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Avocado Potato Salad

September 17th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

We were invited to a BBQ last weekend and I was asked to bring a potato salad.  Although I have an amazing “traditional” vegan potato salad recipe, I thought I’d stir the pot a little and try something with a twist – and what better time to make something up from my head than when it needs to be served to a group of near strangers!  Luckily (seriously, it could have gone either way), the results were really good and I had a few emails after the party asking for the recipe.

When something comes out of my head and onto my plate, I’m usually pretty critical about what I can do to improve it before it is blog-worthy.  Sometimes a little tweaking is required.  In the case of the potato salad recipe, the flavours were all there, it was the texture that I wanted to play with.

To me, flavour is # 1 of importance on the Good Recipe Scale (that’s a scale that I just made up in my head).  The flavour has to be there, or it’s not worth putting it in your mouth in my opinion.

Texture is a different story; somewhat.  I’m often willing to give a little in this area depending on what the recipe is.  Generally, when I think up a dish, I want my version to be as close to the “real” version as possible if it’s a simple “veganization”.  My vegan Caesar Salad is an excellent example of this.  It’s as close to the real thing in texture and flavour as possible – I dare you to tell the difference in a taste test!  On the other hand, there are also some things in vegan cooking that you just need to accept.  Meat substitutes are a great example of this (although it often baffles me if you choose to eat a vegan diet, why you would want something to taste and feel like meat in your mouth). If you’re not using soy products or wheat gluten as a meat substitute it’s not going to have the texture of meat.  That is just a fact of life. So, when it comes to that Mexican Bean Burger recipe we made up this summer (it’s one of my favourites), I’m ok if it feels more like beans in my mouth than beef!  It’s the flavours that won me over on that one.

Back to the potato salad!

I prefer the chunks of potato to be a bit larger in this salad than I would make them in a traditional potato salad.  The reason for this is the potatoes get lost with the other ingredients during the mixing and you could end up with something that looks more like guacamole, and is essentially mashed potatoes with guacamole flavours.  Tasty, but textually not optimal!

Serves:  8
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  10-15 minutes


12 small waxy style potatoes (about 2” in diameter)
2 ripe avocados
½ medium red onion, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced and seeds removed
3 tbsp. olive oil
Juice of half a lime
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and half the potatoes.  Rinse and bring to a boil over high heat.   Boil until just tender (about 10-15 minutes).  Do not overcook.  Let the potatoes cool until they are comfortable to handle.  Cut the potato into bite sized chunks (about 2cm by 2cm).

Add the jalapeño, onion, and cilantro.  Salt the mixture (I used about 1 tsp).  You can adjust the salt at the end as well.

In another bowl, mash the avocados with the lime juice.  Add the olive oil and combine.
Gently combine the avocado mixture with the potato mixture  I like to do this with my hands.  Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.

Voila!  Avocado Potato Salad!  You might like to make a themed meal of it and try it with our Mexican Bean Burgers!

Vegan Living Caesar Salad

March 24th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

Two of my most favourite things from the “old days” are Caesar Salad and Chicken Fingers.  Would you believe me if I told you that I’ve created the exact dish in vegan form?  It’s true!!  I’m really NOT joking.   My Caesar Salad is an adaptation from Troterr and Klein’s book Raw.  For the “chicken fingers“, Gardein makes an amazing version.  I actually have a really hard time believing that they are not real thing.  While made with soy, something I usually try to avoid, I treat myself  on occasion to this 90 calorie version of the old days…

Ingredients

1 head Romain lettuce
3/8 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 medium clove of garlic (as I don’t mind garlic, I usually add 2 or 3 cloves)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1tbsp nutritional yeast
1tbsp Nama Shoyu
1/2 tsp dulse flakes
1/2 tsp raw agave nectar
1/2 cup of water (may need a little less or more – add slowly)
1/4 cup water, reserved to help adjust thickness of dressing
freshly ground pepper to taste (I add quite a bit)
2tbsp capers

Clean and dry the lettuce and tear into bit size pieces.  Set aside.

For the dressing, put everything on the ingredients list (except the lettuce and capers) into a high speed blender and blend until smooth.  How much dressing you like on your salad is really up to you, but I start with a few tablespoons and then toss with my clean hands until all the lettuce is coated.  Add more dressing if desired and toss again with the capers.  You can add croutons to your salad if you choose (I haven’t this time but stay tuned for a recipe in the future.  If you are adding store bought croutons, be sure to make sure they are animal free.).  Guilt free comfort food….

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