Three Bean Salad

   This classic American Three Bean Salad is lighter than many of the recipes out there, but it’s the best one I’ve had.  Filling and tangy, with plenty of protein, this salad travels well.  The fresh, raw crunch of the celery and shallot are a great contrast with the silky beans.  Three Bean Salads have supposedly been around since the 1800’s, and possibly became so popular because they needed little refrigeration, and hence were often brought to picnics and outings.  Serve with a slotted spoon so as to drain off most of the marinade.


Makes about 8 to 10 servings?

15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed,  reserve 3 Tablespoons of bean liquid
15 oz. can green beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can yellow wax beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium-to-large stalk celery, diced fine
1 large shallot  chopped fine,  or 1/3 of a medium white onion
1/3 Cup white vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
pinch cayenne  (a pinch = 1/16th teaspoon)

Take three Tablespoons of bean liquid from the can of kidney beans, and set aside.  In a large non-metal bowl and with a wooden spoon, gently mix the green beans, wax beans, celery and onion.  In a separate small bowl or glass, whisk together the bean liquid, vinegar, oil, sugar, and seasonings.  Add the rinsed-and-drained kidney beans and the vinegar dressing to the green-bean mixture.  Fold this salad gently with a wooden spoon to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two before serving.  Stir gently with wooden spoon before serving (we are trying not to mash the kidney beans).  Serve with a slotted spoon so as to drain most of the marinade off and back into the serving bowl.

Notes:  This would also be good in a salad-in-a-jar situation.  For more salad ideas, check out the Salad category on this site.

Grilled Broccolini with Pistachio, Cured Olive, and Preserved Lemon – from the Vedge cookbook

IMG_0374     This Grilled Broccolini with Pistachio, Cured Olive and Preserved Lemon is yet another simple-but-superb dish from the Vedge cookbook.  This dish looks gorgeous and tastes even better.  The slightly-bitter and slightly-crunchy broccolini, bright lemon, salty olives and toothsome, creamy toasted nuts are an amazing combination.  I always have a jar of Preserved Lemons on hand for dishes like this.  I cut the oil in half, and also cut down on the salt, and this dish was still extremely flavorful and luscious.  I just used Trader Joe’s Kalamata olives packed in olive oil, and I found organic Broccolini at Whole Foods in Annapolis.   Whole Foods was also calling it Baby Broccoli, which it is not.  The Broccolini seed was developed in Japan, around 1993, and it’s a vegetable similar to broccoli, and is also called different things in different countries–such as broccolette, broccoletti, bimi, and tenderstem broccoli, among other names.  This was my first time cooking broccolini, but now I can say I prefer it to regular broccoli.  In future, I will slice any thick stems down the middle (the long way), while leaving the florets/head intact, to help the thicker stems cook to the same level as the thinner stems and delicate florets.   This recipe is a bit time-consuming if you prepare it all at once–maybe about 45 minutes.  However, you can prepare any or all of the individual components a day ahead, and then it’s quick to throw together.  I used my Calphalon 12-inch round, nonstick grill pan on top of my electric stove and had great results, but this can also be prepared on the outdoor grill.  You can substitute broccoli rabe if you cannot find the broccolini.    p.s.  Leftovers of this dish are fabulous chopped up and tossed with hot pasta!

Ensalada de Aguacate – Avocado Salad

IMG_0348    I love to order Ensalada de Aguacate (otherwise known as Avocado Salad) at Mexican restaurants.  However, I always wish they were a bit richer in flavor, and less oily.  Keeping the simple, perfect ingredients, the main thing was to create a more-complex vinaigrette.  After a few attempts, here’s my latest obsession.

ENSALADA de AGUACATE   (Avocado Salad)

Makes enough for three or four side salads.

1 small head iceberg lettuce
2 Hass avocados, ripe but not mushy
1/4 red onion, diced
1 medium garlic clove, pressed,  or smashed and chopped finely
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon cooking sherry
1/4 teaspoon smooth stone-ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon scant fine sea salt  (if regular salt, use a bit less)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
(if tomatoes are in season and really good, they can be cut into chunks and added)

In a medium non-metal bowl, place garlic, oil, lime juice, sherry, mustard, cumin, sugar, salt and pepper.  Whisk until well blended.  Add diced onions to this vinaigrette, stir and set aside for the sugar and salt to further dissolve while you work.  The onion will do a quick “pickle” in the vinaigrette.

Wash, dry and chop enough lettuce into shreds.  Cover and protect shredded lettuce with a dish towel and set in fridge to prevent wilting.  When ready to serve, peel, pit and do a larger dice on the avocados, and immediately add them to the vinaigrette bowl (to prevent browning).  Using a wooden spoon, gently stir and fold the avocado cubes into the dressing/onion mixture.  As you stir, the dressing will become a bit creamier from the avocado.  Place a bed of shredded lettuce onto each plate and spoon the avocado and dressing over the center of each plate.  Let each person mix their own salad using their knife and fork.

Notes:  This classic and beautiful salad is popular in many Hispanic and Latin countries.  To stretch this salad a bit, add another avocado.


