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-Rice Salad with Tempeh and “Feta”

Quinoa-Rice Salad with Tempeh and "Feta" -- Epicurean VeganWe had a fabulous July 4th holiday feast with great friends and family. Our friends made these incredible grilled vegetable sandwiches and an outstanding gazpacho! (recipe soon to come, for sure).

Quinoa-Rice Salad with Tempeh and "Feta" -- Epicurean VeganCold quinoa and/or rice salads tend to be ideal for outdoor get togethers, plus, being vegan AND gluten-free, makes it so everyone can enjoy. Granted, there was a lot of prep work for this salad, but you can save yourself some time by making certain things ahead of time. I love the different flavors in this salad, as well as the crunch from the nuts. I made quite a big batch, so feel free to halve the recipe for a smaller crowd.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:
2 C wild rice mix (cooked in 2-1/4 C vegetable broth)
1 C quinoa (cooked in 1-1/4 C vegetable broth)
1-1/2 C dried apricots, diced
1-1/2 C toasted nuts, chopped (I used walnuts and pecans, but I think pepitas and almond slivers would be great too)
1 C fresh parsley, chopped
Tempeh + marinade:
8-oz pkg. tempeh, cut into small cubes
1/4 C tamari
1 Tbs vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
Tofu “feta”: (adapted)
1 14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/4 C cashews
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp yellow or mellow miso
2 Tbs reserved marinade (below)
Marinade:
3 Tbs lemon juice
5 Tbs white wine vinegar
1-1/2 Tbs yellow or mellow miso
1 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
Dressing:
1/2 C lime juice
4 Tbs red wine vinegar
4 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:
I recommend making the feta and marinating the tempeh ahead of time, even a day or two ahead if you can. I didn’t, and I think the salad still turned out great, but it’ll bring out the flavors even more. We’ll start with the feta.

Tofu Feta -- Epicurean VeganSlice the tofu into 1/2″ slabs and place into a large dish. Whisk together the feta marinade and coat the tofu thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or preferably over a night or two. Next, blend the cashews, olive oil, miso, and reserved marinade. I used my blender, but I couldn’t get a smooth consistency, so I transferred the mixture to a mortar and pestle, to mash it up even more.

20130704_171252Crumble up the tofu with your fingers, then add the cashew mixture; combine well. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
To make the tempeh, combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium zip bag and add the tempeh. Let it marinade for several hours to overnight.

20130704_112510When ready, heat a tiny bit of olive oil to a small skillet and add the tempeh. Saute over medium heat until the tempeh has crispy edges.

20130704_122131Meanwhile, cook the rice and quinoa (separately) according to package instructions. I tend to use veggie broth for added flavor. I also used what quinoa I had: some red, some regular.

20130704_113419Combine the two in a large bowl and refrigerate until cooled. (Be sure to place a hot pad or trivet underneath the bowl when placing directly onto a cold, glass refrigerator shelf.) Once cooled, fold in all of the ingredients: nuts, feta, parsley, tempeh, and apricots. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad; fold gently to incorporate everything. Enjoy!

Quinoa-Rice Salad with Tempah and "Feta" -- Epicurean Vegan

Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad

Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

I’ve never had anything with wheat berries in it . . . at least I don’t think so. I had bought a bag a while ago for another recipe (that I can’t even remember now) and so when I saw this recipe in Vegetarian Times, I decided to give it a try. Wheat berries refer to the entire kernel, or whole grain form of the wheat. They’re a great source of fiber and are used in breads, pilaf mixes, stir-fry . . . you name it. It usually needs to be soaked for several hours ahead of time, so keep that in mind, otherwise, they’ll take forever to cook! This salad is delicious warm or cold and was great as a side dish for Thanksgiving.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad

1 C wheat berries
1 2″ cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp salt
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice
1 heaping cup thinly sliced dried apricots
1/2 C toasted slivered almonds
6 Tbs chopped cilantro

Dressing

3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the wheat berries and cinnamon stick in 3 cups of water for 8 hours or overnight. I didn’t have any cinnamon sticks, so I added a dash or two of cinnamon later on. Transfer the wheat berries and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. (This is where I added the cinnamon).

