Vegciting News!

The backyard garden is brimming with peppers, tomatoes, and herbs and summer produce is a staple of our diet– fresh corn, peaches, and blueberries seem to appear on our plates in some form daily. Despite this veritable bounty of fresh goodness, we’ve been eating out a little more than usual. Why, you may ask?

VegetarianForTwo is moving! Just down the street a few miles, but moving nonetheless. What began on a whim as a search for a new ‘dream home’ resulted in a house we couldn’t let slip away. Realizing we can’t live in 2 places at once, we quickly put our starter house on the market and within a few days had an offer from a newlywed couple who loves to garden too– perhaps a new couple friend for us!? This excitement and stress of having our house showing-ready at all times means that our ability to cook at our usual level has been stunted, since we never know how much time we’ll have to clean up and get the house ready to show. However, now that we’ve got a contract signed, life will return to semi-normal! You’ll see a few different kitchen counters in the coming months as we transition (temporarily) to S’s mom’s house and then to our new, beautiful kitchen by October.

We figured we’d try some new places in town while we are displaced and I’m excited to have found what may be a new favorite! Park Cafe is located off-the-beaten path of normal Charleston restaurants in a very historic and family-friendly neighborhood. I’ve driven by it a dozen times but never stopped in until a (vegetarian) friend suggested it for girls night. She had first heard about it from a vegan mutual friend, so we figured it was definitely worth a try!

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I started with the Roasted Cauliflower– a huge serving topped with hazelnuts, a mustard vinaigrette  and fresh herbs. It was incredibly filling but also a fantastic combination of texture, flavor, and aromas. I would eat this by itself as a meal and plan to return very soon to do so!

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My dining partner started with the shredded kale salad– a light combination of dates, almonds, and a citrus vinaigrette. We both kept “mmmmm” ing, dipping our fork to capture more bites of this amazing salad, and I’m quite sure if we hadn’t been in public, she would have licked the bowl clean!

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We both ordered the mushroom and walnut pate with pickled onions, arugula, and dijon on sourdough as our main entree. The sandwich comes with Park Cafe’s homemade pickles, which on this day were made from cauliflower, onions, okra, and green beans. They were perfectly spiced and pickled and provided the perfect balance to the richness of the pate. The pate itself was smoother than anything I’ve ever tasted (that didn’t come processed from a jar!) and the combination of the crunch of the bread with the soft pate made for a perfect sandwich. I took my leftovers home with me but found myself snacking on the rest of the sandwich immediately upon walking in the door!

 

My friend and I are both of the opinion that dining out can be overshadowed and thus, less enjoyable, by the fact that you can make an item at home better. We often compare meals we had out at a restaurant and finish our story with “but I could have done it healthier at home” or “I can make that at home and would add _____”. It makes dining out difficult, but it also means we appreciate those really good meals even more so. Park Cafe hit the nail on the head for both of us- neither of us schemed about how we could recreate these dishes at home, because we were too busy enjoying them in the moment!

Overall we were really impressed not only with the quality and creativity of the food, intimate yet casual ambiance, and service at Park Cafe, but also by the fact that unlike most restaurants, we didn’t have to ‘customize’ anything to suit a vegetarian lifestyle. We ordered all 3 items exactly as they’re listed on the menu and that’s an amazing feeling for someone who usually has to double check  that “there’s no meat in this, right?”.

Park Cafe checked all the ‘must-have’ boxes on my requirements for a favorite restaurant and we look forward to returning–even when we do have a beautiful new kitchen in our new house!

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Vegetarian by Choice, Accidentally Vegan??

Going vegetarian was a very conscious and very intentional decision. We wanted to cut out meat from our diet, for not only ethical reasons but also health purposes, and after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals it just seemed difficult to wrap our heads, and mouths, around eating meat. But now, 2 years later, it seems our diets have changed in ways we didn’t expect. Often we find that the delicious meal we’re eating is actually vegan– quite accidentally! About 18 months ago we switched from dairy milk to almond milk– honestly because neither D nor I drink milk fast enough to justify buying even a 1/2 gallon at a time. We found we’d throw out milk almost every time we bought a bottle, and after tasting almond milk (we like Blue Diamond’s unsweetened original best) we figured…why not?! We now use almond milk for cereal, smoothies, coffee, oatmeal, baking, and everywhere else you’d add milk. I also switched over to using flax eggs in most of my baking, just because I find it an easy replacement (we dedicated our old coffee grinder to the task of grinding our seeds each time we need them) and flax seeds are much easier to store than dozens of eggs! As a result, we really only eat eggs when we’re making something…eggy… fried eggs over hash browns, quiche, fried rice, etc! These replacements were conscious, but in all honesty, by no means were they a concerted effort to be vegan…they were just replacements that made sense in our lives. As I’ve mentioned, I don’t think I could ever go 100% vegan simply because I’d miss really good quality, small batch cheeses!

