Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

It’s been ages since either my sister or I posted a recipe, and there’s nothing like spending a week in the springtime on a hops farm to inspire fresh and new creations. A vegetable that, for reasons unknown, always fails to grab my attention when I’m deciding what to prepare is the carrot. I grow them in my garden and end up eating them raw right from the dirt (washed, of course), and yet when I think of dishes, they only ever make it into a medley of roasted veg. So here’s a fresh idea for summer picnics and gatherings, or to accompany other salads in a crudité-style plate. This recipe takes no time at all to put together. I didn’t time it, but maybe 10-15 minutes…



4 large carrots, shredded (roughly 4 C)

Juice from 1/2 large lemon (lime might also be nice)

1-2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 bunch cilantro (or parsley)

Salt and Pepper to taste



  1. Grate the carrots with a box grater or Salad Master. You want about a medium grate – not too small, not too large.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, lemon juice, oil, cilantro (or parsley), salt, and pepper.
  3. Enjoy.

Inspiration for your Memorial Day Weekend: Memorial Day Munchies

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I had dinner at a friends the other night, and of course.. I was the only vegan in attendance. Instead of making them find something vegan to make for me, I offered to bring something instead. Only having a short window of time between waking from my nap and when I was destined to arrive, I needed something quick and easy. So I ran to the grocery store, picked up the freshest looking veggies, some quinoa.. and threw this together. Luckily it was easy enough to remember without me having to write anything down. 🙂 This recipe literally took 15 minutes – while the quinoa was cooking, I prepped the veg..and by the time the quinoa was ready (12 minutes later), so was the veg! So if you’re looking for something quick, easy, crowd-pleasing, and crowd-filling.. this is your dish! There were 4 adults, and there’s enough left over to feed me for a few more meals… so it’s a perfect pot-luck dish to feed up to maybe 10 as a side, and maybe 4-5 hungry vegans as a main dish. But of course, you can easily double the recipe to feed a larger crowd.


2 tsp canola, safflower or olive oil
1 C quinoa
2 C water
1 can or 1-1.5 C cooked black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
sea salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tsp garlic powder
1-1.5 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 bunch kale, chopped [it was about a handful of stems, maybe 8]
2 medium carrots, washed and chopped
6 Campari tomatoes, quartered (or 12 grape tomatoes, halved)
1/2 red bell pepper, 1” dice
1/2 yellow bell pepper, 1” dice **if you don’t want to use 1/2 of two different bells, you can use a whole of 1.. whatever tickles your bell pepper fancy!
1 bunch cilantro, minced
juice of 2 limes


1. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add 1 C quinoa and toast lightly, about 2-3 minutes. Add water and spices, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prep (wash and chop) all the veg. Place all veg and half the cilantro into a large bowl, set aside. Juice the limes, set aside.
3. When the quinoa has maybe 3-4 minutes left, add the drained beans.
4. When all water is gone from the quinoa, remove from heat. Fluff with a fork. Toss onto veg, let sit a few minutes to “steam.”
5. Give a stir, drizzle with lime juice, add remaining cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste. Voilà!

Almost-Raw Veg & Quinoa Salad

Almost-Raw Veg & Quinoa Salad

**I call this almost-raw because the only thing cooked is the beans and quinoa. If you wanted it completely raw, omit the beans and sprout your quinoa.. it’ll take longer since the quinoa takes some time to soak and sprout, but it’s certainly doable.

Happy Chopping!

On this day in History: Chai Spice Shortbread Cookies (2009)

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Sesame Seed DressingThis dressing was created/inspired-by a beautiful and kind woman I met in Los Angeles, Tracy. She was kind enough to invite me into her home and share her dinner with me – of course, her friend that I was visiting was her equally generous and kind brother.. but nonetheless.. inviting anyone into your home and sharing something as special as a meal, let alone allowing me to assist in the preparation is indeed a generosity not to be taken lightly (at least in my eyes). She created this sesame seed dressing to top our salads – which were served alongside Basic Roasted Veg. She found the recipe through Bon Appetit..but in true awesome cooking fashion, we improved upon it! She didn’t have all the exact ingredients, so improvisation was required.. which I feel made it better than had we followed the recipe verbatim. In this version, I made a few additions myself..so here is the inspired recipe, with full credit going to Tracy for such inspiration! The recipe makes about 1/3 C of dressing.. and a little goes a long way! The salad in the photo filled a standard dinner plate.. I topped with 2 TBSP of dressing..and it was a bit overdressed for my liking. I tend to like a salad dressed as casual as I, not one that’s dressed to the nine’s. I hope you enjoy! I know I did…



2 tsp sesame seeds (a blend of black and white, or all white)

1 tsp whole coriander seeds

2 TBSP fresh lime juice (I used the juice of a small lime..which was a smidge or two more than 2 TBSP)

1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil *optional

1/2 tsp shoyu sauce


Raw Kale, washed and roughly chopped

Raw Red Leaf lettuce, washed and roughly chopped

Mixed Veg – julienned


*Red Bell Pepper


Fresh green beans – ends trimmed

Fresh green onions

Fresh cilantro

4 TBSP dried golden raisins (per salad) soaked in some white wine



1. Place as many dried golden raisins as salads your planning on (4 TBSP per salad), cover with white wine. Let sit while you prepare the dressing.

2. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, lightly brown the sesame seeds and coriander seeds in a bit of the oil. It doesn’t matter how much..enough to saute – perhaps a couple TBSPs. Keep an eye on it… this can take a few minutes. While it was going, I was pulling the other veg, laying out my ingredients.

Sesame Seed Dressing3. Once seeds are lightly browned, pull off the heat. Set aside.

4. Julienne the bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, and any other veg that tickles your fancy. Trim the ends of the green beans. Toss all veg in a bowl, set aside.

Sesame Seed Dressing: Julienned Veg5. Chop the green onions and cilantro, set aside.

6. Roughly chop the kale and red leaf, and any other greens you may choose to use.

Sesame Seed Dressing: Salad Greens7. Whisk together remaining olive oil, sesame oil (if using), shoyu (if using), lime juice, and gently cooled oil/seeds mixture.

Sesame Seed Dressing


8. You have two options here. (1) Plate out individual salads or (2) Toss all greens in a bowl to serve “family style.” **Note: If you serve family style, it should be served/eaten immediately. If you opt for choice 1, you have a little more flexibility with the left-overs.

9. If serving individually, top greens with mixed veg, green onions, and cilantro. Sprinkle about 3-4 TBSP soaked golden raisins around the edge of the salad. Drizzle about 1 TBSP dressing onto salad. You can add black pepper, but I wouldn’t recommend adding salt if you used the shoyu. If you’re opting for “family style,” add all greens, veg, and raisins to a bowl. Drizzle with a few TBSP dressing (more can always be added, but you can’t take away..once you hit black tie and stilettos, you can’t go back to jeans and flip-flops..at least when it comes to dressing a salad. 🙂 Serve up the tossed greens and veg, then sprinkle each with green onions, cilantro.

Mix Veg Salad with Sesame Seed Dressing

Other nice additions would be:
-Fresh arugula and/or baby spinach
-Other colored bell peppers
-Raw red onions, slivered
-Lightly roasted walnuts, pine nuts, or slivered almonds
-Dried cranberries
-Garbanzo or White Beans
-Apple, cubed

Happy Chopping!

On This Day In History: Green Tea-Ginger Sorbet

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I like to use roasted veg quite often in various recipes – enchiladas, fajitas, soft tacos, topping for salads or nachos, pizzas, paninis, etc. But when I was searching to see if I posted anything about the SOP for roasting vegetables, the Primate contained no such post! *Gasp* So here is the Standard Operating Procedure for roasting veg as a base for any recipe you like! Here I show then served on a bed of fresh baby spinach and warm quinoa… Enjoy!


Red bell pepper
Red onion
Yellow onion
Garlic cloves
Corn kernels
…any other veg you can think of to julienne (summer squash, zucchini, etc)
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 TBSP olive or canola oil (depending on how much veg you use – with 2 Red bells, 1 small yellow onion, 1/2 large red onion, ~5-6 cloves garlic, I used 1 TBSP olive)


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Julienne veg, separate garlic into their individual cloves but leave them in their peel.
3. In a large bowl, sprinkle the veg somewhat generously with salt, and some black pepper. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive or canola oil. Toss to distribute evenly.
4. Spread veggies flat on a baking/cookie sheet covered with parchment or Silpat.
5. Roast for about 25-30 minutes. Remove peels from garlic, toss, and serve as you please.

*Use these veggies in just about anything you desire. They will keep in the fridge a few days, so they’d be perfect to roast up on a Sunday to keep for lunches or additions to dinners during the week.

Happy Roasting!


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Heirloom Tomato Salad2This heirloom tomato salad is definitely for the lovers of tomatoes! It’s so simple, yet so delicious. It makes a perfect light dinner, or appetizer, served alongside some crusty vegan-buttered bread – at least it did for me.. I got it straight from the newest Food & Wine magazine (Aug 2009), and only had to make two changes – no cheese grated on top, and I included some fresh thyme. So keeping in line with simplicity, I’ll just go straight to the recipe!


