Tuesday, September 30, 2014

MoFo Finale: Salad-Stuffed Squash

Well, friends, with this post Vegan MoFo is officially over for me. I have posted 19 salad recipes (including this one) during the month of September. It has been a wild a ride and I plan to write a reflections post tomorrow or later this week. 

But for now, back to this salad-stuffed orange beauty! Everyone always stuffs squash with cooked items: bread stuffing, quinoa, rice, etc. This recipe changes it up. Today, we're stuffing squash with a crunchy harvest salad filled with apples, toasted walnuts, raisins, and red onion.

The squash I chose is a small hubbard (about 6 inches from tip to tip), which I purchased at my local farmer's market. If you can't find hubbard, or if the hubbard you find is thirty gazillion pounds (which most of them are for some strange reason), feel free to sub your favorite winter squash varietal. However, you want to make sure it has a large pocket for stuffing. Thus, butternut may not be the best choice, as they tend to have small cups once seeded.

Here is the hubbie all baked and toasty. Mmmm.

I whipped up a sherry vinaigrette to drizzle over the top. I finally caved and bought a bottle of sherry vinegar the other week, and now I'm using it like crazy. Although I shouldn't be because the dang bottle cost me $8 for a tiny bit of vinegar. (However, it did come with a cork top, which is highly entertaining for those easily-amused...aka me).

This squash-as-bowl salad makes the perfect lunch. I just packed one half up in a large container, drizzled some dressing over top, and ate it cold. However, I imagine it would be equally as yummy at room temp (or maybe even better!). 

I am obsessed with winter squash, so I hope to create a few more recipes surrounding these orange-hued, starchy wonders before the season is over. 

Salad-Stuffed Squash
Serves 2 (with leftover salad)



  • 1 small winter squash (mine was 6 inches end-to-end)
  • 1 head of romaine, chopped
  • 1/3 english cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 large apple, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place on baking sheet and spray with oil. Salt and pepper the flesh. 
  2. Turn cut-side down on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until the squash is soft when jabbed with a fork. Let cool.
  3. Combine rest of salad ingredients in bowl.
  4. Mix dressing ingredients together.
  5. Stuff each cooled squash half with as much salad as possible. Drizzle dressing over top and chow down!
Note: You will likely have leftover salad, which you can eat on the side, or with another meal.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Vegan MoFo: Liebster Award

I was nominated to do the Liebster Award by two lovely bloggers: Danielle Atkins, and Julie from My Apologies for the Novel. Since I have been nominated twice, I am going to answer my first nomination, from Danielle. I am excited to participate in this Vegan MoFo tradition(?), and to let my lovely readers know a little bit more about me! 

Also, please know that I am actually not vegan, so my responses to some of the vegan-centric questions may be...not what everyone else says, ha ha.

These are the guidelines:
  • Answer the questions given and then come up with 10 new ones to ask your nominees.
  • Nominate 8 other blogs, let them know you have nominated them and put a link to their blog in your post.
  • No Tag backs and nominees must have under 200 followers on any platform.
  • You must tell all the blogs that you nominate that you have nominated them.

1.) What is your favorite animal and why?

I love penguins and have collected them since I was a wee babe (okay- I was like 10 when I started). My favorite real life animal are cats (specifically exotic cats- yes, the breed, not some random exotic cat from the tropics). Sadly, I am allergic to cats, and will probably never own my own :( Le sigh. But, I am a cat person because they are low-maintenance, have their own sassy personalities, are highly intelligent, and quieter than dogs. I am not a fan of licking and barking, thank you.

2.) How do you relax?

I run. Going out for a run not only works out any physical tension I may have accumulated, but it clears my mind and leaves me feeling calm and content afterwards.

3.) Favorite fruit and vegetable?

Vegetable: winter squash. Fruit: papaya...? Fruit's a tough one, as I adore so many.

