A Spectacular Superfood Salad

A Spectacular Superfood Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

So what’s a superfood, you might ask? Well, according to the online dictionary, it’s “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” That sounds about right. Chances are, your fridge and pantry are stocked with these very ingredients and a salad is a great way to make the most of them—all in one bite. You won’t find meat and dairy labeled as superfoods. Ever. (Okay, some people consider salmon a superfood, but it’s really the omegas they’re after, which are readily found in plant foods). I made a very light dressing to coat the salad, also packed with immune-boosting deliciousness, so dig in and feel super energized, super healthy, and super happy with this spectacular superfood salad!

The super benefits:

Kale: high in fiber, iron, Vitamin K, C, and A; an anti-inflammatory food, supports cardiovascular health and is full of antioxidants.
Spinach: high in Vitamin A, K, D and E; good source of omega-3 fatty acids, loaded with antioxidants (fights cancer & inflammation), rich in calcium and magnesium, as well as carotenoids for eye health.
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds): high in magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber and anti-inflammatory properties. They’re also high in tryptophan—you know, the “sleep hormone” found in turkey? Sprinkle some pepitas on your next Thanksgiving dish and enjoy the same post-meal nap without the dead bird.
Walnuts: cancer-fighting properties, heart health benefits, extremely high in antioxidants, as well as Vitamin E, folate, melatonin and omega-3 fatty acids.
Red onion: high in quercetin, a bioflavonoid with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Blueberries: said to help with memory decline, reduce heart attack risk, and are full of antioxidants. Also high in Vitamin K, manganese and fiber.
Chia seeds: high in protein, fiber, phosphorus, manganese, calcium and potassium. They also contain healthy antioxidants and are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas): high in fiber, protein, manganese, and iron. They can also stabilize blood sugar and help lower one’s cholesterol.

A Spectacular Superfood Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 2 heads of kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves chopped small
  • 3 C spinach, chopped small
  • 2 C fresh or dried blueberries
  • 1 C red onion, diced small
  • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ C pepitas
  • 1 C walnuts, chopped
  • .
  • Dressing
  • .
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs yellow miso
  • 1 Tbs tahini
  • 1 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • ½ tsp chia seeds
  • ¼ C water
Directions
  1. Toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Let the dressing sit about 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to thicken the dressing just a bit.
  3. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat thoroughly. Enjoy!

 

Quinoa & Veggies with a Tahini-Miso Dressing

Quinoa and Veggies with a Tahini Miso Dressing -- Epicurean VeganQuinoa is such a fantastic lunch option. It’s packed with protein and it can be made so many different ways, that it’s pretty hard to get bored with it. I wanted a light dressing for this and came up with this tangy tahini-miso goodness. I also love adding nuts for a bit of crunch to these types of dishes, so I threw in some toasted almond slivers. Delish!

Alter Eco Rainbow Quinoa, Quinoa and Veggies with a Tahini Miso Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

INGREDIENTS:
1 C quinoa (I like this Rainbow Quinoa from Alter Eco)
2 C vegetable broth or water
1-1/2 to 2 C mushrooms, sliced
6 green onions, sliced
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 C slivered almonds, toasted
Dressing:
1 tsp tahini
1 Tbs yellow miso
1/8 C almond milk
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt

Quinoa and Veggies with a Tahini Miso Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

DIRECTIONS:
Rinse the quinoa in fine mesh strainer with cold water. Combine it with the broth (or water) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until there is just a little bit of water left, about 12-15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and green onions, but don’t combine—cover and let the veggies steam 3-4 minutes. For the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth.

Quinoa and Veggies with a Tahini Miso Dressing -- Epicurean VeganOnce the mushrooms have softened, stir them into the quinoa. Add the tomatoes, nuts and dressing. I recommend adding a little dressing at a time in case you don’t want it all. I had a little left over.

Quinoa and Veggies with a Tahini Miso Dressing -- Epicurean VeganGently fold and combine everything. Enjoy!

Quinoa and Veggies with a Tahini Miso Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

Garbanzo-White Bean Truffle Spread

Garbanzo-White Bean Truffle Spread -- Epicurean Vegan

This is a variation on the white bean truffle spread that I decided to whip up for our July 4th party. I’ve made the original version several times, but I wanted to change things up a little and I’m thinking I like this new version even better!

