classic potato salad

potato_salad
This is a vegan variation of my mother’s potato salad recipe, which was always very much in demand.

1 cup vegan mayonnaise (Spectrum makes a tasty one)
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cane sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup mild onion
5-6 medium Yukon Gold or red potatoes

Slice potatoes in half and place in a pot of boiling water. Boil until potatoes are tender but not mushy. Cool slightly; peel and slice into cubes.

In a large bowl, stir together the first five ingredients. Add celery, onions, and potatoes; stir gently to coat. Chill. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and a parsley sprig.

Latin-inspired meal

Fried plantains, fiesta beans and rice, and pico de gallo. This meal is a medley of Latin-inspired flavors, and these three items work SO well together. The slightly sour bite of the lime in the pico de gallo is balanced by the warm, sweet plantains…and the beans and rice complement both of them. I found myself trying to get a bit of all three on the fork at the same time…try it!

A Latin medley

A Latin medley

pico de gallo

pico_de_gallo
This delightful, fresh Mexican condiment, also called salsa fresca, is simple and delicious. Use it as a taco or burrito topping, or pair it with plantains and black beans and rice for a Latin-inspired dinner. Or just dip your chips in it.

2 large, ripe tomatoes, cored and seeded
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium red or sweet onion, finely diced
1 to 2 finely diced Serrano chiles (or more, depending on your heat tolerance)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate briefly before serving. Pico de gallo is best served shortly after preparing it.

thai cucumber salad

The flavor combination of vinegar, sugar, and crushed red peppers is downright addictive.

2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced
4 Tbs. kosher salt (you can substitute regular salt)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 cup peanuts, finely chopped
Scallions for garnish

1. Place the cucumber slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Drain for about 30 minutes. Rinse slices; drain again.

2. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and red pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool.

3. In a medium bowl, combine drained cucumber slices with vinegar mixture. Chill before serving. Garnish with chopped peanuts and scallions.

roasted rosemary potatoes

roasted_rosemary_potatoes
Here’s a fast, easy side dish. We added some leftover bell peppers to provide nice color, but you can omit them and use only potatoes if you prefer. The fresh rosemary smells divine.

4 Tbs. good-quality olive oil
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary
Sea salt crystals (to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Combine olive oil, vegetables, rosemary, and sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss until veggies are coated with oil and salt.

2. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread vegetables evenly over foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are desired consistency.

mary lou’s baked butternut squash with apples

A hearty fall dish!

1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise with seeds removed
1 apple, peeled and chopped into small pieces
Cinnamon
Cloves (optional)
Maple syrup
Brandy and brown sugar (optional)
Vegan margarine or canola oil for greasing baking dish

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Poke squash skin with a fork and microwave face down on a plate for 10 minutes. Remove squash when soft; peel and mash.

2. Cover chopped apple with cinnamon (and cloves, if desired). Drizzle with maple syrup or brandy and brown sugar. Mix with mashed squash.

3. Grease a baking dish with the margarine or canola oil, and add the squash and apple mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.

mushroom salad

Fresh herbs and exotic mushrooms combine to make a memorable salad.

1 lb. of fresh mixed mushrooms (such as shitake, oyster, or chanterelle), trimmed and sliced
1/4 cup white wine (if you prefer, substitute vegetable broth or apple juice)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 cup fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, oregano, or parsley
12-oz. package fancy salad mix

1. Heat oven to 325°. Place sliced mushrooms on a large piece of foil. Top mushrooms with wine; drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt, pepper, minced garlic, and rosemary. Fold foil to create a packet; bake in oven until mushrooms are tender (about 20 minutes).

2. Mix fancy salad greens with fresh herbs. Arrange on plates. Top with warm mushroom mixture. Serves 4.

spanish rice

Enjoy this low-fat version of an old favorite.

1 Tbs. canola oil
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced or diced
1/2 cup tomato, diced
1 cup vegetable broth (or vegetarian chicken-flavor broth)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Heat the canola oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add uncooked rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is golden (about 4 minutes). Add the onion and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomato.

2. Add the stock and spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice absorbs the liquid (about 15 minutes). Serve with your favorite main entrée. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs. Serves 4.

great grilled veggies

Summer vegetables are wonderful on the grill. Pick your favorites, chop and skewer them, marinade them in your favorite sauce, and grill them to perfection. Served over a bed of rice, veggies are always tasty — and healthy — summer dinner fare.

Choose your favorite vegetables. Some ideas:

Zucchini
Bell peppers: red, green, yellow, orange
Yellow summer squash
Sweet yellow onions
Mushrooms
Cherry tomatoes

Brush on a marinade of oil-and-vinegar dressing, such as Newman’s Own (the original), or use a bottled spicy Thai peanut sauce. Or mix pineapple juice, agave nectar, vinegar, and a bit of vegetable oil for a sweet/sour Hawaiian-style flavor. Whatever your marinade, set aside a little extra for pouring over the grilled veggies and rice. Yum!

moroccan rice casserole

Sue tried to come up with a recipe that would dress up plain old ordinary rice. She succeeded with this blend of exotic spices. You’ll love the yellow color from the turmeric.

