lastly it behooves me to mention the stellar photography by James Ransom which is always a wonderful addition to a cookbook.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the US or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite salad. What do you put in it? The winner will be selected at random on October 4, 2015. Good luck!
Recipes shared from Food52 Vegan elsewhere:
Heirloom Tomato and Golden Beet Panzanella
6 tablespoons (90 ml) olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons capers, patted dry with a paper towel
1 small whole wheat sourdough boule, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes (5 to 6 cups/1.2 to 1.4L)
12 ounces (340 g) beets, peeled and sliced about 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) thick (4 medium or 3 large beets) (note: the recipe called for golden beets, but I used red ones)
4 (heirloom) tomatoes, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks
1/4 cup (10 g) thinly sliced fresh basil
1 cup chickpeas, roasted (as seen here, but without the vinegar) (note: Janet’s addition, optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the capers and cook, stirring occasionally, until very crispy but not burnt, about 2 minutes. Remove the capers from heat and set aside.
3. Spread the bread cubes evenly on two rimmed baking sheets and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until brown and crispy, stirring halfway through.
4. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Arrange the beet slices on the lined baking sheet and use about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to brush them evenly on both sides. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until tender and just browning at the edges. Let cool to room temperature.
6. Put the tomatoes and beets in a large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt, and pepper. Add the capers, bread cubes, and basil and gently toss until evenly combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired. Serve cold or at room temperature. Stored in a covered container in the fridge, any leftovers will keep for 1 day.