Be the change. Go vegan!

19 Jan 2011

Salad days

A week of salads from Appetite for Reduction

With all the hot and sticky weather here lately, it’s been the perfect time to eat loads of salad. Also, since I started reading Dr J Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live, I’ve been craving more raw fruit and vegetables too.

Box of lettuce from the markets

We hit the markets early Saturday morning to do our regular produce shopping and this time I got a whole box of lettuce in addition to my usual baby spinach and rocket. I vowed to munch (or drink) my way through the lot!

I’d already had a look at some of the salads in Appetite for Reduction and many included eight cups or so of lettuce so I knew we’d get through a fair bit in a week. The ones that didn’t suggested serving with greens anyway.

Here’s a rundown on the recipes we’ve tried so far…

Balsamic Vinaigrette

No photo for this one but having read a lot of good things about the AFR Balsamic Vinaigrette, I made this dressing first.

I didn’t have any chopped shallot so I used a quarter of a red onion instead.  The recipe made quite a bit so I bottled it and stored it in the fridge. Well, that bottle lasted three days because I used the dressing on everything!

I usually add a basic balsamic dressing to my standby salad of mixed greens, chickpeas, capsicum, carrot, tomato and avocado but the AFR version was such a nice change. The blended cashews made for a really creamy taste and texture too.

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Grilled Tofu

Vietnamese rice noodle salad with grilled tofu

This salad was delicious and perfect to eat on a humid day. I’m partial to spicy-sour flavours so it’s no surprise that this is probably one of my favourites so far.

I couldn’t help but throw in some extra coriander with the mint and next time I think I’ll add some fresh chilli to the dressing (but that’s just the chilli-fiend in me talking). It’s great as is though, and I spiced mine up with extra chilli sauce on serving. The grilled tofu flavour was subtle but it soaks up the dressing pretty quick when mixed in. The limey Peanut-Mint Gremolata was great on top.

As a bonus, we had quite a bit left over which kept us going for a couple more meals. The next day I served this on top of a heap of rocket and spinach and I’ll definitely keep adding the greens to this one.

Caesar Salad with Eggplant Bacon

Caesar salad with eggplant bacon

I’ve never eaten a caesar salad before so this tasted really rich and salty to me, which meant that I limited my serving.

The creamy Caesar Chavez dressing was very easy to blend up. There was still quite a bit of dressing when I added the lettuce so I chopped up and added more to spread it all out. The smokey flavour of the eggplant ‘bacon’ went really well with the crunchy-creamy salad underneath.

This salad should only be put together right before serving… it started softening pretty quickly so leftovers were not an option.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Quinoa salad with black beans and toasted cumin seeds

I knew I would like this salad as I love black beans and quinoa together. It also included quite a bit of lime juice and I had lots of those to use up too.

If you already had your quinoa and black beans ready this salad would be super-quick, but it still didn’t take me long as I used my pressure cooker for the black beans while the quinoa boiled. Once both were cooled, everything else got mixed in.

Make sure you do take the time to toast the cumin seeds as they add a lot of flavour this way. I served this salad with rocket and it was a really filling meal. Plenty of leftovers for lunch too!

Baked felafel (with lemony salad)

Baked falafel with lemony salad

OK, I’ve read a lot of glowing reviews of the AFR baked felafel but I must admit, I wasn’t blown away by this version.

I understand this recipe is supposed to be quick to put together using canned chickpeas, but I found the felafel very dry and lacking flavour. Admittedly, they were much better when I squeezed lemon on top and mixed them into my salad, but sorry, my verdict is in.

I’ll be sticking to my traditional (no oil) felafel recipe which I don’t fry up anyway.

Sushi Roll Edamame Salad

Sushi roll edamame salad

Sushi but without the roll!  This salad, packed with lettuce, brown rice, edamame, cucumber, carrot, nori and topped with Green Onion-Miso Vinaigrette was another delicious combination. I used some black sesame seeds for extra contrast and although not included, also added slivers of avocado on top.

Upon finishing off my second bowl I remembered we had some wasabi… I’m sure it would have been even better with this addition. I’ll definitely make this one again.

Overall I’ve been really impressed with the variety of salads and in particular, the different dressings in AFR. I’ve only covered a handful of recipes in that chapter and plan to make more soon.

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