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Mediterranean Couscous Salad

26 Oct

Couscous is a relative of pasta, and is commonly made with semolina (durum wheat), though it is sometimes made with farina, pearl barley, millet or cornmeal. It is typically steamed, resulting in a light, fluffy texture, and is popular in various cuisines including North African, French and Mediterranean (source).

Aside from providing 6g protein per 1-cup serving, couscous also provides dietary fiber, iron, magnesium and vitamin B6 (source).

This light Mediterranean Couscous Salad features two kinds of couscous, chickpeas, vegetables, shallot and fresh dill, and is further enhanced with the addition of marinade from the artichokes.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

1/2 cup Israeli couscous
1/2 cup instant couscous
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 (7.5-ounce) jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, chopped with 1/2 cup liquid reserved
1/2 medium cucumber, chopped
1/2 large shallot, minced
2-3 tablespoons minced fresh dill

Prepare couscous according to manufacturer’s directions. Set aside and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, mix together remaining ingredients (including reserved 1/2 cup artichoke liquid). Add cooled couscous and stir to combine.

Pesto Pasta Salad

30 Jun

Pasta salad is an excellent way to incorporate various vitamins and minerals into your diet. You can include whatever vegetables you want and then smother it all in your dressing of choice. Having been raised with Italian dressing on my pasta salad, I grew tired of it and wanted to try something new. Enter pesto. The result is a burst of flavor that accents the various vegetables included within and makes for an excellent, refreshing salad you can enjoy on any spring or summer day.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad
Yields approximately 8-10 cups

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
1 (12-ounce) box farfalle pasta (or pasta of choice)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper or seasoning of choice
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts marinated in water, drained and chopped
1 (10.5-ounce) container cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
1 (8-ounce) bag fresh broccoli, separated into small florets
3/4 cup extra-large black olives, halved

Pesto:
3 ounces fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 medium cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 rounded teaspoon salt (adding more to taste)

Begin with tofu by pressing out excess liquid. You may either use a tofu press or wrap the tofu in cloth or paper towels and place a heavy item, such as a plate or two, on top and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes.

While tofu is being pressed, prepare pasta according to manufacturer’s directions. Drain, set aside and allow to cool completely.

Prepare pesto by first processing basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add olive oil and salt, and continue processing another 10-15 seconds, or until oil is incorporated. Set aside.

Slice pressed tofu into small cubes. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add tofu in a single layer and fry until golden brown on all sides. Season with salt and pepper, or the seasoning of your choice (I use a chicken-style seasoning). Set aside on a paper towel-covered plate in order to remove excess oil. Allow to cool.

Once pasta and tofu have cooled, combine with prepared pesto and remaining ingredients.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Ethiopian Chickpea Salad

9 May

In Ethiopian culture, fasting is common on various days of the week and during certain times of the year. During their fasts, Ethiopians refrain from consuming animal fats, which is one of the reasons why their cuisine is so veg-friendly. Utilizing legumes and vegetables seasoned with various spices, many these dishes are referred to as wat, a curry or stew-like dish. Because silverware isn’t common in Ethiopian culture, wat is scooped up with a type of sourdough flatbread called injera (source).

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are often used in Ethiopian cuisine and are one of the earliest cultivated legumes. Ethiopia is currently the sixth largest producer of these legumes and most commonly uses them in wat and salads (source). One cup cooked chickpeas provides 13% DV Potassium, 48% Fiber, 30% Protein, 26% Iron, 10% Vitamin B6 and 19% Magnesium (source).

This simple Ethiopian Chickpea Salad is light and refreshing, and makes for an excellent side dish to any meal.

Ethiopian Chickpea Salad

Ethiopian Chickpea Salad

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, approximately 1 minute. Remove shallots from pan.

Heat remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil in pan and add chickpeas, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Place remaining ingredients in a bowl and add shallots and cooled chickpeas. Stir to combine.

Product Review and Recipe: Lilly’s Hummus

3 Mar

Lilly's HummusHailing from Portland, OR, Lilly’s Hummus began when owner Lilly whipped up some hummus for a dinner party. Well-received by her guests, she began selling her hummus at a local farmer’s market and the rest is history. Now available nationwide, Lilly’s Hummus provides eight different flavors featuring hand-roasted vegetables. Flavors include Original, Black Bean, Cracked Pepper, Kalamata Olive, Roasted Garlic, Roasted Jalapeño, Roasted Red Pepper, and Smoked Tomato and Basil. If these don’t sound delicious enough to convince you, Lilly’s products are all free of animal products, gluten and GMOs.

