Vegan Prosecco Vinaigrette

Champagne VinaigretteYield: almost 2 cups

You know, I haven’t created a lot of new recipes lately, as I have felt sort of caught between seasons: a winter that seemed bent on never ending and a spring that had several false starts.  I have certainly been eating good food, but my favorite farm market hasn’t yet opened, so I haven’t had local produce to inspire me.

But now, I do believe that spring has sprung and new ideas are emerging along with tender shoots of dormant plants and blossoms on the earliest spring-blooming trees like Bradford Pears and pink Magnolias.

Like everyone else I’m sure, I’m finding that I am craving lightened and brightened dishes, so I created this champagne vinaigrette using my beloved Italian variety known as Prosecco.  It is inexpensive and compatible with virtually everything.  Even my husband, a devoted Cab drinker, loves it.

Remember that, especially in recipes with just a few ingredients like a vinaigrette, balance is everything, so feel free to tweak the proportions until they suit your palate.

3 generous tablespoons grainy mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 cup dry/extra dry Prosecco or your favorite dry/extra dry champagne

1 cup olive oil

Sea salt to taste (avoid skimping; it needs a salt to bring out subtle layers of flavors)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a jar or carton with a tight-fitting lid, whisk garlic and onion powders, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and Prosecco into mustard.  Drizzle in olive oil, whisking continually, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Tweak any of the flavors for balance and store, covered, in refrigerator.  I like to transfer vinaigrette to a squeeze bottle with a cap.  Before serving, hold container under warm water for a few minutes to soften partially-solidified oil, and then whisk or shake vigorously.  For guests, I like to serve the dressing in a clear glass container with a spout or a spoon like the miniature sundae glass in the photo.

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Get Your Super Bowl On with A Platter of Vegan Buffalo Wings with Creamy Blue “Cheez” Dressing and Celery Sticks

I created this recipe in 2009 and have posted it for the Super Bowl each year since.  With their creamy blue “cheez” dressing and fresh, crunchy celery sticks, no one need miss out on this all-time sports bar favorite.  So roll up your sleeves, grab a stack of napkins, and enjoy the authentic taste of my spicy wings.


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Jerusalem Post Features Blooming Platter Cookbook/Recipes in Corn Salad Article by Award Winning Cookbook Author Faye Levy

Jerusalem Post--Corn ArticleWhat an honor and a thrill!

Last Thursday, Faye Levy, author of the award-winning International Vegetable Cookbook, along with Yakir, featured The Blooming Platter Cookbook in their Jerusalem Post article on salads made with summer’s gold: corn!

The Jerusalem Post is Israel’s best-selling English daily and most read English website.  Wow!  Thank you, Faye and Yakir.

An excerpt from their article:

“Small oval tomatoes and a chili-seasoned citrus-cumin dressing flavor the roasted corn and black bean salad made by Betsy DiJulio, author of The Blooming Platter Cookbook. She serves this main-course salad on a bed of baby spinach and tops it with spiced toasted pecans. In another summertime salad, she combines corn with diced tomatoes, blackberries, onion and fresh basil, and dresses the salad with lime juice mixed with pomegranate molasses.

To cook the corn for her salads, DiJulio rubs the husked ears with olive oil, sprinkles them with sea salt and roasts them in a 200°C (400°F) oven until just a few brown spots appear; it takes about 15 minutes.”


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Vegan Mediterranean Kale Salad with Lentils, Red Onion, Orange Bell Pepper and Sunflower Seeds with Sumac Vinaigrette

Yield: 4 servings

I don’t need much of an excuse to create new kale recipes.  But I actually did have a good one: school started Monday with an in-service week for teachers and I needed something healthy and filling to pack for lunch.

I create this salad on Sunday–inspired by my foodie friend Trish Pfeifer’s love of sumac (this was the first time I ever cooked with it and I’m now a fan)–and took it a couple of days ago to share with my art teacher colleages, Mylinda McKinney and Sara Reich,.  They loved it!

