Vegan Cajun Red Bean, Spiralized Squash, & Spicy Peanut Slaw
A July 4 Explosion of Flavor

Lately, I will spiralize most anything that isn’t quicker than me.

Actually, that’s not true.  A friend did give me a Spiralizer that I have yet to break out of the box.  But, so far, I have purchased a variety of colorful vegetables already cut into those long, luscious threads.

I’m not a “raw vegan,” but I do find that these thin, spiraling threads do not need cooked, not even the sweet potato, though you could certainly blanch them if you prefer.  I favor the flavor, texture, and color “as is.”

This slaw was inspired by my beloved NOLA.  It combines super heart-healthy dark red kidney beans with spicy peanuts, cajun seasoning, and a few other key ingredients with a blend of spiralized zucchini and yellow squash for a refreshing, luscious, and lovely–especially when served in a martini glass–heck of a zippy slaw.

Rice would be the more natural choice, i.e. red-beans-and-rice, but I just can’t find much to recommend calorie dense, carb rich, and nutrionally lacking white rice.  Hence the light colored spiralized squash which is such fun to eat.

It appears that Bob and I are going to a restaurant for July 4 with his family, as the family matriarch is recovering from a back injury and prefers not to entertain; but if we weren’t, I would certainly be taking this dish as my potluck contribution.

Note: the number of cups listed on the back of spiralized vegetable packages is usually less than my measurements as I very loosely pack it, while it appears that they must compress it a bit more.  This is, I always end up with significantly more than the package indicates.

3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (or to taste)

Juice of 1/2 large lemon

1 tablespoon cajun seasoning (I used one with lots of spices, but none of them with a lot of heat)

2 cups spiralized zucchini (loosely packed)

2 cups spiralized yellow squash (loosely packed)

1 cup diced celery (about 4 celery hearts, sliced lengthwise and then thinly sliced crosswise)

2 green onions, thinly sliced, both the white and green parts (about 1/2 cup)

1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsied and drained

1 cup spicy peanuts

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garnish: thin lemon slices with a cut from outer edge to center

In a large bowl, whisk together mayo, lemon juice, and cajun seasoning.  Add remaining ingredients and gently toss to evenly distribute dressing.  Check for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve in glasses with a slice of lemon “hung” on the rim.

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Vegan Flexy Sexy Asian Slaw
(with popcorn, my fave new slaw ingredient)

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

My brand new vegan slaw is “flexy” because you can use your favorite vegetables and mix it up differently every time; and “sexy” because it is so light and healthy that it looks good on everyone.  Plus, you’ll have to admit, the martini glass presentation is James Bond meets West Elm sexy.

Simply keep the proportions as provided and then have your way with this slaw which is perfect for a light lunch.  Serve it however you choose, but a clear stemmed glass and chopsticks make it so pretty and fun to nibble.

1 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise

Juice of 1/2 medium lime or lemon

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 1 /2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 1 /2 teaspoons granulated sugar (I like coconut sugar)

Optional: 1/8-1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (I like Sriracha)

2 cups sliced, diced, spiralized or julienne colorful, crunchy vegetables (I used a broccoli slaw mix that included purple cabbage and carrots)

2 cups prepared “skinny” popcorn (air popped and very lightly salted or seasoned)

1/2 cup diced tomatoes (I like tri-color cherry tomatoes)

1/4 cup raw cashews

1 teaspoon fresh minced basil (an Asian variety like Thai or Vietnamese is especially nice

1 teaspoon fresh minced or torn mint leaves

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish: fresh basil or mint sprigs, a few cashew halves

In a small bowl, whisk together first 6 ingredients to make dressing.  In a medium-large bowl, gently toss together remaining ingredients except garnish.  Drizzle dressing over, toss again, Divide into serving dishes and garnish as desired.  Serve immediately.

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Vegan Red Curry Popcorn with Cashews and Cabbage
(I know this sounds a bit odd,
but it is outrageously declicious)

Yield: 2 servings.

This recipe defies both description and categorization; hence, I didn’t know whether to tag it as a vegetable side dish, snack, slaw, or ???  I suppose it could even be a main dish.

But, no matter.  Whatever you call it or whenever you eat it–I was starved, so I invented it on the fly and devoured it for “brunch” today, as I am home on Spring Break with a bit more time to experiment–you will love it, odd as it sounds.

Be sure to serve it in a pretty Asian bowl with chopsticks to make a mouthwatering presentation that is as fun to eat as it is pretty.

