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.

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.

 

Sorry for the long break…

I know I haven’t posted in a long time — I’m busy as usual.  Trying to finish writing my third Forever Fifteen book and planning to enter the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale this year for a great cause, The Wagner Farm Rescue Fund.

wagner farm rescue fund norman the cow
Anyway, I’ve been making some forays into Artisan Vegan Cheese and recently bought a great cookbook called the Non-Dairy Formulary.  Both have LIFE-CHANGING recipes for anyone trying to get away from dairy products.

Today I made this delicious, non-dairy pizza using some homemade artisan vegan cheese, homemade pizza crust, and some jar marinara doctored with some imported tomato purée and salt and pepper:

non-dairy pizza with homemade vegan cheese
I’m going to be serving Vegan Pizza By the Slice at the Bake Sale and Non-Dairy Nachos most likely using the Best Ever Vegan Nachos recipe.  Also there will be the usual array of cookies, muffins, banana bread, etc.  It’s really heartwarming how many people have volunteered to help me for the Bake Sale.  I swear they are trying to renew my faith in the human race!

 

Daily Vegan Lunch for 31 December, 2013: Eggplant Parmesan

It’s the last Daily Vegan Lunch!  No. 365!!

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This recipe uses a modified version of tofu parmesan from Jo Stephaniak’s Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, which I highly recommend.

“Normal” eggplant parmagiana at Olive Garden is 850 calories per serving, which is fairly staggering. It gets worse because there are 35 grams of fat in that serving, the majority of which are coming from carcinogenic cheese!  Now we see the reason vegans are an average of 40 pounds lighter than everyone else.

This recipe only gets fat from tahini (sesame seed butter) and from greasing the pan for the crunchy eggplant cutlets, which you don’t technically need to do.

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium sized eggplant, cut into slices

1 tablespoon egg replacer plus 1/4 cup water OR 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal and 1/2 cup of water.  If using flaxseed meal, blend it in the food processor for a smoother consistency.

1.5 cups breadcrumbs or panko
1 tablespoon fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt to taste

FOR THE PARMESAN:

1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
1 cup firm tofu
2 tablespoons tahini or cashew butter
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Mix the egg replacer or flaxseed meal with water, set aside in a small bowl.

Mix the breadcrumbs, parsley, herbs, and salt and spread the mixture on a plate.

Cut the eggplant into 3/4 inch slices and coat first in egg-replacer or flaxseed wash, then coat with breadcrumbs as thickly as possible.

Lay the cutlets on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the parmesan sauce.  Combine onions, arrowroot, tofu, tahini, nutritional yeast, water, and salt in a food processor or blender and blend until liquified and completely smooth.

Transfer the liquid to a small pan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened, 3 – 5 minutes.

Take the eggplant cutlets out of the oven, flip them over, and spoon thickened parmesan on them.  Put them back into the oven for about 10 more minutes.

Serve with cooked spaghetti and marinara sauce.

My husband said he really liked these.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 30 December, 2013: Strawberry Crepes and Chewy Tofu Bacon

IMG_3928 vegan strawberry flaxseed crepes

 

CREPE INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (or 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds put into the coffee grinder or food processor)
1 and 1/3 cups water and 1/4 cup cashew butter or pre-soaked cashews OR 1 and 1/3 cups soy or almond nondairy creamer and a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour

STRAWBERRY FILLING:

2 cups frozen or fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup water mixed with 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch

TOFU BACON INGREDIENTS:

1 package any kind of tofu, frozen, thawed, and squeezed dry
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon oil for frying

STRAWBERRY CREPE DIRECTIONS:

In a blender or food processor, combine the water, cashew butter, and flaxseed meal (or the soy nondairy creamer in place of the water and cashews), sugar, allspice, and vanilla.  Blend it extremely well.

Mix the resulting milk with the scant cup of flour until just blended — it will make a pourable batter.

Let the batter rest while you prepare the strawberries.

Mix the water, sugar, and arrowroot or cornstarch in a shallow bowl.  Place strawberries (they can be frozen) in a small pan and cook them on medium heat until they are heated through.  This can take up to seven minutes if you used frozen strawberries.  Add the water-sugar-arrowroot mixture to the pan.  Stir until thickened and take it off the heat.

