Yes, we’re all ready for spring after this long winter and it’s starting to make itself evident in Maryland. What we’re most looking forward to is gardening- we’ve started veggie & perennial seeds, we’ve been weeding like crazy, and ordering a bunch of shade loving plants for a big section of our backyard.
Another reason to get excited is the availability of cold weather produce. Radishes, lettuce, kale, spinach and more. I never really use radish, but couldn’t resist a bunch of them being so fresh along with a big bag of spinach.
Since most of our meals aren’t finished until well past sunset (and photographing food under light bulbs is less than ideal), I didn’t get a picture of the final dish. However, it was tasty enough that we plan on making it again and again. We ended up serving it warm by adding the spinach and radish to the warm lentils which resulted in slightly wilted spinach. I can easily see, though, serving it as a cold salad for lunch with warm pita bread or the like.
- 1 cup of onion (about 1/2 large onion), diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery stick, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup of dried green or brown lentils
- 1.5 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 5-7 radish bulbs, sliced thinly
- 1 bunch of fresh spinach leaves (about 3 handfuls)
- 1/2 cup dried quinoa
- 4 oz chicken style seitan (optional)
- salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Cook the mirepoix in some olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot (dutch oven) with some salt over low heat until the veggies and soft and onions translucent. Add in the garlic and cook on high for a few minutes until any residual moisture is evaporated.
- Deglaze with the wine, then pour in the lentils, bay leaf, water/broth and thyme. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the lentils are soft. As the lentils cook, stir occasionally and add more water to ensure the lentils are mostly submerged.
- While the lentils cook, make the quinoa according to package directions and make the vinaigrette by whisking together all the dressing ingredients in a jar.
- When the lentils are soft, turn the heat back up to high and cook off any remaining water and then kill the heat.
- If you plan to eat this as a cold salad, cool the quinoa and lentil mixture.
- Stir in the quinoa, radishes and spinach leaves. If you are using the seitan, saute it seperately in a fry pan and then add it into the lentil mixture.
- Drizzle on the dressing and stir to combine before serving. Season with additional salt and pepper.
The second recipe we made out of the Vegg Cookbook were these little bite-size Indian croquettes. Fried quinoa and potato patties, coated with bread crumbs from Nancy Montuari Stein of www.ordinaryvegan.net. We only had them fried, but she gives a baked option in the cookbook.
In the cookbook, they’re suggested to be served with a spicy dipping sauce, which, disappointingly, is not in the cookbook, so we ate them with Trader Joe’s “Goddess” tahini dressing and peach, cherry chutney from last summer’s preserves, along with sauteed lemony kale and garlic from the garden.
We had a staff holiday party last week for my work. It was a time to be together, celebrate company and show everyone how delicious vegan food can be! I made three dishes, all of which were a big hit, and were the kind of foods where you don’t think whether or not its vegan.
First up was a quinoa salad was raisins and chickpeas. I adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart, using raisins instead of currants, lemon juice for the orange juice and adding about a cup of chickpeas.
Next is my new favorite ‘go-to’ appetizer: the Raw Tuscan Kale Salad from 101 Cookbooks. I am convinced that this is the best (and possibly only) way to eat kale. I love the super healthiness of this dish, and the lemon and raw garlic give it a little kick of spicy. I simply omit the cheese and bread crumbs and its perfect. Make sure you let the kale sit in the dressing for a few minutes, or overnight, to allow it to soften up.
Finalement, the Cinnamon Chocolate Babka (braided). This vegan version is from VeganDad. Flaky, almost like a chocolate croissant. The cinnamon filling added an extra kick that was delicious.
I would highly recommend using any of these recipes as simple appetizers to your next party.