Recipe: Mexican Bean Salad

My sister recently moved and, on Friday, I visited her new domicile for a quiet housewarming party. This caused me to freak out slightly:

@alevtina: 'Dinner at my sister's house means I have to frantically text her to remind her not to unnecessarily include cheese/milk in her dishes.'

The fact that my veganism causes others to have to change their dinner plans is kinda sucky. So I immediately texted her back and said I’d be bringing vegan desserts for everyone to enjoy. In the end, not only did I bring sweets from the amazing Clementine Bakery in the Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn but I also brought a nutrient-packed salad that I threw together in about 30 minutes. I’ve been on a Mexican kick lately (I love Mexican food!) so I created this bean and avocado salad:

Ingredients

  • 15-oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 15-oz can sweet corn kernels, drained
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded & chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the drained & rinsed beans and corn.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, red onion, scallions, and jalapeño to the bowl.
  3. Now it’s time to add the chopped avocado.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, using as much or as little as you like. (I like a lot of black pepper!)
  5. Add the lime zest and juice.
  6. Add olive oil and vinegar.
  7. Toss everything to coat evenly.
  8. Add the finely chopped cilantro and mix well.
  9. Enjoy!

This makes one large bowl of salad, enough to accommodate 8 people as a side. (Perhaps six people can partake if serving the salad as a main dish.) It’s hearty enough to be used as filling for tacos (you’ll just need some warm tortillas) or served simply with a side of tortilla chips. Or on its own! It’s delicious and so good for you.

In fact, it’s so yummy that I recreated it for lunch on Saturday. Now I have enough salad to feed me for days!

Recipe: Vegan cast iron pizza

I made a delicious pizza for dinner tonight. I cheated and used frozen pizza dough, though… so all I really did was assemble ingredients and add heat. It turned out really well but I’m sure it would’ve been even better with a handmade crust! My version is vegan so it fulfills my diet requirements while satisfying my pizza cravings. If you make it, feel free to use whatever toppings you want and top with the shredded cheese of your choosing (Mozzarella, most likely).

Equipment
Well-seasoned cast iron skillet, 10 or 12 inches in diameter

Ingredients
(measurements are estimated because I just winged it — adjust to your own tastes!)

    Vegan cast iron pizza

  • 1 ball pizza dough (thawed overnight, if frozen)
  • 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 4 pieces quartered marinated artichoke hearts
  • 3 baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper (green), sliced thinly
  • 1 Roma tomato, sliced thinly
  • 1 handful of leaves of fresh basil, sliced or ripped into bite-size pieces
  • Olive oil for brushing

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce and spices (including the nutritional yeast, if using it).
  3. Roll the dough into a large circle. Line cold cast iron skillet with the dough. (No need to coat the pan with oil if skillet is seasoned!) If there’s more dough than skillet, cut off excess dough (leaving an inch or two along the sides) and fold/press down the edges to create the crust. Brush dough with olive oil.
  4. Add a light coating of seasoned tomato sauce.
  5. Layer with your toppings in the order given (first artichokes, then mushrooms, etc.) except the basil.
  6. Heat skillet on a high flame for 3 minutes to get the pan piping hot.
  7. Place skillet in preheated oven for 18 minutes, until the crust is a golden brown.
  8. Remove the pizza with a spatula (it should slide right out!), top with the basil, and cool on a rack for 3 minutes. (The lack of cheese means no gooey hotness to burn the roof of your mouth! Score! If you’re using cheese, though, let cool for a few more minutes.)
  9. Cut into slices and enjoy!

I couldn’t roll out the dough very much (no rolling pin and no upper-body strength) so it made a very small pizza. I sliced it into four relatively large pieces and ate two for dinner. The remaining two slices will be reheated tomorrow for dinner… or perhaps for lunch. Mmm! So tasty, I’m tempted to eat the rest right now. Om nom nom nom nom…

Many thanks to Nick at Macheesmo for the inspiration with his cast iron skillet pizza recipe! His pizza looks amazing and I’m sure it has something to do with his handmade crust. Next time I decide to make pizza, I’m going to try his pizza dough recipe, too.

On a totally unrelated note, I love Better Off Ted. I’m sad it wasn’t popular while it was in production–it was canceled too early! Two seasons was not enough. If you’ve never seen it, check it out on Netflix–it’s available to watch instantly.

On to greener pastures

Tonight’s dinner:

  • Roasted Asparagus (Veganomicon, pp. 30-31)
  • Mashed Potatoes (Veganomicon, p. 110)
  • Chickpea Cutlets (Veganomicon, p. 133)
  • Mustard Sauce (Veganomicon, p. 204)

I didn’t really need the recipes for the asparagus or the mashed potatoes… but they’re included in the book for good measure. This has been one of my favorite meals from the book so far! So hearty, so delicious… It’s one of those rare vegan meals you can eat with a knife!

I’m going to get very fat if I continue to cook from this book, aren’t I?