Tag Archives: vegan

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, Asparagus, & Lemon-Chive Dressing

asparagus quinoa chickpea salad

During my last haircut, I got to talking with my stylist about food and recipes and this blog.  He pitched to me his own idea of featuring sets of recipes which share the same ingredients– a sort of batch cooking format.  His desire to reduce waste and save money is something I think we can all relate to.  I mean, who hasn’t sheepishly watched a bunch of cilantro rot away in the fridge after one night of chana masala?  (Cilantro-haters, don’t answer that.)  So while this post includes just one recipe, in the spirit of economy and forehandedness, I’m including some suggestions for what to do with the asparagus and chives you don’t use.  For the asparagus, try grilling it: heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, when hot spray with a little cooking spray, and cook asparagus, a few minutes per side, until cooked through and slightly charred.  Remove from heat and toss with a little extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.  I also love asparagus in pasta dishes.  This recipe looks great, as does this (and it uses sunflower seeds, too!  I also bet you could substitute chives for the green onion).  Or make risotto.  This pesto looks like a delicious (and healthful) way to use up chives.  And this pizza and this potato salad use both asparagus and chives.  Waste not, want not.
*This salad dressing is on the rich side, which complements the grassiness of the asparagus really well.  The lemon and hot sauce further balance out the flavors, but if you prefer something lighter, feel free to reduce the amount of oil, or the total amount of dressing overall.


1 cup quinoa
olive oil
½ cup avocado, grapeseed, or mild olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp finely chopped chives, plus a little extra for sprinkling on top
1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp mustard flour
1½ cups cooked /15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
15-18 thin asparagus spears (~½ bunch), rough ends removed, sliced diagonally into 1” pieces
3-4 tbsp sunflower seeds
couple splashes of your favorite hot sauce, optional
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • In a fine mesh sieve, rinse quinoa until the water runs clear.  Drain.  Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil in a small saucepan and add quinoa.  Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until quinoa smells toasty and water has evaporated.  Add 1½ cups water and a little salt, turn up heat to high.  Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes.  Turn off heat but keep lid on for another 15 minutes, then remove lid, fluff with a fork, and let cool completely.
  • Meanwhile make the dressing: in a tightly closed jar, shake together vigorously the avocado (or other) oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, chives, shallot, garlic powder, mustard flour, and some salt and pepper.
  • Add chickpeas, asparagus, sunflower seeds, lemon-chive dressing, and hot sauce (if using), to cooled quinoa, and stir to combine.  Taste for salt and pepper, and top with a little extra chopped chives.

Yield: 5-6 servings

lemon chive salad dressing


Lentil Salad with Beets & Pistachios

lentil salad with beets and pistachios

Because it’s still root vegetable and citrus season, and because I’m always looking for more ways to add lentils to my diet, I give you this vibrant salad. Phil and I enjoyed it for dinner the other night, along with some roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus. I think it would also be really tasty (and make for great potluck/picnic fare) combined with something grainy, such as quinoa or farro.
*Optional: Before cooking lentils, soak them in hot water with a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. I soaked mine for 5 hours.  This makes them more easily digestible and reduces their cooking time, too.
*I also like to soak the chopped red onion in (cool) water while I prep the other ingredients. This helps tame its sharpness.

orange vinaigretteroasted beets

1 cup lentils, either beluga or French/de puy, picked over and rinsed
Couple splashes of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice, optional
1 piece dried kombu, optional
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3-4 small beets, scrubbed
¼ cup olive oil
3 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 tbsp chopped red onion, soaked and drained (see above note)
¼ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
generous handful of basil, chopped
generous handful of cilantro, chopped
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Wrap beets in foil, place in an oven safe dish, and roast for about an hour, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool, then peel and dice small.
  • Place lentils and kombu (if using) in a pot, and cover with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until done (but not falling apart). Cooking time for the lentils will vary, depending on freshness and whether or not they’ve been soaked. My presoaked lentils were done in 15 minutes. Lentils that haven’t been soaked will take longer, closer to 30 or 40 minutes. So be sure to keep an eye on them and check regularly for doneness. Once cooked, drain (and discard kombu), give a quick rinse, then toss with 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.
  • To make the dressing, whisk together or shake in closed jar the olive oil, orange and lemon juices, and some salt and pepper.
  • Combine lentils, beets, dressing, and red onion, and season with salt and pepper. Top with pistachios and herbs. Taste for seasonings; you may wish to add more orange or lemon juice.

Yield: About 4 servings

lentil foam

Mustard Tamari Tempeh & Yu Choy

tempeh and yu choy

Shifting toward spring.  It’s been warm and cold, windy, sunny, rainy, occasionally snowy.   For me, there’s been lots of happy and there have been days where anxiety is hard to shake.  Contributing to the latter are all sorts of stresses, both big and small picture.  There’s personal stuff, like the fact that our (very elderly) landlady just passed away about the same time that our lease [to an affordable apartment in an extremely unaffordable neighborhood city] expired.  And there are things like this country’s frightening current political atmosphere, which, while amusing, is getting more and more unnerving every day.  Laughter helps, as does qi gong, music (latest obsessions: Courtney Barnett, the new Animal Collective, and this dreamy version of The Chemical Brothers’ “Wide Open”), dates with my friends and my man, and good food (bet you knew that one was coming).

yu choy  tempeh and yu choyyu choy

*Precooking the tempeh helps to tame its bitterness as well as prep it for soaking up all that good marinade.
*Feel free to substitute bok choy if you can’t find yu choy.

