2016 Lenten Potluck #1: Green Detox Salad Dressing

Green Vegan Detox Salad
We had our first Lenten potluck of the season last night. I actually made two things, but the soup you’ll have to wait for until I have pretty picture of it. As it is, this is the best I could do at the time for my salad dressing!

I’ve been eating so much junk food lately, I decided my first meal in Lent should be something very clean and healthy. Of course, I couldn’t help but try a bunch of other things at the potluck, but I tried to stick to things that looked simple and full of veggies and protein. Anyway. This lovely bright green detoxifying salad dressing was perfect for an evening commemoration of St. Patrick. Plus each of the main ingredients is high in various vitamins and minerals, great for bone health and boosting your immunity.

The best part is it’s super easy to make, and has so few ingredients you won’t have to break the bank if you want to use organic produce.

Green Detox Salad Dressing
1 large cucumber, unpeeled
1/4 chopped onion
1 avocado, peeled & de-stoned
2 lemons, juice of
sea salt, to taste

Chop first three ingredients. Place in blender with the lemon juice, and BLEND. It should be smooth and easy to pour, but won’t be very creamy. Add salt to taste.

I served my dressing with an organic spring lettuce mix, but it would also be great as a substitute for salsa. Add another avocado and a clove of garlic, and it’s basically a super-hydrating guacamole.

And did I mention…it’s also oil free and perfect for a strict fasting day.

Week of Greek: White Cabbage Salad (Lahanosalata)

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For our next course, I have chosen another very simple dish – light, clean, and the most basic version of the White Cabbage Salad recipe I could find. You may garnish the salad with shaved carrot just for a little pop of color. Cabbage is low in calories and packed with Vitamin C. And like our tahini soup in the first course, it is super inexpensive!

White Cabbage Salad
1 medium white cabbage
salt
juice of two lemons
olive oil

Quarter the head of cabbage, cutting around and discarding the core, then slice each quarter thinly and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt (perhaps 2 teaspoons) and turn to disperse evenly. Let the cabbage weep for approximately 15 minutes – don’t worry, it won’t make a sound! After 15 minutes, drain liquid from the bowl.

Add to the cabbage the juice of two lemons. Drizzle with olive oil to taste – I recommend beginning with 2 Tbsp and slowly adding from there, to taste. Season with additional salt to your liking.

This should make approximately 6 good servings.

Even though I’m an olive oil freak, I personally enjoyed this with minimal olive oil. It actually reminded me of Syrian salad, salata. I was afraid the leftovers would be completely wilted, but the cabbage still had a crunch to it the next day. Maybe with your leftovers, you could get all fancy like Marie Catrib’s and use them to top a vegan chili dog!

Oh! And be sure to Like & follow my facebook page for links to Athanasia’s Greek Week specials at 2 Broke Vegans. Greek vegan recipes from an actual Greek vegan in Greece! And all her recipes are gluten free!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THIS CABBAGE SALAD IS GLUTEN FREE, GRAIN FREE, RAW, PALEO, LENTEN, VEGAN. Man, this recipe has it all.

What’s your favorite Greek word?

P.S. Yesterday for the first course of our meal, we had Tahini Soup. Be sure to check it out!

2015 Pascha Basket: Part 2

It’s hard to post during Holy Week! I’ve started to work on all the homemade stuff for my Pascha basket, I’ve got two things down and many more to go. So far…


One ingredient coconut butter: start with plain shredded coconut. Blend, blend, blend. It smells heavenly, and I can’t wait to taste it.


And one batch of raw macadamia nut cheese. It’s not pretty yet – I’m putting it in this glass dish to chill, then hopefully moving it to a more appealing mold. This picture, though, shows how nicely the macadamia cream firmed up after about 36 hours hanging in a nut milk bag.

I have a tiny 1/2 C of pine nuts fermenting right now for a second cheese, and I’m about to start a batch of cashews. Then I’ll need something to eat them with.

Will you have any homemade specialties in your basket?

Lenten taco dinner

Last Tuesday was Lenten Taco Night with friends. I posted the cashew cream earlier, I also made my tahini nacho cheez sauce and, of course, walnut taco “meat” filling.

