Cucumber Caesar Salad Dressing

Cucumber Caesar Salad

I made the dressing not knowing what I would use for the salad ingredients, but I’m happy that I found this Cucumber Caesar Salad Dressing combination and I wanted to share it with you right away.

I decided to try this dressing because my daughter likes Caesar salad dressings.

And I enjoy cucumbers, especially when I can find really great tasting ones. That usually means a trip to the Farmers Market though. Yet, sometimes I find that the mini packaged cucumbers taste good too. Yet, the best cucumbers I’ve ever had were those that I grew in my own garden. I wish you the best in finding some good cucumbers for this salad.

Caesar Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/8 cup raw pin nuts, or raw sesame seeds (I didn’t have either, so I used tahini paste.)
  • 3 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp miso paste (I used a mellow white. See note* below.)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp kelp granules (I used powdered kelp.)
  • 1 tsp honey, or liquid sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 cup of water (I added more for a thinner version.)
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil, optional (Omit for oil-free version).

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small food processor or in a blender until smooth.

*Note about miso paste: If miso paste is kept in the freezer it will last for at least a year. It never freezes solid, so it’s easy to measure out what you need as you need it.

Cucumber Caesar Salad

SERVE:  I served over a salad of sliced cucumbers, split cherry tomatoes and chopped celery. I will definitely make this Cucumber Caesar Salad again in the near future (like tomorrow).

It is so YUMMY! It’s quick and easy. I hope you will try it soon.

Click for more salad dressing recipes.

Watch Creamy Cumin Ranch Oil-Free Salad Dressing and a Vegan Tex-Mex Salad on YouTube.

Chickpea Salad Spread (Vegan Chicken and Tuna)

Chickpea Salad Dip Spread

…for Sandwiches, Wraps and Crackers

This chickpea salad spread has two options.  It can be prepared as “chicken” salad or “tuna” salad substitutes.  See “tuna” flavor salad add-in options below under the ingredients section.

Ingredients: Of course substitutions can be made for many of these ingredients, but this list serves as a general guideline.

  • One 15 ounce can of chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cup home cooked), drained and rinsed
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 green onion (or 2 TBS red/white/yellow onion or 1 scallion), finely chopped
  • 1 – 2 TBS tahini (or homemade vegan mayo or any dressing of your choice)
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard of choice
  • 1/4 cup of nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc)
  • 1 – 2 TBS dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Chickpea salad dip and spreaddash of paprika
  • salt and pepper, to your liking

Add-ins for the “tuna” flavor: One or the other will do just fine

  • 1 sheet of nori seaweed, crumbled
  • 4 mini sheets of any nori seaweed snacks
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp of kelp powder

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor then mix/chop.  Or mash the chickpeas with a fork and then add remaining ingredients.

SUCCESS!

I offered the chickpea “chicken” version salad to someone who had never tried anything similar to this before. I was informed that he was not a fan of hummus. I put the spread into a tortilla wrap with avocado and jalapenos. After the first bite, the response was, “Not bad.” But when the plate was empty, he asked for the recipe.

More chickpea recipes:

Vegan Meringue Cookies – Using Aquafaba

meringue cookies

Yes, vegan meringue is possible using aquafaba. Aquafaba is the left over water after cooking dried beans or legumes. The only one I’ve ever used is that which I have after cooking chickpeas/garbanzo beans. I think chickpea water is the most popular one for most recipes. (See the aquafaba recipe below.)

I cannot eat pure sugar, so these cookies are not for me, but I wanted to make a dessert that my daughters might enjoy and for those of you who might enjoy them too.  But really, I just wanted to try to try a substitute for egg whites to create a meringue cookie. And it works great!

Oh, and before you get started, the recipe below calls for the use of a pastry bag with a star (decorative) end. You can use a pastry bag with a hole cut in the bottom. Or simply use a spoon to plop the meringue onto the cookie sheets. Don’t worry…these cookies will taste the same once baked no matter what “shape” they are in.

Once baked and cooled, the cookies will be crispy. Store in an airtight container to keep away from moisture or they will lose their crispiness. Also, keep them away from heat because they will melt.

Leftover Vegan Meringue…

I had left over meringue, so I decided to make vegan lemon meringues desserts. Not pie, because I didn’t want to make a crust. I used this recipe . This recipe also contains good tips on making the lemon curd thicker (such as using agar agar flakes). I simply used the basic recipe even without the vegan butter. There is also a link to vegan pie crust recipe and suggestions for store-bought brands.