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour. Drain any leftover liquid and remove cinnamon stick. In a small saucepan, blanch the carrots, then drain. Toss the carrots with the wheat berries, apricots, almonds, and cilantro.

For the dressing, blend all of the ingredients until creamy and season with salt and pepper. Stir into the salad, cover, and chill for about an hour. Enjoy!

Wild Rice and Blueberry Salad

Wild Rice and Blueberry Salad -- Epicurean VeganThis recipe comes from Big Vegan cookbook and I thought, what a great combination of ingredients and flavors. The original recipe calls for raspberry vinegar, but after a long search at the grocery store, I found one bottle . . . for $5.99. The fact that I only needed 2 Tbs, and that I rarely come across recipes that call for this fancy vin, I decided to use rice vinegar. Besides, with the maple syrup, I wonder if the raspberry vinegar would make this salad a tad too sweet. Also, may I suggest you buy wild rice in bulk. I went to a regular grocery store (as opposed to Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage) and they don’t have much in bulk. I picked up a small box of wild rice, but failed to notice (until I got home) that it’s only 4-oz. I needed 6 for this recipe. Who makes 4-oz boxes of rice?! Who needs only 4 ounces?! For 2.69 a box, I find it ridiculous that it’s under a cup of rice per box.

Wild Rice and Blueberry Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

This reminded me of the hilarious scene in Father of the Bride where Steve Martin loses it in the grocery store over hotdogs and hotdog buns. I think the people at the rice factory, got together with the people at the grocery store, and said, let’s make a small box of rice so that customers have to buy two boxes to reach a cup of rice, thus, leaving them with a little bit of rice left . . . Ok, it’s an exaggeration. Just outsmart the rice people and the grocery store people by buying wild rice in bulk.

Anyhow, this is an outstanding salad. I love the combination of flavors and is very simple to make. It’s got a unique sweet and tangy flavor and great for summer.

INGREDIENTS:

6-oz wild rice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C canola oil
2 Tbs raspberry (or rice) vinegar
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 C fresh raspberries
1 C fresh blurberries
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 large green onions, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the salt and rice. Let it cook anywhere from 25-45 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover and let it sit about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cooled. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, and syrup together. It’ll get slightly thick.

Combine the celery and green onions with the rice.

Wild Rice and Blueberry Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

Fold in the berries, then toss with the dressing. Enjoy!

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad -- Epicurean VeganI got this recipe from Luminous Vegans who called it “Chick-Peace Salad.” Great name—I didn’t want to steal it, so mine’s just plain old Chickpea Salad. Regardless of the name, it’s a delicious vegan version of tuna salad. LV added crumbled up nori to the mix to give it that tuna taste, but I didn’t have any. I still think it had amazing flavor without it. I did add some carrots and parsley. Just because. I also used Earth Balance’s vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free mayo that my good friend, Angela of The Veracious Vegan turned me on to. It’s fabulous!

I also served the salad on Food For Life’s brown rice tortillas.

I have to say, they’re ok. Heated up, they’re better, but you have to eat it fast before it gets crispy and falls apart. I’m wondering if steaming them would be better, or make it worse. The taste is chewy, but crunchy at the same time. Is that possible? Apparently so. Anyway, they’re not horrible, but they made eating this sandwich a bit tough because they tend to crack and split.

INGREDIENTS:

1 15-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1-2 Tbs fresh dill, chopped
2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
2 Tbs vegan mayo
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Veggies, crackers, tortilla, etc

DIRECTIONS:

Mash the chickpeas. I used a pastry blender. You can also pulse them in the food processor.

Chickpea Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

Stir in all of the other ingredients and combine well. I layered the salad on some lettuce inside one of the tortillas and added some sliced cucumber and tomato.

Chickpea Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

This salad would also be great on crackers, or sliced veggies. Enjoy!

Chickpea Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

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!

