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.
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.
1/2 small white or yellow onion
3/4 cup vinegar
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp dried dill
- 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.
I used to get Israeli Salad all the time when I would go to Mediterranean restaurants, but I hadn’t eaten it in a few years. I already had a lot of the ingredients on hand, so I decided to make it for lunch. It really is a tasty, but very simple and healthy meal especially for vegans! It’s perfect as a side dish to any Mediterranean food, or you could pack it up for lunch. Most Israeli Salad recipes seem to be pretty similar, but feel free to adjust it to your tastes. Some variations include adding grated carrot, scallions, mint, or za’atar (a yummy Middle Eastern spice mix).
1 red pepper
1 – 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 – 2 lemons
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
- Chop the cucumber, red pepper, and tomatoes. You can peel the cucumber if you prefer, but I left the skin on. Finely dice the red onion. Roughly chop the parsley.
- Mix all the vegetables and herbs in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Juice the lemons. I used Meyer lemons, which are usually smaller than regular lemons, so I used two. You may only need one if using a regular lemon.
- Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the lemon juice and mix well. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over the veggies.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well so all the veggies get coated.
This is a recipe that my sister made for us over the holidays (yes I know it was four months ago!). I’m a little late in posting this, but I wanted to share. The recipe is called Feisty Green Beans and you can find it on Heidi Swanson’s blog 101 Cookbooks. These were really tasty and with the inclusion of tofu, it packs some protein into your veggie side dish! Thanks to my sister for making these for us!
1 pound green beans, thinly sliced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
3 bay leaves
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp or less of crushed red pepper flakes
6 ounces extra firm tofu, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbsp vegan butter
1/3 cup vegan sour cream
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the green beans for about a minute. Then dunk the green beans in cold water to stop the cooking, drain, and set them aside.
- Place the raisins in a small bowl and pour scalding hot water over them. Let them sit for five minutes, drain, and set them aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Then add the oil, garlic, onion, and bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes until the onions and garlic start to brown slightly. Then add the wine and cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
- Remove the bay leaves and stir in the spices – paprika, cumin, coriander, curry powder, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Stir in the tofu cubes and the raisins and cook for another minute. Then add the vegan butter and green beans, stirring until the vegan butter melts.
- Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the vegan sour cream. Add most of the almonds and most of the cilantro, setting some aside. Add salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, top the dish with the remaining cilantro and almonds.
Everybody loves mashed potatoes, but why not try mixing it up every now and then? How about mashed cauliflower? I’ve been on a cauliflower kick recently. I’m not sure why, but I’m liking the recipes that are coming of it! This would make a perfect side dish for almost any holiday meal.
1 head of cauliflower
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp vegan butter
1/4 – 1/3 cup of bread crumbs
- Cut or break up the cauliflower into small – medium pieces. Steam the cauliflower until tender and mash-able.
- Thinly slice the shallots and mince or press the garlic. Saute them in a little bit of olive oil.
- Drain the water from the pot and put the cauliflower in the pot. Add the vegan butter and let it melt. Mash the cauliflower with a fork. I like to leave it a little bit chunky.
- Stir in the breadcrumbs, shallots, and garlic. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
This Balsamic Roasted Asparagus would make a great side dish for a holiday dinner! It’s easy to make with little prep work. You can easily and quickly prep it and pop it in the oven while you work on other dishes. It’s festive, simple, and very tasty!
1 bunch of asparagus
ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Thinly slice the shallots. Press or mince the garlic.
- On a baking pan, drizzle a little bit of olive oil to lightly coat the pan. Sprinkle on the shallots and garlic.
- Snap off the ends of your asparagus to get rid of the tough part. Line up the spears on the pan on top of the garlic and shallots.
- Drizzle a little more olive oil on top of the asparagus. Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper on top.
- Bake at 425°F for about 15 minutes until the asparagus is tender.
- Move the asparagus onto a serving dish and spoon the garlic and shallots on top. Drizzle with a little bit of balsamic vinegar and serve.
Here’s another recipe for you to try at Thanksgiving. It’s one that vegans and non-vegans will both enjoy! I came up with this recipe after having something similar at the National Museum of the American Indian. They actually have a pretty good cafe called the Mitsitam Cafe. Mitsitam translates to “Let’s eat!” in the language of the Delaware and Piscataway natives. All the foods in the cafe are indigenous Native American foods from different regions. They even have a cookbook, though it’s not all vegan. If you ever go to the museum, you should stop by the cafe to try it out!
Cranberry Citrus Wild Rice
6 cups of water
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of uncooked wild rice
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 green apple
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of pumpkin pie spice
- Add a pinch of salt to the water and bring it to a boil. Add wild rice and cook for 45 minutes. All the water should be absorbed, but if there’s still some left you can drain it off. Stir the rice and place it in the fridge to cool down.
- Zest the orange and the lemon and then juice them both. Add the zest to the juice. Stir in 3 Tbsp of brown sugar until it dissolves. You can use less if you want it less sweet. You can also substitute agave if you want. Set the mixture aside.
- Chop the green apple into small chunks. You can peel it first if you want, but I don’t. I don’t mind the skin and it adds some color.
- Once the rice is cool, add the juice and zest mixture, the apple chunks, and the dried cranberries. Add the cinnamon and just a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Stir well so the juice coats the rice and the spices are well distributed.
- Transfer to a bowl for serving.