For the tempeh & marinade:
1 8oz package tempeh, sliced crosswise into ¼” strips
1 tbsp mustard (I like stoneground)
2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1½ tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp agave
couple grinds of black pepper

For the rest:
vegetable oil (I used safflower)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 bunch of yu choy, trimmed and chopped
½ cup vegetable broth, plus a bit more if necessary
½ tsp tamari

Rice for serving, optional

  • Place tempeh slices in a saucepan and cover with water. Cook over high heat until boiling, then cover with lid, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a shallow bowl.
  • Whisk together or shake in closed jar all of the marinade ingredients. Pour over tempeh and toss gently to coat. Let sit for one hour.
  • Heat ½ tsp of oil in a large pan over medium high heat. When hot, add tempeh. I strongly recommend using a splatter guard here. Let tempeh cook, untouched, for about 3-4 minutes, or until crispy. Flip over all the pieces (turn down heat while you do this) and let cook for another 3-4 minutes. Set aside. Let the pan cool a bit and give a quick wipe.
  • Heat ½ tbsp oil in the pan over medium heat. Heat the garlic and red pepper flakes for a minute or two, until fragrant.
  • Stir in the yu choy. Add the vegetable broth, cover, and turn up the heat some. Let cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the yu choy, starts to dry out, add a bit more broth. Remove lid, stir in tamari, and let cook for another minute, then add the tempeh. Break some of the tempeh pieces a little as you stir.  Serve over rice if desired.

Yield: 3-4 servings

cat sleeping by radiator


Vanilla Maple Tahini Spread

vanilla maple tahini on waffle

Spread it on things.  Eat it with a spoon.  Add some protein and iron to your morning waffles and savor the warming, delicious flavors of tahini, maple syrup, and vanilla.

½ cup tahini, room temperature (I like this kind)
1½ tbsp maple syrup
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Mix with an electric mixer (hand or stand) for about 30 seconds (I used mine on speed 2), until well combined and a bit fluffed.  Spread will keep in the fridge for several days, but will thicken.  If desired, bring to room temperature and re-fluff with electric mixture.

Yield: a heaping 1/2 cup

Kale & Tofu Stir-fry with Toasted Coconut

kale tofu coconut stir-fry

Happy February, friends!  Temperatures have been mild (sometimes disconcertingly so), the sun is shining, and Punxsutawney Phil has just declared an early spring this year.  We’re moving forward: a fact made apparent by that tiny increase of light each evening.

Of course winter is far from over.  There are still many, many more days of freezing winds and icy sidewalks and complete dreariness to go.  More internal reflection.  More nights where going out is just too much and all I want to do is stay in and watch Homeland because I won’t—I can’t!—bear the cold.  (We’ve also been re-watching all of Absolutely Fabulous.  ‘Sup Hulu Plus.)

kale tofu coconut stir-frykale tofu coconut stir-fry

This stir-fry combines kale, pan-fried tofu, garlic, and ginger, along with toasted coconut for a bit of crunch and buttery richness.  It’s savory and a little sweet, warming, and very nourishing.

1 bunch of lacinto kale, trimmed of rough stems and chopped
½ cup coconut flakes
1 package of firm or extra-firm tofu
heaped 1 tbsp oil (I used refined coconut), divided
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp tamari, divided
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
rice for serving, optional

  • Set a large pot of water over high heat.  Once boiling, add kale to the water and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not mushy.  Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
  • Heat coconut flakes in a dry frying pan over medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring fairly frequently, until just starting to brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Pat tofu with a couple paper towels. Cut into 1” cubes, then pat again to soak up extra moisture.
  • Heat ½ the oil in a large frying pan/wok/skillet over medium high heat.  Add tofu cubes, sprinkle with garlic powder and coconut sugar, and stir gently to distribute seasonings.  Then let cook– without touching, so it can crisp up– for about 5 minutes.  Turn down the heat (just for your own safety), carefully flip over the tofu, and splash with 1½ tsp of tamari.  Turn heat back up, and cook (without touching) for a few minutes more. Turn off burner and transfer tofu to another dish. Let the pan cool a little bit, then give it a gentle wipe with a paper towel to remove any blackened bits.
  • Heat the rest of the oil in the pan over medium heat, and add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
  • Stir in cooked kale, then add 1½ tbsp tamari.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring now and then. Add tofu and cook for another minute or two.  Taste for seasonings.  Serve over rice (if using), topped with toasted coconut flakes.

Yield: About 3-4 servings

toasted coconut