Archive for side dish

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Barley and Spinach Salad with Tofu Dressing

barley spinach salad w:o auto small

This is the second time that I have posted this recipe since I lost it the first time. I love this sooo much, I had to write it again for you all. My friend found this recipe, a long time ago, and gave it to me. The original is here. It is not vegan, so I worked on it a little bit and now I am a little addicted to this stuff. The barley could be exchanged with another hearty grain, like brown rice, but I love the chewy texture of barley, so I never mess with that part. The dressing has tofu that I squish with my hand into the tomato mixture and after stirring it into the salad, it looks like feta cheese. This combination is very satisfying and filling, so you don’t have to rely on another dish to supplement your meal. It is delicious!

Barley and Spinach Salad with Tofu Dressing

1 c. pearl barley

3 c. vegetable broth

6-8 thyme sprigs

4 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. olive oil

5 c. baby portabella mushrooms, quartered  (the original recipe calls for cremini mushrooms, but baby bellas are my favorite)

4 shallots, thinly sliced

8-10 c. fresh spinach, chopped coarsely

1/3 c. basil leaves, chopped

1/4 c. mint leaves, chopped

1/4 c. sherry vinegar

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 c. grape tomatoes, sliced in half

8 oz. firm tofu, drained and crumbled

In a medium saucepan, combine the barley, stock, thyme and half of the garlic. Add about a 1/4 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium low and cover and cook about 25 minutes, or until the barley is tender. I let it sit in the remaining broth, if there is any, covered, while preparing the next part.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of the oil and add the mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste and cook over high heat until lightly browned. I had a lot of juice in the pan, so I drained it just a little, leaving about half. Add the shallots and cook until softened. This all only takes about 5-7 minutes. Now combine the barley and the mushroom shallot combination in a large bowl. Add the spinach, basil and mint, but don’t stir it together yet.

I use the same skillet and add the remaining olive oil, heating up to medium high. Add the leftover garlic and cook until just softened. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Cook until it is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are cooked through. Add the crumbled tofu and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until heated through. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve warm or chill in the refrigerator for a cold salad. Yummy either way!

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Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Cauliflower Barley Red Pepper Salad

cauliflower barley salad small

Its another summer salad recipe! I had never thought of putting cauliflower in my food processor until I saw it done for this recipe. When you put cauliflower in your food processor in small amounts, it turns into something that looks like a mix between feta cheese and couscous. The reason for processing small amounts at a time is to limit the liquid released from the cauliflower. I changed the original recipe a lot, but the cauliflower idea got me thinking of all these great possibilities. The barley in the recipe really hides, but the great nutty flavor and chewy texture are a great match to the rest of the ingredients. That same original recipe also has a great dressing that I only changed slightly by adding a little more pure maple syrup.

Cauliflower Barley Red Pepper Salad

1/2 large cauliflower

2 1/2 c. cooked and cooled pearl barley

3/4 c. celery, chopped

3/4 c. red pepper, chopped

3/4 c. cilantro, chopped

1/2 c. toasted sunflower seeds for garnish


1/3 c. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. flax seed oil, or olive oil

1 tbsp. pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Start by grating the cauliflower by using a cheese grater attachment on a food processor, or grating it by hand. Put this in a large bowl and add the cooked and cooled barley, celery, red pepper, and cilantro. Mix this well. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing. Pour this over the cauliflower mixture and stir until well combined. I put this in the refrigerator for about one hour to chill everything before serving.  Scoop a spoonful onto your plate and top with the toasted sunflower seeds. Enjoy!


Monday, July 8th, 2013

Mexican Pasta Salad

Here is another summer salad that I have been making for years. It was originally inspired by a Moosewood recipe. My kids eat the first bowl alone and then they start using corn chips to eat along the side. They LOVE it! It is quite easy to put together and can be made gluten free by using the pasta of your choice.

Mexican Pasta Salad

1/2 pd. chunky pasta of choice, cooked al dente

1 c. fresh of frozen corn

1 c. bell pepper, chopped ( I like red peppers best)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 c. tomatoes, I love garden fresh tomatoes if possible, but any sweet cherry tomato works well too

1 c. black olives, chopped coarsely

2 tsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. chipotle pepper from adobo sauce, chopped ( these come in a can, found in most grocery stores)

2 tsp. fresh ground cumin

1 tsp. fresh ground coriander

1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Combine the pasta, corn, peppers, beans, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the olive, oil, lemon juice, chipotle pepper, cumin, and coriander and mix well for the dressing. Pour this over the pasta and vegetables and keep stirring until well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the chopped cilantro. You can put this in the refrigerator to chill everything or just eat it right away!