Coconut Bacon

IMG_0231    This fast, easy and delicious Coconut Bacon recipe takes five minutes to prep for baking.    I adapted this from the wildy-popular recipe by Fettle Vegan.  Of course, you can always buy coconut bacon from Phoney Baloney, but it’s so easy to make your own.  Wherever you get your coconut bacon, it’s great strewn over salads, and chowder, in BLTs, or eaten out of hand.  I plan to try this in an Elvis Sandwich someday.


Makes 2 Cups

2 Cups large flake coconut, unsweetened
1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke
1 Tablespoon Tamari
1 Tablespoon plus one teaspoon real maple syrup
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Set coconut aside.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients, whisking or stirring to blend.  Add coconut and fold gently with a wooden spoon or spatula to evenly coat the flakes.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread coconut flakes evenly onto it.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  BE VERY CAREFUL during the last five minutes, checking it several times to make sure it does not burn.  Coconut will crisp up as it cools.  Strew over salads, chowder, use in sandwiches or eat out of hand.  Cool completely and store in fridge for two weeks (I store mine for a month if the flaked coconut is not due to expire soon).

Notes:  Bigger coconut flakes may take longer to cook.   After cooling, if your coconut bacon is not crisp, put it back in the oven for 2 to 5 minutes, checking carefully to prevent burning.

Cheesecake Factory Kale Salad with Vegan Low-Fat Buttermilk Black Pepper Dressing

IMG_2654    I’m obsessed with this Kale Salad with Vegan Buttermilk Black Pepper Dressing.  It’s a low-fat vegan copy of the Cheesecake Factory restaurant menu.  Finely shredded kale, sweet golden raisins, salty roasted Marcona almonds, and tart apple batons tossed in lemon juice, all drizzled with a cool Buttermilk dressing.  So damn good–even better than the original.  Thank you to Susan Voisin for her brilliant Hidden Cashew Ranch Dressing.  I found that adding one more Tablespoon of cashews to Susan’s dressing (bumping the cashews up to 1/3 Cup) made the dressing thicker and richer, without affecting fat and calories hardly at all.  Nutritional values below.

For each individual salad, use about 2 Tablespoons chopped Marcona almonds, 2 Tablespoons golden raisins, 50 grams small, unpeeled apple batons tossed in lemon juice, and 33 grams finely shredded kale.  Be sure to chiffonade your kale.  Any leftover acidulated apple batons will keep in the fridge for a day or two.  Notes:  I like using Penzey’s Buttermilk Ranch dry seasoning and in that case, you would use 1 Tablespoon of it and omit the other seasonings in the salad dressing.  Trader Joe’s has salted Marcona almonds that have been roasted with rosemary, but any will do.


Makes twelve  2-Tablespoon servings

1/3 Cup cashews, soaked at least four hours, or overnight
1.25 Cups organic unsweetened soy milk  (I like WestSoy)
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt  (adjust to your taste)
1 to 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley,  orfrozen parsley cubes, thawed and drained
1-2 teaspoons finely-snipped chives  (optional)

Drain and rinse cashews.  Place all ingredients except parsley and chives into blender and process on high until smooth.  Add parsley and/or chives and pulse just until incorporated.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Nutritional Values per 2 Tablespoons of dressing:  Calories 33,  Fat 2g,  Saturated Fat 0.3g,  Trans Fat 0,  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g,  Monounsaturated Fat 1g,  Cholesterol 0,  Sodium 128,  Potassium 32,  Carbs 1,  Fiber 1,  Sugars 0.3,  Protein 2g,  Vitamin A  0.7%,  Calcium 1.3%,  Iron 2.4%.

Cinnamon Stick Beets or Quick Pickled Beets

IMG_2556      These Quick Pickled Beets are an easy and delicious way to preserve fresh beets for weeks in the fridge.  They bring a rare and beautiful color to salads, but my favorite way to eat them is in hummus wraps with pan-toasted almonds.  Many recipes for pickled beets call for cloves, but I found that flavor too medicinal.  After making these three times, I settled on a three-inch stick of cinnamon in each jar, for a complex hint of spice that tempers the earthiness of the beets.   For other preserving recipes, check out the Pickles category.


Makes about 3 pints.

6 fresh beets of medium, uniform size  (better for slicing and fitting into jars)
1 Cup white vinegar
2 Cups water
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt  (not kosher salt)
small cinnamon sticks  (one 3-inch stick per jar)
whole peppercorns      (about 8 per jar)  (totally optional)
brown mustard seeds  (a pinch per jar)  (totally optional)

Do not preheat oven.  Trim greens off beets, leaving about one inch of stems.  Wash beets very well, and wrap in tin foil.  Place foil packet in a pan and place in cold oven.  Set oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 90 minutes.  Let beets cool a bit, and then peel, and slice however you like.  Consider thick batons, or circular slices or half circles.  If you want to make a stacked salad, whole circles are best.

In a small stock pot, heat vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a simmer, and stir to dissolve any visible salt or sugar.  Remove pot from heat and let liquid brine cool a bit, maybe 10 to 15 minutes at most.  Into each clean jar place one small cinnamon stick, and, if using, any peppercorns or mustard seeds.  Pack sliced beets into each jar.  Pour brine slowly into packed jars and let cool on counter for about 30 minutes.  Store in fridge.  Use diced into salads, drained and sliced in sandwiches, etc.

