Vegan Cobb Salad and Dressing Recipe for Vegan Wednesday

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Now that the weather is heating up and local produce is getting cheaper, I figured it a vegan cobb salad would be just the thing.  This really hit the spot today for lunch.  It’s delicious, fresh, and filling.

Traditional cobb salad (ick) contains eggs, bacon, chicken, and blue cheese along with lettuce and onions.  Mostly it’s just gross, obesity and heart attack causing animal flesh and secretions on some greens, no thanks.  Reminds me of this meme I made:

Cobb salad in theory is great though, and of course it’s very customizable, so that is why this one tops a bed of purple and green lettuce with quinoa, pan-fried asparagus, avocado, cucumber, and veggie meat (actually Field Roast Lentil Sage deli slices fried in oil, soy sauce, and maple syrup) with homemade red wine vinaigrette dressing.

Vegan Cobb Salad Ingredients

Makes 3 large salads

6 cups lettuces or lettuce blend, romaine, dark lettuce, etc., torn into bite size pieces.  I used Artisan Lettuce pack from ALDI
1 avocado, seeded, peeled, and cubed
1 whole cucumber, peeled and cubed
Veggie meat of your choice or beans (rinse if canned)
Asparagus, pan-fried or roasted
1/2 cup quinoa cooked in 3/4 cup vegetable broth

Directions:

1. Bring 3/4 cup of vegetable broth to a soft boil on the stove while washing 1/2 cup of quinoa in a fine sieve or cheesecloth.  Washing helps to prevent the bitter taste of saponin, which quinoa is coated in until you wash it.  Add washed quinoa, turn heat to low, and cover with pot lid.

2. While the quinoa cooks, fry the asparagus.  Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil (I used corn oil) in a wide pan on medium high heat.  Add chopped asparagus and fry for about 7 minutes while quinoa cooks, tossing gently every two minutes or so.  Add salt to taste.

3. Once asparagus is finished, check quinoa for doneness.  Meaning, taste it.  If it’s hard, put the cover back on and let it steam a few more minutes.  When quinoa is fluffy and appears to have little tails, it is ready to eat.  Empty the asparagus in a bowl and put it aside.  Use the same pan to fry or reheat the veggie meat of your choice.  Gardein or Beyond Meat chicken would also be good, or try tofu.  Or skip veggie meat altogether and add another vegetable, such as roasted or pickled beets.  It’s up to you.

3. Make a layer of lettuce in the bottom of 3 salad bowls — a large, flat bowl works the best — and add stripes of cucumber, asparagus, avocado.  Your quinoa should be done by now, so add a stripe of that along with a stripe of veggie meat.

4. Make the dressing and serve it on the side.  Dressing recipe follows:

Basic Vinaigrette for Vegan Cobb Salad

Ingredients:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar or any vinegar, such as champagne, ACV, balsamic, whatever
1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup any color miso OR 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard or 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sweetener (I used sugar) or to taste
1 clove garlic

Dressing directions

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until garlic bits are no longer visible.  Serve on the side of Vegan Cobb Salad.

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Tofu Scramble Burritos for Vegan Wednesday

Yes, Vegan Wednesday is actually Vegan Everyday in my case as I have been vegan for the animals since July 26, 2010.

Still, I figure people are looking for some easy, cheap vegan recipes.

This is a tofu burrito and a couple of homemade salads, creamy cucumber and fast coleslaw, I took to work.  I eat dinner at work because of my hours, so brown-bagging it is a much cheaper, healthier, and better alternative to making a run outside the building for food.

Tofu Scramble Burritos

1 package firm tofu, usually about 13 to 16 ounces, drained
1/2 a small onion, chopped
1/2 cup frozen bell peppers, I use the tri-color frozen pepper mix from Trader Joes
Oil for frying, about 2 teaspoons

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional, adds Vitamin B spectrum and flavor)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (provides pretty yellow color and antioxidants)
2 teaspoons salt or to taste

Burrito shells – I used fajita shells from Aldi that cost less than a dollar per package

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The tofu mixture in the fry pan

Directions:

Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat for about a minute and a half.  Add onions and fry them until slightly translucent, about 1 minute.  Thaw the peppers in the microwave for one minute in a small bowl and squeeze off the pepper water.  Drain tofu and crumble it directly into the frying pan with the onions, or just flop the whole cube in there and mash it with a fork once it is sitting amongst the onions.  Add bell pepper, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and additional spices or herbs that you enjoy.  Mix until the turmeric is evenly distributed and then salt to taste.  I like a lot of salt and I have never had blood pressure problems, so I use 2 teaspoons of black salt, a type of sulphured salt from the Indian grocery store that imparts an eggy flavor.

Heat the burrito shells gently in a dry pan or microwave them for 20 seconds to make them pliable.  Dump about a cup of tofu filling into the burrito shell and then roll it up, or eat it like a soft taco.

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Creamy Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers
1 tablespoon chopped green, red, yellow, or white onion (I used red onion)
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (I used Just Mayo I found at Target for under $4)
1 teaspoon dried dill, thyme, basil, etc. (I used a premade mix of Herbes de Provence)
1/2 teaspoon salt plus salt to taste

Finely slice the cucumbers by hand or use a cucumber slicer — I used the cucumber slicer on the side of a four-sided cheese and vegetable shredder.  Sprinkle the 1/2 teaspoon of salt on the cucumbers, let them sit 5 to 10 minutes.  Press them in a colander over a sink, squeezing as much of their water out as you can with your clean hands.

