Crash Test Vegetarian

Vegan to Omnivore outreach program

Blackbean Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

I love taking leftovers to work.  Generally at the beginning of the week, we plan what we call a “pot” meal.  It might be soup, stew, casserole or something of the sort… anything that reheats well in a microwave, and holds up well over a few days.

This week didn’t exactly work out as planned.  I had one failed recipe, and one the hubby figure didn’t particularly care for – this one.

I’m the cilantro and lime lover in the family, so it wasn’t the recipe’s fault.  Don’t blame it.  That’s not nice.  It was his dumb tastebuds.

I gotta admit, I’m kinda happy he didn’t care for it.  I’m loving the hell out of it.  This is my current favorite salad.

Behold,  work lunch made with leftover Blackbean Hash and Cilantro Lime dressing.

UPDATE: Even though the Blackbeah Hash didn’t quite win my husband over, he did enjoy it in the salad with the dressing.

Warm, comforting, earthy beans heated then nestled into a bed of cool, crisp lettuce and vegetables.

Drizzled with my tangy and refreshing cilantro, lime and orange dressing.

It’s hot and cold, it’s comforting and refreshing, its sweet, sour, tangy, earthy and perfect.


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Hash

A long, long time ago (The song “American Pie” comes to mind),  I made Black Bean and Soyrizo hash and heard of other people using different things like kale and sweet potatoes so I was on a mission to make another – just as easy – version.  Things didn’t work out, exactly as planned.  I spent a week looking for Kale at my local supermarkets and produce stand, and I have yet to find any.   My husband didn’t care for this recipe, cause he’s not a sweet potato fan, and after accidentally mixing stuff up on my plate, I decided that the best way for me to enjoy this was topping my favorite salad greens and drizzled with the cilantro-lime dressing I also tried that also failed the hubby test.

So the instructions include the sweet potato – if that’s your thing, but I highly suggest making a big ol’ tex-mex salad out of it all.

Incidentally, a few of the recipes I found included coriander – which if you don’t know is the seed counterpart to cilantro.  I get ALL my spices from the local natural food store (I highly suggest this, it’s waaaaaaaaaaay cheaper and fresher), and my husband and I smelled coriander for the first time and decided that it absolutely did NOT belong on any food products in our home.  I even gagged a little.

So um, if you like coriander, add some.  Maybe I’m just not ready for it.  Granted, the first time I tried cilantro I spit it out…. guess tastes change.

For the Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:

In a food processor whip together

1 cup cilantro leaves (or more to taste)
1/4 cup orange
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
pinch or two dry mustard (optional) to emulsify – this adds no flavor

For the hash:

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  When warm, add a drizzle of oil and heat until shimmering. When the oil is shimmering, add
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced

Cook until the onion and green pepper are browning, about 3-5 minutes or so.  Meanwhile, peel and cut 1 medium to large sweet potato into 1/2 inch cubes.  Add sweet potato to pan when the onions have browned.
Continue cooking until sweet potato has browned a bit, about 3-5 minutes.  You can also skip this and just move on to the next step.

Add to the skillet
1 1/2 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder (again, or more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
2-4 cloves garlic, minced

Stir around and cook for about a minute or so, then add
3/4 cup chicken flavored (I used Better Than Bullion No Chicken Base) or vegetable broth

Scrape the pan to make sure there’s nothing sticking and let the potatoes cook in the broth.  The broth will completely cook down while the potatoes cook, but be sure to test them when the pan gets dry to make sure you don’t need to add some more in.  Continue cooking until all the liquid has evaporated then add in
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup corn (if using from frozen, no need to defrost first)

Cook until heated.  Serve topped with cilantro and lime, or drizzled with the vinaigrette in a salad.


Tomato Cucumber Salad

Did you know you shouldn’t refridgerate tomatoes?

If you do have to, for whatever reason, be sure to allow them to return to room temperature prior to serving.

This is one of those recipes that isn’t about the number of ingredients, but rather the quality.  This is for those fresh flavorful tomatoes that you can’t imagine cooking or slicing into a burger because they’re so fantastic.

Also, I’ve really got to work on my chalkboard handwriting.  It reminds me of 5th grade me.

In a serving bowl add

1lb fresh, room temperature tomatoes (any will do, but a smaller variety or cherry is ideal)
1/2 medium red onion, cut in half then sliced thinly
1 small to medium cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
drizzle olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Toss to combine.