4.) If you only had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Dude, I get sick of eating the same meal 3 nights in a row. I don't anything would last me the rest of my life. However, for posterity's sake- I never tire of a giant bowl of 0% greek yogurt, topped with fresh berries, homemade granola or muffin crumbles, drippy nut butter, cinnamon, and flax seed.

5.) What is your favorite vegan media (documentary, book, band/song, or movie, etc.)?

I love, love, love Angela Liddon's blog, Oh She Glows. I read it religiously, and her cookbook is the most used book in my kitchen.

6.) How did you decide to become vegan? What prompted you to make the change?  Did you have any setbacks?

I am actually not vegan. I am vegetarian (I eat eggs and dairy). However, I would gander that at least 60% of my meals are vegan. 

7.) What is your favorite vegan dish from a restaurant?

Anything from Vedge in Philadelphia. I went there for my birthday last year, and all the food was mind-blowing!

8.) Do you have any friends that are vegan or how do you meet fellow vegans?

I have no friends who are vegan. Boooo. 

9.) What are some of your favorite vegan organizations/nonprofits or vegan "celebrities" (these don't have to be celebrities that are vegan...it can be people famous in the vegan community)?

Again, I love Angela Liddon. I also have ogled Robin Robertson's books on Amazon.

10.) Do you consider yourself an activist, and if so, what do you do to promote veganism or give back to help animals?

I do not consider myself an activist, and I don't do that much to promote veganism (as I am not vegan). I speak about the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle when folks ask me why I am veg, but I won't try to push it on anyone.

Alright folks, I am not going to lie: it is really hard to find 8 bloggers who have less than 200 followers on all platforms. I think the two bloggers below fit the criteria, but I don't have any more time to spend clicking on a bunch of random blogs to find their readership. (a.k.a. I'm a terrible person)

Without further ado, I nominate the following bloggers to answer the 10 questions I wrote below:



1.) What is your favorite way to spend Saturday morning?
2.) What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
3.) What is your current mantra, or what is a meaningful phrase in your life right now?
4.) How often do you eat out versus cook? Which do you prefer?
5.) Silver or gold?
6.) Who is your favorite vegan spokesperson, activist, film star, musician, etc.? 
7.) What is your favorite vegan cookbook?
8.) If applicable, is your significant other vegan? 
9.) Do you have any pets?
10.) What's your favorite part about blogging?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Just Peachy Chocolate Buckwheat Salad

There are few dessert salads out there. Some of them are variations on a fruit salad- some chopped fruits, a drizzle of sweetener, some mint. Other ones, scary ones, are made of marshmallows and bright green Jell-o and pretzels, and packed into a bundt mold. As my Vegan Mofo posts are salad-themed, I obviously had to come up with some kind of dessert salad. However, I wanted to break out of the traditional fruit / scary salad mold, and decided to try out sprouted buckwheat as the base, similar to my Cherry Buckwheat Breakfast Salad. You can check out that post for instructions on how to sprout buckwheat. It is super simple- all it takes is water and time. Ah, the magic of creating life!

The above photo was taken about 2 days into my sprouting session. These little babies are ready to munch on. You can tell when they are ready when all of the buckwheat pyramids have developed white tails a few centimeters long. 

I created a chocolate coconut "yogurt" dressing from cocoa powder and Trader Joe's Vanilla Cultured Coconut Milk. I am sure you can use your favorite non-dairy vanilla yogurt of choice if you do not have TJ's access. 

My only gripe about coconut milk yogurt, and almond milk yogurt, for that matter, is that they tend to contain very low amounts of protein (1g for the container pictured), and very high amounts of sugar (usually over 20g). For this recipe, those attributes make it work well as a sweet dressing. I am not sure, however, that it would be a satiating breakfast in comparison to traditional yogurt unless paired with another protein source. That being said, cultured coconut milk is a fantastic probiotic resource for vegans. Perhaps blending it with some vegan protein powder in a smoothie, or stirring some into a bowl of overnight oats would provide the best of both worlds.