Leftover aquafaba…

I always like to keep aquafaba available for use in some requires that list eggs as an ingredient. I often use aquafaba in pancakes and cookies. But, if I don’t use the aquafaba right away, I freeze some in ice cube trays for later use.

How to make aquafaba

I enjoy using chickpeas in many recipes, therefore, I always have aquafaba on hand. I think chickpeas and pinto beans are my favorite legumes. Although, I’ve never used pinto aquafaba in any recipes…I supposed that you could, but it would give it a pink tint for sure.

I prefer to soak the chickpeas overnight (or at least 8 hours). Note: The cooking times below refer to soaked chickpeas.

Drain off the soaking water, prior to cooking.

Instantpot: Cover with 1 inch of water. Stovetop: Cover with 2 inches of water.

Instantpot: Cook for 13 minutes. Stovetop: Bring to boil for 1 minute, then simmer on low for about an hour.

I usually use a spoon to remove some of the froth that appears in the pot after cooking.

Strain the aquafaba into a container for later use.

Ta da! Chickpea Aquafaba

I usually put the chickpeas into the freezer for later use in soups, salads, hummus, and stir-fries.

More Vegan “Sweet” Desserts

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

This dressing has a tangy, burst of flavor. The cashews give it a creamy texture. I used the Vitamix which made it quick and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of filtered water
  • 1 -2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1 -2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup cashews (soaked is preferable)
  • splash of lemon juice (optional, adds more “tang”)
  • dried herbs of your choice (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients except for the dried herbs to a blender and blend.
  2. Add dried herbs if using them.

Other Suggestions:

  1. Use fresh herbs in place of dried herbs. Basil is a nice addition. (Add once blended just to chop a bit, but not to puree the fresh herbs.)
  2. Use 1/8 cup balsamic and 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar.

Salad Made Easy

This technique makes creating a mid-day lunch or dinner snack easy.  It also helps with creating a variety in your meals.

What I like to do is put various toppings together into containers and add the salad dressing too. Ideally, choose any ingredients that you would like to marinate in the salad dressing. For me, this is everything other than nuts and soft lettuces, but I will add kale and cabbages because they are tougher lettuces.

Toppings in this photo:  beans – edamame and chickpeas, fresh sweet corn, zucchini, artichokes, bell peppers and olives.

There are so many vegetable toppings for you to choose from. For more ideas download the “Delicious – ‘No Fail’ Salads” Guide. Also, check out these delicious oil-free salad dressings.

Chickpea Tortillas

Tex-Mex is my favorite without a doubt. I really enjoy corn tortillas, and my preference is organic corn tortillas. Yet, it’s so difficult to find organic corn tortillas or the right organic corn meal (masa) to make my own tortillas (still looking though). But this tortilla recipe is just as satisfying. It’s very mild tasting so it would make a good wrap for anything you wish to put inside.

The original recipe is from Elavegan, but when I didn’t have any chickpea flour I decided to try fresh, cooked chickpeas instead – and it worked!

Notice how flexible they are!

Tex-Mex Bowl

As you may already know, I live in Texas. Houston has been my home for my entire life. (Actually now I live in Pearland, but if I just drive for 5 minutes I’m back in the Houston areas.) Therefore, it should be no surprise that my favorite dishes are “Tex-Mex” combinations which include lots of beans, rice, salsa, guacamole, corn, grilled onions, etc. Yeah, I know, you might be thinking…”What about the cheese?” Well I don’t eat cheese anymore, (gasp), and I don’t miss it one bit.

This is my chance to add a little nutrition/health info…so I’m going to do just that.

I grew up eating cheese and many dairy products (ever heard of Borden milk and Blue Bell ice cream?) I never imagined my life without cheese/dairy. But about a decade ago, when my allergies had become unbearable…I decided to test the theory that perhaps the milk and cheeses were causing most of my issues…and that was exactly the case.

But, since that’s the only change that I made during that time and the fact that I haven’t been bothered by seasonal allergies since then….well one thing is for sure – the milk and the cheeses didn’t agree with my body. I had these issues since a small child and they disappeared  when I took milk and cheeses out of my diet. The relief that I now experience makes up for any losses I initially felt when I gave up dairy.

For you – Do you battle seasonal allergies? If so,  I suggest that you try changing your diet by removing dairy from your diet. You will know in a matter of weeks whether it’s had a positive affect.

I won’t try to explain the science behind it all. Just some basic principles. I talk about this more in the online courses and in some of the nutrition blog posts too. Here is the recipe:

Grilled Eggplant and Hummus Stacks

eggplant and hummus dish

Note: This grilled recipe was inspired by the grilled eggplant as described by https://minimalistbaker.com/smoky-grilled-eggplant/.

