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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

Mutter Chik’n Masala

Yes, you too can make a delicious vegan curry right in your own home!

Mutter Chik'n Masala

I found this recipe for chana masala several years ago and have been using and modifying it ever since to whip up a quick and easy Indian-style dinner. While the recipe calls for chickpeas, I’ve often made it with mock chicken when sharing the dish with meat-eaters. Tonight I jazzed it up by adding peas, and I liked the result so much that they may become a permanent ingredient! This won’t taste exactly like what you’re used to getting from Indian restaurants, but it is a delicious curry that warms you up.

I usually start by mixing up the gravy so that it’s ready to pour right when I need it. To do this, I mix tomato paste, 1/3 of the called-for curry powder (I usually use Madras curry powder), coconut milk (I add about 1/2 cup to the recipe in place of the 3 TB of chickpea liquid), lemon juice (you can also use apple cider vinegar in a pinch), salt, black pepper, and crushed red chili flakes. I then whisk these ingredients with a fork until smooth. This way the flavors can meld while you prep everything else!

It's also a good idea to prep your spices, chik'n, and peas (or whatever you're using) before you start cooking.

Next, I took a medium-sized pot and heated up some coconut oil on medium. You can use olive or canola oil if you prefer; I used coconut to go with the coconut milk in the gravy. Once heated through, you usually add onion and garlic and saute. However, I was out of both; so I instead added the vegan chik’n strips (I used Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Strips in this particular recipe) and green peas directly to the pan and sauteed them for a few minutes. I then added the remaining curry powder, along with some onion powder and garlic powder (to make up for the absence of their fresh counterparts), and stirred them in to incorporate over the chik’n and peas. It’s good to do this for up to five minutes before adding your gravy. If the powder starts sticking to the pan, add a little water (but not too much) to loosen it up a bit.

If you don't want to use mock meat, you can make this with tofu or seitan, or with the original recipe's chickpeas.

Once five minutes passed, I added the gravy and brought to a boil. Then, I simmered the curry for about five minutes more, stirring frequently so it wouldn’t stick (let’s not talk about the time I made this and some of it burned and stuck to the bottom of the pan). You can let it simmer longer if you like; it’s versatile that way. Once you’re ready to eat, you just serve it over rice. It’s very filling on its own, but also goes well with naan. Enjoy!

Mango BBQ Beans with Jalapeño Lager Cornbread

It may be Spring but it’s still a good night for a warm, hearty meal.

Mango BBQ Beans with Jalapeño Lager Cornbread

Awhile back I spotted this recipe for Jalapeño Pale Ale Cornbread, and it became my culinary obsession. I must make this amazing bread bursting with cornmeal and beer. But when and where? Such a dish needed a proper crown, and not just any old chili or stew. No, this cornbread needed something even better. It needed Mango BBQ Beans (originally from Appetite for Reduction).

This meal was time-consuming to make, but worth it in the end. The cornbread is nice and moist, and the BBQ beans are sweet and spicy – perfect for a somewhat cool Spring evening, but also festive enough for a hot summer day. It’s also non-vegetarian approved, as my boyfriend gave it two thumbs up!

I recommend starting with the cornbread first, since you need to let a polenta mixture rest for 20 minutes before baking and cooling it for about 45 minutes more. Polenta, you say? Here’s how to get it started! First, I chopped up one small-medium jalapeño pepper, which gave me the TB called for in the recipe. I then sauteed the pepper pieces in 3 TB of Earth Balance margarine for about three minutes, until the pieces were softened. Once softened, I added 3/4 cup of cornmeal and 3/4 cup of rice milk (though any non-dairy milk will do), stirring until the milk started bubbling. You then remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture rest for 20 minutes – resulting the polenta mixture below!

A good time to get started on the BBQ beans is while the polenta mixture is resting.

Once the polenta is ready, you can do one of two things – you can prepare a bread pan like the recipe calls for, or you can do what I did, and prepare a cast-iron skillet. Skillet cornbread is amazing and I highly recommend making your cornbread like this! To get the pan ready, preheat the oven to 375 F, place the skillet on a baking sheet, then place in the oven to get the skillet hot. Mix your dry ingredients in one bowl, then set aside. The next step in the recipe calls for eggs and honey. I used agave in place of honey, and flax eggs (1 TB ground flax + 3 TB water for each egg) in place of regular eggs. I then combined the egg/agave mixture, the polenta, and the dry ingredients in one large bowl.