But it seems, week after week, that we end up cooking vegan! Last night’s meal was the perfect example of summer eating in our house– taking the backyard ‘crops’ and turning them into a delicious meal. Our garden is flourishing and in the past 5 days, we’ve harvested 2 eggplants, a spaghetti squash, a yellow squash, 5 bell peppers, 6 jalapenos, 2 beefsteak tomatoes, dozens of heirloom and cherry tomatoes, and handfuls of herbs. We did a bunch of work in the yard after work yesterday (a 2 day project–removing a huge shrub and the remaining root ball from the yard!) and it was just too hot to eat a heavy meal. Last night’s dinner was 99% home-grown (everything except the condiments and salt/pepper came from our yard) and accidentally vegan-  a win-win! Keep reading to see what other ‘accidentally vegan’ meals we’ve been cooking up!

With 'crops' in our own yard, it's easy to skip the grocery store produce section in the summer!

With ‘crops’ in our own yard, it’s easy to skip the grocery store produce section in the summer!

Spaghetti Squash with Balsamic Tomatoes 

1 cup spaghetti squash, cooked and flesh removed from skin

handful of tomatoes, any variety

fresh basil, torn or chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

Put the tomatoes and fresh basil in a small bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper– let them sit and marinate. Coat a saute pan with olive oil and cook the garlic on medium-high heat just until it starts to release aroma. Add in the cooked spaghetti squash and coat with the garlic oil, then gently stir in the tomato mixture. Cook all ingredients together about 3-4 minutes, until the tomatoes soften. You could top it with fresh mozzarella cheese, but it’s fantastic as is, and very light!

Note: Our spaghetti squash was huge, so we cooked it up this weekend, pulled out the flesh, and will store it in the fridge for the week, pulling it out as needed. As a result, this meal took only as long to prepare as the saute pan took to heat up- if you’re cooking the spaghetti squash in the same night, it’ll be about an hour for cook time plus the time to assemble the dish.

Replace spaghetti squash for pasta in most recipes for a low-carb version!

Replace spaghetti squash for pasta in most recipes for a low-carb version!

 Morning Breakfast Smoothie

1 banana

1/4 cup almond milk

1 tsp flax seeds (whole is fine, the blender will chop them up)

heaping spoonful of almond or peanut butter

6-8 ice cubes

Mix all ingredients in a blender for a thick, creamy, and very filling morning smoothie!

 

Adapted from Bon Appetite's June 2014 version

Adapted from Bon Appetite’s June 2014 version

Barley and Fennel Salad

We modified Bon Appetite’s recipe from the June edition, removing the beets and red onion completely. Our vinaigrette was made with mostly freshly squeezed grapefruit juice instead of the vinegar, then just a dash of apple cider vinegar made up the remainder of the liquid in the dressing. This was tasty, filling, and had great texture between the crunch of the fennel and almonds compared to the soft barley. The mint came from our yard and we added some of the fennel fronds into the salad for some extra green and fennel flavor!

 

Our philosophy about a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle  is that reducing your animal product intake, even once a day or once a week, is better than nothing. Can you make that commitment? Can you acknowledge that not every meal needs a serving of meat, egg, cheese, or dairy? Try some of these recipes, or many of the other ones on the blog, to kick start a new kind of dining experience. Or better yet, take your favorite recipe and make it vegetarian/vegan- it’s a fun challenge and incredibly rewarding. And when it happens accidentally, it’s even more amazing! At the end of the day, adhering to a vegetarian lifestyle isn’t a sacrifice, it’s an opportunity to flip what you think about food 180 degrees. And when your ingredients happen to be as local as your backyard, or even a local family farm, you’ve got no reason not to.

The Summer of Kale

Since I didn’t grow up in the South, eating ‘greens’ doesn’t come naturally. I ate plenty of iceberg and romaine, not to mention spinach, growing up, but chard, kale, collards, and the like just didn’t cross my plate until I moved to SC. After we became vegetarian, I didn’t know how I would do greens without a hamhock or bacon, so I just kinda steered clear entirely until this summer.

