Tag Archives: salad

Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

This Lemon Poppyseed Dressing is yet another great way to use my immersion blender. I needed to find a tart, savory, and sweet-but-not-overly-so dressing for spinach salads that contain fruit and nuts. It’s my favorite salad combination, and I’m all over the place with apples, berries, grapes, pomegranate seeds, and all sorts of nuts. Today I was in a hurry, so it was just spinach and red grapes, which was still very tasty.

I used extra-virgin olive oil, which I reduced to 1/2 cup instead of 2/3, and I think I could have used a less flavorful oil like grapeseed. I also added some freshly-ground black pepper because I like that addition, even for a sweet dressing. (Hint: try some strawberries with freshly-ground black pepper. Seriously.)

Teri’s Cucumber Pasta

Teri's Cucumber Pasta

Vegan MoFo 2011 - Vegan Month of FoodThis cool summer pasta salad could not be simpler. It is great for a potluck, where I was introduced to it by a colleague. Thanks for the recipe, Teri!

Any small pasta shape would work, but wagon wheels and rotini hold onto the sauce. Teri’s recipe calls for sugar, but I prefer to use agave nectar. Pasta has a high glycemic index already.

Teri’s Cucumber Pasta

Makes 8 servings.

2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 lb pasta, such as wagon wheels or rotini, cooked
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley flakes

In a large bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, agave nectar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. Add cooked pasta and cucumber, and stir to combine. Chill, and serve.


Illini Salad

Illini Salad

Vegan MoFo 2011 - Vegan Month of FoodI look back on my college days at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign quite fondly. I lived in Allen Hall, a cool living-learning dorm with classes right in the building, and plenty of weird and interesting people. A great number of these interesting people remain good friends, and I married one of the weird ones. Maybe someday our interesting kid will live in Allen Hall, too.

What I don’t remember fondly was Allen Hall food. But there was better food across campus, like Field of Greens, the weekday all-vegetarian “specialty restaurant” in neighboring Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall. I frequently trekked back from the Quad to eat lunch there, where I experienced new foods like falafel, hummus, and soy milk. (I grew up in a small midwestern town!)

I remember a lot of junk food. Pizza, breadsticks, french fries, waffles, and Edy’s ice cream. Hello freshman (on in my case, junior) fifteen.

Fast forward to modern dorm times, and we have a brand-new state-of-the-art cafeteria right down the street from where I now work on campus. The dining hall at Ikenberry Commons is amazing. The selections for students are so much better than the tiny hot food line and salad bar from my student days. Ikenberry has multiple food lines with themes, like Prairie Fire (hearth-baked pizza), Gregory Street Diner (burgers, fries, and shakes), Hortensia’s (international cuisine, usually featuring at least one vegan dish), and Soy-Tainly which features all vegan food, for every meal. There is always a fresh salad bar with plenty of veggies, some of them grown locally on the Student Sustainable Farm at the U of I. Some soups are vegan. There’s cereal of all types, dried fruits and nuts, and an impressive non-dairy milk selection. You can usually make a hearty vegan meal from these selections. Their non-dairy milk selections are also impressive for those times when you just want cereal for dinner.

University Housing has taken steps to make ingredient and nutrition information available to students by putting it on their web site. It’s not the easiest-to-use interface I’ve seen, but you can drill down to individual dishes served each day and see all the ingredients, and usually the nutrition information per serving. There is also a “vegan” filter that can be applied to view all available vegan food selections on any day. Handy!

When Ikenberry Commons opened (before I was vegan) University Housing held an open house and served several dishes for the public to sample. One of my favorites was called Illini Salad. The original salad also contained goat cheese. I’ve substituted avocado, which offering a similar creamy contrast to the crunchy apples and soynuts.

Illini Salad

Make about 4 servings.

Salad ingredients:
1/2 lb baby spinach leaves
1/2 lb mixed greens (or butter lettuce, torn)
1 green apple, chopped
1/2 cup edamame, shelled
1/2 cup corn kernels; fresh, or thawed from frozen
1 medium avocado, diced
1/4 cup roasted soynuts

Dressing ingredients:
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp agave syrup
1 garlic clove, pressed or grated
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Combine all salad ingredients except avocado and soynuts in a large bowl. Set aside.