Notes.  Make sure jars and everything are very clean.  I prefer plastic jar lids because they’re non-reactive to the vinegar, and I like them to be BPA-free, but any lid is fine!   I keep my beets about a month in the fridge.  A good tip is that Vegenaise lids will often fit on small-mouth canning jars.  Using medium-size beets of uniform shape will make it easier to get them into jars, and you’ll have more whole, round slices.

You can see my post Growing Beets.  Other recipes on this site that use beets include Roasted Beet Salad and Salad in A Jar.
IMG_2487  Scrubbed beets ready to roast.
IMG_2509   The jar on the right is a recycled Vegenaise jar.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

IMG_2479    This Greek and Italian style Pasta Salad is simple to make, but deceptively complex in flavors.  It’s very versatile–you can make the basic salad and add or subtract whatever you like, or whatever you have on hand.  Perfect for a barbecue or picnic and especially good in summer.  With the beans, it’s great as a main dish too.   I make this at least once every summer, and it’s developed over the years.


Serves about 6 as a main dish, or about 8 as a side.  (?)

For the dressing:
1/4 Cup white Balsamic vinegar  (or red wine vinegar)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, pressed or crushed and minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon grainy mustard from a jar  (Dijon style, or spicy brown, etc.)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Basic Salad
2 Cups pasta cooked  (measure before cooking)
15 oz. can Cannelini beans  (or other white beans)
1 red bell pepper, diced fine
1/4 Cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
1/4 Cup Kalamata olives chopped
2 Tablespoons capers, chopped
1/2 Cup chopped artichoke hearts
1/4 Cup diced red onion  (I use Pickled Red Onions)
2-inch piece of preserved lemon, minced into oblivion  (optional)
(or just use the zest of a lemon)

Other possible additions:
cooked broccoli florets
fresh raw corn off the cob
raw cucumber, seeded and diced
chopped fresh parsley
chopped fresh spinach

Optional Garnishes:
1 avocado, diced
1 large garden tomato, cut up and salted
toasted pine nuts

Make dressing and pour into a large bowl.  Drain and rinse beans and set them aside.   As you chop ingredients, add them to the dressing so they start to marinate.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain pasta and add to the dressing bowl.  With a wooden spoon, mix all bowl ingredients.  Fold the beans in gently.  If not serving right away, store in refrigerator.  Let salad come to room temperature before serving.  Garnish before serving, with fresh tomatoes, or avocado, toasted pine nuts, etc.

Notes:   Use smaller pastas, such as penne or fusilli, etc.  If you want to add broccoli florets (fresh or frozen), blanch them for two minutes in simmering water, and then rinse under cold water in a colander.  If you want to add fresh garden tomatoes, add just before serving (do not chill the tomatoes).  If using avocado, add just before serving (so it doesn’t turn brown).  Trader Joe’s has good artichoke hearts in a jar.  I make about a pint of Preserved Lemon once a year and then it’s on hand.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Whole Grain Mustard Sauce

IMG_1810    This is the 2nd delicious and easy recipe I’ve tried from the Vedge cookbook by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby.  I’ve eaten these Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Whole Grain Mustard Sauce at the Vedge restaurant in Philadelphia (see photo below), and this recipe replicates that experience very well.  My comments on the recipe are to make sure to divide your salt and pepper before you begin (I accidentally threw all the pepper into the sauce, which didn’t hurt it).  The sauce takes two minutes to make, so make that first and throw it in the fridge.  Cut the stems/bottoms well off the sprouts and discard.  I just used a knife to cut and shave the sprouts.  Make sure to cook the sprouts on high (as per the recipe) because that’s how you get the roasty bits.  Go easy on the sauce–a little goes a long way, and next time I would probably only make half of the sauce.  Out of the Vedge cookbook, I also made the Salt Roasted Golden Beets with Dill, Avocado, Capers and Red Onion, which is also an easy and super-delicious recipe.  It’s simple to make the components for both of these recipes ahead.  Once the sprouts are prepped, they take only a 5-minute sizzle in the pan before serving.   In short, I love this gorgeous cookbook.
IMG_1484  Here’s the dish we received at Vedge restaurant.  As you can see, lighting was super-low, and they used a very grainy mustard.  I just used organic whole-grain mustard from a jar, and it was still delicious.

Salt-Roasted Golden Beets with Dill, Avocado, Capers and Red Onion

IMG_1784    Salt-Roasted Golden Beets with Dill, Avocado, Capers and Red Onion.  This delicious recipe is from the Vedge cookbook by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby.  Although this dish has various components, it’s simple to make.  To save time, I roasted and peeled the beets the day before I needed them.  We also recently ate this salad at the Vedge restaurant in Philadelphia, and it was killer.  I was pleasantly surprised that the dish I made at home actually tasted like what we ate at the restaurant.  In the restaurant, this dish is served in a round stack with a circle of smoked tofu (see photo below).  My comments on this dish are that I used only 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt (since the capers are so salty), and I also reduced the second application of black pepper.  I was unable to procure fresh dill and it’s too early for dill in my garden, so I substituted 1 teaspoon of dried dill weed.  And . . . it was still wonderful.  I grow beets, and cook beets more than most people, and noticed no discernible difference with the salt roasting–so in future, I would simply wrap the beets in foil and roast them in the oven for 60-90 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  By the way, the cookbook is gorgeous, with 100 plant-based recipes that highlight The Vegetable.  It has a soft, matte cover with no pesky dust jacket, and beautiful photographs.  Since I had one of the best meals of my life at Vedge restaurant, this cookbook is not going on the shelf–because I’ll be too busy using it.
IMG_1483  At the restaurant, this is served in a stack with a ring of smoked tofu.

