Make it your way salad with an east Asian vibe

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The gardens are just starting to offer up fresh lettuces, radishes and even some peas here. While I’m not generally a huge salad fan, it’s impossible to resist all this garden goodness.

Here’s what I had for lunch today – a big green salad with Gardein chick’n strips and a sesame and soy sauce-based dressing.

Here’s the recipe for this quick and flavourful dressing.

1 ½ Tbsp soya sauce

1 ½ Tbsp sherry

1 ½ Tbsp agave nectar

1 ½ Tbsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp sesame oil

I  ½ Tbsp neutral flavoured oil (I used peanut oil)

2 -3 green onions finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients in a jar or small bowl or mug. This recipe makes lots of dressing – enough to dress a whole head of lettuce plus extra veggies. I like mixing my dressings in a jar with a lid so I can store any leftovers easily in the fridge.

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Tailor up the salad portion anyway you want. Mine has:

Bibb lettuce

Sliced navel orange

Radishes

Mushrooms

Freshly shelled peas

Other salad additions that would work well with this dressing are: broccoli, green beans, snap peas water chestnuts, carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi, red pepper, bean sprouts, celery, mango

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Add some toppings

I topped my salad with Gardein chick’n strips and toasted almonds. The toppings add oomph and flavour but use them as a garnish, not the bulk of your salad.

Other toppings that would work well with this dressing are: plain baked, crispy tofu,  plain, firm tofu,  seitan, edamame, toasted sesame seeds, sunflower seed, uncooked ramen noodles, cooked rice or mung bean noodles, avocado

This salad is totally customizable. Mix and match ingredients, add as much or as little of whatever as you like. That’s the beauty of cooking from scratch.

 

 

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Spicy orange and pepper stir fry

Orange Tofu 3.jpgFor most of my adult life, I have sucked at making stir fries. I just didn’t have a clue what to do or what ingredients to add. That’s changed and now I’m stir frying like a boss thanks to the many great recipe sites out there.

This recipe is from the Vegan Richa site with just a few modifications; I added more veggies. If I could find them, I’d add those cute, sweet little baby corns too but they remain elusive.

I hope you make this recipe. It’s beautiful enough to serve to guests and delicious and different.

Ingredients

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3 tsp cornstarch (use arrowroot to make corn-free, add more starch for thicker sauce and glaze)

2 Tbsp warm water

2 Tbsp soy sauce or liquid aminos

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp maple syrup, agave or 1 Tbsp raw sugar

1 Tbsp Asian Hot Chili paste (I used Sambal oelek and 1 tablespoon made this dish plenty hot! )

The juice and zest of one naval orange

1 Tbsp flavourless oil for stir frying. I use peanut oil.

7-8 ounces of very firm tofu patted and dried and cut into cubes.

2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped/sliced (not minced)

1/2 green bell pepper thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced

1 can (about ¾ cup) sliced water chestnuts drained

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Directions:

In a small bowl or cup, whisk the cornstarch and water. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, hot chili sauce, orange juice and zest. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a very large nonstick pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes and fry until the cubes are browned on several sides.  This will take about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sliced garlic and give a quick stir – about 1 minute.

Add the sauce and cook for about 3 more minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serve with rice, rice noodles or glass noodles.

This recipe makes 2-3 servings depending on how much rice you want to eat it with. I find it’s quite saucy and spicy so it can easily 2 ½ cups of cooked rice – enough for 3 servings.

Orange-peanut sweet potato and rice patties with a side of slaw

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Yesterday I posted photos of pickled zucchini slices. That recipe was all in aid of these – some of the most delicious, satisfying, make-your-belly-happy patties you’ll ever enjoy.

Sweet potato and brown rice serve as a base for a sweet, salty, spicy and peanut-y taste palette that is pure delight.

My version is a riff on a recipe from One Green Planet. I upped the seasonings and got rid of the bun.

I’ve posted three recipes here: the orange-peanut sweet potato and rice patties, the miso sauce you can use both to dress a side of slaw and drizzle on the patties (it also makes a fantastic stir fry sauce), and the slaw ingredients.

Ingredients

For the patties

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 cup cooked brown rice

A flax egg made from 1 ½ Tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 ½ Tbsp water

3 Tbsp orange marmalade

4 ½ Tbsp peanut butter (just peanuts-and-oil peanut butter –none of that stuff with weird ingredients like icing sugar!)

3 Tbsp soya sauce or tamari

2 -3 tsp Sriracha sauce

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

3 Tbsp mixed nuts or peanuts chopped (optional – for garnish)

For the dressing

3 Tbsp white miso

2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar

2 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp soya sauce or tamari

1 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tsp Sriracha sauce

For the slaw

1 kohlrabi peeled and grated. You will have about 1 ½ cups shredded kohlrabi. If you don’t have or want kohlrabi, use shredded green cabbage or napa cabbage.

1-2 green onions cleaned and sliced

4 radishes sliced

1 rib celery diced

1 carrot grated (optional)

1 small can water chestnuts drained and diced (optional)

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Directions – the patties

Wash and dice the sweet potatoes into evenly sized pieces. You can peel the potatoes if you like, but it’s not necessary. Place the potatoes in a microwaveable dish and microwave for about 3-4 minutes until the pieces are soft. Once the pieces are cool enough to handle, mash them.

Preheat your oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, mix the rice and mashed sweet potatoes. Add the flax egg and use your hands to combine the ingredients.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir or use your hands to combine everything. I find it helpful to microwave the marmalade and peanut butter together for about 15-20 seconds to soften them up for easier mixing.

Form 3 very large or 4 large patties. The patties will be thick. Place them on a greased cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the patties over and bake another 15 minutes.

Because these patties are full of complex carbs, I preferred eating them with a dressing and skipped the bun. You could serve them on a bun with the slaw on top.

I sprinkled chopped mixed nuts on top for extra crunch and flavour.

Directions – the dressing

While the patties are baking, mix all the dressing ingredients in a jar or bowl with a lid. Use the dressing to pour over the patties and as the dressing for your slaw.

This dressing also makes a fantastic stir fry sauce.

Directions – the slaw

While the patties are baking, mix all the slaw ingredients together. Mix 2-3 Tbsp of the dressing into the vegetables and toss to combine.

 

 

Fennel, orange and radish salad

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Poor fennel. So delicious yet so misunderstood. And poor you, if you’re not enjoying this gorgeous bulb with the bright green fronds. This vegetable is delicious raw or cooked and has a distinct licorice-y flavour and happy crunch. I think fennel bulbs look like ogre hearts and well… that just makes it all the more fun.

Ingredients

1 bulb fennel

1 naval orange – peeled with a knife so all the white pith is removed and then sliced  into bite sized pieces

4-5 radishes sliced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 Tbsp olive oil

1-2 tsp grainy Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

fennelTo prepare your fennel, wash it under hot running water. Remove the first layer and the tough core. Cut off a few of the green fronds – they make a nice decorative touch. You can eat the stalks/shoots though they can be woody so unless I have a very fresh fennel, I skip the stalks. Cut your fennel bulb in half and then slice into bite sized slices.

Directions

Mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. This salad is a great winter salad when oranges are cheap and other leafy greens are hard to come by or expensive and imported.

This salad has a bright, refreshing taste and great crunch and will last for 3 days in the fridge.