sesame sprout salad

March 25, 2012

sesame sprout salad, vegan salad, vgourmet, ruth richardson, asian noodle salad

This is a cooling, refreshing noodle salad with a bit of heat from the chile peppers. It’s loaded with raw vegetables, fresh herbs, and sesame seeds which makes it both simple and complex. It’s simple in its preparation and list of ingredients; it’s complex in its flavours and the way everything comes together. And with micro-greens popping up in gardens mid-March (!) with this early, early spring, you can add a homegrown element to it as well.

1 package rice noodles

2 medium carrots

1 cucumber

1/2 red onion, sliced very finely

1 small red chile pepper, chopped finely

1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped finely

1 cup sprouts, radish, bean, alfalfa

small bunch cilantro, chopped

small bunch mint, chopped

3 scallions, chopped on the diagonal

1 tbsp black sesame seeds

2 tbsps rice vinegar

2 tbsps soy sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp sesame oil

4 tbsps peanut oil

2 tbsps olive oil

bunch micro-greens for garnish

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the rice noodles and cook for 3 minutes until they are done. Drain, rinse noodles under cold water, and set aside.

Meanwhile, slice the carrot and cucumber as finely as possible with a mandolin, knife, or better yet, vegetable peeler. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add onion, chile pepper, ginger root, sprouts, cilantro, mint, scallions, and the cooked noodles.

In a separate bowl, combine black sesame seeds, rice vinegar, soy sauce, minced garlic, and sesame, peanut,  and olive oils. Mix well.

Pour dressing over the noodle mixture and toss gently until everything is mixed and coated nicely with the dressing. Place in a serving bowl and top with micro-greens like sunflower sprouts or miniature arugula.

This is kind of a funny story. Last fall on a dreary, cold night I pulled out a recipe for salad dressing, made it, loved it, got the super-endorsement from Bekah, and then promptly forgot where I had found the recipe. I looked everywhere. Riffled through each and every cookbook I owned. Nowhere to be found. Every couple of months I would look again because it was driving me crazy (and because Bekah was on my case!). I finally gave up, deciding I had dreamt it. Well, finally on Sunday night I found it again in vegan yum yum. And I’m promptly posting it so that I never lose it again and so that you, too, my trusty followers, can enjoy its nuances. Great on a tender green salad with cranberries, toasted pecans, and sliced pear. But be creative. And enjoy.

This recipe doesn’t make much. I would double it and keep a jar in the fridge.

3 tbsps veganaise (or other vegan mayonnaise)

3 1/2 tsps balsamic vinegar

4 tsps toasted sesame oil

3 tsps dijon mustard

3 tbsps maple syrup

1/2 tsp salt

fresh pepper to taste

8 tbsps olive oil

Mix together the mayo, vinegar, sesame oil, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl while whisking vigourously to emulsify. The oil should blend completely into the dressing and it should thicken nicely. Taste and adjust if necessary. Serve or refrigerate.

asian noodle salad

April 10, 2011

I’m dedicating this recipe to Noah, our friends’ 15 year old son. He’s their devoted steak-frites eldest son and he announced last month that he’s gone veggie. Right on Noah! Bring it on. This recipe is for you – it’s easy, fresh, quick, healthy, and delicious. A recipe every 15 year old should have in their repertoire. And, for the rest of you, when you hear someone say “I could never do that, I like steak too much,” tell them about Noah. If he can do it, anybody can.

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

1 garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger

200 gram package rice noodles

1 cup coarsely shredded carrot

3 scallions, cut crosswise into thirds and thinly sliced lengthwise

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

bunch cilantro, chopped

Cook rice noodles in a large pot of boiling water until just tender, then drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool. Meanwhile, mix together soy sauce, vinegar, oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, and ginger. Toss noodles with dressing, carrot, scallions, sesame seeds, and cilantro  in a large bowl. Garnish with a little extra cilantro and serve.

This is a really nice warm winter salad. Warm salads are under-rated, especially during a Canadian winter in the doldrums of February but maybe with more salads like this one – comforting, nutritious, colourful, tasty, and filling – they will get their due. This salad is nice on its own for lunch or a light dinner. It would also be nice as a side if you are serving other veggies, or beside non-vegan entrees for the meat-lovers (pork in particular me thinks). It takes no time to whip up and will please both the nose and the taste buds with its light middle eastern earthiness.

1/2 cup light olive oil

1 head cauliflower, separated into florets

1 tsp ground cumin

6 large swiss chard leaves, chopped into strips

1 red onion, cut into slices

2 garlic cloves, minced

14-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup tahini

3 tbsps lemon juice

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

sea salt

Put the oil in a heavy skillet and heat. Add the cauliflower florets and saute until golden brown, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add the cumin and cook stirring for another minute. Add the swiss chard, onion, and garlic to the skillet and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes. Add the chickpeas and stir. Season to taste with salt.

Combine the tahini, lemon juice, and pepper in a small bowl and add a little salt to taste. Whisk to combine. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and drizzle the dressing over the top. Serve warm.

Adapted from market vegetarian by Ross Dobson.

lentil salad two ways

August 8, 2010

vgourmet, Ruth Richardson, vegan lentil salad

Lentil Salad with Cumin Mustard Dressing

I was craving lentil salad the other day and started going through my cookbooks to find one that would totally hit the spot. This was harder than I expected, as it turned out, since my craving wasn’t just any craving – it was specific to a mustardy-cumin-infused-shallot-rich-lentil-salad-perfect-for-lunches kind of taste. So, as is my tendency, I decided to take about 4 recipes and mash them up until I had one that seemed to me to be the perfect answer to my craving. It was pretty close. I would still like to tweak it a bit but I left the lunch table totally satisfied, and happy that there were left-overs for the next day.


