5 vegan ways to use up your Summer Tomatoes

Summer TomatoesLately I have been buying tomatoes every week at the Farmer’s Market. They look so colorful and delicious, and I know they will be gone for Fall soon. Because I have been buying so many tomatoes I have been coming up with various ways to use up these end of summer tomatoes. Here are my 5 favorite ways to use up summer tomatoes:

Summer Tomatoes

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

I loosely followed this recipe. I mixed the garlic, dried herbs and red chili flakes with the tomatoes before they went in the oven. I love the flavor of roasted garlic! This sauce was simple and delicious over pasta.

Summer Tomatoes

Vegan BLT

The classic sandwich is a great way to use heirloom tomatoes. I use the vegan bacon from Sweet Earth (apparently this is available at Target now!) for my BLT. You may notice I have mustard in my sandwich…I don’t like mayo in my sandwiches…EVER. I also used arugula because I had some on hand after making my Apple Arugula Salad.

Summer Tomatoes

Bruschetta

I have been enjoying bruschetta all summer long. You can use either cherry, plum or heirloom tomatoes in the recipe. Also if you have basil left over make a quick pesto. Spread your toasted bread with pesto before topping with the bruschetta.

Summer Tomatoes

Fresh Pomodoro Sauce

I followed this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis. I loved the technique of grating large tomatoes into the sauce. I substituted cashew cream for the ricotta and just added salt to taste to replace the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cashew Cream is 1/3 cup of cashews blended with 1 cup of water. Start with 1/2 cup of cashew cream in this recipes and add more to taste if needed.

Summer Tomatoes

Salsa

Fresh Salsa is a great way to use summer tomatoes…mostly because it means you get to eat more chips! I also use my fresh salsa on burritos, quesadillas and tacos. Pico de Gallo is another great summer tomato use up.

Summer Tomatoes

What is your favorite way to use up end of summer tomatoes?

Arugula Apple Salad celebrating Fall

Apple Arugula SaladIt is finally feeling like fall might be on its way in the Bay Area. After a sweltering heat wave last week cooler temperatures are welcome. I love the warm weather and long days of summer, but by the end of September heat waves (which happen every year) I’m ready for fall. To celebrate fall’s arrival I made my favorite Arugula Apple Salad. The sweet fall apples combined with peppery arugula and piquant dressing make this a great side salad for your favorite cooler weather dishes or soups.

Apple Arugula Salad

This salad and dressing is incredibly simple to make. There aren’t many ingredients in the salad itself, just apples, arugula and almonds, but they are full of flavor and texture.

I love the piquant flavor of the dressing that comes from the vinegar, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. I use olive oil as my oil of choice, but you can use walnut oil as well. If you use walnut oil substitute walnuts for the slivered almonds as well. I also use a 50/50 ratio of “vinegar” to oil. You can add an additional 1-2 Tablespoons of oil is you prefer a less piquant dressing.

Apple Arugula Salad

 

This is definitely a side salad and not a main dish. Here are a list of main dishes this salad pairs well with:

Main Dish Serving Suggestions

If you want to make the salad a bit heartier add baked or smoked tofu cubes. I have taken this salad to work with me for lunch and added tofu to make it more filling.

Apple Arugula Salad

Hope you give this Arugula Apple Salad a try. It is a great way to welcome fall!

Arugula Apple Salad
 
Fresh, crisp fall apples combine with peppery arugula and a piquant dressing for a delicious side salad.
Ingredients
  • SALAD:
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups arugula
  • ¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • DRESSING:
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Place arugula, sliced apples and sliced almonds in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a jar add all dressing ingredients. Shake until well combined.
  3. Pour half the dressing on salad. Toss and add more dressing as desired. Serve.
Notes
Add baked or smoked tofu cubes to make a heartier salad.

 

Meatless Monday: Lemon Herb Vegan Pasta Salad

Lemon Pasta SaladWe had a block party recently and I wanted to bring a pasta salad. I was going to make my hearty pasta salad with Field Roast, but it was hot out and I decided I wanted something a bit lighter and fresher. I came up with a vegan pasta salad with a lemon vinaigrette and lots of fresh herbs. The salad was a big hit. It can be a Meatless Monday lunch or light dinner. The leftovers are fantastic.

