Simple Vegan Smoked “Ham” Salad (a childhood favorite veganized for Easter)

Ham Salad in Celery 2Yield: approximately 3 to 4 cups

This super-easy salad was a pre-vegan childhood favorite.  I remember consuming way too much of it when I was home sick from school one day.  The mere thought of it brings back feelings of nurturing and nostalgia…even more so now that I’ve replaced the ham with extra-firm tofu and finely chopped smoked almonds.  To recreate the total flavor profile that I longed for, I added a few additional spices like fennel, sage, thyme, etc., and then stirred in the requisite vegan mayo, pickle relish and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

This recipe goes together in a flash, so when the craving strikes, satisfaction is only minutes away!  Enjoy for breakfast on a toasted bagel half, in a sandwich or wrap for a brown bag or even company-ready lunch, or spread on crackers or raw veggie slices as an accompaniment to a bowl of soup for a light–and lightening fast–supper.

14 ounces extra-firm tofu (not Silken), lightly pressed and blotted with paper towels

1 cup smoked almonds, finely chopped (I use a food processor)

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (lightly crush with a mortar and pestle if desired, but not necessary)

1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage

1/4 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional, but I think it is nice)

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

5 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1/2 of a large vegetable bouillon cube

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

2 teaspoons Braggs Liquid Aminos

Freshly ground black pepper to taste (I am quite generous with it in this recipe)

Crumble tofu into a medium bowl.  Add almonds, fennel, sage, nutritional yeast, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder, and toss with fingers to combine well.  Mash bouillon cube with fingers and whisk into mayo.  Add mayo to tofu-almond mixture along with remaining ingredients.  Stir together gently until completely combined.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time.  Delicious stuffed in celery sticks, mounded onto cucumber slices, or crackers, piled onto a sandwich, rolled in wrap, or heaped on a toasted bagel.

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Take a Stand…A Vegan Stuffed Standing Rib Roast, That Is!

DSCN2380You will love my whimsical and novel take on a standing rib roast.

When I got the idea–in response to my aunt serving an actual standing rib roast for her holiday meal–I could find no other vegan standing rib roasts online, so I had fun creating my own.

Baked in a bundt pan with rosemary sprig “bones,” my version was just featured on the inimitable Nava Atlas’s Veg Kitchen website.   “Like” VK on Facebook HERE.

It takes just a little more time in the kitchen than what most of us would prepare for a weekday meal, but it is perfect for a holiday–say, Easter or, of course the winter holidays–or a dinner party.

Just follow the link to my tasty and easy, but impressive, recipe for Vegan Standing Rib Roast with Shiitake and Kale Filling and Shiitake Gravy with your tongue firmly in your cheek!

 

 

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For your Lunch BOX or Super BOWL: Vegan Roasted Pecan and Dried Apricot No-Chicken Salad

Roasted Pecan and Dried Apricot No-Chicken Salad 2Yield: 4 servings

I actually created this throw-it-all-in-the-food-processor-simple no-chicken salad recipe from ingredients I had in the house while I was “snowed in.”

But, now that the snow is melting and folks in many states will be headed back to school and work tomorrow, I wanted to post it as a delicious lunchbox option.  Also, though, with the Super Bowl tonight, it’s a delicious and nutritious spread for crackers and, as you can see in the photo, it dresses up nicely for a “fancier” cocktail party.

I have created many versions of no-chicken salad, some here on my blog and some in my cookbook.  This one is made with wholesome tempeh, roasted pecans, and dried apricots, and is delicious served as you would any chicken(less) salad: in a sandwich, on crackers, or on my low-calorie, highly nutritious preference: sliced cucumber.

1/2 cup pecan pieces

4 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/4 cup dried apricots, halved

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

8 ounces tempeh (any kind), coarsely crumbled

4-5-inch stems fresh dill, leaves stripped

4-5-inch stems fresh tarragon, leaves stripped

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

Accompaniments: bread for sandwiches, crackers or sliced cucumber

Optional garnish: fresh dill sprigs and/or pecan halves or pieces

Roast pecans for a few minutes with a pinch of salt in a dry skillet over medium-high heat; transfer to bowl of food processor.  Add celery, apricots, garlic and onion powder, and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.  Add tempeh to skillet in which pecans were roasted and roast, stirring frequently, just until it begins to turn golden brown in spots; transfer to bowl of food processor.  Add dill and tarragon, and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped.  Add mayonnaise and pulse a few more times until mixture comes together.  Serve in a sandwich, spread on crackers, or as canapes perched atop slices of fresh cucumber.