2 cups du puys lentils

6 cups water

2 bay leaves

2 tsps fresh thyme

3 cloves garlic, peeled


Variety vegetables, finely chopped and sauteed


1 shallot

3 tbsps sherry vinegar

2 tsps dijon

2 tbsps lemon juice

1 1/2 tsps cumin

3/4 cup olive oil

Rinse the lentils. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the lentils, water, bay leaves, thyme, and garlic to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, choose a variety of vegetables (I used what happened to be in the fridge – 3 yellow carrots, a yellow zucchini, a small leek, 2 ears of fresh corn), chopped finely and saute in olive oil until just tender. Set aside.

Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Remove the garlic, mash it, and set it aside for the dressing.

For the dressing, chop shallots finely and soak in sherry vinegar and a little salt for at least 15 minutes or longer to sweeten the shallots. Add dijon, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper, and the mashed garlic set aside from the lentils. Mix well. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil as you whisk briskly.

When lentils are cool, toss with the sauteed vegetables and dressing. Adjust seasoning and serve at room temperature.

Andrea’s Assiniboine Salad with herbs

Last summer we went to Calgary to visit friends. In an attempt to accommodate my growing vegan-like diet they made a lentil salad for dinner one night. We had left-overs so we brought it with us to Mount Assiniboine Lodge where we were headed for the long weekend. To this day, every time I eat it I think of how much fun we had, how much I love those guys, and how much we wish they could live closer! Funny that. Food is such an emotional thing with so many deep associations. I don’t know where the recipe is from but, to me, it will always be Andrea’s Assiniboine Salad.

2 cups green lentils

1-2  carrots, diced

1  onion, diced

1 bay leaf

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 medium bell peppers, roasted

2 tsp mint, chopped

3 tbsps fresh herbs – parsley, marjoram, cilantro, basil, thyme, chopped

8 oz feta (optional)

Lemon Vinaigrette

juice of one lemon

1/4 tsp paprika

pinch cayenne pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp sea salt

6-8 tbsps olive oil

Cook lentils in water with carrots, onions, bay leaf, garlic and salt. Drain when lentils are soft. Add chopped roasted peppers, chopped mint, herbs and feta. Toss with lemon vinaigrette. Serve and enjoy warm or cold.

I got this from my brother-in-law, Eric, the other day who works for Kindred Spirit Catering. My sister raved about it so, naturally, I asked for the recipe so I could try it out and bring it to you, my trusty readers. Eric is a total natural with food and makes some mean, unpretentious fare. I’ve written about him before as he’s the creator behind the Parsnip and Celery Root Puree (with cardamom and vanilla I might add!), and the one who roasted the unbelievable lamb last Christmas. I tried this one last night and it’s a keeper for sure. It’s healthy, it tastes good, it keeps well, it’s got a nice balance of sweet and spicy, and it lends itself well to substitutions (for example I used fresh shelling peas from Prince Edward County instead of edamame; fresh arugula instead of spinach). Cook this, enjoy, and feel like a million bucks. Thanks Eric!

1 package of soba noodles

2 cups edamame, shelled

1 cup wakame seaweed

1/2 cup green onion, diced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/4 Thai basil, chopped

1 cup alfalfa sprouts

1 cup baby spinach

1 tsp red chili flakes

2 tbsps sesame seeds


1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsps sesame oil

3 tbsps tamari soy sauce

1 cup olive oil

1 tbsp ginger, minced

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 tbsp sweet chili sauce

Cook soba noodles according to the instructions on the package. Refresh under cold water. Steam edamame beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Refresh under cold water. Soak wakame seaweed in cold water for 5 minutes until it expands and becomes soft. Drain thoroughly and squeeze out excess water. Combine with other salad ingredients in a bowl and toss lightly to mix evenly.

For the vinaigrette, place all ingredients other than the olive oil in a food processor. Turn machine on and slowly drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify the mixture. Drizzle salad with the vinaigrette and toss gently. Top with cilantro or parsley and serve.

I was at my new favourite cafe the other day – it’s called The Rooster Coffee House and it’s fabulous. Well worth a trip to Riverdale if you’re in the general Toronto area. Anyhow, back on topic, I was sipping a soya milk latte with my mom and noticed in their stack of books the new Moosewood cookbook called Cooking for Health: more than 200 new vegetarian and vegan recipes for delicious and nutrient-rich dishes. Naturally I asked to borrow it. I posted their super yummy Pear and Thyme Vinaigrette the other day. Today I’m posting a quinoa and sweet potato dish that is pleasing to the eye, taste-buds, nose, soul, and stomach. You gotta try it out. And I just had it for lunch so I can testify to the fact that it’s as good, if not better, the next day so make lots.

3/4 cup quinoa

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup diced onions

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups diced, peeled sweet potatoes

1 2/3 cups water

2 cups lightly packed finely chopped greens (chard, spinach etc.)

2 tbsps toasted pine nuts

1/4 currants

1 tbsp minced green onion

1 tbsp lemon juice

salt and ground black pepper

1. Rinse and drain the quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer to remove any residue of the grains’ bitter coating.

2. Warm the oil in a covered pan. Add the onions and salt and cook on low heat, stirring now and then, until the onions are transparent, about 8 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, water, and drained quinoa, cover, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat. Stir well and add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Just before removing from the heat, stir in the greens, pine nuts, currants, green onions, and lemon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.