Sunday, July 28, 2013

BBQ Season ~ Vegan Style {Overload Alert!}

Oh me, oh my. It's been far too long! Have you been enjoying this summer holiday? It's been a bit cooler than I'd like, but weather can be very unpredictable. I was looking forward to cookouts with neighbors, picnics at the beach, and all the other joys that warm weather brings, but alas, it has been wet, cold (60's) and windy. I guess I'll just have to content myself with INDOOR outdoor fare. 

Earlier this month, I was invited to share some plant-based recipes for our local Living Healthy Supper Club. It was right after the 4th of July, and being rather in the mood, I chose to go with a BBQ themed dinner. Our menu was:

Appetizer ~ 

Sides ~
Israeli Cous Cous Salad
Roasted Brussels and Asparagus
Baked Mac and Cheese 

Main Course ~
Coleslaw Condiment

Dessert ~
Very Berry Shortcake
Soy Whipped Topping

I thoroughly enjoy this food. Seriously. I want you to be able to enjoy it as well. I don't have photos of all of the recipes, but if you'll click on the links provided, you'll get a sneak peak of some of the dishes. 

Spinach Artichoke Dip
(adapted from Chef Chloe Coscarelli)
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 onion, finely chopped 
3 cloves garlic, minced  
a few pinches crushed red pepper (optional) 
2 cups chopped spinach 
1 (14-ounce) package soft tofu, drained 
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes 
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
1 Tb. fresh basil, torn or coarsely chopped 
½ - 1 teaspoons sea salt 
1 Tb. Good Seasons Garlic Herb Dry Salad Dressing Mix
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained (can also use marinated or frozen) and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup water chestnuts, drained and chopped 
Pita or tortilla chips and fresh crudites for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 1-quart baking dish. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions until soft. Add garlic and red pepper and let cook a few more minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add spinach. Let cook, stirring gently, until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and add chopped artichokes and water chestnuts.  In a food processor, blend tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, basil, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add artichokes and spinach mixture, and pulse about 15 times. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Let cool slightly, then serve with pita or tortilla chips and vegetables. Can also be served cold. 

Herbed Red Potato Salad 
(adapted from Taste of Home)
3 lbs. Red potatoes, washed well
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tb. fresh squeezed lemon juice (about one lemon)
2 Tb. fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tb. whole grain mustard (opt.)
1 1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/3 of a large red onion, finely chopped

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender but still firm and skins split slightly. Drain and set aside. 

In a small bowl whisk together oil, lemon juice, herbs, lemon peel, salt and whole grain mustard (if using). 

Dice slightly cooled potatoes and place in a medium bowl; add red onion. Drizzle dressing over potatoes and onion and toss to coat. This salad is best if served the next day to allow the flavors to deepen.

Israeli Cous Cous Salad
2 cups dry Israeli Cous Cous
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 English cucumber, peeled, quartered, and chopped
1 large red tomato, diced
2 Tb. diced or thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup, fresh basil, cut into ribbons (julienned)
Juice of one lemon, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup olive oil

Pour water into medium sized pot, salt generously, and bring to a boil. Add cous cous and once again bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 8-10 minutes. (Check to make sure cous cous has not absorbed all liquid and is sticking.) Remove from heat, pour into a colander, and rinse with cold water. 

Peel, quarter and dice cucumber. Wash and dice tomato and onion. Wash and slice basil into ribbons. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk freshly squeezed lemon juice with 1/4 cup olive oil. 

In a large serving bowl, combine cooled cous cous, vegetables, and dressing. Stir well to break up any clumps of cous cous and incorporate all of the zesty, fresh dressing. Season to taste with salt. Serve!

Optional add-ins: 
Kalamata olives
Tofu feta (You’ll want to reduce the amount of dressing in the salad if using)

BBQ “Chicken”

4 cups Butler soy curls

1 Tb. chicken style seasoning

1 Tb. dehydrated onion
Olive oil
salt, to taste
2/3 cup prepared barbecue sauce of choice

Place dry soy curls in a medium bowl. Add chicken seasoning and dried onion to soy curls and stir to combine. Boil enough water to completely cover soy curls, and rehydrate for about 5 minutes. 

Heat about 1 Tb. olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Drain and squeeze excess water from soy curls and transfer to pan. Season with a little salt, to taste. Sauté curls for a minute or two until they begin to dry slightly and turn light golden brown. Add 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce and stir to incorporate. Turn down heat and continue to sauté, adding the last 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce when it looks a bit dry. 

Remove from heat, toast some burger buns, heap some BBQ Chicken on your bun, layer some fresh coleslaw on top and you’ve got a delicious main course for your vegetarian outdoor cookout.