INGREDIENTS:
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 large (or two medium) clove of garlic, halved or quartered
1 tsp salt
5-6 large green onions (white and green parts) sliced
4 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs truffle oil

DIRECTIONS:
Add the salt and garlic to a food processor and process until the garlic is pretty well chopped up. Add the beans, lemon juice, salt, and green onions; puree until smooth. While the machine is running, add the truffle oil; blend well. If you have time, let it chill for an hour or two before serving. Enjoy on crackers, toasted baguette slices, or veggies.

Garbanzo-White Bean Truffle Spread -- Epicurean Vegan

Macadamia Nut Cheese

Macadamia Nut Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

I was immediately smitten when I saw this recipe for macadamia nut “goat cheese” over at The Holy Kale. I haven’t met many nut cheeses I didn’t like, and this one looked too delicious not to try. I followed the recipe as it was written, but when I tasted it, I found into be incredibly bland. After all, there wasn’t any seasonings besides the tarragon it was rolled in. . . I took matters into my own hands because I sure the heck wasn’t going to waste the $7 I spent on two cups of macadamia nuts! A little salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and agave saved the day . . . and the cheese! Other than the texture, I don’t think this resembles goat cheese, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tasty–it most certainly is!

INGREDIENTS:

2 C macadamia nuts (I used unsalted), soaked for 24 hours in water
1 cap veggie Probiotic
1/2 C water
2-3 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp, or to taste, salt
1-2 Tbs agave
2-3 Tbs fresh tarragon, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

After soaking the nuts, drain and transfer to a food processor along with 1/2 a cup of fresh water and the contents of the probiotic capsule. Blend until smooth (you will probably need to periodically scrape the sides).

Macadamia Nut Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Wrap in a cotton napkin or a few layers of cheese cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Macadamia Nut Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Keep wrapped in the cloth and place into a bowl. Do not seal the bowl.

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Let it sit for 2 days on the counter and ferment. Unwrap . . .

Macadamia Nut Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

. . . and transfer to a bowl. Using a fork, blend in the lemon juice, salt, and oil. Taste and adjust seasonings/flavorings if need be. Wrap the cheese in plastic wrap, shaping into a log.

Macadamia Nut Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Refriderate for several hours to overnight to allow the flavors to meet and mingle. The longer you let it percolate the better! Spread the chopped tarragon on a cutting board and roll the log over it. Drizzle with agave and serve with crackers. This would also be excellent crumbled over a salad. Delicious and worth the long process! Enjoy!Macadamia Nut Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Vegan Herbed Cream Cheese

Vegan Herbed Cream Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

I think non vegans would find it pretty hard to know this is nondairy. (And when is it not fun to fool omnivores)? This is a Tofutti cream cheese-based dip/spread, but you could easily reverse the ratio of cream cheese and sour cream in this recipe and make it a sour cream-based one. It works great as a dip, dolloped on a baked potato, cracker spread, bagel topper, or sandwich condiment. It was ideal for veggie wraps . . .

Veggie Wraps -- Epicurean Vegan

INGREDIENTS:

12-oz container of Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 C Tofutti sour cream
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbs dried minced onion
1 tsp salt
2 large green onion, sliced
1 Tbs lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container and keep chilled until using. Enjoy!

Immune-Boosting Salad with Baked Tempeh

Immune-Boosting Salad with Baked Tempeh -- Epicurean Vegan

Whether or not you’re fighting a cold or illness, this is the perfect salad to eat to boost your immune. No one wants to be sick during the holidays. It also doesn’t help that we tend to not eat or drink as healthy during these yuletide times. Instead of throwing back some harmful meds with a measly glass of OJ while you’re sick, head for the fridge (or ask someone politely) to fix this cold-fighting bowl of awesomeness. If anything, steam some kale, eat a raw orange bell pepper, and a bowl full of white mushrooms. Then repeat.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch of kale, torn from stem and chopped small (high in iron, vitamins C, A & K, antioxidants, omega-3s (anti-inflammatory), fiber, and calcium)
1 small bunch of spinach, stems removed and chopped small (1 C=337% of the RDA of vitamin A!! vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium)
1 orange bell pepper, chopped small (vitamin C and B-6, fiber, and antioxidants)
10-12 white mushrooms, stems removed and chopped, (great sources of potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. They’ve also been proven to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancers)
2 large carrots, shredded (beta carotene, vitamin A, cancer-preventing properties, and alpha-carotene and lutein, which fight heart disease)
6-7 green onions, sliced thin (Quercetin, an antioxidant and anti-histamine, chromium, vitamin C, fiber, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, and copper)
1/2 C pepitas (high in vitamins C, D, E, and K. They are rich in beta carotene (that is converted into vitamin A in the liver),  rich in the eye protective carotenoid lutein. A handful of these will deliver 9 grams of protein, along with manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, copper and zinc. They are also rich in omega-3 fats and are also shown to reduce inflammation. Definitely a super food!)

