Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

With this tropical weather I’m craving tropical food. This simple and refreshing combo is prepared quickly and requires no fussing at all. And as the satés are BBQ, no need to fire up the oven and warm up the house further.



Green papaya salad and smoked tofu satés with peanut dipping sauce

Tofu satés


  • 2 packs of smoked tofu, cut lengthwise in 1 cm thick slices

For the marinade

  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) kecap manis
  • 30 ml (2 tbs)  soy sauce
  • 30 ml (2 tbs) fresh lemon juice
  • 30 ml (2 tbs) vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, trimmed, smashed and cut into pieces
  • 15 ml (1 tbs) fresh ginger, grated
  • 5 ml (1 tsp)  ground turmeric
  • 5 ml (1 tsp)  ground cumin
  • 5 ml (1 tsp)  ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the sauce

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) crunchy natural peanut butter
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 60 ml (2 tbs) light brown sugar
  • Pinch cayenne

12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 20 minutes

  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients.
  2. Arrange the tofu slices in a single layer in a large and shallow dish, cover with the marinade and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hres.
  3. Remove the tofu from the marinade and thread the slices on bamboo skewers.
  4. Grill over hot coals until golden brown, turning once.
  5. While the satés cooks, put the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and warm gently stirring to combine well.
  6. Let the satés cool slightly and serve them with the peanut sauce for dipping.

Green papaya salad


  • 1 liter (4 cups) green papaya, shredded
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 15 green beans, cut in 2 cm pieces
  • 2 Thai chili peppers, finely chopped
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) vegan nước chấm
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 ½ lime
  • 45 ml (3 tbs) palm sugar
  • 60 ml (4 tbs) toasted peanuts, chopped
  1. Peel and shred the papaya using a grater with medium to large sized holes. Reserve.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chili peppers, vegan nước chấm, garlic, lime juice and palm sugar and mix until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes, green beans and green papaya and mix well.
  4. Top with peanuts and serve.
Serves 6

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To be happy I need a generous daily dose of straight up greens, relatively unaltered and preferably raw. Here’s what it looked like today.

Kale and wakame salad.


  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 20 gr wakame seaweed, rehydrated and drained well
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 30 ml raw tahini
  • 30 ml toasted sesame oil
  • 30 ml wheat free tamari
  • 45 ml rice wine vinegar
  • 60 ml water
  • 15 ml sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 45 ml sesame seed

Clean and chop kale. Rehydrate wakame in plenty of warm water until tender. Drain well. Thinly slice scallions. Combine these 3 ingredients in a large salad bowl.

Put tahini, sesame oil, tamari, rice wine vinegar, water, sriracha, garlic and ginger in a blender and process until creamy and smooth. Pour the dressing on the salad, adjust seasoning to taste and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let sit for an hour for flavours to combine.

Unlike many other salads, this one keeps well in the fridge overnight.

serves 6

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Do you see a pattern emerging here?… What can I say, tomatoes are in season and my tiny urban garden is bursting with them! This salad was homegrown except for the crunchy little Persian cucumbers. Grow your own food, it tastes so much better!

Cherry tomatoes and Persian cucumbers salad.


  • 500 ml (2 cups) cherry tomatoes
  • 500 ml (2 cups) persian cucumbers
  • one handful fresh lime basil leaves
  • one handful fresh mint leaves
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) Extra Virgen olive oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Trim and cut the cucumbers in quarters length wise then slice across thickly. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves. Roll up the basil leaves tightly and cut into thin strips. Repeat with mint. Combine all ingredients into a large salad bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Serves 4

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Choose smallest, most tender, violet or poivrade baby artichokes for this recipe. This smaller variety has almost no choke and the inner half is very tender and are entirely edible. They have a mild bitter taste with notes of hazelnut.

Baby purple artichoke salad


  • 16 baby artichokes cleaned and very thinly sliced
  • Vinegar or lemon juice for soaking
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • 60 ml (4 Tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil, more as necessary
  • 1 Purple shallots, minced
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Wash the artichokes carefully. Remove the outer leaves, cut off the top 1/2 cm (1/4 inch). Slice thinly with mandoline. As each artichoke is finished, drop slices into a bowl of cold water with about 10 percent vinegar or lemon juice.