Mylinda had brought boiled peanuts and fresh cherries, so we pooled our resources for a quirky but delicious and nutritious–not to mention brightly colored–school lunch.


Approximately 9 ounces of steamed lentils (I purchase them at Trader Joe’s in the produce department)

1/2 cup diced red onion (you can soak for about 20-30 minutes in unsweetened soymilk to remove a little of their peppery bite if you choose)

1 medium orange bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice (a yellow or red bell pepper would be just fine)

4 lightly packed cups kale, very finely chopped (I use a food processor for this task)

1/2 cup roasted and lightly salted sunflower seeds

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sumac Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon ground sumac (found in Middle Eastern/Mediterranean markets)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Pinch sea salt

Pinch garlic powder

Combine all salad ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a small cup or bowl, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients.  Drizzle dressing over salad and toss gently to distribute dressing.  Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, and serve chilled.

Note: I think some diced plump dried apricots would be a lovely addition to this dish; maybe a half cup or so.

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Vegan Turkish Chickpea and Beet Salad

Yield: 4-6 servings

I had a dual inspiration for this salad: the wildly popular Beet Muhummara in my Blooming Platter Cookbook and an eye-catching bunch of white beets grown at my favorite local farmer’s market, Stoney’s.  Essentially, I used similar ingredients to the Muhummara—beets, cumin, walnuts, etc.—combined into a salad with the addition of chickpeas.  True to their description, the white beets tasted just like their red relatives, but without the counter-, cutting board- , and lip-staining properties.

Juice of 1 small-medium lemon, about 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon tamarind syrup or pomegranate molasses (available at Middle Eastern markets or online)

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Approximately 1 1/2 cups grated beets (unpeeled); about 6 small beets, grated in a food processor (I used white beets because our farmer’s market was very excited about having grown them this year, but use any color you have)

1-15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup thinly sliced spring onions, green parts only

1/2 cup walnut pieces

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, tamarind syrup, garlic, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine grated beets, chickpeas, spring onions and walnuts.  Drizzle with dressing and toss gently to coat.  Check for seasoning and adjust as desired.  Serve immediately or, preferably, chill for at least an hour for flavors to marry.

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Vegan Lentil Salad with Fresh Figs, Blue “Cheese” Dressing, and Smoked Almonds

Yield: 4 servings

With a bag of fresh figs recently plucked from a friend’s tree, I have been in a frenzy of fig-inspired recipe creation before these fleshy and succulent wonders of summer are all gone.  In our climate, they are still available, as I saw some at the farm market just today.  Plus, my friend’s tree was laded with green ones, not yet ripe for the pickin’.

This is one of a couple of recipes that is inspired by one of my all time favorite appetizers, which I will also post: a fresh fig stuffed with vegan cheese and a smoked almond.  It simply doesn’t get any better.

For some flavorful protein and color contrast, I decided to layer the other ingredients over a bed of simply prepared lentils.  I like to buy them already steamed from Trader Joe’s.  They are inexpensive and beautifully textured.  You can find them in the produce section in one-pound packages.

Once fig season has faded, enjoy this salad topped with something like cooked or raw apple wedges or even cooked sweet potato cubes.  Both would be delcious with the blue “cheese” dressing and smoked almonds.

1 pound of steamed or otherwise cooked lentils, drained if necessary (the should be firm, not soft or mushy)

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

6 to 8 fresh figs, stemmed and sliced in half vertically

1/4 cup or more vegan Creamy Blue “Cheez” Dressing (recipe follows)

1/4 cup coarsely chopped smoked almonds

Optional garnish: fresh parsley sprigs

In a medium bowl, toss together the lentils with the onion, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Divide the mixture evenly among 4 salad plates.  Top each with 3 or 4 fig halves, flesh side up.  Then drizzle each with a tablespoon or so of the dressing and sprinkle with a tablespoon of the almonds.  Serve immediately.  Salads may be prepared in advance without the dressing and almonds, covered, and stored in the refrigerator.  Dress and garnish them just before serving.  The dressing is easiest to drizzle if allowed to come to room temperature or heated for a few seconds in the microwave.

