I'm not a vegetarian, even though I haven't eaten any red meat in over 33 years (yes, I'm an old!). But even though I still munch on birds and fishes, I always like vegetable dishes the best, and am annoyed that they always get short shrift in most restaurants in favor of giant chunks of animal flesh.
These two recipes feature vegetables only, and I can't wait to try them out this weekend. In fact, I'll be serving the beet one at my upcoming vegetarian Passover seder. Both of these recipes are from an exciting new cookbook called the Passionate Vegetable: Health Inspired Recipes to Revitalize Your Life for Vegetarians or Meat Lovers! by Suzanne Landry. Get these foods into your mouth, then get the book into your bookshelf.
Beets and Tangerine Salad
3 beets, cooked, peeled and cubed
3 seedless tangerines, peeled, and sectioned
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs minced fresh mint
If using fresh beets, scrub well but do not peel. Cut stem off to within one inch of beet. Immerse in water, cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium. Depending on the size of the beets, cooking will take about 30 minutes or longer. They are cooked when the beet feels tender when a fork is pushed into the center. Drain and cool. Remove skin and stem by rubbing off with your fingers under running water. Cut beets into ½-inch bite size pieces.
Peel tangerines and separate wedges. Remove any white membrane. Either leave whole or cut in half.
This dressing will make more than you need for this salad. It’s a favorite in our house and I’m sure you’ll want to have extra. For this amount of salad, place ½ cup of finished dressing in a salad bowl. Add cooked beets and tangerines and toss. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
Bites of Insight: Beets are available at our local farmer’s market in three varieties. The standard red, yellow and candy striped (or Chioggia). The candy stripped beet is a variety from a small coastal town in Italy called Chioggia. This “peppermint candy” beet looks beautiful grated in salads. However, it loses its candy stripe once cooked and becomes pale pink. It is milder in flavor and requires less cooking.
California Fiesta Quinoa Salad
Absolutely one of the most loved salads by my clients, students, family, and friends!
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
¼ tsp sea salt
¾ cup tomato, chopped (1 medium tomato)
¼ cup celery, chopped (1 stalk)
½ cup cucumber, seeded and chopped (1 medium cucumber)
½ cup scallions, chopped (4 scallions)
½ cup fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped
½ cup fresh or frozen corn, blanched
½ cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup black olives, pitted and diced (Kalamata are the best!)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
2 Tbs red wine vinegar or ¼ cup lemon juice
½ tsp sea salt
Boil 2 cups water and add salt. Thoroughly rinse quinoa in strainer. Place in boiling water, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes or until grain is fluffed and water is absorbed. Remove from pot into a large bowl and allow to cool before adding vegetables.
Slice tomatoes into ½-inch slabs and remove most of the seeds. Then cut tomatoes into sticks and crosswise into ½-inch cubes. This will give you evenly sized tomato pieces that won’t get mushy if the salad isn’t eaten right away.
Cut celery by slicing down the rib in the center of the stalk. If the stalk is large you might want to cut it in thirds. Then cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces.
Slice cucumber lengthwise into 4 strips and then remove center seeds. Chop these strips into ½-inch pieces. Remove root ends of scallions and cross chop into ¼-inch pieces. Toss cooled quinoa with all remaining vegetables, beans, and olives.
Mix vinegar, oil, hot pepper flakes, and salt together. Toss lightly with salad. Refrigerate for an hour before serving. This will last 5 days in the refrigerator.
Serving Suggestions: My favorite way of enjoying this as a leftover is in scrambled eggs! Just before the eggs set hard, I add ¼ cup or so of this salad and give it a stir. Very yummy breakfast!
Recipes from The Passionate Vegetable by Suzanne Landry
Health Inspired Publishing