Today is World Vegan Day, which kicks off World Vegan Month. So in honor of World Vegan Day I wanted to share something that even the most devout carnivore can enjoy… Salad. Yes, you read that right. Salad. To most salad is a bowl of lettuce with a tomato, cucumber slices, and maybe some croutons or cheese. It can be monotonous, boring and unsatisfying. Well, with a little planning and experimenting it can also be adventurous, fun and very satisfying! And yes, I’m still talking about salad here for all you who veered into the gutter. ;)
On a weekend or a day that you aren’t running around like a mad-person, buy and prep (wash, chop, and pack up) all the veggies for your weekly salads. Here are some ideas that may help you with your (drum roll please)… Salad Extravaganza! (It simply must be said with enthusiasm!)
Mesclun (baby mixed greens)
*I prefer to skip on iceberg it’s kinda blah and the darker the greens the better they are for you.
Broccoli (fresh, raw)
Cauliflower (fresh, raw)
Zucchini (fresh, raw)
Bell peppers (fresh, raw)
Mushrooms (fresh, raw)
Hearts of palm
Avocado (technically not a veggie, but neither are tomatoes so… ;))
Apples (Fresh, raw)
Pears (fresh, raw)
Citrus fruit sections: Try pink grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, clementines(or mandarin oranges).
Berries (fresh, raw): any berries. Try blueberries or strawberries.
Dried fruit: Try raisins, cranberries, apricots, apples.
Beans: Try chickpeas, black, red kidney, pinto. (drain and rinse canned beans)
Nuts: Try walnuts, pine nuts, slivered or sliced almonds…
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Flaxseed *Use ground flaxseed as whole is not always digested and just passes through your system.
Vegan bacon bits
Grilled tofu or tempeh
Any combination of any of the above sections will make a delicious, satisfying, and healthy salad. And those are just what I could think of there are plenty more options out there for you to find.
Dressing ideas… Instead of plain ol’ red wine vinegar and oil, try different flavored vinegars. There are fruit and herb flavored vinegars out there. Or you can make your own if you’re that adventurous. I am not… yet. ;) But here are a couple of sites that may help you on your vinegar adventure: About.com Herb Flavored Vinegar or Mother Earth Living Herb or Fruit Flavored Vinegars
My Balsamic-Dijon Vinaigrette is easy and pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. It’s equal parts Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar, 1/2 a part oil and 1/2-1 tsp of Thyme. Combine and dress salad. When I make it I use 1 Tbsp each of mustard and vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp oil and 1/2 tsp of Thyme. Making a dressing is that easy so throw together whatever sounds good to you.
I try to have everything prepped and ready to go so I can just toss a salad together in the a.m. and run out the door or in the p.m. after work with minimal fuss. This way you have a healthy lunch to bring to work or school and no need to spend money on going out to eat. So you’ll help yourself in more ways than one. If you prefer to eat your heavier meals at lunch and lighter dinners (this is what I try to aim for) then you have nothing to worry about when you get home after a long day, it’s all waiting for you in the fridge.
Salad is always something I enjoy eating, but I know it can get boring so I try to mix it up with different additions and dressings. Like some other aspects in our lives, we gotta keep our healthy foods exciting and new or they just get boring. ;) I hope this has helped to spark a new love of salad in you and bring your creativity into the kitchen.
Speaking of creativity in the kitchen… After reading many different ways to make hummus I finally decided just to throw a bunch of ingredients into a food processor and give it a whirl.
I love, love, love marinated artichoke hearts. They are absolutely one of my favorite things and I could easily eat an entire jar in one sitting. I don’t do that, but just sayin’ I could. *grin* So for me they were a natural addition to the hummus.
As I say every time I use my food processor: I need a new one! In a few more years it may be classified as an antique. Anywho, it got the job done and it’s delicious.
Tahini Hummus with Artichoke Hearts:
1 – 15oz can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1.5 Tbsp tahini
1/4 cup of marinated artichoke hearts (quartered)
Juice of 1/2 a lime or lemon
2 Tbsp of the liquid from the artichoke hearts
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1-2 garlic cloves (chopped/minced)
1/2-1 tsp salt (to taste)
black pepper to taste
1-2 Tbsp oil
Put chickpeas in the bowl of the processor and pulse until they are broken down. Then add the rest of the ingredients (except the oil). Let it run and drizzle the oil in, if you feel it’s too dry. Once it’s to the consistency you like remove it from the processor and serve immediately or refrigerate. As for the lime, I had 1/2 a lime leftover from another recipe so I used that. I believe lemon juice is usually used so use what you have, use a whole lemon or lime if you don’t want half of one lying around. Make sure to refrigerate leftovers. It’s all natural and there are no preservatives so try to eat it within a few days… I don’t think I’ll have a problem with that. *grin*
**Variations: instead of artichoke hearts try roasted red peppers, olives, feta or pine nuts. Or a mixture of some or all of them!
Serve the hummus with veggies of your choice (carrots, cucumbers, or even zucchini slices) or you can make your own pita chips. I used whole wheat pitas brushed them with oil on both sides, sprinkled with salt. I baked them in a 350*F oven until they were just golden on one side and then flipped them. Once they are golden brown wait for them to cool a bit before serving. **Variation: You can mix a little lime juice into the oil before you brush them and then sprinkle on some spices. Try cumin, chili powder, cayenne, garlic and/or onion powder… whatever your heart desires.
I truly believe what we eat affects our health and our health affects our happiness. The better we feel the happier we are. Do you feel good after eating your meal? If yes, then great. If no, it may be time to rethink what you’re eating and give something different a try. Just a friendly suggestion from someone who has been there and slowly, but surely, made the changes.
Thank you for stopping by! Much peace and love to you all.