Saturday, June 28, 2008

Blurry tasty

This cabbage salad was another hit at the barbeque. Three people asked me for the recipe, in fact. It is a simple one, and comes together right quick if you have a food processor, and it looks great served in a secondhand soup pot.


I did serve it in this pot. And people loved it. Here's the recipe:

Yield: 1 massive pot full, enough for a billion servings

1 head red cabbage
1 head green cabbage
1 bunch green onions
2 packages of oriental flavor ramen
1/2 C oil (you could tone thins down I bet)
1/2 C sugar
1 /2 c white vinegar
seasoning packets from ramen

shred the cabbage and green onion in a food processor
smash ramen noodles (right in the packaging, if you like)
mix dressing ingredients
mix all in giant container
allow to sit, refrigerated, several hours if possible- it tastes best when it has had time to settle

Party time

I have come to the conclusion that, while special food is a critical part of most celebrations, disease-promoting food is not. My current feeling is that there are a million ways to make special food for special occasions without sacrificing the nurtient-density whatsoever. Or at least muchsoever. One way to show the ones you love how much you care is to make foods that take an exorbitant amount of time to prepare. This watermelon bowl (which would have had scalloped edges if I had been in the mood to spend ten hours on the thing instead of just five) took a lot of time, but when we took it to the primary barbeque on Thursday, it was the most appealing thing on the table. Who would want a hotdog when they could have beautiful, perfect watermelon and cantaloupe balls with strawberries?

Not even I.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Moroccan Tagine

This easy and surprisingly delicious Moroccan bean dish calls for one exotic ingredient: preserved lemon. Jami says preserved lemon is as ubiquitous in Morocco as ketchup is here, but you will need to go to a specialty ethnic store to get it. Specialty ethnic stores also sell spices for next to nothing and often feature eager salespeople who will want to tell you about how to cook delicious, high-calorie foods that are popular in their country, so it will be worth your trip. Go, get yourself some preserved lemon and a good chat. And then come home and make this easy peasy recipe that everyone likes.

3/4 c chickpeas, soaked and cooked until tender
tiny bit of oil (a tsp or two)
1 large onion
1 clove garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
a bit of cliantro
1/4 preserved lemon, flesh removed, skin sliced into strips

saute the onion and garlic until browned
add cooked chickpeas, cumin and tomatoes
cook until almost entirely reduced
add preserved lemon and cilantro

See? Easy and super duper healthy. Beans for everyone.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Asian Noodle Salad

Thanks to Kristin, who recommended this delicious salad recipe. In order to make it low-calorie enough, I had to doctor the dressing recipe quite a bit (and it was still higher in sodium than I normally allow, but, hey, you gotta live a little...), so you can check out my adaptation below. All in all, it was really great and definitely something I could take to a summer potluck without anyone knowing instantly what a freaky zealot I am.

Asian Noodle Salad

shredded red and green (or napa) cabbage
thinly sliced yellow and orange bell peppers
mung bean sprouts
a bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped
a bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
whole wheat rotini

soy sauce
brown sugar (or honey)
coupla garlic cloves, pressed
a hunk of ginger, minced
juice of a lime or two
a bit of a jalapeno, minced
orange juice, to dilute the saltiness
a coupla tablespoons sesame oil
a coupla tablespoons olive oil

Sorry no measurements, but you can pretty much follow your heart. When I make it again, I will just mix together all the healthy stuff and then add just enough of the oil, soy sauce and sugar to make it fly.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I didn't take this picture, as you can probably surmise from the fact that it is a decent photo. I wanted to take a picture of the tabbouleh I made a couple days ago, but I accidentally ate it all. But it looked quite a bit like this one, and was very, you guessed it, nutrient dense. And it was pretty good. I loosely followed the recipe out of the Moosewood cookbook (see previous post) and it worked well. I, naturally, added only a tablespoon of oil when she called for a quarter cup, but it was still good, and served it over a HUGE PILE OF LETTUCE. Man, I just love lettuce SO MUCH.


1 c dry bulgur wheat
1 1/2 c boiling h2o
dash salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 c lemon juice
1 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 green onions, minced
1 bunch parsley, minced
15 mint leaves, minced
2 medium tomatoes, dices
1 cucumber, diced
(you could also add green bell pepper and chickpeas, but I was done dicing)

Combine the bulgur with the boiling water, cover and let sit for a half hour, until soft.
Meanwhile, combine all the dressing ingredients (everything but the veggies) and cut the veggies
When the bulgur is soft, add the dressing and let sit a half hour or so
Add veggies
Pile of lettuce
Put in face

Good tasting, bad looking

This is one of those recipes that shouldn't taste as good as it, miraculously, does. It is Jami's recipe, but she seems to be having trouble finding time to post, so I'll just do it for her!

It's healthy. It's easy. It looks sick. Try it anyway. You'll be pleasantly surprised*


2 C dry garbanzo beans
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 package sliced button mushrooms
1 shredded carrot
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 TBS horseradish
2 TBS lemon juice
2 tsp yellow mustard

In a crock pot, cook the beans for 6 hours or so (submerged under several inches of water). When they are very soft, strain them and add the other ingredients. Let them sit for fifteen minutes or so, until the mushrooms are soft. That's it.

