Vegan Indian Chickpea, Spiralized Zucchini, and Cashew Salad

Yield: 8 servings

This beautiful protein-packed Indian spice-infused vegan salad is  my new summer crush. I want us to be together day and night.  And when we do, it’s difficult to cool us off.

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 1/2 ounces prepared Indian seasoning for red lentil dal (I use Jaswant’s Kitchen brand from Whole Foods, but feel free to substitute)

Juice of 1/2 large lemon or lime (I used a lemon)

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

4 cups spiralized zucchini (I purchase

2 cups raw cashews

1 can chipckpeas, rinsed and drained

6 celery hearts, diced

2 large green onions, both white and green parts, thinly sliced

 

Optional garnishes: halved tri-color cherry tomatoes, roasted and lightly salted cashew halves, fresh cilantro sprigs

In a small bowl, whisk together vegan mayo, spice mixtures (Jaswant’s come in two tiny pouches), lemon or lime juice, and cilantro.

In a large bowl, gently toss together remaining ingredients, spoon dressing over the top, and toos to combine.  Serve garnished as desired with tri-color cherry tomatoe halves, cashews, and/or fresh cilantro.

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Vegan Indian Channa Masala Chickpea Salad

Yield:  Serves 6 to 8

This favorite Indian chickpea dish just got chilled out.  Packed with layers of irresistible flavor and nutrition, it is my new summer crush.

Craving Indian food in the 95 degree recent heat wave, I wondered if I could get all of the flavor without the cooking process by stirring a prepared dry spice mix, meant to be simmered, into vegan mayo and using it as the dressing for a chickpea salad.

The answer is a resounding yes!

I chose Jaswant’s Kitchen brand from Whole Foods. It is tasty, vegan, gluten-free and, though rated only two chili peppers, it is still quite spicy.

In fact, that is how my chickpea salad came to include other ingredients and serve so many: I wanted to tame the spice.  In the end, it is perfectly balanced and all the better for the addition of spiralized veggies and raw cashews.

Note that most spice blends contain plenty of salt, so you won’t want to add any. And you will want to use raw unsalted cashews.

3/4 to1 cup vegan mayo
About 1 1/2 ounces Channa Masala seasoning or your favorite prepared Indian spice mix (be sure it is vegan; I use Jaswant’s Kitchen brand from Whole Foods, but use another flavor or brand if you prefer)
Optional: Juice of 1/2 large lime
2 cups roasted spiralized vegetables, cooled (I use a combination of butternut squash and turnip)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups raw cashew halves and pieces
6 celery hearts, finely diced
2 large green onions, thinly sliced (both white and green parts)
1 to 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped if desired
Garnishes: cherry tomatoes, shaved coconut, and/or cilantro sprigs

In a small bowl whisk together 3/4 cup mayo and seasoning mix. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients, add mayo mixture, and stir gently to combine. Incorporate remaining 1/4 cup mao if needed. Serve garnished as desired.

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Vegan Curried Chex Mix
This is Next Level Chex!

I am sure it is clear to all of us by now that I am obsessed, as I believe this is my fifth Chex Mix iteration in the last month.

But I have a good excuse for this one.  Sadly, a neighbor’s too-young husband passed away Sunday night and I wanted to stop by in a show of support, but not empty-handed.

However, knowing that, if she is anything like me, food has all but lost its appeal, I also knew that she would likely be hosting others who might feel differently. So, wanting to try an idea for a curried Chex Mix, this seemed like the perfect unfortunate occasion.

On the way home from Pilates-Barre, I stopped at Pat’s house on my former street just around the corner.  Finally,  cars weren’t spilling out of her driveway; in fact, the windiws looked dark and I thought she wasn’t home.

But her daughter tearfully greeted me at the door, welcomed me into their cozy family room, and poured us a glass of wine while her mother retrieved her bourbon.   We proceeded to have the loveliest visit with which that Chex Mix would have gone perfectly. But Pat didn’t even know what was in the gift bag and I am glad she saved it…when I open a container of that stuff, regardless of the size, it becomes a single serving.