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Vegetable Pad Thai Salad

There probably isn’t a Thai dish that I don’t like. When I order Thai food at a restaurant, I always order extra veggies, because it seems like there just isn’t enough. One of the greatest things about this recipe is that it is not made from a base of noodles, but of veggies. The original recipe is here. I used the sauce recipe almost exactly and it is fabulous! The veggie part of the recipe, I changed just to simplify it because I did not have all the ingredients listed, and it turned out great. The veggies are turned into “noodles”, by spiralizing them. Okay, I don’t have a spiralizer either, so I just used my julienne peeler. It is awesome and I love it. So because everything is raw, this makes for a great salad on a hot day. No cooking required!

Vegetable Pad Thai Salad

2 medium zucchini, julienned

2 medium carrots, julienned

1/2 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced


2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

1/4 c. almond butter

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. water

3 tbsp. pure maple syrup

2 tsp. grated ginger

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Combine the first three ingredients in a large bowl. In a food processor, add the garlic and process til it is minced. Then add all the rest of the ingredients for the dressing except for the sesame seeds. Save them for later. Process until smooth. Pour the dressing over the veggies and top with the sesame seeds.


Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Strawberry Sweet Potato Basil Barley Salad

strawberry sweet potato basil barley

The temperatures here in Utah have been above 100 degrees for about five days now. It feels like a furnace outside because the air is so dry. Our poor air conditioner is trying its best to keep up, but the kitchen is not a really cool place in the late afternoon when I usually feel like creating something delicious for dinner. It has really changed my attitude about cooking lately. Of course I still have the desire to make something yummy, but just not cooking anything. So at this time of year I start making salads for dinner almost every night. I love salads so it is fun to see what I can come up with. I made this salad last night and it felt a little like dessert because of the sweet strawberries and sweet potatoes. The barley was delicious and chewy and fresh basil is good in anything. The dressing was so simple that if you make the barley ahead of time, this whole salad was super easy and fast to make.

Strawberry Sweet Potato Basil Barley Salad

4 c. cooked pearl barley

2 sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled,  and cut into cubes ( I microwaved them)

2 c. cut strawberries

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. olive oil

10 leaves basil, chopped

In a large bowl combine the barley, sweet potatoes, and strawberries. In a small bowl combine the lemon juice and olive oil and then pour over the salad ingredients. Add the chopped basil and stir to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and enjoy. This salad is best eaten on the day that it is made.


Monday, May 27th, 2013

Cauliflower Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This is a great recipe for those times when you want to do something different with a head of cauliflower, or when you are trying to get your kids to eat cauliflower, or just when you feel like the comfort of mashed potatoes but want something more healthy. This is super easy to make so this recipe is great for something in a pinch too. Cauliflower is very low in calories and it is super high in vitamin C, and it also has a high fiber content. Red potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, and vitamin C as well. And the last main ingredient in this recipe is garlic, which has so many health benefits, I will just let you find out more about that here. My family loves this and so do I.

Cauliflower Garlic Mashed Potatoes

4-5 red potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch cubes (I always leave the skins on)

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into medium small florets

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, optional (I use the back of a chef knife to smash it)

2 tsp. grapeseed or garlic oil

2-3 tbsp. vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in a little salt and the potatoes and garlic. After the pot comes back to a boil, add the cauliflower and turn down the heat to simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very tender. This takes about 10-12 minutes. Drain the vegetables into a colander and put them back into the empty pan and mash them with a potato masher. Add the oil and broth and continue to mash until they are the consistency of mashed potatoes. In fact, they will look like mashed potatoes, which is a fun secret to have if you don’t want your kids to know they are eating cauliflower. Add salt and pepper to taste. This is such a flavorful dish because of the garlic that I don’t even make gravy to serve along with them, but you can if you want to anyway.


Friday, April 26th, 2013

Easy Delicious Cauliflower

Cauliflower is one of my many favorite vegetables. It is so versatile and nutritious and Delicious! These are two of my favorite ways to prepare it because they can be done so fast. Either one makes for a super side dish! I will be posting other great ideas for cauliflower in the future, but here are a few to check out if you are in the mood. Asian “Mac and Cheese”  and Aloo Gobi.

Easy Delicious Cauliflower Version #1

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

pepper to taste

1/4 c. water (of more if needed)

Heat up a heavy skillet, or non-stick pan to medium high heat and add oil. Toss in cauliflower and stir to distribute the oil. Add salt and stir frequently as it begins to turn light brown. Keep stirring so it does not get dark brown. Once it is lightly browned, (it takes only about 5-7 minutes) add the water and cover with a lid immediately. It will steam like crazy, which is the point, because that is how to finish cooking the cauliflower. I always turn down the heat a little bit so as to not have the pan look like it is going to blast off like a rocket. The cauliflower takes another 10 minutes to steam until it is tender. Make sure that the water does not cook out before the cauliflower is done, because the cauliflower will burn on the pan and turn really yucky! Salt and pepper to taste.

