The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes

No-Chicken Salad with Tomatoes, Basil, and Smoked Almonds

Yield: 4 servings

I have created quite a few no-chicken salad recipes from seitan, tempeh, and textured vegetable protein.  (To find them, just search “chicken salad” here on The Blooming Platter or consult the index of TBP cookbook.)

This tempeh version, made with two of the glories of summer–tomatoes and basil–is made even more addicting with the addition of smoky and crunchy almonds plus a little celery.

There is something about the saltiness of the almonds playing off the sweetness of the tomatoes with a hint of that herby freshness from the basil that is utter perfection.  Every rendition I create becomes my new favorite so, for now, this no-chicken salad is my “favorite.”  I think it is destined to become a classic and hope you agree!

(I am participating in Virtual Vegan “Linky” Potluck  with this recipe.  Follow the link to discover other tasty potluck contributions.)

 

1-8 ounce package tempeh, cut into 8 pieces, lightly oiled and salted,  baked for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, and slightly cooled

1/2 cup smoked almonds

4 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup quartered grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped basil or chiffonade (stack leaves, roll, and slice very thinly)

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Crumble tempeh into a medium bowl.  Process smoked almonds and celery until finely chopped and add to tempeh along with remaining ingredients.  Toss all together and refrigerate to allow salad to chill and flavors to marry. Serve as you would any such salad, though I like it especially well scooped up with veggie chips.

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Chicken Salad with TVP, Grapes and PecansI grew up in the Deep South where a tasty chicken salad is a staple in every cook’s recipe files.  I haven’t eaten chicken for many years, but I still love the combination of flavors, so you will find quite a few vegan renditions here on The Blooming Platter (just enter “chicken salad” in the search box).

This version was inpired by a luscious one I saw Ina Garten prepare on “The Barefoot Contessa.”  I substituted textured vegetable protein (TVP) for the chicken–though all of my other recipes call for seitan–as that’s what I had on hand.

I loved both the flavor and texture and know you will too!

TVP got a bad rap when I was in school; we regularly mocked the “hamburger” patties made with TVP, a meat substitute and extender, favored by high-volume cooks for it’s low cost, high protein content, versatility and long shelf life.  Little did I know back then that I would grow up to seek out TVP and sing its praises!

2 cups coarse TVP (textured vegetable protein)

2 cups water

1 bouillon cube

1 bay leaf, torn in half

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup finely chopped celery (I use a food processor for this task)

1 cup lightly salted toasted chopped pecans (toast with a sprinkle of sea salt at 350 degrees in a single layer for 5-7 minutes or until slightly more golden brown and toasted in flavor)

1 1/2 cups green grapes, halved (or quartered, your preference)

3/4 cup vegan mayo (more or less to suit your preference)

In a 2-quart (medium) saucepan, bring water, bouillon cube, halved bay leave, sage, thyme, garlic powder, and sea salt together.  Stir in TVP and simmer, stirring frequently, until moisture is absored, or about 5 minutes (it goes very quickly).  Season with black pepper.  Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.  Transfer to a medium size mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients, and stir gently until completely combined.  Use as you would any chicken salad.  I love it atop cucumber slices or crackers, or in a sandwich or wrap.

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Yield: 6 servings

Purple Potato Salad for Papa’s Day (or any day)!…

A birthday gift of a bounty of purple vegetables (potatoes, cauliflower, onion, and eggplant) nestled into a green basket and tied with ribbon from my clever friend, David, inspired this addicting potato salad.

About 18 golf ball size purple new potatoes (or substitute your favorite kind), simmered in salted water for about 15 minutes or until tender, drained, cooled, and quartered

4 celery hearts, trimmed, and diced

1/2 cup chopped smoked almonds (I use a food processor for this task)

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (I prefer Vegenaise, Whole Foods brand, OR my own in The Blooming Platter Cookbook)

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/8 teaspoon black salt (optional, but lends an flavor uncannily similar to boiled eggs

1 bunch minced chives (I cut them with kitchen shears)

Place potatoes, celery, and smoked almonds in a medium bowl.  Whisk together mayo, rice vinegar, mustard, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, and optional black salt.  Stir in chives, poor over vegetables and nuts, and fold together gently until dressing is well-distributed.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve immediately or cover and chill until serving time.

 

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Beets 3 Ways

Yield: 8 appetizer servings

A beautiful bunch of beets at the farmers market inspired this tasty trio.  I couldn’t decide how I wanted to prepare them, so I created three recipes, as delicious individually as they are together.