I am the type of person who always needs a lil' something sweet after dinner. A sugar nightcap, if you will. This salad does the trick: fruity and floral from the peach, complex and decadent from the chocolate dressing, with a bite from the chocolate chips and cacao nibs. I hope this feel-good, healthful dessert makes your belly as happy as it did mine! 

Just Peachy Chocolate Buckwheat Salad
Serves 1


  • 1/3 cup coconut milk vanilla yogurt (see note)
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sprouted buckwheat (see note)
  • 1/2 peach, diced
  • 1 tbsp vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2-1 tsp cacao nibs
  1. Mix the first two ingredients together in a small bowl. This is the dressing.
  2. Arrange the buckwheat and peach on a small plate. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and cacao nibs. Drizzle on the dressing and enjoy!
Notes: 1)Feel free to use your favorite vanilla nondairy yogurt, 2)Please see this recipe for instructions on how to sprout buckwheat

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Carrot Ribbon Mexican Bowl

I'm not gonna lie, friends. This recipe was supposed to be a clean-out-my-fridge, not-very-noteworthy meal. So, I packed it, took some photos just in case it actually turned out super tasty, and then savored every morsel the next day at lunch. So, here we are!

The bottom of this bowl is stuffed with ribbons of carrot that I created by using your typical hand-held vegetable peeler. Just perform the same action, only keep going until the entire carrot (or the majority of it- no finger endangerment, folks!) is turned into luxurious orange ribbons. I wish I captured a picture of these carrot ribbons, but by the time I photographed, they were already covered with other veggies.

Carrot ribbons are easier to chew than typical chunks of carrot, and because of this, their sweet, fresh flavor really shines through. They would be a fun, twirlable addition to a bowl of spaghetti or udon noodles, as well.

Here is the bowl, awaiting its pop of purple onions...

I also added a dollop of cashew cheez that I made, which consists of soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, sriracha sauce, and a dab of mustard for that cheesy acidity. 

That corny mixture is a Trader Joe's salsa that is called Cowboy Caviar. It is chock full of black beans, red pepper, and corn. I hope you try this out!

Carrot Ribbon Mexican Bowl
Serves 1


  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe's Cowboy Caviar, or your favorite salsa
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • a scoop of cashew cheez (see recipe below)
  • a sprinkle of red onions
  • salt & pepper
  1. Use a regular peeler to turn the carrot into ribbons. Just keep peelin'!
  2. Add all ingredients to a bowl. Mix and devour.

Cashew Cheez
Serves 4-5

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours in water
  • 1-2 tsp sriracha
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt, to taste

  1. Drain cashews. Add all ingredients to blender, plus 3 tbsp water. 
  2. Blend up!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Carrot-Ginger "Hibachi" Dressing + 3-Bean Salad

You know those little salads that you get as an appetizer when you go out for hibachi? Those little square, beige plates that are chock full of iceburg lettuce and carrot shreds? Well, remember that glorious orange dressing that is dolloped on top? I love that dressing with all my being. Yes, I am that person who meticulously scrapes her little salad plate clean, hoping to taste any lingering slurps of that lovely oniony and gingery puree. 

So, obviously I had to recreate this dressing. I modified the recipe from the wondrous kitchen wizard, Deb Perelman. I trust Deb's recipes like no other- she thoroughly tests and tweaks each one of her recipes multiple times, and describes herself as an obsessive home-cook. I have made many of her recipes and not a one has ever been subpar. They were all out-of-the park a-mazing.

Not only was I excited to make this recipe due to my hibachi dressing fanaticism, I was pumped to try out my new Cuisinart mini food processor that my parents got me for my birthday. (Thanks, Mom!) It's a beaut. It processed the carrots and onions in a jif, locked into place easily, and even has 2 little holes on top for drizzling in liquid as the machine is running. I'm in love. 

