Warm Kale Salad with Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts and Sweet Onion Balsamic Dressing

Warm Kale Salad with Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts and Sweet Onion Balsamic Dressing // veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Hey fellow vegetarians – what do you overindulge in over Thanksgiving? We don’t have the turkey, sometimes we don’t even have the stuffing (if it’s made with chicken broth), but there is still SO MUCH FOOD.

For me it’s carbs. Biscuits and vegetarian stuffing and bread crumb-coated casserole and just ALL THE CARBS.
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Three Bean Greek Kale Salad

Three Bean Greek Kale Salad | http://veggieandthebeastfeast.com

If you aren’t a Minnesotan, you may not quite understand how obsessed we are with our lakes. We LOVE our lake time in the summer. Until last week, I hadn’t gotten enough lake time. Not even close.

Last Tuesday I headed up to northern MN for 5 days of relaxing, reading, and boating with Ryan’s family. Now that I’m back to the real world, with a hefty week of stressful work, I’m missing those slow mornings of long breakfasts followed by hours of boating with a book or fishing reel in my hand.

Teia misses the lake too, but probably not those scary lake waves (sorry if you’re not into dog videos…it’s just too damn cute to not share).

Three Bean Greek Kale Salad | http://veggieandthebeastfeast.comThree Bean Greek Kale Salad | http://veggieandthebeastfeast.com

As is usually the case with vacation, the food situation left my body longing for some nutrient-dense meals, so I came home and made a big salad filled with all the healthy things (kale, tomatoes, beans), along with all the tasty things (Greek dressing, feta, kalamata olives) and have been eating it every day since.

Three Bean Greek Kale Salad | http://veggieandthebeastfeast.com

I used to be a romaine girl when it came to salads. I still like the crunch of romaine every so often, but I have recently been super crushing on kale salads. Unlike other greens (like romaine), which turn mushy and slimy when stored in the fridge, dressed kale becomes more tender (a GOOD thing), and the time in the fridge allows the other flavors in the salad to deepen.

Three Bean Greek Kale Salad | http://veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Since the “other flavors” in this salad are my favorite Greek salad ingredients, deepening those flavors is a really good thing, because those flavors are the best. This salad is tangy, fresh, juicy, salty, and packed with protein from 3 different types of beans. It’s like hitting the reset button on your body after 5 days of drinking beer at noon and eating fried potatoes for breakfast. Right? Yes.
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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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