Blueberry Arugula Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

As I’m writing this from bed at 9pm, the daylight is almost gone, and Teia is licking my fingers as I try to type. She wants to go outside and soak up that last sliver of light. Maybe she’s adopted the Minnesotan need to make the most of these summer days.

Or maybe she’s just acting like a dog who has to pee. Either or.

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I’ve apparently been soaking up the tastes of summer, because it’s come to my attention that this is my third lemon-y recipe in the past 2 1/2 weeks.

Overarching statement of truth: Summer should be citrus-y and fresh and enjoyed on as many patios as possible. Preach it, right?

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing | veggieandthebeastfeast.comBlueberry Arugula Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

If you’re not into blueberries, this salad would be fabulous with strawberries. Feel free to swap out the feta for goat cheese, or omit the cheese entirely if you’d prefer.

My favorite part of this salad is the mix of the juicy blueberries with the crunchy almonds – so much flavor and texture and then a summery POW of lemon and honey dressing.

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

The salad is best when dressed right before serving, since baby arugula is delicate and gets limp when coated in dressing. To make this a more filling meal, serve it with a scoop of your favorite grain. I loved eating it with a scoop of millet, but barley or quinoa would be great too.

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

This salad + chilled white wine with a lemon slice + patio = summah bliss.

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Individual Zucchini & Arugula Salad Pizzas with Cauliflower Cheese Sauce

Individual Zucchini & Arugula Pizzas with Cauliflower Cheese Sauce | Veggie and the Beast

Although Ryan and I usually eat identical dinners (cause I kinda sorta like to cook), on pizza night we eat SEPARATE pizzas. There is no pizza commingling. No siree.

Individual Zucchini & Arugula Pizzas with Cauliflower Cheese Sauce | Veggie and the Beast

It wasn’t always this way, of course. When we first started dating, we’d make pizzas and Ryan would be all, “Sure, that’s enough cheese for me,” or, “Nah, I don’t need pepperoni on half of it, that’s fine.” These days, the only pizza things we can agree on are whole wheat crusts and marinara (usually). I pile mine with mostly veggies, a few thin slices of fresh mozzarella, and call ‘er good. He has a very intricate pizza-building process: spoon on sauce to the very edge of the crust, grate on at least 2 types of cheese, then add veggies (green peppers and onions, always), and spread on a layer of meat (sometimes pepperoni, sometimes venison sausage). This process alone would not raise any eyebrows, but he usually repeats this layering process at least twice, and then tops it all off with another thick (THICK) final topping of cheese.

This recipe is not for Ryan.

Individual Zucchini & Arugula Pizzas with Cauliflower Cheese Sauce | Veggie and the BeastIndividual Zucchini & Arugula Pizzas with Cauliflower Cheese Sauce | Veggie and the Beast

As you might know, I’m not vegan, but I do like playing with vegan options. This cheesy cauliflower sauce, for instance, tastes cheesy, yet is dairy free. It’s made with boiled cauliflower, which is then pureed with unsweetened almond milk, nutritional yeast, and a few spices. You can adjust the level of each sauce ingredient to your liking, so taste as you go.

Sidebar: This sauce was inspired by Dana’s eggplant queso, which I made a few weeks ago and consequently blew my friggen mind. It sounds so strange! It tastes so much like queso! But it’s just vegetables and spices! What!

Individual Zucchini & Arugula Pizzas with Cauliflower Cheese Sauce | Veggie and the Beast

Ahem, anyway, my cheesy cauliflower sauce goes on a perfectly chewy, simple, and fast no-rise pizza crust. Zucchini slices are placed on top of the sauce, and then a little olive oil is brushed on top to make sure things get nicely roasted. While the little pizzas bake, balsamic vinegar simmers into a sweet glaze, and arugula is tossed with olive oil and salt.

Individual Zucchini & Arugula Pizzas with Cauliflower Cheese Sauce | Veggie and the Beast

When it all comes together, it’s a pretty, chewy, cheesy (but not), fresh salad/pizza hybrid of sorts, and I love every bit of it.