Lilly’s Hummus generously provided four flavors for me to try: Black Bean, Cracked Pepper, Roasted Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper. It has often been my experience that many types of hummus I try, have too much oil or tahini — but not Lilly’s! I could easily eat this stuff with a spoon. Not too salty with nice, mild notes, I feel that any of these hummus flavors could accompany a variety of savory dishes in perfect harmony.

Lilly's Black Bean Hummus Black Bean Hummus
Perhaps my favorite flavor and very popular among those whom I let try it, Lilly’s Black Bean Hummus features not only the star ingredients, black beans, but also roasted jalapeños and red peppers, in addition to smoked tomatoes which give it a nice, sweet undertone. When I eat this hummus, it reminds me of refried black beans mixed with a little salsa and lightened with a touch of sweetener. I envision this hummus pairing well with a variety of Hispanic-inspired dishes.

Lilly's Cracked Pepper Hummus Cracked Pepper Hummus
Lilly’s Cracked Pepper Hummus has a nice, mellow flavor with just enough cracked pepper to taste, but not so much that it is overpowering. Cracked pepper is easy to overdo, but Lilly’s got it right. This hummus, having more of a neutral flavor could be paired with nearly any savory dish your heart desires.

Lilly's Roasted Garlic Hummus Roasted Garlic Hummus
Being the big garlic fan that I am, I was excited to try Lilly’s Roasted Garlic Hummus. It has a light garlic flavor that could go perfectly with any vegetable or savory chip of your choosing. If it were up to me though, I would add just a touch more roasted garlic to kick it up a notch. This hummus is a close second in the running for my favorite Lilly’s Hummus.

Lilly's Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Perfect for you bell pepper fans out there, Lilly’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is her most flavorful hummus I have tried. Providing a fresh, natural red bell pepper flavor, this hummus is very pleasing and is sure to satisfy any cravings you may have. I can see it being enjoyed with a variety of Hispanic or Mediterranean dishes that would benefit from an added level of flavor.

Check out the recipe below for Mediterranean Vegetable Salad featuring Lilly’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Accompanied by fresh basil, this salad  is full of flavor. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Mediterranean Vegetable Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

6 cups water
1 bulb fresh fennel, white part only, washed and chopped
2 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned and cubed
2 small zucchini, washed and cubed
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained and minced
1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (optional)
1/2 cup Lilly’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus*
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Place water in a 4-quart pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add fennel, mushrooms and zucchini and boil for 1-3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to halt cooking process. Set aside, allowing to cool completely.

Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooled vegetables and stir to combine.

* Lilly’s has multiple flavors of hummus that are delicious in this recipe. If you’re not feeling roasted red bell peppers, try Lilly’s Cracked Pepper or Roasted Garlic Hummus.

___

NOTE: The products noted above were free samples provided by Lilly’s Hummus, which has no affiliation with Vegan Food Addict. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely that of Vegan Food Addict and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

Curried Chick’n Salad with Roasted Pine Nuts and Dried Cranberries

12 Jul

Introducing…Anne Marie!

Anne Marie (bootiemcgee) is a fellow vegan food addict who has been vegan since 2008. As a personal trainer with a master’s degree in public health, she brings to the table an additional perspective on food and the health knowledge to back it up. Please welcome Anne Marie to the Vegan Food Addict team and check out her version of Curried Chick’n Salad below!

Chik'n Curry Salad on Toast

Curried Chick’n Salad with Roasted Pine Nuts and Dried Cranberries

10 ounces of your favorite chicken substitute, shredded or chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (I recommend Gardein Chick’n Scallopini or Gardein Chick’n Strips) (can also use extra firm tofu, well-drained, patted dry and cubed)
3-5 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup water
1 large stalk celery, diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts or other nut of choice, roughly chopped and pan-toasted
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar or sweetener of choice
1-1/2 tablespoons high-temperature oil (i.e. refined coconut oil or vegetable oil)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1-1/2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
1/2-1 teaspoon dried cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (use ground if you don’t have the seeds)
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (use ground if you don’t have the seeds)

Add oil to a pan in a dollop (don’t spread it out) and turn heat to medium.

When oil is hot, add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek, turmeric, ginger, and curry powder to the oil, and toast spices for 1 minute (don’t allow to burn, take pan off of heat if spices start to burn, and turn heat down).

