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Monday, August 3, 2015

MY VEGGIE COOKING TODAY: A SOUP FROM NAVA ATLAS; CHARD & CHICKPEA TABBOULEH; AND PINEAPPLE/BASIL SALSA

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I have alot veggies to use up this week, so I was busy this morning!  The first thing I made was a lovely soup from Nava Atlas' wonderful book, "Wild About Greens". It's called Italian-Style Potato & Escarole Soup, but the recipe notes add that broccoli rabe (rapini) can be used instead of the escarole-- just the thing to use half of the big bunch of rapini in my fridge.


This veggie-full soup is easy to make and so delicious!  We're having it for dinner tonight.  You can access the recipe from Nava's website here. I followed it exactly, but used broccoli rabe (rapini) for the greens.  Do give it a try (and check out the book, too). Thanks, Nava!

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The second thing I made (which we're also having for dinner) was Tabbouleh. Tabbouleh should be vibrant and flavorful.  A Lebanese friend told me that an authentic tabbouleh must have LOTS of parsley—it’s not supposed to be just a bulgur salad with a little parsley in it.  It should be very green. Italian parsley is the tastiest, but you can use ordinary curly parsley, or a combination.   Fresh mint and dill add delightful fresh flavor.  Today I made the following Tabbouleh recipe, my standard, in order to use up some ripe tomatoes.  But, I soon realized that I was out of parsley! I decided to go ahead with it and try using minced chard instead, since I have lots in the garden. At the last minute I decided to add a 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas to make a full-meal salad. It's delicious! (PS: I found that the dressing needed more lemon juice than usual with the chard.) I give you the directions for using chard instead of parsley in the recipe intro.


The traditional (and very attractive) way to serve Tabbouleh (see photo above-- probably my most artistic presentation ever! ) is to mound it  in a serving bowl or platter with a rim and surround it with crisp Romaine lettuce leaves to use as scoopers.  Decorate the top of the salad with tomato wedges or halved grape tomatoes, sprigs of fresh mint and parsley, and black Kalamata olives.

Chard and Chickpea Variation of Tabbouleh
Printable Copy

BRYANNA'S TABBOULEH (WITH A VARIATION)     
Serves 8 to 12  
ALLERGY NOTE: If you are allergic to wheat, use cooked and cooled quinoa instead of bulgur.

This popular Middle Eastern salad has long been a staple for vegetarians, but it often contains 3/4 cup or more of olive oil for a salad of this size.  My version contains far less oil, but none of the flavor is missing.
CHARD AND CHICKPEA VARIATION: I cut 2 big bunches of chard and cut off the stems before processing the green leaves to use in place of parsley. At the last minute I decided to add a 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas to make a full-meal salad. It's delicious! (PS: I found that the dressing needed more lemon juice than usual with the chard.)

1 cup dry bulgur wheat
1 cup boiling water
2 large bunches parsley. stemmed and minced  (Before chopping, parsley should be dried well in a lettuce spinner--  I mince it in  a food processor.)
2 ripe, firm tomatoes, diced
1/2 a large European or English cucumber (the kind with an edible skin), diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped green onion
 3  tablespoons  fresh, chopped dill (or 1 tablespoon dried dill weed)
OPTIONAL: 1/2 a large green pepper, seeded and chopped
Dressing:
1/2 cup aquafaba OR Oil Substitute for Salad Dressings 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil  (or more aquafaba or Oil Substitute, for a no-fat dressing)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
Garnish (optional):
crisp Romaine lettuce leaves  (you’ll probably need 2 heads in order to have enough large, well-formed leaves)
2 firm, ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
parsley and mint sprigs
about 12 Kalamata olives

In a large serving bowl mix together the bulgur and boiling water.  Let stand while you prepare the vegetables and dressing.

Add the olive oil (if using), lemon juice, salt and pepper to the Oil Substitute and whisk  or shake together well. Set aside (or chill, if you used the Oil Sub while hot) until time to add to the salad.

When the bulgur has absorbed all of the water, add the remaining salad ingredients and the dressing.  Toss well.  Taste for lemon juice, salt and pepper, adding more if needed (I found that I needed more lemon juice when I used chard in place of parsley).  Refrigerate until serving time, or allow to come to room temperature, if you prefer.

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Last, but certainly not least, I made a pineapple salsa to go with a recipe idea from my friend Betsy DiJulio, innovative cook and author of the wonderful cookbook "The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes" and blog of the same name.  It's a simple idea for dressing up veggie hot dogs (she has a few really great ideas for making ordinary veggie hot dogs scrumptious on her blog).  She called them "Sassy Vegan Sausage and Salsa Roll-Ups (Stupid-Easy and Simply Beautiful)". My husband loves any excuse to eat a veggie dog, so he was thrilled to try this for lunch.  The recipe is here and you will see that her version looked alot prettier than mine!  But we loved it anyway.  Here's my version:


I used large flour tortillas and filled each one with 1 and 1/2 veggie dogs, each sliced lengthwise in half, then sprinkled with some grated veggie cheese.

Betsy used a pineapple salsa from a jar, but I didn't have anything like that in the house (remember, I live on an island!).  So, I rummaged around, found a can of crushed pineapple and made up my own recipe with what was available.  It was a success and we really enjoyed our fancy hot dogs!



BRYANNA'S PINEAPPLE/BASIL SALSA
Makes about 2 cups

1 can (19 oz) crushed pineapple drained and squeezed a bit
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapenos, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch of ground cumin

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  Taste for chili heat and salt and adjust if necessary.



Enjoy!



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