Dressing note: I like to make my dressing in a pint-sized glass canning jar (great for storage!), but you can use a small bowl and a whisk.

Combine vinegar, lime juice, agave syrup, and garlic. Shake or whisk to combine. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk or shake vigorously to combine.

Pour dressing over salad, and toss to combine. Top with roasted diced avocado and soynuts before serving.

Week of Food: Sep. 24-30

Vegan MoFo 2011 - Vegan Month of Food

Here are last week’s random eatings. I did a good job avoiding processed foods and limiting sweets. Add in some intense but invigorating workouts, and although I’m a bit sore, I’m feeling good.

hummus pizza

Inspired by a post on the PPK, it’s hummus pizza! Toasted pita, hummus, kalamata olive tapenade, carrots, spinach, onions. This was dinner on Friday night. I’m trying to eat more for lunch and less at dinner.


seitan tostadas

Speaking of eating more at lunch, the week wouldn’t be complete without a trip (or two) to the Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant for lunch. The seitan tostadas were on special twice last week. They were served with delicious brown rice and salad with blueberry balsamic vinaigrette. I don’t know how they cook their rice, but it’s twice as good as any brown rice I’ve made at home. I’ll have to see if I can learn their secrets.


sweet potato sage soup with falafel

I missed the first day of sweet potato sage soup, but a random person I sat with said it was good, so I tried it the second day. I added falafel and creamy curry dressing on the side. I freely admit to drinking the remaining curry dressing. It’s that good.


vegan bake sale cookies

On Monday, some of our students held a bake sale which included some vegan cookies. They appeared to contain chocolate chips, banana, and oatmeal. I know, I’m trying to eat better this week, but the vegan cookies need our support!

On Sunday, I went to a Vegetarian International Food Fair, sponsored by the local Seventh Day Adventist church. I didn’t expect to have my health assessed, or my body fat checked, but I found out I’m 37% fat. (A normal range is 20-27%.) On the upside, my “health age” is 33.3, less than my actual age of 35. The assessment is based on whether you follow the Adventists’ seven healthy habits:

  • Get 7-8 hours sleep nightly (yes)
  • Exercise regularly (5-6 days a week)
  • Don’t smoke (yes)
  • Don’t drink alcohol (yes)
  • Eat breakfast daily (yes)
  • Don’t eat between meals (guilty!)
  • Maintain a proper weight of 130.9 – 147.2 lbs (based on my height)

I’m not sure I agree with the last two habits. I like a snack in the afternoon to prevent me from becoming so hungry that I would gnaw at my own arm while making dinner. Self-cannibalism wouldn’t be very vegan, would it? And 147 lbs? I would be quite skeletal at that weight, so that is not happening.

Yes, I had two plates of food. Gotta try everything!

vegetarian food fair

There was quite a selection, and many vegan dishes. Many of the recipes were provided in a booklet, and I’ll have to make a few of them and re-post them here. From the swedish rye bread, going clockwise: kalrabistappe (mashed rutabagas, potatoes, and carrots), Swedish “Meatball”, sauerkraut with barley (awesome!), lentils and jackfruit over brown rice (an Asian dish – very different!), Asian noodles.


vegetarian food fair plate 2

Plate two, clockwise from bread with hummus: dolmeh, split pea curry, rice with dill and lima beans, spaghetti with peas, arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), Costa Rican black beans and rice.


taco salad

I don’t remember what night this taco salad occurred, but it was tasty and used up some leftovers from the fridge. It has spinach, romaine lettuce, avocado, yellow peppers, onions, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, and a dressing made from remaining bits of hot pepper jelly and Tofutti sour cream. I like clean-out-the-fridge salads.