Lemon Pasta Salad

The salad is a mix of cooked and raw components. I sauteed 4 squash in a hot cast iron skillet. The idea is to get the outside crisp without turning the squash to mush. You could also use a hot grill if you like.

Lemon Pasta Salad

For the herbs I used mint and parsley. Basil would also be delicious here, but unfortunately my basil had gone bad before I had time to use it. If you are like my sister, who hates anything mint related, you can leave out the mint.

Use shallots or sliced green onions if raw onions are too intense for you.

Lemon Pasta Salad

Any small pasta will work in this salad. I used some cute little gnochetti that I found at the store. I love how the little pockets in the pasta held onto the dressing.

Lemon Pasta Salad

Lemon Herb Pasta Salad
 
A light, refreshing pasta salad filled with end-of-summer vegetables and herbs.
Ingredients
  • Salad
  • 4 small Squash (mix of zucchini and yellow squash)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup sliced green olives
  • ¼ cup minced mint
  • ½ cup minced Italian parsley
  • 12 oz short pasta, cooked
  • Dressing
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 TB white wine vinegar
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp dijon
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice squash lengthwise. Add oil to a cast iron skillet or large pan over medium high heat. Place slices of squash into pan. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Flip squash over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan. Squash should be browned on both sides. Chop squash into a large dice.
  2. DRESSING: In a small pan heat ¼ cup of olive oil over low heat. Add garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Do not brown, just warm, garlic. Add warmed garlic and oil to a large bowl. Add in white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Stir together with a small whisk.
  3. In large bowl with the dressing add cooked squash, red onion, green olives, mint, parsley and cooked pasta. Toss with dressing. Start by adding half of the dressing, taste and add more as needed.

 

Vegan Sprinkle Cookies

Vegan Sprinkle CookiesLike most kids Trey loves sprinkles. He often sees treats in bakeries covered with sprinkles, but they are rarely vegan. I wanted to create soft vegan sprinkle cookies that look like some of those treats. I kept these soft since most of my other sugar cookie recipes make a crisp cookie designed for decorating.

Vegan Sprinkle Cookies

My great-aunts used to make soft sour cream cookies with sprinkles for us as kids and I was thrilled these vegan sprinkle cookies have a similar taste and texture.

Sprinkles that are not full of artificial colorings can be hard to find. I have purchased the India Tree brand at Whole Foods in the past and liked them, although they are expensive.  **UPDATE – a kind reader, Paula, asked me about confectioners glaze in sprinkles. I had no idea confectioners glaze is usually not vegan. With that information I’ll be using Let’s Do Organics Sprinkles which are vegan. Thanks for the heads up Paula**

Vegan Sprinkle Cookies

I was inspired by a recipe I saw on Sally’s Baking Addiction. It was fairly simple to veganize and the results are delicious. I’m planning to bring these to Trey’s next class party.

Vegan Sprinkle Cookies
 
Soft and colorful vegan sprinkle cookies. Perfect for classroom parties or any festive occasion.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Vegan Butter, softened
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Soy Yogurt, unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 and ⅔ cups Flour
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • ½ cup Sprinkles, plus more for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. Cream vegan butter and sugar together. Stir in yogurt and vanilla. Set Aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cornstarch. Once combined mix liquid mixture into flour mixture. Stir completely. Add in sprinkles. Place dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out 1 Tablespoon size balls of cookie dough and place on cooking sheet. Press a few additional sprinkles on top of each ball of dough.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on baking pan and then place on cooling rack.

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Meatless Monday: Sesame Crunch Salad

