January 25, 2010
Are there crickets chirping around here or what? Despite my silence, I have actually been much busier in the kitchen than usual, but I decided to leave the camera and commentary out of it. Today is day 8 of the 10 day cleanse that I am participating in, hosted by Spark! Wellness and Choosing Raw. It has been a great experience and I am feeling great. During the cleanse I have been eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and have eliminated all caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, processed foods, along with common allergens such as dairy, gluten, soy, corn, and more. To give you a general idea of the meals, most days go like this: I start the day with a green smoothie, for lunch I have a great big salad, and dinner is a cup of whole grains with lots of steamed vegetables. I have noticed increased energy, elimination of bloating (i.e. a flat belly), and decreased cravings for junk. This is also my longest stretch yet without dairy, which has been very exciting for me.
The cleanse packet came with loads of delicious recipes, but I have also come up with some of my own that are acceptable for the cleanse. One thing that I made is this Broccoli Salad. I was inspired to make this salad as part of the Healthy Cooking Challenge hosted by Alicia at Vegan Epicurean. The theme is family favorites -- and the challenge is to adapt a family favorite into a healthy vegan version. Before we get into family favorites, I thought it only appropriate to introduce you to my family. This is a picture of me with my dad and brother circa 1991.
aren't we? :-)
To say that my dad was a super-dad would be an understatement -- he did it all. We lost my mother soon after my brother was born, and as a single dad, my father had a very full plate! He always made sure to keep our plates full too, figuratively and literally. He cooked dinner every night, always consisting of meat, potatoes, and vegetables. Looking back now, it was pretty much exactly what you would expect from a man in charge of dinner, with main courses such as bbq chicken, hamburgers, meatloaf, and the like. You never heard any complaints from us though.. well, except for the nights that he served the frozen vegetable mix that included lima beans.
While my average childhood dinner did not spark any ideas for this family favorites cooking challenge, a broccoli salad recipe that my father often made for potlucks and picnics did come to mind. I had forgotten about this recipe until a few years back when I encountered it at a salad bar. All of the ingredients appeared to be the same as I remembered: broccoli, raisins, sunflower seeds, red onion, bacon, and a creamy mayonnaise based dressing. I could not enjoy a serving because of the bacon, but it really brought back happy memories seeing it.
This dish is obviously quite easy to make vegetarian, but making it vegan is a bit more of a challenge. Traditionally the dressing includes mayo and buttermilk. I have never bought vegan mayo before, and I figured why start now when I can make my own. I turned to the Vegan Epicurean archives where I found several options, but opted for the pine nut version. While the consistency and appearance are very similar to mayonnaise, the flavor doesn't match--however it is delightful! The recipe utilizes apple cider vinegar, lemon, and lemon zest to give it some zip, so I'm deeming this the Miracle Whip of vegan mayonnaise (never mind not having other vegan mayo experiences to compare it to). At any rate, it was perfect for this recipe, with almond milk, agave, and some additional apple cider vinegar rounding out the dressing.
I obviously left out the bacon, and I did not bother coming up with a substitute because the salad shines without it. The last tweak that I made was to drop the raisins and sub in pomegranate seeds. This salad is quite different from the one by my dear father, but I believe it is a worthy tribute to the original.
Makes 4 large side dish servings
(apprx 1-1/2 cups per serving)
4 c broccoli florets and stems, chopped into small bite sized pieces
1/3 c red onion, finely diced
3/4 c pomegranate seeds
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c Alicia's pine nut mayo
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp agave
1/4 c almond milk
Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
Combine all other ingredients in a medium bowl and toss with dressing. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes prior to serving.
I love you dad!