German Fruit Salad with Walnuts (Fruchtsalat Mit Walnussen)

Vegan MoFo 2011 - Vegan Month of FoodThis month has been branded “Rocktober” by Lance, for reasons unknown to me. I like it, so I’m going with it; October certainly rocks. The weather cools down, the trees turn beautiful colors, you get to dress up like whoever or whatever on Halloween, and it’s Vegan MoFo time! It’s also time for Oktoberfest. Yesterday’s Vegan Meetup Group Oktoberfest potluck was a lot of fun, and featured some fancy German fare and hearty fall dishes. Thanks to Linda and Rob for hosting. I managed to snap a few photos as we descended upon the bounty, and I’ll share them tomorrow.

I was in the mood for fruit salad, so this German(ish?) version was my contribution.

fruchtsalat mit walnussen - fruit salad with walnuts

German Fruit Salad with Walnuts (Fruchtsalat Mit Walnussen)

Makes 8 servings.

For the salad:
4 medium red apples, cored and diced (gala or braeburn are good)
2 oranges, peeled and diced
2 cups red or black seedless grapes, halved
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

For the dressing:
8 ounces vanilla soy yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tsp agave nectar

Combine apples, oranges, and grapes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp lemon juice to prevent apples from browning. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, remaining 1 tbsp lemon juice, orange juice, vanilla, ketchup, and agave nectar until combined.

Pour dressing over salad ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Sprinkle with walnuts before serving.

Dressing recipe adapted from: http://www.food.com/recipe/german-fruit-salad-with-walnuts-fruchtsalat-mit-walnussen-107993#ixzz1ZN8l9yV5



Cilantro Cumin Slaw

Cilantro Cumin Slaw

Two of my favorite flavors – cilantro and cumin – combined with Reduced Fat Vegenaise. A creamy and relatively healthy side dish. Now with nutrition information! It’s easy to calculate your own nutrition information for recipes at SparkRecipes.com.

Cilantro Cumin Slaw

Makes 3 servings.

2 cups purple cabbage, shredded
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup Reduced Fat Vegenaise
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
salt to taste

Combine cabbage, bell pepper, and cilantro in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, combine Vegenaise, lime juice, cumin, vinegar, agave nectar, onion powder, pepper, and salt. Pour over salad ingredients and toss well to coat.

Let stand for at least an hour before serving, or overnight, to allow the flavors to blend.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 74.3
  • Total Fat: 5.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 130.9 mg
  • Total Carbs: 7.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.4 g
  • Protein: 1.2 g

Confetti Ramen Slaw with Hemp Dressing

confetti ramen salad with hemp oil dressing closeup

crushing ramenI just had a salad like this at a potluck two weeks ago, and couldn’t wait to re-create it. I’m certain it didn’t have hemp oil in the dressing, but I thought the nutty, “green” flavor would work. If you’re not a fan of hemp oil, or can’t find it, you could substitute olive or canola. (I special-ordered mine through Common Ground, and it’s available on Amazon.com.)

Did you know that hemp seeds and oil contain an ideal blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids? The protein and healthy fats provided by the variety of nuts, seeds, and nut oils make this a hearty main dish salad.

If you need help crushing the noodles, recruit the nearest 6-year-old. Have him squish the unopened ramen packets, but beware – if squeezed hard enough, they can explode.

Confetti Ramen Slaw with Hemp Dressing

2 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodles, any flavor (discard packets)
4 cups napa cabbage, finely shredded
2 cups purple cabbage, finely shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 green onions (white and green parts), sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (see note below)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar (or add a pinch of salt if using unseasoned)
1/4 cup hemp oil
1 tsp sesame oil
freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste

lonely pack of ramen noodles with some vegetables
One of these things is not like the others...
Combine all salad ingredients (ramen, vegetables, nuts, and seeds) in a large bowl. In a glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together brown rice syrup and vinegar until combined. Drizzle in oils and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dress salad just before serving in order to keep the ramen noodles crunchy.

* Note: To toast nuts, place in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Rotate frequently for even browning. Watch them carefully, as they go from toasty to burn-y in a hurry.