Picadillo Mexicano + Taco Salad

And now for a couple from the it-doesn’t-photograph-in-an-appetizing-way-but-it’s-delicious-i-promise files.

The Picadillo Mexicano from Vegan Explosion is super duper easy and makes for a quicky, cheapy weeknight meal on nights where I’m at the gym until late and we don’t feel like doing anything big.

And a big ol’ taco salad!  This one is romaine, arugula, black beans, tomato, avocado, cilantro, tortilla chips, salsa and some sanctuary dressing from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook.

Ugly, delicious food.  Sometimes the best kind!

– Crystal

Eggplant Chickpea Stew and Spiced Carrot Salad

We’ve posted this stew on the blog before with a link to the original recipe.  It’s so easy and so good!  It’s even good at room temperature.  Yum yum yum.  
The carrot salad is really lovely as well.  The carrots are boiled until delicately tender and ready to absorb the flavours of the marinade.  
Serve everything with a squirt of lemon and you’re ready to eat!

Khizou Harra (Spiced Carrot Salad)

About 1 lb. of carrots, peeled and cut into large-ish sticks

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
chopped parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Boil carrots in salted water for 5-8 minutes or until just tender. Drain well.
Toss carrots with remaining ingredients and let sit for 2 hours to develop flavors. Adjust seasoning with salt as needed.
Serve at room temperature.

– Crystal

Wild Rice Salad with Oranges and Roasted Beets

What a lovely, bright-tasting salad!  The nuttiness from the wild rice balances out the tartness of the citrus.  And beets.  Beets!  Beets are so awesome.  I only knew beets to be cold, jiggly, pickled things that sat on my grandmother’s dinner table at family meals and I loathed those evil cubes.  I’m so glad I’ve revisited them in adulthood as I’ve grown to really love them.

This is from the Isa Chandra Moskowitz cookbook Appetite for Reduction, but it’s also posted online on the PPK blog over here.

Make it!  Pictured with it is the Skillet Cornbread from Veganomicon, which is suuuuper easy and so good.  It’s a great accompaniment for most things.  I mean, what’s not made better by a slice of cornbread on the side?

– Crystal

Gigantic Salads

When you think salads, you might think summer food; cool, crisp and doesn’t require much cooking.  I love salads in the summer but I love salads in winter, too; they provide a nice break from the heavy foods we all tend to eat this time of year.  This one was livened up and made a bit more filling with the addition of sautéed vegetables and baked tofu.

From the bottom up, we’ve got mixed, crunchy salad greens, a layer of a baby spinach, sautéed zucchini, carrot, onion and yellow peppers, croutons, baked tofu (using my method from here), a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and the Sanctuary Dressing from Appetite for Reduction, which is a ranch dressing.  Yum!
– Crystal

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

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

Cauliflower Red Lentil Curry

Why don’t I make this recipe more often?  It’s so good – from Veganomicon.  It’s got caufliflower, red lentils, parsnip and a ton of spices in it, it’s so flavourful and really tastes even better the next day.  On top of it is a few pieces of Masala Baked Tofu from Appetite for Reduction.  Chewy, spicy, and a nice addition to the creaminess of the curry.

The salad is just simple but features a dressing that I heard some of my vegan friends talking about on Facebook – a mixture of vegenaise, soy sauce and nutritional yeast to taste.  I thinned it out with a bit of water, too.  WOAH MY GOD.  Best salad dressing ever.  Ever.  I could drink it straight up, probably.  But I won’t.  In the salad is some cherry tomatoes from my balcony and some peppers given to us from Trevor’s friend.
– Crystal