Tag Archives: salad

It’s Still Summer. Make an Eggplant Salad!

The days are getting shorter, kids are back in school, Labor Day just passed… but, hey! It’s still summer! And we still have fresh veggies from the backyard so I made a refreshing roasted eggplant salad to accompany dinner the other night.

eggplant salad

This is so easy to make (once you’ve roasted the eggplant) and goes with just about anything as a nice side dish.

Roasted Eggplant Salad

1 eggplant, roasted, cooled and chopped (use the skinny eggplants, not the fat ones)
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 tbsp bit of fresh lemon juice1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste


You’ll need to roast the eggplant first and then let it cool. There are a few methods for toasting eggplants — grilling, carefully roasting over an open flame, or broiling in the oven (which is my personal preference).

eggplant salad

Put all your ingredients into a bowl and then mix it up. Easy as pie! Mmmm… pie…

I’m happy to say that I am back in the cooking spirit. Maybe it’s because the weather is starting to cool. Maybe it’s because I’ve been inspired. I’m just glad to start getting busy in the kitchen again!


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Brown Bag Vegan Lunch: Tofu & Tomato Salad

I’m really proud of myself, you guys, because I brought coffee, breakfast, and lunch to work everyday this past week. It’s a huge deal for me because I had grown accustomed to buying coffee and lunch everyday (I would buy coffee or soy lattes twice a day most days) and either skipping breakfast or eating junk from the cafeteria. So, here’s what I know about myself: while I don’t mind leftovers, I don’t want to eat the same thing for lunch and dinner for a week, which is pretty much what happened when I made the pasta bake, and I still had some left after that. In order to keep this up, my challenge will be to prepare and plan ahead so that lunch can be easy and not boring.

photo 1 (6)

One of the lunches I brought this week was a tofu and tomato salad. It took minimal effort, but did require some planning ahead. Here are the ingredients I used:

1 block extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
dill (fresh is great but I keep a bottle of Litehouse Freeze-Dried dill which is the next best thing)
salt and pepper to taste

I’d like to note that if I was eating this at home, I would have added some onion, but I didn’t want to offend anyone with my onion breath. Also, hot peppers or red pepper flakes would be a nice addition to this.

First, I had to make sure to press a block of tofu. I put my tofu in the TofuXpress before going to bed one night. Then, the next night, I drained it, cut it into cubes, and put it in a bowl with the chopped tomatoes. Then I mixed in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dill, and salt and pepper. I then placed all of it in my lunch container and put it in the fridge. In the morning, I grabbed the container, put it in my reusable lunch bag, and took it to work. All I had to do when it was lunchtime was grab a fork and chow down!

Not only was this really easy and about as effortless as lunch can be, it was totally vegan, raw, healthy, and a perfectly substantial lunch. It was also a lot cheaper than anything I would have bought for lunch. Yay! –Melissa

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Tahini-Soy Chickpea Salad

Life is thus that I am basically a Lazy Vegan 24/7 and haven’t had a chance to sit and plan and be creative with my cooking. I really want to turn things around, so I decided to make a different sort of chickpea salad to eat with my Boca Chik’n Patty sandwich.

Tahini-Soy Chickpea Salad

1 15 oz canned chickpeas (I would have used dry beans if I had planned ahead)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of one lemon

I drained the chickpeas and set them aside. I then mixed all the other ingredients together in a bowl.

I mixed the beans with the dressing. Note: I only used about half of the dressing.

To make things a little more interesting, I added some grated carrot, sesame seeds, ground coriander, and dried parsley flakes. I’m sadly lacking fresh herbs at the moment and certainly would have added fresh cilantro or parsley instead.

I added some crushed red pepper after plating the salad. This ended up being a delightful and hearty meal! –Melissa

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A Different Kind of Tofu Scramble

I’ll usually make a tofu scramble for breakfast on the weekend, but I wasn’t quite feeling it today. That said, I had a pressed block of tofu that was ready to be eaten. So I decided to make a different sort of tofu scramble.

This was easy and turned out great with just a few ingredients:

1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and drained using the wonderful TofuXpress
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dill (I love dill)
chopped green onion or chives
salt and pepper to taste

I ‘crumbled’ the tofu with a fork and then added the olive oil, lemon juice, dill, green onion, and salt and pepper. I mixed it all up really well and then let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. I served it on toast with a side of tomatoes.

This recipe reminded me of when I was in Israel a couple years ago and had the same thing for breakfast every day: bread with feta cheese. It’s kind of cool that I accidentally made a tofu-based vegan feta! I gobbled this up really quickly and am already planning to make it again with my next block of tofu.

Great on toast, great as a salad topping, great vegan deliciousness! –Melissa

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Jicama and Papaya Salad!

Jicama is something they sell in most supermarkets here in South Florida. It’s a root vegetable with a texture reminiscent of radish with a soft slightly sweet flavor. It has a thin brown skin and white flesh. It’s great in salads and we make one at home usually with papaya, lime and cilantro.

The one above has been cleaned and peeled by Brent. We combined it with the following:

peeled cubed papaya

cilantro leaves

spinach and/or snow peas (optional)

and a dressing made from juice of 1 lime, cayenne pepper to taste and 1 tbsp vegan mayo (optional) whisked together.

We just pour the dressing over the salad and munch away. The spice of the cayenne with the cooling cilantro, sweet papaya and mellow jicama is sure to please. It’s low fat, high fiber and loaded with nutrients. Here’s a salad with spinach and no mayo in the dressing; we just squeezed the lime over it.

Here’s another with snow peas and veganaise dressing!