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I’ve made this before. This time I just used 1 1/4 C walnuts, soaked overnight and drained, with a couple cloves of garlic and seasoned with smoked paprika, chili powder, salt & pepper.

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Ground in the food processor until it becomes crumbly and meaty in consistency. You may need to add a tablespoon or so of water to get it just right.

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We fried the tortilla shells in oil because everything is better with fat. Other toppings were guacamole, veggies, refried beans, and cactus.

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Who doesn’t love a good taco? These can be gluten free if you use corn tortillas, and oil free if you don’t fry them. AND they’re raw aside from the shells. I guess you could use a big lettuce leaf or Swiss chard or kale instead if that’s your thing.

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One of my hosts also cut a couple tortillas and fried them into chips. Pretty awesome.

What are your favorite vegan taco toppings?

Cashewtopia

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I had to go to Harvest Health last week to pick up a couple things, which turned into several things. One of them was this cashewtopia raw agave gelato from Organic Nectars. It was on clearance!!!!!

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Just a cute little pint…

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Pretty much explains itself.

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I would probably only pay full price for a special occasion, like maybe for Pascha. I mean, it’s good – REALLY good. I’m just cheap.
When I got home from the store I decided to taste one little bite before I started making dinner. For some reason I already made up my mind it was going to be kind of gross. Well, I was wrong.
It was really creamy and tasty, I didn’t notice any weird aftertaste like you get from soy or rice milk ice cream. It was much closer to my favorite, coconut milk ice cream. In fact I think they’re tied for favorite now. There were mostly just little bits of cherry and tiny swirls of chocolate, but as I kept digging I ended up finding two whole cherries. Then when I got to the bottom…because, yes, I ate the whole thing in one sitting and was way too full for a real dinner – when I got to the bottom, I found a TON of chocolate. It was wonderful.

If you have a few extra bucks to spend, this is definitely worth trying. You just might want to save it for *after* dinner.

organic apples – and they’re FREE

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Well, I was really bummed because all I had to post tonight was a failed recipe. BUT my dad was out trimming our rather large crabapple tree tonight.

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He basically dared me to eat one of the apples, which we believed to be very sour, gross and useless.

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I have eaten some pretty bad stuff…including the thing I tried for dinner this evening.

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So I figured, What the heck.

Well guess what? Maybe about 20 years ago we should’ve googled (or gone to the library to research, I suppose) the poor little ignored crabapple.

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It was good. It actually just tasted like a regular green apple, and apparently…that’s exactly what it was. I can’t believe we’ve had free organic apples all this time and just let them go to waste. I almost never eat apples because I’m too cheap to buy organic and too lazy to wash or peel them – I know, I know. But now I have to find a use for all these – what’s your favorite way to use apples?

By the way, this is oil free and perfect for a strict fasting day 🙂

airport/plane food

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So, ya know how you can select a Strict Vegetarian meal from the drop-down box while buying your plane ticket online? Apparently that’s not enough to actually get you a strict vegetarian meal. I learned that the hard way. Aegean airlines, like a good Yia Yia, always had a few extra anyway, but on my Lufthansa flights…

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I was lucky to get a little snack mix or pretzels. And customs took away the banana I bought at the airport.

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Airport food is not too bad, sometimes. You have to know where to look. I’m not a huge fan of Sabra hummus, but I’ll eat it in a pinch. The Sardinian Vegetables from La Tapanade were just okay, but I did like the Italian Bean & Rosemary.

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My brother introduced me to Argo Tea. They’re pretty pricy, but the food is really good and they clearly mark items that are vegan or gluten free. I almost bought one of every vegan thing just so I could try it, but I couldn’t justify spending $5 per muffin.

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The raw peanut butter bar was great, and very filling. I think it’s sweetened with dates, and you’ll definitely need something to drink while you eat it – we opted for a couple tiny cups of the free iced tea samples.

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The lentils were my favorite, one little bowl was more than enough for an entire meal for me.

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The chick pea salad had a similar taste, but with more vinegar. And more calories.

