Archive for the ‘Salads’

Veggin’ Cookbook Chronicles: Cannellini Salad

June 19, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Salads, Side Dishes

New Vegetarian Cuisine features “250 low-fat recipes for superior health” and is compiled by Linda Rosensweig and the food editors of Prevention magazine. My edition is from 1994. That said, this cookbook touts healthy eating and food choices using vegetarian cooking to bring the point home.

There is an interesting section that debunks myths that seem to come straight from my conversations with people when they find out that I’m a vegetarian – how do you get protein?, don’t you risk anemia?, what about calcium? The editors provide extensive answers with facts and sources. The next chapter then dicussus the vegetarian diet as a weapon against disease. The subsections go over various diseases and conditions (arthritis, cancer, diabetes, etc.) and how elements of the vegetarian diet can ease symptoms. Finally, the editors discuss how to make the transition to a vegetarian diet.

The recipes in the cookbook generally take up only one page and are not complex. They provide tips and hints for each recipe along with nutrition information. There are some color photos of final dishes but they are lumped together in four sections. Fortunately, they put the page numbers along with the photos so it’s easy to track down each recipe represented.

The index is thorough and includes not only recipe titles and ingredients but also nutritional keywords as well as diseases and conditions discussed in the cookbook. There’s also a little symbol that appears if the recipes is good to “make ahead.”

The recipes are simple to make but don’t skimp on uniqueness and flavor. In fact, this cannellini salad was bursting with a unique, almost smoky, taste.

Cannellini Salad
New Vegetarian Cuisine, Linda Rosensweig and the food editors of Prevention magazine, 1994

  • 10 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cans (19 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • spinach leaves

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes and water. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Drain, reserving the soaking liquid.Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

In a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, parsley, sage, pepper, tomatoes, and the reserved tomato soaking liquid. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly.

Place the beans in a large bowl. Add the tomato mixture, toss gently to mix. Serve warm or chilled on the spinach.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes


Veggin’ Cookbook Chronicles: Chilled Pasta Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Chickpeas, Olives & Feta Cheese

June 17, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Salads, Side Dishes

I start of my Veggin’ Cookbook Chronicles Challenge swinging for the wall with The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Diana Shaw. My edition is from 1997. This 612 page tome covers everything you need to know about vegetarian cooking but were afraid to ask. The subtitle says it all “Your Guide to the Best Goods on Earth: What to eat, where to get it, how to prepare it.” That pretty much covers it.

This cookbook focuses on creating a balanced and nourishing vegetarian diet, features menu plans as well as great advice.  There are also guides to herbs, spices, rice, grains, soy, flours, kitchenware and more.

The presentation is a little ho-hum as its presented in one color – green.  It does have some hand drawn illustrations to punctuate ingredients but none of the illustrations reflect finished products or cooking techniques.

But, who needs glossy pictures when the recipes are very in depth and also very easy to follow. (In fact, the author takes two pages on how to make the humble pancake, and she’s passionate about how to make it right.) Each recipe has a description or introduction and specifics on nutrition. You also see total time but also “time to prepare” and “total cooking time”. Which I find informative – am I going to spend five minutes in preparation and 18 hours cooking, or 18 hours preparation with 5 minutes of cooking? I also find the “do ahead” options and how to store the finish product hints helpful, too.

Finally, the index is presented both by recipe and ingredient which helps when you’re not quite sure what to make…but you know what you have.

This cookbook is chock full of hints, stories and suggestions. I probably need to curl up on the couch and read through it from cover to cover sometime. In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and present you with this recipe.

I was looking for a fast, easy and tasty option for a cookout I was having. Most importantly, it had to store overnight so I didn’t have to rush to prepare it. This pasta salad worked out really well and it made plenty to feed a crowd.

Chilled Pasta Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Chickpeas, Olives & Feta Cheese
from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook, Diane Shaw, 1997

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/4 minced fresh basil
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (Note: the cookbook goes into nice detail on how to peel and seed the tomato, I did not peel the tomatoes in this preparation, but I did seed them.)
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup chopped oil-cured black Greek or nicoise-style olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons capers
6 cups cooked short pasta, such as penne rigate, farfalle, or radiator (Note: I used a rather cute mini farfalle pasta)

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and swish it through the oil until it starts to color, about 3 minutes. Remove and discard it. Add the basil and stir well to flavor the oil. Remove the skillet from the heat.

