Monday, January 11, 2016

Salad Samurai (Cookbook Review, Recipes & Giveaway) #VeganCookbookLove

Cauliflower Potato Salad with Basil Pesto Dressing from Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. Can replace some of the #cauliflower with pasta too! A healthy main meal salad for the new year! #vegan
Photo from Salad Samurai.

It's the second week of Veganuary! How are your New Year's resolutions or goals going? If adding more healthy meals to your repertoire is a focus, then have I got another great cookbook for you! Last week I shared a look at the first vegan cookbook I ever bought - How It All Vegan  (still one of my favourites). This week I am sharing recipes from the incredible Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don't Have to Be Vegan to Love, a vegan cookbook devoted entirely to - you guessed it - salads.

I'm the first to tell you that it irritates me when restaurants offer salad as the only vegan option. How exceedingly dull. But if they offered salads like the ones in Salad Samurai everything would be golden. This book has a wealth of meal-worthy, scrumptious and healthy salads.

One hundred salads actually. That should help us with our new year's body-friendly goals I think! Salad Samurai is authored by veteran vegan cookbook author Terry Hope Romero. I wrote about her Vegan Eats World cookbook in this post. Salad Samurai provides us with innovative ideas for salads that include a hearty base, tons of interesting toppings and creative dressings. The book is organized by season so you have plenty of salad ideas for the whole year round, with seasonal produce and whole food ingredients.

I started by making the Klassic Caesar Salad. My kids love Caesar salad so I thought it would be fun to present them with a vegan version that they (hopefully) could love. I have to be honest - this was more work than I'm accustomed to putting into salad. But that's kind of the point of the book. I have a pretty clear limit on how much time I will spend making dinner so I'd have to have an easy entree with this one. Not that it's a complicated recipe - it's simply shredded romaine lettuce topped with croutons, vegan parmesan and ranch dressing. The key is you have to make the Classic Croutons, Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan and Back at the Ranch dressing. If you made these ahead you'd be rockin'. And the good news is my kids ate this salad right up.

I also made the Smokehouse Chickpeas 'N' Greens Salad. First off, I love me some chickpeas. And once you throw those puppies on your salad you pretty much have a meal in a bowl. This salad is comprised of baby spinach, red onion, cherry tomatoes, avocado and carrots and topped with Roasted Barbecue Chickpeas and Smoked Paprika Dressing. The chickpeas get their smoky barbecue flavour from liquid smoke, tamari, tomato paste, maple syrup and nutritional yeast. I wanted to love this but I discovered I'm not entirely into the smoky flavour. The concept definitely works though if you are a fan of smoky foods. And you could dial back the smoky if you're like me.

Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl from Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero - a refreshing combo of blueberries, cucumbers and savory tamari dressing topped with 5-Spice Tamari Almonds and Lemongrass Tofu. Yum! A main dish salad. #healthy #vegan #salads
Photo from Salad Samurai.

And now for a couple of lovely Salad Samurai recipes that you can try yourselves. (You'll be a salad master in no time!) First, this Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl, above, is a refreshing combo of blueberries, cucumbers and savoury tamari dressing topped with 5-Spice Tamari Almonds and Lemongrass Tofu (um yeah, I love tofu. Read my thoughts on that subject in this post. If loving tofu is wrong I don't wanna be right.).

And then there's the Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad...because, come on, don't you love pesto and cauliflower and potatoes? I sure do! So why not put 'em all together? This is Cauliflower Potato Salad with Basil Pesto Dressing. And you can replace half or all of the cauliflower with pasta if you are feeling particularly carbolicious.

Buy Salad Samurai in Canada. Buy Salad Samurai in the U.S.

Are you increasing your intake of veggies in this fresh new year?

Win Some Incredible Vegan Cookbooks!

If you're in Canada, be sure to enter the group giveaway below. Salad Samurai is one of the prizes and, you never know, you might just win it! Plus my giveaway (for U.S. and Canada readers) for a copy of How It All Vegan is still going on.