You could also add a pinch of sugar, if you like that sorta thing.  I like it tangy.  (thats what she said)

Let this marinade while you cook dinner.  Or, do what my husband and I did and eat the entire recipe WHILE making dinner.  Surprisingly, even the toddler liked this.

Toddler, omnivore husband and Izzy approved.


Tahini Soy Dressing

This is – by far – my favorite dressing of all time.  Well…. maybe second only to ranch, but I haven’t found a good vegan ranch recipe yet, so let me rephrase to say – this is by far my favorite vegan dressing of all time.  I could just about drink this stuff.  Seriously.  Trust me when I say this isn’t just for vegans.

Tahini Dressing

Anyway, I first tasted this dressing at our local health food store, long before I was vegan.  But at $4 for 8 ounces, I was bound and determined to figure out how to make it myself, and make it I did… after oh, 10 failed experiments or so.  I made this the same day my favorite vegan blog, Epicurean Vegan, posted their Tahini Dressing, so I can’t help but be amused.  Unfortunately, since making it I’ve had oh, exactly 6 sleepless nights since then. Our poor foster son has been unable to sleep due to his cough (and his doctor says it’s just cause his teeth are coming in – right cause he had this cough for the OTHER 8 TEETH??? I don’t think so – but I digress).

Anyway, so I’m finally getting around to this – late – but not for lack of enthusiasm.  If you like soy, I STRONGLY suggest you trying this dressing.  And don’t leave out the ginger, I’m not a fan but it’s important to the overall flavor – trust me, I tried multiple times without it.

Did I mention this is my favorite dressing?  I actually make salad just to eat this dressing, not the other way around. 🙂

Tahini Dressing

For two servings (to try it, after that you’ll probably want to quadruple it):

In your favorite dressing bottle mix together
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Tahini
2 Tbsp Lemon
1 tsp ginger paste (or grated
fresh – I have not tested this with powdered)
1-3 cloves of minced garlic, depending on how much you like garlic
pinch of brown sugar or tiny squirt of of agave or honey
pinch dry mustard (to emulsify)

Shake it all up and chill for a few hours at least.  It will thicken and the flavors will meld.  It should be nice and thick and creamy.   It will separate in the fridge so shake it up each time you go to use it.


Curry Roasted Butternut Squash

I must confess that I didn’t measure a thing, and frankly I don’t think you need to for this.  It’s just a simple and quick side dish, but I could easily just eat this as a main course.  Clearly  my relationship with butternut squash is a bit on the obsessive side.

Anyway, it’s really this simple.  If you’re not a fan of curry, try Roasted Butternut Squash with Smoked Paprika!

roasted butternut squash

  •  Peel and cut butternut squash (I just cooked one, but cook as many as you’d like) into about 1 inch cubes. 
  • Toss in olive oil until coated.
  • Sprinkle with curry powder and salt to taste.  Spread on a baking sheet (I lined with non-stick foil).
  • Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-45 minutes or until desired tenderness.  Toss/stir at the 15 minute mark, then every 10 minutes after that.




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Omnomnomagon and Chickpea Salad Sandwich Filling


The Omnomnomagon is after my Chickpea Salad Sandwich Filling.  Unfortunately, he was too late.  There may or may not have been some casualties. 

So I must say, I have to thank Postmarked Heart for the inspiration to finally try this, but I didn’t follow her recipe.  I wasn’t exactly trying to mimic tuna salad as much as just enjoy something on it’s own…

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical about this – thinking that it would just taste like hummus with mayo and other things mixed in.  But, I was instantly sold.  Not only is it incredibly inexpensive to make, it’s super tasty and healthy to boot.  Yes, I said “to boot.”  Got a problem with it?

I found myself eating it right out of the bowl I made it in, but you could use in however you’d use chicken or tuna salad.  On crackers, in a pita pocket (my favorite), or stuffed in a tomato.  If you want to put in on a sandwich, I highly suggest mashing up the chickpeas a lot more than I did.  Otherwise, you will be picking chickpeas off your boobs.  Yep, I did.