*You'll be surprised at how good it tastes for really super healthy vegan food. You may not be pleasantly surprised if you expect it to taste like a cheeseburger.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Found a Peanut

I think it's fun how any recipe that involves peanuts gets to be treated as though it originated in Thailand. I got the idea for this Thai-style salad out of the Moosewood cookbook, a good standby, and it was pretty good. The trouble, per usual, is finding just the right low-calorie dressing. For this salad, I used this peanut sauce recipe and then added half a package of silken tofu and gave it a whizz in the VitaMix, and it was ok. Quite good, but could have used less vinegar and, if you're feelin' frisky, more sugar. If anyone has a fabulous peanut sauce/dressing recipe they stand by, they are encouraged to share it.

I did not photograph the salad as it was housed in a tupperware larger than a shoebox and it didn't look so much good as just huge. Come to think of it, I should have posted the picture to show you how serious I am about lettuce. To give you an idea, I was in the process of eating the salad, with no significant breaks, for two hours. It takes so much salad to make a person full, especially when that person went to Jazzercise earlier that day.

Thai Peanut Salad

peanut dressing*
shredded romaine
shredded carrot
chopped cucumber
sprouts of some kind
chopped red pepper
diced tofu, cooked (I froze mine and then microwaved it, per the instructions of the fellow who provided the dressing recipe, and it was spongetastic and really dry. I'm going to try microwaving without freezing next time).

* Missy was kind enough to contribute her peanut sauce recipe, which looks delicious. The ingredients are a little rich, so I am hoping it will still taste good when I make it with light coconut milk and leave out the oil! I know I gotta try it though, because she was so emphatic that she looooooooooves it! For other ideas about how to use this sauce, check out her comment.

just whir together 3/4 c. coconut milk, 1/2 c. peanut butter, 2 cloves garlic, 1 1/2 t. curry powder, 1 1/2 t. brown sugar, 1 T. fresh lime juice, 1 T. canola oil, 1 1/2 T. soy sauce.

Taco salad and knock-off dressing

In an unending effort to come up with New! Delicious! Low-Fat! salad ideas, today I got real ambitious. We all know that the essential component of a palatable salad is good salad dressing, and we also all know that good salad dressing contains fat and sugar in abundance. Take, for example, my most preferred dressing, the house dressing at Cafe Rio. I'm sure it has 200 calories per teaspoon, but that stuff turns a salad into...I don't know, but something really good tasting. At any rate, I can't go around consuming Cafe Rio's dressing, but I can try to use their salad as a starting point for a healthier and appealing (though not decadent) salad of my own. This recipe may benefit from some tweaking.

Cilantro-lime ranch dressing
1 recipe tofu mayo from Clean Vegan
1/2 packet Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet (this may have been too much, it came out real ranchey)
1 cup soy-buttermilk (add a teaspoon or so of lemon juice (or vinegar) to the soymilk and it will curdle in a minute or two)
the end of a jalapeno (I didn't add enough and couldn't taste it)
a small handful cilantro
juice of 1/2 a lime

Taco salad
shredded romaine
chopped bell peppers (I used yellow)
shredded carrots
chopped tomatoes
diced avocado
chopped green onion
1 can black beans and 2 cans kidney beans cooked in juice with 1/2 packet of taco seasoning until thickened

When I made this salad again the next day out of the leftovers, I cut up and entire mango and put it on top of everything and it really livened things up. Oh, and made it really gorgeous. So, if you're willing to work with mangoes, they make a great addition.

It came out well, but still needs a bit of help. I still thought it was worth posting as a great idea for a change of pace in the salad world. I am also a little bit embarrassed at having used not one but TWO seasoning packets containing msg and other unmentionables. Forgive me.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Welcome to my Overripe Banana Factory

Adopting a vegan or nearly-vegan diet requires a person to begin thinking of food in three categories which, conveniently, all being with the same letter: salads, soups, and smoothies. Life will be easier if you allow these three categories to become your go-to for food, otherwise it is easy to become bogged down trying to veganize your previous go-to dishes.

It is smoothies I would like to discuss today. Smoothies are incredibly nutritious if they are devoid of adulterants, and they are also delicious and easy. One trick I have learned to make them even more delicious and easy is having on-hand a large quantity of pre-frozen overripe bananas. They taste less bananaey and sweeter, and, when frozen, make the smoothie thicker and creamier. When I go to the store I pick up two or three bunches of bananas and then let them get nice and spotty on the counter before peeling (this is essential, as any of us who have tried to peel an unpeeled frozen banana can attest) and freezing them. If you have a child who is able to eat two or three bunches in a day, I don't know what to tell ya.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Smoky Refried Bean soup a la FFVK a la Rob

Many thanks to Rob for his contribution of such a nutritious recipe and accompanying photo. I have tried several of the recipes on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen myself and have found them to be hit or miss, so it's great to have it on good authority that this one is great!