Vegetarian Plus Vegan Tuna Rolls

IMG_1458    This vegan tuna tastes so much like tuna fish that it’s freaky.   It even smells like tuna fish.  I ordered these Vegan Tuna Rolls from Healthy Eating, a good resource for all kinds of things.   Here in the U.S., the word roll can refer to a type of sandwich–the exact type of sandwich pictured on the box (see photo below).   However, the world “roll” as used on this box of tuna rolls means you literally get two frozen, sausage-shaped rolls of vegan tuna filling (see last photo below).  So, the tuna filling comes all by itself, with no bread or anything.  You simply thaw and then cut open these tuna logs and use the filling as you would a can of tuna fish.   About price: I had no choice but to order six boxes of tuna rolls for a total of $59.99.  Shipping and handling was another $14.95, for a total of $74.94, let’s call it $75.   However, we got three sandwiches out of each tuna roll, and that means enough vegan tuna to make six sandwiches per box.  $75 divided by 36 = $2.08 per serving, and that includes frozen shipping with cold packs.  Now, the box says there are “about 4” servings per box, and that would make some big sandwiches.  The sandwiches I made were a generous-average size, in my opinion.  So, price would vary depending upon use.

As far as “dressing up” this tuna, the sky’s the limit.  My favorite ingredients include Vegenaise, chopped pickled red onions, sweet relish, salt and pepper.  I had a friend who always put Celery Salt in her tuna salad, and finely-chopped celery.  You could put capers or grated carrots, etc.  If these Vegan Tuna Rolls are not your thing, please check out the other vegan tuna salad also on this site–it’s delicious and easy.   p.s.  Lars never liked tuna fish salad, so I was surprised that he really likes this vegan tuna!
IMG_1454  Two rolls of vegan tuna filling per box.

Salad in A Jar

IMG_1079    I saw Salad In a Jar in a great blog post on these make-ahead, packable salads.  A few times a year, I have to attend a meeting where a lunch of dead animals is provided for everyone (except me).  This time, I had a beautiful meal instantly constructed on my plate, with just a shake and a tip of the wide-mouth canning jar.


wide-mouth canning jar(s), quart size
salad dressing
salad fixings

Put salad dressing on the bottom of the jar(s) and start building.  First, add ingredients that benefit from a marinade in the salad dressing, things like beets or beans or lentils.  As you build up further away from the dressing, you could add chopped nuts, dried fruit, diced vegetables, drained mandarin oranges, greens or lettuces, cooked quinoa, croutons, etc.  Make sure to leave an inch or two of space at the top–this will allow you to shake the salad, and it will also keep your food away from any BPA in the canning jar lid.

Notes:  It’s easy to fill more than one jar at a time.  I prefer to cut my greens or lettuces into smaller pieces.  Ingredients can change with the seasons–in the summer, you could tuck some nasturtium flowers from the garden on top, and in the Fall you could use roasted root vegetables.   Take these flavors in any direction by changing up the dressing and fixings–Mexican, Greek, etc.   I’m thinking cold Japanese somen noodle salad with smoked tofu, green onions, fresh peas and seasame seeds.  Or Middle Eastern with tahini dressing, roasted chickpeas, cucumbers, pistachios or walnuts, and dried apricots.

Maple Glazed Walnuts

IMG_0893    These quick and easy Maple Glazed Walnuts are perfect for the Autumnal salad, alongside bitter greens, dried cranberries, etc.  If there are leftovers, I sprinkle them on a bowl of hot oatmeal, granola or vegan yogurt.  These take 5 to 6 minutes to make, literally.


1 Cup raw walnuts
3 Tablespoons good/pure maple syrup

In a medium-size skillet, toast the walnuts (occasionally stirring) over medium heat until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.  Turn heat to low, drizzle the syrup over the walnuts and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until walnuts are glazed and there is no wet syrup left in the bottom of the skillet, about 3 minutes.  Cool on a plate and store in a jar.

Ramen Salad with Slivered Almonds

IMG_0576    Vegan Mofo 2013.  This fun salad is popular in Hawaii.  The almonds and noodles are toasted, and provide a great contrast with the cool, crunchy cabbage and sweet carrot. The dry broth packet helps to flavor the simple dressing, along with some rice wine vinegar and a bit of sugar.  From what I’ve read online, it seems Top Ramen in the Oriental Flavor does not have any animal products in it.  (one more photo below)


Serves approx. 4-6,  depending upon how much cabbage you use.

1 pkg. Nissin Top RamenOriental Flavor only
1/4 Cup slivered almonds
1 pkg. slaw mix,  or shaved fresh cabbage and 1 or 2 grated carrots
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar  (I use the un-flavored one, such as Marukan)
2 teaspoons sugar

Break up dry ramen noodles and put on baking sheet with the almonds.
Put under broiler on 2nd rack from top, to toast for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes until golden. Stir.
These can burn quickly, so don’t walk away.
If you don’t have a broiler, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 to 10 minutes, baking first for 5 minutes and then checking every couple of minutes.

