In our March weekend of classes at the Natural Kitchen Cooking School, we were given The Saucy Vegetarian by Jo Stepaniak, a favorite vegan cookbook author and inspiration. One of our assignments was to choose a recipe from the book and to make it this past month. It was a difficult process as there are so many wonderful recipes for sauces and dressings in Jo’s book, but I decided to take the easy route and make a dressing that incorporated ingredients I had on hand. I also was intrigued by trying a dressing that used sesame oil, as that has never been an oil option I considered for a salad dressing. I chose the sesame cilantro vinaigrette which featured ingredients like sesame oil, cilantro, and fresh lime juice (along with a few more) that came together smashingly! It was tangy, refreshing, and had a very nice savory flavor. I served it over a romaine salad with carrots and toasted pumpkin seeds. Divine!
I wanted a simple summer meal to throw on the grill, while incorporating some green veggies and citrus notes. What sprang up from what already existed in my kitchen were these wonderful seitan fajitas! The lime juice and marinade, along with the fresh cilantro gave this meal an extra kick.
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Cajun Foreplay Spice Rub to taste
2 large tortillas
fresh sliced lime (optional)
vegan sour cream (optional)
fresh cilantro (optional)
Marinate seitan strips with the mojito dressing (or any other lime based dressing) in a bowl in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (1 hour minimum). While seitan is marinating, slice the peppers and onion and lay out on an oiled tray suitable for grilling. Spray or drizzle lightly with oil and cajun seasoning. When seitan is done marinating, put on tray on a preheated grill (on low) along with the veggies and cook until browned or edges blackened. Alternatively, the peppers, onions, and seitan strips can be sauteed in a large pan on the stove top. If cooking on the stove top, cook until the veggies are softened and the seitan is browned.
When done, put the seitan and veggies in a large tortilla. Add salsa, fresh squeezed lime juice, sour cream, and fresh cilantro. Wrap and cut into two pieces if desired. Enjoy!
This meal was inspired by my desire to use fresh veggies from my CSA share and local legumes and corn. I also want to start focusing on making my own dressings for salads.
Using inspiration from several different lime-cilantro dressings I found online, I came up with this recipe. It makes approximately 1/2 cup of dressing.
2 TB freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1/2 of a lime)
2 TB balsamic vinegar
2 TB olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic (chopped)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
handful of fresh basil (about 4 leaves)
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp agave (optional)
Put all of the ingredients into a standalone blender or use an immersion blender to mix and liquify all of the ingredients together in a tall glass or container. Mix desired amount (I used about half) into salad. Toss and serve immediately.
The arugula salad was simple to make and all ingredients came from our CSA share this week.
4 cups fresh arugula
2 carrots (sliced)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 TB toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
Wash and rinse the arugula. Allow it to drain in a colander or use a salad spinner. Scrub and rinse the carrots and slice thinly. Remove stems from cherry tomatoes and wash. Put arugula, carrots, and cherry tomatoes into a large bowl. Toast the pumpkin seeds for a few minutes in a small skillet on the stove until they start to plump up. Remove from stove top. Toss the salad with the lime-cilantro dressing (1/4 cup will suffice). Plate the salad and add the pumpkin seeds on top.
The blend of spicy arugula with the citrus dressing was a healthy and sublime combination. The toasted pumpkin seeds also gave it an added crunch and kick.
Spicy Black Beans
4 cups of black beans (I used dried beans, but canned will also suffice)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 jalapeno (diced)
chili powder to taste
hot sauce to taste (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
If using dried black beans, you’ll need to soak them overnight and cook with water (plenty to cover them and then a couple more inches) for at least 2 hours before you want to use them. Alternatively, you can use canned black beans. When the beans are softened after cooking in water (if using dried beans), add the onion, jalapeno, and chili powder. Cook until most of the water is gone and the onion and jalapeno have softened. Serve and add hot sauce on top for added spice.
We also enjoyed this meal with local grilled corn. We always leave it in the husk for a smoked feel. We grill the corn approximately 15-20 minutes on a low flame on our gas grill. This is a great meal focusing on beans, greens, and grains (our favorite combination). Bon appetit!