Creamy Blue “Cheez” Dressing

½ cup sesame tahini
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon crushed garlic or garlic powder
1 teaspoon light miso
¼ teaspoon pepper (I use white to prevent black flecks)
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes or 3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley

In a medium bowl or food processor, beat together first 6 ingredients until creamy and smooth. Vigorously beat in lemon juice and vinegar until well combined. Stir in parsley or add a very small rinsed and drained bunch to the food processor and pulse a few times to mince and distribute. Keeps 10-14 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stir well before serving.

Dressing Source: slightly adapted from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak (the only changes I made were to omit all of the water, as it made the dressing far too thin, and add more parsley).

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The Blooming Platter Cookbook’s Southern Sweet Tea Salad Featured in FARM’s MEATOUT MONDAY e-Newsletter

The good folks at FARM have gone and done it again…featured one of the recipes from The Blooming Platter (vegan) Cookbook in their MEATOUT MONDAY eNewsletter.

I love FARM, I love this recipe and I love serving it in my late beloved grandmother, Virginia White’s (“Nana”), tea cups that I inherited.

Thanks, FARM!

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Vegan Thai Rice Noodle, Plum and Shitake Salad

Yield: 6-8 servings

Inspired by the gift of tiny sweet plums from Mike, a friend of our dance teacher Diane’s, this cool, light and refreshing Thai-inspired salad is a feast for the senses. (If you don’t have access to plums, you can substitute grape tomatoes for a similar color and texture and slightly different–but still delicious–flavor.)

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 Indian Samosa Potato-Pea Salad on a Poppadom

This salad combines all of the ingredients that I love about Indian Samosas into a much lighter dish because I substitute poppadoms for the fat-and-flaky crust that encases all of the spicy potato and pea goodness.  I roast the potatoes for extra flavor and I stir the traditional cilantro and mint dipping chutneys and spices into the dressing, dolloping a mango or fruit-type chutney on the top.

Don’t you think the salad look enchanting served in its poppadom cup?  As you probably know, poppadoms are very low-calorie/low-fat Indian chickpea wafers with a high level of flavor.  They puff up magnificently in the microwave in a mere 45-60 seconds.  The shape into which they morph is not always predictable, so you might end up with something rippled but flatter and less cup-like, but no worries.  The dish will still look beautiful and taste divine even if presented as more of a tostado.

Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups quartered new potatoes (mine were white-skinned)

1 1/2 cups fresh peas

2 pinches of sea salt

1/4 cup vegan mayo (the Blooming Platter Mayo in my new cookbook is quite special, if I do say so myself; but any kind will do)

1 teaspoon prepared Indian Cilantro Chutney (available at Indian markets and the International aisle of better-stocked grocery stores)

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon prepared Indian Mint Chutney (also available at Indian markets and the International aisle of better-stocked grocery stores)

4 poppadoms

4 teaspoons or a bit more Indian fruit chutney (prepared or homemade; I used my homemade Blackberry Chutney because I had some on hand)

Optional garnish: 4 petite slices of yellow, red or orange bell pepper or even Roma tomato + 4 sprigs of mint or cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place tablespoon of olive oil into a large roasting pan, add potatoes and a pinch of salt and toss lightly to coat.  Roast for about 30  minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes.  I like mind to develop a nice caramelization, but roast for less time if you don’t.  Just make sure they are very tender.  Remove potatoes to a bowl and cool to room temperature.

While potatoes roast, place peas into a 2 quart saucepan.  Add water to just barely cover and a pinch of salt.  Stir once , turn heat to medium-high, cover lightly, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until tender.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.  Add to bowl with potatoes.

In a small bowl, stir together vegan mayo, the cilantro and mint chutneys, and the coriander, cumin and curry powder.  Pour the dressing over the potatoes and peas and stir gently to distribute evenly.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Cook poppadoms, a couple at a time, for 45-60 seconds in the microwave.  Remove, place on salad plates, fill each with 1/4 of the salad mixture, dollop with about a teaspoon of the Indian fruit chutney, and garnish as desired.

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