3 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 cup rice
1 15-oz. can vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 cup broccoli florets
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook onion until slightly browned. Add rice and stir for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients, stir, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

cuban black beans & rice

Using dried beans is the most authentic way to prepare this dish, but to save time, we’ve substituted canned beans.

2-3 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large green pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 cups vegetable broth
2 14-oz. cans black beans
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. raw sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. dry white wine

Sautè onion and green pepper in oil until onion is transparent, about 6-8 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and stir for one minute. Add broth and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Add beans and remaining ingredients except wine, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add wine and remove bay leaf. Serve over hot cooked rice.

mom’s mashed potatoes

Just like Mom used to make, but with a new twist: non-dairy milk.

5 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Place potato quarters in cold water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender (about 25 minutes).

2. Drain potatoes and place in electric mixer bowl. On low speed, gradually beat in soy milk and seasonings, scraping the side of the bowl with a spatula as needed until potatoes are fairly smooth.

3. Serve warm topped with vegan margarine or gravy.

southwestern veggie salad

Southwestern Veggie Salad is a colorful side dish that’s perfect for a potluck or any occasion that calls for a quick recipe. You’ll make this salad again and again.

1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 medium Vidalia or red onion, finely diced
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 15-oz. can corn, drained
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained
1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup picante sauce

Mix all ingredients together and chill. That’s it!

denver potatoes

The potatoes are baked in the microwave first, then pan-fried in olive oil.

4 medium potatoes, scrubbed
3-4 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped

1. Pierce potatoes with sharp knife a couple times. Cook in microwave on high power for 13 to 14 minutes, depending on your microwave. Cover tightly after cooking; set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Cut potatoes lengthwise in quarters, then slice in 1/2 inch slices. Place in frying pan, sprinkle seasonings on top, then sauté in olive oil for about 10 minutes.

3. Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

baked beans

Here’s a summer recipe that’s a perfect complement to grilled portobellos or veggie burgers. You can use canned beans to save time, or use dried navy beans to equal 3 cups cooked. If you use dried beans, save some of the cooking liquid to replace the liquid that evaporates during baking.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tbs. prepared mustard
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. rum
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 14 1/2 oz.-cans navy beans, undrained

Sauté the onion in oil until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients except beans. Reduce heat and stir for another minute. Add beans (including liquid), mix well, and turn into casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour.

gallo pinto

This Costa Rican staple of rice and beans is usually eaten for breakfast, although it’s not unusual for people in this Central American country to eat this dish several times a day. Serve with some fresh, sliced papaya or mango or other tropical fruit.

3 Tbs. canola or olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked white rice
2 8-oz. cans black beans, undrained
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
5 Tbs. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until it becomes translucent. Add garlic and sauté until golden.

2. Add remaining ingredients and cook until heated through, stirring well. Serve warm. Gallo Pinto is one of those dishes that seems to taste better the next day.

monika’s sesame noodles

Take these tasty sesame noodles to your next office potluck or picnic and treat your friends to a taste of the Far East. They’re delicious and easy to make.

16 oz. udon noodles (use linguine if you can’t find udon)
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
2 Tbs. sesame seeds

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the cooked pasta; toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

sesame broccoli

Here’s a simple side dish with an Asian twist.

2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 Tbs. sesame oil
2 Tbs. agave nectar
salt and pepper to taste
2 bunches broccoli, trimmed and cut into small florets
1/4 cup sesame seeds

1. In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, agave nectar, and salt and pepper; set aside. Steam broccoli florets until just tender; set aside to cool. In a large skillet, toast sesame seeds.

2. Add broccoli florets to bowl with dressing; stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature until ready to serve (up to 2 hours). Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds right before serving.

brown rice pilaf

Sue and I were curious as to where rice pilaf originated, and a quick Web search revealed a long, complex history for this dish. (The short answer: the Middle East and Central and South Asia.) Prepare our brown rice pilaf with pine nuts (and a creamy sauce) and think about how many people before you have enjoyed a similar dish throughout history.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
1 cup brown rice
1 14-oz. can vegetable broth plus water to equal 2 cups
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until onion is golden (about 5 minutes). Add rice and sautè for 1 minute.

2. Add broth, water, wine, mushrooms, thyme, and salt. Simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed (about 50-55 minutes). Check rice occasionally and add water if necessary.

3. Let stand for 5 minutes. Mix in pine nuts immediately before serving.

tabbouli salad

Tabbouli, tabbuli, tabouleh: how many ways can you spell the name of this crunchy, nutritious salad? It’s a refreshing yet filling dish that’s especially good in the summer.

Tabbouli salad’s main ingredient is bulgur (cracked) wheat. To prepare bulgur wheat for the salad, measure 1 cup bulgur into a bowl, and then pour 1 cup warm water over it and let stand for 30 minutes. Yields 2 cups.