Definitely plan ahead when you’re traveling with a restricted diet. I usually pack snack bars or something, but I forgot this time and really regretted it. Even if they do have a meal for you, there’s a good chance the food on the plane will suck – although Aegean’s food was not too bad. Another reason to love Greeks.

vegan, lenten, gluten free, paleo snack time

Last Thursday, A hosted yet another dinner party. We had many diets to think about. One of us vegan. One gluten free. One paleo. All Lenten. I thought if we did raw food, that would cut out the problem of grains, beans & legumes. Vegan seems easy after that! Of course I forgot to bring my camera, but A loaned me her phone so I could get a few shots.

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I tried making raw banana cookies by processing about a dozen pitted dates with a banana, 1 cup of soaked & drained cashews and…

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when it didn’t seem to be getting thick enough, a couple handfuls of walnuts I didn’t have time to soak since I didn’t know I would need them. Oops.

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It looked, smelled, and tasted pretty good. I patted the “dough” into cookies and put them in the freezer to set for an hour or so. However…while carrying them up to A’s apartment in a bag, the plate tipped sideways and all the cookies were completely flattened. They did not firm up at all. More on that later.

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I also decided to try a mock vegan tuna (or tu-no?) salad, inspired by This Post from Abena EATS. Of course once I got started, I realized I didn’t have the main ingredient – NORI. I had kelp powder, so I made a dressing using another cup of soaked & drained cashews, lemon juice, garlic & kelp powder. The dressing was fabulous, although not quite as fishy as I’d hoped.

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The salad was made of avocado and cucumber.

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With the dressing on top…

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and all mixed in and ready to go.

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Okay, but this is something really amazing. A raw, vegan cheesecake. This is the third dish made with cashews, and definitely the best of all – it actually tasted just the way I remember cheesecake tasting. The texture was great. The crust is made of nuts and dates.

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A also made a blueberry sauce to go with it. Fantastic!

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Another friend brought fresh fruit: strawberries, mango & pineapple. These were great with the raw cheesecake.
Aaaand, yet another friend brought fresh veggies to dip in a peanut sauce.

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And in the little yellow bowl are my cookies. I scraped them off the plate and we had raw banana bread cookie dough.

My Tete always tells me I am very brave for trying a new recipe for the first time when I’m serving it to other people. I don’t know if I’m brave or just stupid, but it’s fun to experiment! It also tasted pretty good, it just wasn’t how I planned. I’m going to try both of my recipes again, and I think I’ll have to try the cheesecake, too.

quick raw spring rolls with simple, oil free sesame (tahini) dipping sauce

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I had a meeting tonight at church, so I needed a quick dinner – no time to cook! And it’s been a while since I posted an oil free recipe. I’ve had a package of spring roll wrappers in the cupboard for several months…maybe a year??? I decided to crack it open.


For the filling: Romaine lettuce, red bell pepper, green onion, fresh garlic, dry roasted walnuts (a seasoned kind, I forget the brand).
Now, let me start off by saying I really thought this would be enough stuff for two spring rolls, and I *did* make two spring rolls, but…they were on the small side. Now, that turned out not to be such a bad thing, I’ll get to that later. But you might want more filling than this.
Oh yeah, and in the bowl is the dipping sauce. It’s made of tahini, soy sauce, a little water, a few pinches of chia seeds (just because), garlic powder, onion powder & chipotle powder with a little maple syrup. Had I known I’d be eating these tonight, I would’ve picked up some ginger. Oh well.


Self explanatory.


Now, the wrappers – or, er, “skins” are hard and need to be soaked in very warm water. I heated this large bowl of water in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
These skins are very delicate, both in the hard and soft state. If a little piece breaks off, or if you get a *little* tear in it when it’s wet, it’s not a big deal.


You should see the wrapper start to curl as soon as it hits the water, but you’ll need to push it under and hold it a second or two or three to get it to soften all the way. IMPORTANT: Only do ONE at a time!!! They’re very sticky. Try not to let it fold over on itself.


When it looks very fluid, moving with the water, it’s ready to go. *Very* carefully, using both hands, lift it out of the water and let the excess water drain off.


Lay it out flat on your work surface – I just used my dinner plate.


Add your filling. Near the middle is fine. If you want it to be way more aesthetically pleasing than mine turned out, mix all the stuff together before you pile it in. I did layers, and you’ll see in a moment it ended up looking a little weird.
I put some of the sauce on the filling to kind of help stick things together.


