Tag Archives: vegan cream cheese

A Tale of Two Salads

Between having guests over on Friday evening, going to a picnic on Saturday, and our usual Sunday brunch-at-home, I feel like I’ve been spending every other hour of my weekend in the kitchen. Which, at least some weekends, is exactly how I like to be spending my time.

I don’t like going empty handed to any function, especially a picnic, so I thought I would whip up two cold salads and then cross my fingers and hope that they would remain tasty even after surpassing room temperature in the outdoor heat. I really need to invest in a proper cooler and cold packs if I’m going to be traveling with food. Luckily for this time around, both dishes survived the mugginess.

The first salad I made was a white bean, radish, and pea salad that was a modified variation of a member-submitted recipe on Chow. The radishes we had gotten in our first CSA had long since been devoured but we still had the half pound of pea pods. Everything else was simple stuff that I had on hand, substituting vegan cream cheese for the recommended tablespoon of yogurt.

The second salad was an improvisation based on both an orzo salad they commonly serve at Zenith and a suggestion from Mike on what to do with all the CSA garlic scapes we had received. The result was a garlicky pesto salad with a touch of oregano. I think it could have used more black pepper, but it was still pretty good. The recipe works the same whatever kind of pesto you want to make, so go with whatever you have on hand. Want an added crunch? Throw in about a half of cup of pine nuts. For non-vegans, a little Parmesan really gives this salad an extra boost of flavor.

White Bean, Radish and Pea Salad

– One shallot, minced
– 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
– 3 tsp lemon juice
– 1 tbsp vegan cream cheese
– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 15 ounce can navy beans, drained and rinsed
– 3 –  5 radishes, thinly sliced
– 1/2 pound pea pods, cut in bite-sized chunks
– 2 tsp dried dill
– Tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely minced (optional)
– Salt and pepper

– In a bowl, combine shallot, vinegar, oil, lemon juice, and vegan cream cheese. Toss the veggies and herbs in the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined then chill for at least an hour.

Orzo with Garlic Pesto

– Half pound of garlic scapes, chopped
– 2 tsp fresh oregano
– 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
– Garlic pepper seasoning (to taste)
– 1 pound orzo, cooked as directed on box
– 3 tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
– 1 zucchini, cut into bite-sized chunks

– In a food processor or blender, process the garlic, oregano, and olive oil until smooth. Add the garlic pepper to taste. Toss pesto with orzo, tomatoes, and zucchini, until pasta and veggies are well coated. Allow to chill for at least one hour.

Good Morning, French Toast!

It’s not often I find myself craving a big breakfast midweek. Weekends are perfect for breakfast productions – you can wake up later, spend more time in the kitchen, and thusly, spend more time enjoying what you’ve made. Weekdays, at least for me, are the kind of get out and go mornings that make a thoughtful, hearty breakfast much more difficult to manage.

The other problem I usually have with breakfast is, unlike many lunches and dinners, you’re less likely to have breakfast leftovers that can be enjoyed the next morning when you don’t have as much time to stop and make something to eat.

Not that any of this should stop one from eating a hearty breakfast. If a bowl of instant oatmeal and an apple is your breakfast, that’s probably enough (add in a glass of orange juice and some nuts for added protein, and that’s a fairly balanced breakfast). But if you’re craving something a bit more decadent, a bit more… special for your weekday breakfast, I suggest preparing the following recipe in advance the night before, then putting it in the oven the minute you get out of bed.

I’ll Wake Up Early for This
Apples & Cream French Toast Casserole

From post-gazette.com


– 2 1/2 cups silken tofu
– 1 cup packed brown sugar
– 1/2 cup vegan margarine
– 2 tbsp corn syrup (can substitute maple)
– 4-6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced.
– 1 loaf French Bread, day old, cubed
– 8 ounces vegan cream cheese
– 1 1/2 cups soymilk
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (opt.)

– In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and margarine. Keep stirring until sugar is dissolved, then pour into a greased 13X9-inch baking dish.

– Place apple slices in baking dish. Put half the bread on top of the apples, then add the cream cheese (don’t be worried about a smooth layer, you can just dot it all over), then the rest of the bread on top. Process the tofu, soymilk, and vanilla, then pour on top of the baking dish.

– If you want to stop here, go ahead and tightly wrap the baking dish in foil and refrigerate overnight. Try to remove 15 to 30 minutes before baking.

– For baking: set oven at 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, for 50 – 60 minutes.

My suggestion: set alarm early, get up, remove casserole from fridge, pre-heat oven. Go back to bed for fifteen to thirty minutes. Come back, put dish in oven, set timer for 50 minutes, then go about your morning routine. By the time you’re showered, dressed, and ready to go… well, you might still have a while to wait. Hence the getting up early part which, I admit, sucks.

(recipe veganized and adapted from Taste of Home)