Mix squeezed, drained cucumbers in a large bowl with onion, mayonnaise, and herbs.  Mix and add salt to taste.

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Fast Coleslaw

1/2 head of cabbage, any kind, finely chopped into shreds (I used white)
1/4 cup onion, chopped (I used red onion)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon oil
Salt to taste

Chop the cabbage and onion finely and mix them together in a large bowl.  Add vinegar, sugar, and oil, toss and add salt to taste.

Wait about an hour for cabbage to marinate and soften.

Can be eaten room temperature or chilled.

 

Forever Fifteen New Edition Paperback out on Createspace, under $10!

Deluxe paperback only $9.70, ships everywhere. As I have mentioned, I have wanted to go back and professionally edit my paperbacks for a long time.  So I have started by professionally editing & re-issuing the deluxe paperback version of my first novel, Forever Fifteen.  If you have bought Forever Fifteen as a Kindle ebook, it is…

Source: Forever Fifteen New Edition Paperback out on Createspace, under $10!

Jackfruit-Stuffed Cucumber Timbales Recipe

Cucumbers are great and I don’t eat enough of them — they’re very refreshing and cooling. They are special in Ayurvedic medicine for reasons I don’t really understand, maybe because they have a soothing-cooling effect. They go really well with jackfruit, which isn’t sweet even though it’s a fruit. Lots of people use jackfruit as a vegan “pork” but I think it’s better used in cold salads like this one.

I came up with this recipe based on a similar one from Jazzy Vegetarian and combined it with a recipe I saw on Pinterest.

Everyone thought these were delicious and could not get enough of them — hollowed out fresh cucumbers stuffed with flaky, savory jackfruit, roasted walnuts, and delicate caper puree. A fun way to eat your salad and (savory) fruit in a little drum shape.

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INGREDIENTS:

2 large cucumbers, peeled
1 can jackfruit in brine, drained OR 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
3 green onions, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning or seasoning of your choice
1 tablespoon capers (rinsed), green olives, or pickle relish
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2/3 cup vegan mayo such as Vegenaise or Just Mayo

DIRECTIONS:

Peel the cucumbers and cut them into 3/4 inch slices, set aside.

Toast the chopped walnuts in a dry pan on medium heat for about five minutes, keeping an eye on them. Once they begin to release a nice fragrance, toss them and roast for a minute more. Turn off heat and then them sit.

Drain the jackfruit and combine jackfruit, roasted walnuts, green onions, Old Bay or other seasoning, capers, and mayo in a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times until everything is minced and blended but not all the way into paste.

Hollow out the seeds cucumber rounds on one side with a small spoon so the filling can sit in there. Stuff with the jackfruit blend and serve as an appetizer or in the place of a salad.

Riding my bike in the forest

The autumn weather here in Illinois has been beautiful so I have been obsessed with riding my bike in the forest.  There’s a nice forest preserve by me with stony paths.

Wooly bear caterpillar friend who hitched a ride on my leg. She's scared so she is curled into a ball. I put her in a pad of grass so she would not get hurt.

Wooly bear caterpillar friend who hitched a ride on my leg. She’s scared so she is curled into a ball. I put her in a pad of grass so she would not get hurt.

Can you see the wooly bear caterpillar on my leg? She's in the hollow of my knee on the left side. I ended up re-locating her in a big patch of field.

Can you see the wooly bear caterpillar on my leg? She’s in the hollow of my knee on the left side. I ended up re-locating her in a big patch of field.

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I love the deciduous forest.

I love the deciduous forest.

This was a day of heartrending beauty.

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I heard an animal back here but I could not spot him/her.

I heard an animal back here but I could not spot him/her.

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The lake at the end of the trail.

The lake at the end of the trail.

Sweaty. I took off my helmet for the last few minutes and let my hair fly free. It felt good.

Sweaty. I took off my helmet for the last few minutes and let my hair fly free. It felt good.

White Castle’s Vegan Burger is Really Tasty

white castle vegan slider

White Castle is a burger chain by me in the Midwestern US.  They started offering a vegan burger about a year and a half a go and I didn’t really pay attention because sometimes I like to pretend I eat healthier than that, LOL.  I just tried their vegan burger for the first time today and it is FANTASTIC!!!  Now I’m mad at myself for not going sooner.

The burger itself is by Dr. Praeger, which is a frozen brand of plant-based burgers.  The specific type used is the California Veggie Burger, which has cute little chunks of carrot and eda mame (soybeans).  Praeger’s website says the whole line of burgers are “Certified Vegan”.  Nice.

The manager of the White Castle I went to was really sweet and he informed me that the veggie burgers are cooked on their own separate meatless grill.

Even better, the bun is already accidentally vegan:

(From Foodfacts.com)

Traditional Bun ingredients (29)

white castle vegan slider
Of course I got it without ranch sauce.  They also come with optional onions and pickles.  They had a ton of other accidentally vegan sauces to put on it, but plain old accidentally vegan ketchup was perfect.