Here’s another recipe from Passionate Vegetarian. Again, with a few changes. Terribly delicious, this salad is a whole meal, and a very substantial one at that. Cheese and beans and vegetables, served in endive or romaine leaves. It’s called “Ebony and Ivory” because it is made with white and black beans, but it can be made with an equal amount of any bean or combination of beans and it will be just as good.
The dressing is a strong, sharp vinaigrette, strong enough to flavor the beans without drowning them. And it makes a lot, but it is a great dressing to have on hand for any bean/grain/vegetable mixed salad you might wish to make up.
1/2 C red wine vinegar
1/4 C good, grainy mustard
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tsp salt
5-6 grinds black pepper
3-6 leaves of basil
1 1/4 C good olive oil
Place the first 6 ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree. Then, drizzle in the olive oil while the machine is running until it is all combined. Refrigerate.
1 (15oz) can white beans, rinsed and drained very well(if the beans lave any of the canning liquid still clinging to them their colors will blend and the salad will look muddy)
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained very well
1/4 C of the dressing above
2 ribs celery, diced
1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 large red onion, minced
3 oz grated strong flavored cheese(I used extra sharp cheddar)
salt and black pepper. to taste
Combine all ingredients together and let sit for at least an hour. Serve in romaine leaves or endive spears.
Serves 4-6 as a main course, 6-10 as a side
But sometimes, simple is best. Honey Mustard. You might have dipped chicken nuggets in it as a child. Or maybe not. In any case, it is a comforting, spicy-sweet choice with which to top your salad.
You might think the dill is weird, but really, try it. It’s not dill-y at all, the dill just heightens the mustard flavor. If you want a thicker or thinner dressing, feel free to adjust the sour cream to milk ratio however you want(with 3/4C total of both combined). All sour cream makes a thick dip, for veggies or pretzels, 1/4C sour cream and 1/2C milk will make quite a thin dressing.
1/2C sour cream
1/4 C milk
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1/3 C honey
1/4tsp each onion and garlic powder
1/2 tbsp dried dill weed
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl, and let it rest in the fridge for an hour at least to allow the flavors to meld.
This keeps at least a week in the fridge. Probably longer, but it’s never lasted more than a week in my house.
Makes about 1 cup
The first time I tried it, a couple of weeks ago, it was a revelation. The dark, sweet earthy flavor of the beets, the cool, creamy avocado, and those colors!! Wow.
I’m posting a recipe, but really the magic here is between the avocado and beets. Put them with any salad fixings, in a wrap or a sandwich, or just eat them by themselves. They lend themselves to all kinds of options.
Try it. It’s addictive.
1 bunch beets,4 medium
4oz goat cheese
4 handfuls baby arugula, or another strong flavored green
4tbsp white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
Roast the beets. Just wrap them in tinfoil, and put them in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Set them aside to cool. Once they are cool, their skins will slip right off. Slice them and set them aside. Slice the Avocados and set them aside, too.
To assemble the salad, take 4 plates and put a generous handful of greens on each one. Top that with the slices of beet(one per plate) and avocado slices(half an avocado per plate), crumbled goat cheese and a few candied nuts. Drizzle each plate with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, and top with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
If this is to be a main course salad, divide the ingredients over two plates instead of four.
It’s big, bright, full of veggies, it works equally well as a side or a main dish, and is tasty enough to keep everyone happy!
Feel free to substitute equal amounts of whatever vegetables and fresh herbs happen to be in season and easily available–it will be equally good. Green veggies start to lose their color after a bit-the vinegar saps it out of them-but they will still taste good.
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white basalmic vinegar(red wine vinegar, or any good salad vinegar, is a fine substitute)
1/4 cup each fresh basil and parsley
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small red onion, minced
1 lb baby potatoes, halved, or regular(waxy, not russet type) potatoes in bite size pieces
1 lb baby carrots, halved
1 lb snow peas
1 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into bite size pieces
1lb cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. cook the potatoes until they’re tender-about 15 minutes- and fish them out with a slotted spoon. Put them in a large mixing bowl.
Now add the carrots to the boiling water-cook them until they are crisp-tender, about 7 minutes, and remove them with a slotted spoon to the bowl with the potatoes.
Next, add the asparagus, which will need to cook for 2-4 minutes. Remove that to the bowl and add the snow peas. They only need to blanch, so take them out after barely a minute. Dump the pot of boiling water, you’re done with it. And add the cherry tomatoes and the chickpeas to the vegetables in the bowl.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Allow it to marinate 2-24 hours, and serve.
Serves a crowd.
I’ve been vegetarian since i was 6. I have no memory of what meat is like(apart from Arby’s roast beef sandwiches, for some reason), and I don’t have any desire to eat actual meat. However some meat dishes just sound so good that I really want to try them.
Like chicken salad-nuts, fruit, celery and nuggets of protein all in a creamy delicious dressing. Piled on lettuce or inside a ripe tomato, it’s a great substantial meal. This version is loaded with dried fruit and nuts, with a yogurt dressing and is a great sweet/savory combination meal.
