I've been fascinated with purple potatoes, lately. I don't think they taste significantly different from other potatoes, but they're gorgeous. From some brief reading, I've also found that they're rich in antioxidants. This doesn't surprise me, though, given their color. So, if you're down for some antioxidants and you want your meal to look so beautiful, you don't even want to eat it, but you will anyway because it's delicious, make this salad.
This isn't your typical "potato salad." Most potato salads are full of mayo and not very good for you. Heck, I don't even know why people call them "salad." This one is pretty healthy, with a bed of leafy greens.. making it, ya know, a real salad. Plus, it has lentils! Lentils are one of my favorite sources of protein. They don't require as much prep as other legumes, they're quick to cook, and they can go in just about anything. I love lentils.
We're keeping it light by not making any dressing and squeezing a lemon over this salad instead. In fact, a dressing would probably be a bit excessive. The potatoes are really the star of this meal, so we don't want to take away from them too much. Also, they make the salad filling enough to be an entree. Even your boyfriend who eats everything in sight without stopping and somehow doesn't gain a pound will think it's filling. (But seriously, have I ever told you guys how much Brennan eats?? It's insane, really.) Yeah, this isn't your typical salad, we're into breaking stereotypes. Speaking of, did you guys take notice that this is also our first salad recipe on a vegan website? Yep.
Lentil, Olive, Potato Salad
Another 4th of July treat I made was blueberry pie. While we already knew we had to bring something as our main, which ended up being these Sloppy Js, but I assumed the dessert options would be limited. The classic dessert to have on the 4th would be a fruit pie. Coincidentally, it is also one of the easiest desserts to veganize since you're only replacing one ingredient: butter. Heck, some people accidentally make vegan pies all the time using shortening! (So long as they aren't also egg washing the crust, that is.)
When looking into vegan replacements for butter, it's difficult to find something that isn't super processed and awful for you. I avoid margarine and anything that may contain GMOs like the plague. There is such a thing as organic vegetable shortening, or you can search for a Non-GMO Verified brand, but there are also other replacements. Using oil works just as well, but to step up you oil-crust game, you can try using coconut oil. When cold, coconut oil is solid, so you can cut it in to the dough much like you would shortening or butter. All three options, shortening, oil, or coconut oil, will give you a flaky crust. The choice is more about preference and convenience for you.
When it comes to my pie filling, I'm very strict about which pies belong to which season. So many people eat apple pies on 4th of July and it truly bothers me, to the very core. Apple pie is a pie to be eaten during autumn. There's no reason to make an apple pie in the middle of summer when you have so many delicious berries and fruits that aren't available in the colder months. Save it for Thanksgiving, when it can truly shine.
My original plan was to make two pies, one blueberry and one strawberry rhubarb. The idea was to put a bunch of cut-out stars on the blueberry and make the strawberry rhubarb a lattice top, ya know, stars and stripes.. red, white and blue. The vision in my head was just so Americana, kitschy, and adorable. I'm actually not a very festive person and I don't particularly like very many holidays, but if I have the opportunity to bake something that is cute and themed, I'm all over it. Unfortunately, this vision didn't last long. The grocery store didn't have any rhubarb and then I realized I only have one pie tin. Well, Brennan loves blueberries, so I had to go with that filling. I still stuck with the star theme.. because I just had to.
These will be good for your next Meatless Monday. I'm posting it a day late, sorry, but definitely pin these for next week because they are delicious. They're filling, saucy, and the lentils not only give you protein, but they also provide a texture that mimics ground beef. I made these for a 4th of July cookout at my father's house and he and his wife each tried a spoonful of the mix and they liked it! They are not vegan at all and commented on how flavorful it was. (Well, duh, guys! You can actually taste flavors when your food isn't being drowned out with meat.) So, if your family is full of omnivores, definitely give this one a shot.
Everyone always has their own cutesy little name for "Sloppy Joes" when they change up the recipe. Anything from Jane, Jill, Jose, whatever.. I really wanted to call these "Sloppy G.O.B.s" because I love Arrested Development, but I realized that people who haven't watched the show might not get it and wonder what on Earth a "gob" is supposed to be. Oh well, less amusing title it is.
Much like I've never had a hamburger, I'm pretty sure I've never had sloppy Joes with meat. Brennan claims he hasn't either, so I don't have him to comment on what they should taste like. I can't tell you exactly how similar these are to your typical sloppy Joes, but I can tell you that they're delicious and they actually are sloppy. I did do some research to find what is typically in the sauce. Bell peppers were an obvious ingredient, but I knew that already. I noticed a lot of ketchup, but chose to use tomato paste instead because Bren and I both hate ketchup. (If that's what you have around the house, though, feel free to sub it for the paste.) I added a few more veggies the next time around for some added crunch, so those won't be seen in these pictures. You can adjust the spices to taste, I prefer a little more heat, but the measurements here are what I would consider mild.
Lentil Sloppy Js
Who doesn't love guacamole? Who doesn't love mac and "cheese"? So.. why not combine them? Your mind might tell you it's wrong or that it will taste weird, but listen to your stomach. Your stomach wants this, and your taste buds will be very happy with you. You need to try this recipe. I surprised myself a bit with this one, but it is seriously delicious.
I've been seeing this one recipe for avocado mac and cheese all over the place, but I haven't seen anyone veganize it. I decided to take on that challenge and I'm really glad I did. As I've stated before, I don't really love cashew creams. I prefer the taste of nutritional yeast in my cheese sauces because it has the flavor of cheese, which is what I desire more than the creaminess. However, with the addition of avocados, you get it all.. creamy, cheesy, plus the lime! I've never had a mac and cheese that I could describe as "summery" before, but this sure is.
You also have some options for additional vegetables or protein with this dish. This time, I decided to keep it plain to get the full flavor of the sauce. Sometimes, though, I really just love a good crunch. Anything from chopped red onions, roasted red peppers, corn, black beans, even celery would be a great addition to this pasta.
MacAcado (Avocado Mac and "Cheese")
It's been seriously hot out lately. I've been in need of a dinner that is simple, refreshing, and doesn't make my kitchen too hot. The obvious choice would be a soba noodle salad, as they chill very nicely. A bonus is that this recipe is also inexpensive, using few ingredients. Cucumbers are cooling and refreshing, so I decided to make them the star of the dish. Adding tofu for protein and wasabi for flavor, this dish came together beautifully.
I chose to make my cucumbers into noodles themselves. This can be done using a julienne peeler, avoiding the seeds in the middle. If you don't have a julienne peeler, you could slice the cucumbers by first peeling the skin, then cutting them in half lengthwise, removing the seeds, and cutting each half into slices. Either way will work, I just personally like the look and cohesive texture of the julienned cucumbers with the noodles.
I personally love the taste of wasabi. When I eat my veggie roll sushi, they're usually covered in wasabi and ginger. I just love it. Brennan prefers the spice of hot peppers, but sometimes I can't handle them. Wasabi, though, I can eat for days. For the dressing of this dish, I whisked wasabi paste into soy sauce and added the juice of a lime, which really completed the flavors of the dish.
Cold Cucumber Soba Noodles with Tofu
My name is Ellen Jane and I spend my free time doing vegan experiments in my kitchen so you don't have to. Take a look around.