Now, the recipe calls for a pale ale, which I did not have. So, I used Yuengling amber lager instead. For my money the cornbread still tasted great. Once I mixed in the beer, I reduced the oven temperature to 350 F, took out the skillet, and greased the pan with some Earth Balance. Because the pan is hot, the EB will melt quickly; so use a brush to get the butter up on the sides of the pan. Pour the batter into the pan, then top with 2 TB of melted butter if you wish. You then bake the cornbread for 25-30 minutes, then let the bread cool in the skillet for 10 minutes before serving. It will then be ready to serve with the Mango BBQ Beans!

Mmm, cornbread.

Now, the Mango BBQ Beans take awhile to prepare, but the steps are considerably easier than the cornbread. To start the beans, saute some onion and garlic for five minutes in the bottom of a large pot, until the onions are translucent. While the onions and garlic cook, prepare the rest of the ingredients, as all except for the liquid smoke will be going right into the pot. Peel and cube one medium mango, and drain and rinse two cans of kidney beans. Place these in a large bowl, then add vegetable broth, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, tomato sauce, and allspice, mixing them a bit. Now, I normally follow a recipe exactly the first time I make it, but I couldn’t resist adding a bit of Southern charm to this BBQ. I replaced 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce with ketchup, which also eliminated the need for agave nectar with its sweetness. I also added a generous shot (2-3 TB) of Jack Daniels, which also added to the sweetness and made the beans very tasty. Give it a try! I then added all of these ingredients to the pot and simmered them for 45 minutes.

Once the beans were done simmering, I added a teaspoon of liquid smoke. Then, I placed some of the cornbread in a bowl, and topped it with a heaping ladle-full of beans. Presto! An amazing dinner packed with flavor and guaranteed to fill you up. This also makes plenty of leftovers, so stock up on tupperware!

Chinese 5-Spice Tofu and Broccoli

Have you had it up to here with boring stir-fry? Give this one a whirl!

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Chinese 5-Spice Tofu and Broccoli

I’ve been vegetarian for six years, and my favorite dishes have changed and expanded ever since. But like a loyal friend, tofu and broccoli has always been there for me. It’s reliable, it’s easy to make, and it makes it seem like I put way more effort into lunch or dinner than I actually did. What’s not to love?

Well, one thing that could lessen the love is a lack of variety. I like making tofu and broccoli because it’s fast and dependable, but even fast and dependable can be made better with a little sprucing up. Enter Chinese 5-Spice. Chinese 5-Spice is a blend of black pepper, star anise, cinnamon, fennel, and cloves – it’s warm, it smells great, and best of all, it’s pretty cheap!

What follows is not only my secret for the easiest vegan meal you’ll ever make that doesn’t come from a can, but also a method to jazz it up with a very flavorful seasoning.

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Tofu: "Please, make me pretty!"

To start, take about a quarter of a block of tofu and cut into bite-size pieces. Sometimes I cut the tofu into cubes for faster cooking and easier stirring; but in this dish, you’ll want relatively-larger pieces for easy frying. You can pat your tofu somewhat dry if you like, but don’t drain it or make it bone-dry – you’ll want some moisture to help the spice mixture stick! No eggs or oil required.

Heat a blend of olive and sesame oils in a skillet on medium. Meanwhile, put about 1-2 tsp of Chinese 5-Spice into a small bowl with a flat bottom (you can also use a small plate, just be careful to not send the spices flying everywhere as you dredge). When the skillet is hot enough, dredge each piece of tofu in the spice blend to coat evenly. The moisture from the tofu will make the spice blend cling to it and form a nice coat.

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Once each piece is coated, add it to the skillet and start frying!

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Allow the tofu to cook on one side for up to 5 minutes, then flip. Scoot all of the pieces to one side of the pan, then add your broccoli. Adding the broccoli at this step as opposed to earlier allows it to cook through without getting soggy or burnt – it’ll be just perfect!

You may also have some extra spice left in your bowl (as I often do). Instead of cursing at your wasted spice, take what’s left and sprinkle it over the broccoli! Stir the broccoli so it gets coated in both oil and spice; if the broccoli seems dry, spray with some cooking oil. Do not add water or excess oil, as this will make the spices fall off off your food and into the skillet; we’re not eating the skillet for lunch so it shouldn’t get all of the seasoning! Once the remaining 5-Spice has been added, sprinkle both the tofu and broccoli with some sea salt to bring out the flavor further (avoid soy sauce as this will also wash off your spices).

