Tag Archives: salt

Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

3 Aug

Garlic is perhaps one of the most popular seasonings used to flavor savory dishes, and just the sheer aroma alone is enough to make your mouth water. A relative to the onion, garlic is low in calories and free of fat, cholesterol and sugar (source). Want to know more? Check out my All About Garlic post.

When garlic is roasted, its pungency is reduced while its flavor is brought to the forefront. This makes it an excellent inclusion for sandwiches and wraps. In addition, you can kick up your salads by incorporating garlic into your dressings. Check out this recipe for Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing. Almonds lend themselves to this recipe by providing a nice, creamy consistency, all while providing a healthy dose of potassium, dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron and magnesium (source).

Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing
Yields approximately 1-1/2 cups

1/2 cup whole blanched unsalted almonds
1 cup + 3/4 cup filtered water, divided
1 bulb fresh garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place almonds in a bowl and cover with 1 cup filtered water. Set aside and allow to soak for 8 hours, or overnight.

After almonds have soaked, preheat oven to 400° F. Cut off top quarter of garlic bulb and place on a piece of aluminum foil approximately 12″ by 12″ in size. Drizzle garlic with olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake garlic, cut side up, in preheated oven for 40-60 minutes, depending on flavor preference. Remove and allow to cool. Garlic should be very fragrant and golden brown in color. Once cooled, squeeze garlic cloves out of their skins and place in the bowl of a blender.

Drain and discard water from almonds. Add soaked almonds, 3/4 cup fresh filtered water and remaining ingredients to blender and puree until smooth, approximately 30-90 seconds, depending on your type of blender.

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

Product Review and Recipe: Tyrrells English Chips

22 Jun

Tyrrell's English ChipsSometimes when I have a craving for salt the easiest and most satisfying thing (albeit not the healthiest) to eat is a bag of chips. There is something about their light, crispy texture that leaves me wanting more. Here’s an interesting fact if you didn’t already know: what we refer to as “chips,” the English refer to as “crisps.” Luckily for us, Tyrrells English Chips, based out of Leominster, Herefordshire in the UK, have kindly used the word “chips” on their U.S. packaging to prevent any confusion. Offering hand cooked potato chips and mixed vegetable chips, Tyrrells USA currently offers five flavors that are completely plant-based.

Tyrrells leaves the skins on their spuds which provides more fiber. The potatoes are then thick-cut and cooked in small batches, spun in their Big Spinny Thing™ to remove excess oil, and finally tossed with their special seasonings, none of which are artificial (source). The result is a crispy chip with a pleasant amount of flavor. This company has some spunk and I like it. A quick look at their website alone was enough to convince me!

Oddly enough I have not had the opportunity to try Tyrrells English Chips until now, even though they are sold in stores all over the United States. So, without further ado, here is my review of their five plant-based potato chip flavors:

Tyrrells Lightly Sea Salted Chips Lightly Sea Salted
These chips are exactly as described. With just a touch of salt, Tyrrells Lightly Sea Salted chips have less sodium than your typical bag of chips. In fact, 1 ounce of these chips provides 70mg sodium, whereas the same serving of another popular brand has a whopping 170mg! If you want to have your chips and eat them too, this would be the flavor to choose.

Tyrrells Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar Chips Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar
Tyrrells lovingly describes their Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar chips as having a “burly kick,” and boy, do they! With three kinds of vinegar seasoning these chips, they are sure to please any vinegar-lover and would go excellent alongside something sweet. I envision these chips being crumbled atop a fresh salad with sweet dressing.

Tyrrells Sweet Chili & Red Pepper Chips Sweet Chili & Red Pepper
I was expecting these chips to be too hot for my sensitive tongue, given that they contain cayenne pepper and jalapeño chili pepper, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they give off just a slight kick as an after-note. With just a touch of sweetness to accent the slight kick, I find this flavor to have a nice balance of sweet, salty and sassy.

Tyrrells Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper Chips Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
Black pepper is often the more dominant flavor in a chip, but these chips provide a nice balance of salt and pepper and are perhaps my favorite of the bunch. These Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper chips compliment any sandwich or soup, and even have the most protein out of the five flavors I’ve tried: 6.3g per serving to be exact!