Individual Zucchini & Arugula Pizzas with Cauliflower Cheese Sauce | Veggie and the Beast

Ryan likes the crust, but thinks it needs more cheese. Typical.

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Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette | Veggie and the Beast

Alternate post title: The greenest dressing in all the land.

Alternate post title #2: That time my pretty quinoa salad got slimed, Nickelodeon style.

You out there, 90s kids?

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette | Veggie and the Beast

Before we get too off topic, please don’t dismiss this dressing because it’s so very, very green. This dressing is based off of a dip I’ve had at a Mexican restaurant near my house. A dip into which I plunge crispy and creamy deep fried avocado egg rolls, which happen to be the key to my heart, but that’s a different story for a different day.

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette | Veggie and the Beast

The combination of lime + honey + cilantro makes this vinaigrette tart but sweet but herby, and the perfect complement to a fajita-style quinoa bowl made with black beans, sweet bell peppers, red onion slices, and avocado. If you want the salad to be vegan, use agave in place of honey. If you’re not concerned with keeping it vegan, you should definitely consider crumbling a bit of feta on top. Yes.

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette | Veggie and the Beast

I’ve eaten this salad cold and warm, and after much consideration I’ve decided that I prefer it chilled. That could be because the Minnesota humidity has started to kick up over the past week, and someone keeps turning the AC off when I’m not looking. Tricky.

Whether eating cold or warm, I highly recommend you eat this quinoa with a handful of tortilla chips. I’ve had some serious feelings for tortilla chips lately, meaning they’ve made their way into most of my eating situations. While some may argue that they’re out of place on the side of my pizza, or as an “appetizer” before my morning oatmeal (yikes), they’re totally appropriate here, so crush, crunch, and scoop to your liking.

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette | Veggie and the Beast

See? Thoroughly, deliciously slimed.
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Thai Chopped Peanut Salad with Crispy Sesame Tofu

Thai Peanut Salad | Veggie and the Beast

Happy first week of summer! It’s not official, but after this past weekend it might as well be. I spent 4 days relaxing, walking my dog around various lakes, drinking beer in the sunshine, and starting to get a little tan (which really just means extra freckles, but still).

Thai Peanut Salad | Veggie and the BeastThai Peanut Salad | Veggie and the Beast

I took Friday off to reset myself after a stressful week, and ended up making this salad kind of by accident. I’ve been all about Thai peanut sauces lately (sidebar – I made this for dinner on Thursday – super love), but wanted something somewhat light for my day-off lunch. I’ve also been putting Cookie + Kate‘s crunchy baked tofu on errrrrything, so naturally I needed to incorporate it somehow.

This salad is based off of my favorite “You Pick Two” item at Panera Bread. I’m that person who orders “The Big Mac without the meat” (not anymore, but I used to), or “The mediterranean salmon salad without the salmon,” and “The Thai Chopped Chicken Salad without the chicken.” It’s usually met with a friendly “ha! okay,” sometimes with a cocked eyebrow, or every so often with an understanding nod, which makes me think I’m not the only one who orders meat-centric meals without the main attraction (or what most would consider the main attraction).

Thai Peanut Salad | Veggie and the Beast

I veered from Panera’s version with the lack of chicken (duh), but also the wonton strips and the double dressing. I love me those wonton strips, but didn’t want to buy a big bag of fried deliciousness to have around the house, because DANGER, so the crunch in my version comes from the cashews and sesame-crusted baked tofu. Since it always seems unnecessary to me that Panera serves the salad with 2 dressings, I put my energy towards a flavorful Thai peanut dressing. It’s creamy from a little coconut milk, rich from the peanut butter, and tangy from brown rice vinegar. I added sweetness with honey, but feel free to swap it out with agave or brown sugar to keep this salad vegan.