1/2 cup vegan butter

1 tablespoon vegan Indian tandoori paste (or your favorite prepared Indian sauce; sold in jars on thr international aisles of most grocery stores)

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 1/2 cups French’s crispy onions

1 1/2 cups potato stick snacks

1 1/2 cups lightly salted roasted cashews, halves or wholes

6 cups Cheerios

7 cups Chex Mix (I purchase a mixed corn, rice, and wheat variety, but choose your favorite or combine as desired)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place butter in large roasting pan, slide into oven, and allow butter to melt.   Stir in tandoori paste and all spices to combine.   Then stir in remaining ingredients, one at a time, in order, to coat evenly with butter mixture.  Roast for 45 minutes,  stirring every 15. Turn off oven, open door, and allow mix to sit for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, allow to cool, and package in airtight containers.  (Then, since no doubt you have been sampling along the way, give it as gifts as fast as you can lest you eat it all!)

 

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Day 18: Indian Cauliflower with Black Mustard Seeds AND Orange Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette–“Cooking ‘The Blooming Platter Cookbook’ Julie & Julia Style”

Indian Cauliflower(A sequential installment from Kim Hastings, my photographer friend and, along with her vet husband, owner of Independence Veterinary Hospital, who decided on her own to cook her way through The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes Julie & Julia Style for her omnivorous family as a strategy for more healthy eating.)

Today I decided to tackle two recipes. In the interest of full disclosure, my reason for this was that I had doubts about both dishes so I figured if I didn’t like the one then hopefully I would like the other.

So the first one is Indian Cauliflower with Black Mustard Seeds. Because I have put in my time at the grocery store spice displays, I had most of the spices needed…except for the elusive black mustard seed. I went to my usual stores and even went to Kroger which is out of my way, but I did it and got nothing. I even tried Target! I jokingly said that I could turn my own dang mustard seeds black – I’m a pro at burning things! So I ended up with regular mustard seeds. I followed along with the directions and while I am stirring the beautiful and now orange cauliflower (thanks to the turmeric), I was also stirring the “yellow” mustard seeds over high heat in the butter and oil.

I was feeling like a pretty accomplished cook stirring two pots at once and all of a sudden the mustard seeds started popping like popcorn – all over my arm and then all over the stove and counter tops! Who knew mustard seeds could do this?? There should have been a warning label! But seriously who tries popping mustard seeds? I quickly took it off the heat and looked in the pot and the remaining mustard seeds were, in fact, black. Well mission accomplished! There they are – black mustard seeds!

Orange Salad with Cumin VinaigretteThe recipe then said to “drizzle” the mustard seed mixture over the cauliflower – mine sorted of plopped over it in chunks but I spread them out to look like it was drizzled. While this one cooled a little I started on my next recipe – the Orange Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette. I gathered all the ingredients and discovered that the olives I had purchased especially for this from the olive bar at the grocery store were half gone. My husband admitted he just couldn’t help himself. Ok so now I am cutting the recipe in half – not a problem! (I knew they wouldn’t eat it anyway).

This recipe came together with no mishaps in about five minutes. It could not have been easier. The presentation was really pretty with the orange and green together. Now for the taste test. The cauliflower was good but it lacked the pizzazz of the other recipes according to my family. This was totally my fault for not using the correct mustard seeds and then only half the amount seeing as how the other half of the seeds were spread around my kitchen. The orange salad was really good but very intense so I decided I would add spinach leaves and make it more of a traditional salad. My guys would have nothing to do with this one (fruits have no place in their salads) so you’ll just have to take my word on it.

And…if I ever see black mustard seeds I am buying them and trying this again- as long as they are not the price of cardamon or saffron that is.

~Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings

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Day 15: Indian Saag Dip–“Cooking ‘The Blooming Platter Cookbook’ Julie & Julia Style”

Indian Saag Dip(A sequential installment from Kim Hastings, my photographer friend and, along with her vet husband, owner of Independence Veterinary Hospital, who decided on her own to cook her way through The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes Julie & Julia Style for her omnivorous family as a strategy for more healthy eating.)