Tyrrells Veg Chips Veg Chips
Rather than using traditional potatoes, Tyrrells uses beetroot, carrots and parsnips for this version of their chips. With only 5 ingredients total (including the aforementioned vegetables), these Veg Chips are slightly sweet with a bit more salt than the rest; 170mg per serving, to be exact. I prefer a little less sodium but that doesn’t mean these chips are any less tasty.

Potato chips are becoming increasingly popular in recipes and serve as an excellent stand-in for salt, breading and toppings. Fashioned after traditional shortbread but reminiscent of Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cookies, these light and airy Potato Chip Pillow Cookies utilize Tyrrells Lightly Sea Salted Chips and are sure to satisfy your sweet (and salty) tooth.

Potato Chip Pillow Cookies

Potato Chip Pillow Cookies
Yields approximately 14-16 (2-1/2 inch) cookies

1/2 (5.3-ounce) bag Tyrrells Lightly Sea Salted Chips
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 cups solid butter-flavored vegetable shortening
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Pour chips into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until thoroughly crumbled. Combine with flour and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Add flour mixture and stir on low until combined.

Scoop mixture out onto a clean, flat, lightly floured work surface and roll out until 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 2-1/2 inch circles (or whatever size you prefer) and place cookies at least 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until very light golden brown. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before consuming.

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NOTE: The products noted above were free samples provided by Tyrrells, 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.

5 Tips for Eating Healthier

1 Dec

The colder months bring with them the holidays, which just so happen to revolve around a plethora of food. Having enjoyed my Thanksgiving feast just a few days ago, I feel that eating healthy for a while is in order.

One in three American children is overweight or obese, which is nearly triple the rate seen in 1963 (source). As for adults, over 35% are obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With obesity comes a gamut of health issues including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes, in addition to certain types of cancer (source). In the past, these weight-related issues were seen only in adults. Now, however, it is becoming common to see them in children; a huge red flag signalling that we need to do something about this.

The good news is that much of the obesity epidemic can be fought with a lifestyle change, and this means eating healthier. Food is the fuel of life, and what we choose to eat plays a significant role in our health.

While I don’t always post the healthiest of recipes here on Vegan Food Addict, I try to make it a habit of following the tips below in my personal life.

Fresh Sage, Rosemary and Salt

1. Cut the salt
Keep that blood pressure in check by watching your sodium intake. Too much sodium not only results in high blood pressure, it also contributes to kidney disease. Sodium is a vital nutrient, however, those age 50 and younger need less than 2,300mg per day, and those 51 and older need even less, approximately 1,500mg per day (source). When cooking, use a light hand when adding salt or soy sauce, and use products that are low sodium (i.e. soups and vegetable broth). Some of the worst high-sodium offenders are cheese, meat, prepared and processed foods. Add more flavor without salt by using fresh herbs, garlic, onion, citrus juice or white vinegar.

2. Choose unprocessed foods with fewer ingredients
Many of us have already made it a habit of reading nutrition labels. Whether it be to avoid products with specific ingredients, or to buy something with a particular vitamin or nutrient, we need to be aware of what, exactly, we are putting into our bodies. As a general rule, it is best to buy those products which are unprocessed and have the fewest ingredients; ingredients you can pronounce! That way, you should know exactly what you are eating.

3. Substitute wheat for white
Ditch those white products for wheat. Instead of all-purpose flour use whole wheat flour, and rather than white rice use brown rice. All-purpose flour and white rice are typically bleached and stripped of their nutrients, and as a result, really don’t offer much natural nutritional value. When compared to all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour provides more Potassium and Protein, in addition to more Vitamin B6 and Magnesium (source). When compared to white rice, brown rice provides more Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6 and Magnesium (source). Should you dislike the hearty taste and texture of whole wheat products, try using white whole wheat flour as it has both a lighter flavor and texture, and serves as an excellent stand-in for all-purpose and regular whole wheat flours. When making baked goods with whole wheat flour, the use of additional liquid may be necessary.