In small shaker jar put oil, vinegar, sugar and dry broth packet from Ramen. Shake.
Or you can stir it in a glass.

Wait until ready to eat, then toss vegetables with the toasted noodles and almonds.  Drizzle on the dressing by the Tablespoon, and toss and taste to see how much you like.
Serve immediately.

Notes:  If you toss the salad with the dressing too early, the salad will wilt and be limp.  I use a little latte frother for salad dressings like this.  I like to start breaking up the noodles before I open the ramen packet, just by bending it gently between my hands.   I think I normally use about 1/4 to 1/3 of a green cabbage and grate one large carrot.  It makes a lot!  I’m guessing this dressing is enough for about 1/2 of a medium green cabbage.  I guess the Chili flavor also has no animal products, but I have not tried that one.

Vegan French Red Potato Salad

My lovely friend Chris and her husband had us over to dinner a few years ago.  It was summer and she served this potato salad; an old recipe of her Mom’s.  It was rich and creamy but had a slight tang to it.  I’ve never been a fan of potato salad but this won me over.  The recipe calls for making a separate red French dressing.  The resulting salad is a pleasing peachy color, and I’ve flecked mine with capers and my own pickled red onions.  Chris was kind enough to give me permission to share my version of it here.  So, I’m saying a big thank you to Pat (Chris’ Mom) for my religious conversion to potato salad.  If you can serve it just after you’ve mixed the dressing with the hot potatoes, it’s extra good, but it’s delicious cold too.  To save time, I wash the potatoes and make the dressing the day before.  I’ve always got the pickled onions on hand.

French Red Potato Salad

2 lbs. potatoes (I like red potatoes, or fingerlings with thin skins, but you could also use Yukon Golds)
2-3 stalks celery, chopped fine
Small red onion, chopped fine (or I use my pickled onions)
3-4 Tablespoons sweet relish from a jar
1 to 2 Tablespoons lightly chopped capers
¼ Cup Vegenaise mayonnaise (with the green cap)

Make your pickled onions the day before if you can, if using.
Make your French Dressing (see recipe below).

Cut well-scrubbed potatoes into bite-sized pieces, do not peel.
Place potatoes in cold water, add a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, and then continue at a low boil for about 8 minutes more.  Do not cook fully.  You should be able to pierce them with a fork but they shouldn’t fall apart.

Into a large bowl, put the celery, onions, chopped capers, sweet relish and Vegenaise, and mix.
Add French dressing to relish mixture and stir to combine.
Put hot potatoes into the dressing mixture and gently fold in with a wooden spoon until well mixed.
Serve immediately or chill and serve later.

Red French Dressing
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire (I like Wizard’s brand)
4-5 drops Tabasco
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon sweet basil
2 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I like Alessi brand from the supermarket, and it’s not expensive, and has different flavors)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced

Mix all dressing ingredients and shake well or use a cafe latte frother to emulsify dressing.  Chill until ready.
Notes:  Chris’ Mom also used radishes, which would make it even prettier.  This makes a lot, so it’s good to take somewhere.

Corn Tomato Salad with Herbs and Fresh Lime Juice

I got this recipe down on Tilghman Island at an outdoor party some years ago.  I took one bite and began asking around the crowd of strangers, “Who made the corn salad?”  Luckily, the kind woman did remember to mail me the recipe and I now have it to share with you.  I make this every summer.  It’s simple and healthy, and tastes amazing.  The lime juice is essential, and this is a great salad for company or a BBQ or buffet table because it just tastes better as it sits out.  You can also double it easily for a crowd.   This salad does justice to fresh corn in high season, and it’s also a great time to use those little cherry tomatoes and herbs from the garden.  Sauteeing the garlic and thyme mellows them out and the lime juice gives it a hint of acidity,  it’s just balanced.

Corn Tomato Salad with Herbs and Fresh Lime Juice

Serves 6

6 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance vegan butter
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus another set aside
1 garlic clove, pressed or crushed and minced
1 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1 bunch green onions, green portion only, thinly
  sliced on the diagonal
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

In a medium glass bowl, combine 1 Tablespoon of the oil, the lime juice, salt, pepper, sliced tomatoes, and chopped basil.  Set aside at room temperature.

Holding each ear of corn by its pointed end and steadying its stalk end in a large bowl, cut down along the ear with a sharp knife to strip off the kernels, turning the ear with each cut.
In a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat, heat the vegan butter and 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil until hot.
Add the garlic and saute, stirring constantly, 20 to 30 seconds.
Add corn and saute, stirring occasionally, just until tender, about 2 minutes.  Do not overcook the corn!
Add the thyme and green onions and saute for about 1 minute more. Transfer to a large metal or wooden (non-reactive) bowl.
Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.
Add tomato mixture, and stir to combine.
Serve immediately or at room temperature.
You can double this if you need to.  Serve at room temperature. Good the next day too, but let it sit out a bit to warm up before serving, or zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds if you’re in a hurry.

