The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes

Recipes for 'Vegan Salads'

Tempeh-Salad-as-Soft-TacoThis salad from The Blooming Platter Cookbook is a personal favorite and drew raves at a recent cooking demonstration I was invited to give for a group of women fairly new to veganism  who wanted to know more about cooking with some of the vegan proteins, like tempeh and seitan.  I knew you will love it too!

Grapes add color, moisture, and natural sweetness to this hearty salad, while nuts add depth of flavor, crunch, and nutrition. In addition to being terrific in a whole grain sandwich, the filling is also great with crackers, celery sticks, or in a lettuce wrap. Some people prefer to steam their tempeh before using in recipes to mellow the flavor – this recipe allows for that option.

And as you can see in the top photo, this salad also makes a delectable soft taco or, at bottom, a scoop of deliciousness on a bed of super-greens.
Yield: 4 servings
16 ounces tempeh
Sea salt
1 cup green seedless grapes, quartered
1/2 cup smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons minced dill
6 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Freshly ground black pepper
8 slices whole grain bread

1. Preheat the broiler. Steam the tempeh for 10 minutes, if desired. Season both sides of the tempeh with salt and broil 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the grapes, almonds, celery, dill, mayo, maple syrup, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Crumble the tempeh and add it to the bowl and combine gently with a fork to mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings,
if needed.
3. To serve, divide the mixture onto four slices of the bread, top each with another slice of bread, cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Variation:  Make the recipe above with these substitutions: red grapes for green grapes; toasted walnuts for smoked almonds; orange bell pepper for celery; tarragon for dill.




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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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Kale-Salad-with-Pomegranate-Balsamic-Marinated-Figs-and-Dates-Topped-with-Smoked-Almonds1Fresh raw kale is the base of this lovely salad chock full of lightly caramelized dried fruit and smoked almonds, all glistening from just the right amount of a savory-sweet-tart pomegranate vinaigrette.  The most virtuous dish on the Thanksgiving table may just be the tastiest too!

I served this salad last year and, though the whole menu was scrumptious, I typically don’t duplicate.  But this dish made the cut and I will be serving it again!

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Yorgo's Chicken SaladOur schools just started last week and it’s going to be a super year!

As a teacher, my culinary mind has turned to healthy, tasty, quick treats I can pack for satisfying mini-meals throughout the day.

I live in VA Beach, next door to Norfolk, VA, where you can regularly find me “Jonesin” for Yorgo’s Bageldashery’s vegan chicken salad (Yorgo’s has a VERY vegan friendly menu).  I try to pick up a carton when I “cross the border” for some other reason, but the deli closes at 2 p.m., so I can only make it on the weekends during the school year.  And I have been known to drive to Norfok just for the chicken salad.  I know, it’s a shameless waste of gas.  But I drive a Prius…does that make it almost okay?

At any rate, I have tried–unsuccessfully–in the past to duplicate their vegan chicken salad.  But, I tried again and I do believe I got it!

In addition to the taste, the texture is divine.  It’s almost a spread, but not quite.  It’s more like a very fine mince bound together with a creamy vegan mayo.  Pulsing the ingredients in the food processor a few times after each addition did the trick.   But, from past experiments, I knew that using all mayo overpowered the other flavors, so keep reading to learn my secret.  And, finally, I also realized that I was trying to add too many additional flavors.  Keeping it VERY simple was the key.

3 celery hearts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

3 green onions, white and green part, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1-8 ounce package Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chick’n Strips (or 1/2 pound purchased or homemade chicken-flavored seitan, cut into thin strips or chunks)

3 tablespoons vegan sour cream

1 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise, purchased or homemade (I like a neutral tasting mayo like Vegenaise for this)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional: for a Vegan Dill Chicken Salad, add 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill weed or, in the summer, 1 tablespoon of fresh minced dill and stir to evenly distribute.

Place celery in food processor and pulse a few times until finely chopped.  Add green onions, and process until very finely chopped.  Add vegan Chick’n Strips or seitan, and process until chicken is finely chopped.  (Other ingredients will be minced at this point.)  Add mayo and  pulse a very few times, just until combined.  Throughout the process, scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary for uniform chopping.  Transfer to a serving bowl or storage carton and stir in salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in dill weed or fresh dill if desired. Serve as you would any other chicken salad or cover and refrigerate until serving time.  Because of both its taste and texture, this chicken salad is especially well-suited to spreading on a cracker, a toasted “everything” bagel or rolled in fresh spinach leaves to create healthy little wraps.

