Fattoush Salad

At the popular Middle Eastern place a few blocks from my place, they make a really good Fattoush salad.  Fattoush consists of day-old pitas which are no longer good fresh turned into pita chips, plus chopped romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, za’atar spice mixture, parsley, and a lemony dressing.  It makes for a nice bowl of differing textures and tangy flavour from the za’atar and lemon.  Plus, it’s easy.

Fattoush
Makes 2 large salads
1/2 head of romaine lettuce, chopped into 1-2″ pieces
1/2 cup chopped and destemmed parsley
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup cucumber chunks
2 pitas, cut or torn into bite size pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
Dressing:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
Za’atar spice mixture for sprinkling on salads
Salt to taste
Bring your pan with olive oil up to medium-high heat.  Dump the cut pita pieces in and fry, turning frequently, until golden brown on both sides.  When sufficiently browned and crispy, put on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb extra oil.
Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until completely blended.
Toss the lettuce, parsley, tomato and cucumber together in a large bowl.  Add pita chips and toss some more.  Add a few pinches of za’atar and salt.  Add dressing, and with tongs, ensure everything gets evenly coated.
And done.  Eat!
Oh, and this local vegan bakery, Organic Works, finally opened a storefront.  We went there and got cinnamon buns this week:

Yum!  I still prefer mine, which are more gooey and cinnamony; this was more of a drier bun with about 2 tsp of drizzle.  Still really good, though!  Just not as decadent as mine, more of a breakfast thing.  
– Crystal

Gardein "Chicken" Ranch Salad

I’ve been terrible with updating the blog!  Life has been dishing out a lot of stress and I’ve been totally unmotivated to cook lots and to blog what I do cook.  I have been snapping some photos along the way, though.

We were at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair earlier in the month, and whenever we are in town, we stop by Panacea which is this wonderful all-vegan grocery store.  It’s really amazing.  When we were there we picked up some of these Gardein buffalo wings.  
Now, I’ve had people tell me they don’t understand why vegans eat mock meats and cheese.  Trevor and I don’t eat a lot of them, but on occasion they are a nice treat.  I’d like to explain why these products exist since there seems to be a lot of confusion for some people.  For many vegans, deciding to not eat meat and cheese is not because we hate the taste of those things.  It’s just that there are so many reasons to not eat them.  So many of us have fond memories that are tied to food – summer barbecues with hot dogs on the grill, holiday dinners with a bird on the table.  It’s a nice thing to be able to recreate those flavours in a way that is cruelty-free, ethical and environmentally sound.  It’s not to satiate some hidden desire to consume meat; if meat and cheese analogs didn’t exist, it’s not as if I’d turn back to eating animals.  But it’s a nice treat to be able to chuck a hot dog on the grill and still maintain your ethics.  
Anyway, this salad was absolutely delicious!  A mix of crisp greens and tender baby greens, chunks of cucumber, red pepper and carrot, slices of avocado, gardein buffalo wings, topped with Sanctuary Dressing from Appetite for Reduction.  That dressing is phenomenal and makes a really great veggie dip, too.  Yum!
– Crystal

Jambalaya

Each year in the depths of winter, I find myself gravitating towards Southern inspired dishes.  I’m not really sure why, as I’ve never been to the American south, but during the cold months I crave that warmth and comfort that cajun-creole dishes inspire.

We used this recipe but made a few tweaks.  We substituted the vegan chorizo for sliced Tofurky Italian sausages, and substituted the “chicken” strips for a can of red kidney beans.  We topped our bowls with a drizzle of hot sauce to crank it up a notch.  Wow, this was delicious and really stick-to-your-ribs filling.  We’ll definitely make this again and again.  Next time I think I’ll brown the sausage in a little oil and stir in right before serving, as it kind of got broken up during cooking.
This is just a simple weeknight dinner I had one night when Trevor was working late.  A Mediterranean inspired salad with leftover pita chips I posted about earlier, some cucumber slices and dressed with lemon, a drizzle of tahini, salt and pepper.  The toasted bagel has Tofutti cream cheese and cucumbers.  Oh, and a couple almond-stuffed olives for good measure.  Yum!
– Crystal