I really try not to use processed meat substitutes for the most part, but i do keep Quorn “chikn” tenders in my freezer for quick fix meals. You could use any commercial chicken substitute, or tempeh or seitan or even firm tofu. Or real chicken, if you swing that way.
1 C cooked chicken substitute
1/3C assorted dried fruit(I used cranberries, golden raisins and diced apricots, but use whatever sounds good to you)
1/4 C chopped almonds
2 stalks celery, diced
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 C greek yogurt
1/4 C sour cream
This is the simplest recipe ever-mix everything together and let it sit for half an hour to let the flavors marry. That’s it!
Serve on a roll, on a bed of lettuce, or (my favorite!) inside a hollowed out tomato.
Serves 2-4, depending on what you have with it
Let’s talk about salad dressing. But first, let’s talk about Crescent Dragonwagon.
My first cookbook was a Christmas present. Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon. And so my obsession with cookbooks began. I love this cookbook. I’m even on my second copy, I used the first so much I wore it out.
It was my first introduction to the idea of salads beyond the buffet restaurant salad bar. Something intentional, where you combined things together purposefully, not just everything you liked? And making salad dressings? Oh my word! What a concept!
One of the first things I tried from this cookbook was a recipe she calls “The Salad”. In her incarnation, it is a variety of absolutely perfect greens, with a garlicky dressing made right on the salad. Love at first bite! But over the years, it has become something slightly different for me. Less perfect greens(they’re hard to come by in the seasons I’m not growing them myself), more other veggies. Sometimes I use red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice. It changes a little every time, but the basic makeup always stays the same, and it is always delicious.
So, without further ado, my Crescent Dragonwagon inspired recipe for salad-
6-8 cups of mixed greens and veggies(green beans, tomatoes, romaine hearts, arugula and spring mix is one of my favourite combinations, but use whatever you like that is available to you. The important thing is that all your veggies are dry, or the dressing won’t stick!)
3-4 tbsp olive oil
4-6 cloves of garlic
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved, or 2-3 tsp red wine vinegar
dash of Worcestershire sauce
Put the olive oil in your salad bowl. peel your garlic cloves, and either press them directly into the oil, or mince them finely and put them in the oil, or mash them with a mortar and pestle and get them in the oil. Any way works, as long as you get pulverized garlic cloves into the olive oils! Add your vegetables and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper, a few sprinkles of lemon juice or vinegar and the Worcestershire sauce. Toss again. Taste it-does it need more of anything-salt, pepper, lemon/vinegar? Keep tasting and adding until your salad is perfect. Serve immediately, this salad does not wait around!
Serves 2 for a main course, 4-6 as a side
Once you taste this salad, you’ll see why Crescent Dragonwagon is one of my favorite cookbook authors, though my collection is now well over 100 cookbooks.
While they don’t mesh well with the classic garden salad, candied nuts are great to add crunch to any salad with a sweet note. Say, a salad with fruit, or even just greens with a sweet vinaigrette. Toss some candied nuts in and it will add enough protein to make your salad a meal. Incidentally, they are also delicious for snacking
This is a very basic recipe-you can add all kinds of things to it to make it whatever you want.
2C nuts(walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, whatever nut you like) in large, forkable chunks(I used walnut halves)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Line a baking sheet with greased tinfoil or a silpat. set aside.
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the sugar, nuts and salt. Cook, stirring continuously, til the sugar and butter have melted together and turned a lovely brown color. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla-it will bubble and hiss, but just stir it in.
Turn the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet and let them cool. Once they’ve cooled down, break them apart with your hands and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 2 cups of candied nuts
To the standard recipe, you can add all kinds of spices. It’s a great recipe to experiment with, but here are some idea
-a teaspoon of smoked paprika
-A pinch of cayenne if you like things spicy
-a quarter teaspoon each allspice, cinnamon and a pinch of cloves
-a teaspoon of chinese 5 spice powder
-a teaspoon of garam masala, toasted in the skillet before you add the butter
Be imaginative My favorite variation is smoked paprika, cayenne and cinnamon. It’s great with mangoes, peaches, and poppyseed dressing!
See, salads make me feel great, but I don’t enjoy eating them. Besides, I am usually hungry not too long after if I have a salad for a meal.
I’ve figured out a lot of different add-ins and techniques that make frequent salads much more interesting, and more substantial. Some of them are very common, and some are not so common, and I plan on sharing them with you over the next few weeks.
Today’s salad addition is the oh-so familiar crouton. Sure, you can buy croutons, but you can make much better ones with only a few minutes of hands-on time.
3 cups bread, cubed(any good-textured bread will do, though stale is better. I used the end of a loaf of italian bread from the grocery store)
3tbsp olive oil
3tbsp butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to your preference
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375. Whisk together the olive oil, butter, garlic, and salt and pepper. Put the cubes of bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil mixture. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with the cheese and toss again. Bake in the oven until dry and crispy, about 30 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Omit the cheese and replace the butter with more olive oil for a vegan version
Add fresh(1 tbsp) or dried(1 tsp) herbs with the Parmesan cheese.
Use cornbread or other unique breads. Any bread will work, but if the bread is a quick bread(like cornbread, made without yeast) it will need to be baked slightly longer, and at a lower temperature(325)