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Yummy

Allow the tofu and broccoli to cook for about 5 minutes more, then turn off your heat and serve! I like eating this over a bed of quinoa for extra protein, but you can substitute your grain of choice – or use no grain at all! Happy eating!

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

Autumn’s just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with a medley of apples and acorn squash?

Stuffed Acorn Squash

I’ve always been partial to winter squashes. They last longer than their summer counterparts, and overall taste better! The texture, the dishes, the scent, the warmth … winter squashes just have it all. So I was very excited to see winter squashes return to the farmers market, especially my beloved acorn squash.

God help us if the squirrels in "Mutts" ever catch wind of these

One of my favorite meals is to cut an acorn squash in half, bake it, and either eat it on its own or stuffed with a grain mixture. With a slight chill in the air and a lot of rain this week, I decided to whip up a stuffed acorn squash packed with one of my favorite grain dishes, Israeli Couscous with Tart Apple and Sage. Israeli couscous (also called Pearled Couscous) is a thicker couscous that’s more like a pasta, and it’s very delicious. Definitely add it to your grocery cart in the future, not just for this dish, but for other kitchen experiments!

See, not like standard couscous (also featuring a cameo from your author!)

The acorn squash takes the longest to bake, so I recommend starting with this first. Fortunately it’s also the lowest maintenance portion of the meal (and the whole meal is pretty easy). First, I started by melting about a tablespoon of Earth Balance margarine in a saucepan and pouring it into a small bowl. I then cut the acorn squash into two equal halves, using a spoon to scrape out the seeds and excess strands of pulp from the center. I also recommend cutting off a small portion of the top of the squash, as flattening the squash this way will make it easier to eat out of once it’s done. The pointy end gave me many a headache in Autumns past as it would make the squash wobble in my bowl while I tried to eat it, so giving the squash a flat base before baking will make life much easier!

Carving out the seeds and pulp is also good practice for pumpkin carving next month!

Once the squash “bowl” was ready, I prepped it for baking by brushing it with the melted butter, than sprinkling on some cinnamon, cardamom (optional), salt, and pepper. All of these spices are optional, really; but I highly recommend at least the cinnamon, salt, and pepper since they really enhance the flavor of this semi-sweet squash. I then placed the squash face down on a baking sheet, and baked at 375 F for about 30 minutes. The cooking time may vary depending on your squash, but I usually have a soft, tender squash after half an hour.

Mmmm

This gives you ample time to prepare your Israeli couscous stuffing. To start, I first simmered some Israeli couscous in vegetable broth for about 10 minutes. While the couscous simmered, I prepped my other ingredients and started to cook them. I heated a little extra virgin olive oil in a skillet, then added some heavily minced onion (I actually chopped the onion in a blender because I wanted it to cook away into nothing;  this is just a personal preference, since I don’t like onion pieces). After cooking for a couple minutes, I added my minced apple and cooked for a few minutes more, until the apple pieces softened slightly, the peel changed color, and the apple became fragrant. The recipe calls for a tart apple, but I used a Gala apple and still had success. I also left out the red pepper called for in the recipe, simply because I don’t like peppers.

Once the apples were cooked through a bit, I added some ground sage and chopped walnuts. You don’t have to cook these long; just until the walnuts become fragrant. I then turned off the heat, drained my couscous, and added it to the apple mixture, stirring so that the apple and walnuts appeared well-dispersed throughout the couscous. I then added the finishing touch: more olive oil, lemon juice (2 TB of prepared lemon juice is the equivalent to the 1 lemon called for in the recipe), and salt. Once stirred, I set it aside and let it sit while I removed my squash from the oven.

This is also an amazing side dish

The rest is cake from here. I took my acorn squash from the oven and placed it face-up in a bowl, so that the core of the squash was visible. I then spooned the Israeli couscous mixture into the core until full. Voila! An easy, seasonal meal that looks a lot more time-consuming than it really is. Dig in!

Panang Curry with Tofu and Vegetables

It’s never too hot for a good curry!