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Based on Actor’s Studio host’s James Lipton’s famous “Q & A”–after the Proust Questionnaire–“Vegan Q & A Tuesday” is The Blooming Platter’s new first Tuesday feature on a creative force in the vegan culinary world.  Read more about “Q & A Tuesday” HERE.

Bryanna cropFeatured Force: 

Bryanna Clark Grogan

(See below for Bryanna’s Indian-Spiced Lentil Salad recipe.)

Vegan since 1988, author World Vegan Feast & 7 more vegan cookbooks, Bryanna has devoted over 40 years to the study of cooking & nutrition.  She developed the recipes for Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes, & contributed recipes to Howard Lyman’s No More Bull!Cooking with PETA. She has appeared at Vegetarian SummerFest, Vegetarian Awakening, Portland VegFest, McDougall Celebrity Chef Weekend, VidaVeganCon, & Seattle VegFest. She also runs a small library branch and likes to bellydance & read mysteries. She lives on Denman Is., Bc, Canada, with her photographer/baker husband Brian, dog Phoebe, & cats Ringo & Sadie. She has 4 grown kids, 2 stepsons and 7 grandchildren.

 1.  What is your favorite culinary word?

It would have to be “Umami”– the Japanese word for “The Fifth Flavor”, which means, more or less, “the essence of deliciousness”.  Isn’t that wonderful?

2.  What is your least favorite culinary word?

“Superfood”—there are no “superfoods”!  It’s a marketing ploy. 

3.  What about cooking turns you on?

I think part of it is the creativity and inventiveness, which often leads to a wonderful dish or meal. Sometimes I wake up thinking about some idea for a dish that I want to make. One can compare it to painting, but we cooks can enjoy eating our creations!  There is also the mystery—how will it turn out?  Will it live up to expectations?  And, in addition, there is the pleasure of discovery—learning the science of cooking, how ingredients work together, what methods improve the result, etc.

4.  What about cooking turns you off?

Hmmmm… that’s a tough one.  The clean-up, perhaps?

5.  What cooking or dining sound or noise do you love?

There are many. The “snap” of breaking celery or snap peas; the sizzle of breaded marinated tofu sliding into hot olive oil; knife on wooden cutting board as one chops onions, etc.; the “glug” of wine being poured into a sauce; the quiet clinking of dining utensils during a lull in the dinner conversation, when guests are enjoying their food so much that they cease to converse.

6.  What cooking or dining sound or noise do you hate?


7.  What makes you curse in the kitchen?

Cutting myself; spilling something messy, such as oil or tomato sauce; finding out I turned on the wrong burner; burning something.

8.  What cooking profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Rather than being a cookbook writer, from the limited amount of teaching workshops I’ve done, it might be very satisfying to be a cooking teacher.

9.  What cooking profession would you not like to do?

I would not like to do anything that entailed making the same thing, or few things, over and over.

10.  If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

“One of the perks here is that you can have anything you like to eat, you won’t get fat, and you can have full access to the Heavenly Kitchens, if you like.”

Bryanna’s Indian-Spiced Lentil Salad

 Indian lentil saladServes 6

 5 1/2 to 6 cups cooked or canned brown lentils, drained (or 2 cups dried)

4 small carrots, peeled and grated

6 large green onions, chopped

3 stalks celery, with leaves, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 medium cucumber, diced (I use the English type that you don’t have to peel)


1 cup Mango Salsa (see homemade recipe and notes below recipe)

3/4 cup Low-Fat Oil Substitute for Salad Dressings or broth from cooking chickpeas

6 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon dried mint leaves (or 3 tablespoons fresh, chopped)

1 tablespoon dried cilantro leaves (or 3 tablespoons fresh, chopped)

2 teaspoons tandoor masala

1 teaspoon salt

 If you are starting with dried lentils (which do not need pre-soaking):

Pick over the lentils to remove debris or shriveled lentils, rinse, and drain. Cover with water or broth and boil for 2 to 3 minutes (to aid in digestion). Reduce the heat and simmer gently, covered, until tender. Depending on the variety and age, cooking time may take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour.  They should be tender, but firm, so do not overcook them or let them get mushy.  Drain them well (handling gently) and cool completely, then measure out.

To make the salad:

Combine the first 6 ingredients carefully in a salad bowl.

Whisk the Dressing ingredients together well, or mix them briefly in a blender or with a hand immersion/stick blender.

