Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Love Your veggies!

In all of my favorite new lunch restaurants, like Hü Kitchen and Mulberry & Vine, you choose a variety of prepared plant-powered dishes to make a very filling and substantial meal. Over the past months I've been focusing on integrating more veggie dishes into our meals. Inspired by my recent visit to Yotam Ottolenghi's restaurant, I came to this realization: "Why not make a variety of salads for dinner each night?"

Family-style/tapas/dim sum has always been my favorite way to eat. Everyone shares and gets to eat a little bit (or more!) of everything. I found that a few vegetables go a long way, and meal prep isn't so difficult when you have some pre-cooked grains, and make a few of your salads are raw. Below are my plant-powered meals for last week. We share all these dishes. These are my mains, and occasionally, my family will have a meat dish on the side. ;)

  • Kale Salad – Chop 5 kale leaves, ¼ cucumber, 1 avocado and toss with an apple cider vinegar-lemon dressing; 
  • Grilled Sweet Potatoes – 3 sweet potatoes, cut into slices, grilled until soft;
  • Vegan Cashew Cheese – 1 cup soaked raw cashews, 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice, ¼ cup water, 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast, blended until smooth. Fold in 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs.. Season to taste; 
  • Grilled Veggie Quinoa Salad – 1 zucchini, 2 peppers, ½ eggplant, 1 cup cooked quinoa, tossed with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt; 
  • Burrata Salad – 1 burrata cheese and 3 farm fresh tomatoes, 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil with a balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Wild Rice Salad – 1 cup cooked wild rice, 1 beetroot, 1 sweet potato, 2 cups baby spinach leaves with a Cilantro-lime dressing – ¼ cup fresh cilantro, 1 key lime, 1 shallot, EVOO, pinch of sea salt; 
  • French Bean Salad – 1 cup french beans, 1 avocado, ½ cup sweetcorn, ¼ cup raw almonds, 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds.
  • Red Lentils – 1 shallot, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, finely chopped, 1 cup lentils, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon cumin. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until soft. Season to taste. Let cool. Top with a generous handful of fresh arugula;
  • Hummus & Carrot – 1 tin/box chickpeas/garbanzo beans, 1 tsp salt, 2 cloves garlic, 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste), ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ cup (60ml) water (you may not need all of this). Cilantro leaves, paprika, and olive oil, to garnish;
  • French Beans & Vegan Tzitziki – 6 oz  unsweetened coconut yoghurt, 1 clove garlic, 3” stalk of green onion, 5” seedless “European/English” cucumber, finely chopped, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Cover and refrigerate. Lightly sautee the french beans in olive oil for a 5-7 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add a sprinkle of water if the pan is getting too dry. 
  • Garlicky Broccolini – 1 bunch broccolini, sauteed lightly, ¼ cup toasted almonds, 1 lemon; 
  • Green Leaf Salad – 3 cups green leaf lettuce, ½ beetroot, thinly sliced, 1 celery stalk, chopped, ¼ cucumber, diced; 
  • Herby Pan-fried Potatoes – 2 potatoes, cubed and par-boiled, then pan-fried in coconut oil with ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, 1 garlic clove, until crisp. Season to taste.
  • Tuscan Kale Salad – 8 kale leaves, shredded, 1 cup grape tomatoes, ¼ cup shelled pistachios, ¼ cup cooked quinoa and a basic vinaigrette; 
  • Tandoori Sweet Potato Salad – 2 sweet potatoes, steamed, cooled and cubed, 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped, 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon tandoori spice mix, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice pinch of sea salt, to taste; 
  • Warm Carrot-Chickpea Salad – 4 carrots, peeled, sliced, and boiled for 10 minutes. add 6 chopped asparagus in the last minute. Drain and set aside. Stir-fry 1 sliced onion, 1 clove of garlic in olive oil, until soft (about 5 minutes). Add 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon coriander, ½ cup drained chickpeas/garbanzo beans, and saute for another 3-5 minutes. Let cool. Toss with olive oil, 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar and a handful of chopped mint leaves.

Favorite vegetarian / vegan cookbooks:

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