Couscous and Roasted Asparagus Salad

Couscous and Roasted Asparagus Salad -- Epicurean VeganThis salad is great because it can be served hot or cold—perfect for a pot luck or feeding a crowd.

INGREDIENTS:
1-3/4 C Israeli/pearl couscous (I used a mixture of whole wheat and regular)
2 shallots, minced
2-1/2 C vegetable broth
3 green onions, sliced
1 small bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 C pumpkin seeds, toasted
zest from one medium lemon
Dash of cinnamon
2 Tbs fresh basil, minced
2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1 Tbs garlic
White pepper, black pepper, and salt
Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 425. In a small bowl combine the asparagus, black pepper, salt, and enough oil to coat the asparagus. Line a baking sheet with foil; layer on the asparagus and roast for 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Couscous and Roasted Asparagus Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, melt the margarine and add the shallots and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the shallots begin to brown. Add the couscous and combine with the shallots. Pour in the broth, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Couscous and Roasted Asparagus Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

Dry-toast the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until they begin to brown.

Couscous and Roasted Asparagus Salad -- Epicurean Vegan
Remove from the heat and stir in the zest, basil, and cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl and stir in green onions, asparagus, and tomatoes. If serving cold, cover and chill for a few hours and stir in the pumpkin seeds before serving. If serving warm, stir the seeds in now. Season with white pepper and salt. Enjoy!

Couscous and Roasted Asparagus Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

Asian Veggie Salad with Almonds

Asian Veggie Salad with Almonds -- Epicurean VeganThis is a simple summer salad that is ideal for parties and picnics. It’s also easy to throw together and I love the Asian dressing, too—gives it a yummy, peanutty-flavor.

INGREDIENTS:
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 C corn kernels, thawed (if frozen)
1-1/2 C cabbage, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 C edamame, thawed (if frozen)
1/2 a cucumber, sliced, then halved
1 C slivered almonds
1/3 C Light Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing (from Kraft)

DIRECTIONS:

In a small, dry skillet, toast the almonds for a few minutes, until they begin to brown.

In a large bowl, combine all the veggies. Add the dressing and coat thoroughly. Note: if you are making this ahead of time, stir in the nuts just before serving, as they can get mushy if they sit too long in the dressing. Enjoy!

Crispy “Chicken” Salad

Crispy "Chicken" Salad -- Epicurean VeganThis salad is a staple around my house and each time I make it, I never learn. I eat way too much of it. It’s just so damn good. Not to mention, easy to make. Bake some meatless chicken nuggets and throw some fresh veggies together and you have a healthy meal in minutes.

INGREDIENTS:
1 bag Boca nuggets, baked and diced
Romaine lettuce, torn
Fresh spinach, torn
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 cucumber, sliced, then quartered
Vegan pepper jack cheese and/or cheddar, shredded
Green onions, sliced
Tortilla chips, broken up

Vegan Ranch dressing:
1 C Vegenaise
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
6 Tbs almond milk
1/2 tsp dried chives
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
I tend to put everything in separate bowls and let everyone create their own salads. To make the dressing, just whisk everything together in a small bowl and transfer to a pourable container. Refrigerate the leftovers. Enjoy!

Red Cabbage Slaw with Truffle Dressing

Red Cabbage Slaw with Truffle Dressing -- Epicurean VeganI’ve had this recipe in mind for a couple of weeks since we received a red cabbage from Green Buffalo Food. Every time I opened the fridge, it would remind me that I have to make something with it, and soon. Even after two weeks (and being organic) I was shocked that it was still in great condition. Whew!


Red Cabbage Slaw with Truffle Dressing -- Epicurean Vegan

INGREDIENTS:
Slaw:
1 red cabbage, sliced, then chopped
1 bell pepper, any variety, sliced thin
6-8 green onions, sliced

Dressing:
1/2 C Vegenaise
3 Tbs Tofutti sour cream
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp truffle oil
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 black pepper
1 Tbs water

DIRECTIONS:
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, bell pepper, and green onions. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and coat well. Enjoy!