A Spectacular Superfood Salad

A Spectacular Superfood Salad

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!

 

Wild Mushroom & Miso Soup

Wild Mushroom & Miso SoupFor mushroom lovers like us, this soup certainly made us very happy. Some friends had brought it to a get together and we all demanded the recipe. It is from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  This soup requires just a tad of prep work, but then it all goes into the slow cooker. Not only is this soup savory and full of flavor, but the mushrooms are packed full of immune boosters—perfect for fighting off the winter chills and colds.

INGREDIENTS:

1 (1/2 oz) pkg dried porcini mushrooms (I could only find the 3/4 oz package, which I used all of)
1 C hot water (I added a bit more since I used more mushrooms)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 leeks, (mostly white parts and a little of the green) sliced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked peppercorns (I used ground—didn’t have the peppercorns)
1 bay leaf
8-oz shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and thinly sliced (I recommend adding more–they cook down quite a bit)
8-oz cremini mushrooms, stems removed and quartered (Again, I’d add more)!
6 C vegetable broth
1 C water
1/4 C miso
Optional: fresh snipped chives

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, combine the dried porcini mushrooms and the hot water. Let sit for 30 minutes, using a fine mesh strainer, drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Finely chop up the porcinis and set aside. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrot and celery for about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, and porchinis. Cook for a minute, then add the reserved liquid.

Wild mushroom & miso soupTransfer to a slow cooker and add the shiitake and cremini mushrooms, along with the broth and water.

Wild Mushroom & Miso Soup slowcooking

Cover and cook on high for 3 hours OR on low for 6 hours. Stir in the miso and cook on high for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and ladle into separate bowls; garnish with chives. Enjoy!

Quinoa & Veggies with a Tahini-Miso Dressing

Quinoa & Veggies with Tahini Miso DressingQuinoa 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

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

nutsandveggies

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.

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.

DSC08041Gently fold and combine everything. Enjoy!

Quinoa & Veggies with Tahini Miso Dressing

Vegan French Onion Soup

Vegan French Onion Soup -- Epicurean Vegan

I’ll be honest, I never really ate French onion soup before my vegan days, so I’m not sure how it’s supposed to taste. My guys were the ones to decide if this one passed the test. The Ninth Grader liked it a lot, but found it a little salty (I used broth and miso). The Husband liked it, but didn’t care for the vegan cheese—he admitted that the  real cheese is what made it so great before. I myself, loved the vegan cheese and I found that it all worked so well. Of course, the salt-factor didn’t seem to be a problem for me, which I’m thinking is because I spent the day (from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) walking over 15 miles along one of Fort Collins’ trails and pretty much sweated out any salt, so I was needing it! You can certainly just use water for this recipe. This recipe serves 3.

INGREDIENTS:

3 Tbs olive oil
2 extra large onions, sliced (about 8 cups)
4 C water (or broth)
1/3 C miso
3 Tbs water or broth
1 Tbs thyme
Black pepper (and salt, if needed)
Vegan cheese

Croutons

1/2 a loaf of sourdough or French bread or baguette, sliced
Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

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Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a large soup pot and add the onions. Cook them over medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, or until they soften and begin to brown.

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Meanwhile, make the croutons. Lay them out on a baking sheet, brush with oil and place under the broiler until browned. Flip them, brush with oil and broil again.

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In a small bowl, combine the miso, thyme and tablespoons of water or broth.

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Add the water/broth and miso mixture to the onions and bring to a boil.

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Fill bowls with the soup, top with the croutons and cover with cheese. I used the Daiya shreds and also sliced up some of the Daiya Swiss slices:

French Onion collage

Place the bowls onto a baking sheet and place under the broiler for just 1-2 minutes.

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Enjoy!

Vegan French Onion Soup -- Epicurean Vegan

Pasta with Kale

Pasta with Kale -- Epicurean Vegan

I was on my own for dinner the other night, so after staring blankly at the cupboards, then the fridge, I decided to combine some of my favorite ingredients for dinner: tri-color pasta, kale, mushrooms, and miso. For some added crunch (and protein) you could throw in some pine nuts or chopped cashews.

INGREDIENTS:
8-10 oz tri-color rotini
1 bunch kale, chopped
5-6 mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1 Tbs yellow miso
1 tsp garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS:
Cook the pasta until al dente and drain. Meanwhile, steam the kale and mushrooms 3-5 minutes—just until they’re tender. Usually, once the kale turns bright green, it’s ready. Using the same pot you cooked the pasta in, melt the margarine and garlic. Stir in the miso and blend it in. Add the kale and pasta and combine well. Enjoy!