Prepare the vinaigrette:  In a bowl, combine the zest and lemon juice, olive oil, shallots. Reserve.

Remove artichoke slices from water and dry. Toss with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley and serve.

For a variation, you could had thinly sliced cultivated mushrooms to the artichokes and serve on a bed of aragula.

Serves 4

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I’ve been too busy to blog lately so I’ve got some catching to do with the spring recipes… This one is from mid-April when the wild violets were in bloom.

I love cooking and eating wild food. This simple salad is made of market bought “wild” arugula and small pea shoots augmented with foraged wild garlic mustard, violets and sassafras flowers, topped with almonds slivers, black sesame seeds and cherry tomatoes. The dressing was a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar.

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Here’s a simple spring salad which I quickly put together when I got back from the market this weekend. The radish sprouts and arugula flowers added some colour and a nice kick to the mild spinach.


  • 150 gr (5.5 oz) Baby spinach
  • 50 gr (1.75 oz) Sunflower sprouts
  • 50 gr (1.75 oz) Japanese purple radish sprouts
  • 25 gr (0.88 oz) Arugula flowers
  • 8 Fingerling potatoes, cut in half and boiled
  • 2 French shallots, thinly sliced
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) Capers
  • 20 Pecans halves, lightly roasted
  • Maldon salt to taste

For the dressing:

  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) Extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) Jerez vinegar
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

To make dressing combine all ingredients in a bolw and wisk until smooth.

Assemble greens on individual plates. Arrange potatoes around it, top with pecans, shallots, capers, add Maldon salt to taste. Add dressing and serve right away.

Serves 4

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How many times can I post variations of beet salad you ask? Many, obviously! I just don’t tire of beets. If it isn’t the case for you, please come back later, I will have other non-beet posts up soon.

Golden beets with homemade soy “cheese”

These gorgeous little golden beets were baked whole, peel on, in a covered cast iron dutch oven, thus saving the aluminium foil from the trash can and concentrating the delicious flavour of these awesome roots. Once they’re cooked and cooled, the peel comes off super easily.

In this recipe, the faux cheese is leftover vegan ricotta beefed up with a little fermented bean curd for added sharpness. Cashew cheese or creamed Dr Cow aged cashew cheese would also be very good matches here. Finish with a drizzle of good olive oil, smoked Maldon salt and some chopped parsley.

Enjoy your beets!

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Here is the second part of Saturday’s Japanese dinner. For the full menu and a list of sakés, please have a look at part 1.


For many, a Japanese dinner without sushi is unthinkable, so we had sushi. Good and easy finger food. I won’t include a recipe here as there are hundreds of places online where you’ll find good, detailed instructions on sushi making.

Takuan (pickled daikon radish) and  ume (pickled Japanese plum) + cucumber sushi are classic vegetable rolls. Avocado + yamagobo rolls are my creation, I think, as I’ve never seen them out there.

Yamagobo isn’t pickled carrot has I’ve heard it described before but pickled burdock root. Its crisp texture, mild bitterness and earthy flavour complement the rich and creamy avocado very well or at least that’s my non-Japanese-chef appreciation of it. Give it a try and tell me what you think.

Cucumber, wakame and tororo sunomono

Sunomono is a vinegary vegetable salad. This version had cucumber and 2 kinds of seaweed. Tart and refreshing, it’s a good palate cleanser after a richer dish.

Tororo konbu is a little harder to find but so worth it. I don’t think there’s any substitute for its flavour and texture. It’s basically kelp soaked in vinegar for a day, dried and shaved into hair thin silvery filaments.  It’s used in soups, as a flavouring for rice balls and in sunomono. I’m thinking smoked Tororo konbu could make an interesting substitute for bonito flakes (tuna, therefore not vegan) omnipresent in Japanese cooking. I’ll have to experiment with that.


  • 1 small cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 250 ml (1 cup) wakame seaweed, soaked, drained and cut into 5 cm (2″) pieces
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) dry tororo konbu seaweed, torn up.
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) rice wine vinegar
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) sugar
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt


Put the cucumber in a bowl, add salt and set aside for 20 minutes. Squeeze cucumber to drain well. Mix vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Add wakame and cucumber and mix well.  Serve garnished with tororo konbu.