I thought I would try a little Indian cooking today so I chose the Indian Saag Dip. I read through all of the ingredients (and there are a lot of them!) and checked through my spice cabinet to see what I needed. Well this led to a complete reorganization of my spices because I couldn’t find anything I was looking for even though I could have sworn it was there.

So I lined them up in alphabetical order and was surprised to see what I really had. I needed turmeric and cardamon so I went shopping. Turmeric was no problem to find but cardamon was a whole different story. Since starting this challenge I find myself seeking out spice aisles searching for spices I have never heard of. I firmly believe that some can only be found in a secret vegan underground to which I am not invited. Well I finally found cardamon but the price – wow! I kept searching til I found what appeared to be buds of it for $5 on the Asian food aisle. Jackpot! I will simply grind it down myself. I must say it did look a bit sketchy grinding buds down in my kitchen.

The recipe goes on to tell me to get my piece of crap food processor out again – please can I have a break from this for just one night? I throw in the tofu and soy milk (yes I broke down and bought the soy milk) and it says to scrape down the sides as needed. Well with my processor once you are lucky enough to lock it in, you don’t unlock it til it’s done. My friends don’t believe it can be this bad. They insist I am being a total drama queen about this so I videotaped it tonight. Once you see it you will understand.

Oh and by the way if any of you run into my husband please tell him I would like a food processor for my birthday. Now he will look at you with a deer-in-the-headlights kind of look but that is just because buying women appliances or cleaning equipment is prohibited in this household. He will think this is a trick. I have taught both my boys (and my husband) that unless the woman specifically asks for it, you do not offer it as a gift. This became a hard and fast rule after my younger son let it slip that they were going together to get me a vacuum cleaner for Christmas one year. They really didn’t understand my reaction to this. Needless to say I did not get a vacuum. But just tell my husband this time I really am asking for one ok?

Now moving on…once all the ingredients were in the pan, the aroma was fantastic. The flavors came together so well – it was a nice variation from the dips we usually make. I will definitely try this one again.

~Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings

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Day 2: Vegan Indian Cauliflower Wraps–Cooking “The Blooming Platter Cookbook” Julie & Julia Style

Day 2--Indian Cauliflower Wraps(A sequential installment from Kim Hastings, my photographer friend and, along with her vet husband, owner of Independence Veterinary Hospital, who decided on her own to cook her way through The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes Julie & Julia Style for her omnivorous family as a strategy for more healthy eating.)

 

Tonight I decided to stick with cauliflower since I got a deal on them. So it’s Indian Cauliflower Wraps for dinner (and yes there is a big pot of chili on the stove so my guys don’t feel deprived).

I read through the recipe and saw “vegan mayo” – now if my family sees vegan mayonnaise in the fridge they will be on to me in a heartbeat, so ix-nay on the egan-vay! Then I see cilantro. My husband has a meltdown when he catches a whiff of cilantro so I’m switching to parsley. This morning I noticed that my parsley was still thriving in my herb garden so I ran out and chopped a bunch of it before the snow hit this afternoon.

Day 2--Indian Cauliflower Wraps--prepOk confession time. What I did not mention yesterday was that when I had cut my cauliflower steaks so beautifully and had them oiled and salted waiting to go into the oven, I turn around and my husband was covering them with “Zip It’, a powerful ghost pepper seasoning I found in Texas. Now my husband will tell you that I “over reacted”. Ok fine. Looking back that is probably a nice way of putting it. Anyway, tonight I separated one out for him to “ruin” as much as he liked.

With that compromise done, the rest was fairly easy. I admit I had to read it several times to keep the steps in order but I do that with all new recipes.

These wraps turned out so amazingly delicious that I drove one over to my son’s house two blocks away so he could experience them with us. Now the entire family is a big fan of this recipe!

~Kim Howard Hastings

Kim Hastings

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Leftover Redux–Vegan Coconut Dal Cakes

Leftover Redux--Coconut Yellow Dal CakesYield: 1 serving of 2 medium cakes (easily multiplies for the amount of leftovers on-hand)

Let’s just say, to put it non-judgmentally, that my husband has a very different diet than I do.  So, when I make a dish, it is usually mine and mine alone.