(In the photo, I combined some of the rich green pesto with a little vegan sour cream for color contrast with the sautéed greens.  However, the pesto is fantastic on its own.  When I serve the crostini with the pesto, I typically seve the sautéed greens on the side so that the dark green pesto sits right on top of the brilliant fuscia spread.)

 

Beet Green Pesto:

4 ounces beet greens, stemmed

1 large clove garlic, halved

4 ounces roasted and lightly salted cashews

Sea salt to taste (don’t skimp; the bitterness of these greens requires ample salt)

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil or enough to create the desired consistence

Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and process until fintely chopped.  With motor running, stream in olive oil, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.

 

Beet Spread:

4-2 to 3 ounce fresh beets (trimmed weight), peeled and quartered

2 large cloves garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Optional: 1 teaspoon ground sumac (a middle eastern spice that lends an earthy, slightly lemony flavor)

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, except olive oil, and pulse until very finely chopped, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  With motor running, stream in olive oil and process until as smooth as desired.

 

Sauteed Beet Greens with Chickpeas:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

4 ounces beet greens, stemmed, and torn or rough-chopped into approximately 2-inch pieces

Sea salt to taste

1 teaspoon natural sugar

1-15.5 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained

Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Add onion, a pinch of salt, and saute, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes, or until softened.  Add beet greens, another pinch of salt and sugar.  Saute, stirring constantly, for another 3 minutes or until slightly wilted.  Stir in chickpeas and heat through, stirring.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

 

To Serve:

Spread a little Beet Spread on toasted bread and top with some of the Sautéed Beet Greens and a dollop of Beet Pesto (whisked into an equal part sour cream for color contrast, if you like).  Or serve the greens on the side and dollop the pesto directly on top of the spread.

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Three Bean SaladYield: approximately 8 servings

I love ice cold, sweet ‘n vinegary Three-Bean Salad, a south’ren staple.  Or, rather, I used to.  I still love the idea of it, although, these days, I prefer my salads not swimming in marinade, nor doused with white sugar.  But with summer nigh upon us, and this salad among the best ever picnic foods, I decided to make it over.

There are LOTS of recipes for this salad.  My mom’s, which I enjoyed over Spring Break, calls for a can of dark red kidney beans, one of green beans, and one of wax beans, along with some onion and, I think,green bell pepper and pimento.  The marinade-like dressing calls for about a 1/2 cup each of vegetable oil, granulated sugar, and vinegar.  Oh my.

In my updated version, I use three kinds of canned cooked beans, as I’m not a fan of green veggies in a can.  But I do add some green for color and nutrition in the form of very finely chopped kale (or Swiss chard).  Though I adore raw onion, there is never a socially acceptable time to eat it, as best I can tell.  So, I substitute some onion powder, along with some garlic powder for good measure.  And for the bell pepper and pimento, why eat something from a jar when you can eat it fresh?  So, I combine the idea of the fresh bell pepper with the pimento by substituting a whole roasted red bell pepper, leaving the charred skin on for depth of flavor. But it is equally good raw when pressed for time (as in the photograph).

Wanting to stay somewhat true to the salad, the marinade is a bit sweeter than I would normally opt for, but it is WAY toned down and I think just right.  I use a mere 1/4 cup of olive oil sweetened with just 2 tablespoons of maple syrup balanced with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar for tanginess that is a bit more mellow.

This salad is going to be invited to all of my summer picnics and hopefully to yours!

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Sea salt to taste (avoid skimping!)

1-15.5 ounce can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained

1-15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1-15.5 ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 red bell pepper, halved, stemmed and seeded, roasted under the broiler, cooled and diced (I like to leave the lightly charred skin on for more depth of flavor or left raw and diced

1 cup finely chopped fresh kale (almost minced; I use a food processor for this task)

In a large, non-reactive bowl, whisk together maple syrup, vinegar, olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.  Stir in beans, bell pepper, and kale, combining well.  Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.  Chill, covered, until serving time.

 

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Pancakes with Flax Seed and Oatmeal for One

Yield: 1 serving (easily multiplies)

With a little more time in the morning on Memorial Day, perhaps these pancakes are just what you need to start your day…But they go together quickly enough for almost any day!

My sister-in-laws generously gave me a Nutri-Bullet as a hostess gift at Thanksgiving.  It is genus in design and engineering and I have been making smoothies religiously for breakfast, cutting way down on my Starbucks bill (I love their Green Tea Soy Frappuccinos!).

