Tag Archives: cucumber

Vegan Raita

Is hard to hold back the temptation of¬†posting one more Indian inspired recipe ūüôā Hope you’ll like it as much as I do! This time we have¬†a¬†salad, the traditional Raita which is basically a curd dish with cucumbers and tomatoes and sometimes a bit of sugar. Not this case :p

Initially I thought about making a simple tahini dressing that would soak the veggies, but then other little add-ons came in mind. And the most important one is the sweet smoked paprika flavor. So eventually I got to a recipe that looks like this:

  • small chopped tomatoes &¬†cucumbers
  • tagliatelle style squash (or zucchini)
  • tahini based dressing with smoked paprika, ground cumin & 3 colors’ pepper
  • lemon juice & salt

optional:

  • dried yeast flakes in the dressing
  • sunflower & hemp seeds

Depending on the amount of water you use for the dressing and the juiciness of the tomatoes, you can have it soupy-ish or thicker, perhaps more suitable for a saturday night salad snack.

Hummus + Tabbouleh = Love

Who doesn’t love hummus? This middle eastern creamy stuff makes everybody lick their fingers in amazement. And of course it goes perfect with his sister salad, the juicy tabbouleh.

P1080241After experimenting with different ways of preparing these dishes, I arrived at these basic rules:

1. the hummus

– forget about making hummus if you don’t have tahina (sesame cream) – you should always add it in generous amount – as well as a good quality olive oil

– part of the secret resides in how you boil the chickpeas. first of all, do it¬†yourself: canned stuff won’t hold a tad of your energy :))

Рalways soak the chickpeas overnight (the more the better) and preferably boil it over the pressure cooker. add salt and whole spices for enhanced flavor

– keep the water in which they boiled handy and add it progressively during the preparation until you get a fluffy texture

– play around with spices: cumin, garlic, zatar, sumac, nigella seeds; I always choose to add ground cumin or crushed garlic into the composition, whereas I keep the other spices as add-ons

– balance the taste with enough lemon juice and salt, otherwise your hummus will turn out¬†too heavy (it’s a pretty heavy dish anyway!)

– use a high power blender or your immersion blender to get the right¬†texture; it can take in plenty of¬†liquid (the chickpeas water & lemon juice) but make sure it doesn’t turn too watery. i’ve discovered that adding red lentils (around a quarter of the whole quantity of chickpeas) will help¬†a lot in achieving a soft fluffy hummus.

2. the tabbouleh

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– the main ingredients should be: parsley, tomato, (cucumber), red onion, bulgur (cracked wheat), olive oil, pomegranate juice/concentrate or lemon juice

Рdepending on your taste, you can decide upon the quantity of each one; however, the main one is parsley and you should use it abundantly (especially because the citric acid contained in the pomegranate/lemon juice will half the initial quantity you started with)

– don’t add too much salt or you risk loosing the unique sweet & sour flavor of the salad

– alternatively, you can use buckwheat instead of bulgur. even cauliflower rice works out well, but then it’s something else than the original ūüôā

Рgarnish it with pomegranate seeds or some nice olives

And if you don’t have bread – a good homemade bread or pita – try for once to have the hummus on spinach leaves. It could look like this¬†ūüôā

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Or you can simply go for your favorite salad as a side dish

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list of ingredients

1. hummus

  • chickpeas – soaked overnight and boiled until tender
  • tahina
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt

optional:

  • cumin, garlic, zatar, sumac, nigella seeds

2. tabbouleh

  • parsley
  • tomatoes
  • (cucumber)
  • onion
  • bulgur / buckwheat
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice/pomegranate juice or concentrate (careful at the preservatives inside!)

optional:

  • pomegranate seeds
  • olives

Summer Salad

IMG_8497Summer is the best season for tomatoes. Actually, the only one!¬†I’ve always preferred to avoid the out of season tomatoes, as I never know what kind of fake substitutes I’ll get in the supermarkets. I wait instead for the rich tasty ones of august and the crooked sunburnt ones of late september (grown directly in the fields). So delicious!

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I usually chop it directly¬†into any kind of salad,¬†but I do¬†enjoy a lot to prepare a tomato¬†based dressing – some might¬†call it a soup ūüôā¬†I mix it in the blender with some of the following: olive oil, mustard, tahina, garlic, fresh basil, thyme or melissa. You can even incorporate hydrated nuts (sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, etc). The result is a rich dense dressing ready to be poured over a fresh greens salad or to be scooped with cucumber, squash or carrot sticks.

 

 

 

Here the beet root surprised me with its heart shaped stems ūüôā

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You can add zatar or grated orange peel into the greens salad for an even more fresh taste.

 

list of ingredients

  • ‘real’ tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • mustard /¬†tahina
  • fresh basil, thyme or melissa
  • nuts (sunflower, walnut, almonds, etc) – previously soaked overnight

 

Vegan Mayonnaise

Along the time I tried a few types of mayonnaise, some of them  occurring unexpectedly from one dressing or another. Let me tell you about my favorite ones.

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The one and only is the avocado mayo,¬†¬†¬†righteously deserving all its fame and glory. It’s also incredibly easy to prepare: you just crush the avocado (fork/blender) and mix it with cold pressed sunflower oil, mustard, lemon juice and salt. Its best companions are green onions and cucumbers, but I felt that it could also taste nice on kohlrabi (as in the above picture) or in a¬†chickpeas based salad (as in the picture below).

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Here I garnished it with peppers, tomatoes, raisins and fresh mint.

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It happened that one day I’ve tried¬†a mustard dressing that turned out to be pretty similar to mayonnaise. I simply mixed mustard, olive oil, onion flakes (previously rehydrated) and lemon juice in the food processor (you can also use the immersion ¬†blender). If you’re not happy with the texture, help yourself with some starch flour. At the end I spiced it up with salt, black and red pepper and serve it on a cabbage, carrot and parsnip salad. ¬†Mayo certainly asks for roots!

The third one is a tahini based mayo and it’s¬†slowly turning into a favorite ūüôā You will get an¬†amazing flavor only if by using¬†a good quality balsamic vinegar. Besides that, you need olive oil, salt and ground flaxseeds – so it goes creamy enough and adds up to those omega 3 and fiber levels! Its superdelicious oily taste is again well balanced by pepper – use any type you wish according to your taste.

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Again with coleslaw (cabbage, carrot and celeriac)¬†and green garlic on top. I’m sure you can crush it inside the mayo if you’re a true garlic lover!

list of ingredients

1. avocado based mayo

  • avocado
  • mustard
  • sunflower oil (cold pressed)
  • lemon juice
  • salt

2. mustard based mayo

  • mustard
  • olive oil
  • onion flakes
  • salt, pepper
  • optional: starch flour

3. tahini based mayo

  • tahina
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • ground flaxseeds
  • salt, pepper
  • optional: garlic