This week, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs in the produce department and we ended up with an enormous bag of kale–and there’s only so many kale chips a girl can eat! We went with a version of a prior spinach salad with a combo I’ve been dying to try–pine nuts and blueberries!

Blueberry Kale Salad

Blueberry Kale Salad

Blueberry Kale Salad with BBQ Tempeh

kale, washed and deribbed

lemon juice

olive oil

dried blueberries

toasted pine nuts

shaved slices of Parmesan

blueberry dressing from our spinach salad

tempeh

BBQ sauce (your favorite brand)

Massage the cut up kale with olive oil and lemon juice to break down the fibers and soften it. Meanwhile,  cut your tempeh thinly and broil with BBQ sauce until crispy (see prior post for instructions). Let tempeh cool, then add to kale along with the blueberries, pine nuts, and parmesan- top with the blueberry dressing. The flavors combine amazingly (is that even a word) but even better, the kale holds up overnight so it’s great for lunch the next day! The saltiness of the cheese, nuttiness of the pine nuts, and sweet/tartness of the blueberries combine perfectly with the slight bitterness of the kale. MMMM

As if this wasn’t enough kale, we put it on tonight’s pizza. Bear with me—this is good 😉

pizza

Kale Pizza

whole wheat pizza dough (either store bought or homemade)

BBQ sauce (your favorite brand)

red onion, sliced thinly

green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

broccoli cut into small florets

(optional) Buffalo chik’n nuggets, cooked about halfway through and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

mozzerella cheese

kale, washed/deribbed and chopped into small pieces (massage with a small amount of lemon juice to soften)

Spread pizza dough out on a greased cookie sheet that’s been turned UPSIDE DOWN. It goes against all logic, but makes the best crust if you don’t have a pizza stone. (Ours is patiently waiting on our BBB registry ;-)) Spread BBQ sauce on the dough evenly, then top with onions, pepper, and broccoli. Add the chik’n nuggets if you’re using. Sprinkle about 1/2 of your cheese over top and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Pull the pizza out and top with your kale (you shouldn’t have put enough lemon juice on it to have a pool at the bottom, but if you DID, then drain so you don’t dump that on the pizza!), then the remainder of the cheese. Continue baking for another 5-8 minutes, until the crust is crispy (and sounds ‘hollow’ when you tap on it) and the cheese is lightly browned. Remove from the oven, let it cool, and serve.

OH MY GOODNESS. You wouldn’t even know there was kale on it if you weren’t told– it just kind of seemlessly melts into the other toppings. The lemon from the kale is a good acidity against the natural sweetness of the veggies and BBQ sauce, and the red onion adds a little bit of a bite. The chik’n nuggets we used contributed some heat, and the cheese is gooey and mellows things out.

Once you make homemade pizza, it’s difficult to go back to anything else–short of a few FANTASTIC local places doing thin crust, brick oven specialty pies, we don’t even bother eating pizza out anymore. It’s cheaper and healthier to do it at home and you know your ingredients are reputable. Who says pizza night has to be an ordeal or require jumping in the car/calling for takeout? Personalize your pizzas with YOUR favorite veggies for a date night or family meal that’s easy even after a full work day. You won’t regret it!

Sweet summer eating and vegetarian karma

Summer in coastal SC means great produce and HOT weather. As a result, our meals get just a little bit lighter and I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid turning the oven on after a hot day!

We got some great local corn from our CSA bag last week and found a fantastic pineapple at the grocery store. One of my favorite meals growing up was steak and fresh grilled veggies, and I would be content now to just eat corn and pineapple for dinner, but D is a stickler for balance and protein 😉 We pressed some tofu last weekend and put together a dry rub for a fantastic, easy mid-week dinner.

grill-centric dinner!

grill-centric dinner!

Southwestern Tofu with Grilled Corn and Pineapple

tofu rub (or your favorite taco seasoning packet)

  • smoked paprika
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • cumin

1 block of pressed tofu

1/2 a pineapple- cut into rounds

1 ear of corn per person

1 lime, cut into quarters

Mix the dry rub together and spread on the pressed tofu. Let sit for 6 hours or as long as needed–we had ours sitting for 2-3 days. Heat up a grill (or grill pan, if you’re grilling indoors) and add your tofu, pineapple, and corn. I like grilling corn husk-free because of the char you get on the kernels, but some people prefer grilling in the husk and stripping it off after–it’s a personal preference! We don’t add anything to our corn or pineapple—you just don’t need to if they’re fresh!