Easy Cauliflower Version #2

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/4-1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 c. roasted almonds, chopped

Follow the directions for Version #1  Once the cauliflower is finished steaming and is tender, put it in a bowl and add the olive oil, bread crumbs and the almonds. Toss well until the cauliflower is well coated with the bread crumbs. This kind of takes a few minutes. Adjust and add more bread crumbs if needed. Serve hot!

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Rosemary Red Potatoes

It is amazing how resilient my herb garden has been this year, especially with all the snow and cold that we had. One of my favorite things to do in the spring, is to go out and see herbs growing in the garden, even though nothing else is. Rosemary is one of those herbs that I have used through the winter, even though it has been cold, I have still gone out and picked the dried leaves and chopped them up for soups and this dish. Last night I made this recipe using some dried rosemary from the winter and some new spring rosemary from this year! This is super easy to make and it is an excellent side dish.

2 1/2 pd. new red potatoes, washed ( I never peel them)

1 tsp. salt

3 quarts water

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. chopped rosemary,according to taste

salt and pepper to taste

Chop the potatoes into eights and put them in a large pot with the water and salt. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to medium high so as to not boil over. Cook for about 5-10 minutes. This is called parboiling. The potatoes will not be done, but just barely tender. Drain them well. Heat up a heavy skillet to medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the potatoes and turn them a bit to coat them with the olive oil. They will sizzle and fry. You can leave them in this shape, or you can mash each one with a potato masher, or sometimes I crumble them in my hand just before putting them in the pan. It just depends on what shape and how big you want them. When they are starting to turn a little brown, add the rosemary and salt. Taste them to see if it is enough rosemary and add more if you like. I use tons, at least the whole tbsp. Stir and brown on the other sides. Taste again to adjust the salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Chipotle Lime Refried Beans

My husband began making a version of this dish twenty years ago. We were newly vegan and trying to figure out what to make for dinner that we could afford (he was in graduate school), and that didn’t take too long to make, and of course, was delicious. We also had a lot of student potluck gatherings that we wondered what to contribute that we could feel good about. We had used refried beans from a can, ugh, and soon figured out that with a tiny bit of effort, that we could improve on that for a tasty meal. (duh) This goes a long way with a bag of corn chips and a pile of greens, or rolled up with peppers, olives, and tomatoes in a burrito. We have improved the original recipe over the years, but it became a staple for us, and our friends started asking us to bring ‘those beans’ again to our dinner parties. Some have asked for the black bean recipe that I use similar to this and if you take out the sweet potatoes, you can find it here.

Chipotle Lime Refried Beans

1 tbsp. grapeseed oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3 tbsp. toasted cumin

2 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste

1/2 chipotle pepper, from adobo sauce, minced

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 c. water

5 cans pinto beans

1/2-3/4 cup chopped cilantro

2-3 tbsp. fresh lime juice

Heat up a heavy soup pot to medium heat and saute onions in oil til soft and translucent. Add the garlic and stir for one minute. Add the cumin, coriander, salt and stir for a few more minutes. Add the tomatoes, water and chipotle pepper and turn up the heat until it begins to boil and then turn the heat down to simmer for about 20 minutes. Use an immersion blender or food processor to puree it until everything is blended. Add the beans and cook for another 15 minutes until you can mash the beans with a potato masher. Its okay if you don’t get all the beans mashed and leave it kind of chunky. Add the cilantro and lime juice before serving.



Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Sweet Potato Gratin with Pineapple and Coconut Milk

This is one of my favorite recipes for sweet potatoes. It is a great side dish. Originally from Robin Robertson and Planet Vegan. I just adapted it a little and made it bigger to feed my family.

Sweet Potato Gratin with Pineapple and Coconut Milk

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tbsp. grapeseed oil

1 large sweet onion, sliced thin

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 c. canned pineapple tidbits

1 can light coconut milk

1/8 tsp. cayenne

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 c. unsalted peanuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and and add onion. Saute til soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the cayenne, pineapple, coconut milk, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Lightly oil a 9×13 glass pan. Spread a few sliced sweet potatoes to make a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Spoon some of the coconut milk and onion mixture on top and then continue to layer with more sweet potatoes til the mixture is gone. Cover with foil and cook for 45 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts. Let it rest for 5 minutes before eating.