On Saturday, I posted a recipe for my divine Vegan Coconut Dal with Grilled Kale and Cashews which I have been enjoying all week because it serves 6.  Yesterday, wanting to finish it for lunch but perhaps in a different form, the idea for Dal Cakes sprang into my mind.

Wow, how simple and delicious!

On the way home from yoga Sunday morning, I was brainstorming what I would use to thicken the mixture to be able to shape it into patties–Panko bread crumbs, cashew meal, flour, etc.–but when it came to making them, I wondered how simple I could keep it.

Pretty darn simple as it turns out.  I just added half as much Panko breadcrumbs as I had leftovers, stirred gently with a fork and, instead of pre-shaping into patties, I just mounded the mixture into the lightly oiled and preheated skillet, flattening the tops to make about 3/4- to 1-inch thick cakes.  After a couple of minutes, they were plenty firm enough to flip, somewhere between a pancake and a veggie burger.  If you want them, firmer, however, simply add a few more breadcrumbs.

I topped mine with vegan sour cream, as we are uanble in our area to purchase vegan yogurt that isn’t very sweet and quite runny.  Had I had some cucumbers, I would have diced a few up in the sour cream or placed a few slices on top.  But I didn’t, and my mini-meal was still delicious.  Nontheless, wanting a hint of green and not having any cilantro, I added sprigs of lemon thyme from my herb garden.  Though there is no thyme in the dish, it seemed appropriate given the citrusy notes and lent a lovely herby freshness.  Half of a grape tomato would be a really nice addition, as well, adding contrasts of color, flavor and texture.

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 cup leftover Vegan Coconut Yellow Dal with Grilled Kale and Cashews (you only need the dal part for this recipe), very thick and very cold

1/4 cup Panko or other coarse, dry breadcrumbs

Sea salt

Optional toppings: vegan sour cream/plain yogurt, pinch of chili powder or plain/smoked paprika, sliced or diced cucumber, sprigs of fresh cilantro or lemon thyme, and halved grape tomatoes

Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together leftover Coconut Yellow Dal with breadcrumbs and a pinch of sea salt to taste, adding more bread crumbs if necessary to reach desired consistency.  Divide mixture in half, making two mounds in the skillet and gently flattening each with a spatula to create 3/4- to 1-inch thick cakes and to help compact the cakes.   Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown and a little crusty, loosening each cake from the bottom of the skillet with a spatula after about a minute.  Carefully flip and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes on the second side, again loosening the cakes from the bottom of the skillet after the first minute, and pressing gently on the top to compact.  Lower heat at any point if necessary to prevent scorching.  Serve immediately topped with vegan sour cream or yogurt, cucumbers, sprig of herbs and, if desired, grape tomato halves.  Note: cakes on the smaller side are easier to flip, so avoid getting over-zealous with the size.

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Vegan Coconut Yellow Dal with Grilled Kale and Cashews

Coconut Dal with Grilled Kale and CashewsYield: 6 servings

Last Saturday night, Joe and I were so pleased with ourselves for choosing Pompano as our dining destination in NYC.

Yes, I know that coconut dal isn’t Mexcian, so keep reading…

Located at 209 East 49th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, it is a beautiful restaurant with a second story that opens onto a terrace, which is where we were seated.  The weather was perfect–like early fall–the service swift, and the food outstanding, with lots of  vegan options, provided cheese or sour cream is omitted.

For my dinner, I ordered smooth-as-velvet black bean soup with a grilled plantain garnish and a black quinoa salad with corn, onions, and grilled–yes, grilled–kale.  Divine!  You can imagine that I came home commited to grilling some kale before week’s end.

On the Thursday night we arrived for our weekend in the city on the occasion of  a dear friend’s wedding, we dined at Amma (246 E. 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd), an intimate and warmly contemporary second story Indian restaurant.  (For meals, we tended to stick close to “home” which was POD51 at 230 E. 51st Street: hip, modern, and well-designed from quality materials with compact rooms.  Ours was a queen POD with a private bath and a very intimate one indeed: think airplane restroom–in size, not style–with a shower.)