Flip the tofu and pineapple once to get a good char on both sides. Roll/rotate the corn until all sides are toasted. Pull off all items when fully cooked — serve with a lime wedge. I love summer corn with some fresh cilantro and lime juice (but our cilantro plant died while we were out of town for July 4!) and the lime really adds a fresh kick to the tofu.

Dry-rubbing tofu like this gives it a lot of depth to the flavor profile, and since you can marinade it as long as needed, it’s a great fall-back dinner option to have in the fridge for last minute meals. Your only prep time for dinner is cutting the pineapple, potentially shucking the corn, and the grilling time– it’s a quick, healthy, and summer-friendly meal for busy nights.

Kale Salad with broiled tempeh

When it’s truly too hot to cook, this is my new favorite meal. Most vegetarians have a reduced iron intake due to the lack of red meat in their diets, I too find it difficult to maintain my iron level-The American Red Cross is probably getting exasperated with my continued attempts to donate blood or platelets, only to find that my levels are just barely too low to be eligible. This salad is a light dinner at the end of a hot day, and when topped with tempeh, gives a great combination of vitamins and protein. It takes no more than 15 minutes to pull together and is filling and satisfying!

Crispy tempeh bites on a crisp and fresh kale bed

Crispy tempeh bites on a crisp and fresh kale bed

Kale dressing:

  • sesame oil
  • soy sauce
  • mirin
  • rice wine vinegar
  • black and white sesame seeds

kale, washed and de-veined

tempeh, cut into thin strips

tempeh ‘sauce’:

  • hoisin
  • lime juice

Rib the kale to remove the tough stems and wash thoroughly. Rip or cut into small pieces, then leave to dry. Mix together the kale dressing and pour over kale– you’ll need to sort of massage the dressing onto the kale in order for the dressing to begin to break down the fibers of the kale and soften it a bit. It feels weird at first, but spend a few minutes working your (clean) fingers around the leaves in the bowl and you’ll start to notice the volume of the kale shrinking down.

Then (or meanwhile, if you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen helper) take your mixture of hoisin and lime juice and brush it on one side of the tempeh slices- see our prior post about these tempeh ‘jerky’ pieces. Broil for a few minutes *we used the toaster oven instead of heating up the real oven) until crispy, then flip, brush the opposite side, and broil again.

Top your lightly-wilted kale with these sweet and slightly crispy tempeh pieces for an easy, light dinner. You could add nuts to the kale, some dried berries, or some sprouts, shredded carrots, or anything else to doctor it up a bit but I like the flavors of these together without anything else. A local favorite, Butcher and Bee, does a fantastic kale salad with benne seeds that was the inspiration for this dish– if you’re anywhere near Charleston definitely check them out! Their menu changes daily and can be found on their Facebook page minutes before they open!

and finally, vegetarian karma: While attending a friend’s wedding this weekend, D and I were a bit nervous- this was the first time we’d attended such a function while vegetarian and didn’t know what to expect. We marked ‘vegetarian’ on our response card, but know that everyone’s version of vegetarian is different–I wasn’t thrilled about the potential of a big bowl of pasta with marinara! We were pleasantly surprised at the cocktail hour and were able to eat everything but 1 item– we feasted on mini bruschetta, stuffed baby portobella caps, lavish cheese plates, fresh fruit, and crustinis. When it came for the dinner, we were greeted by a great green salad with pecans, nectarines, and (what we think were) mangos, served with a balsamic dressing. By dinner things had already surpassed my expectations for my-first-wedding-as-a-vegetarian, but we happened to be seated with a vegan couple (the wonderful Sarah of WhatIVegan) and 2 couples who ordered the steak/fish options for dinner and found that even our meat-eaters at the table preferred the vegetarian option! It was a tower of a portobello mushroom, grilled red pepper, grilled yellow squash, and grilled eggplant over grits and with a side of asparagus–yum! Just goes to show that eating vegetarian doesn’t always mean sacrificing flavor, quality, or a pleasant dining experience— vegetarians have more fun! (can I get a t-shirt made with that?)

D is  out of town this coming week, so let’s see how strong my willpower is to keep creating (and posting) what I’m eating while on bachelorette mode. I have a reputation for living on various iterations of potatoes while single (even before my vegetarian days…I just love potatoes!) so if nothing else, I’ll get ONE post up to prove to D that I can cook for one and that he’s missing out while gone!