Fold the Dressing into the salad. Cover and refrigerate. Try to bring the salad to room temperature before serving.

To serve, I pile it on top of some organic greens and garnish each serving with sliced fresh mango and avocado.

Nutrition (per serving): 397.3 calories; 32% calories from fat; 14.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 625.7mg sodium; 1194.7mg potassium; 53.1g carbohydrates; 17.8g fiber; 12.3g sugar; 35.4g net carbs; 18.6g protein; 8.4 points.



3 cups diced fully ripened tomatoes, roughly pureed in a food processor or with a hand immersion/stick blender

2 cups diced fresh mango (or use ripe peaches instead)

1/4 sliced green onions

1 tbs minced jalapeno pepper, seeds removed (optional)

2 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger or one tsp ground ginger

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tbs. lime juice

Mix ingredients together well and refrigerate until using in a covered container.


Commercial Mango or Peach and Tomato Salsas:

D.L. Jardine’s Peach Salsa

PC [President's Choice, a Canadian brand] Mango and Lime Salsa

Pearson Farm Georgia-Style Peach Salsa

Victoria Fruit Salsa


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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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DSCN1851Yield: 6 servings

I discovered a brand new and brilliant way to cook lentils, courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen: brine them to soften the skin and then bake them in a dutch oven so they don’t crash together and break apart while they simmer.  You can find their method HERE, along with some tasty salad ideas. (Note: I obviously didn’t use chicken broth.  I could have used vegetable broth, but water worked yielded lentils full of flavor.)

After trying that method, I had a beautiful bunch of them with which to do something.  I also had local red onion, zucchini and orange Roma tomatoes from my trip to the farm market.  There was nothing left to do but combine everything into a salad!

I wanted a special, but simple, dressing–some kind of vinaigrette–but I wasn’t sure what.  Scanning the door of the fridge, my eyes alighted on an unopened jar–a gift–of pepper jelly made here in Virginia.  Voila!  Then, mentally reviewing the herbs in the garden, sage somehow sounded perfectly earthy and just the right note to counter the heat of the jelly.  Voila again!  But it seemed like it needed one more “warm”  spice.  The barest hint of clove or mace was just exactly right.

This combination of ingredients makes this recipe the perfect celebration of late summer (salad) while looking forward to the cool months ahead (dressing) because I always think of pepper jelly and sage in conjunction with the festive flavors of the winter holidays.

3 cups cooked French lentils

1/4 cup diced red onion (if desired, cover with  soymilk and drain before using to remove a little of the bite)

2 orange Roma tomatoes, diced (red is fine; the orange ones were just so beautiful at the farm market)

1 6-inch zucchini, sliced in thirds lengthwise, lightly salted, grilled 2 to 3 minutes on each side, cooled, and diced (I used my Lodge indoor grill pan over medium-high)

Sea Salt to taste (don’t be stingy!)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pepper Jelly-Sage Dressing (recipe follows)

In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients except dressing.  Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.  Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to evenly distribute.  Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to marry before serving.

Pepper Jelly-Sage Dressing:

1/4 cup pepper jelly (I use a locally made brand)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon mustard

6 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch sea salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Pinch garlic powder

Tiny pinch of ground clove or mace (a bare hint is all you want but it adds a little somethin’-somethin’!)

3 tablespoons fresh sage, minced or chiffonade (I like the latter, simply stack and roll 3 to 4 leaves and thinly slice into tiny ribbons)

In a small bowl, whisk together pepper jelly, vinegar, and mustard.  Whisk in olive oil in a slow stream and keep whisking until it emulsifies (thickens and comes together).  Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and clove or mace to taste and then whisk in sage.



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DSCN1837This jewel-toned salad is a real gem!

I admit that the color is a bit shocking, courtesy of some beautiful fresh beets, but it looked right at home on the bountiful buffet at this year’s birthday bash for Julia Child.

For the last 4 years, 10 or so of our foodie friends gather to fete the ‘ole gal on the Saturday evening closest to her birthday, making the 2013 iteration of this favorite pot-luck party on August 10.

My contributions were this salad and my new Vegan Luscious Lavender and Creme de Cacao Ice Cream.  Ooh-la-la!

Guests are asked to bring a French dish (and something tasty to eat too–hahaha), one inspired by Julia Child, or one made according to her actual recipes.  We scarcely do any advance coordination, but the meal is somehow always perfect and so beautifully presented.  The group is made up of one vegan (moi), some vegetarians, and some out-and-out carnivores.  But the food is almost entirely vegetarian/vegan.

