12 June 2006

Bulgur Salad & Advice Needed

This salad was light and refreshing and took less than an hour to make, which is pretty much record timing for me in the kitchen. I still had one of those pre-washed bags of organic Newman's greens and I layered those on the bottom with my own non-measured version of a cider vinegar and oil dressing. Then I took a few cups of pre-cooked bulgur (I cooked it in a mix of veggie broth and water) and the layered it on top of the greens. Then I chopped up fresh red bell peppers, cucumber, parsley and fresh corn kernels and tossed it with a can (lazy me) of chickpeas. I took all of this goodness and tossed it with a mix of more apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. So simple. I also want to mention that this corn (well, all veggies) were raw. Fresh summer corn is so good raw, especially right off the cob. I'm slowly seeing organic corn coming to the stores.
Verdict: Ray gave it an 8. He prefers a seperate side salad. As for me, I prefer everything piled up and mixed up. I gave this a 6.5 or a 7 because it could have used some pizzaz or some kick or something to excite my tastebuds. I guess a ton of apple cider vinegar and black pepercorns didn't kick it up enough. Still a good, quick, healthy, fresh meal.
Now I have some questions... I feel like a polenta virgin. I've had it before, but don't really know what to do with it. I do have cornmeal, but for my devirginizing, I decided to go the easy (but costly) route and buy a tube of it already made. I want to fry it up on the stovetop, but I did a bunch of cookbook and online searches and I'm stumpted. Can someone give me ideas what I can do with the polenta, plus I'm thinking of dredging it in garlic and breadcrumbs. Any simple non-oven ideas?

Second question: Ray wants fajitas (I may too, but not with faux steak). And no, we haven't gotten to the faux meats yet... We have those steak strips and I know to just fry them up with veggies and such, but where can I get or how do I make fajita seasoning?

Just a quick post to go with a quick meal.

And just for Kai (and anyone else who wants this recipe)...
Roasted Pepper and Bean Dip
Makes 2.5 cups
1 - 7oz. jar roasted red bell peppers, drained, chopped
1c firm silken tofu (about 6oz)
1.3c cilantro leaves (I used dried and less)
2T. lime or lemon juice
1T. olive oil
1/2t. salt
1/2t. cumin, ground
1 clove garlic, chopped
1- 16oz can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed

Reserve 1/4c peppers for garnish and set aside. Place remaining peppers in a food processor and add all other ingredients and process until smooth. Spoon mixture in a small bowl and stir in the rest of the peppers. Chill for a while and serve.
Nutrition Facts: per tablespoon, 15kcal, 1g protein, 0.5g fat, 2g carb, 59mg sodium, 1g fiber, less than 1g sugar.


Wide Lawns Subservient Worker said...

Ok, here's some advice.
1. Polenta is good cut into slices and sauteed in olive oil with a rich, yummy tomato basil sauce on top. You could also make a sauteed mushroom sauce, maybe add a little white wine and garlic and thicken with fake cream.

2. Veggie fajitas are really yummy. Those fake steak things are very icky though. I would do, onions, peppers (green, red, poblano), corn, portobello strips, garlic, lime and cumin. Then fry all that up and put in a heated tortilla. Top with raw, chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro, sliced avocado and if you like, some tofu sour cream, which I find as horrid as the fake steak, but you might like it.

Please forgive the inherent trashiness of my blog, and do not let that reflect poorly on my recipes. The blog's a social satire. My recipes are good, and I love your blog, especially since the end of Vegan Lunchbox.

Dreena said...

Leslie, that salad looks amazingly refreshing and uber-healthy!! I love your idea of fresh corn, will have to try that myself. I usually steam corn for no more than a few minutes just to keep it very vibrant and fresh, but you can't get more fresh than raw!!

madeinalaska said...

I read your blog often and thought I might contribute..

I made this a while back..
(Polenta Lasagna with creamy Mushroom Sauce http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/recipe_details.cfm?recipe_id=9770)
I used plain soy milk and vegan cream cheese and parmesan cheese..
Its way more of a wintry comfort food though..

I have also sliced the polenta and bake w/little olive oil first and then used topped w/ pizza toppings (kid food)

okay and third I have layered the bottom w/ slices of polenta then doing a chili bean or Mexican bean layer w/ a layer of cheese and topped it w/ another layer of polenta don't skimp on the top layer it gets crispy.. yum

happy trails

Alex said...

: )

Melissa West said...

I love the bulgar salad and fresh toppings. It looks delicious.

Fajitas are easy. I would just add some cumin and chile powder to your veggies and such. Enjoy!

Vicki said...

that salad looks so fresh & delicious! i made a polenta tamale pie a while ~ i think i posted the recipe? don't forget some cayenne pepper with the fajitas!

laura said...

Ditto on the fajita advice - I just do lotsa chili powder and cumin, then finish with a squeeze of lime. I wouldn't bother with the (super-expensive) veggie strips, either; they're not worth it. If I'm feeling in the mood for "meat," I'll cut a Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burger into strips and heat that up. Mostly we just skip it.

As for polenta, I have never, ever found a tubed or otherwise ready-made polenta that I liked. It's very easy to make from scratch and I think so much better!

Polenta is great with roasted red peppers and a smidge of balsamic. Sometimes I'll smear a bunch of soft roasted garlic, olive oil, s&p on a slice and eat it toasted that way.

It's also great for breakfast, toasted with a bit of maple syrup on it. :)

vegegriff said...

I made your powerhouse treats today. So yummy!! Having them is definitely going to become a routine.
My mom [who is not vegan] is addicted to Kashi granola bars, and tonight she said, "I think these could replace kashi bars..." !!
I know you dont measure but do you know approx how much of the wet ingredients [PB, syrup, etc] you use in relation to the dry? I was generous with the PB and agave nectar because I didnt know how much I needed, but I think next time I want to use less, just to make them a little less sweet and healthier. I can experiment.
But I loved them! Thanks!