And visit my Veganuary partners Lisa and Trish to read about the vegan cookbooks they are loving this week:

Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking on infinebalance blog
The Lusty Vegan on The Viet Vegan

Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl

by Terry Hope Romero
Keywords: vegan vegetarian
Ingredients (Serves 2)
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 3 Persian cucumbers, diced into 1⁄2-inch cubes
  • 2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups baby spinach or tatsoi leaves, torn into bite-size pieces, washed, and spun dry
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or Japanese red pepper blend (shichimi)
  • 1 cup 5-Spice Tamari Almonds (below)
  • Lemongrass Tofu (below) chopped into 1-inch cubes
For the Tamari Almonds
  • 11⁄2 cups raw whole almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dark agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder
  • About 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse (such as Maldon)
For the Lemongrass Tofu
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu or super-firm tofu (no pressing necessary)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons tamari
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh or prepared lemongrass
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil or olive oil

Place the blueberries, cucumbers, scallions, and greens in a large salad bowl. In a glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the tamari, maple syrup, sesame oil, sesame seeds, ginger, and red pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to coat, and divide among serving bowls. Top with almonds and tofu, if using, and serve

For the Tamari Almonds
Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a 13 x 9-inch metal or ceramic baking dish, combine the almonds, agave, tamari, and 5-spice powder. Stir until the nuts are completely coated. Sprinkle with salt.
Roast the nuts for 16 to 18 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a sticky glaze forms. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer the nuts to a lightly oiled sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil, and use a fork to break apart any clumps of nuts. Once completely cool, store the nuts in a tightly covered container. Use within 2 weeks.
For the Lemongrass Tofu
If using extra-firm tofu, press the tofu first. Slice the tofu into thin 1⁄4-inch strips. Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine the maple syrup, tamari, lemongrass, garlic, and oil in the baking dish and whisk together. Arrange the tofu slices in the marinade and set aside while the oven is preheating, about 15 minutes. Occasionally stir around the tofu strips.
Bake the tofu for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the strips over. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the strips are golden and the marinade is absorbed. Serve warm or chilled. Store chilled and consume within 2 days for best flavor.

Powered by Recipage

Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad

by Terry Hope Romero
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: salad entree vegan vegetarian
Ingredients (Serves 3 to 4)
  • 1⁄2 pound cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1⁄2 pound waxy yellow or white potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or toasted pine nuts
  • 11⁄2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Remove the thick inner stem from the cauliflower, slice into thick 1-inch slabs. Preheat a cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Rub the cauliflower with olive oil and arrange the pieces in a single layer in the preheated pan. Grill the cauliflower until charred on the outside and crisp-tender inside, about 4 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer the cauliflower to a cutting board, chop into bite-size pieces, and place in a large mixing bowl.

Peel and dice the potato into 1⁄2-inch pieces, transfer to a large sauce-pan, cover with 4 inches of cold water, and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes for 6 to 8 minutes, or until almost tender. Stir in the peas and cook another minute. Reserve 1⁄4 cup of cooking water, then drain the potatoes and peas and rinse with cold water. Add these vegetables to the cauliflower.

In a food processor, pulse together the pesto ingredients plus 2 table-spoons of the potato cooking water until smooth. Spoon onto the vegetables, add the nuts, and combine thoroughly. Cover and chill for 10 minutes to blend flavors. Serve the salad slightly chilled or at room temperature. Garnish each serving with a few nuts.

Powered by Recipage

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I am taking steps to improve my diet by trying to eat in moderation, always.


  2. I am participating in Veganuary!!

  3. My Dad is living with us right now, so it's hard to change up the diet too much (cooking two separate meals a day is toooooo hard!) but I am definitely drinking more water these days.

    1. Two separate meals is hard! Maybe you can add a couple of sides that your dad might try? I find my dad will eat pretty much whatever we put in front of him when he's here. So we try to get him eating more healthy stuff, like soups and homemade pizza with veggies. ;)

  4. I'm not a huge salad person because I find that they're so labour intensive for not actually being that filling, but these look pretty great! I totally agree with you on the quick dinner thing—but every now and then I prep the more labour-intensive portions of my favourite caesar salad ahead of time and then I can just throw it together with some Gardein chick'n and its super yum <3

    Thanks again for doing the How it all Vegan giveaway. It's so cool that it was one of the first vegan cookbooks on the market! Lots of game-changing recipes there =)