Panang Curry with Tofu and Vegetables

I really enjoy Thai food, especially a good Panang curry. My boyfriend also absolutely loves Thai; and we’ve gotten many a dinner together at the plethora of Thai places in the DMV area. While I enjoy these restaurants thoroughly, I wanted to try my hand at making my own curry at home. So, I decided to start with my favorite – a simple panang. I found this recipe for panang curry, and while it calls for chicken and fish oil, it seemed not only simple to prepare, but easy enough to modify into a vegetarian dish.

To start, I did some advance prep by cooking up some rice and making some coconut milk. As I mentioned last week, I’ve started making a lot of my own grocery store staples, such as bread and nondairy milk. In the book How it All Vegan, I found a really easy recipe for homemade coconut milk, and decided to give it a try. I am now a convert to homemade coconut milk! Basically, you take 1/2 a cup of shredded coconut (I used dry shredded, which I usually keep around the apartment for baking), add 1 cup of boiling water, blend them together until smooth, and then strain out the coconut bits. That’s it. Really. Why was I spending money on cans again?

The recipe yields about 1 cup of coconut milk. If you measure it out and have less than one cup, add a little water

I kept both the coconut milk and the rice in the fridge until I made my curry that night (the coconut milk will separate when chilled; just shake it up before using).

To start the curry, I first cut up half a block of tofu into small triangles, then fried them in olive oil for about 10 minutes; or the duration of time that it took to make the curry sauce. I’d recommend doing this in both a deep skillet and one with a lid, since the oil will fly up during frying and might hit you! I mostly left the tofu alone while making my curry sauce, with the exception of flipping the triangles over about halfway through. This allowed them to get really nice and crispy on both sides.

Fried triangles of goodness

Up next was the easy part – the sauce. I brought my coconut milk (though the recipe calls for a 14 oz can, I yielded plenty of sauce with the one cup I prepared) to a gentle boil, then added some garlic and red curry paste (as opposed to Panang curry paste), stirring to make a rich sauce. I then added some chopped onion, which I chopped finely as opposed to slicing into strips like the recipe suggests. While the onions simmered in the sauce, I prepped my other veggies and flipped the tofu triangles. After about three minutes, I added sugar, peanut butter (instead of roasted peanuts), sliced carrots, cubed tomato, and dried red pepper flakes (about 1/4 tsp), stirring to get the peanut butter good and incorporated into the sauce. Rather than add the tofu triangles to the sauce, as instructed, I drained the excess oil from my skillet, returned the tofu, and then added the sauce to the warm skillet, keeping the heat on low and allowing the curry to simmer. I’d recommend simmering for at least 5-10 minutes so that it can get nice and flavorful.


This recipe was relatively simple and cheap to prepare, two things I always like when it comes to homemade! Next time I want to add broccoli to the mix, as well as other vegetables. This curry was very delicious on a bed of brown rice. Definitely try making it at home, and save yourself a little money in the process! The recipe yielded about three servings, so you’ll even have leftovers.

Rolled Eggplant with Tofu Ricotta and Fast Homemade Tomato Sauce

Tired of plain old ravioli or lasagna? Try an eggplant roll-up instead!

Rolled Eggplant with Tofu Ricotta and Fast Homemade Tomato Sauce

Eggplant is a vegetable that has slowly grown on me, and a dish that helped the growing process was an Italian meal I had at a B&B in Charlottesville back in May. The dish consisted of thin slices of eggplant that were wrapped around a bundle of ricotta, then served on a bed of fettucini with sun-dried tomatoes. So when I was trying to think of a way to a) make myself a nice dinner, and b) use a small eggplant I’d purchased at the Farmers Market, I decided to try and make my own version of this dish, but without the pasta and without the cheese!

This recipe has four steps and is more involved than most of what I post, but it is definitely worth the time and effort. In all this took me about two hours to prepare (and I’m a slow prepper), from the ricotta to the sauce to the eggplant to the whole kit ‘n caboodle. If you’ve got some time in the evening, definitely use it to make this dish!

The first thing I made was the tomato sauce. Using the basic idea behind my ridiculously easy tomato basil sauce, I blended together half of a fresh tomato, a slice of onion, and two crushed cloves of garlic. You’ll want to blend until the ingredients are smooth, unless you like really chunky sauce on lasagna-esque dishes. I then transferred the sauce to a small saucepan and heated it over medium, adding tomato paste, salt, and pepper to it to deepen both the flavor and the color. I let this simmer while I made my tofu ricotta, which gave it about ten minutes; but you can let it simmer longer if you like! This will yield about one cup of sauce.