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Blooming Platter “Vegan ‘Pulled’ Spaghetti Squash Barbecue” Featured on KitchenTreaty.com!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi all!  I’ve been on vacation for 5 days and have missed cooking and posting.

But I was delighted to return home and find a pingback related to my Vegan “Pulled” Spaghetti Squash.  Evidently, it had been featured by Karen Troughton on KitchenTreaty in 2012.   I don’t know much about this site other than what the tagline says “Vegetarians and Meat-Eaters CAN Live Together.”  But, regardless, thanks Karen!

As it happens, I found my mouth watering at the aroma of barbecue in the Houston International airport yesterday on our way home from (fabulous!) Aspen.  So, it seems that the universe is telling me that I need to remind readers about this recipe for summer BBQ enjoyment!

If you visit the KitchenTreaty post, you’ll see a couple of things:

1) That Karen created her own sauce recipe.  It contains a far shorter list of ingredients than mine but, trust me, I tweaked the flavor profile so that, at least to my palate, it is perfect!  And the only extra time involved is opening a few more spice jars.  The resulting sauce is well worth a tiny bit of extra effort.  So I wouldn’t tinker with my recipe unless you have a BBQ sauce that is your absolute favorite.

2) It appears, at least from her photograph, that her final dish ended up very moist. I like it much dryer, as in my photograph, so that the pile of “pulled” barbecue stands up nicely on it’s own, much like it’s non-vegan inspiration (see my photo above)–rather than sitting sort of puddle like on the bun. 🙂

But, however you like it–wet or dry–enjoy!  (Oh, and you’ll love my corn cakes and slaw in my recipe too!)

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Trio of Vegan Valentine’s Treats: 1 Savory and 2 Sweets

Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow(!), I wanted to direct you to three oldies-but-goodies that I created in years past to celebrate the national day of love.  Just click on the title to be taken right to the post with that recipe.  Happy Valentine’s Day from the Blooming Platter!

Savory Vegan Sausage and Red Bell Pepper Heart Tarts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Chocolate Truffles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Peppermint and Chocolate Patties

 

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French Lentil (and Apple) Salad with Champagne-Dijon Vinaigrette AND Quick Vegan Tempeh Bacon

Yesterday, I promised a dish from The Blooming Platter Cookbook that would be delicious served with my Vegan Caraway-Havarti Cheese  Spread on Melba toast that I posted yesterday.

So here it is!  It is my pleasure to share this simple but special recipe  inspired by a salad I enjoyed at a tiny bistro in Paris on my husband’s and my twentieth wedding anniversary trip two summers ago.   That salad contained no Tempeh Bacon, nor does the recipe in the cookbook.  But I love the addition, which I just created, so I’m thrilled to share it with you here.

Note that the recipe calls for starting with dried lentils, but I often just buy a 17.6 ounce package of Trader Joe’s steamed lentils, sold in their produce section, and use the whole package.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 1/4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups green lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained
3 tablespoons olive oil (or 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon walnut oil)
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large apple (any variety)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon snipped chives
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Optional: Quick Vegan Tempeh Bacon (recipe follows)
1. In a 2-quart covered saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water and bay leaves to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in lentils and gently simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Check at 10 minute intervals, as lentils are easy to overcook; they should be firm enough to hold their shape when tossed with the other ingredients. Add more hot water if necessary to prevent sticking or scorching. (Skip these steps if using pre-steamed lentils.)
2. While the lentils cook, make the vinaigrette. In a large serving bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until well blended and slightly emulsified. Set aside.
3. Halve the apple lengthwise, scoop out the core with a melon baller or spoon, arrange each half cut side down on a work surface, and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices. Then stack several slices together on their sides and cut them into 1/8-inch matchsticks. Add to the bowl with the dressing as you cut them, and stir gently to coat in order to prevent discoloration. Stir in the onion and chives.

