June 22, 2012

Summer Eats So Far

Even though summer only officially started a couple days ago, it's been feeling like summertime for the past month - and I'm loving every minute of it!

One thing I love about summer is the chance to eat more fresh produce from the farmers' market, lots of salads, chilled soups, frozen treats, and cooking on the BBQ.  I love trying to come up with some new ideas for these things myself, but many times, I see seasonal recipes on blogs or in magazines that I want to try without modifying anything.

So I thought it was time for another round-up of recipes that I've made from other sources lately - this time with a bit of a summer theme!

First up is a meal I made for my family on a warm weekend night recently.  I love making chilled soups because you don't need to cook anything and they can be made ahead of time.  This time I tried a chilled mango-pineapple soup from Chatelaine.  It was a little on the sweet side for me, but still very refreshing!


Along with the soup, I made these quinoa and avocado tabbouleh verrines from Healthful Pursuit (pictured above).  I didn't get a very good picture of it, but we all loved this dish!  The salad mixture was full of flavour and I would have been happy to eat that on its own, but layering it with the avocado cream made it even better!  I served us each pretty big portions, not realizing how filling it was going to be - I think I surprised my parents with how filling and delicious a vegan meal can be!


Another recipe that I made for my parents recently was this asparagus slaw with sesame dressing from The Naked Kitchen. I'm used to eating roasted asparagus, so it was refreshing to try it in a salad, and I really liked the creamy tahini dressing with sesame seeds.


To go with the salad, my parents ate steak, but I made some teriyaki tofu skewers with pineapple and red pepper.  All I did was marinate the veggies and tofu in a bottled sesame-teriyaki sauce and then put the skewers on the barbecue for about 10 minutes. This was my first time grilling tofu myself, and I loved the texture and the way the tofu and vegetables soaked up the sauce.  An easy vegetarian option for the barbecue that I will be making again!


Another great option for a vegetarian dish at BBQs is a veggie burger. I've tried lots of different kinds made with black beans, white beans, beets, tofu, carrots, and more.  This year, my first veggie burger of the summer was these falafel burgers from Edible Perspective. They're made with chickpeas, quinoa, carrots, onion and spices and they tasted just like falafels but in larger burger form! I ate mine in a pita with tomatoes, sprouts and tzatziki sauce - the perfect toppings for a falafel burger!


I love adding fruit to my dinners in the summer, whether its strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, or mango.  One recipe that I've been wanting to make for a while is this Indian-spiced chickpea and mango salad with pomegranate from the taste space. So the last time that I had leftover chickpeas, I went to the store to buy the rest of the ingredients for this recipe.


I couldn't find pomegranate, but I did see this fruit that looked like it had seeds inside so I picked it up instead, not knowing exactly what it was.  There was a sign near it that said tamarillos and the store clerk guessed that's what this was when he rang it up (and apparently tamarillos are pretty expensive!).  But it turns out it was actually a sweet granadilla - similar to a passion fruit (thanks Janet for identifying it for me!). Even without knowing what it was, I used the seeds anyway as a substitute for the pomegranate seeds and it still turned out amazing! I loved the sweet, spicy and tangy flavours of the salad, and the seeds added a nice crispy crunch!  


Next up is a recipe from Vegetarian Times for apple ginger quinoa that I've made once before and loved, so I wanted to try it again. The quinoa has lots of flavour from fresh ginger and the cooking liquid - the recipe recommended beet or carrot juice but I happened to have a bottle of this ginger drink flavoured with apple juice, so I used that as half of the liquid to cook the quinoa.  The only other change I made was to substitute edamame for the peas.  I loved the combination of ingredients in this dish, and my favourite part was the coconut that gets mixed in at the end (another tip: if you toast the coconut first, the flavour is even better!).


When I ran out of my homemade granola bars last week, I had to whip up another batch of healthy snacks to keep in the fridge. I love making different versions of energy bites with nuts and dried fruit, but this time I went with more of a treat with these no bake chocolate chip coconut cookie dough balls from Running to the Kitchen. I used coconut nectar instead of maple syrup and reduced the amount of chocolate chips. I also had to replace some of the cashews with walnuts because I didn't have enough cashews. Even with these changes, they still turned out just how I wanted - they really did taste like healthy cookie dough!


I've been enjoying snacking on these on their own, but when I was craving a cool creamy treat the other day, I thought of blending them up with frozen bananas to create a healthy vegan miniature cookie dough blizzard!  I didn't come up with this idea myself - I got it from Oh She Glows, but I was so glad that I finally tried it!  I love banana soft serve, and adding the cookie dough made it a fun and slightly more decadent treat!  