I then made my tofu ricotta, which was equally fast and easy. I simply blended some extra firm tofu, almond milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and dried oregano in a blender until the mixture was creamy and smooth. I then placed it in a bowl and let it chill in the fridge until it was ready for my roll-ups. Just a note, this ricotta is flavored heavily with garlic and oregano, so it’s really only suitable for pasta dishes and the like (as opposed to an all-purpose ricotta sub).

This ricotta can also be used in vegan stuffed shells, or doubled to make a vegan lasagna

Now, the eggplant! I used a small eggplant that was about six inches tall and as wide around as a small jelly jar lid. You can make this with a large eggplant, but you may want to cut it in half first before cutting your eggplant strips. Since my eggplant was smaller, I simply cut off the top stem, then sliced vertically into thin, long strips, like the one pictured below.

I then placed each strip on a baking sheet and baked them for eight minutes at 425 F, a time and temperature I got from Appetite for Reduction‘s Eggplant Bacon recipe. After eight minutes I tested for “doneness” by pushing up on each strip with a spatula. If it folded over easily, I put it on a plate; if it was still firm, I flipped it over and baked for three minutes more. The goal is to bake and dehydrate the eggplant strips enough so that they can be easily rolled.

Examples of "done" eggplant strips

Now comes the fun part. To make my eggplant rolls, I first took a strip of eggplant and laid it flat on a plate. I then placed a dollop of tofu ricotta a little ways from one end of the strip, as pictured below. I then folded up the end with less length over the ricotta, then folded the longer end overtop to create a roll-up, sort of like rolling a sleeping bag or wrapping a present. I then placed the roll-up with the two ends down on the pan, so that the roll would stay closed while baking.

Simply repeat this until no eggplant remains (you may have some extra ricotta, which is fine), placing your roll-ups in rows in a baking dish. I then baked the rolls as-is for twenty minutes to cook the eggplant further and get the ricotta nice and hot.

Rolled Eggplant, Round 1

I then covered my baked eggplant rolls with the tomato sauce, and also added some vegan mozzarella cheese (this is entirely optional; I just had some extra from a vegan pizza I made awhile ago) and more dried oregano (also optional but I recommend this more than the vegan cheese) on top. I baked for twenty more minutes, and then at last, it was done!

Rolled Eggplant, Round 2!

This dish is great when you’re looking for a filling Italian dish that’s not loaded with starchy noodles, and also convenient to serve since it’s already prepared as bite-size pieces (so you don’t have to slice it like a lasagna). You can either serve them alone or atop a bed of pasta. It’s got quite a few steps involved but it’s worth it in the end!

Rolled Eggplant with Tofu Ricotta and Fast Homemade Tomato Sauce (Serves 2 or more)

Fast Homemade Tomato Sauce:

½ large tomato or one medium tomato

1 1/4-inch slice yellow onion

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 TB tomato paste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Blend the tomato, onion, and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and heat on medium. Add tomato paste, salt, and pepper, and stir until combined. Once sauce begins to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least ten minutes, until sauce is smooth and a deeper shade of red. Store at room temperature until ready to use. Makes approximately one cup.

Tofu Ricotta:

½ of a 14 oz block extra firm tofu, patted dry (do not press)

1 TB lemon juice

2 TB nondairy milk

2 TB nutritional yeast

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp salt

1-2 tsp dried oregano

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Chill until ready to use.

Eggplant Rolls:

1 small eggplant (or a large eggplant cut in half across the middle before slicing into strips)

Cooking oil/cooking spray

Salt (to taste)

Preheat oven to 425 F and spray a baking sheet with cooking oil. Cut the eggplant into long, thin strips. Place eggplant on baking sheet and spray the tops with more oil; season with salt. Bake for eight minutes. Check the eggplant – if a piece folds easily with a spatula, then transfer it to a plate until ready to roll. Otherwise flip and bake for three minutes more.