In a bowl, bucket or hat, smoosh to your desired smooshiness
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained (don’t suggest rinsing)

Then mix in
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, minced
1 Tbsp Veganaise, or your favorite mayo
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried dill weed
salt and pepper to taste


It really does taste even better after it’s chilled and marinaded for a while, but I nommed on it right away…

While this did pass the test of 3 male omnivore coworkers, the husband figure needed a little more convincing.  We shall try again, I think we’ll try the old bay next time. 🙂


Cucumber Salad

IT IS I, THE HUBBY! I was informed that I had to write something about this recipe as I was the intrepid googler that located the original version of this masterpiece.  Upon completing  a very through ( five second) search of the interwebs in all it’s cloud like glory I located this recipe at the behest of my wife. It turned out to be pretty good it was also my first chance to use a mandolin. I hope it is my last chance to use the mandolin as well, because I lost several large chunks of my knuckles. The salad turned out pretty great – my organic contribution not withstanding. It has a light fresh taste that i feel would compliment most picnics nicely. Next time we are going to be tweaking it a bit updates to follow. OK I love you buh bye!

Cucumber Salad



4 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 firm tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar *
2 Splenda *
2 Tbsp Dried Dill
Salt to Taste

Please cucumbers, and onion in a large bowl.

Bring water, vinegar and sugar to a boil.   Pour over cucumber and onion mixture.  Toss in dill, tomatoes and salt.

Let cool, enjoy!

*You can use more regular sugar, or use all Splenda.  We like to use a combination of the two.

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Dill Potato Salad

I love potatoes.  No matter how you cook them, I absolutely love them.  I love potato salads, but unfortunately most of them are loaded down with mayo… although I have Veganaise… have you seen the PRICE of that stuff?  I’ll stick to it being shmeared on my hamburger buns and tomato sandwiches, thank you very much.

Anyway, this potato salad was inspired by a combination of Greek potato salad combined with a potato “salad” my mother used to make, which was just cooked potatoes, Italian dressing and dill weed (hehe, dill weed).

1 lb diced, steamed potatoes (I used red)
1/4 red onion, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2-4 Tbsp Olive Oil (*optional)
1-2 Tbsp dried dill weed
salt to taste

While hot, toss all ingredients except dill weed weed, and refrigerate.   Once cooled, mix in dill and enjoy!   While best served cold, this would also be good at room temperature, and unlike regular potato salads, you don’t have to worry about Mayo spoiling. 🙂

*If you don’t use Olive Oil, expect this to taste dry.

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Black Bean and Couscous Salad

This colorful salad is refreshing and packed with protein and vegetables.  It’s equally delicious served chilled or at room temperature.  If you like cilantro, this is a must.

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while, and I wish I’d tried it sooner as it turned out to be a big hit with the hubby.  At first we both viewed the result of the recipe with concern, even suspicion.  All the worries were put to bed after the first bite of this salad.  All the ingredients came together to form a refreshing light salad. This would work well as part of a picnic or at a family dinner.

  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth (or water and bullion)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped (I used red)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup canned corn kernels, drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • dash ground mustard (optional)
  • salt and pepper to tasteWhile chopping vegetables, bring 1 1/4 cups broth to a boil and stir in 1 cup couscous.  Cover and remove from heat.In a large bowl,  mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 4 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and dash of ground mustard.Fluff ze couscous with a fork then mix in remaining ingredients and serve immediately or chilled.
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Spicy Butternut Squash

Today was a special kind of win.  Not only did we make multiple win recipes (I shalt post later), but I was also able to get my husband to eat, AND enjoy butternut squash.   He even said, “I’d definitely eat this again!”  That’s a 10 star comment coming from my husband, and the very words I cook for.

This wouldn’t be quite so exciting if you didn’t know that this was, perhaps, the 5th or 6th time I’ve tried to get him to enjoy butternut squash.  AND, on top of that, a butternut squash hating coworker claims that it was good (though it may just be a polite compliment, so I’m not holding him to that one.)

I got this recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen, one of my favorite cooking blogs.  She, in turn, got it from   Please be sure to visit Kalyn’s Blog to see much prettier pictures than mine.

Anywho, hope you enjoy the recipe as much as my husband and I did.  There’s none left!

1 butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 T extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and get to peeling!

After peeling the squash, cut said fruit into 1 inch cubes.   Toss with other ingredients.   Spread onto a non-stick aluminum foil lined baking sheet.  (I love this stuff for things that are likely to stick)

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Remove from oven and turn the peices.

Bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Turn again.

The remaining cooking time will be in 5 minute increments.  The squash should be tender, and nicely browned doesn’t hurt either!

Mine took a total of 45 minutes.


More recipes to come, but not tonight!


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