And finally, I wanted to end this post with a couple of meals that I've enjoyed that I didn't have to make myself! First is a take-out lunch I ordered from a vegan cafe nearby that I absolutely loved - these freshly made antojitos with pineapple salsa, spinach and cashew cream cheese.  They were a bit messy to eat but I devoured them!


Today I went to a different cafe for the first time and ordered the daily soup and salad lunch special.  Today's theme was Mexican, so I got a Mexican corn and red pepper salad topped with mango and avocado that was fairly simple but fresh and tasty.  I also got a bowl of hot corn soup that had huge kernels of chewy corn with pieces of avocado and tortilla strips too.  It was a very unique soup and I liked it more and more as I ate it!  


And last but not least is this beautifully presented quinoa cake that my parents made for my sister's birthday celebration last weekend. It had a layer of avocado in the middle and was topped with a mixture of vegetables and dried fruit with cashews and a sweet blackberry sauce. It felt like we were eating a fancy restaurant meal and it was so tasty and summery too!


That's all the dishes I have to share for today...hopefully I'll be eating some more delicious meals this weekend and spending some time outdoors enjoying the weather!

Hope you all have a great weekend too!

13 comments:

  1. This looks like a wonderful collection of summer eats so far! So happy to hear you liked the chickpea salad... although your fruit looks like a passion fruit to me, the smaller sweeter granadilla. I had a bunch while in Colombia and they were great! Rob had to show me how to eat it though, chopping off the top, then I stuck a spoon in the mix the seeds with the juice, and then I munched away! I am leery of trying anything now that I am back, afraid I will be disappointed.... but when the tropical fruit craving hits, I will have to see if I can find one again!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_granadilla

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    1. Thanks Janet - that's exactly what mine looked like! I guess I should have asked you earlier what it was, because I could tell the grocery store clerk didn't know what he was talking about when he told me it was a tamarillo. I didn't really like the pulpy part surrounding the seeds, but I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more if I had known the proper way to eat it!

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  2. Nice! Those all look good. I've been planning to do a summer recipe post too, just haven't gotten around to it! I MUST try that chickpea salad with MANGO! ;-)

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    1. Haha, yes you would like the salad! I love pairing mango with spices and Indian or Thai flavours

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  3. I can never get over how many different meals you try when I see your round ups like this! They all look great!

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    1. I think its because we rarely make the same meal more than once and love to try new things! I had a few other recipes I've tried but I don't always bother to photograph them so I couldn't include them all here!

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  4. I think you're parents need to do a post about that quinoa cake...it looks so wonderful...5 star restaurant quality all the way! You have me craving banana soft serve with those cookie bites...my fave ice cream before going vegan was chocolate chip cookie dough (ben & jerrys!) and that picture looks so much like it. I love your idea for using a ginger flavored drink to cook quinoa; I think I'll try that one with some ginger ale I have! Great summer eats!

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    1. My parents would love to hear that - I'll pass the message on! The soft serve wasn't quite the same as the cookie dough ice cream I remember as a kid, but it definitely suits my current tastes better! And I've never though of using a carbonated drink to cook quinoa - I'm not sure how that would turn out, but good luck if you try it!

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  5. This entire post has made me so hungry! I love this recipe round up, it is fun to see what others eat on a normal day - don't you just LOVE the "Cookie Dough" Blizzards, they are AMAZING - I love making extra cookie dough balls and storing them in the freezer and eating them on their own :)

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    1. It's fun doing these round-ups and getting to share and recommend other recipes! I don't know what took me so long to make the cookie dough blizzard - it was easier than I thought and so good!

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  6. I've never heard of a granadilla! What an interesting looking fruit. :) And that asparagus slaw sounds delicious! I always roast asparagus too. I think I forget that there are other things you can do with it because it's so good roasted. :)

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    1. It was a very interesting fruit - I was so surprised when I opened it and found only seeds in that thick clear pulp! I just made my first completely raw asparagus salad the other day just by peeling it into noodles and mixing it with chickpeas and a dressing - it was a bit bitter on its own but tastes good with lots of lemon juice!

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  7. oh wow! everything looks so so so delicious! I'm so darn hungry now! *hah* That apple ginger salad from VT is one of my very favourites. So tasty and perfect to bring for lunch!

    I've never seen a fruit like that before. Now I'm intrigued!!!

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