1 tablespoon vegan butter

3 tablespoons vegan sour cream (you could use mayo or the thick part of coconut milk that separates in the can, but I wanted less calories)

1/4 teaspoon prepared Thai Red Curry Paste (feel free to add a bit more if you desire a more pronounced flavor and more heat)

1-2 tablesoon vegan fish sauce (sold as vegetarian in Asian markets), lime juice or half of each

6 cups popped kettle corn (slightly sweet and salty)

1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage (I buy it shredded in the bag; the type with some shredded carrot mixed in would be delicious too)

1/4 cup lightly roasted and salted cashew halves or peanuts + a couple for garnish

1 tablespoon pinched fresh cilantro leaves (feel free to chop but I was to impatient) + 2 sprigs for garnish

In a medium-large bowl, melt butter with sour cream in microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.whisk in curry paste and fish sauce.  Fold in remaining ingredients, except garnishes.  Pile into two small Asian-style bowls, garnish with cilantro sprigs and cashew halves, and serve immediately with chopsticks so that popcorn doesn’t become soggy.

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Vegan Summer Squash, Zucchini, and Fresh Basil Slaw

Summer Squash, Zucchini and Basil SlawRecently, I enjoyed coffee (actually an iced soy chai latte for me!) with a former art student who just graduated from college (with a minor in art!).

Her family has long tended a bountiful garden, so she brought me beautiful squash among other specimens.

Planning for a beach picnic with a good friend yesterday evening, I thought that maybe a squash and zucchini slaw–with some shredded carrots I had on hand and basil from my own herb garden–would be the perfect accompaniment to our Vegan Baked Bean Crostini…and it was!

This beautiful slaw goes together in a flash but looks and tastes very special.

 

3 cups shredded yellow squash, zucchini, and carrot, roughly equal parts of each

Sea Salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons vegan mayonnasie

1 tablespoon apple cider or malt vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped capers

2 tablespoons basil chiffonade (stack basil leaves, roll tightly, and slice into very thin slivers

Optional garnish: whole capers and fresh basil sprigs

Toss together shredded vegetables and a pinch of salt, place in a collander, top with a plate and something with a little weight–like a can of beans–on top and let drain for about 20 minutes.  Then, in a medium bowl, toss together all remaining ingredients, including more salt to taste.  Cover and chill until serving time.  Toss and serve garnished if desired with whole capers and basil sprigs.

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Vegan BBQ Bean Sandwich with Caramelized Onions and Fall Festival Slaw (with zucchini, apple, carrot and walnuts)

BBQ Bean Sandwich with Caramelized Onions and Fall Festival SlawYield: 4 sandwiches

My new Fall Festival Slaw was the inspiration for this delicious sandwich.  After I made the luscious slaw, though, it seemed to cry out for tangy BBQ beans and sweet caramelized onions.  Oh boy, what a great combination, though the slaw is a beautiful side dish on its own.

 

BBQ Bean Sandwich with Caramelized Onions and Fall Festival Slaw

4 sandwich rolls or 8 slices of whole grain bread, toasted

Fall Festival Slaw

Caramelized Onions

BBQ Beans

Vegan mayonnaise (I like Vegenaise)

For each sandwich, spread bottom piece of bread with about 1 tablespoon or less of mayo.  Top with 1/4 of the beans, 1/4 of the onions, and about 1/4 cup of slaw.  Serve immediately.

 

Fall Festival Slaw

Note:  I use the grater attachment of my food processor to grate vegetables, as it creates a nice julienne style shred.  You will have slaw left over.

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup grated apple

1/2 cup grated carrot

1-4 to 5-inch small mild red chili pepper, stemmed and seeded, grated

1/2 cup taosted walnut pieces

1/4 to 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise (I like Vegennaise)

1 teaspoon anise seed

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste

Place grated vegetables in a colander or strainer, press gently to remove excess moisture, and let drain for a few minutes.  Transfer to a medium bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients and combine will with a fork.  Cover and refrigerate until serving time.  Stir again before serving.

 

Caramelized Onions

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, slivered

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Add all remaining ingredients and saute, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes or until preferred degree of caramelization is reached.  Reduce heat if cooking too fast. While onions caramelize, prepare beans.

 

BBQ Beans

Use your favorite BBQ bean recipe or:

1-15.5 ounce can vegetarian (which are actually vegan) barbeque beans (I used Bush’s brand with bourbon and maple syrup)

1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

In a small cast iron skillet or saucepan, heat together all ingredients, cooking for 7 or so minutes until thick and a little “sticky” to intensify flavors and insure that the beans will hold together nicely inside the sandwich.  Remove from heat.  Note:  you may need to tweak amount of mustard and vinegar or you may even need to add turbinado sugar depending on the type of beans you pruchase.  Mine were already sweet, so the mustard and balsamic vinegar balanced the flavors beautifully.

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