Making a salad at home, in theory, sounds like a great idea. After a weekend of indulging, by Sunday night I’m usually ready for something light and fresh. But I’m always stumped when it comes to add-ins. I have this mental roadblock that happens as soon as I get past the lettuce part. I come up with shredded carrots and tomatoes. Then it just stops. I think I’ve been traumatized by a childhood filled with the most boring salad ever of a bag of iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots and red cabbage, paired with ranch dressing. Shudder.
So after years of discouragement, I finally realized I should re-create restaurant salads at home. Duh. So I’ve been experimenting a little more. This recipe comes from a great restaurant in New York I went to over the holidays, UVA.
Salad doesn’t get any easier than this. It basically boils down to dressing, beets, beans, cheese, greens. I always try to keep some form of beans on hand, as well as goat cheese and canned beets, so this comes together really quickly for me.
red beet and bean salad with goat cheese
makes 2 servings
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- Dash honey
- 5 ounces mixed greens, baby romaine, or arugula
- 2/3 cup great northern or cannellini beans
- 10 slices canned red beets, quartered
- 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
- salt and pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic, dijon, water, oil, and honey until uniform.
Place the greens in a medium bowl and drizzle the dressing on top. Toss to coat. Divide among two plates.
Top each plate of greens with half the beans, beets, and goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper and dig in!
This buffalo cauliflower recipe was inspired by an incredible dish at a mostly vegan restaurant in Silver Lake, Mohawk Bend. Mohawk Bend is a great little spot with all local ingredients and offerings, including only beer, wine, and liquor produced in California. And a live jazz band on Sunday mornings!
We made our way over here before a Dodgers game one hot Sunday afternoon. Everyone on Yelp raves about the vegan buffalo cauliflower, so we knew we had to try it out. I’ve been trying to recreate it ever since!
Slightly crisp baked cauliflower is paired with the spicy buffalo goodness of Frank’s Red Hot sauce to mimic buffalo wings. Mohawk Bend serves theirs with a homemade vegan blue cheese, but that’s besides the point. you can make your own vegan blue cheese or pair this with your favorite blue cheese dressing (or ranch). This recipe is for the main star – buffalo cauliflower!
This is a fantastic recipe for Football Sundays, which makes it absolutely perfect for the Super Bowl this weekend!!
What are your plans this Sunday? Staying in? Party with friends? Heading to a bar? (or “Melissa I don’t care about the Super Bowl!”)
I’ll be hanging out with my friends enjoying a keg of Lumen (hoppy Belgian-style pale ale with jasmine flowers) from Monkish Brewing!
makes 2 servings
- 1/2 head of cauliflower
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup water
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the cauliflower into florets, about bite-sized. You want to still be able to grab them up with your fingers (okay, I guess a fork is more civilized, but whatever…).
Stir the flour, water, salt, and pepper together until smooth. Toss the cauliflower in the flour mixture. Shake the excess batter off each piece of cauliflower and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown on the edges. Remove the cauliflower from the pan with a spatula and place into a bowl. Toss with Frank’s Red Hot and serve!
In my junior year of college, I lived in a house with two other girls, one of whom was also a vegetarian. This was before the food blog era. Most of my recipes during this time came from bargain vegetarian books, printouts from FoodNetwork.com, or Everyday Food Magazine. From time to time, I would look through my roommate’s cookbooks.
The very first Thanksgiving I cooked was during this year. I did roast my first turkey, which I was told was good, but I was a vegetarian and didn’t try it. For my main course, I came across a recipe that sounded really great. It was a mixture of celery, leeks, lentils, mushrooms, and nuts, all stuffed between layers of phyllo dough. It sounded very similar to the vegan nut roast served in the cafeteria (which I was introduced to my freshman year, which was awesome!)
I decided to try this mushroom nut concoction out and LOVED it. A light, crunchy phyllo layer surrounded an herbed, earthy mixture that went perfectly with gravy and cranberry sauce.
Why I didn’t photocopy the recipe or write it down is beyond me, because for the next five years I tried over and over again to replicate it. I’d come close, but there was always something that just wasn’t right. Finally I decided to ditch the messy phyllo dough and use puff pastry. Somehow the stars finally aligned, because with that change, I’d also found the perfect combination of the rest of the ingredients, a simple mushroom gravy recipe, and I’m finally content.
This recipe takes some time, but it’s mostly time spent prepping the ingredients. It’s a great main course for a vegetarian holiday meal or any time during the winter. It’s excellent served alongside green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes.
This recipe is forgiving. If you want to do a cheaper version, use white button mushrooms and yellow or brown onions in place of the wild and portobello mushrooms and leeks.
mushroom nut roast
makes 8 servings
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- 1/3 cup green lentils
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped leeks OR 2 finely chopped onions
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 6 medium white button mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 ounce (3/4 cup) dried wild mushrooms (porcini, oyster, portabello, morel) OR 5 ounces white button or portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable broth
Allow the puff pastry to thaw for about 40 minutes.
