janet @ the taste space

Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category

Mediterranean Pesto Chickpea Salad

In Appetizers, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on September 29, 2015 at 7:51 AM

Mediterranean Pesto Chickpea Salad

Rob started a new experiment last week: Bring back the homemade lunches.

Not that Rob doesn’t bring lunches to work, but this time, he is making meals specifically earmarked for lunch. And they are sandwiches.
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Quick and Easy Black Bean Dip + tip for ultra creamy bean dips

In Appetizers, Sides on September 27, 2015 at 8:21 AM

Quick and Easy Black Bean Dip

Sometimes I have no clue which recipe will appear next on my blog.

I didn’t even think I would post anything this weekend, to be honest, but I made this wicked awesome black bean dip for my cousins and it was gobbled up. I knew I had to share it soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Mojito-Dressed Roasted Plantain and Black Bean Salad

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads, Sides on September 22, 2015 at 7:07 AM

Mojito-Dressed Roasted Plantain and Black Bean Salad

As the weather cools off slightly, instead of gravitating towards my closest root vegetable (in due time), it seems I am gravitating towards meals that keep summer in my kitchen. Almost a fusion of my recent Jerk Tofu and Plantain Bowl and my Mojito-Inspired Tofu Skewers, I used a Mojito marinade for a black bean and plantain salad.
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Roasted Ratatouille with Basil Pistou

In Sides on September 12, 2015 at 8:03 AM

Roasted Ratatouille with Basil Pistou

Despite making quite a few excellent dishes with eggplant, it is not an ingredient I turn to instinctively. It is probably because I almost killed Rob with his asthma when I smoked them in our house. I still think that is the best way to make smoky soft eggplant and with our new BBQ, Rob has lifted the smoky eggplant ban.
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Tomato and Pomegranate Salad with Fresh Oregano

In Salads, Sides on September 8, 2015 at 6:55 AM

Tomato and Pomegranate Salad

It has been a while since I have gushed over an Ottolenghi recipe.

He came out with a new vegetarian cookbook, Plenty More last year but it wasn’t until I was overflowing in fresh herbs and summer produce did I take a stab at conquering his cookbook. Being that it is now September, I am sad I didn’t do it earlier. Read the rest of this entry »

French Farmhouse Grilled Zucchini Sticks

In Sides on August 29, 2015 at 8:34 AM

French Farmhouse Grilled Zucchini

Overflowing with zucchini? Tis the season for local zucchini.

Too many growing in your garden? Or in my case, swooping up a few too many while at the grocery store. Read the rest of this entry »

Mojito-Inspired Tofu Skewers + Vegan al Fresco cookbook GIVEAWAY

In Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on August 27, 2015 at 7:33 AM

Mojito-Inspired Tofu Skewers

This is how we roll.

Rob and I have been hosting non-stop gatherings this summer and we finally had a weekend to ourselves.

We continued our summer grilling. The only difference is that this time I took a photo of my plate of food before I dug in. Read the rest of this entry »

Japanese Simmered Lotus Root

In Sides on August 15, 2015 at 10:05 AM

Simmered Lotus Root

Did you catch Annie’s Nine Things Every Food Blogger Needs? Let’s just say I almost feel like an imposter blogger. I routinely use the same table, placemat and bowls for my photos. Mostly that’s just how I eat and I like the blog to maintain a reality of my kitchen. The reality of someone with a full-time job and still manages to cook healthy, creative food.

With that being said, I have a handful of decorative dishes and it was nice to unearth them after moving. I bought these plates as a souvenir in Japan, so it would seem fitting to use it to plate a Japanese dish.

Simmered Lotus Root

Wandering Asian markets leads me to new ingredients and lotus root is no exception. I flipped through The Japanese Kitchen which is structured by learning about each ingredient separately. With many local Japanese ingredients I have not even come across, it makes me want to see what else I could find in Toronto should I look hard enough.

Simmered Lotus Root

Lotus root is slightly bitter, especially when raw, and thus it is recommended to peel and soak the vegetable in water to prevent discolouration, similar to potatoes. However, unlike potatoes, its intricate lattice network is unfolded.

Here, in this recipe, its soft structure is retained with a saute in a sweet/salty sesame marinade with mirin, tamari and toasted sesame oil. Pretty, indeed. Enjoy!

Simmered Lotus Root

I am sharing this with Extra Veg. Read the rest of this entry »

Southwestern Mixed Bean Salad with a Chile-Lime Dressing

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads, Sides on August 13, 2015 at 7:06 AM

Southwestern Mixed Bean Salad
This summer has been a lot of tofu.

Jamaican tofu skewers

Grilled tofu steaks

Even a tofu salad

I’ve been missing my beans.. and then all of a sudden, I had a craving for a mixed bean salad.