Vegan Macaroni Pasta Salad

This is a good, creamy Pasta Salad that would be great for a picnic or BBQ.  It’s easy and doesn’t take too long to make.  You can put any spin on this recipe that you like, and you can double it for a crowd.  p.s.  I think I grated my carrot a little too finely, because it’s not showing up well in this photo.


Serves:  at least 8, am not really sure yet

2 Cups uncooked macaroni noodles  (I like Field Day organic pastas)
1/2 Cup vegan mayonnaise (I like Reduced Fat Vegenaise with the yellow lid)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (yes, it does make a difference)
2 Tablespoons Dijon smooth mustard
2 Tablespoons sweet relish
1 level teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (not brewer’s yeast)
1 stalk celery, very finely diced
1/2 of a red bell pepper, very finely diced
1/2 of a small red onion, very finely diced (I used my pickled onion)
1/2 of a medium to large carrot, very finely grated
Optional additions could include a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of Old Bay Seasoning or celery salt, and a finish dusting of paprika.

Bring the pasta water to a boil.  Add a pinch of salt and the macaroni and cook according to package directions, for about 7 minutes or until al dente.  Rinse in cold water, drain, and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the vegan mayo, sugar, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, sweet relish and any other spices.  Add celery, carrot, red bell pepper and onion to the bowl, and mix.

Add the drained macaroni and combine gently but fully.  This is best chilled in the fridge for a few hours before serving.  Can be made the day before!

Note:  If you want this to taste like a Pennsylvania Amish macaroni salad, double the sugar.  Double this recipe to serve “a large crowd.”

Caesar Salad

I’ve been making a version of this salad for many years.  Back in the 1990’s, we dropped the anchovy because neither of us really liked the fishy taste (or look) of it.  The raw egg was not appetizing either, let alone the salmonella risk.  So, it was just a matter of switching to vegan parmesan and vegan worcestershire; a snap.  This is adapted from my battered old copy of Joy of Cooking, circa 1975.  The main thing I learned from this cookbook was to steep the garlic in the oil, as you can see from this original excerpt below.

     1 clove garlic; peeled and sliced
     1/2 cup olive oil: none other
for 24 hours.

I spotted and highlighted the words “24 hours” and after making it and eating it in restaurants for years, realized that this is the key to a good Caesar salad dressing.  You know how when you roast garlic, it mellows out that overly-pungent bite?  Well, when you steep raw garlic in olive oil for at least 24 hours, it also mellows it out, not to the extent that roasting does, but it takes the sharp edge off it.  Then your croutons are drizzled and sauteed with a bit of this mellowed out garlic oil, which renders them delicious.  This is better than the many mediocre restaurant Caesar salads you and I have both had in our day.  And since when did mayonnaise become part of a Caesar salad?  The ones in restaurants have a mucous-looking white cast to the dressing which is not appealing!  Here is a clean, classic, beautiful salad.  If you do want it a tiny bit creamier, however, you can substitute prepared (from the jar) Dijon mustard instead of the dry ground mustard, with very good results.  One final note is that store-bought croutons are seriously elevated by this technique, but I don’t buy any that are “Caesar” flavor because they’ve usually got a lot of garlic in them, and then there is invariably a faint stale odor and/or flavor to them.  Garlic goes rancid pretty quickly.  Happily, accidentally-vegan croutons are getting easier to find.  And I love those triple packs of organic romaine hearts, too.  Another surprise was how much better vegan Worcestershire tastes over the one with (rotting) anchovies in it.  Finally, here’s a little cut-and-paste about olive oil:   If you want to buy the best olive oil, look for organic extra virgin oil that is labeled “cold pressed” or, even better, “first cold pressed.”  Cold pressed means that the oil was not heated over a certain temperature (usually 80 degrees Fahrenheit) during processing, thus retaining more nutrients and undergoing less degradation. First cold pressed, which is of even higher quality than cold pressed, means that the oil was made with the first pressing of the olives.
Vegan Classic Caesar Salad

Serves 4

1 head romaine lettuce, or 2 romaine hearts
1 to 2 cloves garlic, pressed or crushed-and-chopped
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil (I like “first cold pressed”)
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard (or 1 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard)
1/2 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire (such as The Wizard’s brand)
The juice from one fresh lemon, or 1.5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar
1 bag (4 to 5 oz.) store-bought vegan croutons (or homemade)
1 to 2 tablespoons of vegan parmesan (there are several brands)

One or two days ahead of time, press or crush garlic to a fine consistency (I like to use a garlic press I’ve had for 15 years).  It is critical for flavor to prepare the garlic oil at least 24 hours ahead.
In a small glass jar, mix pepper, salt, mustard, vegan Worcestershire, lemon juice and vinegar, and refrigerate.
Wash romaine and drain well.  Wrap in a clean, lint-free dish towel and refrigerate in the crisper/vegetable drawer.

To prepare and serve:
Place 1/2 of garlic oil and all croutons in a sauce pan on low heat.
Stir croutons occasionally.  Don’t allow croutons to brown too much, just get them hot and only slightly more golden, and then turn off the heat.
By the tablespoon, add some or all of the remaining garlic oil to the lemon juice mixture, and blend well.  I usually don’t add all of the remaining oil, but you can.  I like to use a latte frother for all salad dressings because it blends them so well that they hold together for a long time.
When ready, add a tablespoon or two of the vegan parmesan to the croutons and stir to coat.
Mix cheesy croutons and dressing with romaine, gently toss well and SERVE IMMEDIATELY.  The salad will wilt if you wait!

