Vegan Carrot-Ginger Salad Dressing

We have a new restaurant near us called Corelife Eatery.  It is not only gluten-free, but they serve real, live food!  What I mean by that is that there are so many vegetables available, bright and colorful, right in front of you as they put your order together.  It works similarly to Subway in that you can choose what you want to go in your salad, grain bowl, or broth bowl.  (Seriously, click on their link and check out their menu if you want new ideas to create your own new dishes!  They are amazing.)  While they mostly have meat options, they do have a vegan option in each category, as well as build-your-own options.  I tried a grain bowl the first time just as it was designed – no changes by me in line – with kale as the base, broccoli pieces, shredded beets and carrots, roasted tofu, quinoa, and more.  They topped it with a carrot-chili vinaigrette and shredded ginger on top of it all.  It was SO good!!  Like all restaurants, they aren’t necessarily cheap enough to eat supper there every day of the week, even for an eatery-style dining area.  So, what’s a girl supposed to do?  Create her own dressing, of course!  I mean, the salad part is easy enough.

Corelife made it simpler for me.  It has newspaper menus to take home that tell all about their delicious dishes and list what is in each of them.  (They are meticulous protecting you if you say you have an allergy, which is wonderful.)  The newspaper-menu also lists what is in their dressings.  Their carrot one starts with carrot juice.  Well, now, honestly, when I’m in the midst of the throes of making dinner, I’m not about to get out the juicer to squeeze a couple of carrots just for my dressing, only to have to clean up afterwards!  A food processor for shredding the beets is enough moving parts to wash.  I figured I could use a thicker dressing anyway.  Sooooooo, I threw a whole carrot into the blender with other stuff and gave it a whiz.  It was pretty good, but I forgot to write down exactly what I did…rats.

The next time, I made sure to write it down.  While this dressing works very well on any salad I have put it on, it tastes the best on red curly kale and alfalfa sprouts with shredded beets and avocado.  Anything else you add is…I hesitate to say this…icing on the cake.  (What a strange word picture to use about a salad….sorry.)  Cucumbers, red onion slices, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, olives all work very well.  For those of you who have never had raw shredded beets on a salad, you will be so surprised at how delicious it is!

This dressing is quite thick.  It sticks to the greens nicely.  If you want a thinner version, add more water and/or oil, or use smaller carrots.  Remember, dressings are really, really forgiving and you can add or subtract from the measurements as your tastes decree.  Don’t have flaxseed oil?  Substitute olive, or another healthy oil.  Love garlic?  Throw in another clove or two.  Prefer spicier dressings?  Add more sriracha.  Hate ginger?  Leave it out – it is still amazing.  Or put more in – but look out!  It will knock you off your chair!  If you want to get an extra, hidden veggie into your kids, try making a batch with half the garlic and no ginger so that they are happier with the flavor.  Let them dip whatever raw veggies they DO like into it.

I did not put salt in this recipe, because even a little bit seemed so salty to my taste.  I had crossed it out on my scribbled list, but thought that must be a mistake the second time I made it and added a few sprinkles.  Nope!  I figured everyone could add it directly to their salad if they wish for it.  You can always add a little to your blender if you wish.  I recommend starting with 1//8-1/4 tsp and tasting to see if you want more.

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled, and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 penny-sized slice of ginger (I used 2-3 last night and it was SO strong, but delicious)
  • 1 T. flaxseed oil
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1-2 tsp liquid sweetener (I used raw honey, but Corelife uses agave)
  • juice of 1 lemon (you could use your favorite vinegar instead, but I’m not a fan of vinegar)
  • 6 T. water (if you use smaller carrots, use less water)

Throw it all into a high-powered blender and whiz for a minute or so.  You don’t want to go for too long, or it heats it up and destroys some of the nutrients, especially in the flaxseed oil.

Store in a small jar.  Mine fit in a re-purposed Trader Joe’s relish jar, which I would guess is about a cup.  (Don’t you love my exact measurements?  Sorry!)  It keeps in the frig at least a week, but mine never lasts longer than that before it is eaten up.  I recommend spooning it out of the jar, rather than pouring, because it is so thick, you can get more than you bargained for on your salad!

Olive and Veggie Burger Hash

I love to play with my food!  That’s probably why I write a vegan food blog (although, you wouldn’t know it lately, because I’ve been AWOL – tsk, tsk.)  Tonight, hubby was going to be late and the teen boys were going to eat after their meeting.  I had time to play!

Lately I’ve been very hungry for savory things ~ quite out of character for a woman with a sweet tooth the size of Montana!  I wanted something really interesting.  This recipe isn’t what it started out to be…and it’s better than I hoped, because I just kept adding things to make it more interesting.  Once I pulled out J’s large jar of green olives to add to it things really came together.  Usually, I’m not a green-olive fan ~ just on pizza occasionally, in potato salad, and, apparently, in this.  😀

I would have loved to have added mushrooms to this, but, alas, they didn’t make it into the grocery cart this week.