Southwestern Mixed Bean Salad

My last mixed bean salad was Symphony in a Can aka My 5-Minute Symphonic Mixed Bean Salad which has a more classic flavour profile: lemon, mustard and onion for the mixed beans.

This time I went with a Southwestern inspired bean salad with a chile-lime dressing. Lots of vegetables including bell peppers and tomatoes along with fresh cilantro. I worked with a medley of beans and then added in extra red kidney beans. They are perfect for salads and I don’t use them nearly enough.

Southwestern Mixed Bean Salad
I think my chile powder has been losing its freshness/spiciness so my newest trend (you may have already spotted it) is adding some Sweet Mesquite Seasoning which has plenty of oomph. Either that or my palate is warming up… Probably the former.

In any case, this salad received a lot of praise during my last barbecue. I think you will like it, too. Enjoy!

Southwestern Mixed Bean Salad

I am sharing this with My Legume Love Affair, Meat Free Mondays, and Cooking with Herbs.

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Smoky Apple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

In Favourites, Sides on August 6, 2015 at 7:26 AM

Smoky Apple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Toronto had a wicked storm this past weekend.

#torontostorm #junction

A photo posted by Neille Brockie (@neillebrockie) on

Yeah, that one. (Sorry for the rain tease for those in California!)
The next one is a video:

If you saw a plane trying to land at the Island Airport at that time (I didn’t see us in the video), I was there. We circled back and forth between Toronto and St Catharines as we waited for a clearing to land. The landing was probably the most rocky I had endured and it was only afterwards, gawking at the photos in the comfort of my own home, did I realize what we had missed.

(Hopefully they got some awesome wedding pictures)

Smoky Apple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Anyways, Rob and I had a very quick weekend trip over the long weekend out to New Hampshire for some relaxation and hiking in the White Mountain National Forest. Rob was in Boston for a conference but when I flew down, we opted to head outside the city instead. If you like outdoors, this is a great place to visit. We stayed with a host through AirBnB and it was almost like our own piece of heaven.

I had been talking about making Bourbon-spoked barbecue sauce for a while, but we had no Bourbon nor whiskey. Our trip to duty-free solved that and I quickly followed through with my promise of homemade barbecue sauce. Earlier this year, I made Miyoko’s zippy barbecue sauce (fabulous, by the way) and found it oh, so easy and was equally delighted with this concoction.

Smoky. Apple-infused although I couldn’t really taste the apple. And the Bourbon was in there, too. The Bourbon is more of an aftertaste after the alcohol is simmered away, adding depth to the sauce. A bit on the spicier side but I loved it. So, even if you do not like whiskey (hello, me!) and even if you do (hello, Rob!), you will love this. I imagine this will be gone by the end of the weekend. Veggie burgers really do better with something saucy slathered overtop.

Enjoy! Please let me know how you like it. Do you have a favourite barbecue sauce recipe?

Smoky Apple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

I am sharing this with Healthy Vegan Fridays and Credit Crunch Munch.

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Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Old Bay Dressing

In Salads, Sides on July 30, 2015 at 6:31 AM

Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Old Bay Dressing

Remember that time I had a mustard tasting party? Only 18 months ago, or so… I don’t think I have bought a new mustard since and we are down to the bare minimum, guys. Depending on what I find first (mustard or mustard seeds), I may try my hand at homemade mustard. I want to try Miyoko’s recipe for Ale and Brown Sugar Mustard but don’t want it to taste like beer. If you make it (or can recommend other homemade mustard recipes), please let me know. I will await your assessment in 4 weeks. ;)

Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Old Bay Dressing

In the meantime, onwards with the potato salads. A perfect side for your summer meals.

Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Old Bay Dressing

Another winner of potato salads, this is for serious mustard fans. Rob preferred the Creamy Lemon-Dill Roasted Potato Salad but I really can’t pick a favourite, especially considering the Smoked Paprika Roasted Potato Salad. This salad is definitely heavy on the mustard, so pick a good one. The vibrant yellow is courtesy of a dash of turmeric and the dressing is more complex with the addition of Old Bay. A fun twist for yet another non-mayo potato salad. Enjoy!

Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Old Bay Dressing

PS. I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes.

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BBQ Roasted Chickpea Summer Salad + Abundance Diet GIVEAWAY

In Appetizers, Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads, Sides on July 28, 2015 at 7:33 AM

BBQ Roasted Chickpea Salad

As the hot summer persists, let us marry the perfect summer eats. BBQ and salads. And for those without a BBQ, have no fear, this one is for you.

