At last – a Greek salad for vegans

Greek Salad2

Last week I shared a vegan feta cheese recipe. My favourite way to use that cheese is in a Greek salad. I LOVE the mix of flavours, textures and colours in this classic dish and eaten with some pita bread (for sopping up all that delicious dressing and feta cheese) you have a complete meal.

Ingredients

For the salad

Salad ingredients

Vegan feta cheese – use as much as you want but half of the recipe should be more than enough

1 head of romaine lettuce – washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

½ of an English cucumber cut into half-moon slices

1 bell pepper (whatever colour you prefer) diced

2 tomatoes diced

½ of a red onion cut into half-moon slices

¼ cup sliced olives – green or black as you prefer

TIP: If you like an ingredient add more of it. If you don’t like something, leave it out. The beauty of cooking from scratch is you make it how you like it.

Salad Chopped

For the salad dressing

Salad Dressing ingredients

3 Tbsp good quality olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano (or about 2 Tbsp fresh)

1 ½ tsp dried basil (or about 3 Tbsp fresh)

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1-2 cloves garlic – minced or pressed

The juice from ½ lemon

1-2 Tbsp brine from a jar of lives – optional but it will make your dressing go further and make it salty if you’re a salt lover

Salad Dressing

Directions

Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Place all the salad dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake the jar well to mix the ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss everything to combine. The feta cheese will become creamier and almost dressing like. If you want the cheese more whole, add the dressing to the salad but leave out the feta. Mix the salad and dressing, then add the feta afterwards.

Enjoy!

 

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Lentil sloppy joes

SloppyJoe

 

When I was a kid, sloppy joes were a really big deal for lunch or dinner. Making them involved nothing more than ground beef and a can of Manwich sauce. I shudder to think of it now. These sloppy joys, on the other hand, are something to get excited about. They’re tangy with a hint of sweetness. The lentils are chewy and satisfying and the whole dish – never mind that long list of ingredients, almost all of which you probably have in your pantry already – comes together easily. And…. these joes are great for your body. They’re loaded with iron, fibre, protein and vitamin C.

Ingredients

1 cup of dried Du Puy lentils (or black lentils a/k/a beluga lentils). You want a smaller lentil that needs no presoaking and cooks quickly

1 medium carrot finely minced

1 stalk celery finely minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 red or green pepper diced

1 onion diced

1 clove garlic minced

2 tsp chili powder

½ tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp dry mustard

15 oz can (541 ml) diced tomatoes

3 Tbsp tomato paste

2 Tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar

½ to 1 Tbsp sriracha sauce (optional)

1 Tbsp prepared mustard

2 Tbsp ketchup

2 Tbsp A-1 sauce (a/k/a brown sauce)

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sea salt (adjust according to how much salt is in your tomato paste and diced tomatoes)

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1/3 cup vegetable broth

Toasted bread or buns for serving. This recipe makes 4 generous servings.

Directions

Put the lentils, diced celery and carrot and 2 cups of water in a small pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 15 minutes. The lentils will be chewy but still firm and most of the water will be absorbed. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the onion and red or green pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and dry spices and stir together, letting the spices heat through. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the saucepan of lentils (do not drain!) to the large sauce pan. Stir everything together to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncover for 15 to 20 minutes depending on how saucy you want your sloppy joes to be. I cooked mine for 20 minutes.

Serve over toasted bread, buns or fat pitas (as I did). This dish is even better the next day and freezes well for up to 2 months.

Tomato and basil pasta – easy, fast and fresh!

Tomatopasta

Whatcha going to do with all those beautiful, rosy tomatoes in the garden?? This is one of my longstanding, favourite pasta dishes. Before I went vegan, I ate it with feta or parmesan cheese. Now, I sprinkle it with my vegan version of parmesan. The beauty of this dish is it’s ridiculously easy to make, super fast, and taste like summer time. Using fresh, good quality tomatoes and fresh basil is key.

Tomato basil pasta

2-3 ripe tomatoes chopped (use more or less depending on their size and how much you love tomatoes)

1 small jar or can of artichokes (about a cup). Cut roughly

2/3 cup fresh basil torn or cut

1/3 cup sliced olives (or more – I love olives)

1 Tbsp good olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic minced

9-10 ounces spaghetti or spaghettini

Cook the pasta according to directions. While it’s cooking, chop the tomatoes, artichokes and basil and put in a large bowl. Add the olives, olive oil, minced garlic and toss. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the bowl and toss well. Serve immediately.

My mother would actually eat this dish the next day cold as a salad and add cucumbers to it. You could give that a go too.

Serve with a good grind of fresh pepper and vegan parmesan.

Makes 3 huge or 4 generous servings.

Vegan parmesan

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup raw almonds (no skins)

1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds (I toast mine on a sheet of tin foil in the toaster oven at 400 degrees for 4 minutes)

Grind everything together in a blender or food processor and store in the fridge in a sealed container. It’ll keep for 2-3 weeks.