EatPeacePlease said...

Wide Lawns, thanks for all your advice, it really gives me a better perspective. I appreciate it.

Dreena, the corn was so fresh, so sweet and raw! I sent off your package today (4-6 business days).

Made in Alaska, thanks for all your advice and it does sound great. I have recently looked through my old VT mags and found that lasagna recipe but I don't use my oven (for now? for the last 7 months!). The advice is great, but maybe I'll go to my friends and borrow an oven for now...

Alex, :) to you too.

DragonSlayer, sounds great, and I love cumin so thanks for the idea.

Vicki, thanks for the reminder of the pie. Was it baked? Or was it those tamales I remember you mentioning that Art was rolling (like back in his college days!).

Laura, I already know that handmade polenta would be better but I still haven't got to the polenta yet. I was going to have it tonight but realized that I had kept the breadcrumbs *way* too long and tossed them. I really wanted to crisp it up with that. Plus, I was super lazy and just had some cereal for dinner.

Vegegriff, glad to hear about the bars! For me, I use the whole bag of rice puffs, which is about 10 cups or so! I make a lot of treats for the week or 2. I also use probably the equiv of 2c dry nuts and seeds/raisins, etc. with it. As for the agave nectar, probably about 1/4c, and for sure go for a whole cup of almond or nut butter. I tend to use 1/2c (remember, I'm not measuring exactly), of brown rice syrup, so probably a total meltdown of almost 2 cups of what will be goo. Does this help? Sorry to be so vague but you can always add liquid, but it's a pain in the butt to re-melt and re-add to the mixture. Too wet is better than too dry though. If it is too dry, I guess you could crumble it up and add it with some soymilk to cereal (which I like to do sometimes).

Isil S. said...

Hey Leslie,
your salad sounds really good, i wish i had some now ;)
I saw you in my dream a few days ago. You were here in Algeria, working at the same company with my husband. You invited us to your home and I was happy to see you :)

raising_kahne said...

I think most of the people covered the basic knowledge of the fajitas! Just saute or fry a bunch of veggies(I like onions, peppers, jalepenos(get extremly hot when heated!), bell peppers, tomatoes, anything!), and put a spicy seasoning, then put it in a warm tortilla, and it's perfect! Top it with vegan sour cream, cilantro, guacamole, and tomatoes, and.....it's pure bliss!

cherios said...

Honestly I think Polenta is so awesome, it doesn't need much. Just slice it thin and fry it with a bit of olive oil. A bit of ketchup or some sort of BBQ sauce is nice with it.

As for fajitas, I agree with everyone else. Some chili powder and lime is all you need. Onions really make it, so make sure you fry some with your veggie's even if you don't eat them.

The fake steak doesn't need anything, it's already pretty flavourful.

Catherine said...

Leslie, you'll be happy . . . I have two whole pages on polenta in my cookbook! Shall I email them to you? :)

vegegriff said...

that helps a lot. thanks. :]

Dori said...

Looks like you have some great comments from which I have learned some from. I love the portbello mushroom fajita idea.

I am also like you with the salad... pile it on. You might consider a sweet and sour approach with the cider vinegar dressing by adding a little ketchup and/ or a tad bit of sweetening.

I think I have seen some packaged mixes by Frontier at my helth food store which may make fajita's an easy task. So far, to be honest, I have not found a fajita flavoring recipe that makes me say YUM! I'll look forward to seeing what you have done.

laura said...

Oh yeah, i want to tell you thanks for the snack bar recipe too. I've been making a batch every week for a few months now - they're GREAT! I took them to my childbirth class to share with all the carnivores who don't "get" health food. They were duly impressed and everyone wants the recipe! Of course, like you, I have no recipe - I've never made the same bars twice. :)

Another thought with the polenta - I've taken to marinating cubes of tofu in balsamic, olive oil, oregano, s&p as a stand in for mozzarella. It's great! You could use a round cookie cutter to make thin rounds of tofu in the same size as the tube polenta and then serve "mozzarella and polenta" garnished with fresh tomatoes and snips of basil. :)

Monsoon Girlie said...

My husband and I LOVE sliced polenta done on the barbeque. When you spray the slices with oil you get those awesome bbq lines and the polenta gets nice and crispy. Great with any sauce in place of pasta or rice. :)

veganashtangi said...

I've just discovered your blog. I think you've got a new loyal reader here ;)

funwithyourfood said...

hm I'm a Polenta virgin too. Looking foward to learning!


Jody from VegChic said...

That salad looks great to me. I've always hated peppers, but I'm slowly acquiring a taste for red ones!

Regarding polenta. I've never heard of breading it. When I made or ordered it, it was grilled or pan fried and generally served like rice or noodles. In that way it is the base for whatever you have cooked up. ---Just ladle or place it on top and serve!

Fajitas----well everyone pretty much answered. I know that "Bearitos" makes a tofu/taco seasoning and this would be pretty good on fajitas. To give you an idea of the ingredients to make on your own: dehydrated onion, garlic, chili peppers, paprika, yeast extract and "spices".

k* said...

i made that roasted red pepper/bean dip the other night(i guessed at the ingredient amounts) for me and my sister's bimonthly Sunday Dinner and people loved it. i'm glad you gave the recipe though, i think i was kinda off on the amounts. is it usually really smooth texture or grittier like hummus?

Randi said...

if you have access to cooking light magazine archives, the nomad salad is great. Made with bulgar, chickpeas and lots of dried fruit. The dressing on it is great too.