Tag Archives: salads

Backyard Picnic Favorites

Rather than focusing on main dishes associated with backyard cook-outs and picnics, I thought I would highlight one of my absolute favorite side dishes … and a dessert, of course. This potato salad is delicious but what really makes it shine is the Rosemary Vinaigrette dressing. This dressing should seriously be bottled, it’s that good. This particular potato salad is a hit at picnics and potlucks alike and makes for great leftovers. It’s even tastier when you use green beans from your own garden ­čÖé

Green Bean and New Potato Salad (I think it’s from Southern Living, but I could be wrong …)

  • 2 lb. new red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 qt. water
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 lb. thin fresh green beans, trimmed
  • Rosemary Vinaigrette

Bring new potatoes, 1 tsp. salt, and water to cover in a large saucepan; cook 18-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain and let cool. Bring 2 qt. water and 2 Tbsp. salt to a boil in a large saucepan; add beans. Cook 6 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge beans into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain. Combine green beans and potatoes in a large bowl. Pour Rosemary Vinaigrette over green bean mixture, tossing to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Rosemary Vinaigrette (can be stored in an airtight container in fridge for up to 2 days)

  • 1/2 c. while balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c. agave nectar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 medium-size red onion
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

Process balsamic vinegar and next 7 ingredients in a blender or food processor 15-20 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides. With blender of processor running, gradually add olive oil in a slow, steady stream; process until smooth.

For dessert, you really can’t go wrong with cupcakes! For delicious Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes, you’ll need access to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Make the Lemony Vanilla Cupcakes variation on page 36 and the Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting on page 142. Before frosting cupcakes, chop up about 1 cup worth of fresh strawberries. Coat the berries in cornstarch and then gently fold them into the frosting. Also add about 1 Tbsp. lemon zest to the frosting. And there you have it – a new take on a classic vegan cupcake!


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Summertime Pasta Salad

One of my major cooking goals is to become less recipe-dependent. I get too hung up on following a recipe and then getting frustrated when it doesn’t come out like I think it should (which is usually the way the meal looks in the picture on the blog, cookbook, etc.). My partner does not have this issue. He’s great at whipping up delicious meals with whatever we have on hand in the kitchen. This pasta salad is a perfect example. He didn’t use measurements but I’m going to list an educated guess so it will be easier to duplicate. I do want to mention, though, that I had the idea to add fresh basil!

Summertime Pasta Salad

  • 1 1/2 c. uncooked tricolor rotini
  • 1 package frozen vegetable mix (ours was an asparagus mix)
  • dash of dill
  • 1/3 c. lemon pepper marinade
  • handful of raisins
  • few pinches of garlic salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • small handful fresh basil leaves, whole

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, steam veggies in a steamer basket for about 10 minutes, until tender. Once pasta is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer pasta and veggies to a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and chill 30 min before serving.

We served this with a side dish using up some leftover jasmine rice. Combine 1-2 cups pre-cooked rice, a can of green peas (drained and rinsed), curry powder, and a few dashes each of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and Sriracha hot sauce. Heat a few minutes in the microwave.

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