No BBQ needed, the BBQ flavour is completely from the roasted chickpeas. A bit more complex than my bacon-flavoured chickpea croutons, but definitely not any harder than pulling out a few more bottles, these roasted chickpeas are awesome. Smoky, savoury and delicious. You could just eat them with your hand (totally guilty) or add them to a salad for a more complete meal. Here I paired it with salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, purple cabbage, shredded carrots and avocado with a splash of lemon juice. Mix it all together for a fabulous meal.

BBQ Roasted Chickpea Summer Salad

The smoky roasted chickpeas comes from Somer McCowan’s new cookbook, The Abundance Diet. Somer blogs at Vedged Out and is the originator behind the vegan extra sharp cheese ball and fresh vegan moxarella (a revised version of the mock mozzarella is in her book). The cookbook was borne out of her previous Green Smoothie Challenge. 

I am always anxious of leafing through cookbooks marked with words such as ‘diet’, ‘detox’, or the like, but I have no reservations about this cookbook. Somer’s recipes are all gluten-free, plant-based vegan recipes and also, to the astute eye, also free of oil and refined sugars. (The tip-off are the lack of oil in the soups and stews, as I am accustomed to sautéing my onions in oil). Otherwise, the recipes are filled with an abundance of vegetables for creative meals that are relatively easy to make, too.

*BBQ Roasted Chickpea Summer Salad + Abundance Diet GIVEAWAY

The recipes span the entire day (breakfast to lunch to dinner including snacks) because there are meal plans that span 28-days (they can be found here if you want a preview). She includes recipes for 26 salads and dressing.  The Lentil taco salad was fabulous (even without the roasted red pepper dressing) and her Ultimate Lentil Salad reminds me of my own 11-Spice Lentil Salad with Capers and Currants (and always a hit). Her soups are equally enticing, with meal-type soups like Quinoa Minestrone and her Smoky Split Pea Soup. Others are more vegetable-based which are more suitable as appetizer.

I enjoyed her Moroccan Lentil Soup even though I substituted a handful of fresh dill for the parsley/cilantro. She also has a main dish section with recipes I have been eyeing, such as Chiles Rellenos Casserole Bake with Smoky Chipotle Enchilada Sauce and Homestyle Mexican Casserole. Green smoothies, juices, snacks, dips and desserts round out the cookbook to keep you full throughout the day.

*BBQ Roasted Chickpea Summer Salad + Abundance Diet GIVEAWAY

I remember when cookbooks were mostly text, but it is so nice to see excellent photography. Ann Oliverio photographed most of the recipes and they are a treat throughout the cookbook. Just look at the delicious cover photography highlighting the Funeral Potatoes. A funeral for your fat?

Of note, while this is a diet based on vegan abundance, Somer’s narrative highlights the potential ways to expedite weight loss. Some people may not like this tone and I suggest simply enjoying the recipes. Not a fan of stevia? (Me, neither). Simply substitute dates instead for the smoothies or all coconut sugar in other desserts. Or in my case, add some beans to the vegetable-centric meals. In all, the recipes look great and only on closer inspection do they jump out as diet food.

BBQ Roasted Chickpea Summer Salad

Want your own copy?

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the US. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me what you like to eat in abundance. The winner will be selected at random on August 7, 2015. Good luck!

Recipes from The Abundance Diet spotted elsewhere:

Apple Pie Green Smoothie

Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Bake

Cherry and Chocolate Soft-Serve Ice Cream

Moroccan Lentil Soup

No-Bake Cookie Bites

Raw Cashew Horchata

Raw Pad Thai

Rawkin Rainbow Kale Salad

Tomato Basil Bisque

Portobello Carpaccio with Grilled Tofu Steaks

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on July 16, 2015 at 7:07 AM

Portobello Carpaccio with Grilled Tofu Steaks

Onwards with the BBQ experimenting.

My natural instinct when I hear BBQ is to buy portobello mushrooms. As I said, I love salads and dishes I can prepare in advance, and the Portobello Carpaccio in But I Could Never Go Vegan sounded perfect.

Portobello Carpaccio with Grilled Tofu Steaks

Similar, but not identical to my grilled balsamic portobellos, these portobello mushrooms are marinated and roasted in the oven. The marinade is Italian-inspired with dried herbs and a red wine vinaigrette. I suppose the barbecue could work, too, but the barbecue was for later in the day. Once the mushrooms were cool, you slice them super thin (and had I known what on a bias meant, I would have done more of a diagonal to the horizontal plane). Then I popped them in the fridge for a few hours prior to serving. A sprinkle of capers and rosemary finished this as a really fun appetizer, with portobello mushrooms masquerading as rare meat.

Portobello Carpaccio with Grilled Tofu Steaks

Because mushrooms alone do not make a meal, and I had used up most of my culinary energies, we opted for something so simple, I was worried it might not work.

