Panzanella Bread Salad

It’s so hard to find good tomatoes these days. I’m not sure why that is. I remember summer tomatoes when I was a kid that were amazing. They were full of flavor and we would eat them on their own with a little sprinkle of salt. Of course, my parents grew tomatoes in their back yard so that’s probably why they were so good…they were perfectly fresh and ripened on the vine. The tomatoes that you find at the store or even at farm markets often don’t taste like much and don’t really compare to the ones I remember.

However, a little while back I did find some at Whole Foods that were grown at a local farm, and they were the best I’ve had in a long time. If you have some end of summer tomatoes and are looking for a good recipe, this is a classic dish that really showcases the tomatoes. It was also a good way to use up some of my basil. I grew it from seed and it’s finally growing well after staying kind of scrawny all summer. It’s in a sunnier spot now which it seems to enjoy. With bread, fresh basil, and tomatoes, it’s hard for this recipe to go wrong!

Panzanella

Ingredients:

1 small baguette (or about 2 rolls or half a loaf) of good crusty day old bread
olive oil
salt
pepper
garlic powder
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1/4 red onion
handful of fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Cut the bread into large cubes. If the bread it still soft (mine was even after a couple days), preheat the oven to 400°. Place the bread cubes on a baking pan. Drizzle a little olive oil over top and sprinkle on salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Bake the bread cubes for 5-10 minutes until they dry out a little bit. If your bread is still soft and you skip this step, the bread will be really soggy once it soaks up juices in the salad.
  • Chop the tomatoes, peel and chop the cucumber, and thinly slice the red onion and basil. Place all the veggies in a large mixing bowl.
  • Once the bread is finished toasting, add it to the bowl and mix it up.
  • Drizzle on a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle on some salt and pepper to taste. Stir so everything gets evenly coated and serve right away. This salad is best eaten the same day it’s made because the bread will get soggy in the fridge overnight.

Cucumber Dill Salad

Cucumbers have always been one of my favorite vegetables. My mom tells me that one of my first words was “More”. She would give me slices of cucumbers and peppers, and I would say “More!” I guess I was meant to be vegan! I’ve always loved veggies. This recipe definitely showcases cucumbers, which is probably why I like it so much.

Cucumber Dill Salad

When I used to work at a farm market, we made a cucumber salad very similar to this one. It’s a simple and fresh salad that goes perfectly with summery barbecues. If you’ve never had a similar cucumber salad, just imagine fresh pickles. The vinegar, dill, and sugar give the cucumbers a sweet and sour pickle taste while keeping the crunchiness of the fresh cucumbers. I found some pickling cucumbers at a local farmers market that looked really good, so I decided to use those, but you can use regular cucumbers as well.

Ingredients:

3 cucumbers
1/2 small white or yellow onion
3/4 cup vinegar
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp dried dill

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and dill. Whisk until well combined.
  • Thinly slice the cucumbers. You can peel them first if you prefer, but I usually leave the peels on. Thinly slice the onion. Place the onion and cucumbers in the mixing bowl. Toss to coat with the liquid.
  • Let the cucumber salad sit for at least an hour or two and preferably overnight. The cucumbers will soften up a little and the flavors will seep in more if it sits overnight.

Vote for your Favorite Virtual Vegan Potluck Recipes!

If you haven’t voted for your favorite recipes in the Virtual Vegan Potluck, go vote now! You still have a few more days to get your votes in. Of course I would appreciate a vote for my Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Fresh Berries, but you should pick your favorites! There are so many recipes that look delicious!

If you have the time, I recommend making your way through the whole potluck, because there are lots of great recipes. But if you’re short on time (there are a ton of recipes and it takes quite a while), I thought I’d share just a few of my favorites in each category, as other VVP bloggers have done. It’s really hard to narrow them down, but I thought it might help in your voting process if you don’t have time to go through all the recipes.

