Summer is coming to end (tear). With it will vanish the abundant selection of fresh produce that I have grown so accustomed to these past few months. It will also mean the end of this blog (even bigger tear). As I reminisce about the various types of recipes I have experimented with this summer, I realize that I have been remiss. I have yet to make a simple salad.
True, one of the first recipes I used was a bean salad, but it is not the traditional lettuce and dressing sort of salad. However, I decided not to make a traditional lettuce and dressing sort of salad because there is currently an outbreak of cyclospora linked to bags of lettuce. Since my wonderful state of Connecticut is one of the 15 with reported cases, I decided not to chance my health.
Instead of lettuce of any variety, I found a recipe that uses cauliflower. Turns out, people use cauliflower as a substitute for rice and other grains. Slicing and dicing it with a cheese grater or a food processor is the best way to get the cauliflower to resemble rice. Personally, I think it looks more like cheese, but it definitely is a lot messier to grate.
Cauliflower contains high levels of vitamin C and K as well as potassium and fiber. It also contains phytonutrients called glucosinolates that can help activate detoxification enzymes and regulate their activity. Basically, cauliflower helps get all the bad stuff you eat out of your body. This is similar to vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and broccoli. All of these vegetables help your body detox and ward off cancer and other illnesses.
This salad is simple to make after grating the cauliflower. Just toss in some sliced heirloom tomatoes, green onion, celery, parsley and cilantro. I decided to add two chopped Persian cucumbers, as well. I personally like the size and crunch of this smaller variety, but traditional cucumbers will still give a fresh bite to this salad.
After making this salad, I decided to experiment a bit with our new food processor. I found this salad recipe from Angela, a fellow vegan blogger, from Oh She Glows. She recommended serving this salad on top of crackers with hummus, so I tried my hand at making hummus.
Thankfully, we always have a can of chickpeas in the house. I used the entire can with about a quarter of the juice left behind, some lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper. It may be untraditional but I thought it went nicely with the flavors of the salad.
I also tried my hand at making a dressing for this salad. The recipe that accompanied this particular salad on Oh She Glows used red wine vinegar as its base. Not only do we not have red wine vinegar, but I also wanted to compliment the lime juice in the hummus and make the salad more seasonal by using olive oil, lime juice and a touch of honey.
Now, I know what you are thinking: honey is not vegan. Such is the subject of much debate. Veganism calls for the abstinence of food that requires the exploitation of animals. Without a doubt, honey can be wrongly exploited from bees that are, without a doubt, animals. However, responsibly farmed honey has sustained many vegans that claim it does not harm the bees to produce the pollen.
Overall, this recipe is a true winner. It screams health and summer time, two of my favorite things. It also got my mom to realize that I do know how to cook and prepare food (because the other 11 postings of this blog were clearly fake), which is a plus.
1 large cauliflower
2 Persian cucumbers
4 stalks of celery
3 green onions
1 ½ cups of heirloom tomatoes
1. Shave the cauliflower to the stalks with a cheese grater or use a food processor to chop into rice-like bits.
2. Chop up the cucumbers, celery, green onions, tomatoes, parsley and cilantro.
3. Combine in a large bowl.
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp of honey
1. Whisk all ingredients together and flavor to season.
1 can of chickpeas strained
¼ cup of juice from chickpea can
Handful of cilantro
2 tbs olive oil
1. Strain the can of chickpeas and save ¼ cup of the juice. Put into food processor.
2. Finely chop the cilantro and add to food processor with other ingredients.
3. Blend until mixture reaches desired consistency.
4. Allow flavors to infuse in refrigerator before final seasoning.
Photos by Christie Merino/Gavel Media.