I was never much of a breakfast eater, especially on weekdays.  Even in high school, I preferred to drink my breakfast.  In those days, dairy was part of my diet, and I was a Carnation Instant Breakfast fan: just stir and go.

But on this sunny morning, I woke up and was craving something I could chew.  We had “Everything” bagels and Tofutti sliced cheese, but I wanted something with a little sweetness.  Since my husband and already eaten his bowl of oatmeal, I decided to whip up a very petite serving of pancakes that weren’t nutritionally void.   Mentally scanning the pantry, I lighted on healthful flax seed and oatmeal.

They were divine.  Exactly what I wanted: something satisfying absent any heaviness.  And the recipe easily multiplies for as many as you want to feed.

Happy, Healthy Memorial Day!

 

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I only keep white whole wheat on hand)

1 teaspoon natural sugar

1 tablespoon flax seed

1 tablespoon old-fashioned oatmeal

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch salt

4-5 tablespoons soymilk (or your favorite non-dairy milk; I prefer soy for its protein content), or enough to make a thick batter

Optional accompaniments: vegan sour cream and maple syrup

 

Spray a cast iron skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium-high.  Whisk together all dry ingredients in a small bowl, make a well in the center, add soymilk, and whisk until completely combined.  Spoon batter into skillet, evenly dividing to make three pancakes.  This batter really won’t bubble, so look for a slight rise and a slightly toasty aroma which will take approximately  2 to 3 minutes.  Flip and, again, look for a little more pronounced rise and the same toasty aroma; again about 2 minutes.  Remove from skillet to plate and enjoy with your favorite accompaniments.  One of my favorite combinations is a little vegan sour cream spread between each pancake, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a dollop of sour cream on top.

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Cannelini Bean and Grilled Vegetable Salad with Marrakesh Mania Vinaigrette 2Yield: 4 servings

An indoor grill works perfectly for this salad which would make an deliciously different side for your Memorial Day spread.

A meal in itself, the light Moroccan-inspired dressing binds together cannellini beans and baby or chopped kale with a spring bounty of grilled asparagus, grilled spring onions, and grilled radishes.  Grilling totally transforms the flavor of grilled radishes almost creating a new vegetable.  If radishes aren’t a favorite, it’s probably because you’ve never had them grilled!

 

Marrakesh Mania Dressing (recipe follows)

1-15.5 ounce can canellini beans, rinsed and drained

6 spring onions, green part trimmed to fit in grill pan, lightly salted, and grilled over medium-high for about 5 minutes on the first side, and 3 on the second, or until lightly charred/caramelized; cut into 1/2-inch pieces

8 walnut-size radishes, sliced about 1/3-inch thick, lightly salted, and grilled over medium-high for about 5 minutes on the first side, and 3 on the second, or until lightly charred/caramelized

1 bunch asparagus spears (approximately 3/4 pound), trimmed, lightly salted and grilled over medium-high for about 5 minutes on the first side, and 3 on the second, or until lightly charred/caramelized; slice into 1-inch pieces

2 cups fairly firmly packed baby kale or stemmed, chopped kale (feel free to substitute Swiss chard)

 

Make dressing; add beans and all vegetables, except kale, and gently toss to combine.  Add kale, microwave on high for 1 minute so that the kale barely starts to wilt, toss altogether and serve chilled or at room temperature.

 

Marrakesh Mania Dressing:

2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white balsamic (or any mild, light colored vinegar)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon curry powder (I like a mild and fruity variety)

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground sumac (optional but with a distinctive earthy and slightly lemon-y flavor; available in Middle Eastern markets)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

Sea salt to taste (avoid skimping!–don’t give yourself hypertension, but home cooks tend to underseason!)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Whisk together all ingredient in a large, non-reactive, microwave-safe bowl and set aside.

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Bryanna Barone

Photo Credit: Bryanna Barone

Yield: 24 squares (they are rich and dense, so I cut them smaller than usual)

If you are in need of a healthy bite for graduation parties, these are your ticket!  They are non-vegan male teenager approved (and meatatarian husbands love them too)!

These bars were inspired by my inimitable yoga instructor, Angela Phillips’, scrumptious “La La Bars.”  (Her nickname is La La.)  I call mine Ya Ya Bars after the Ya Ya Sisterhood.

But “brothers” love them too, as noted above.  Having taken the bars to enjoy as soon as my AP Art students got their portfolios assembled on May 9, I suddenly remembered that I didn’t have any pictures of them, so Bryanna snapped this photo before they were all devoured.

