Israeli Salad

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).

Israeli Salad

Ingredients:

1 cucumber
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

Directions:

  • 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.

Hurricane Sandy and Vegan Pizza

It’s been a weird week with Hurricane Sandy. There’s still no power at my work office in NYC, so I’ve been out all week and cabin fever is setting in! I finally ventured out today and it was nice not to be stuck inside. Luckily, there was no damage where I am, but it’s sad to see all the photos from New York, Hoboken, the Jersey Shore and all the places that were badly affected by the storm. Hope you all fared ok if you were in the path of Hurricane Sandy!

I wanted to share a tasty meal I made during the storm. I’ve posted about homemade pizza in the past, but I figured I would share this new combo. I bought pizza dough from Trader Joe’s before the storm hit. I sauteed some garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper in vegan butter. I used this as a garlic butter base rather than tomato sauce. Then I topped that with sauteed onions, vegan sausage, fresh slices of cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil. It made for a yummy and quick meal in the midst of all the rain and wind.

The storm left me thinking…how do vegans prepare for emergency situations? We stocked up on vegan granola bars, vegan soups and chili, almond milk, cereal, pasta and sauce, Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks, and all the usuals like water, bread, etc. What do you stock up on when a storm is headed your way? Anyone have any good tips?

Also, keep an eye out for the Virtual Vegan Potluck taking place tomorrow. There should be lots of yummy recipes!

Tabouli, Tabouleh, Tabule!

Tabouli, tabouleh, or tabule? Bulgar or Couscous? More couscous or more parsley? Tabouli is one of those dishes that comes with a lot of options. But however you make it, it’s an easy and quick vegan meal or side dish, and the leftovers make a tasty lunch the next day.

It only takes me about 1/2 an hour to make start to finish. It really is so simple, but so tasty and you can easily adapt it however you prefer!

Here’s the way I usually make it.

Ingredients:

2 cups couscous
2 cups water
2 teaspoons vegan butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup of mint
1 small yellow onion (about 1/2 -3/4 cup finely chopped)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 small cucumber chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Dash of salt and pepper

Directions:

Follow the directions for preparing the couscous that are on the package you buy. Most kinds in the store will be instant couscous, which is what I use. Bring the water, vegan butter, and salt to a boil. Add the couscous and remove from heat. Let the couscous sit for 4-5 minutes. Once the water is completely absorbed, put the couscous in the refrigerator to cool down.

While the couscous is cooking/cooling, prep your vegetables and herbs. Finely chop the parsley, mint and onion. Chop the tomatoes and cucumber. I used cherry tomatoes, but any type of tomato will work. You can peel and seed the cucumber if you prefer, but I don’t.

Mix the vegetables and herbs with the couscous. Juice your lemon and add the juice to the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This makes about 4 servings if it’s your main meal. As a side dish I would say about 8 servings.

Pasta with Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

One of my favorite quick recipes is “Pasta with Fresh 5-Minute Basil Tomato Sauce” from Sarah Kramer’s book La Dolce Vegan! Vegan Livin’ Made Easy. She has a few different vegan cookbooks, and if you’re vegan you probably already own at least one.

This recipe is really fast, really yummy, and a nice change from regular tomato sauce and pasta. Usually I make it in the summer, but I realized I hadn’t made it in a while and summer is almost over! It went by so fast…


I stick pretty close to her recipe, but do a couple things a little differently. I can’t seem to ever follow recipes exactly! Here’s the way I do it.

Ingredients:
1 package pasta
4 tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh basil tightly packed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Dash of dried (or fresh) oregano

Directions:

  • Boil the pasta.
  • While it’s cooking, chop one tomato and set it aside for later.
  • Finely chop (or press) the garlic and sautee it until golden.
  • In a blender or food processor, blend together the remaining tomatoes, oil, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and oregano until chunky. I recommend putting the tomatoes in the blender last so the other ingredients get chopped and mixed in before the tomatoes turn completely to liquid. The sauce can be a little watery, so if you don’t want that, you can squeeze out the seeds of the tomatoes before blending.
  • Drain the noodles and place in bowls for serving. Add sauce, chopped tomatoes, and a sprig of basil on top.