Add your shredded or diced mock-chicken, or tofu to the pan, stir or toss to coat with spices.

Add sugar to the pan, then add the water, stir well and cover to allow the spices and water to absorb, about 2 minutes. Then, taste and add some salt to your liking.

Remove lid and turn up heat to high, allowing the protein to caramelize on some surfaces.

Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and chill in either the freezer or the fridge depending on your time schedule (don’t let it freeze, you just want it cold).

Once chilled, add the celery, cranberries, nuts and mayonnaise by the tablespoon, adding more based on your preference of creaminess, mixing well, and adding salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

Serve on toasted bread or crackers, or wrap up in crisp lettuce. Bon Apetit!

Curried “Chicken” Salad

15 Jun

Follow Your HeartFollow Your Heart is perhaps best known for their Vegenaise®, a deliciously creamy vegan mayonnaise. The perfect substitute for dairy-laden mayo, I can hardly tell the difference between the two. Vegenaise® is to vegans as Hellmann’s is to non-vegans. Do you catch my drift?

Reduced Fat Vegenaise® offers nearly the same taste and texture as the Original, except it has a slightly more lemon-like flavor, which definitely isn’t a bad thing. It spreads wonderfully and makes an excellent substitution for regular mayo in nearly any recipe (including my ranch recipe) should you be looking to reduce your caloric intake. Reduced Fat Vegenaise® has half the calories and almost half the fat of the Original, thanks to being made with flax seed and olive oils. What’s more, this gluten and dairy-free mayo is also made from non-GMO soy!

The following recipe utilizes tofu which has been frozen then thawed, creating a nice, chewy texture. Excellent as a standalone dish or as part of a sandwich or wrap, this salad has just enough kick to provide an exciting flavor, full of creamy goodness.

Curried "Chicken" Salad Sandwich

Curried “Chicken” Salad

1 (14-ounce) container extra-firm tofu, frozen then thawed
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds
3/4 cup non-dairy mayonnaise (I used Reduced Fat Vegenaise®)
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh cracked black pepper
canola oil for the pan

Drain tofu and wrap in cloth or paper towels. Weigh down with something heavy (such as a couple of plates) for 20-30 minutes in order to remove as much water as possible.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Prepare baking sheet by lightly greasing with oil; set aside.

Coarsely chop tofu and spread evenly on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle/spray with more oil, then bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, dry-toast almonds in a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring often. Once almonds begin to turn golden brown, after 3-5 minutes, remove from heat.

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl and serve as desired.

NOTE: The Vegenaise® used in this recipe was a free sample provided by Follow Your Heart. The views and opinions expressed herein are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

Germanesque Potato Salad

31 Jul

Summer is in full swing and picnics are at their peak. And what picnic is complete without potato salad? While the traditional American version contains eggs and mayonnaise, the German version contains bacon and vinegar. A combination of the two with the addition of mustard and artichoke hearts makes for a savory dish sure to satisfy your palate.

German Potato salad

Germanesque Potato Salad

1-1/2 pounds baby red potatoes
1-1/2 pounds baby yellow potatoes
1 (13.5-ounce) can artichoke hearts marinated in water
3/4 cup imitation mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise)
4 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup tofaken, chopped (recipe here)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 rounded teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Rinse and scrub potatoes thoroughly then cut into 1 inch pieces. Place in a large pot of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for approximately 5-10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and discard liquid, then rinse potatoes with cold water and set aside until completely cooled.

Meanwhile, drain artichoke hearts and squeeze out excess water. Chop and place in a large bowl along with remaining ingredients. Add cooled potatoes and gently mix until coated. Cover and refrigerate for one hour, allowing flavors to distribute.

Mixed Bean and Vegetable Salad

22 Jun

Beans, which are naturally low in fat, are packed with vitamins and minerals such as calcium, fiber, iron, potassium and protein. Studies have shown that they can help reduce cholesterol and stabilize blood pressure, and even help prevent cancer and heart disease! Aside from the health facts, there is something about beans and veggies mixed with cilantro and a refreshing dressing that leaves me craving more. Also known as “Mexican Caviar,” this dish is perfect for spring and summer picnics.

Mixed Bean & Vegetable Salad

Mixed Bean and Vegetable Salad

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans
1 (15.5-ounce) can great northern beans
1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Pour beans into a colander and rinse with cold water until water runs clear; set aside. Combine lime juice, olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Add beans, vegetables, onion and cilantro, and mix until combined.

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