Sesame Crunch Salad
During a recent hot spell I actually paid attention to the weather and made a refreshing, meal-sized salad for dinner. When I make salad for dinner I need to make sure it is filling enough for my husband and Trey. Generally they need more dense food to feel full than I do. In this salad I add tofu, almonds, sesame seeds and sesame crackers to all of the vegetables to make this salad meal-worthy.
Sesame Crunch Salad
I marinated tofu that I cut into cubes in teriyaki sauce. I used teriyaki sauce I had leftover from my teriyaki bowls. I let it marinate for a few hours and then sauted the tofu with the marinade in a large cast iron skillet. I let the tofu get fairly crispy because, like my Mom, I love burned food! If you don’t have teriyaki sauce on hand use the Simplest Tofu Marinade from Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Families.
If you, or your family, are not into tofu you can also marinate chickpeas with either teriyaki sauce or Dreena’s marinade. Place the marinated chickpeas in a large baking dish lined with parchment. Bake them for 20 minutes at 375 degrees, stirring them at least once while they cook.
Sesame Crunch Salad
To add additional crunch I used Sesame Rice Crackers from Whole Foods. My mom used to make a similar salad with broken up ramen noodles, but the all-natural ramen noodles don’t have the same texture as their more processed counterparts. I found the broken up Sesame Crackers add additional crunch and flavor that works well.
Sesame Crunch Salad
For the dressing I used Trey’s favorite dressing from Dreena Burton. Her Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan was the first salad dressing Trey liked when he was a toddler. This dressing also works really well if you are looking to make a side salad with Mexican or Asian meals.
Meatless Monday: Sesame Crunch Salad
 
Vegan Sesame Crunch Salad filling enough for a Meatless Monday meal. Packed with veggies, proteins and healthy fats.
Ingredients
  • 10 oz Tofu, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon Canola Oil
  • 1 cup Teriyaki Sauce
  • 4 cups Napa Cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 cups Romaine Hearts, sliced thin
  • 2 small Cucumbers, julienned
  • 2 small Carrots, peeled and juliened
  • 4 Scallions, sliced thin
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, minced
  • ¼ cup Slivered Almonds, browned
  • ¼ cup, crushed Sesame Rice Crackers
  • 2 TB Sesame Seeds, toasted
  • Dressing of choice (see note)
Instructions
  1. Toss cubed tofu in teriyaki sauce. Marinate for 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
  2. Add canola oil to a large skillet on Medium High heat. Add marinated tofu and saute for 10 minutes, until tofu is browned. Stir frequently. After tofu has browned remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine all ingredients, including cooked tofu. Toss with dressing of choice.
  4. Serve!
Notes
I like to use this Cumin Cinnamon Vinaigrette

Mini Lime Coconut Pound Cakes

lime coconut pound cakeLime and coconut are one of my favorite flavor combinations. After successfully making a Lemon Bundt Cake with a pound cake like texture I decided to make mini lime coconut pound cakes using a similar recipe. The flavor is an ideal balance of citrus, tropical and sweet.

lime coconut pound cake

To make these mini pound cakes I used a mini loaf pan I bought on Amazon a few years ago. I really love this pan. It was priced a bit higher than other pans I have seen, but the higher quality is very evident. I have used it to make mini banana breads, mini coffee cakes and mini blueberry cakes. You can use a larger loaf pan if you don’t have a mini loaf pan. Adjust the cooking time to 50-55 minutes.

lime coconut pound cake

Be sure to add the lime zest in the glaze. It adds a great pop of lime flavor which is the perfect contrast to the otherwise sweet glaze. These lime coconut pound cakes are an ideal dessert after a meal of spicy food like Indian or Mexican. They also work well as a sweet component for a brunch. Enjoy!

lime coconut pound cake

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Mini Lime Coconut Pound Cakes
 
Miniature vegan lime coconut pound cakes that can be served for brunch or dessert.
Ingredients
  • CAKE:
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Finely Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Lime Zest
  • ½ cup Vegan Butter (such as Earth Balance), softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ⅓ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Almond or Soy Milk, unsweetened
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Coconut Extract (optional)
  • ¾ cup plain Vegan Yogurt, unsweetened if possible
  • GLAZE:
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1 teaspoons Lime Zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a mini loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and lime zest. Stir until combined and set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl beat together the vegan butter and sugars until well combined. Stir in almond milk, lime juice, vanilla extract and yogurt.
  4. Add the liquid mixture to flour mixture. Thoroughly combine.
  5. Fill each mini loaf tin ⅔ of the way full with batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until loaves are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cakes cool for 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pan and let cool completely.
  7. Once cakes are completely cooled prepare the glaze. Stir lime juice into powdered sugar. Stir in lime zest. Once it forms a pourable glaze pour over the middle of each loaf. The glaze should run down the sides of each cake.