Pad Thai Déjà vu?

Never have I felt so confused by a salad.

I will literally swear to you that I think I have both made this salad and posted about it here before. But now I’m starting to think that maybe I made it before I started posting, but I can remember taking a picture of it last time. Argh! I don’t have that many posts that I can be this confused. Oh well.

So, here we go. Do you like peanuts? Me, too. Eat this! Do you like bean sprouts? Yes? EAT. If you read this blog at all, you know I have a deep love for two things: 1. Sprouts, and 2. Spelt. I will eat almost anything that has sprouts in it. I think especially mung bean sprouts, because my mom used to grow them in the kitchen when I was a little kid. It was like a magic trick–dried beans go into a wet paper towel and then *poof* bean sprouts appear. I thought of them as alien cigarettes (daughter of a smoker) and used to pretend to take a drag off of one during lunch break. Oh, the innocent times of smoking a bean sprout to impress your friends.

I love the super freshness of this salad, plus the fact that you can make it insanely spicy. I love a lip-numbing salad, the hot and cold next to each other is so fascinating. Anyway, this recipe from Appetite for Reduction is a keeper. Word to the wise, add some edamame to the top for added protein.

Oh, and as a side note–what other vegan cookbooks should I invest in? I have all of Isa’s, but I’d like to branch out a little bit.

Peanut-Lime Bowl

Appetite for Reduction suggests using tempeh in this bowl, but I didn’t have any extra tempeh–so I just dry-fried some tofu. I think that it probably had a milder flavor, since it’s missing the bitterness of tempeh, but I liked that! I made an awesome marinade for the tofu out of two tablespoons (each) of liquid aminos and chili garlic sauce with about 1/2 a cup of veggie broth. Score!

Can I get an amen for the mixture of peanuts and lime? Really, why isn’t there more peanut-lime goodness out there in the world? Would peanut-lime butter even be feasible? I may need to test this out.

I also had a ton of extra sprouts–I forgot to put them on the chef salad we had yesterday. So I put sprouts on this. Genius! And it furthers my thesis that sprouts belong on everything. Almost.

Tofu & Noodle Salad

I just ate the rest of this for lunch, so I figure that I’ll be at my most poetic with the flavors still on my tongue. And what a happy tongue I have! This may be my favorite recipe from Appetite for Reduction that I’ve tried so far. And I only picked it because I wanted to eat something “weird” and I had rice noodles left over from something else.

OH MY GOD. I almost can’t look at this picture without trying to lick the screen. I’ve never had Vietnamese food before, and I know this is an approximation, but DEAR LORD. Incredible. First, who would ever think that mint, garlic, chili, lime, cucumbers and peanuts would ever taste this good together? Frickin’ genius. The taste actually reminded me a bit of the sunshine pickles my grandma would make when I was a little girl. I think it’s the pungent garlic, onion and cucumber background. But the mint! THE MINT. As I was chopping it all up, I kept thinking–really? Really? Almost half a cup of mint, total? That is a ton of mint. But you know what? Perfect.

Also, I’m super excited that my tofu turned out awesome. Every time I make tofu and it doesn’t stick to the pan, or taste gross, or have a weird wet texture, I could cry. Oh, tofu. We were meant to be together.

Six Layer Dip & Pretzel Cookies

We were invited to an Easter party (yay!) so I got the chance to try out some of my newfangled vegan cooking skillz. Also, since it was a BBQ with hot dogs and hamburgers, I needed to make something for myself to eat that would be both a complete meal and not make it seem like I was avoiding their food.

My favorite moment? When a guy with his girlfriend showed up, and they all announced, “Oh, the vegetarian is here!” I ran in the house, pointed out my vegan food, and told him that he rocked.

I’m gonna go step by step on this so you don’t miss out on any delicious layers! First, though, you need to get out a 2.5 quart dish. If you had a classy glass one, it would look even better.

Layer 1–bring on the hummus!

For this layer, I used the recipe from Appetite for Reduction. I made the jalapeno & cilantro hummus following the directions exactly. Smooth onto the bottom of the dish.

Layer 2–beans! Beans! Beans!

This layer features the Unrefried Beans from Appetite for Reduction. So simple! So classy! So gassy.

Layer 3–WTH? More beans?

Yes! Now, we get to my part. MUWAHAHA! For this layer, I followed the spirit of the Unrefried beans, but instead used these ingredients (I changed all the spices, so just use what I have listed here):

  • Black beans instead of pinto
  • Shallot instead of onion
  • Smoked paprika (1/2 tsp)
  • Cumin (1/2 tsp)
  • Chili Powder (1/2 tsp)
  • Garlic Salt (1/2 tsp)
  • Dash of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 cup of corn

Then just make them the same way you did the previous layer.

Layer 4–the unexpected potato

Yep, potatoes. I know, that seems crazy right? They. Were. Awesome.

First, you want to dice three tiny (think fingerling) yukon gold potatoes really small. Toss them with 1 tsp of olive oil. Then, add the same mix of spices for the black bean layer, though you’ll probably want a tad more salt. Mix until well coated, then bake at 450 degrees for 20 mins, or until they are rather crispy on the outside and totally cooked.

Here they are before going into the oven:

Layer 5–Guacamame!

Did I spell that right? No matter. Just follow the directions in Appetite for Reduction. I leave out the tomato, because whatever I’m making is already so tomato-y that I don’t need it. Same here.

Layer 6–mmmm…salsa

And now I just use the salsa dressing recipe from Appetite for Reduction (I really need to think of a shorter way to write that without sounding like Rachael Ray). I used my food processor this time, because leaving the tomatoes in big chunks isn’t great for dip. It’ll smash your chip! I also took the vinegar down to one teaspoon.

Top it all off with two chopped up green onions, and it’ll look fantastic! Pleased the vegans and nonvegans, too. And the unethical ones.

Special Bonus time!

I also make the Pretzel-Apple-Peanut Cookies from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar. They were a pretty big hit! Mine came out kinda on the crunchy side, I’m not sure if that’s the way they should be. Lots of work, but great for a party when you want people to be surprised by what you’ve made.

For all the cookbooks mentioned here, just go to powells.com…shhh…I love them.