Russian Salad

This is an easy dish to veganize, especially since vegan mayo is easy to find nowadays in regular grocery stores.

Ingredients

3 medium potatoes, chopped and cooked

3 oz of carrots, diced and cooked

3/4 cup of peas

1/3 cup of corn

2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp of vegan mayo

A pinch or two of Spanish smoked paprika

Salt and pepper (to taste)

about 7-8 slices of black olives (optional)

Russian salad is a common tapas food I would see in Seville, Spain and it is really common all over Europe. It is creamy and always served cold. There are several variations to this that are not vegan. In Spain, they put tuna in it and non vegan mayo. In Italy, I have heard they put ham in it. Some other variations I have seen add pickles, cucumber, and parsley which may be good but I have not tried that yet. If you don’t like mayo then use vegan plain yogurt instead.

For my variation to this super popular food I peeled and chopped my potatoes and boiled them first and then I prepared the rest of the ingredients as they cooked. I used frozen peas and corn and pre-sliced carrots. I used the Just Mayo Hampton Creek brand of mayo which is my favorite but there are other good brands out there depending on where you live.

Be sure to let the potatoes cool before you add the mayo. It helps the potatoes to cool faster if you start stirring in the veggies after about 5-10 minutes after you took them out of the pot. After the veggies are stirred in gently and the potatoes are cooled off enough, add the mayo and gently fold it in. Then add the seasonings. Chill your Russian salad for at least four hours before enjoying 🙂 (this recipe makes about 3-4 servings).

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Vegan Paella

Paella was the first thing I ate in Spain on the day I arrived in Seville. Unfortunately it had rabbit in it which is a common ingredient used over there along with ham and fish. After picking out the rabbit pieces it was pretty good for an appetizer from a bar.

After coming back home I adapted recipes to fit my vegan needs and discovered it is really easy to make. It has a lot of ingredients but it is still not complicated. The most important ingredients are Spanish short grain rice from Calasparra, Spanish smoked paprika, and Spanish saffron threads.

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The rice must be the special paella kind and can be found anywhere. The saffron and paprika give the distinct color and flavor that makes paella so awesome. The rest of the ingredients are basically dependent on what you like. Tomatoes, piquillo peppers (or bell peppers), onion, artichoke hearts, and green beans (or peas) are what I primarily use but there are other versions out there. Using fresh artichokes are the best but so time-consuming so using canned artichoke hearts to save time is totally fine.

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While prepping the veggies, start heating up the broth, you will want to add it warm and not cold. The paella pan heats up faster than other pans so after heating the oil at medium-high heat, it won’t take long for it to start sizzling. Add the onion and peppers and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. I like to have the rest of the ingredients next to me ready to go.

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Add the saffron, garlic, paprika, peppers, and veggies one at a time. I like to stir in each one before adding the next. After this, add in about half the rice, mix it in well, and then add the rest. At this point your paella pan (if it is a small one like mine) will seem like it can’t fit anymore in so do not pour in the warm broth all at once. Pour it in about a cup at a time. Bring it to a boil after adding the first cup of broth and bring it down to a simmer for the rest of the cooking time. This part takes awhile because as the rice slowly soaks up the broth you have to add more. Try not to stir it a lot. You can move it around a bit, sliding the spoon around the edges a little and down the middle but you don’t want to disturb it too much. It is okay if it sticks a little to the pan, it tastes good that way.

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After the liquid is absorbed, taste the rice and see if it is soft enough. If it seems a little too crunchy, then stir it a little and keep simmering it until soft. I like to season it with parsley towards the end of the cooking process and then a crucial last step is the lemon. Squirting fresh lemon juice on the paella really brings out the flavor and makes it even better. Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

This is for about 4 servings and expect about an hour and a half to two hours for prepping and cooking.

1 TBSP olive oil

3 medium tomatoes, seeded cored and chopped

1 cup of piquillo peppers OR jarred roasted bell peppers OR fresh bell peppers, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium or large white onion, diced

1 cup fresh or frozen  green beans OR peas

about 8 quartered artichoke hearts from a can or 1-2 fresh artichoke, quartered

1 to 1 1/2 TSP Spanish smoked paprika

a few pinches of Spanish saffron threads

1 1/2 cups of rice

3 cups of vegetable broth

 

Diaz Sauce

This is a quick and easy sauce that I like to make when I am short on time. It can be used for any pasta and the possibilities are endless with what you can add to it for extra flavor. I learned this from a friend while in Spain (which is where it also got its name). The vegan yogurt gives it a sweet taste and the ketchup and mustard gives it a light spice flavor. If you do not like vegan yogurt then vegan mayo goes really well with this too and makes it tangy.

After cooking and draining your favorite pasta as directed on the box, just stir in these ingredients and either enjoy it right away or let it chill for a few hours. It tastes great warm or cold (I prefer mine to be cold). I like to add sliced black olives to mine but you can also add fried or baked tofu, corn, peas or bell pepper. I only season mine with pepper, however other herbs that taste great with it are basil and parsley.

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This recipe is for two servings:

1 1/3 Cups of dry pasta

2/3 Cup of vegan yogurt (I use the So Delicious brand) OR vegan mayo

1/2 TBSP Yellow mustard

1 TBSP Ketchup

8 sliced black olives (optional)

**use tofu, or a mix of your favorite veggies to stir in if you do not like olives.

**adjust the ingredients to your taste preference, the friend I learned this from actually uses more mustard than me but I prefer it with less 🙂