2 cups presoaked bulgur
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 cup green onions, chopped
2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
Salt to taste (try 1/4 tsp.)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

1. Mix first seven ingredients together (bulgur through salt), and then add fresh lemon juice. Stir to combine.

2. Refrigerate ingredients for about an hour. When ready to serve, add olive oil and black pepper. Mix well.

Notes: Fresh ingredients are absolutely necessary for good tabbouli. A large lemon usually nets 1/4 cup of juice. A large bunch of fresh parsley can yield 1, 2, or 3 cups chopped; use as much as you want. Cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil is best for salads, and although mint leaves add a unique flavor, they can be omitted in a pinch (sometimes it’s hard to find fresh mint). Cooking is an art, not a science, so have fun and experiment!

ceci bean salad

Ceci beans, a.k.a. garbanzo beans or chickpeas, are a great source of protein. More ceci bean trivia: according to Italian rules for vowels following the letter C, “ceci” is pronounced “chay-chee.”

1 14-oz can ceci (garbanzo) beans, drained
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Vidalia onion, chopped fine
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
2 Tbs. chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix and allow flavors to marry for an hour before serving.

fiesta beans and rice

fiesta_beans_rice
Be sure to use both red and green bell peppers for a colorful, festive side dish.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked rice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce to taste (optional)
Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional garnish)

1. In a large saucepan, sautè the onion and bell peppers until the onion is translucent. Add garlic, vegetable stock, chili powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, and black beans. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in rice and season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and hot sauce (optional). Cook until heated through. Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro if you like.

spicy oven fries

These fries are a great accompaniment to portobello mushrooms or veggie burgers from the grill. Add vegetarian baked beans and mom’s sweet and sour pepper slaw for a genuine picnic supper!

4 medium potatoes
5 Tbs. canola oil
1 Tbs. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Thoroughly scrub potatoes. Leaving skins on, cut potatoes lengthwise into a 3/8″ square French-fry shape.

2. Whisk oil and seasonings together in a large mixing bowl. Add sliced potatoes, gently tossing to coat slices evenly (or mix with your fingers). Arrange potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 45-50 minutes, until potatoes are crispy and golden brown. Serve hot.

indonesian rice salad

Sue worked hard this week to create the Asian-inspired dressing for this salad, a perfectly blended balance of sweet, salty, spicy, and tart flavors, with none overpowering the other. Her husband loves it.

dressing:
2/3 cup orange juice
3 Tbs. peanut oil
1 Tbs. sesame oil
3 Tbs. tamari
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. dry white wine
1 tsp. sugar or agave nectar
1/4 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of white pepper

salad:
2 cups cooked rice
Small bunch of green onions
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
1/2 medium zucchini, julienne sliced
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup cashew halves
1 8 oz. can water chestnuts, sliced
1/3 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. Place dressing ingredients into small mixing bowl and mix well with wire whisk.

2. Slice green onion bunch in half, and discard dark green half. Chop onions and place in large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and set aside.

3. Pour dressing over salad ingredients, mix well, and refrigerate.

indonesian noodle salad

7-oz. package wide-cut noodles
1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. sesame oil
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
8 green onions, white and light green parts only, sliced
1-2 jalapenos, veins and seeds removed, minced
Dry roasted peanuts

1. Place noodles in pot of boiling water; cover. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Blend with a whisk and pour sauce over noodles.

3. Mix cilantro with green onions and jalapenos. Combine with noodles and top with a handful of peanuts.

mom’s sweet & sour pepper slaw

dressing:
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt

slaw:
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup jalapeño pepper, minced
6 cups coleslaw

1. Place dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk and set aside.

2. Combine slaw ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour dressing over slaw, tossing to coat.

tomato and coconut milk rice

Michelle, an excellent vegan cook, submitted this recipe. She’s busy introducing Missourians to exotic vegan dishes via vegetarian cooking demos. Thanks, Michelle!

2 Tbs. peanut oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small hot pepper, such as habanera, seeded and chopped (you may want to wear gloves)
1 cup arborio rice
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and pepper until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are evenly coated with oil, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, and salt and bring to a simmer.

2. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Add more water or coconut milk and increase cooking time by a few minutes if the rice is not quite tender.

3. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the crushed pepper. Cover and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

uncle bill’s fresh spicy salsa

Thanks to Rebecca Valencia for submitting her Uncle Bill’s salsa recipe.

2 yellow chile peppers
1 (or 2) jalapeno peppers
4 or 5 Roma tomatoes, diced
3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 bunch of cilantro, minced
1/2 bunch of green onions, minced
1/2 lemon
Pinch of salt

1. Prepare the chile peppers by removing the seeds and stems and mincing. For a spicier salsa, reserve some seeds and add to the mixture.

2. Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the ingredients and add a pinch of salt. Serve with chips, on vegan tacos, or as a salad dressing!

quick okra

I’m a big okra fan, especially when it’s cooked with traditional Indian spices. Thanks to Rebecca Valencia for this recipe!

12 oz. fresh or frozen okra, cut into small (1/4″) pieces
1 medium onion, sliced thin
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. red chili powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
2 green chilies, sliced and seeds removed
A squeeze of lemon
Salt to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir-fry onions until lightly browned. Add red chili powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala. Stir and cook for a few seconds.

2. Add the okra and the green chilies. Add a dash of lemon and salt to taste. Mix well. Cover and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes or until the okra is cooked but firm. Serve hot with white rice or Indian bread.