4. Sweeten naturally
Rather than using refined sugar and other chemical-laden sweeteners, try fruits such as apricots, bananas or dates. Not only are they excellent sweeteners, they also offer additional nutritional value including Vitamins A, C (source), Potassium (source), Magnesium and B6 (source). There are many fruits you can use — experiment and see what you like best!

5. Bake, don’t fry
Reduce your oil consumption. This includes oil of any type, in addition to butter and margarine. Nearly 100% fat, oil should only be consumed in small amounts. In fact, just one tablespoon olive oil provides about one-quarter of your daily recommended amount of fat (source). Rather than frying, prepare your food as you normally would, however, lightly coat with the oil of your choice and bake until crispy. If you prefer to cook without any added oil, wrap in foil and bake in the oven until cooked to your satisfaction.

Have additional tips? Comment below and let us know about them!

Savory Coconut Okra

12 May

Okra, also known as lady’s fingers, bhindi or gumbo, is used in a variety of ethnic cuisines. Appearing in curries, soups, stews, and even salad and tempura, okra tends to have a bad reputation due to the sliminess contained within. This, however can be alleviated in a variety of ways including stir-frying or introducing a few drops of acidic liquid such as lemon juice or vinegar (source). Do not let the threat of a little sliminess keep you away from this delicious and healthful food. Raw okra is a very good source of Calcium, Dietary Fiber, Folate, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Thiamine, and Vitamins A, B6, C and K. It is also a good source of Copper, Iron, Niacin, Protein, Riboflavin and Zinc (source).

I never really ate okra until recently, but I must say that I really enjoy it. It is excellent battered and fried, but my recent addiction is coconut okra, fashioned after a popular dish served in Indian restaurants. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

Coconut Okra

Savory Coconut Okra

2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
3 cups fresh okra, rinsed
salt to taste

Heat oven to 350º F. Spread coconut in a thin layer on a small baking sheet. Cook in preheated oven for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut tops off okra just below the ridge and discard. Slice okra in half lengthwise and set aside.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add okra and salt and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

Add toasted coconut and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring often, or until okra is tender.

Removing Moisture from Cucumbers: Did You Know?

7 Jul

Have you ever made a dish with cucumbers and noticed that your dish turned out watery?

This is likely due to the high water content in cucumbers. According to the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, a cucumber that weighs 52 grams is approximately 96% water (source). No wonder!

Sliced Cucumber

Salted cucumber slices

Luckily there is an easy way to prevent cucumber dishes from becoming watery.

Simply slice, chop, dice (whatever the recipe calls for) your cucumber and place it in a small strainer over a bowl. Sprinkle each layer with kosher salt (I used ¼ teaspoon), cover, and refrigerate overnight. Other options are to place the cut cucumber on a paper towel or cloth, or even soak in a bowl of salt water.

Cucumber Liquid

Resulting liquid after 30 minutes

The longer you allow the salted cucumber to sit, the more water will be drawn out. You can then prepare your recipe as usual, just use a little less salt than the recipe calls for.

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.

Cleaning Greens: Did You Know?

23 May

Soaking Greens

It is important to clean greens (i.e. lettuce, spinach, kale, bok choy, collards, etc.) before consumption as there is often dirt, sand, or little unwanted creatures hidden between the leaves.* These harmless little nuisances can be easily removed by individually separating the leaves of your greens and soaking in cold, salted water. Why salt water? Because salt loosens the grip of bacteria and bugs, allowing them to be more easily removed. Use approximately 1-2 tablespoons salt per bunch of greens and allow to soak for 10-15 minutes, occasionally stirring gently to ensure all leaves have been submerged. Rinse each leaf and allow to dry slightly on a towel.

*Finding bugs can be gross but this also means that your greens haven’t been doused with harmful pesticides!

How to Remedy Clumpy Salt: Did You Know?

20 Apr

In humid environments, pantry items such as salt, sugar and spices tend to clump together due to excess moisture in the air. If you’ve experienced this, you know what a hassle it can be to season your food. An easy remedy is to place a few grains dried rice in your salt shaker and it will absorb the excess moisture. Yay, free-flowing salt!

Rice in Salt Shaker

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