I stole this "Smoky Refried Bean Soup" from fat free vegan kitchen, with a couple of little touches of my own. It's a delicious, and I mean delicious, chili-like soup, great for rainy days, and keeps well in the fridge if you make too much. I haven't made it for a little while but here goes.

Ingredients necessary:

1 large onion, chopped
3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
15 ounces fatfree refried beans
15 ounces black beans, cooked
1 cup frozen corn kernels (obvs could be fresh)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 - 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon hot sauce (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

First, put a little oil of your choice in a large saucepan, and sauteƩ the onions until they are golden brown. Add the garlic and bell peppers, and cook for about a minute to let the flavors blend. Add, then, the other ingredients. If you want to halve the recipe, it works perfectly for two large bowls of soup (it's a great date meal because it is delicious enough to be impressive, but only takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish, especially if you do the chopping and mincing beforehand. ) Otherwise it makes 4 large bowls of soup. Cook all of the ingredients for 20 to 30 minutes. The beans and corn kill the chili powder pretty well, so don't worry too much about going overboard with it unless you are very averse to spiciness. I haven't tried it with Mexican Oregano but it allegedly makes it even tastier, which i find hard to believe.

Another addition that I like to make is tortilla strips. They're easy to make and a good way to use the time while the soup is cooking. I take Mission Corn Tortillas (I'm like 99% sure they have no trans fat/hydrogenated oils but I don't have a pack in front of me to confirm it, otherwise substitute for your favorite brand/ home made corn tortillas) and cut then into 1/8 inch strips. 5 or six tortillas makes enough strips for 4 bowls of soup. After cutting them, place them, all together, in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil in it, or nothing in it if you are that courageous- it's certainly possible, but much easier to burn them. Fry them, stirring quickly, until they are curling up and look golden brown on both sides. Place them on a paper towel to cool for a bit, when you are done with them, the soup should generally be done as well. Throw a handful into each bowl, and voila!

Gourmet veggie only soup. I've gotten rave reviews on this soup from everyone, even strict carnivores, and it's a great choice for when you are feeling lazy and just want to have something good and fast. Microwave leftovers for lunch the next day.

FFVK says: "Makes 4 large servings. Per serving: 257 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (4% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 895mg Sodium; 14g Fiber"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Prefab Greek Salad

In an effort to increase the ease of eating salads and decrease their caloric density, I submit to you the prefab salad. The idea is to concoct a mix of cooked beans and chopped veggies and marinate them in a low-calorie dressing of some kind. Then, when it's salad time, you just slop a couple cups of prefab on your bed of pre-shredded greens, and you got yerself an easy salad. The greek variety is one of my favorites, and here is what I put in it today:

2 cans garbanzos (a better woman would have soaked and cooked her own)
2 roma tomatoes
1 cucumber
1/2 can black olives
1/2 of one red onion, minced
a couple tablespoons of Girard's Greek Feta Vinaigrette, watered down with
1/2 c or so red wine vinegar

Annie's Naturals goddess dressing

this salad dressing is really delicious. it is also a million calories per serving. for some, this will be a dealbreaker, but i have used the following rationale to justify continued use: the bulk of the calories come from tahini, which, as a seed paste, is a fuhrman-friendly whole food when consumed modestly. if i want to use this dressing, i just make sure i am not pounding avocados and pecans during the rest of the day. also, i have had success watering it down with soymilk (just a little, hopefully not enough to kill myself), and i find i actually prefer it that way.

i just found this opportunity, which makes the dressing very affordable, in case anyone is interested in commercial-sized bottles :)


this book has a million great recipes and is easily my favorite cookbook. the current Amazon price of $18.00 is, in my opinion, a steal. some of the recipes are a bit time-consuming, but they are great for a special occasion or if you have to feed folks who aren't used to eating 800 calories a day.


i use this thing every day and derive no end of satisfaction from creating one million identical cubes of something in fifteen seconds. great for chopping veggies for salads or soups. check it out at williams sonoma, or try to find a cheaper one elsewhere (we used a gift card for ours, i don't make a routine practice of purchasing kitchen implements at williams sonoma).

Salad Container

this little baby is my best friend. it is a giant container i got at ikea and it holds three heads, or nearly a week's worth around here, of chopped/shredded lettuce. i find having the greens already prepared makes me far more inclined to slam some stuff on top of them and eat egregious amounts.

Welcome, SOS

it seems silly for each of us to compile separate caches of recipes and ideas when we are all trying to do the exact same thing, so i hoped this would enable us to share the really good stuff we figure out with each other. feel free to post about any recipes you try, blogs you locate, books you read, products you can't live without, techniques you learn (any sprouters in the crowd?) etc.

my only request is that we keep this blog clean. it's so easy to find vegan blogs that have more recipes for cupcakes than they do salads and, frankly, i've never had trouble finding treats in this world. what i need is more ideas for how to keep nutritious eating simple and pleasant. thanks, women. i hope this helps!