In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, feta cheese, and capers.

Add the pasta and the basil oil, and toss well. Chill for at least 3 hours. Toss again before serving.

Total time: About 3 hours, 30 minutes, including time to chill, but not including time to cook the chickpeas (Note: I used canned chickpeas which saved some time…)
Time to prepare: About 25 minutes
Cooking Time: Included in time to prepare
Do Ahead: You can make this up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate until ready to use
Refrigeration/Freezing: Refrigerate up to 2 days. Do not freeze.





Mushrooms in Vinaigrette (Hongos en Escabeche)

April 06, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Salads, Side Dishes, Snacks/Appetizers

Mushrooms in Vinaigrette (Hongos en Escabeche)

Cinnamon, allspice and cloves paired with mushrooms? Yes…and it was divine. Served cold or warm, it’s a unique accompaniment to any meal.

Our vegetarian club dinner this month featured Mexican recipes and I was looking to do a little something different. According to Karen Graber, author of this recipe:

Wild mushrooms are found in abundance in the states of Puebla, Tlaxcala and Estado de Mexico during and after the rainy season, and used in soups, quesadillas and vegetable dishes. Although the comadre used escobetas (coral mushrooms) the following recipe may be successfully prepared using fresh cultivated mushrooms.

Although you do have to spend some time cleaning and boiling the mushrooms, it’s a great “make ahead” dish.

Mushrooms in Vinaigrette (Hongos en Escabeche)
from MexConnect

  • 2 pounds fresh mushrooms (if using button mushrooms, remove the stems)
  • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup mild olive oil (not extra virgin) (Note: I reduced this to about 1/2 cup.)
  • 1 large white onion, sliced into thin crescents
  • 2 inch stick cinnamon (Note: I used about a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.)
  • 3 cloves (Note: I used about 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.)
  • 8 whole allspice (Note: I used about a teaspoon of ground allspice.)
  • 4 sprigs of thyme (or use dried thyme, but not powdered)
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano (not powdered)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ½ cup mild vinegar, or to taste

Place the mushrooms in a pot with salted water to cover and boil until just tender. Do not overcook.

Drain and place mushrooms in a large skillet with the hot oil and sauté.

Add all the remaining ingredients and stir to combine completely. Remove from heat.

Allow mushrooms to cool, place in an airtight container and allow to marinate in the refrigerator overnight. This dish may be served cold or reheated. In either case, it is usually served with bolillos or French bread.

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries

December 03, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Salads

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries

I have mentioned before that I’m a fan of the Vegetarian Journal.  It’s the quarterly publication for the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) that’s filled with fact and not flash. They do not accept advertising, but rather fill their pages with in-depth articles, information and vegan recipes. For $20, you can join VRG and receive this publication. I like the Vegetarian Journal because they consistently have quick, easy and delicious recipes. This spinach salad with pears and dried cranberries is a perfect example of how good these recipes can be.

This spinach salad is going to become a regular feature in this house. In fact, after his first forkful, my in-house taste tester refused to return the serving bowl to me until he ate about half of this salad. Honestly, I was slightly worried he’d down the whole thing without giving me any.

This salad, as presented, is vegan. If you are vegetarian, you can throw some crumbled goat cheese on top for a variance of texture and you’ll add a complementary flavor. Either way, the sweetness, tartness and nuttiness of this salad is great as a quick at-home dinner treat or served to dinner guests. Next time I’ll double the recipe so I have a chance at more…

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries
Vegetarian Journal, Issue 3 2008

1/4 cup red wine vinegar (rice vinegar or white balsamic vinegar also work well)
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil (I used two for a lighter taste)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon apple juice concentrate
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne or black pepper (Note: I used a dash of cayenne then added some freshly ground pepper)
8 cups baby spinach
1 Bosc pear, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup lightly toasted, chopped pecans (I substituted pecans for walnuts)
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries

Combine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, concentrate, salt, and cayenne in a glass jar. (Note: or a small container with a lid.) Cover with lid and shake until blended.

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries

Place spinach in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing over spinach and toss. Divide into salad bowls and layer with pears, onions, pecans, and cranberries.

Spinach Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries


Vegetarians Have Good Hearts!


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