Cook the lentils according to package instructions.
If using, soak the dried wild mushrooms in a bowl of 1 1/4 cups hot water for about 20 minutes. Squeeze the excess water out of the mushrooms and into the bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the mushroom water and set aside to use for gravy. Finely chop the mushrooms.
In a pan over low heat, toast the nuts until fragrant, stirring frequently to keep from burning. Remove from heat and place in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are ground into a fine texture. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks (or onions), celery, and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, until everything begins to soften. Add all the mushrooms and saute until soft. Add to the bowl of ground nuts.
Add the lentils, vegetable broth, breadcrumbs, oregano, thyme, sage, and basil. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Crack one egg into a bowl and beat. Pour over the mushroom mixture and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.
Roll out the puff pastry. It should be wide enough to fit inside your loaf pan, covering both long walls, with enough overhang on each side to fold back over the filling we put inside.
Place the puff pastry in the loaf pan. Evenly spread the mushroom mixture into the pan, pushing down to compact it if it seems like there’s too much. Stretch and fold the flaps of pastry over the filling, enclosing it.
Beat the second egg in a small bowl. Brush the egg over the top of the pastry. You won’t need to use all of it, just give it a nice, even coating. This will help the loaf to brown.
Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown. Slice and serve with the mushroom gravy recipe below.
makes 8 servings
- 4 ounces white button mushrooms
- 4 ounces portabello mushrooms
- 1 cup reserved mushroom water
- 1 can vegetable broth (add 1 cup plain water if not using reserved mushroom water)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch or flour
- Dried sage
- Dried thyme
- salt and pepper
Saute the mushrooms in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil until soft.
In a saucepan, mix the vegetable broth and mushroom water (or regular water) with the cornstarch or flour until smooth. Add the mushrooms and the herbs, to taste.
Heat the gravy over medium-high heat until your desired thickness is reached, adding cornstarch or flour as needed to thicken it. If it’s too thick, add some water or vegetable broth.
I’ve posted a fair amount of main dishes, like pizzas and pastas, but not too many side dishes. When it comes to sides, I usually do a big pile of steamed veggies. When you’re cooking after a long day of work, this is one of the easiest and most healthful things to do. Throw some broccoli, spinach, or kale in a steamer basket, five minutes later you’ve got your side dish. But sometimes I want something a little fancier.
Enter roasted veggies. Roasting broccoli is SO EASY. Chop it up, toss with some oil, salt and pepper, and maybe some other herbs if you’re feeling fancy, put it in the oven for 20 minutes while you prep your main course and TADA! Your side is done! And as long as you didn’t drown it in oil, it’s totally healthy! Fast and healthy, that’s usually my goal for dinner.
makes 2 servings
- 3 cups raw broccoli florets
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Toss the broccoli and garlic with a little bit of oil, just enough to lightly moisten the broccoli. Season with salt and pepper.
Lay on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 10 minutes and toss. Roast for another 10 minutes and eat!
I used to work at a very small company. For over two years, I worked from home, however, when I finished college, I started going into our office (which was then an apartment). One of my coworkers, a new hire, was my age. Quickly, we realized we have a lot of the same values and views, and we now joke that we’re “soul mates.”
Well, naturally, as soul mates, we started going to lunch often. Carla is an interesting person. Rather than someone craving a burrito one day, a smoothie the next, and french fries the day after, her cravings are focused on one food item, are intense, and last a few days. One week it’s carrots, the next it’s blueberries, then Luna Bars. But one thing lasted for several weeks: Tortilla Soup.
I could never indulge in this. I rarely eat chicken and I even stay away from chicken broth and stock. But it had to be tasty if she’s craving it several times a week, for several weeks…Right?
However, I continued to look on with desire. Those crispy strips of tortilla. That beautiful red color. I wasn’t sure I’d taste tortilla soup unless I found a way to make it myself.
A few months later, Carla’s obsession had subsided, and my lust for tortilla soup fell onto the backburner (ha!).
Then, I found it. In the pages of my January 2009 issue of Everyday Food. It just fell right onto my lap! This recipe originally called for chicken stock, but no shredded chicken. It’s hearty enough that it doesn’t need chicken to give the extra fullness. There’s no doubt in my mind that since I’ve found this soup I’m not missing anything at a casual restaurant.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes in juice
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) Swanson vegetable stock (Get Swanson!! Way better than other brands. No, this post is not sponsored.)
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
- kosher salt and ground pepper
- 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
tortilla soup with black beans
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium. Add garlic and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and juice, beans, broth, corn, and 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Sprinkle in the tortilla chips and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lime juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges and, if you like, additional chips. And that yummy looking sandwich is my Spicy Tex Mex Grilled Cheese!
to anyone. You don't have to know a lot about cooking or be a foodie to prepare and enjoy nutritious homecooked meals! Read more...