I came home Sunday with a powerful craving for Indian food and decided to put the two together: Indian and grilled kale.  For the dal, I used a recipe from Deryn Macey at RunningOnRealFood.com with no substantive changes except more water that is ridiculously tasty, especially scooped up in lettuce leaves instead of naan which, unless veganized, contains yogurt.  To make it more “buttery” while adding a third texture contrast, I sprinkled it with roasted cashews.  And to create more of a  one-dish vitamin-packed meal, I topped it with grilled kale.

For the kale, all I had was pre-chopped, so I used it and thought it made a perfectly textured topping, though you could certainly grill whole kale leaves and use them differently.  I am an indoor griller and found my Lodge cast iron grill pan to do a beautiful job.  Grill the kale, which just takes a few minutes, in two batches while the dal cooks to creamy perfection.

Vegan Coconut Yellow Dal with Grilled Kale and Cashews

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated (I used 1 teaspoon ground ginger, as I had no fresh on hand)

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups dry yellow lentils

1-15 ounce can coconut milk

4 to 4 1/2 cups water

Grilled Kale (recipe follows)

Roasted and lightly salted cashew halves and pieces

In a large cast iron skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high.  Add onions and saute, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes or until softened.  Add garlic and ginger and continue to saute and stir frequently for about 2 more minutes until onions are quite soft.  Lower heat to avoid scorching garlic if necessary.  Add the spices, coconut milk, lentils and 3 cups water, whisking in one cup of water at a time.  Simmer for about 45 minutes or until soft and thick, lowering heat if necessary, adding another 1/2 cup water about every 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve topped with grilled kale and a sprinkling of cashews.  Note: if desired, toss kale with about 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro before topping dal.

 

Grilled Kale

4 cups coarsely chopped kale (when I purchase from the grocery store instead of farmer’s market, I purchase a bag of, prewashed and coarsely chopped

Small amount of olive oil (If possible, dispense from a spray can or spritzer to avoid over-doing it)

See salt

Heat lightly oiled grill pan over medium-high.  Add half of kale in an even thin layer to pan and grill about 3 minutes to until it starts to char, flip with a spatula and grill about 3 more minutes or until desired color and texture is achieved.  Remove to a platter (avoid heaping it in a bowl or it will steam) and repeat with remaining kale.  Sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt if desired.  Prepared this way, you can use the kale myriad ways: in salads, soups, sandwiches, side dishes, and more.  Its pretty darn good “right by itself,” as they say in the ‘Sip (Mississippi).

 

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New Year’s (Vegan) Blackeyed Peas Three Ways–A Trifecta of Flavor!

There’s nothing wrong with a big pot of–if you’ll pardon the pun–garden variety black-eyed peas, or Hoppin’ John, for that matter.  Tried and true.

But if you’re looking for something a little different to do with your blackeyed peas, making them into more of a meal, try this trifecta of flavor from The Blooming Platter, all of which elevate the humble pea to a glorious meal.

First up is a whimsical vegan take on crabcakes and tartar sauce from my Blooming Platter Cookbook, generously published by One Green Planet.  It hardly gets more festive or tasty than this.  Look at all of that red and green yumminess!:  Vegan Black-eyed Pea and Spinach Cakes with Sun Dried Tomato Tartar Sauce.

 

Next up is a little kicked up southern comfort and colorful whole grain extravaganza including good luck and good-for-you greens: Vegan Blackeyed Pea Pilaf Over Collards with Green Tomato Salsa and Roasted Pecans.

 

Finally is another “southern” dish–southern Indian!  The title is a mouthful, so to speak, but I wanted to reference all of the ingredients that make this dish addicting:  Vegan “Southern” Indian Cilantro-Scented Cardamom-Coconut Cream Blackeyed Peas, Peppers & Spinach.

 

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Happy New Year!

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