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.

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
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

Chia Lemonade

I was so inspired by the chia tamarind drink that I decided to use chia seeds to add some interest to my very favourite lemonade recipe.  Nothing beats lemonade on a hot, sticky day.  Chia is neat and I like to use it where I can – it’s full of protein, fibre, omega 3s and antioxidants.

It’s really simple.

Step 1
Create a simple syrup. Combine equal parts of white sugar and water in a saucepan. Place the mixture over low heat while stirring constantly to prevent the sugar from browning. Remove from heat immediately once you achieve a syrupy consistency. Let it cool.

Step 2

To create the lemonade itself, use this ratio: 1 part lemon juice, 1 part syrup, 2 parts of cold water. Stir well and adjust according to taste or preference.

Step 3
The fun part is dressing it up.  I like to add fresh pineapple to give it a bit of a tropical taste, which you can see in the photos.  Pineapple and chopped fresh mint make a great combo.  If you’d like to add chia seeds, I recommend adding 1 tbsp per 4 cups.  Berries make a nice addition, too.
Mmm, chia.

– Crystal

Three-Seed Lemon Tea Bread

I love slightly sweet, fluffy, brightly-flavoured citrus breads to have with tea, some fruit and a smear of jam for breakfast. This loaf packs a lot of protein and minerals, too, which is a nice bonus.

Three-Seed Lemon Tea Bread
Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson
(Makes 1 Loaf)

2 Tbsp flaxseeds
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar or natural sweetener
1 cup soy milk or other dairy-free milk
2 Tbsp canola oil
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped hulled raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside. Grind the flaxseeds to a powder in a dry blender. Add the water and blend until thick, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy milk, corn oil, and lemon juice and zest. Blend in the flaxseed mixture and set aside. In a medium-size bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a few swift strokes, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in the sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, then transfer to the prepared pan.

Bake on the center oven rack until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack before removing from the pan and slicing.

(I used pre-ground flax meal for this since I didn’t want to bust out the grinder for such a small amount of flaxseeds.)