Serves 4.

Hummus Recipe:

Mix all of the following ingredients using a food processor.

  • 1 can of chickpeas (or 2 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic (2 if you like it spicy!)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 TBS roasted red bell peppers (optional, but adds a nice flavor)
  • salt to taste

Here is the way I served it:

1. First lay a base of sauteed power greens

2. Then layer: (stacked at least twice)

    • Grilled Eggplant
    • Hummus 
    • Grilled Veggies: Onions, Red Bell Peppers, Mushrooms 

3. Serve with a side of quinoa ( or other grain). 

 

Not-So Cheese Sauce

I have been sharing this cheese sauce for about 6 years now. I always make it when we are having Tex-Mex food or having a pot-luck type dinner with friends. Everyone is always amazed at how great it tastes. Pairs wonderfully with crunchy tortilla chips. I don’t miss cheese at all. (Side note: I quit cheese about 8 years ago and haven’t had a cold, the flu or even seasonal allergies ever since then. Loving it!)

The original recipe (and also, the name I believe) comes from Vitamix, but I’ve made a few adjustments. I have tried recipes that use steamed potatoes (in place of potato starch) and carrots and even onions, but this one is my favorite. Here is my go-to recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ TBS lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pimentos , canned or jar OR use 1 roasted red pepper, peeled
  • ½ cup raw cashews (or almonds)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 2 TBS potato starch (or tapioca starch) mixed with 1/4 cup cold water

Notes prior to getting started:

1 – I suggest soaking the cashews and definitely the almonds if you do not think that your blender can thoroughly blend the nuts without leaving crunchy bits in the mixture. I always remove the brown hull/skin when using almonds, or I buy them already removed (blanched almonds).

2 – As an alternative to raw cashews and raw almonds, you could try raw nut nutters. ( I haven’t personally tried this option, just a suggestion.

3 – I have been successful with substituting almond flour in place of using almonds and I was satisfied with the outcome.

4 – I sometimes substitute green chiles for pimentos. This allows the cheese sauce to appear more creamy white instead of being tinted red by the pimentos.

Vitamix Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients except for the boiling water and potato starch mixture into the Vitamix.
  2. Set machine to 1, turn on quickly increasing speed to 10, and then to High.
  3. Blend for 3 – 7 minutes until steam forms and you can see it coming from the lid’s vent.
  4. Meanwhile, boil water on the stove-top
  5. Reduce speed to 7, remove plastic plug from the lid and add boiling water and potato starch mixture.
  6. Continue to blend until thickened, usually no longer than 1 minute.

Blender Plus Stove-top Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients except for the boiling water and potato starch mixture into the blender.
  2. Meanwhile, boil water on the stove-top in a saucepan
  3. Once you have a well-blended “cheese” mixture, add it to the saucepan along with the boiling water, bring back to almost boiling temperature.
  4. Reduce the heat under the saucepan and slowly pour in the potato starch mixture while continuing to stir until thickened.

Polenta with vegetables

Polenta is a corn-meal porridge. You can top polenta with anything you like which makes it a delicious options for breakfast, lunch and even dinner.

Polenta is identified as a yellow corn-meal. The way it’s process produces a more whole form of what many know as grits and contains 6 g of fiber. ( The most popular form of grits only have .7 g – yet I believe there is a white corn that can be used to create white polenta “grits” which reserves the whole kernels.

If cooking on the stove-top it takes about 30 minutes. Use 1 cup of polenta to 6 cups of water.

But I prefer the much easier option of using an Instant Pot. This recipe makes 4 – 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 6 cups water or broth

Vegetable Toppings:  (in photo)

  • `1 bell pepper
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 4 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cups spinach
  • Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions: (for Instant Pot)

  1. Add polenta, water and sprinkle with a little salt (optional) into Instant Pot and stir.
  2. Cook for 10 minutes (manually set or use ‘Rice’ button).
  3. After time is up, Press ‘Cancel’ to switch to ‘Off’ and allow natural pressure release (usually 10/15 minutes).
  4. Stir to combine water and corn-meal. Using a whisk makes this easier.

Cooking Vegetables:

  1. Heat griddle or pan on stove-top.
  2. Add 1 tsp of oil and/or 2 TBS water to the pan.
  3. Add all vegetables except for spinach and stir-fry (stir-steam) until desired tenderness, sprinkle with seasonings of choice.
  4. Remove vegetables to a plate, turn off heat, add spinach and allow to wilt. (Adding a bit of water to create steam will help spinach wilt.)

Serve by adding polenta to a dish and topping with the vegetables.