Cucumber Cups- Vegan with Roasted Corn Salad and Vegetarian with Goat Cheese and Pickled Beets

Cucumber Cups- Vegan with Roasted Corn Salad and Vegetarian with Goat Cheese and Pickled Beets

This is actually a recipe for two different types cucumber cups; one is vegetarian with goat cheese, pickled beets, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, celery and arugula. The other is vegan with a corn salad made of Tofutti cream cheese, roasted corn, purple sweet peppers, red onion, celery and heirloom tomatoes. Cucumber cups make great finger food for parties and gatherings. I will admit, these are a little time consuming to make, but so worth it. All of the ingredients can be prepped the night before, just make sure to keep the salad separate from the cucumbers. Otherwise, you’ll end up with watered down, soggy cucumbers (gross!). One cucumber will make about 10 cups. this recipe is for 20.

What you will need:
a mandolin slicer and a melon baler (if you don’t have either, a knife will work just fine.)

Vegetarian Cucumber Cups with Goat Cheese:
1 large cucumber
1 1/2 c arugula
1 jar of sliced, pickled beets
about half a package of small heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced with a mandolin
fresh dill
fresh parsley
2 oz goat cheese
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Cut cucumbers to about 3/4- 1 inch thick (you won’t want them any larger than that. It’ll make them harder to eat as finger food. Ask me how I know). Use a melon baler or knife to hollow out the cucumber bowl, making sure to take as much cucumber off of the sides of the bowl, while still keeping the bottom in tact (this is also very important. the thicker the sides of the cucumber, the harder it will be to eat).

Then, in a salad bowl, combine arugula, dill, parsley, goat cheese, red onion, celery and balsamic vinegar and and mix until everything is coated in goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. Place into cucumber cups and top with a pickled beet slice and heirloom tomato halves. Arrange on a plate and serve.

Vegan Cucumber Cups with Roasted Corn Salad:
1 cucumber
2 ears of sweet corn
2 spoonfuls of Tufutti cream cheese (about 1/3 of the package)
1 sweet pepper, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced with a mandolin
about half a package of small heirloom tomatoes, cut into 4ths
fresh dill
juice of half a lemon
a tsp or less of extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and roast both ears of corn for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. While the corn is roasting, prep your cucumbers as explained in the recipe above.

In a salad bowl, combine Tufutti cream cheese, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and mix. Then, add sweet pepper, celery, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, and dill. Once the corn has cooled, remove the kernels with a knife and mix all of the ingredients together. Fill cucumber cups, arrange on a plate and serve.

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Creamy Vegan Cucumber Pasta Gone Wrong

Creamy Vegan Cucumber Pasta Gone Wrong

Sometimes, not every recipe turns out to be a success. That’s not to say that this meal was a complete inedible catastrophe, it just didn’t turn out exactly how I planned. I really wanted to try making my own creamy, vegan, alfredo sauce, chilled. The flavor and consistency was almost there, but not quite. I used a mix of Daiya mozzarella style shreds, Tofutti cream cheese, one avocado and unsweetened almond milk as a base for the sauce. I love the avocado in it, and the mozzarella style shreds had just the right flavor, but the cream cheese seemed to make it too sweet. I think next time I’ll cut the amount of Tufutti cream cheese in half and use more avocado. I also didn’t throw this mixture into the food processor, which was a mistake. The flavor of the mozzarella style shreds wasn’t distributed evenly through the sauce. And it needs more fresh basil next time, too. Definitely more fresh basil.

Happen to have any suggestions for me? It would be greatly appreciated!

Mini Shiitake Mushroom and Black Bean Chipotle Hummus Sliders

Mini Shiitake Mushroom and Black Bean Chipotle Hummus Sliders

If you made yesterday’s spicy black bean chipotle hummus, you might be wondering what to do with the leftovers (if there are any!). Here’s a simple, quick and delicious gourmet vegan dish you can make in under 10 minutes.
With pita, I’ll keep it in the freezer and when I’m ready to use it, I’ll use tongs to toast it over an open flame on my stove top. Otherwise, I’d forget I even had it and let it all go stale (it happens too often).

