Noodles in a Bowl – cold summer noodle salads

I like noodles in a bowl. All kinds of noodles, with all kinds of toppings though, in general, I always lean towards spicy and savory and Asian influenced. One of the best ways to use vegetables is to pick diverse colors, flavors and textures, chop them up, and throw them into a bowl with some soba noodles. For the above noodle bowl I used all kinds of Spring green things I had from my CSA – radish greens, green onions, new garlic, cilantro, and shredded carrots. I lightly fried some local “fake” chicken from Nature’s Soy in sesame oil, and mixed everything with cold buckwheat soba noodless and a basic Asian noodle dressing:

2 Tbs. soy sauce
3 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. mirin (rice wine, substitute natural maple syrup, honey, or white wine)
chili sauce or flakes, to your liking

I also love the look of black roasted sesame seeds, and almost always add those, too for flavor and garnish. A perfect cold salad with endless variations! Cold vegan salads like these also travel well – make a giant bowl and take it to a picnic or potluck.


Little Baby’s Ice Cream

What did you all do this weekend? I ate some delicious ice cream in Clark Park, courtesy of Little Baby Ice Cream. Little Baby has been building a quite buzz lately, showing up at street fairs and outdoor events all over the city, but this was my first experience with the unique, locally made ice cream. Selling about 6 flavors plus a special flavor (Saturday’s was Blueberry Ginger, for the start of blueberry season).

Little Baby dishes up some unique flavors. $3 for one scoop, $4 for two, and $6 for three. I had to restrain myself from trying every one, but I didn’t want an aching tummy later to ruin the experience. Because if there is hot sauce around I will eat it, I went with the Earl Grey Siracha, a delicately flecked tea ice cream with just a hint of spicy kick. Keeping the tea theme going, I also had a scoop of the Vegan Coconut Tea, a bright, sweet coconut flavor with a touch of savory spice. Both wonderful. Now, I just need to get my tongue on all the other flavors…

Spinach Chop

What happens if you take all of the ingredients in your favorite spinach salad, wilt the spinach, add harissa and chopped almonds? The delicious version of the “Spinach Chop” in Simply Natural Everyday. Some browned garlic, a healthy dollop of spicy harissa, and wilted spinach, plus chopped eggs, lemon zest and almonds. I used the tamari roasted almonds from Trader Joes and added just a pinch of salt. Perfect.

I like it Raw – raw cabbages salad

It is beautiful in Philadelphia, sunny, breezy, early-summery and also sometimes hot and humid. The vegetables are overflowing the raised beds and tumbling out of the CSA box and my fridge is packed. And I’m loving every minute of it. But I need to eat a lot of vegetables to keep up, and lately I just haven’t really felt like curries or stirfry or braises or casseroles. Why turn on the oven?

So I’ve been enjoying a whole lot of raw salads. The secret about raw salads is that you can eat almost any green raw. If it is particularly tough, just marinate and massage it a bit. I currently have lots of vegetables in the cabbage family, so I thought it would be fun to combine them for varying textures and colors. The above salad I made one evening and ate un-marinated, then poured the dressing over top, marinated overnight, and took for lunch the next day. For lunch (and the above photo) I added some cubed and fried tempeh chunks, and half of an avocado. YUM.

Raw Cabbages Salad

4 heads baby bok choi, sliced thinly
1/4 purple cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
3 kholrabi, loosely diced
1 cup sprouted mung beans
2 garlic scapes
2 tsp. toasted black sesame seeds

3 Tbs. tamari or soy sauce
4 Tbs. rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. safflower or other light oil
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbs. diced fresh ginger or 1 tsp. dried ginger
pinch of roasted chili powder or flakes

Combine vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing on top or, for a “softer” salad with less crunch, add dressing, mix well (use your hands!) and allow to rest for at least an hour. This recipe allows for 4 large servings. For a heartier meal, add tempeh, tofu, or avocado!

Kale Salad with toasted coconut and seseme oil

This salad has all the basics – a hearty, whole grain, vegetables, and tons of flavor. Not a salad for a hot day (the kale and the coconut need to be roasted in the oven, and the farro cooked on the stove) on a rainy or cool spring or fall day, this dish makes unique use of fresh kale from your garden, CSA or farmers market. Yep, yet another recipe from “Super Natural Everyday,” and yet another winner.

King Soup, Vientiane

I can sing the praises of Vientiane’s affordable, delicious, vegetarian-friendly Laotian cuisine all the day long. I have never had a dish at this neighborhood BYOB that I didn’t like, and often I love whatever I ordered so much that I get in a rut, and can only order that exact same thing for months (sometimes years). So it’s a big deal when I break the mold and order something different. But this King Soup caught me eye – it was exactly what I wanted on a cool and rainy night. A coconut milk curry base with noodles, fried tofu, plenty of chilis and all the toppings of a traditional Pho. Perfect. Of course, I’ve had it twice again since I took this photo!

Little Quinoa Patties

I introduced my roommate to quinoa, and to these little quinoa patties for “Super Natural Everyday,” just a few weeks ago, and man, is he obsessed. So obsessed that there is always quinoa in the refrigerator, that he has ordered quinoa in bulk, and that these little patties make an appearance at least once a week. It’s true, they’re so delicious its hard NOT to make them all the time.

This recipe is a great way to use left-over quinoa, so make a double-batch next time and leave the rest in the fridge for later in the week. Salt, a beaten egg, garlic, and any kind of chopped vegetables that you have around (I think the above patties have lots of brussel sprouts in them), squeezed all together and fried in a skillet. Thought the cookbook calls these a “snack,” we’re more likely to make them larger, burger-size, and eat them alongside a fresh salad for lunch or a quick dinner. They would also be great as a veggie burger, but with the complete protein/carbohydrate package of quinoa, you don’t really need the bun!