Reduce heat to 350 F and spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Take a piece of eggplant, add a tablespoon (or so) of ricotta between the center of the strip and one end. Fold the shorter end over the ricotta, then fold the longer end overtop to create your roll. Place the eggplant roll in the baking dish with the ends down, so the roll is held shut. Repeat until no eggplant remains.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, then cover with all of the tomato sauce. Top with vegan cheese and/or dried oregano if desired. Bake for 20 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Watermelon and Pickled Cucumber Coleslaw

It’s the peak of summer – time to cool down with some coleslaw!

Watermelon and Pickled Cucumber Coleslaw

When I think of summer, I think of outdoor barbeques. And when I think of barbeques, I think of coleslaw. Of course, like many folks, when I think of coleslaw I think of a few strands of slaw mix drowning in mayonnaise and sugar. Not exactly the most appetizing side dish. So when I stocked up on some watermelon and cucumbers from the Farmers Market, and also found a head of local cabbage for sale at Whole Foods, I decided to make my own version of this summer staple, bursting with veggies and not drowning in dressing!

To start, I cut up about seven slices of a large cucumber, about a cup of slices before quartering. I then quartered the slices so they’d be more “bite-size” in this salad. I then put them in a small bowl and covered them with rice vinegar to quickly “pickle” them. I got this technique from Eat This (Not That), and while they recommend using rice vinegar, I’m sure you could use white vinegar or even apple cider vinegar with similar success. I then let the cucumbers sit in the vinegar and “pickle” for 30 minutes. This results in a nice sour cucumber that’s still crisp and fresh, so don’t sub regular pickles that have been pickling for a really long time!

My mom used to slice up a cucumber, soak the slices in vinegar, then season them with cracked pepper and serve them as a side dish. It's so yummy!

The pickling is the longest part of the salad if you’re using pre-sliced watermelon, making the rest of the steps very easy! About halfway through the pickling process, I took a quarter of a large head of cabbage and shredded it. This can either be done with a fancy shredding tool, or by chopping the cabbage into strips, then chopping finely with a chef’s knife by moving over the cabbage in a half-moon motion, like a pendulum swinging over your cabbage. Both techniques result in a great coleslaw texture. I then put the cabbage in a large bowl.

Rather than dowse the cabbage in mayo or even vegan mayo, I decided to keep it light, spicy, and sweet by mixing German mustard with some agave nectar. You could probably use spicy brown mustard as a sub, but this may affect the taste! I then added the dressing to the cabbage, threw in some salt and pepper, and stirred to cover the cabbage. It may seem like there’s not enough, but trust me, it will taste just right!

Fun fact: "col" is the Spanish word for "cabbage"

I then measured out some watermelon chunks. I usually cut up my watermelon right when I buy it, storing the large chunks in the fridge for later use. I highly recommend doing this since it makes enjoying a large watermelon very simple, and it keeps very well in an airtight container! I then cubed the watermelon to make them more bite-size and added them to the cabbage, stirring to get them covered with dressing. I then drained my cucumber slices, added them to the slaw, tossed, and voila! A delicious, healthy coleslaw that’s bursting with fruits and veggies, while not drowning in fat. Everyone wins!

This coleslaw is especially yummy because of all the different flavors happening. The cucumbers are nice and sour, the watermelon is sweet and cold, and the cabbage, in both mustard and agave, is a happy harmony of both sensations. You can either have a big helping as a lunch salad, or serve up smaller portions alongside a grilled portobello burger or other vegetarian barbecue staple. Enjoy!

Watermelon and Pickled Cucumber Coleslaw (Serves 2 or more)

7 slices of cucumber (about 1 cup), measured first, then quartered

Rice vinegar, to cover the cucumbers (about 1/4 to 1/3 a cup)

1 quarter of a head of fresh cabbage

3 TB German mustard

1 TB agave nectar

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup watermelon chunks, measured first, then cubed

Pink pepper, to taste (optional)

Place quartered cucumber slices in a small bowl, then pour rice vinegar over the slices until covered. Let sit for 30 minutes, occasionally shaking the bowl to cover any floating pieces.

Finely chop or shred the cabbage, then place in a large bowl. Whisk together the mustard and agave until smooth, then pour over the cabbage. Add salt and pepper, then mix until the cabbage is evenly coated. If the cucumbers are still pickling, allow the slaw to sit to let the flavors meld.

When the cucumbers are ready, drain them, then add to the slaw. Add your watermelon, then toss to coat and combine with the slaw. When serving, garnish with pink pepper if desired.