Mushroom and Snow Pea Soup

Mushroom and Snow Pea Soup -- Epicurean VeganThis soup is perfect if you want a comforting meal in no time. I used lots of my favorite ingredients and like most soups, it will taste even better the next day.

INGREDIENTS:
6 C vegetable broth
1 Tbs olive oil
6 green onion, sliced
3 C Shiitake and white mushrooms (or cremini), sliced
2 C snow peas, cut into pieces (and ends snipped)
1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated
3 tsp garlic, minced
2 Tbs yellow miso
6-oz Angel hair pasta

DIRECTIONS:
In a large soup pot, heat the oil and garlic. Add the green onion, mushrooms, and snow peas. Cook until the veggies are tender.

Mushroom and Snow Pea Soup -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the ginger and miso, and combine well. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.

Mushroom and Snow Pea Soup -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the pasta and cook another 3-5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela

Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela -- Epicurean VeganI saw this recipe from Angela at Vegangela earlier this week, and it’s all I could think about. I had to wait until the reboot was over since it contains cashews. She came up with the sauce based on the creamy cashew sauce. Using non-pasteurized miso will make it raw and I think zucchini makes ideal noodles. Thanks for another amazing recipe, Angela!

INGREDIENTS:
4 medium zucchinis
1 C raw cashews
3/4 C water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 Tbs light miso paste (optional)
2 Tbs nutritional yeast (optional)
Fresh basil (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
Soak the cashews for minutes in water. While that’s going on, remove the peel of the zucchinis. Using a peeler, peel the zucchinis from one end to the other, rotating until the core is too small to peel anymore.

Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela -- Epicurean Vegan

Next, grind the cashews in a food processor to a fine consistency. Add the other ingredients and blend until fairly smooth.

Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela -- Epicurean Vegan

You can mix the noodles with the sauce or spoon it over them. Top with some fresh basil and enjoy!

White Bean Crock Cheez

White Bean Crock Cheez -- Epicurean VeganThis cheeze comes from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and is similar to the other crock cheez from the same cookbook. The change here is that this recipe uses white beans (I used Great Northern beans) instead of tofu. That makes a difference, especially for those who don’t eat soy (or a lot of it) for various reasons. This is a great alternative. The taste is only slightly different as you can tell it’s made with beans, and the texture is a little bit softer and smoother. I love to have this on pieces of pita bread, on crackers, or spread on toast. You can also use garbanzo beans in place of the white beans.

INGREDIENTS:
2 C cooked white beans or garbanzo beans
3 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbs tahini
2 Tbs lemon juice
1-1/2 Tbs light miso
1-2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard

DIRECTIONS:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Chill several hours or overnight. Keeps 5-7 days in the fridge. Enjoy!

Creamy Tofu-Port Spread

Creamy Tofu-Port Spread -- Epicurean VeganI love experimenting with making vegan cheeses and spreads and this one is so easy and delicious. It’s ideal as a sandwich or wrap condiment, or a dip for crackers and veggies (particularly, veggie crackers)! I also think it’d be great on a toasted bagel, English muffin, or toast.

INGREDIENTS:
14-oz tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed
2/3 C nutritional yeast flakes
3 Tbs yellow or red miso (I used yellow)
3 Tbs tahini
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 C port wine
Salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:
Add everything into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes about 2-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Vegetable-Barley Soup

Vegetable-Barley Soup -- Epicurean VeganYes, I am on a barley kick. Since I started using it (Vegetable-Barley Chili) I’ve been hooked. It has a lovely chewy texture that is ideal for soups and stews. In addition to the rainy weather, I  needed to clean out the fridge of some veggies, so this soup worked out beautifully. Amazing flavor and ideal with some garlic toast or rolls.

INGREDIENTS:
4 C vegetable broth
3-4 C water
1/3 C pearled barley
1 zucchini, sliced then quartered
4 stalks celery, sliced
2 C mushrooms, sliced/quartered
3 medium carrots, sliced
4 large green onions, sliced
1/3 C light miso
1/3 C sherry
3 Tbs dried minced onion
2 Tbs dried chives
1 C fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp black pepper
3/4 C almond milk

DIRECTIONS:
Combine the broth, barley, zucchini, carrots, celery, minced onion, chives, and pepper in a large soup pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. Add 1-2 cups of water along with the mushrooms, green onions, miso, and sherry. Cook another 5-7 minutes. Add more water if you feel it’s too thick. Stir in the parsley. Serve and enjoy!