4. When the lentils are cooked, drain, rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and drain well. Remove the bay leaf. (Obviously, skip this rinsing and draining step if using the pre-steamed lentils.)  Stir the lentils into the dressing mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and add the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, to taste. Toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Cover and chill the salad several hours before serving to allow flavors to marry.

If including the Temp Bacon, add just before serving.

Quick Vegan Tempeh Bacon:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1-8 ounce package tempeh (I use Trader Joe’s brand), sliced cross-wise into about 20 slices 1/4-inch thick

1/4 cup soy sauce (I use a light variety)

2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke

2 tablespoons natural sugar

Sea salt

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tempeh slices to the pan and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of Liquid Smoke, 1 tablespoon of natural sugar, and a pinch of salt.  Saute, without disturbing for 2-3 minutes or until caramelized, but not burned.  Flip slices and repeat with remaining ingredients.  Turn off heat.  Flip slices one more time and allow them to sit for a minute or two just to absorb a little more of the flavors.  Remove them from heat and serve immediately.  (The pan drippings are really yummy.  If I’m using, say, chopped onion in a recipe with compatible flavors, I like to add the onion to the skillet and stir them around to absorb some of the drippings which are too good to go to waste!)

Serving suggestion:  If you would like to serve the salad over grilled apple slices as in the photograph, cut 1/4-inch thick apple slices and grill them in an oiled grill pan over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until tender, but not mushy, and nice grill marks appear.

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Vegan Tempeh with Pecans and Grape Tomatoes in a Sherry Wine Sauce

Yield: 2 lunch/brunch servings or 2 dinner servings with a side dish or salad

I am working with a personal trainer on Saturdays to achieve some specific results in about 5 weeks in preparation for an upcoming event. (More on this later!) In addition to cutting some calories to lose about 4 lbs., he wants me to consume more protein. So, after we worked out and stretched today, I came home and whipped together this very fast–and very tasty–lunch. It is absolutely packed with protein and quite gentle on the calorie count (truth to tell, I ate the entire recipe). Plus it is pretty to look at and, because of the sauce, feels special enough to serve to guests.






For this recipe and some 170+ more,
I invite you to purchase my first cookbook:

The Blooming Platter:
A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes

Vegan Heritage Press
Spring 2011

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Vegan Sausages with Braised Onions, Cabbage, Apples and Potatoes Topped with Vegan Sour Cream-Horseradish Sauce and Red Apple Sauerkraut

Yield 6-8 servings

A vegan Oktoberfest may sound like an oxymoron. And it’s true, wienerschintzel and bratwurst aren’t typically meat-free fare. But this autumn, thanks to a simple vegan sausage recipe (for those who love to cook)—or prepared vegan brats (for those who don’t)—everyone, regardless of their dietary preferences, can take part in the merrymaking.

If an Oktoberfest celebration is not your style, this meal nonetheless makes a tasty, healthy and hearty—but not heavy—cool weather supper. Spicy white bean-based sausages are nestled into a braise of onions, cabbage, potatoes and apples before being topped with a dollop of sour “cream”-horseradish sauce and a tangle of red apple sauerkraut, my twist on the traditional red cabbage variety.

There is nothing purist about my take on traditional German fare, yet I pay homage to the cuisine through my combinations of ingredients. Take the sausages for instance. They are vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe made with my own spice mixture inspired by bratwurst and thüringer rostbratwurst.

By repeating some of the customary spices and ingredients, like coriander seeds and apples, from one component of the dish to another, I tie the flavors together while still offering plenty of harmonious contrast between tastes and textures.

Follow each recipe as-is for a satisfying four-part, one-dish Deutsch-inspired meal, or take some creative liberties of your own.

Prost!

For this recipe and some 170+ more,
I invite you to purchase my first cookbook:

The Blooming Platter:
A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes

Vegan Heritage Press
Spring 2011

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Vegan "Pulled" Spaghetti Squash Barbecue with Vegan Cole Slaw on Vegan Creamed Corn and Chive Cakes–Appetizer Version

I thought that my vegan version of “pulled” barbecue plus tradition-trimmings-with-a-twist looked so pretty as an appetizer that I wanted to share this photo. For the recipes, just type this recipe title in the search box or scroll down four posts.

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