I had seen Tiffany’s post about tofu cheeseburgers where she simply grilled slabs of tofu and called it a burger. She isn’t even vegan and loved it. I was intrigued so we tried something similar.

We cut up a package of super firm tofu into four slices, cut longitudinally, and grilled it. Nothing added, not even salt and pepper. Rob said it stuck a bit on the grill but otherwise it was perfect. Slightly smoky and a blank canvas to work nicely against the vibrant portobello carpaccio.

Portobello Carpaccio with Grilled Tofu Steaks

Next time, we might try oiling the grills or brushing the tofu with some oil before placing it on the grill.

What do you think? Have you grilled plain tofu before?

Portobello Carpaccio with Grilled Tofu Steaks

I am sharing this with Meat Free Mondays.


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Smoked Paprika Potato Salad + Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Food Substitutions GIVEAWAY

In Book Review, Favourites, Salads, Sides on July 11, 2015 at 8:03 AM

Smoked Paprika Potato Salad + Even More Vegan Food Substitutions GIVEAWAY

As Rob and I hone our BBQ hosting skills, we have divvied up the work. Rob tends to the BBQ and I work on the sides. I have never liked the stress of cooking while guests are over so I have gravitated to the make-ahead salads. And guys, this potato salad is wicked awesome. Seriously.

Smoked Paprika Potato Salad

I took some small potatoes and roasted them with paprika (the regular stuff works – I was all out of the smoked variety) along with dried tarragon, onion and garlic granules. When they came out of the oven, Rob and I had to peel ourselves from the pan. We could have eaten the whole batch together before our guests had arrived.

In the back of my mind, I was worried about ruining the most perfect roasted potatoes by adding more dressing, but I continued with the potato salad recipe which called for a white balsamic dressing with a touch of fresh dill and marjoram. Only a touch because my plants were just seedlings. I tasted again. A bit hesitant. Fabulous. No need to worry, I stashed it in the fridge to marinade even longer. We all loved it.

Smoked Paprika Potato Salad

This gem of a recipe comes from Joni and Celine’s latest cookbook, Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Food SubstitutionsI don’t have the first of the series, Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, but this is a fabulous resource for people who want to create their own spins on vegan foods. Joni and Celine explain (with examples) how to replace meat and dairy from other recipes with the latest advances in vegan cuisine with an emphasis on whole foods based ingredients (barring aquafaba).

The Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Substitutions

At the heart of the book are recipes for kitchen staples. Milk substitutes and vegan butter (different than Miyoko’s homemade vegan butter). There are countless recipes for different kinds of cheese (American Cheese, Cheese Balls, Chia Seed Cream Cheese) and even how to replace eggs in different scenarios

They explain how to replace eggs while in baking versus in a dish such as shakshouka, where the eggs are prime and centre, as well as in baking. Meat substitutes, including chicken broth powder, are included.

However, in addition to the staples, there are applications of the recipes. There are examples of how to veganized a recipe, comprehensive lists with substitutions but also recipes that have taken the guess work out of it for you. Personally, I prefer recipes that do not try to mimic dairy/meat recipes which is why I gravitated to this potato salad. Mayo-free, it is perfect just the way it is, without any substitutes at all.

Smoked Paprika Potato Salad

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 what you find the hardest to make vegan. The winner will be selected at random on July 20, 2015. Good luck!

Recipes from Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Food Substitutions spotted elsewhere:

Sweet Potato and Avocado Sushi
Vegan Bánh Mi Scramble

I am sharing this with Cooking with Herbs and No Croutons Required.

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Carrot-Sriracha Coleslaw

In Salads, Sides on July 3, 2015 at 6:40 AM

Carrot-Sriracha Coleslaw

Our house is feeling settled awfully quickly. With a lot more space than our former abode, we have embraced my parent’s suggestion to keep the boxes still to be unpacked out of sight. We certainly still have boxes to unpack, but the essentials are out and the unpacked boxes don’t bother me while they are out of sight.

With a presentable main floor and a new barbecue, we celebrated the midweek Canada Day with some friends and a simple meal. I can already tell the barbecue will be on in full force this summer. It is never too late to try out new salads and this was a fun spin on traditional coleslaw. First of all, I have massaged kale but never cabbage and carrots. The simple dressing is massaged to wilt the veggies and left to marinate in the fridge for optimal flavour. A dash of sriracha makes this slightly different and I suggest tasting it prior to serving, as the spice level dissipated while it mellowed in the fridge.

Happy belated Canada Day and early Fourth of July. :)

Do you have any great BBQ or picnic recipes to recommend?

Carrot-Sriracha Coleslaw

I am sharing this with Bookmarked Recipes.

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