Posts Tagged ‘vegetable’

Surprise! Lunch tastes good

May 7, 2013

15 mintues before I have to leave for work… do I have time to make a salad? Do I have anything good to make a salad with?

Cucumber Seaweed Salad

Cucumber Seaweed Salad with tofu, turnips, and a spicy citrus soy sauce dressing

Given this typical morning routine and my general aversion to salads (lettuce), I’ve been resorting to rice with a vegetable on top recently. But I need to fill up on vegetables. Need to learn to like salads. Well that’s not true, I really enjoy a large salad at restaurants. So why don’t I like ones that I make? Why don’t I like making salads?

Two reasons are the dressing and washing lettuce. Dressing is fat (which tastes pretty darn good!) but pouring that much oil on top of vegetables seems to defeat the purpose of having a pile of vegetables. And washing lettuce? And storing it just long enough that it doesn’t go bad and you don’t have to buy it every other day? What a pain! So I generally avoid salads.

Today, however, I surprised myself! Threw a salad together with just a few ingredients and it even tasted good. The key to this one was the dressing which amazingly contained no oil. As with most salads, this is a very flexible recipe and includes what just happened to be in my fridge. It reminds me of the classic cucumber salad which consists of cucumbers covered with vinegar but influenced by a Malaysian dipping sauce and Japanese ingredients.

Cucumber Seaweed Salad

created on-the-fly by Sarah Johnson

  • lettuce
  • cucumber
  • turnip (chopped)
  • tofu (diced)
  • scallions
  • seaweed (dried and shredded)
  • ¼c sweet soy sauce
  • 2T lime juice
  • ½t sriracha
  1. Clean and chop all the vegetables and tofu to your liking.
  2. Layer the ingredients in a dish: lettuce, tofu, cucumbers, turnips.
  3. Sprinkle seaweed and scallions over the salad.
  4. Combine the soy sauce, lime juice, and sriracha and mix well.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and enjoy!

Notes and Variations

The variations are endless. I just grabbed things from the fridge that were already chopped to make my life easy. I think most things will go well with this. I stopped myself from adding sesame seeds (I add them to everything!) and mushrooms because I had another dish for lunch that had them in it.

The most significant part of these instructions is the lack of measurements. It is entirely up to your tastes, preferences, and what’s available. Only have radishes? Great! Pickled radishes? That sounds delicious! Making salad for 10 people? Pile the veggies on and quadruple the dressing amounts. Don’t like spice? Leave out the sriracha. Like spice? Add more sriracha! Red pepper flakes work well in this dressing too, but you should let it sit overnight for the flavors to blend properly.

I’m interested to hear what experimentations and combinations work well.


Less Light – More Color!

October 28, 2011

The days get short, the light's gone from the sky, we wake up and come home to darkness as wintry weather turns the sky gray. This is not a fun time of year in the Northeast. So to cheer things up, here's a recipe that pulls together a variety of foods and textures in a single healthy dish. And it's so bright! Be sure to serve it in a glass dish so you can see the colorful layers.

Warning: this recipe will take time! It's best prepared with leftovers. So go ahead, cook a whole pumpkin. Make soup, pie, toast the seeds, and leave a little for this recipe. Need an excuse to cook cranberries? Make juice! Greens and tempeh can be cooked easily as needed. The measurements are vague estimates since it can all be prepared to taste or ingredient availability. Overall, this turned out to be a wonderful mix of ingredients on hand – both delicious and pretty!

Colorful Harvest Medley

A mixture of colorful fall foods that are good for your body, your palate and pleasing to the eye!

Colorful Harvest Medley

created by Sarah Johnson

  • ½c wild rice
  • ½c brown rice
  • 1c roast pumpkin cubes
  • ½c fresh cranberries
  • ¼c sugar
  • 4 leaves chard
  • 4 slices tempeh
  • 4T olive oil
  1. Cook the rice. For me this means 1c rice, 2c water, bring to a boil, simmer covered for 40min.
  2. If your pumpkin is fresh, cut in half, place face down on a baking sheet, cook at 400F for about 20-40min until just soft.
  3. Place cranberries and ½c water in a small pan, bring to a boil, then simmer covered for at least 5min. Cranberries will turn totally red and taste sweet (add more sugar to taste). Strain and save the juice for drinking!
  4. Chop tempeh into squares and cook in a pan with 2T oil until tempeh browns on both sides.
  5. Layer the ingredients: rice, chard, tempeh, pumpkin, cranberries.
  6. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture and enjoy!

Just like muqin made it

October 22, 2011

Occasionally I get cravings for Chinese takeout. Unfortunately I don’t have the budget or the metabolism for frequent takeout. I’ve tried making some dishes at home but they just don’t cut it. Probably would be a bit better if I used as much sugar and salt and oil as most Chinese takeout places but I don’t think I could bring myself to eat it then.

So, as with most dishes, my fridge was nearly empty. The half head of cabbage looked very lonely but I couldn’t think of anything good to go with it. I had been snacking on the ultra salty smoked tempeh (dubbed “fakin’ bacon”) when I realized that it would add some interest to the cabbage. Since I was short on time and ingredients, I sauteed the cabbage then added the tempeh, some crunch and a sauce. To my pleasant surprise, it tasted just like Chinese takeout! Success! And I hadn’t added a single grain of salt or sugar (although the teriyaki sauce and tempeh compensated). I was so thrilled to have a healthy but tasty alternative to takeout. Now if only I can replicate fried rice without the frying.

Teriyaki Cabbage

Teriyaki Cabbage: cabbage and smoked tempeh

Teriyaki Cabbage

  • half a head of cabbage
  • half a package of smoked tempeh
  • small handful of sunflower seeds
  • a few T of sesame oil
  • 1T teriyaki sauce
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 1T rice wine
  1. Shred the cabbage into medium size slices with a serated knife.
  2. Heat 1-2T sesame oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the cabbage and stir until coated with oil and starting to sweat.
  4. Add lemon juice and teriyaki sauce to the cabbage and stir to coat.
  5. Drop the heat to low, cover and cook about 10min until wilted.
  6. Set the cabbage aside.
  7. Return the pan to medium-high heat.
  8. Toast sunflower seeds in the dry pan.
  9. Add 2-3T sesame oil.
  10. Chop tempeh into small cubes then add to pan.
  11. Stir the tempeh and seeds until they stick to the pan.
  12. Add the rice wine to deglaze the pan and scrape the bottom of the pan.
  13. Combine the cabbage and tempeh mixture.