spinach penne toss.

spinThis salad. Is my FAVORITE salad. My friend Martha brought it to one of our dinners and now we all demand she always brings it. The original has cheese and bacon, but she always puts that on the side so I can eat it too. I took a stab at finally making it and now I have the recipe to add to my collection! Its a crowd pleaser!

2 cups uncooked penne
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 onion, sliced
1 T plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 bag baby spinach
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced
2 T cider vinegar
salt
pepper

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large skillet, saute red pepper and onion in 1 T of oil for a few minutes until tender.
2. Drain pasta and place in serving bowl. Add red pepper, onion, tomatoes, and spinach.
3. In a small bowl or jar, whisk the vinegar, salt, pepper and oil.  Drizzle over spinach salad and toss well.

spinach salad with beets, avocado, onion and pistachio.

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So now that I’ve confessed my love for beets, here’s another combo that rocked my socks off.

I had harvested and roasted some beets this weekend, in anticipation to make these again, and just havent had a chance to do so. Those beets were just sitting in the fridge taunting me. Today for lunch I was determined to make a salad with them using things I had on hand. I came up with this delicious salad!

A few cups of baby spinach
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
1/4 avocado, cut in slices
about 2-3 beets (roasted)  (smallish in size)
handful or so of pistachios

Balsamic dressing:
Add to a small mason jar:

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
1½ tablespoon honey
2 T soy yogurt
½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Shake well and add to salad. I only used a little bit of dressing, so use what works for your taste level.

I swear, next year, I’m going to save about half my garden space just to grow beets. I can NOT get enough of them!

farro salad.

farro
I picked up a package of the 10 minute farro at trader joes a few weeks ago and figured I’d find something to do with it. The girls over at a beautiful mess had recently posted this recipe for a farro salad with kale, and I thought I would try it out – but adding some tofu to it to make it a complete meal. With the weather getting nicer – I don’t want to be in my kitchen all afternoon making food – but this salad came together pretty quickly and was perfect for a warm spring day. We ate it sitting on our deck enjoying the sunshine. This is going to be my new potluck go-to dish. It travels well, so its also great for summertime picnics! Its really tasty and packed with nutrients!!

I made my tofu first; You can do this ahead of time.Press your tofu, and slice it into pieces 1/4 inch thick.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Mix together 3 T soy sauce, juice from half a lemon, 1 tspn maple syrup (or agave) 1 T oil and about 1 tspn garlic seasoning. Coat your tofu and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15-20 minutes or so.

Now for the salad:
TFarro + Kale Salad, makes 6 servings

2 cups uncooked farro
1 1/2 cups chopped kale
1/8 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup dried cherries (cranberries would be good too!)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey (or agave)
salt to taste

First cook the farro by boiling in salted water (2:1 ratio) for about 20 minutes until tender. Then drain and rinse in cold water (to quickly cool it down). Set aside.Chop up the kale into very small pieces. hop up the cucumber into very small pieces as well. In a large bowl combine the farro, kale, cucumber, sunflower seeds and dried cherries .  In a small bowl or glass combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and honey, whisk to combine. Drizzle over the salad and toss to coat. Taste the salad and season with salt and fresh pepper as needed.

200. taco salad.


This is not just a post about taco salad. Its actually about the lentil meat I made for it. But calling a blog post “lentil meat” sounds kind ofwierd, so I called it taco salad….

Since we moved, our whole foods isn’t convieniently located near us, and it isn’t necessarily INconvieninetly located either. Its just that there are plenty other options that are closer – so whole foods seems to be the last place on my list. So that means items like store bought seitan and vegan cheese are not as plentiful these days in our house, which is actually ok by me. The amount of produce we by on a weekly basis is much more the way I’d like to be working these days – so I’ve been trying to find ways to either make the seitan myself, or make something like what I made here today.

A while back I saw this post on making lentil taco meat. I pinned it and it has been on my to do list for some time now. I finally got around to making it and it did NOT disapoint.  I loved how I was able to combine some vegetables with it and you don’t really even know it! Extra healthy. It was kind of like taco flavored beans in the end. Texture was great and it blended well with the taco salad.

Heres how you do it:

1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 large bell pepper, chopped (any color)
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 ribs of celery, sliced
1-1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
(of course you can add other vegetables or leave some of these out – just use what you have on hand…also you can add some jalapeno if you want to add spice)

Heat 1/4 cup water in a large skillet. Saute onion for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bell pepper, and cook for another 3 minutes. If the pan starts to dry up and the contents start sticking, add a tablespoon or two more of water. Add in the lentils, carrots, celery, (or any other veggies at this point) chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture starts drying out, add 1/4 cup water or broth.

Stir in tomato paste and lime juice. Transfer to food processor or blender and pulse a few times, until a crumbly texture is achieved–do not puree. Serve hot.

I served mine with romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, baked corn tortillas, grilled corn and cilantro. Used some salsa as my dressing and it was delicious!

183. arugula salad.

Another recipe from shutterbean’s blog (what can I say, she’s my favorite and she seems to have ALOT of arugula recipes in her archive) helped me rid of a little more arugula from my garden and helped create a delicious, quick meal!

Check out the link above for the actual recipe – but its basically a salad with arugula, onion, apple, avocado and sunflower seeds with a quick honey-mustard-lemony dressing.

157. chinese “chick’n” salad.

For being vegan, I don’t eat alot of salads. I gotta make sure I get protein, and I’m lazy about all the work that goes into making salad. I like ALOT of stuff in my salad. Oh, and I hate most bottled dressings, so that means I usually have to make my own on top of everything. And dressings usually have alot of oil in them, which is a big turn off to me.

But I am a vegan who LIKES a good salad. Just usually when someone else makes it.

I found this recipe to make a chinese chick’n salad. And it was totally worth all the time it took to make it. And the dressing had no oil in it. Yum. Yum. Yum.

I made a big batch of it, kept the seitan and the dressing seperately and will make individual salads for me for lunch this week.

Here’s my take on it:
1 package uptons seitan (or tofu, or some other protein)
1 small head lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup napa cabbage, chopped
2 large green onions, sliced
2 carrots, sliced into sticks
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp shaved almonds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 oz. saifun noodles*
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
peanut oil

  1. Cook your seitan until its ready.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cabbage, green onions, carrots, cilantro, shaved almonds, and sesame seeds. Mix.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients: rice vinegar, sugar, white vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper.
  4. When seitan is done cooking, add to the salad bowl. Warm up some peanut oil in a pan and fry the saifun noodles. They should only be in there a few seconds and immediately puff up when they hit the hot oil. Dry on paper towels to get rid of excess oil.
  5. Add the salad dressing to the salad mixture. Toss in the large bowl.
  6. On a large plate or bowl, lay the crispy saifun down, then top with the salad.

155. couscous with tofu, spinach and asparagus.

Yesterday kicked off the first day of the Farmers Market in Morton Grove. We biked over to see what it would be like and it was actually really good. Another reason to love my new neighborhood!

There was a vendor selling spice mixes, and he had some couscous mixed with spices, and I thought it would be perfect for a quick one pot meal. I picked the “italian blend.” I bought some asparagus from michigan while I was there as well. I cooked the asparagus and some cubed tofu in a pan while the couscous was cooking. Then towards the end threw some baby spinach in there until wilted. I tossed it all together with some balsamic vinegar, fresh basil and lemon.

Lunch in less than 10 minutes. Yes please.