Note:  If you have leftover garlic oil, you can simply add more plain olive oil to it and extend it’s volume for other salads or recipes.  It’s good to flavor pasta sauce, or to use in seitan, hummus or anything else you can think of.

Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad

Recently, I was wistful for a tuna sandwich.  Not that I would eat one, but it’s natural to miss something you used to eat without thinking about it.  Some of what we miss is that hit of protein, and texture.  By pulsing chickpeas lightly in the food processor, you get that flaky texture of canned tuna.  And to my surprise, this actually tastes a bit like tuna (without the fishy smell), and it’s delicious.  An added bonus is that this recipe will make you feel good.  Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) have all the essential amino acids that adults need, and are packed with protein and fiber.  Here’s a quote from the LiveStrong web site:  “The proteins found in garbanzo beans include all eight of the essential dietary amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. The only missing essential amino acid in garbanzo beans is histidine, which is necessary only for infants.”

The raw walnuts (which you cannot really taste) supplies the Omega 3 Fatty Acids.   The optional seaweed flakes give it a faint fish flavor.


Half quantity shown here, makes at least 4 servings or sandwiches.

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 Cup Reduced Fat Vegenaise (eggless mayonnaise)
½ medium-sized red bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1 carrot, grated fine (or pulsed to a grated consistency)
½ celery stalk, minced fine (or pulsed to a grated consistency)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion or shallot
2-3 Tablespoons sweet relish
½ C raw walnuts, chopped fine (or pulsed in food processor)
1.5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Dulse granules (seaweed flakes) (optional, for that faint fish flavor)

Rinse and drain chickpeas well.
Here, if you want to, you can pulse the carrot, celery and walnuts in the food processor, until fine.  Empty food processor and then process the chickpeas until they are a somewhat-fine flaky consistency. Do not over-process, or you’ll get hummus! The flakiness of the chickpeas resembles tuna in texture, which is important for this recipe.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir carrot/celery/walnut mixture with onion, relish, mustard, and mayo and seasonings (salt, pepper and optional seaweed flakes/granules).
Add flaked chickpeas and stir again to mix all well.  Chill until ready to serve.

Notes:  I use my Pickled Red Onions in this (and everything else).  Please note that this recipe (as you see it here) is halved.  A scoop of this would be good sitting in the middle of a green salad, or you could make vegan tuna melts with Daiya cheese, or stuff it into pita pockets, etc.

Kale Quinoa Salad with Spiced Lime Vinaigrette

This salad is so delicious and pretty and healthy; packed with fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, etc.  Kale is lower in oxalates than spinach, making the calcium it supplies easily absorbed.  Kale is one of the Dirty Dozen, so it’s important to buy organic.  Of course, the vinaigrette could be used on lots of other salads or even cold steamed vegetables, such as beets or green beans, etc.  And it’s flexible; you can use whatever vinegars or whatever you have in the house.  However, I think the spices and ingredients lend themselves to paler vinegars, as opposed to dark heavy ones.  To save time, I toasted the almonds and made the dressing the day before.  I washed and spun the kale, and made the quinoa in the morning, and it was a snap come dinner time; I just had to do the chiffonade.  p.s.  Keep in mind that you will only use 6 tablespoons or so of the vinaigrette, for two people.  You will have leftovers if only making salad for two people.  I’ll just make more salad tomorrow, and use any leftover kale in the juicer.
Kale Quinoa Salad with Spiced Lime Vinaigrette

Serves 2

1/4 C of dried cherries, chopped coarsely, rehydrated with water for 15 minutes, and then drained.
3 cups chiffonaded fresh, raw organic kale, rinsed, spun-dry and chilled
1 C cooked quinoa, chilled or room temperature
1 or 2 ounces of sliced almonds, toasted

For the Vinaigrette:
juice of one lime
3 T sherry wine vinegar
2 tsps fig-infused white balsamic vinegar, such as Alessi brand (inexpensive and available in my local grocery stores) (or any white balsamic)
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C canola oil
1/2 tsp fine sea salt (or 1/4 tsp, to taste)
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp curry powder

Whisk vinegars together in a medium bowl.
Slowly whisk in each of the oils.
Whisk or froth in all seasonings and spices.
Chill in a glass jar.
When you remove it from the fridge, whisk or froth again, and it will hold together better once chilled.

Toast sliced almonds under the broiler for a few minutes (watch closely).

Plunge organic raw kale in cold water and swish, and let drain.  If you have a salad spinner, spin it dry.  Dressing will cling a bit better if it’s dryYou can also put the kale in a clean cotton pillow case and swing it dry.

To chiffonade the kale, cut the thicker parts of the ribs out of kale with a sharp knife.  Then stack and roll kale leaves and slice thinly, so you wind up with thin ribbons of kale.

Note:  I think dried cranberries would also be good in this.

