Well, I made it through all 21 days (23 days, actually) of the vegan kickstart. I was pretty pleased with that, since I was really only trying to see how long I could last without cheese. And now I know.
Now that I'm back to being a regular old vegetarian, I decided to attempt a knockoff of California Dreaming's Hot Vegetable Salad. Mind you, I've never tried it; I was planning to order it at my office's holiday luncheon in 2009 but ended up spending that day at home sick. Anyhoo, we've had a bunch of produce in the fridge for the past week and I was starting to fret about what to do with all of it when, somehow, I was reminded of this salad. Mine's not exactly the same (I didn't have any green beans or hearts of palm on hand), but that's all right because the recipe lends itself well to adaptations.
Hot Vegetable Salad:
1 tbsp Earth Balance
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 yellow squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
6-7 ounces fresh spinach leaves
1 vine-ripened tomato, diced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp shredded Asiago cheese
1 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
Heat Earth Balance and 1 tbsp olive oil in nonstick pan over medium heat. Add squash, peppers and garlic and saute until peppers begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add artichokes, salt, pepper and thyme and continue to cook until peppers and squash are tender but not mushy, another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, combine salt, pepper, lemon juice and remaining olive oil in a bowl. Add the dressing to the spinach leaves and tomato and toss well. Place the spinach and tomato on two 9-inch plates, cover each bed of spinach with half of the cooked vegetables and top each salad with equal amounts of Parmesan and Asiago.
Did I mention that it's equally tasty and easy to put together? This is easily one of my shortest blog posts that actually contained a recipe!
Give this a try whenever you have a bunch of veggies you don't have any ideas for. Maybe even use some of your veggies in the salad and some in a soup recipe on a soup-and-salad night! If you happen to have veggies (hot or cold) left over from the salad, maybe use them in a wrap the next day with a little more cheese (and/or some drained and rinsed chickpeas or cannellini beans). So many possibilities!
Have a great week, and hopefully I'll see some you (in the Columbia area) at the Ray Tanner Home Run next week!