I thought it would be fun to feature a bean salad for my salad-themed Vegan Mofo, so I mixed the dressing into a 3-bean salad featuring edamame, kidney beans, and black beans. Red onions, cukes, and celery are added for crunch. 

Carrot-Ginger "Hibachi" Dressing
Serves 5

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp roughly diced ginger
  • hunk of red onion about 2" by 1"
  • 2 tbsp white miso
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  1. Blitz carrots, ginger, and onion in food processor until finely chopped. 
  2. Add miso, vinegar, and sesame oil. Blitz.
  3. Slowly drizzle in oil and water while machine is running. 
3-Bean Salad
Serves 4

  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1/2 English cucumber, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • chopped red onion, to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Drizzle with hibachi dressing, or your favorite dressing. Serve atop a bed of greens, or alongside some warm brown rice.

WIAW: Vegan Mofo Edition

As a break from my salad-themed Vegan Mofo posts, I thought I would join the What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) party (for the first time ever- hooray!). 

Without further ado, here are my eats from yesterday. As a side note- I am not vegan myself, but as this is for Vegan Mofo, all eats yesterday were vegan. Enjoy, fellow food oglers!

My day started off with a large mug of TJ's Pumpkin Spice coffee.

For breakfast, I had a chocolate peppermint smoothie in a bowl, topped with almond butter and raw oats. In the smoothie was watermelon, banana, blueberries, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, chocolate Sunwarrior protein powder, mint extract and hemp milk. 

For lunch, I had a massive salad with carrot-ginger dressing (recipe to come soon!). Salad is topped with cukes, tomatoes, butternut squash, black beans and a bit of lentils.

And some cranberry kombucha! Kombucha rocks my socks.

Around 2 pm, I paused work for a few handfuls of 'Simply the Best' trail mix- from Trader Joe's, as well.

Dinner was a leftover butternut squash-risotto-kale dish with romesco sauce (recipe also to come! Even though it is not looking its most picturesque here, I promise it is lip-smackin' good). I piled on some lentils, too, and had some leftover sliced heirloom tomato with olive oil and sherry vinegar.

Around 8pm, I whipped up a bowl of banana oatmeal and topped it with vegan chocolate chips and a big dollop of peanut butter. Mmmm. All warm and melty.

And that's all she wrote, folks! Hoped you liked the glimpse into a [vegan] day in my life. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Vegan Reuben Salad

This Reuben salad is packed with savory tempeh and mushrooms, acidic sauerkraut, caraway-flecked onions and carrots, and crisp cukes- all atop a bed of spinach. On the side is a creamy hemp-based Russian dressing. 

My inspiration for this recipe was, oddly, my bout with Lyme disease. Nothing serious, folks- no need to worry. But, moral of the story is that I was taking antibiotics twice a day. I wanted to pack my body as full as possible with probiotics during these three weeks, as I was stripping it of all bacteria, friend and foe. So it being Vegan Mofo and all, I challenged myself to come up with a probiotic-heavy salad. Et voila: the Vegan Reuban Salad was born.

Tempeh and sauerkraut are powerhouses of probiotics. Tempeh is an Indonesian meat substitute made of fermented soybeans (and sometimes grains), and sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. And what is fermentation? When lactobactilli and other friendly bacteria are allowed to run rampant on a fruit or veggie, preserving and souring it. I am still unsure whether the beneficial probiotic qualities of tempeh are retained after cooking, but nonetheless, I decided to cook it because I can't resist the caramelized, nutty flavor it develops. You can clearly see probiotics were my main priority *cough cough*(a.k.a. I was just like- screw this, I'll drink a bunch of kombucha)

This sweet and velvety hemp dressing was an awesome Russian dressing substitute, and a breeze to blend up in the Vita. 

Whether you're craving a reuben sandwich and want a healthier take, you're bored of your spring mix, or you're looking for a probiotic pow, this salad is a fantastic and flavorful meal. 

