Recipe: Spinach Fig Salad

First and foremost, your favorite bummed out baker (I hope that’s me) is PUBLISHED! I tied for third place in a flash memoir contest (750 words or less) put on by Writer Advice. I wrote about the last time I saw my brother, which was about ten months ago. I visited him under the bridge he was living under. Read my piece called “The Bridge” here.


Greetings! If you live in NYC you know spring has semi-sprung, but who knows. I’m actually still bummed out about the fact we didn’t get a terrible, north-of-the-wall-type winter including several feet of snow that requires staying indoors for unending weeks of darkness and the family golden retrievers to high step around in the snow shoes they hate, (deep breath) but I’m trying to get on board with sunny weather.

I know I’m a bit premature on the fig scene (optimum time = summer), but this salad is so simple, lovely to look at and tasty and can inspire your salad creations for months to come. It’s an easy, healthy recipe and the dressing is so good it makes me mad. I licked the spatula. :(

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/3 c walnuts, roasted
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T dijon mustard
1 t maple syrup
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
2 big, giant handfuls fresh spinach
4 figs, halved
1/2 avocado, sliced
~1/4 red onion, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and roast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet for five minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, dijon, maple syrup, sea salt, and pepper in a blender and set aside.
  3. Assemble salads, dividing ingredients evenly between two plates: spinach, figs, avocado, onion, walnuts and, finally, drizzle it all with dressing. Serve immediately.
undressed (just like that MTV show from the early 2000s)
dressed to impress
tastebuds will be wilin’

Serves two, or perhaps one ravenous person.

There will be leftover dressing, which is something to rejoice about. Keep it in the fridge for up to a week for future salad concoctions, or drink it straight.

Adapted from Spinach Fig Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.


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Recipe: No Chicken Noodle Soup

April fool meat eaters with this delicious no-chicken-noodle soup. No one’s actually gonna be fooled, but it tastes good enough that no one will care.

This recipe is great to throw together for someone with a cold, including yourself – prep is v easy and the soup comes together in about 20 minutes. Sluuuurp. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 15 oz cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 T tamari
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 t dried thyme
4 c vegetable broth
sea salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 zucchini, spiralized

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, garlic, chickpeas, and tamari for about four minutes, until onion starts to soften.
  2. Add carrots, celery, thyme, sea salt, black pepper, and vegetable broth.
  3. Bring soup to boil, then lower heat and cover pot with a lid. Let soup simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add zucchini noodles and stir about 1-2 minutes, until zucchini is wilted and tender.

Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge.

Adapted from Vegetarian “Chicken” Noodle Soup.


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Recipe: Shredded Broccoli Salad

This recipe is one of those mystical, magical gems that is both easy to make and addicting.

Ingredients

1/2 red onion
1 head of broccoli
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c sliced almonds
1/2 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c Organic Vegenaise
1 T lemon juice
1 T rice vinegar
1 T sugar
1 t sea salt
black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Using the grater disc in a food processor, shred onion and broccoli, including the stalks.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together shredded mixture, cranberries, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
  3. Whisk together Vegenaise, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, sea salt, and pepper.
  4. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and stir to combine. For flavors to mingle, allow salad to sit for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.

Adapted from Shredded Broccoli Salad.


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Recipe: Mango Salsa

Hello! Today I bring you a simple recipe. It is raw and vegan with a kick of spice balanced out by the sweetness of mango. Bonus: Rick the meateater loves this highly nutritious salsa. But first, there’s something I want to share.

Last semester I had a classmate who came to class one day not their typical, smiling self.

I asked them in private if everything was okay, and they responded, “Yeah, I’m just sad.”

“Oh! I understand that,” I said, familiar with the feeling. “I’m sorry,” I concluded, nodding with a soft smile. I turned my attention back to my own business and continued unpacking my belongings for class.

Later I realized how refreshed I was by their candor and admittance to simple sadness. I think so often we try to “fix” things for people or point out the silver-lining, but it’s so important to allow ourselves and each other to experience our full range of emotions without hindrance. Sadness is our minds exorcising something, and in that way I think it’s necessary to feel sad sometimes.

With that being said, I should be clear that sadness is not depression, but in the same vein as the situation described above, how cool would it be if we lived in a society where someone could ask a depressed person how they are and they could simply tell the truth without stigma, pity, or someone swan diving into their life to try to get them to “cheer up”?

Something to ponder…

Now, mango salsa:

Ingredients

2 ripe mangos, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c red onion, chopped
1/4 c packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 large lime, juiced
1/2 t sea salt, more to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Eat with chips, in cucumber boats, in tacos, or on salads.

Will keep in the fridge for about a week.

Adapted from Fresh Mango Salsa.

Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie

Special Announcement! Meat-eating Rick has released a statement to the media (me) that this is his new favorite recipe of mine, even trumping his beloved lasagna. He does not ~dish~ out compliments regarding my cooking liberally, so this is notable.

This recipe has some veggies but I think of it as vegan junk food because it has substitute products galore. I feel like vegan substitutes for animal products are great in a pinch or to satisfy a particular craving but aren’t great for day-to-day eating. The closer you can get to simply eating whole, plant-based foods the better, but everybody needs a comfort meal sometimes.

Ingredients

5 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 c vegan mayonnaise
1/2 c coconut milk
1/4 c + 2 T olive oil
3 T vegan cream cheese
2 t sea salt
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 c frozen peas
1 tomato, chopped
1 t Italian seasoning*
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t black pepper to taste
~14 oz package vegan ground beef
1/2 c vegan shredded cheddar cheese

*The dry mix from my Crack Italian Dressing recipe works here, too.

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, cover potatoes in cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat down to medium-low and continue to boil the potatoes until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander and then replace them in the pot.
  2. Stir mayonnaise, milk, 1/4 c olive oil, cream cheese, and sea salt into the potatoes, mashing with a potato masher until smooth and fluffy. Set potatoes aside.
  3. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, carrots, celery, peas, and tomato until mixture softens, about ten minutes.
  4. Stir Italian seasoning, garlic, and pepper into vegetable mix.
  5. Preheat oven to 400° F and lightly oil a two quart baking dish. Set aside.
  6. Reduce vegetable mix heat to medium-low and add vegan ground beef crumbles. Stir and break up the crumbles until mixture is hot, about five minutes.
  7. Spread meat / vegetable mixture into the bottom of the baking dish and top with mashed potatoes. Then, top mashed potatoes with cheese.
  8. Bake 20 minutes.

This recipe is super filling and hearty. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8.

Adapted from Traditional Style Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.


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