A Summer Salad Spread to Say “See You Soon”

August 11th, 2009 · Lisa · Fun with Friends, nut-free, Recipes, Savory · Comments
Two of my brothers have decided to desert me for a year. Yes, it is true that they have been offered a very interesting opportunity and I have always suggested that they take advantage of possible adventures whenever they are presented. Okay fine, I have no one to blame but myself! Especially since I am always talking about my own “running away” fantasies.Next week my brothers will join a batch of other interesting individuals from around the world in Walt Disney World’s Cultural Representatives program. They will be working at the Canadian Pavilionat Epcot for a year and living (dorm-style) with the other representatives. I can’t wait to see the first photo of their Lumberjack uniforms (the official costume of Canada?)In celebration of their departure, we created a delicious spread of summer salads to follow a day of wine tasting in the Niagara region. I also prepared a decadent dessert but that recipe will follow in a later post. Until then, here are six summer salads you should try. If you don’t have departing friends to toast…then just toast the inevitable departure of summer and celebrate the arrival of cardigan season.
The Party Spread
Udon Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce:

1. Julienne a couple carrots and half of a large cucumber
2. Chop up a handful of cilantro and a couple scallions
3. Whip up your favourite spicy peanut sauce (I used the Perfect Peanut Sauce from Get It Ripe, but you could also try Dreena’s peanut sauce)
4. Cook a package of Udon noodles, drain and pour into a big bowl
5. Toss all of the ingredients together and sprinkle on some sesame seeds.
Kale Avocado Salad:
1. Tear up the leaves from a bunch of kale into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl
2. Add a Tbsp of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and a tsp of sea salt.
3. Massage everything together for a couple of minutes (the kale should change texture to become almost wilted)
4. Peel and pit an avocado (or two). Mash the avocado flesh into the kale, to coat the leaves.
5. Top with half a red pepper, julienned and a finely chopped scallion.
Sesame Ginger Broccoli and Tempeh Salad:

1. Steam a block of tempeh for 10 minutes and then leave it to marinade in BBQ sauce (we used a standard BBQ sauce spiked with a little spicy asian dressing)
2. Grill the tempeh and cut it into cubes
3. Prepare a fantastic ginger sesame dressing (I used this dressing from Get It Ripe-make sure yours includes a little toasted sesame oil)
4. Chop up water chestnuts (from a small can).
5. Chop two heads of broccoli into florets and blanch for about three minutes. Drain and rinse in cool water.
6. Toss everything together in a big bowl and top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Coucous, chickpea and Asparagus Salad:
This salad is based on a couscous edamame asparagus salad in The Garden of Vegan.
My version includes whole wheat couscous mixed with onions, shallots, asparagus and chickpeas all sauteed with balsamic vinegar and tiny bit of maple syrup.
Black Bean and Corn Salad:

Most of you probably have your own go-to-recipe for this popular southwestern side-dish. This combination includes corn, black beans, red onion, red pepper and a cumin-laced vinaigrette.
Add some cilantro for an extra fresh flavour.

Any Nocho Buena Salad (a Test recipe for Terry’s Latin Vegan book):
This is a phenomenal recipe, open to many variations and substitutions. This version included a nice citrusy dressing that coated the greens, beets, oranges, apples, strawberries and red onion. The peanuts on the top are caramelized in brown sugar and spiked with a bit of cayenne. The spicy hit really gets you in the back of the throat but is an amazing addition to this festive salad.

Mickey Muffins?
My niece (age 4) expertly arranged the muffins on this Mickey tray. There are two different flavours here:
1. My standard Monkey Muffins (Banana Chocolate Chip)
2. (In the ears) Sweet Potato Cranberry Spice Muffins

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup almond milk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp lemon extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with muffin papers. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

In a small bowl mix together the almond milk and lemon juice. Set aside for a couple of minutes to allow it the milk to “sour”. Add the sweet potato, oil, maple syrup, lemon extract and apple cider vinegar. Whisk until well blended. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until the batter is smooth and you can’t see dry flour (do not over mix). Fold in the dried cranberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin.

Bake the muffins for about 17 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the tester inserted comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 10 minutes in the tin before moving them to a cooling rack.
So, instead of complaining about the fact that they will be living in southern climes, with a whole bunch of possible soul mates, I will start saving my pennies for a Florida rendezvous. I am really excited for both of them. I think any opportunity to step off the beaten path to do something even slightly unexpected should be seized. But this adventure does mean that I will spend a lot of time in the next year wishing that they were close enough to join me for an evening of Ethiopian food, independent film and witty repartee.

I have promised to send a lot of care packages, stuffed full of vegan goodness. One of my brothers is vegan and has already been reading whatever he can find about how to navigate the vegan offerings in Orlando. If you have any suggestions, we would love to hear them!


  1. Posted August 11, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    What a spread! Hope all goes well for your brothers

  2. Posted August 12, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks Mary,
    I will pass along your best wishes. I'm sure that my blog will be full of pictures and recipes from future care packages. I will be checking your blog for the results of all the recipes you have tested from Fran's book and Simple Treats, to inform my choices. I love those books.

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