2015 Lenten Potluck #2: Mock Tuna Salad with Avocado Mayo

I was very bad Tuesday night and neglected to make my potluck dish ahead. That meant all day Wednesday I was trying to plan what to make, and how I’d make it in the very tiny window of time from the time I leave work to the time I get back to the church. I have a mere two hours, and I also needed to stop at the store! Luckily I already had a plan to use up two more avocados, so I just had to figure out what I wanted to cover in Avocado Mayo, a recipe I found at Girl Makes Food.

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I decided to do yet another version of mock tuna using chickpeas, and I even had a little bag of dried seaweed flakes from my last haul at the Asian market.

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For the mayo:
Use a fork to mash two avocados until creamy and smooth. Stir in 2 Tbsp white vinegar, juice of half a lemon, 1/8 tsp onion powder & 1/8 tsp garlic powder. Salt to taste.

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For the mock tuna:
I lightly mashed four cans of chickpeas. Of course I bought the cheapest chickpeas I could find, and they turned out to be pretty firm and didn’t mash as well as I would’ve liked. Better to go with chickpeas that are a little more tender if you can. After mashing them, season with salt and pepper (and if you like egg taste in your tuna salad, add gray salt for the sulfur taste).

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Now, depending on how fishy you want the salad, add 1/4 C to 1/2 C seaweed flakes.

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I did 1/4 C. It looked like a lot, but next time I’m upping it!

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Add avocado mayo and stir to coat.

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Add two cans of peas, drained – you can reserve a little liquid in case you want to thin down the mayo in the salad. Turn the salad very gently to incorporate the peas, you want to avoid crushing them.

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I found an antique bowl that matched the salad beautifully, it belonged to my grandmother 🙂

If I were making a smaller batch of the salad just for myself, I’d use two cans of chickpeas, one can of peas, but the same amount of mayo. I’d get it good and salty, probably use 1/4 C of seaweed flakes again (since I’d have a smaller portion of chickpeas to season), and let the salad sit over night. It should keep from browning if you cover it in plastic wrap with the plastic touching the salad. Although if it’s just for me, I don’t care if it browns a little. Just stir it up and it’s fine. On its own, the salad is both oil free & perfect for a strict fasting day, and also gluten free. Serve with pita bread for those who are gluten full.

Anyway.

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We had way more people than usual at Presanctified Liturgy, and way more food than usual at the potluck.

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This is just the main table with the savory food, we had another counter filled with sweet stuff.

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Mjuddara with hummus and salad is a classic Lenten meal, is it not? We also had Sloppy Joe’s made with TVP and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, and guess what? The little buns were made using my Tasty Buns recipe! They turned out beautifully, I think they were better than mine! I also tried the pumpkin bread, and a lovely bowl of magenta-colored soup (is there any vegetable more beautiful than the beet?).

I know some of you are also enjoying Lenten potlucks in your own parishes. What are you cooking?

Warm Chickpea Salad

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Sometimes I have a hard time getting myself to eat salad when it’s really cold outside. But a nice, warm meal served on a plate of greens, that I can handle.

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Saute onions and fresh garlic in olive oil over low medium heat, add one can of drained & rinsed chickpeas.

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Season to taste with salt, pepper, a little cumin. Turn heat up to medium and cook until the chickpeas begin to brown slightly.

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Add bell pepper – I like red! It’s just a little sweeter. Cook just until the bell pepper is warmed, then…

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you may remember Tipity from the post I did on Brazilian food, it’s just a kind of wheat farina.

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Sprinkle it over the chickpeas & veggies, as much as you’d like.

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Remember it will absorb some of the oil, so you may need to add more oil if starts to look dry. Stir it up.

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Let it cook until the farina begins to soften. Remove from heat and let the veggies cool slightly. Meanwhile,

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I tore up a few leaves of romaine (you could use other greens), coated them with olive oil, and seasoned to taste with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast. Spread the greens in the bottom of a serving dish,

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and top with warm chickpeas & veggies. Some of the lettuce did get a little wilted, but I have a secret…I actually like my salad a little wilted. If you don’t like wilted greens, well, you’ll either have to let the chickpeas cool a bit longer or else eat really quickly! 🙂

Salad in a Jar

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My mom makes salad in a jar to bring to work for lunch. I’ve tried it a few times now, and it’s really convenient.

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Just put the dressing in the bottom, followed by a veggie or something that won’t wilt or absorb all the oil, then whatever else you want. For this one, I just used olive oil with salt & garlic for dressing, then a couple spoonfuls of split chickpeas, romaine lettuce, frozen peas, fresh dill, and some crushed up tortilla chips. I leave some room in the jar…

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so I can shake everything up, and coat the veggies with the dressing.

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Then just dump it into a bowl. Easy as that. I normally have more veggies in my salad, but I was putting this together with only 5 minutes to spare before I needed to leave for work. Still, between the peas and split chickpeas, I got a nice little protein boost. Next time I’ll see what I can do in 10 minutes 🙂

If you have multiple jars and the ability to plan ahead, you can put 5 of these together on Sunday night and have your lunch for the whole work week. Just seal the jars tight and pop them in the fridge (although tomatoes or avocados, and maybe some non-vegan things like eggs, should be added the day you plan to eat the salad). These are great because you can have a nice, healthy lunch, an easy way to store & transport it, it looks lovely, and it’s fun to shake. And if you’re in a pinch, you can eat the salad straight from the jar.