Thai Peanut Salad | Veggie and the Beast

I charred some edamame, red bell pepper, and carrot pieces by quickly broiling them (while watching them oh-so carefully), and then mixed all of the above together with romaine, cilantro, and sliced green onions.

Thai Peanut Salad | Veggie and the Beast

As I mention in the notes below, you don’t want to toss the dressing into the salad until you’re ready to serve, because it will take the crunch out of the romaine, and overpower the sesame tofu. Instead, let each person drizzle as much or as little dressing as they want on their serving. You probably won’t use all of the dressing, so feel free to keep it in the fridge and use it on other salads (or Thai pizza? hmmm…interesting) throughout the week.
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Colorful Kale & Barley Salad with Sweet Onion Lemon Dressing

Colorful Kale and Barley Salad with Sweet Onion Lemon Dressing | Veggie and the Beast My family has the tendency to tell stories over and over and over again. Perhaps this is how everyone’s family is? I kind of hope so.

For instance…

Colorful Kale and Barley Salad with Sweet Onion Lemon Dressing | Veggie and the Beast

That one time 5-year-old me intentionally locked us all out of the car so my sister wouldn’t get to sit in the front seat on the way back from my grandparent’s house. In a way I won, since she didn’t get to sit in the front seat, although the downside was that none of us got to sit in any seat for several hours.

How every year at Christmas, my Grandma would be propelled by Swedish tradition to make Krumkake, then repeatedly burn her fingers on the cookie iron, and sharply whisper “shit, shit SHIT” throughout the whole process. My mom now does this in her place.

When, on our family vacations, there always came a time when my Grandpa, looking over the ocean, would recite this poem:
A noble bird is the pelican,
His beak can hold more than his belly can,
He keeps in his beak, enough food for a week,
But I don’t see how in the hell he can.

Oh how I loved that man.

Colorful Kale and Barley Salad with Sweet Onion Lemon Dressing | Veggie and the Beast

His other half, my other Grandma, was a beautiful little woman who loved her children with all her heart. To get those children to eat their vegetables, she would load her plate with plants and say, “LOOK how colorful MY plate is.” It’s unlikely that this comment ever enticed my father and his siblings to follow suit, but it is a line that gets repeated at most of my family meals, and it results in me thinking of that lovely lady every time I pile my plate high with veggies.

Colorful Kale and Barley Salad with Sweet Onion Lemon Dressing | Veggie and the Beast

I’m not sure my Grandma ever ate kale, since it didn’t surge in popularity until after she passed away, but I do know that she would love these colors.

Colorful Kale and Barley Salad with Sweet Onion Lemon Dressing | Veggie and the Beast

This salad is bursting with fresh, beautiful, healthy veggies. Massaging the sweet onion lemon dressing into the kale helps break it down so it becomes less tough and bitter. Sure, it might seem kind of awkward to massage your greens, but it makes a huuuuge difference in taste and texture, so I suggest you get on board! After you rub down your kale, toss in some finely sliced red peppers, carrot ribbons, crunchy chopped pistachios, and juicy tomatoes.

This salad would be great even if we stopped there, but I personally like to add grains to salads for some extra flavor, texture, and staying power. In this instance, I cooked some barley in broth with dried thyme until plump and tender. I love the chew of the barley, but if you need a gluten free option, millet or quinoa would both work really well.

I found local, hydroponically grown golden tomatoes at my co-op, and I couldn’t resist their cute little shape and gorgeous color. Assuming you can’t find those easily, roma tomatoes would work as well. Or, to keep the color range seen here, you could slice up a yellow bell pepper.

Colorful Kale and Barley Salad with Sweet Onion Lemon Dressing | Veggie and the Beast

If you want a little protein boost, I topped a few servings of this salad with Cookie + Kate’s crispy baked tofu. Mega recommend.

Colorful Kale and Barley Salad with Sweet Onion Lemon Dressing | Veggie and the Beast

This salad is making me so excited for summer produce. Give me all the pretty foods. I mean really…LOOK how colorful MY plate is. :)
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