Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Truly Vegan Potato Salad

I searched high and low for a good vegan potato salad recipe. All of them called for vegenaise- I am not so fond of many vegan substitutes. I know some like them, but in imitating the real thing, I feel like I automatically have expectations that won't be met! So I created my own recipe. It turned out SO yummy! I love it anyway. My husband (who is not a fan of mustard or dill) did admit that it was at least okay. Our guests seemed to enjoy it as well. It has hints of classic potato salad flavor, with a light, flavorful dressing.
Truly Vegan Potato Salad

Water for boiling
16-18 red potatoes, washed and cubed
approx 3 cups fresh or frozen green beans
3/4 cup shredded carrots (one large carrot did it for me)
approx 1/8-1/4 red onion, sliced thinly or finely diced (depending on preference)
3-4 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp raw agave nectar
2-3 large cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp white vinegar
1-2 Tbsp dried parsley (fresh would be awesome)
1-2 tsp dried dillweed
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried basil
Approx 1 cup olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In large pot, bring salted water to boil and add potatoes. Cook until potatoes are only slightly firm (not too soft or they'll fall apart in your salad). Drain and rinse in cold water. Spread on paper towel to cool and dry. Salt them lightly while they cool. In smaller pot with lid, place about 1-2 cups of water and your green beans. Cover and turn on high. Steam until lightly cooked- approx 3-4 minutes after water boils. Remove from heat, drain and run under cool water. Salt and set aside.
In medium mixing bowl, whisk together mustard, lemon juice, agave, vinegar, garlic and seasonings. Then slowly pour in olive oil while whisking briskly to emulsify dressing. In large bowl, combine potatoes, green beans, carrots, onions and dressing, mixing gently to coat well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled and enjoy!

Quinoa Caprese Salad

This recipe turned out so yummy and easy. It is based on the idea of a classic Italian Caprese with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Quinoa Caprese Salad

2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed well
6 cups water
2-3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (grape tomatoes cut in half would also be yummy)
approx 1 cup of 1/2 inch mozzarella cubes
approx 3-4 tbsp chopped fresh basil (2-3 tbsp of dried will work if you don't have fresh)
2 cups fresh flat leaf spinach, finely chopped
approx 3/4 c balsamic vinegar
approx 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 large cloves fresh garlic, pressed or micrograted
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place quinoa and water in rice cooker and let cook or follow package directions on stove top.
Let quinoa cool before mixing in other ingredients.
Once quinoa is mostly cooled, add all other ingredients and mix well- be gentle so as not to damage your tomatoes. Serve chilled.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Spinach Cashew Pesto

Sorry I've been slacking for a while! So much has been going on! I will try to catch up with great recipes in the coming weeks, but for now I'll start with a marvelous pesto that is awesome with pasta, as a dip, or however else you want to use it!
Most pesto sauces call for walnuts or pine nuts, but since I'm more apt to use what I have on hand, this one is made with raw cashews. It is easy and oh, so tasty.

Spinach Cashew Pesto

approx 4 cups fresh, clean spinach
approx 1/2-3/4 cup raw cashews
3 medium/large cloves garlic
approx 1 1/2 -2 Tbsp dried basil (if you have fresh basil- use it!!)
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
extra virgin olive oil

In food processor place all ingredients except for olive oil. Pulse until chopped, then begin adding olive oil a drizzle at a time while processor is running until desired consistency is reached. Thicker is desirable for a chip or cracker dip or spread. Thinner is great for pasta sauce.
You can add parmesan cheese if desired, but I kept this one clean and healthy.

Delicious with pita chips, on sandwiches, pasta- get creative!