There is no picture, unfortunately.  Not only were we too hungry to wait for a photo to be taken, but in all honesty, this just isn’t a photographic dish!  It isn’t very pretty.  But, man, does it taste good!

Olive and Veggie Burger Hash

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 8-10 oz. frozen artichoke hearts
  • 3 veggie burgers of choice (Boca Burger “hamburger” type or gluten-free version) or an equal amount of burger-type crumbles
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (if you love garlic, please, please use more!  I have a hubby who only tolerates it)
  • 1/2 can black olives, halved (if you like Greek olives, or such, use those)
  • equal amount of green olives, sliced
  • salt to taste

Place onion, artichoke hearts, and oil in a large frying pan and begin heating on high.  When you hear sizzling, turn the heat down to medium high and push the vegetables aside to clear a spot for the burgers on the bottom of the pan.  When the burgers have thawed some, use a spatula or a flat-edged bamboo utensil to break them into small pieces.  Add salt at this time to your taste.  (I like just a sprinkling.)

Once these things are softening well, add the garlic and toss well.  Stir often to keep the garlic from burning to the bottom of the pan.  Add the olives and heat through.
Serve.

This is super good with sliced tomatoes fresh from the garden.  We also had asparagus spears and sweet potato fries.

Apple Pecan Muffins

I got a message from a friend who is cooking for a group of young people involved in an Christian outreach program this summer.  She needed 2 dozen vegan muffins ~ could I help?  How could I say no?  Especially since this amazing woman is cooking for these kids even though she recently fell and broke her shoulder!

These are some of my favorite muffins and I wanted to share them with you.  But I confess I haven’t made them recently, because hubby and I would be tempted to eat them, wheat and all.  So, this was the perfect excuse to bake them for the recipe photo-op, but with temptation being removed!  🙂

I’ve been making this recipe for a very long time.  I made and froze these before my last baby was born so that once I needed them, hubby could bring them to me in the hospital to eat.  (Hospital food and veganism just don’t seem to dovetail very well.)  That baby is now 15!!  And I’ve been making them longer than that.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I used to.

Apple Pecan Muffins

  • 2 c. white whole wheat flour (King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s are good)
  • 1 c. quick oats
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (best if you can get ahold of Saigon or Ceylon, etc.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder, sieved
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda, sieved
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder (do not add water)
  • 1 c. chopped apple (the finer you chop it the softer it will be)
  • 1/4 c. broken pecan pieces (or chop if you want finer pieces)
  • 1-1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • soy milk added to lemon juice to make 1 c. total**
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce (or 1/2 c. applesauce & an extra 1/4 c. oil)
  • 1/4 c. extra light olive or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup or honey

Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray muffin cups with oil.  Whisk lemon juice and soy milk together and set aside.

Mix flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and egg replacer powder in a mixing bowl.  Add pecans and chopped apple, tossing to coat apple with flour mixture.  In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the soy milk/lemon juice mixture (which should have curdled into vegan buttermilk) with the applesauce, oil, and maple syrup/honey.  With a rubber spatula, scrape wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold together until no dry spots remain. 

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.  As you can see from the picture of the unbaked batter, these will be very full muffin cups!

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Place muffin pan on wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes.  (Trust me on this, okay?  It’s absolutely necessary, or your muffins will not let go of the pan and you’ll have muffin pieces that are slightly gooey because they haven’t finished setting up in the pan.)  Remove from pans with fingers ~ if they won’t let go with just a tiny tug, then let them cool a little longer (esp. in the summer if you don’t have the A/C on.)  Place on rack to finish cooling.

** I have only tried this with soy milk.  It probably works with other non-dairy milks, but I cannot vouch for how they behave.

Hummus

Everybody has a favorite hummus recipe, right?  Well…sometimes the answer is ‘no.’  This post is for those poor deprived souls who don’t already have their own go-to recipe for hummus.

This is super easy and so much cheaper than buying a tub of it in the store ~ some of them are quite pricey.  (And have you checked out the ingredients lists on some of those?  Ick.  I don’t like canola oil or vinegar.  I want healthier choices.)

Hummus

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2-2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 T. tahini (Joyva is my favorite brand – for taste and ease of stirring)
  • 1-2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove fresh garlic (2-3 for garlic hummus)
  • 1/4-1/3 c. chopped onion
  • heaping 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4-1/3 c. water (depending on how watery your onion is, and desired thickness)

Blend either in food processor or blender until very smooth.

Variations:  add in one or more of the following ~ roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, green onion, dillweed, spinach, etc.  Look at the flavors in the store and experiment with add-ins.  If you are adding in a slightly liquidy item, decrease your water.