Roasted Beet Salad

I got this bunch of organic golden beets on the last day of the St. Michaels farmers market.  Found this recipe on epicurious, and gave it a try.  It’s delicious, and I recommend you do as I did; make the beets the day before and marinate them in the dressing, for a deeper flavor.  Then you can put the beets on top of the greens and sprinkle with the almonds.  I also eliminated the Asian pear, because vegetables are best absorbed into the body without fruit, and with all these other flavors going on, you don’t need it.  I made the recipe several times and found that sherry vinegar really added something special.  Other than that, I didn’t deviate from the recipe.  Beets have a healthy dose of folate, which helps prevent fatigue and depression.  Beets also supply a fair amount of magnesium and potassium for better blood pressure, along with some vitamin C and iron for healthy blood and stronger immunity.  And as you can see by this salad, they’re gorgeous.  Of course, red beets are fine for this salad, and you could also substitute canned beets to save time!   p.s. If the fresh beet greens/tops are in good shape, you can wash and cook them as you would any dark leafy greens.  I put a photo of the trimmed beets at the bottom of this posting, so you can see that you should leave about a half inch of the greens stems, and this way the beets will bleed out less nutrients as they cook.  Healthier and it makes less of a mess.  p.s.  If you have any leftover salad fixings, including the beets and the nuts, they are super excellent in a wrap with some hummus and sliced, sweet bell peppers.

Serves 4

1 bunch beets (3/4 pound without greens or 1 1/4 pound with), trimmed
1/4 cup sliced natural almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 minced shallot
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (my preference here)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups mâche or baby arugula (3 ounces)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Wrap beets in foil and roast in middle of oven until tender, 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. Unwrap beets and cool.

While beets are roasting, cook almonds in oil in a small skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden. Cool almonds in oil (nuts will get darker as they cool). Transfer almonds with a slotted spoon to a small bowl and season with salt.

Stir together shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and oil from almonds in a large bowl.

Slip skins from beets and halve large beets. If you decide to chop your beets, remember to reserve four pretty beet slices; one to garnish the top of each salad.  Otherwise, cut beets into 1/4-inch-thick slices and add to dressing, tossing to coat.  Now you can marinate the beets in the fridge until you are ready to assemble your salad.

Arrange mache or arugula on a platter and top with beets and then sprinkle with almonds.  Drizzle with any dressing remaining in bowl.

Note:  Beets may be roasted and tossed with dressing 1 day ahead, then chilled and covered. Almonds can also be made the day before, and then chilled.  Bring almonds and dressing/beets to room temperature before using.

Timatar Ka Salad (Indian Tomato Salad)

I love Indian food, and want to work on building up a repertoire of dishes to make at home.  This simple tomato salad has one major requirement, in my opinion;  use only freshly picked tomatoes from the garden or your farmers market.  I don’t eat “fresh” (raw) tomatoes in winter, because they taste like cardboard.  The tomatoes in this photo are of the Cherokee Purple variety and that’s why they’re not the traditional bright red.  If you’re like me, you’ve got a lot of late tomatoes right now and need to use them up before the bounty of summer gets hit by the first frost.  This recipe is from the cookbook Quick and Easy Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey.  This was a book I bought BV (before veganism) but I kept it when I was culling all my old cookbooks because many Indian recipes are either already vegan or easily adapted to be so.  Maybe some of this has to do with Hinduism which holds the principle of nonviolence (ahimsa) in very high regard.  There is a conviction that eating other sentient beings as food is detrimental for the mind and body and spiritual development.  So, if you’re looking for a vegan restaurant meal, sometimes you’ll have good luck at Indian restaurants.  The one caveat is that many Indians are ovo-lacto vegetarians and so they do consume dairy and butter (ghee) and eggs, so you must request your meal to be vegan.  But many vegans find understanding and warmth at Indian restaurants, and many modern-day Indian restaurants are vegan also!  On with the recipe:

Serves 4-6

1.5 lbs. tomatoes
fresh basil leaves (or cilantro or mint leaves)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T peanut oil  and  1 T mustard oil  (or substitute grapeseed oil)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (not ground cumin)
1/2 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds (not ground)

-Cut tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices and arrange in slightly overlapping layers on a large plate.
-Tuck the basil (or cilantro or mint) leaves in the center.
-Sprinkle the salt, black pepper, cayenne and lemon juice over the tomatoes, avoiding the leaves.
-Put the oil in a small saucepan and set over high heat.
-When oil is hot, put in cumin and mustard seeds.
-As soon as mustard seeds being to pop (this takes a few seconds), lift the saucepan off the heat and spoon the oil and spices over the tomatoes, being careful to avoid the leaves.
-Serve immediately.

Thousand Island Salad Dressing

    So popular in 1950’s America, Thousand Island Dressing has made a comeback in the ensuing decades.  Here’s a simple version that takes 5 minutes or less to whip up.  Make it ahead of time though, so you can served it chilled on crisp, cold wedges of iceberg lettuce.
Vegan Thousand Island Dressing

1 C vegan mayonnaise, such as Vegenaise brand
½ C organic ketchup
1 T sweet relish
2 t dill relish
1 t mustard
¼ tsp Buttermilk Ranch dressing base (from Penzey’s, it’s vegan)


Mix all and chill.
Makes at least 2-4 servings.
Note: If you don’t have the Penzey’s seasoning, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of onion powder, etc.   Optional:  you could also add 1/8 tsp cayenne and one teaspoon of minced capers, but it’s great as is too.