Spinach salad with quinoa and a fun treat!

Another busy weekend here by the beach, and once again the week has snuck up on us all-too-quickly! Here’s what the week has in store for us:

Monday: Spinach Salad with quinoa
Tuesday: grilled hoisin-lime tofu and zucchini with brown rice
Wednesday: Asian dumplings with pesto green beans
Thursday: FFY (fend for yourself– a night when our schedules don’t allow for dinner together)
Friday: dinner at our synagogue

What to do ahead (necessary): press and marinate tofu for Tuesday
What to do ahead (Optional–will save you time during the week): make quinoa and brown rice

Tonight was a perfect, quick dinner for a hot summer day! Ironically we used a lot of fall flavors, but you can alter to suit your tastes and the time of year–I definitely foresee us adding this as a go-to meal, because of its versatility. The contrasting textures are amazing, which I think is important if you eat salad frequently so that things don’t get too boring. I hadn’t thought to add quinoa or another protein like this to a green salad until I had it at a local restaurant, but the possibilities are endless! Spinach lends itself well since the flavor is mild and the texture of the leaves is simple. I try to eat a lot of spinach to keep my iron up, since the lack of red meat in my diet can impact my iron pretty drastically.

Spinach Salad with Quinoa

  • Orange-Mint Vinaigrette
    • juice of 1/2 an orange
    • zest of 1/2 an orange
    • 1 clove of roasted garlic (pop it in the oven or toaster oven on bake at 350 for a few minutes until soft and mushy)
    • ~15-20 leaves of fresh mint
    • dash of sherry vinegar
    • drizzle of honey
    • dijon mustard to taste–not too much, but will help the emulsification process of the vinaigrette
    • olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves per person
  •  sprinkle of walnuts per person
  • 1/2 pear per person– cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa per person
  • handful of dried cranberries

Combine all vinaigrette ingredients except olive oil/salt/pepper in a food processor or tall cup (if you have an immersion blender) and blend, then stream in olive oil until it has the texture of a salad dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Set aside– you’ll only need about 1-2 tablespoons of it for the salad, and the rest can be used later as a dressing for lentils, green salads, or to dip veggies in 😉

In a large mixing bowl, combine your spinach, walnuts, cranberries, pear, and quinoa–trust your eyes for the ratios. Drizzle your dressing over the salad– go slowly because you don’t want the salad to get soggy– start with about a tablespoon of dressing and mix, then add in a teaspoon at a time.

You could shake this up with pecans and dried blueberries, pine nuts and strawberries, or any combination you like! Toasting the nuts briefly would really enhance their flavors and add another dimension too! I plan on using this year-round based on what’s in season– you can even prepare it in advance for hosting guests, just don’t dress it until you’re ready to serve.

So many textures, don't know where to start!

So many textures, don’t know where to start!

 

D enjoys periodically surprising me with his abundance of spare time, and tonight’s surprise was a GREAT one. We had purchased mint for the orange-mint vinaigrette and had a ton leftover– I hate letting herbs go to waste and haven’t gotten mint started in our garden yet. He made up some mint simple syrup during the day and when combined with his mom’s amazing ginger vodka* it was a great way to finish a Monday!

Ginger vodka spritzer

  • Mint simple syrup  (just steps 1 and 2– skip the lemon juice step. Use as much mint as you have–1-2 bunches is fine)
  • Ginger vodka*
  • seltzer water
  • fresh lime juice

Squeeze 1/2 lime’s worth of juice into a tall glass. Add a shot of ginger vodka and about a teaspoon of the mint simple syrup. Fill the cup with ice, then finish with seltzer water. Add a wedge of lime to make it pretty if desired—so fresh and refreshing and many elements of flavor. This may be my new favorite cocktail!!

All the ingredients for a great summer night!!

All the ingredients for a great summer night!!

*you’ll find a ton of ginger vodka recipes online, but basically use a ratio of 3 cups (unflavored) vodka to 1 large gingerroot (found in the produce section of your local store, in case you’re new to fresh ginger.) Wash the ginger well, dry, and cut into strips or a large dice. Add the ginger (should be close to a cup) to a large mason jar and top with vodka. Let it sit for 4 weeks then strain out the ginger and discard. MMM

Pan-fried Tofu over Quinoa

Thursday was my favorite kind of night– I got home ON TIME from work and was able to spend time with D in the kitchen making dinner. While not as elaborate or time-consuming as some of our meals, Thursday was the perfect example of when menu-planning comes in handy for a busy lifestyle.

