Thursday, 5 June 2014

You can't win friends with salad, or can you?

Now that summer is here and we are all out of hibernation, it seems that our social calendar has exploded! Does this happen to anyone else? Increasingly I find myself looking 4-6 weeks ahead to book time to "relax" with friends. Because of this it seems we are always planning everything. My iPhone calendar is synced with my better half and if something doesn't get entered, it literally doesn't exist. What does this have to do with vegan food? Read on, friends!

I'm sure we aren't the only family with a freezer full of veggie burgers and veggie dogs on stand-by for the "Oh shit! I forgot that was tomorrow" BBQ, or the "I'm on strike, I'm not cooking" lunch/dinner. (Or just a regular day - I'm not judging!) But if you're anything like me (God help you and your family...) veggie burgers and veggie dogs just don't hit the spot on their own. So today I am going to talk about my favourite side dishes that are easy to make large batches of on the fly. We all know that while

Potato Salad:
There are so many types of potato salad, how do I choose? Let's start with my basic rules. 

1. Potatoes!
Red skinned potatoes are my fave, so they are all I work with. I'm sure there are others, but they pale in comparison and aren't worthy of my attention.  I'm stubborn like that. And by stubborn, I mean awesome.

2. Texture!
I hate pasty, mushy potato salad. I like there to be a ratio of 4:1 for firm potato to mushed potato. In addition, I also require crunch and another variable texture. Acceptable add-ins to achieve the desired texture(s) include, but are not limited to; green onions, red onions, chopped jalapenos, corn, relish, chopped dill pickle, chopped peppers and chopped kale.
Tip: BBQ the corn, peppers or jalapenos to add extra depth!

3. Flavour & Colour!
The only thing that rivals pasty, mushy potato salad for the worst ever is pasty, mushy, flavourless potato salad. Lucky for you, if you're reading this post and are taking my advice to heart, you've added texture from my handy-dandy list which also conveniently adds flavour AND colour. Damn you're good. 

4. Sauce!
If you read the last post, you know what sauce means to me. It can make or break the potato salad. I have good news, and bad news. Much to the chagrin of my family, I've never made the same potato salad twice. Partly because when I make it I'm using up the dregs of the fridge (appetizing huh?) but more accurately because I'm not paying attention. The good news is that every time I've made it it's been delicious! A good potato salad dressing MUST include the following: Vegenaise, Mustard (Dijon, Bold 'n Spicy, Plain, etc.) and apple cider vinegar. Just close your eyes, spoon indiscriminately and  hope for the best!

Creamy or vinaigrette? I'm 50/50 on this one. If it's creamy, it must have raisins and heat, though. Check out my recipe from my previous blog post for Jalapeno Wasabi Slaw. As a bonus, that's also my rib recipe link. 
The thing about vinaigrette's is that they require a lot of sugar. Unless you like to pucker up from the vinegar, but I for one can't afford any more wrinkles! I think I lied to you. I just changed my vote to creamy all the way!

Coleslaw isn't always ideal for making the day that company is coming because it often tastes a heck of a lot better the next day. But in a pinch, dress your slaw, put it in a sealed container and flip upside down to store. That way there's less mixing to do when you turn it upright. 

Chick'n Salad
This is actually a recipe that I find revolting, but my family loves it. In the interest of freedom and democracy and all that other good stuff, here goes...but don't way I didn't warn you. It's also super quick and easy to make.  President's Choice makes vegan chick'n breasts. You can bake, broil, BBQ, microwave or fry them. Once cooked, you can either hand tear them or chop them into 1" cubes. Here comes the texture, colour and flavour again! Salt and pepper the plain chick'n. Add in chopped red onions, green relish and stir well. Now mix in vegenaise, mustard and a healthy bounty of fresh dill. Eat alone or on sandwiches. Enjoy!

Cold Rolls <-- This is an old post of mine. Cold rolls are a solid go-to because you can fill them with anything you've got. Glass noodles, veggies, pickled ginger. Go nuts. 

Raw Beet Citrus Salad: <-- This has been a fave recipe of mine for years. If you don't already know, shredded raw beets are the bomb. So sweet and crunchy, and the orange pairs amazingly. 

Moroccan Carrot Salad <-- This is another great salad if you want to try something different. The combination of spices are sure to please a mature crowd :)

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