Dressing:

2 cloves garlic, cut in half (boosts hydrogen sulfide production=protects against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer and protects the heart. Raw garlic’s antimicrobial fights viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. Its also helps fight asthma, bronchitis, inflammation, rashes, bug bites, tooth aches, ear infections and other infections i.e. Staph and MRSA. Unlike antibiotics that weaken your immune system, garlic actually boosts your immune system)
1/3 C sunflower seed butter (calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and magnesium. Also a great source of B vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, and  B6, folate, and pantothenic acid. Folate is also essential during pregnancy for proper fetal development. Let’s not forget protein and the healthy, unsaturated fats)
1/4 C tahini (Packed with B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15, protein and calcium)
3 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs light miso (Protein, has probiotics, B vitamins, especially B12, fights cancers, high in antioxidants, and can even help lower cholesterol)
1/4 C nutritional yeast (TONS of B vitamins, protein, and fiber. It’s also low in sodium)
1/4 C chia seeds (Omega-3 and 6 oils, protein, and antioxidants. Considered a super food, chia seeds not only support the immune system, they balance blood sugar levels, support the cardiovascular system, give you energy, aid in weight loss, help detox the body, and provides fiber, iron, calcium, niacin (B-3), phosphorus, and magnesium. Did I mention brain-boosting, too?!)
1 C water

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Tempeh (optional)

8-oz pkg. tempeh, cut into small cubes (high in fiber, easy to digest, low sodium, and contains antioxidants. It also helps balance blood sugars)
1/4 C soy sauce
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed (see above)
1 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper

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Whew! Did you get all that?! Talk about a loaded salad!

DIRECTIONS:

If you’re adding tempeh, you’ll want to start that now. Combine the tempeh with the soy sauce (preferably low-sodium),  Worcestershire sauce, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag; coat the tempeh thoroughly. Line a baking sheet with foil and pour the tempeh on the sheet. Bake at 375 for 5 minutes, stir around, then bake another 5 minutes.

Baked Tempeh

 Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, then chop up the tempeh into even smaller pieces; add to the salad.

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To make the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend 2 minutes, or until completely smooth. It makes about 2-1/2 cups.

Tahini-Miso Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

You can pour the dressing over the entire salad and blend well, or keep it separate. If you store it separately, keep in mind that it will probably set up in the fridge; you’ll need to add some water and/or lemon juice to it to thin it out some more. I hope all of you are staying healthy and continue to do so during these oftentimes stressful days! Enjoy!

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Cashew-Truffle Hummus

Cashew-Truffle Hummus -- Epicurean Vegan

This was probably one of the best cashew spreads ever. The original recipe, called Rich and Creamy Cashew Cheese, is from Vegetarian Times, but when I tasted it, it was incredibly bland, so I decided to up the ante and add some of my favorite ingredients. After I messed with it, I found that it ought to be more appropriately called hummus, not to mention, my new favorite hummus. It’s hard to go wrong with miso and truffle oil!

INGREDIENTS:

2 C raw & unsalted cashews, soaked for 24 hours
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar (I used regular and added another tsp)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2-1/2 Tbs truffle oil (my addition)
2 Tbs white or yellow miso

DIRECTIONS:

Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Using a food processor, process for a minute.

Cashew-Truffle Hummus -- Epicurean Vegan

Add a 1/2 cup of water and remaining ingredients. Process for 3-5 minutes or until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for about 12 hours or overnight. Enjoy with pita chips, crackers, or on a sandwich.