Appetizers:

Beverages:

Breads:

Salads:

Sides:

Soups:

Main Dishes:

Desserts: This was the biggest category and obviously the hardest to narrow down based on the number of links I’m sharing!

Hope you enjoyed the recipes, now go vote!

Chopped Cabbage and Miso Salad with Marinated Tofu

My sister made this salad for me a while ago, and it’s really yummy. The recipe comes from 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson. This is a really yummy but still pretty light and healthy meal. The crispy shallots alone are amazing, but with the crunchy cabbage, chives, toasted almonds, and miso dressing, it’s really a perfect flavor combination. My sister makes marinated tofu to go with the salad that adds some protein and goes well with the crunchiness of the cabbage.

I didn’t change anything about Heidi’s recipe other than using a combination of red and green cabbage and a larger quantity of cabbage. You can find the recipe for the salad here, and I’ll include the recipe for the marinated tofu I put on top of the salad. Heidi Swanson has a Recipe Journal which some great recipes on it, so browse around her blog while you’re there!

And, to follow up on my New Year’s Resolution, the new (to me) ingredients in the salad are …miso and powdered mustard! I’ve of course eaten miso many times before in miso soup, but for some reason I’ve never cooked with it. Now I have a whole tub, so if you have any other yummy miso recipes, please share them in the comments!

Marinated Tofu Ingredients:

1 block of firm or extra firm tofu
1 – 2 shallots
3 – 4 cloves of garlic
small knob of ginger
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
black pepper
sesame oil

Marinated Tofu Directions:

  • Drain the tofu and press the water out with a paper towel. Slice your tofu into 1/4 inch thick slabs. Spread the tofu out in a baking dish to marinate.
  • Thinly slice the shallots, press or mince the garlic, and grate the ginger. In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, shallots, garlic, and ginger. Whisk together.
  • Pour the marinade over the tofu so it’s evenly coated. Sprinkle some black pepper on top of the tofu. Allow the tofu to marinade for an hour or two (or longer).
  • A lot of the liquid will probably be soaked up into the tofu, but drain off some of the excess liquid. Reserve the shallots, ginger, and garlic by straining the liquid. Pan fry the tofu, shallots, ginger, and garlic in a little sesame oil until the edges are golden and crispy.
  • Top the Cabbage and Miso Salad with the marinated tofu and enjoy!

Lemon Orzo with Veggies

I know it’s not summer yet, but it’s okay to pretend right? This is a light and summery sort of meal that’s perfect for dinner and to pack for lunch the next day. It’s a lemony twist on pasta salad, without all the oily dressing. Boiling the orzo with the lemon juice and lemon rinds infuses the pasta with a light lemony taste. You can add in your own favorite veggies. Some cucumbers, carrots, or artichoke would be a nice addition.

Ingredients:
1 bunch of asparagus
1 small yellow onion
salt
pepper
olive oil
4 lemons
1 cup fresh peas
1 lb of orzo
10 cherry tomatoes
1 red pepper
3 or 4 sprigs of parsley

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 450°.
  • Snap off the ends of the asparagus and place them in a roasting pan. Thinly slice the onion and place the slices in the pan. Juice one lemon and pour the juice over the asparagus and onion so they’re evenly coated. Drizzle just a little bit of olive oil on top and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the asparagus and onions in the oven for about 20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of roasting, add the fresh peas to the pan.
  • Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the boiling water and add in the lemon rinds as well. Make sure you filter out any lemon seeds first. Add the orzo and cook according to the package directions.
  • Chop the cherry tomatoes, red pepper, and fresh parsley.
  • Once the orzo is done, drain it and place it in a mixing bowl or large pot.
  • Cut the roasted asparagus spears into 1 inch pieces. (You can also do this before you roast them if you prefer.)
  • Add the asparagus, onions, peas, and the lemon juice from the roasting pan to the orzo. Add the chopped cherry tomatoes, red pepper, and parsley to the orzo.
  • Juice the remaining two lemons and pour the juice over the orzo. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir the orzo well so everything is coated with the juice and seasoning.