Vegan Reuben Salad
Serves 2


Tempeh (See note)

  • 1 tbsp walnut oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp ume plum vinegar (or 1 more tbsp soy sauce)
  • 3 tbsp veggie broth
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 package tempeh, sliced into 24 strips

    Caraway Onions & Carrots
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 12 baby carrots (or 2 regular carrots), diced
    • 1 small apple, diced
    • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds
    • salt, to taste
    • 1 package sliced baby portobellos
    • Spinach, or greens of fancy
    • Sauerkraut
    • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
    • 1/3 cup hemp hearts
    • 2 tbsp cashews
    • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp water
    • 2 tsp sauerkraut water
    • 2 tbsp ketchup
    • 1/4 tsp salt

    1. Mix first five tempeh ingredients together in the bottom of an 8 x 8 dish. Add tempeh. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
    2. After tempeh is done marinating, heat over to 400 degrees F. Bake tempeh uncovered for 20 minutes or until no juice remains in dish, flipping tempeh once.
    3. Line a sheet tray with tinfoil and spray with oil. Dump baby portobellos on tray and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the same oven as the tempeh for 15-20 minutes, or until mushrooms are roasted to your liking.
    4. Heat oil for caraway veggies in sautee pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add in rest of caraway veggie ingredients and cook for 5-10 more minutes, until soft. Turn off heat and set aside.
    5. Arrange two bowls with greens, caraway veggies, tempeh, cukes, sauerkraut. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    6. Put all dressing ingredients in blender and blitz until combined. Drizzle over salad for a salad take on the classic NYC sandwich.
    Note: You will likely have tempeh left over, depending on how much you want on your salad. I used a fourth of a block per salad.

    Friday, September 19, 2014

    Spicy Buffalo Lentil Salad

    Even though I have been a vegetarian for over 9 years, I have not experimented with buffalo sauce concoctions as much as I should have. You would think I would crave buffalo more. I love spicy things. But I don't know. Cauliflower buffalo wings? Nope. Haven't made them. (Even though I totally want to after being reunited with buffalo sauce!)

    That's where this recipe comes in. I figured I should make a foray into buffalo sauce gems. Now, this isn't any kind of revolutionary recipe, like those cauliflower wings I mentioned. It's much more simple: cook up a pot of lentils. Add in buffalo sauce. Scoop out some and put on a bed of spring mix with crunchy carrots and smooth avocado. You can even add celery to really get at the traditional buffalo wing pairing. 

    Lentils are one of my favorite legumes. I think they have an distinct umami taste- meaty and comforting. That's why I thought they would be a particuarly good contender for this meat makeover recipe. They are packed with protein (9 g), iron (19%), folate (45%), phosphorus (18%), manganese (25%), copper (13%), and fiber (8 g, which is 32% of your daily fiber!). All amounts are for 1/2 cup cooked

    I used Frank's Red Hot Hot Buffalo sauce here, which is awesomely vegan. They do use a "butter type flavor" but it isn't from actual animal products. 

    I created a hummus-based buffalo dressing to add a kick to the entire salad. Again, it is extremely simple: a dab of buffalo sauce, hummus, and water.

    This recipe is a great quick lunch idea, or a fun shake-up for a dinner salad. 

    Spicy Buffalo Lentil Salad
    Serves 2


    • 1 cup brown or green lentils, cooked
    • 2 tbsp vegan buffalo sauce (or to taste)
    • 4 cups spring mix
    • 4 cups shredded red cabbage
    • 3 carrots, chopped (I used baby carrots)
    • 2/3 avocado, chunked
    • salt & pepper, to taste
    • 1/4 cup hummus
    • 1 tsp buffalo sauce
    • water, to desired consistency
    1. Mix 2 tbsp buffalo sauce into lentils. Arrange rest of salad ingredients into two bowls. Salt & pepper to taste,
    2. Mix dressing ingredients.
    3. Pour dressing over salad. Chow down!