Vegan & Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean VeganI am so excited to share this recipe with all of you! Having to give up soy is a little less traumatic now that I’ve come up with a delicious soy-free ricotta cheese. After I made the switch from no wheat and no soy, The Seventh Grader wanted stuffed shells. Of course. And . . . like the power of suggestion, I wanted stuffed shells in the worst way. So I couldn’t use my go-to riotta cheese, nor use regular jumbo shells. Thankfully, I found these “Grand Shells” from Tinkyada.

The ingredients are simple: brown rice, rice bran, and water. They’re a little smaller than the typical flour-based jumbo shells . . .

. . . but it’s not a big deal. They also don’t fold over like regular shells do either. Again, no biggie. Also, cooking these are a bit different. Bring water to a boil, add the shells and cook 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the shells sit for 20 minutes. The shells definitely aren’t mushy like some brown rice pasta can be. In fact, they’re pretty al dente—almost too much. If you want them a little softer, I’d leave them for 25-30 minutes. Overall, very impressive! I thought they were delicious.

So onto the ricotta. This recipe makes quite a bit—great for a big pan of lasagna. Feel free to half it for a small portion, otherwise, it makes almost 4 cups.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C blanched almonds
1 C cashews
1 C cold water
1/8 C olive oil
3-4 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1 C fresh basil
1 Tbs fresh rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 C Daiya cheese,  Mozzarella flavored

DIRECTIONS:

I threw the cashews in a bowl of water while I blanched the almonds. Soaking the nuts are not necessary, unless you have the time and want a really smooth ricotta. Add them to the food processor.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the water, oil, and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. This may take a few minutes to get it real smooth, especially if you opt not to soak the nuts overnight, which I did not. It just depends on your preference. I happen to like the nutty texture.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Next, add the basil, rosemary, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, pepper. Blend until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

I had some jumbo shells as well as tofu-ricotta in the freezer, so for the guys, I made them regular stuffed shells. Since I don’t have celiac disease and not concerned with cross-contamination, I combined both in the pan.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Layer on some sauce and Daiya cheese and you’re good to go. Bake covered for 25 minutes at 375.

Vegan and Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Enjoy!

Kale & Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing

Kale and Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing -- Epicurean VeganOkay, this is probably my favorite dressing I’ve made so far. Love it! It has just a hint of lemon and with the ginger, goes fabulous with the almond butter. There’s some prep work involved here, but if can, make this the night before and you won’t be able to wait for lunch!

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:

2 large bunches of kale, stems removed and chopped
1/4 of a red/purple cabbage, diced
1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), diced
1 C carrot, shredded or finely chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 small red onion, diced small
1/3 C sunflower seeds

Dressing:

1/4 C tahini
1/3 C + 1 Tbs almond butter
1″ piece of ginger, chopped2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs miso (light, yellow or red)
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/8 C water

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients.

Kale and Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in the blender—except the water—just start with a little and add more as you blend it to reach the consistency you want. You may need more than the 1/8 cup. It also depends on how lemony you want it—you can thin it out with more lemon juice if you’d like. Blend until smooth.

Kale and Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

You can pour the dressing over the salad, just a little at time to coat the salad, or serve on the side and mix into individual servings. Yields about 1-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Three-Nut Cheese

Three-Nut Cheese -- Epicurean VeganI have been both fascinated and mystified by nut cheese. It wasn’t until I went vegan two years ago that I even learned you could make cheese from nuts. No, it doesn’t necessarily taste much like milk cheese, but it’s still delicious and of course, much healthier for you than the moo-ey version. This recipe is also from Big Vegan, and is actually for quesadillas topped with a mango salsa. I plan on giving that a try, but I think this cheese tastes phenomenal on crackers and apples. I melted some on a tortilla and the flavor really comes out. This recipe is a process, so allow a couple of days for it to magically turn into cheese.

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 C macadamia nuts
1/3 C raw cashews
1/3 C almonds, slivered or flaked
1 acidophilus capsule
1 Tbs cold-press corn oil (I didn’t have any, so I used olive oil)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Place the nuts in a bowl and cover with cold water; refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain the nuts and puree them in a food processor with 1/2 C water. Add the contents of the acidophilus capsule and puree.

Three-Nut Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

Transfer to a glass bowl and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Leave it at room temperature for 24 hours.

Three-Nut Cheese -- Epicurean Vegan

It will then give off a very cottage-cheesy smell. Stir in the lemon juice, oil, and salt. Refrigerate. Enjoy!