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Or pretending I’m in Rome.

Leafy greens are some of my favourite vegetables and I always love a good salad. This one’s quite the treat as the main ingredient is not only seasonal (nov-feb) but also only grown in Rome, which means it’s hard to come by, unless of course you live in Rome.


1 kg (2.2 lbs) puntarelle
8 dry cured black olives, pitted
3 fresh garlic cloves
juice of 1/2 lemon or white wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Preparation of this delicious, crunchy and slightly bitter green is a bit of a pain and quite time-consuming but when I find this little treasure I’m happy to oblige.

Remove all outer leaves. Separate the shoots and using a sharp knife cut one by one, into thin ribbons. Then soak in cold water for 3-5 hours to curl.

Prepare a vegan version of the classic accompanying dressing by pounding in a mortar, garlic and olive until you have a paste. Add a good splash of lemon juice and plenty of very good olive oil.

Drain the puntarelle, dry with a kitchen towel or spin-dry carefully. In a bowl, combine the dressing and the puntarelle, tossing well. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Serve with more olive oil (if necessary), black pepper and sea salt to taste. Blood orange segments would make a nice garnish.

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sorry for the soft focus, my camera just doesn’t like food closeups.

Here’s a simple fall starter. Baby spinach tossed in a walnut oil, sherry vinegar dressing, topped with a little tower of roasted baby beet slices and tangy cashew cheese.

My cashew cheese recipe is here.

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More country vacation food…


The deers were kind enough to leave me some mesclum. No recipe here, just pretty greens.

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Not much of a recipe needed here, just shredded cabbage, raw vegan mayo and a sprinkle of caraway seeds.

But this home made and delicious raw vegan mayo really makes it. I had been experimenting worth all sorts of variations found on the internet and none made me happy. I wan going crazy looking for the right emulsifier. Lecithin, taste gross. Agar agar, wrong texture. Extra mustard was overpowering and unstable. I was loosing hope for decent mayo then it dawned on me: raw cashes. THE perfect emulsifier for this raw vegan version had been hiding in plain sight all along.

So please, do try to make you own mayo at least once. It’s so fast and easy you probably will never want the store bought stuff again.

Raw Vegan Mayo

125 ml (1/2 cup) raw cashews soaked over night
15 ml (1 tbsp) dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
250 ml (1 cup) extra virgen oil (I use 1/3 olive, 2/3 canola)
salt to taste

Put cashews, mustard, garlic and 50 ml oil in the blender and process until very smooth and creamy, cleaning the sides of the bowl down as needed.

While the blender is turning, add the remaining oil slowly in a thin and even stream. When all oil is added, add lemon juice and salt to taste. Refrigerate 2 hrs before using. Will keep one week in the fridge in an air tight container.

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One of my favourite 10 minute dinner. Also a great do-it-yourself starter for a super low fuss Vietnamese dinner party.


Minutes later, summer on a plate.

Do get your hands on this dipping sauce which is by far the closest thing to vegan Nước chấm out there. And regardless of the name on the label, it does not contain soy.

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Quinoa tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a summer family favourite. Tomatoes warmed by the sun, fresh parsley and mint from the garden, it spells lazy picnic. I want summer so I made tabbouleh.

Quinoa tabbouleh

125 ml (1/2 cup) dry raw quinoa soaked overnight and drained
2 fresh tomatoes (the best you can find) chopped
1 small white onion chopped finely
1 large bunch fresh parsley chopped finely
1/2 bunch fresh mint chopped finely, a few nice leaves reserved for garnish
juice of 1-2 lemons
125 ml (1/2 cup) extra virgen olive oil (here I like an Arbequina varietal for its fruity, fresh and piquant aroma).
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

I sometimes add chopped Lebanese cucumbers and green onions to my taboulleh, giving it a nice crunchy texture.

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish with mint leaves. Let sit for an hour or more to allow flavours to combine nicely. Serve at room temperature.

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I’ve been craving seaweed. I think that’s my body demanding a boost of minerals, so here it is.


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