What you will need:
shiitake mushrooms
mini pita rounds
spicy black bean chipotle hummus
red onion
cucumber
kale (i used red kale because it’s so darn pretty)
earth balance buttery spread for sauteing (or olive oil)

Clean and remove stems from shiitake mushrooms. In medium size pan, heat earth balance on a medium/low heat and add shiitake mushrooms. Cook for about 8 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Toast pita on the stove top and spread the chipotle black bean hummus on it, then layer the shiitake mushrooms, red onion, kale and cucumber on top. Great to share with friends or have as a meal all to yourself.

Spicy Black Bean Chipotle Hummus

Spicy Black Bean Chipotle Hummus

This recipe for black bean chipotle hummus is SPICY, so it’s not a recipe for the weak! Sweet bell peppers and cucumber “chips” complement and tone down the heat of this dish. They’re also a great alternative to pita (which, of course, is great with this hummus, too).

Here’s what you will need:
food processor or blender
1 can of black beans drained and rinsed
1 can of garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
1 jarred sweet roasted red pepper
1 garlic clove
3 oz canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
2 tbs tahini
1 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/3c water
juice of half of a lime
a large pinch of fresh cilantro
a pinch of sea salt

For dipping:
sweet bell peppers
cucumber “chips”
celery

In food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into bowls and serve.

Smoked Fresh Mozzarella Caprese Salad

Smoked Fresh Mozzarella Caprese Salad The use of fresh herbs, locally grown tomatoes and smokey fresh mozzarella make this salad simple yet very flavorful. Using smoked mozzarella adds a little bit of a twist to this classic salad.

What you will need:

2 locally grown beef steak tomatoes

1 1/2 oz fresh basil leaves

3/4 lb. smoked mozzarella

1/4 red onion

1/2 cucumber

2 garlic cloves

1/2 can garbanzo beans (left over from my last blog post)

fresh dill

fresh parsley

1 part extra virgin olive oil

2 parts balsamic vinegar

Slice tomatoes and smoked mozzarella into large chunks. Cut the cucumber into slices, then into fourths, then slice the red onion into very thin ribbons. You can rip some of the larger basil leaves in half, but you’ll want to keep them mostly whole. Throw all ingredients into a serving bowl with chopped parsley, garlic and dill and add the garbanzo beans as well.  Drizzle with one part extra virgin olive oil to two parts balsamic vinegar and enjoy!

Goat Cheese, Chick Pea, Basil and Mixed Baby Greens Salad

Goat Cheese, Chick Pea,  Basil and Mixed Baby Greens Salad

This salad packs a whole lot of flavor with hummus and balsamic vinegar as the dressing. I used mostly organic, locally grown veggies for this salad for the best flavor (and the least amount of chemical pesticides!)

What you will need:

Tomato
Cucumber
Chick peas (canned is fine)
Goat cheese
Hummus (i used red pepper hummus)
Whole, fresh basil leaves
Mixed baby greens (i went with kale, swiss chard, arugula, and spinach)
Olive oil (optional, but not necessary. the hummus will have a lot of oil in it)

Start by slicing your cucumber and tomato, then layering your plate with baby mixed greens and basil. Add your cucumber, tomato, chick peas and goat cheese. Then add hummus and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and you’re done!

This salad is also great with red onion and all sorts of other fresh herbs mixed in. I used what I had on hand today and it turned out great.

Cucumber, Dill, Celery, Mint and Lemon Infused Water

Cucumber, Dill, Celery, Mint and Lemon Infused Water

It’s the end of July and it’s hot out, so what’s better than a tall, refreshing glass of ice water? A tall refreshing glass of INFUSED ice water! Here’s just one simple recipe to get you through those hot, muggy days.

What you’ll need:

Pitcher
1-2 lemons
1/2 of a cucumber
1 celery stalk
a generous handful of dill
a generous handful of mint

Slice the cucumber and lemon and throw into a pitcher with your mint, dill and celery. Fill to the top with water and put it in the fridge to infuse overnight. Drink within two days.

Other great combinations:
Strawberry, lemon and basil
Blackberry, raspberry, lemon and mint
Orange, banana and mint
Strawberry, kiwi, lemon and basil

The possibilities are endless! Use your favorite fruits and herbs and see what kinds of natural vitamin water you can come up with!