Pleurotus mushrooms, and tomato salad

I started this post way back at the beginning of our Grecian vacation, but never got around to posting it once we started checking out all the local food. This is a meal I made in our adorable little kitchen at Peach House.

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At the grocery store in Tinos, doesn’t it look so much prettier than those metal and plastic buffet-style bulk olive things in the US?

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I just thought these bottles of corn oil were the cutest.

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I ended up forgetting to use those capers, and I’m glad. I’ll tell you about it later. Maybe.

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This garlic was the best I’ve ever had. Ever. It was so fresh we weren’t even sure what it was. It had soft skin like the inner layers of an onion, the stem was extra long. When I peeled it back, I had to run to EM and have him touch it! It was bright white and gorgeous.

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So, I de-stemmed the mushrooms, chopped some onion and finely chopped the beautiful garlic. It smelled so good.

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Sauteed the onions & garlic in the wonderful olive oil from our gift bag.

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The hard bread, normally used for dakos and also from the gift bag, was broken into bits and set aside.

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Once the onions were soft, I added the Pleurotus mushrooms and let them cook on low for a while to soak up the flavor. Meanwhile…

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I started our salad by smashing some garlic.

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I love to smash things.

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Mince!

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Add garlic to olive oil.

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Add freshly-squeeze lemon juice. I used the whole lemon. The thing actually was crushed to bits in my hands which I found pretty weird, but I liked that I smelled of lemon afterwards and for the rest of the night.

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Whisk to emulsify.

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Lovely tomatoes.

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Chop, and toss into the dressing. Stir to coat. I left them to soak while I finished the mushrooms.

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In go the breadcrumbs, then I turned up the heat in a failed attempt to brown the mushrooms – should’ve used a bigger pan, I guess. But they did firm up a bit.

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The only other ingredient in our salad was the lettuce. Had I known then that a real Greek salad never has lettuce in it, I would have done something totally different! But. This isn’t a Greek meal, it’s just a meal made in Greece.

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And it looks nice, anyway.

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And here it is with a spoon.

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And here it is on our very colorful table. I miss our little house : (

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I loved the mushrooms, even though I didn’t know yet how awesome the ones at ΤΑ Κουμπαρακια would be. But when EM to his first bite, he got an unpleasant look on his face. He hated it. Turns out I left part of a stem on one of the mushrooms, and the stems are bitter and pretty gross. So don’t do that. According to him, the whole rest of the meal was good…I’m pretty sure he would tell me if it weren’t. Anyway, I liked it! Might try making the mushrooms again this weekend, but I will char them.

bread salad

Nope, it’s not fettoush. But sometimes I like to add bread to my salads to make them more filling. Anyway, it’s still just a salad, but since you’re probably used to me writing things under the pictures, I’ll do a little something…

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Bread. Torn into pieces. Use your favorite.

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Stuffed olives, sliced.

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Onions.

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Tomatoes.

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Cucumber.

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Romaine.

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A tahini dressing. Use whatever dressing you like, though. (This one was tahini, lemon juice, water, salt, garlic, turmeric)

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Mix it up. I like it when the bread soaks up the dressing. That’s my favorite.

quick taco-ish salad

I completely lost track of time today, something I almost always do on Mondays. Technically I have three days off, but Monday feels like my only real day off. So anyway, it’s 90+ degrees out again, I needed something fast to eat and preferably something that didn’t have to be cooked. Time for another salad.

The only thing that makes this like a taco salad is the crushed tortilla chips and the spices. I put the chips in the bowl first – this time I threw in some pistachios for a little extra somethin’ (protein, iron and a tiny bit of calcium).

On an oil-free day you could use the tahini sauce, but today I used olive oil, hot sauce, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika & nutritional yeast. Usually I would use a medium to large clove of garlic, minced, but this time I just used a sprinkling of garlic powder because I was on my way to voice lessons. I didn’t want to be rude. Although…

I did add plenty of onions. With romaine, tomatoes & green peppers.

Next, more lemon juice, olive oil, hot sauce. Mix it up, sprinkle with more salt or whatever other spices you want. Everything is to taste.
I will do an even more taco-like salad in the future. Oh – maybe for Worldwide Vegan Taco Day!!! August 4th.

yummy snack & sushi salad

Today I had to take my pooch to the vet right around dinner time, so I wanted to have a quick snack first. I had some Kavli Garlic Crispybread (basically a giant, thin cracker with only 50 calories per serving of three pieces). I made a couple little open face sandwiches with the cashew spread I made earlier in the week, and some veggies.

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The spread got nice and thick in the fridge, and it tasted great with the garlic & tomatoes.

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…and I have a whole jar to experiment with!

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When I have leftover ingredients from making sushi, but not enough to make another roll (or am just too lazy to make another roll), I throw the stuff in a bowl all together and make a kind of salad. I added some chopped pickled ginger, and then a little Kikkoman Sushi & Sashimi soy sauce.

Anyway, that was a couple hours ago, and now I’m hungry again!