For your summer enjoyment: Chilled, crisp-tender green beans and carrots lightly splashed with a simple tart and sweet dressing, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. What do I mean by crisp-tender? When you blanch veggies by briefly cooking them in boiling water, then plunging them into cold water to stop the cooking, they stay brightly colored and become tender while still remaining crisp like a fresh veggie. You can make this simple preparation with all beans or all carrots if you like. Red bell pepper would also be a great addition. This makes a fabulous accompaniment to Asian food or a refreshing mayo-free side dish for your next barbecue.
Tart and refreshing, with a hearty crunch from the toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), this salad is about as healthy as a salad can be. The goat cheese is optional, to make it vegan-friendly as well. You see, I received a giant bunch of curly kale in my CSA (community-supported agriculture) box and needed to find something to do with it using supplies already at hand. Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food came to my rescue, sparking this idea. I wandered a bit from the original recipe – for example, it calls for poppy seeds but I substituted pepitas because, well, that’s what I had, plus poppy seeds always get stuck in one’s teeth, don’t they. Humph. Continue reading
Here is a super-easy and refreshing summer salad with chickpeas, cucumber, and mint, as well as crisp hearts of palm, complimented by a smoky tahini dressing. Don’t hearts of palm automatically make everything more elegant? Also, I happen to agree with Mark Bittman of the New York Times that smoked paprika improves almost every savory dish. It really brings out the natural smokiness of the tahini (which is kind of like peanut butter, but made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts). If you don’t have any smoked paprika, though, just leave it out. But seriously, go buy some for next time, try it in a variety of savory dishes while you’re at it, and thank me later. A few years ago you had to special order it, but now it’s fairly readily available in supermarkets. Continue reading
My office recently moved to from midtown to downtown Manhattan, and I’ve been having a lot of fun exploring the neighborhood. One day my foodie friend and I were wandering around TriBeCa looking for a place to have lunch. We passed by a spot called Tiny’s, located in a 3-story pink townhouse built in 1810 – and she said “Hey! I hear their kale salad is famous.” Sold! We happily ordered it, while enjoying Tiny’s decor, which includes exposed brick walls, original tin-tile ceilings and a Masonic-themed copper-and-marble bar. The salad was crunchy, delicious, and refreshing on a super-hot day, with slightly mustardy, slightly gingery dressing, and an umami accent from the aged gouda grated over the top. Since we both love to cook, we kept puzzling over what might be in the dressing and whether there was a way to recreate the goodness at home. Luckily, she found a take on it by The Bari Studio (they must be as obsessed with this salad as we are!), so I used their recipe as my starting point. But don’t worry, Tiny’s, we’ll definitely be back for your original version! Continue reading
One of our favorite restaurants, Sweet Grass Grill in Tarrytown, New York, serves buffalo tempeh “wings” as an appetizer. THEY ARE SO GOOD. Each time we order them, our server reminds us that they don’t contain chicken. We don’t care! We love them! Give us more! So imagine my intense curiosity when I saw this buffalo ranch salad recipe featuring buffalo-ized tempeh or tofu in Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Love. You know, sometimes I just like to try things to see if they work. This works! It totally delivers the spicy, vinegary buffalo flavor, as well as a creamy pesto ranch dressing, without any animal products. And there’s the question of that creamy pesto ranch dressing. How is this achieved without dairy, you ask? Raw cashews soaked until soft and blended with all kinds of good stuff. That’s how. I know, it’s crazy. But in fact it’s a fairly common practice to use cashews for creamy stuff in the vegan world (which I only dabble in). OK with me! Continue reading
Smoked paprika, olives, pine nuts and golden raisins combine with garlic seared chickpeas and capers as well as fresh spinach and chewy farro to make an unforgettable Spanish-influenced hearty salad. This dish is vegan, but my best taste-tester husband actually thought (hoped?) there might be bacon in it due to the smoky flavors. Nope. Just a bunch of veg and nuts! Interesting how one can make things taste kinda bacon-y without actual bacon, isn’t it? Must investigate further.