Vegan Cobb Salad and Dressing Recipe for Vegan Wednesday

IMG_6277 IMG_6276 (1)

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.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 26 December, 2013: Avocado Mandarin Salad

This was lovely as-is but to bulk it up, some roasted veggie unchicken like Beyond Meat, for instance, would have been great.

avocado mandarin salad IMG_3905

INGREDIENTS FOR ONE SALAD:

2 mandarin oranges or tangerines, peeled and sectioned
2 cups romaine salad mix or chopped romaine leaves
1/2 an avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup green onion, chopped

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons oil
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Combine mandarin slices, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, and green onion in a bowl.  In a smaller bowl, whip together oil, vinegar, salt, and black pepper.  Drizzle over the salad.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 12 November, 2013: Avocado Pasta

vagan avocado pasta

Makes 2 large servings.

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups cooked angel hair or spaghetti
1 small avocado, pitted and skinned (about 1.5 cups avocado chunks)
1/2 a lemon’s juice
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare pasta according to package directions, set aside. Fork mash avocado, lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil, and nutritional yeast. Toss with pasta, top with optional pine nuts.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 17 September, 2013: Black Bean Guacamole Pita Pizza

black bean vegan guacamole pizza

INGREDIENTS:

1 pita round

1 tablespoon onion, chopped

3/4 cup black beans, mashed with a fork
1 teaspoon taco seasoning (generic blend of cumin, chili powder, and onion powder)

OR

1/2 cup refried black beans mixed with 1/4 cup salsa

1/2 recipe of homemade guacamole (about 1/2 avocado’s worth or 3/4 cup)

3/4 cup corn kernels (I used organic frozen ones defrosted in the microwave)

Homemade blender salsa, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

Mash taco seasoning into black beans until they are a paste.  Mix in onions.  Spread the black bean paste on the pita round.  Top with corn.

On an oven proof pan or cookie sheet, broil the pita round with the black beans and corn on it for 5 – 7 minutes.

Take out of oven and spread with guacamole.  Serve with salsa.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 5 September, 2013: Smoky Cream Cheese, Avocado, & Cucumber Sandwich

vegan smoky cream cheese and cucumber sandwich
This cream cheese is so realistic, if I had not made it myself, I would swear it was made with cow’s milk.  I learned the secret from Miyoko Schinner and her Artisan Vegan Life recipes and Artisan Vegan Cheese cookbook.  Just blending soaked cashews with a little water, lemon juice, and salt makes a very convincing cream cheese to begin with, however, if you add Miyoko’s stroke of genius a.k.a. almond milk yogurt and allow the cream cheese to culture/ferment over the course of a day, the results are a dead ringer for dairy cream cheese.

This is a godsend for the lactose intolerant as well as vegans.  I recently wrote Panera Bread about carrying more vegan options — imagine if Panera provided vegan cream cheese!

Which begs the question, why does anyone ever need to torture a cow and take away her babies for cream cheese when you can just make an exact replica cholesterol-free out of cashews and vegan yogurt?

cow and calf
CREAM CHEESE INGREDIENTS:

1 cup cashews soaked in water 9 – 24 hours
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 drops liquid smoke
1/2 cup almond or other non-dairy yogurt, plain flavor
1/4 cup water
Salt, to taste

1 green onion, minced

SANDWICH INGREDIENTS (FOR ONE):

1-2 tablespoons vegan smoky onion cream cheese
2 slices whole grain bread, toasted
1/2 a small avocado, sliced thinly or smashed
4 slices of cucumber, peeled and seeded

DIRECTIONS:

Soak cashews and drain.  I have noticed that with my Vitamix blender, it is far easier to blend cashews in large batches of 2 cups or more.   A good strategy is to make this cream cheese in bulk by doubling the recipe and then freezing the excess.  I used the cream cheese without onions as a base for Mozzarella Basil Caprese Salad from Artisan Vegan Life.

Combine cashews, lemon juice, liquid smoke, water,salt, and yogurt in a blender and blend until very, very smooth.  Alternately, save the blending altogether by replacing the cashews with cashew butter.  Blending soaked cashews into a smooth paste will take longer in a non-high speed blender, however, it can be done.  No matter what kind of blender you have, the sides will have to be repeatedly scraped down.  I use a rubber spatula.    Add water by the tablespoon to get the consistency you want, keeping in mind it will thicken dramatically once it sits out for a day.  Add the minced green onions to the blender and pulse a couple of times until they are incorporated.

Transfer the cream cheese to a container and allow it to sit on the counter for anywhere from 12 – 36 hours.  The yogurt will help the mixture to ferment/culture.  The mixture will thicken as it sits.  The longer you leave it to sit, the more tangy your cream cheese will be.

Chill the cream cheese.  Toast the bread and assemble the sandwich!

Daily Vegan Lunch for 8 August, 2013: Kale and Quinoa Salad with Avocado

vegan kale quinoa salad

vegan kale quinoa salad

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

2 cups curly kale, washed and massaged
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup roasted red pepper, cut into small pieces
1 sheet nori seaweed, crumpled into bits or cut into small strips
1 green onion, minced

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vinegar

Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Wash and massage kale, tear in to very small pieces. Combine kale in a large bowl with quinoa, green onion, and red pepper. Cut nori into small strips (I cut the nori into big strips using a clean scissor, stack them, and then cut the stacks into smaller strips right over the bowl) and add to salad. Stir salad, mixing in the quinoa.

Mix dressing ingredients together in a bowl, whisking if necessary to make sure the mustard incorporates. Pour dressing over salad. Salad lasts up to 3 days in the fridge and makes two meal-sized servings.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 30 June, 2013: Super Protein Chocolate Smoothie

vegan protein chocolate smoothie

vegan protein chocolate smoothie

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 cup frozen bananas
2 cups curly kale
1.5 cups frozen strawberries
1/2 an avocado, pitted and peeled

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder (I used organic, fair trade cocoa powder. Expensive but worth it)

1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 chili peppers (optional)

2 cups soy milk

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients in a blender. My Vitamix was able to get this done in less than 2 minutes. A less powerful blender would be more like four to five minutes with a little rest period in the middle so it doesn’t overheat.