2 pounds heirloom tomatoes – cored and sliced 1/4-inch thickness
salt, to taste – I used a blend of sea salt and mineral salt
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 TBSP minced chives
2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
1 TBSP fresh thyme
*optional: some fresh ground black pepper, if you roll like me


Arrange tomato slices on a platter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper (if using) and drizzle with oil. Scatter the chives, basil, and thyme. And enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Happy Slicing!


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Hannah’s Potato Salad

I never liked potato salad in my pregan days, mostly since I hate both mustard and mayonnaise.  But my friend Hannah made some vegan potato salad for me a few years ago, and I fell deeply in love.  I’ve served this to carnies who thought it was the best potato salad they’ve ever had.  This would be perfect for summer cookouts, margarita not included but highly recommended.


4 lbs golden potatoes, scrubbedPotatoSalad1

2 C hummus

1/2 C green onion

1/2 C cilantro

1 or 2 tsp salt

1 tsp each cumin and coriander

2-4 red anaheim chilies (or your hot pepper of choice)


1.   Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Cut potatoes in half, or quarters, depending on size.  Boil 20 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.

2.  Remove potatoes from water and let cool.  This is a good opportunity to chop the veggies.

3.  Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into bite sized pieces.

4.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Refrigerate before serving.



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Ok, I realize it would have been good for me to post this before Memorial Day, so you could take a tasty pasta salad to your holiday cook out, but I was out of town.  Sorry!  On the bright side, there are many summer weekends coming up when you can have some pasta salad on a hot afternoon.


1 lb fusilla pasta, or shape of your choiceSpringPastaSalad1

1 batch Italian Herb and Tahini Salad Dressing

1 cup green stalks of spring onions, chopped

1 red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch slices

2 medium heads broccoli, chopped

3 small yellow summer squashes

1 tsp salt


1.  Bring large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to instructions.  When done, rinse well with cold water until pasta is completely cooled.

2.  In the mean time, lightly steam the broccoli and squash, just until the broccoli is bright green and the squash is barely softened.

3.  In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, steamed veggies, onions, bell pepper, salt and salad dressing.

Serve at room temperature or cooler.



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Fresh salad dressing is an easy way to impress your dinner guests, and the clean, fresh flavors always taste better than store-bought dressing, at least to me.  Italian dressing tastes great on salad obviously, but also works well on pasta salad.  You can keep it in the fridge for a few days after making it, but take it out a few minutes before you want to use it, since the olive oil will solidify.


3/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/3 C lemon juice

2 TBS tahini

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp each:  dried rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage


1.  In small sauce pan, warm the olive oil and herbs over LOW heat for 5 minutes.  You don’t want the oil to get hot, just warm enough to bring the herbs to life.  Remove from heat and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

2.  Combine other ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk.  Whisk in the oil and herbs.

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This dish tastes great both while the rice is still warm, and the next day at room temperature! I love rice and veg, and having it like a ‘salad’ is a wonderful variation. I love the raw veg mixed in, making it taste that much fresher – like Spring is on its way… You could serve this as a main entrée/main dish salad or a side. It could also work as a stuffing for bell peppers. This recipes makes 8-10 servings as a side (about 4 as a main), so you’ll have plenty for leftovers if its just you.


1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 C total cooked rice (any combo of wild rice and brown rice, I used about 30:70 wild:brown in this batch)
1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
6 oz red cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 C chopped fresh, cilantro


1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper; set aside.
2. Place the wild rice, brown rice, bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Add the dressing, and toss well to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl.

wild brown rice salad1wild brown rice salad2

Additional/Optional Add-ins: You could opt to toss in some cucumber or celery, perhaps even some corn or chopped spinach. For an even heartier (pun intended) dish, you could toss in some beans – any kind I think would do – or sprinkle in some fresh ground flax.

wild brown rice salad3

Happy Cooking!

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This salad dressing is inspired by the big salads at Yaffa Cafe in the East Village. Back in college my friends and I would go out to a bar and then (in truly New York style) go have a salad at Yaffa in the middle of the night. The salad consisted of romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts and chickpeas and was dressed with the most divine carrot/tahini blend. This is my stab at it, and although it’s not an exact duplicate, it’s still very tasty. It’s pretty thick, so it won’t pour like most salad dressing. I suppose if that bothers you, you could strain it through some cheese cloth to filter out the carrot chunks. Or use fresh carrot juice instead of whole carrots. This would also work well as a dipping or sandwich sauce.


3 medium carrots

1/4 C tahini

5 Tbs lemon juice (1 large, or 2 small lemons)

1 Tbs Shoyu (soy sauce)

2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Peel and chop carrots. Mince carrots in food processor. Add other ingredients and blend until smooth.



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