I hope you find some jicama and create your own summery salad!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Double Cherry, Almond and Long Bean Salad!

Melissa brought us some GORGEOUS long beans from her Dad’s garden. Green beans are easier to find in your supermarket but long beans have a subtly sweeter flavor. Here she is below, breaking off the ends and snapping them into bite sized pieces.

We used the following:

3-4 cups of long beans, ends trimmed and cut

1 carton of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup of dried cherries (dried cranberries work too!)

15-20 toasted salted almonds, crushed

Melissa blanched the beans by steaming them.

I tossed together the fruits and veggies and dressed it with 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar that I whisked together with a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

This salad disappeared fast: sweet fruits and veggies, savory nutty almonds and tart dressing. The textures were contrasting and very welcome and this is a light filling salad that’s beautiful to boot! We hope you get to try it.

This is Melissa, Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Bitter Melon Salad!

Bitter melon or ampalaya is one of those weird ones, you guys, but I grew up eating it.

Bitter melon is not my favorite thing to eat. In fact, it’s because of its health benefits that I endure its bitter flavor: they don’t call it “bitter” because of its jealousy and resentment. Some of its heath benefits include: lowering insulin (which benefits those with diabetes) and killing bacteria and viruses. It also helps keep the blood clean and improves blood flow which means, for a woman, less painful menstrual cramps. BONUS: My dad grows it in the garden. He’s growing two kinds this year: the darker one that I used in this recipe, and a lighter and longer one shown below.

Christie posted a recipe for pakbet using bitter melon. Today, I’m opting for a simple and raw recipe. I made this when I was visiting Christie and Brent over the weekend. Brent unfortunately could not try it because of an allergy, but I am happy to say that this is Christie-approved!

Bitter Melon Salad

1 bitter melon
1/2 onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced

First, slice the bitter melon in half, lengthwise. Then, degut it. I used a teaspoon to scoop out the guts.

Slice up the melon, toss it into a bowl, and add 2-3 tbsp of salt. Then add cold water to the bowl and let it soak for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain and rinse the bitter melon. Toss it into another bowl with the tomato and onion, add salt to taste (I suggest at least a teaspoon), mix it up, and eat it!

I spotted some strawberries in the fridge while the bitter melon was soaking and came up with a wacky idea: bitter melon salad with strawberry and onion!

OMG what a wonderful combination and no salt required! It has this great sweet explosion followed by bitter followed by sweet and the onion ties it all together. YUM YUM YUM.

Don’t be afraid of bitter melon! It has awesome health benefits. Visit the National Bitter Melon Council to learn more. I expect that both Christie and I will offer up more bitter melon recipes. I know I have a lot more to say about the magical ampalaya. In the meantime, be on the lookout and try it if you find it. –Melissa

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Polenta Balls

I really wanted just a simple salad for dinner tonight, but I wanted something to accompany it. So I came up with this simple and yummy and versatile recipe using instant polenta.

Polenta Balls

4 tbsp instant polenta
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp cumin (optional)
1 cup boiling water

First, I combined my dry ingredients in a bowl while the water heated up.

I added the boiling water and mixed it all together until it thickened and was the consistency of polenta.

I shaped the polenta into little balls, placed them on a baking sheet, sprinkled some salt on them, and baked them in the toaster oven for 15 minutes at 325 degrees. While they were toasting, I made my salad.

My salad should have been prettier, but my avocados were gross, I forgot ‘cheese,’ and I forgot to get some olives. It was still good, though: a nice mix of butter lettuce, tomatoes and green onion tossed together with some olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper.

The polenta balls turned out exactly how I had hoped: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I’m excited to try making more with different spices.

Yay! Polenta Balls! –Melissa

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Tropical Spring Rolls!

It’s raw night again in the Alldestroyers’ household and tonight we’ll be preparing vegan spring rolls. You’ll need the following:

2 medium zucchini, shredded
5 average sized carrots, shredded
1/2 cup toasted shredded coconut (sweetened is fine)
1 tbsp ponzu sauce
1/2 tsp lime juice (optional)
1/2 tsp flaked red pepper
a pinch of salt
8-10 rice paper sheets (mine are bahn-trang)
greens or spinach, washed and dried

Start by combining all the vegetables (except for the greens), liquids and seasonings in a bowl. Substitute shredded parsnips if you have a coconut allergy. Mix well and set aside.

Add 1 to 2 cups warm water in a deep plate or shallow bowl. Place a rice paper sheet into the water making sure to dampen both sides thoroughly and remove before it loses it’s stiffness.

Take it out and place it on a clean plate. Don’t worry if it’s still stiff; it’ll soften as it absorbs the water.

Place a handful of greens on one end of the paper closest to you. Add 3-4 heaping spoonfulls of filling onto the greens (if it’s particularly wet, let it drain, squeezing it out between your hands – your kids might like this job).

Dry your hands and start rolling the filled end of the sheet away from you using the greens to control the filling, folding in the sides. Rest it on that edge after closing it until you’re ready to eat it.Try not to place them so close that they’re touching because they’ll stick together and might tear when handled.

This takes some practice but it doesn’t really matter what they look like, right? You should end up with some lovely light, nutritions, filling and delicious spring rolls.

We made a dipping sauce out of basically the same ingredients as in our pakora with some minor changes which complemented the coconut in the spring rolls brilliantly. The proportions were about like this:
1/4 cup of tamarind (we used frozen)
2 tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp cinnamon
chili paste to taste

When mango comes into season, we’ll probably make this sauce with pureed mango. I’m monitoring the little baby mango growing on the trees between my train stop and apartment closely. Soon, my friends… very soon.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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