Thursday, April 25, 2013

Szechuan Black Eyed Pea Salad

I found the original recipe for this salad several years ago in Vegetarian Times.  You can see the original at this ------> LINK.

As usual, I made it once as suggested then decided it needed some serious tweaking to improve the flavors.  Hubby agreed.  It has evolved over the years and this recipe has become a household favorite. In the warmer weather I sometimes make it once a week.

Some changes from the original recipe are - I deleted the sugar in the sauce, cut the fat by half, and added tomatoes, black olives, artichoke hearts, and cucumber to add more of a 'Greek Salad' like flair.

It is great on its own, scooped with some tortilla chips, or over a bed of mixed greens and kale, but our favorite way to serve it is with hummus stuffed in pita pockets.



1-16 oz bag of frozen Black Eyed Peas
       (if you can't find frozen then use 2-24 oz cans rinsed and drained)
1 medium Green Pepper, cored and chopped
1/2 cup Red Onion, finely diced
1 Jalapeno, chopped fine
1 Avocado, peeled and chopped
1 regular or 1/2 a Long English Cucumber, chopped (peeled if using regular cucumber)
1 can extra large Black Olives, rinsed and drained and cut in half or thirds
3 medium Tomatoes, diced
1 can of Artichoke Hearts, drained (optional)
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 cloves Garlic, crushed or minced (or 1/2 tsp jarred garlic)
1-2 Tbsp vegan San J gluten free Szechuan Sauce
sprinkle of Black Pepper
*  optional - mixed greens and/or whole wheat pita pockets


1.  If using canned black eyed peas, rinse and drain them and place in a large mixing bowl.  If using frozen, rinse in hot water, place in a large bowl or steamer and microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Then rinse with cold water and place in large mixing bowl.  I used a Pampered Chef microwave steamer for the frozen peas.

2.  Add to the black eyed peas the chopped green pepper, red onion, jalapeno, avocado, cucumber, black olives, tomatoes and artichoke hearts.

3.  In small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and szechuan sauce.

4.  Pour over vegetable mixture and stir to coat the veggies.  Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper.

5.  Serve alone, over a bed of greens or in a pita pocket with hummus.

If you are lacto-vegetarian this is also good topped with feta cheese.  As vegans we've also sprinkled it with almond parmesan too.  I use this basic recipe ----> LINK for the almond parmesan although I reduce the salt to 1/4 tsp.

** NOTE - I like to use frozen black eyed peas and artichoke hearts as there is no added sodium and they are firmer.

- Bon Appetit

" You can do a lot for your diet by eliminating foods that have mascots." - Ted Spiker

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cranberry Orange Scones

This recipe was inspired by a bag of California oranges we bought from a roadside pick-up truck.  It is popular in these parts for people in the Latino community to come from California and bring truck loads of produce to sell out of the backs of their trucks to Oregon patrons.  The oranges are some of the best and are much fresher than what we can buy in the store.

About a week ago we were in Salem doing some shopping and purchased an 8 lb bag of navel oranges for $5.  Looking at the bowl on the table made me crave some cranberry orange scones.

Instead of looking up a recipe on the internet I opted to modify one of my existing scone recipes since I'd never made cranberry orange scones before.  What follows is the result.  I was quite pleased.



2 cups Flour (I used all purpose)
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Turbinado or Raw Sugar
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
1/4 cup Earth Balance Vegan Margarine
3/4 cup Unsweetened Soy Milk
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1 Tbsp Orange Zest


1.  Preheat oven to 450˚F (232˚C).  Spray a cookie sheet with non stick cooking spray.

2.  In large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and raw sugar.  

3.  Cut in margarine with a pastry blender until in resembles fine crumbs.

4.  Stir in cranberries and orange zest.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture by pushing the mixture towards the sides of the bowl.

5.  Add the soy milk and orange juice and stir to combine.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead a few times to combine if necessary.

6.  Pat and shape into a flat round approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick.

7.  Cut into 6-8 wedges depending on desired size.  Place on cookie sheet.

8.  Bake at 450˚F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

9.  If you would like to drizzle a glaze on them.  Combine powdered sugar with just enough orange juice to make desired consistency.

**  If you cover these overnight, the moisture from the glaze will make the tops of the scones a little sticky (or tacky) to the touch.  They are best served the same day but taste fine leftover the next day as well.

- Bon Appetit

" Joy and Temperance and Repose, slam the door on the doctor's nose." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Monday, April 1, 2013

Texas Rice Salad - Vegan & Gluten Free

I found this recipe about 6 or more years ago.  I can't remember where I found it, as it has been handwritten on a recipe card for years. A Google search reveals many variations, some vegetarian some not so much.

I forget about the recipe and then when I make it I wonder why I've waited so long to make it.  It is great scooped with tortilla chips or served over a bed of greens.  I've even made this to take camping and it packs well in the cooler.  Just add the avocado fresh when ready to serve. 



3 cups cooked Brown Rice
1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup whole kernel Corn, thawed  (or 1 can drained)
1 Avocado, peeled and diced
1 cup Salsa of your choosing
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped  (optional)
1/4 cup sliced Green Onions or Red Onion
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
    *  Tortilla chips or mixed greens for serving


1.  Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.

2.  Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 3 days.

*  This recipe is so easy you can understand why I didn't take any pictures of the mixing process.  

*  When choosing your ingredients keep in mind green onions will give a milder flavor than red onion. Also, the salad is best when using fresh salsa from the refrigerated section of the store as opposed to jarred salsa that gets cooked in the canning process.

TIP - If you have brown rice already cooked in goes together in minutes.  I knew I didn't have a lot of time when I wanted to make this so I used pre-cooked frozen organic brown rice form Trader Joe's.  I thawed it in the microwave for a few minutes and let it cool while getting the other ingredients together.  If you need to cook the rice just cool it in the freezer for a few minutes.  The salad is good slightly warm too.  

* The tortilla chips in the pictures are Black Bean & Quinoa chips from Trader Joe's.

- Bon Appetit

"  Life is an onion and one cries while peeling it." - French Proverb