Grease a nonstick griddle or flat pan  with about a teaspoon of oil or vegan butter.  Heat the pan to medium.  Use a ladle to pour out about a half cup of batter.  At this point it will cook like a pancake.  When about a dozen bubbles appear, gently flip the crepe over and cook for 30 more seconds.

Now the crepes can be served with strawberry filling rolled inside.  This recipe makes about 6 small crepes.  Sprinkle them with powdered sugar through a sieve or sifter.

FOR THE TOFU BACON:

Freezing tofu will give it a very meaty texture.  To freeze tofu, take it out of the package and drain off the water and put it in a freezer-proof container that gives some room for expansion.  Freeze overnight.  Thaw on the countertop the next day or thaw in the microwave or on stovetop if you’re in a hurry.  The tofu can now be squeezed dry like a sponge.

Combine the soy sauce, syrup, and nutritional yeast in large bowl.  Mix into a slurry.  Tear the tofu into bite sized pieces and immerse them to coat.  Thin the slurry down with a tablespoon or two of water if it doesn’t seem to be going far enough to coat all the pieces.

Fry the coated pieces in a shallow pan at medium heat until browned, about 3 minutes.  Using oil to fry them is optional.

 

 

Daily Vegan Lunch for 29 December, 2013: Mini Meatball Barley Italian Wedding Soup

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The fresh wheat bread with was made by my friend Yoshie from the natto post.  It was delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons oil
5 cloves garlic
2 cups onion, chopped
1.5 cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1/4 cup vegan baco bits
3/4 cup tomato paste OR 1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon basil
1 cup pearl barley
Up to 1 tablespoon of salt or to taste
1/2 package of Gimme Lean refrigerated vegan sausage, rolled into balls

DIRECTIONS:

In a very large stockpot on medium heat, fry garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons of oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add carrots, baco bits, sage, basil, and celery and allow it to stir-fry for about 5 minutes more.  Add ten cups of water.  Turn heat to high.  Bring the soup to a boil and then turn heat to medium-high, allowing it to simmer at a low boil for 20 – 30 minutes or until the largest piece of carrot is fork tender.

Stir in the cup of pearl barley.  It should take about 20 – 30 minutes to cook.

Meanwhile, roll Gimme Lean into balls and fry them at medium-high heat in a pan in a small amount of oil or in a tablespoon of water until they are brown.  You can also use purchased frozen veggie meatballs, cut up veggie sausage, or a can (do not fry) of rinsed, cooked beans such as navy beans or kidney beans.

Stir in the tomato paste or sauce.

You might have noticed at this point that this soup does not use broth.  When you consider that all vegetable broth is pretty much the strained water from boiling vegetables a long time, you can see why I didn’t worry about using actual broth.  Add salt, little by little, until the soup tastes good, up to a tablespoon.

Add the fried meatballs or unfried beans to the soup.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 28 December: Hot and Sour Curry Rice Noodles

hot and sour vegan curry rice noodles
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NGREDIENTS:

1/2 package of rice noodles, or about 4 cups cooked
1/2 a lemon’s juice, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups snow peas a.k.a. mangetouts
1 cup julienned carrot
1 cup frozen green beans
1 cup green onion, minced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup cashews
1 tablespoon chili sauce or 2 teaspoons sriacha or tabasco
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala

DIRECTIONS:

Cook rice noodles by bringing a pot of water to boiling and immediately turning off heat.  Add the rice noodles and let them sit five minutes.  You wouldn’t think they’d be soft and edible in such a short time but they will.  Drain them and set them aside.

Steam the carrots, peas, snowpeas, and green beans by cooking in about a cup of water in the stove until the peas are unfrozen, about five minutes.  You can also use the microwave, which only takes 2 minutes.  Drain the water and set the vegetables aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine chili/hot sauce, lemon juice, and cashews.  Pulse until cashews are chopped, less than 10 seconds usually.

Fry the garlic in a tablespoon of oil in a large pan on medium-high heat for about 30 seconds.  Add the strained vegetables, noodles, and cashew-lemon juice mixture from the food processor.  Stir to combine.  Heat through for up to two minutes.