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Vegan Planet: Fresh Picked: A Tale of Two Salads

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Fresh Picked: A Tale of Two Salads

This time of year, the vegetable garden can be a full-time job — or at least two part-time jobs, with Jon tending to the weeding, watering, and picking and me doing the washing, trimming, and cooking. (We both share in the eating.) Even in this heat, we still have a few cabbages like the one in the photo. We’ve been enjoying them in vegetable soups, halushki (sautéed cabbage and onions with pasta), and of course, coleslaw.

Below is a photo of what we picked this morning. I’ll cook up the beans for tomorrow’s dinner — probably a Nicoise Salad, one of our favorites. I’ll wash, cut, and freeze the bell peppers. The baby chard is for tonight’s dinner – just steamed lightly and served with a little Earth Balance and salt and pepper. I’ll use the cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, hot chiles, and Thai basil in two salads for lunch today and tomorrow.

After an endless parade of Italian-style tomato salads, I decided to make the African-inspired Spicy Peanut Tomato Salad from Vegan Fire & Spice for today’s lunch. Since I had Thai basil that needed picking, I changed up the recipe slightly, making it more Thai than African in flavor. Either way it’s a different and tasty way to enjoy a few of the many tomatoes in our midst. I garnished the tomato salad with a Thai basil flower. So pretty.

Tomorrow we’ll dig into the Cajun Coleslaw. It tastes great today, but will be even better tomorrow. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll make some fried green tomato po’boys to go with them. Here are the recipes for the two salads:

Spicy Peanut Tomato Salad
This recipe is adapted from Vegan Fire & Spice by Robin Robertson © 2008, Vegan Heritage Press. This salad is best eaten shortly after it is made.

3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 scallions, chopped
1 small hot chile, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon chopped Thai basil (or parsley)
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons rice vinegar (or fresh lime juice)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons crushed peanuts (optional)

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, scallions, chile, and basil. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, rice vinegar, oil, soy sauce, sugar, and salt to taste. Stir to mix well, then stir in water, 2 tablespoons at a time, to make a smooth and pourable dressing. Add the dressing to the vegetables and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the crushed peanuts, if using.
Serves 4

Cajun Coleslaw
The flavor of this zesty slaw improves if you allow it to sit overnight, so plan to make it the day before you need it. (This recipe is adapted from Vegan Fire & Spice, by Robin Robertson © 2008, Vegan Heritage Press.)

1 small cabbage, cored and shredded
1 medium carrot, grated
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons minced parsley
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage and grated carrot, and set aside.
In a food processor, combine the garlic, jalapeño, parsley, vinegar, sugar, salt, and Tabasco, and process until well combined. With the machine running, slowly add the oil. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix well. Cover and refrigerate.
Just before serving, drain the excess liquid and adjust the seasonings to taste.
Serves 4 to 6

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When I see these photos I miss my garden more than ever. I am also a lover of Nicoise Salad, minus the tuna of course. Can't wait to see that post.
That second photo is just gorgeous and makes me want to plant a garden. I love coleslaw variations and can't wait to try the Cajun coleslaw!
Carrie, Nicoise Salad is high on my list too! I usually add either tofu, seitan, or chickpeas to replace the tuna. In my April 21 post, you can see a photo of one I made with tofu. With all the green beans in my garden now, I'll be making Nicoise Salad often and I'll be sure to post the recipe for you.

Kelleen, it's very rewarding to plant just a few things, if you can. Even if you don't have much space, you can plant some tomatoes and basil.

Hope you enjoy the Cajun coleslaw!
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