On Sunday afternoon we had friends over for dinner and made some amazing roasted potatoes with a balsamic dipping sauce. With the leftover sauce, we marinated our tofu to sit until Thursday’s dinner–by pressing tofu properly (I don’t want to remember life before my tofu press!) and giving it ample time to marinate, you can achieve tofu flavors that most people don’t believe are possible. Tofu has the wonderful ability to take on any flavors you pair with it, and doesn’t just have to be blandly flash fried like in Chinese restaurants!

We paired our tofu with quinoa and a green salad, using our scallion pesto as a salad dressing. From start to finish, dinner took about 30 minutes to make (including the quinoa, which you CAN make in advance and store in the fridge throughout the week to use as needed).

Pan-fried Tofu over Quinoa

-Balsamic marinade

  • balsamic vinegar
  • yellow mustard
  • honey
  • rosemary (fresh is best, but dried is fine)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

-quinoa (we like Nature’s Earthly Choice)

-lettuce and veggies of your choice

-scallion pesto

Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl, making about 1/2 cup of marinade for every package of tofu you’re making. Toss your tofu with the marinade, reserving about 1/3 of the marinade for serving. Let it sit in a container in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but the longer the better (we had it sitting for about 4 days which is admittedly longer than needed).

When ready to make dinner, cook quinoa according to package directions. Use a large saucepan and heat a very small amount of vegetable oil (or PAM) in it—you’ll want to use a pan larger than you’d think to give the tofu space to cook. When the pan is hot, drop in your tofu and let one side crisp up. Continue moving the tofu around your pan until all the sides are toasted and brown.

Top your cooked quinoa with the tofu and drizzle over some of the extra marinade. Serve with a dressed green salad for a tasty, healthy, and quick dinner.

tofuinpan

the desired crispness on the tofu– lightly brown and a definite ‘skin’ when you cut through

balsamic tofu

Bon Appetite!

Scallion Pesto Salad with Broiled Tempeh

Dinner tonight was made in just under half an hour, but that doesn’t mean we sacrificed quality or taste. Our backyard garden is exploding with herbs, vegetables, and flowers, and I was at my wits end of how else to use the bountiful crop of scallions that have taken over 3 separate containers across the yard. If you’re a beginner gardener, a scallion aficionado, or just interested in cutting your grocery bills, scallions are incredibly easy to grow and can actually be propagated from the scraps of a bunch you purchase from the grocery store or local farmer’s market. Once you’re growing your own, just keep replanting the bottoms in a cup of water or directly in good soil. You’ll be able to constantly harvest scallions all year–this works with onions, garlic, and a bunch of other veggies! Our scallions are growing tall and we wanted to put them to good use before the heat damages them. We whipped up a batch of scallion pesto and can now use it on pasta, salads, and anything else throughout the rest of the summer!

Just 1 pot of scallions that are taking over the yard

Just 1 of 3 pots of scallions that are taking over the yard

Scallion Pesto

4-5 scallions, both the green and white parts (cut off the roots, leaving about 1-2 centimeters for regrowing)

handful of basil and/or parsley (you want about a 60:40 ratio of scallions to herbs)

handful of walnuts or pine nuts

1 medium clove of garlic

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Using the herbs and nuts of your choice, throw everything EXCEPT the olive oil into a food processor and pulse a few times until chopped and combined. Stream in the olive oil slowly to create a paste. Taste and adjust seasonings and proportions as necessary, then put in a small container to be kept in the fridge.

Tonight, we chopped up a bunch of romaine lettuce and dressed it liberally with some of our scallion pesto. We then thinly sliced some tempeh (1/8 of an inch thick) and broiled it with herbs and some oil until it’s evenly brown and it develops a crust. Flip and broil the alternate side until the same light brown color develops. Use whichever flavors lend well to your specific pesto combination—we used salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning with a light mist of PAM both before and after adding seasoning.

Tempeh slices before broiling-- use 5-6 per serving

Tempeh slices before broiling– use 5-6 per serving

Top the salad with your slices of tempeh and enjoy— the flavors can be adjusted seasonally and to suit whichever produce you have readily available. The tempeh is crunchy, the salad is crisp and cool against the warm tempeh, and the flavors of the pesto are amazing on lettuce that’s otherwise relatively bland. Enjoy!

Scallion Pesto Salad with Broiled Tempeh

Scallion Pesto Salad with Broiled Tempeh