Lovely dishes brought by our guests included:

  • Fresh juicy cantaloup slices (with or without prosciutto–sorry!)
  • Broccoli aspic (a recipe from Julia Child)
  • La Salad Hericot Vert (with candied walnuts, arugula and radicchio)
  • Ratatouille
  • Beet (not “beef”!) Bourguignon over Lentils
  • Salmon (sorry again!), courtesy of my husband with my homemade basil Pistou (French pesto)

My Vegan Potato-beet salad, a riff on one of Julia Child’s, was a top favorite among at least two of the guests, though everyone seemed to enjoy it.  Be sure to use a neutral tasting mayonnaise, or it will overpower the other flavors.  I am a fan of Nayonaise for some dishes, but feel it is too strongly vinegary and spiced for this dish.  Vegenaise is a better choice in this case.

4 cups quartered new potatoes (at our local farm market, they are called “creamers”), boiled in salted water, partially covered, until tender, about 20 minutes, and drained

7 beets, peeled and diced (about 2 1/2 cups), cooked until tender, and drained (save juice for another purpose) [I place them in a bowl, cover them with water, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and microwave for 15 minutes, but avoid a steam burn when removing the wrap!)

1 cup haricot vert (green beans), trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces, and simmered just until tender, about 7 minutes, then shocked in cold/iced water, and drained

Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

1/4 cup green herbs, finely chopped (I highly recommend a blend of 2 or more, e.g. basil, chives, tarragon, parsley)

2 cups neutral tasting mayo, prepared or homemade (not too tangy, sweet, etc., I like Vegenaise for this recipe)

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large non-reactive (glass or ceramic) bowl, combine all vegetables, drizzle with vinaigrette, toss well, cover, and chill for several hours.  Sprinkle with herbs, fold in mayo, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Chill until serving time and garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs.


1/4 cup sherry vinegar (in truth, whatever vinegar you have will be great)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garlic powder to taste

In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together vinegar and mustard.  Then whisk in olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified.  Season to taste and whisk again.  (Or just combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well.)


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DSCN1625Yield: 4 to 6 servings

If you live in the US and this sounds good for your July 4 BBQ, I hope I’ve left you enough time to purchase the ingredients–or maybe you will have them on hand, as Independence Day snuck up on me this year!

The inspiration for this summer salad is that popular Italian dish of pasta with peas and, if you’ll excuse me, bacon and cream.

I substituted red-skinned “creamers” (small potatoes) from the farmers market for the pasta, and added fresh cooked peas, also from the market, along with roasted red onion and chopped roasted almonds for crunch.

My version gets its smokiness from smoked paprika.  To reduce the amount of mayonnaise required, I pureed some of the fresh peas with the mayo for a beautifully textured and flavored creamy dressing.

Lemon zest brightens the salad like summer sunshine.  So, when trying to decide on a garnish, a big golden slice of lemon seemed the perfect touch.  And that made me think of a cup of tea, so I decided to serve this salad in one of my Nana’s tea cups.  But it would look just fine–and a bit more masculine–on plain white plates at your next (vegan) barbecue!

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 pound small potatoes, quartered (like new potatoes; our farmers market calls them “creamers”)

Sea salt

1 small red onion, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slivers which you can halve again (I used an enormous bulb from a red spring onion at our farmers market)

1 1/2 cups fresh peas, simmered in lightly salted water just to cover for 20 minutes, drained

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (prepared or homemade; I used Vegenaise)

1/2 teaspoon yellow or Dijon mustard

3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Zest of one-half of a large lemon

1/2 cup roasted almonds, coarsely chopped

Garnish: thinly sliced lemon, whole roasted almonds, pinch of smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Pour oil in the bottom of a large cast iron skillet or roasting pan, add potatoes and a pinch of salt and toss to coat.  Roast for 10 minutes, toss gently, and roast 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven, add onion, gently toss again, and roast for an additional 10 minutes.  Transfer potato and onion mixture to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Set aside one-half cup peas and gently fold the remaining cup into the potato mixture along with more sea salt to taste.  Puree the half-cup peas with the mayonnaise, mustard, and paprika.  Spoon over salad, add lemon zest and chopped almonds, and gently toss to distribute dressing evenly.  Check for seasoning, and serve garnished as desired.

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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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