I’m skipping to the 2nd one now so you can see how I arranged both. What not to do.


So, this is basically like a sticky burrito. Very carefully lift one side and fold it over the filling. It might stick to the work surface a little, so be gentle.


Now fold in the top and bottom, then the other side.


The one that’s all lettuce on top looks like it has a spine.


Oh, so I was going to mention why it didn’t bother me not having much filling in each spring roll. Well, it’s because I’ve always found the lack of fat in a spring roll rather unsatisfying, but these skinny minnies with a fair a mount of the sauce really hit the spot.


That is exactly what I’m talking about!

day-lily soup, swiss chard wraps & roasted veggies

I was really inspired when I went grocery shopping today and decided to make a nice, filling meal…that involved baking…when it’s 95 out and we do not have air conditioning at our house. I got myself a glass of ice water and turned the oven on: 450.

First we’ll talk about the roasted veggies I suffered for. A couple peeled carrots and parsnips, lightly coated in olive oil and sprinkled with course kosher salt & cumin, added one minced clove of garlic.

Put it in a baking dish. Bake for about10-15 minutes, until veggies start to brown on top. Turn them and continue to bake another 10-15 minutes.

Now they are beautiful. I added a little more salt to mine.

Next, on to the day-lily soup. There was something about it that did not *quite* go with the rest of the meal, I think I need to play with the spices. Anyway, to start:

Rinse the buds of 10 wild day-lilies, then soak in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes. Mine were in the bath for much longer because I lost track of time, and it didn’t seem to hurt. Meanwhile…

Saute onions in oil/butter/margarine (I used a combination of Smart Balance & vegetable oil). Season to taste. I used salt, pepper & thyme with a little chili powder. Probably should’ve added more chili powder and a little cumin.  I also threw in some chopped mushrooms. Once the onions are soft and translucent, you can add your fresh garlic – 1 large clove, minced, for me. Don’t brown the onions and def make sure the garlic doesn’t brown or it will get bitter. Then add some flour, the amount depends on how much soup you want to make. Since I was cooking for one, I just used about 2 tablespoons. Stir until it gets really thick.

Add a little of the unsweetened milk of your choice. I used almond. Stir until you get a nice thick, creamy consistency. Then continue adding the milk a little at a time, stirring all the while, and letting it rest over a low heat so it will keep thickening. Sorry, I’m not sure how much I added to make 2 bowls of soup. Eyeball it!

While my soup was cooking I got started on the wraps. I didn’t want to waste the pretty stems from my swiss chard, so I cut it up and threw it in the soup. I tasted a piece raw and it was really earthy, like dirt. But it looks like celery so I figured it would soak up the flavor of the soup if it got at least 10 minutes to cook.

Drain those day-lilies and cut them into bit size pieces. You can leave them as pictured above, or unroll them. I left ’em. Some website I looked at earlier said to add the day-lilies during the last 4 minutes of cooking. I think mine were in a little longer, and they were fine. Maybe they would’ve been overcooked, though, if I unrolled them.

So that’s the soup. Now the wraps.

I decided to fill mine with avocado. In the background you can see the chard soaking in ice water after I trimmed the stems. It helps keep it crisp in the heat.

Trim the chard down to the size you want. It’s best to get rid of the wider part of the stem since you won’t be able to fold it. Next to my trimmed chard is the mashed avocado.

Put the filling in the middle. I just sprinkled it with salt and added a little hot sauce.

Now skipping to the next wrap, to which I added onions. Fold one side over. Mine stayed nicely in place because of the avocado.

Fold in the bottom…

You see where this is going…

These were so colorful and cute!

I put nutritional yeast on this one. For those of you who don’t know, this is a major source of B12 for vegans & vegetarians. It has a kind of a nutty flavor, but I would NOT recommend eating it plain! Or smelling it.

Oh, I almost forgot. The wraps really need some kind of dip. I went with another tahini mix, you know, the usual. I added turmeric just because everything else was so colorful. It tasted good with the wraps and the veggies, and the veggies were so good with the wraps I ended up opening the last one and stuffing some inside. The avocado kind of squirted out when I got down to the last couple bites of each wrap, but I think that’s as it should be.