When Angela gifted me with the bars, I didn’t ask for the recipe.  So, since I love a culinary challenge, so I just made mine up as I went along.

She uses dates in hers, but my grocery store was out.  So, I substituted pitted dried plums, as I have had great success with my Vegan Plum Delicious Double Chocolate Walnut Cookies and my Vegan Chocolate-Plum Butter Mousse.  Who knew those two flavors were so compatible?  While I have not tried my recipe with dates, feel free to give it a whirl.  My assumption is that they will taste more pecan pie-like and slightly less fruity than my dried plum variety.  Very good, just different.

However you decide to make them, you are sure to love them as much as everyone else.  And thank you, Angela, for the inspiration!

1 cup nuts (I used a combination of walnuts and pecans)

2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut

18 ounces pitted dried plums (make sure they are very moist in a sealed cardboard canister or bag)

9 to 10 ounces vegan chocolate chips, melted

Pinch sea salt

Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil.  In a food processor, finely chop nuts and coconut and transfer to a medium size bowl.  Add plums to processor and pulse until finely chopped.  They will tend to mash together but avoid making a puree.  Transfer to bowl with nuts and coconut.   Using fingers, combine well without compacting.  Pour melted chocolate over the mixture along with a healthy pinch of sea salt, and continue to combine with your fingers until all ingredients are completely incorporated.  Press evenly into prepared pan, cover, and refrigerate several hours or until cold.  Cut into squares and serve.  If you prefer, invert them onto a cutting board, remove foil, and then cut.

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Bananas Foster Ice CreamYield: 1 quart

Just in time for Memorial Day menu planning, I am excited to offer you my newest creation: Bananas Foster Ice Cream with Caramelized Pecans!

Growing up in the Deep South, only about a three-hour drive from New Orleans, I was weened on the historic French Quarter and it’s legendary cuisine.  My parents honeymooned there, as did my husband and I, and we returned to the Creole capital to host my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, among many other trips in the distant and recent past.

Favorite French Quarter-steeped memory fragments abound, many having to do with food, like, as a fairly young child, trying to act completely nonchalant  as Bananas Foster and Cherries Jubliee burst into flames on rolling carts tended by tuxedoed waiters throughout Brennan’s dining rooms.  I guess I wanted fellow diners to think that flambeed desserts were a nightly affair back home.

For some inexplicable reason, I recently became obsessed with the idea of Bananas Foster in the form of ice cream–since it is served over vanilla ice cream–to combat our already high 80 to 90-degree days.  Sure, recipes on the internet abound–though few that are vegan–but I love a challenge, so I had to create my own…and I’m so glad I did.

Using canned Coconut Cream and So Delicious Coconut Creamer as the ice cream base makes this recipe go together in a flash.  And the few minutes it takes to caramelize the bananas are more than worth it.  While traditional Bananas Foster does not call for pecans, I associate them with Creole and Cajun cooking, so I caramelized some in the syrupy goodness left clinging to the skillet, and I’m really glad that I made this ever-so-slight break with tradition.  I think you will be too!

Make this ice cream a day or two before you plan to serve it, as the mixture must be well-chilled before making the ice cream, and the ice cream must set up in the freezer before serving.

3 tablespoons vegan butter

1/3 cup natural sugar

3 small bananas (about 3/4 pound), peeled, and sliced into 1-inch pieces

Pinch sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup raw pecan pieces

1 can Cream of Coconut (NOT coconut creamer; this product is canned and sold near adult drink mixers; Coco Lopez is a popular brand)

1 cup So Delicious Coconut Creamer

3 tablespoons coconut rum (or plain rum)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional Garnish: a sprinkle of pecan pieces

Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sugar, and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until thickened and caramel-y.  Add bananas and cinnamon and cook, stirring frequently, for up to 10 minutes or until the caramel is very thick and bananas very tender and coated with the caramel.  Reduce heat if necessary.  Scrape pan out well into the bowl of a food processor.  Return pan to heat, add pecans, and toast, stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted.  Reduce heat if necessary.  Transfer to a covered container and reserve.  Process banana mixture with cream of coconut until creamy and very smooth.  Transfer to a bowl, and whisk in Coconut Creamer, coconut rum, and vanilla extract, and process until very smooth.  Cool and refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight until very cold.  Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions, swirling in pecans when ice cream is almost ready.  Transfer ice cream into a carton, cover, and freeze for several hours or until firm.  The texture will be delectably soft, but will hold its shape.

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