Vegan Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons

I love this salad! Crunchy chickpeas stand in for croutons mixed with fresh garden lettuce and topped with a creamy, garlicky dressing. Delightful!


Fresh garden lettuce

1 (15-oz) can chickpeas
1 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 c. raw cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
1/3 to 1/2 c. water (depending on how thick you like your dressing)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 T. Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves
1-1/2 tsp. Vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 T. capers
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

For the chickpeas, preheat oven to 400-degrees. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and rub dry in a tea towel or with paper towels. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt, and roll around to coat. Roast for 20 minutes, then roll the chickpeas around in the baking sheet, and roast for another 10-15 minutes until lightly golden.

For the dressing, put all ingredients in a Vitamix and puree until smooth and creamy, about 45 seconds. Store in the refrigerator where it will thicken as it sits. Add more water as needed to thin, if needed.

For the salad, place the lettuce in a large bowl and add the chickpeas. Stir in enough dressing to coat the leaves. If you eat cheese, add some shaved parmesan.

Cottage Cheese Dip

I found the recipe for this simple, yet spectacular dip/spread on numerous websites. says that it comes from a restaurant where she used to work – L'Auberge Chez Francois outside of Washington DC. So few ingredients but packed with flavor and absolutely sublime on toasted baguette or crackers!


16 oz. 4% small-curd, cream-style cottage cheese
2/3 c. sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
1 T. finely minced shallots
1 T. finely minced chives
1 T. finely minced parsley

Mix the cottage cheese and sour cream until well blended, then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cover and keep in the refrigerator – it gets better the longer it is chilled – if you can wait that long!

Corn Parfait

What a great way to use up all that fresh summer corn – Jacques Pépin's "gratin" of corn parfait recipe. Light, fluffy, the essence of sweet corn flavor – delicious! Goes very nicely with the feta stuffed lamb burger on a bed of greens.

Watch Jacques prepare this recipe  here  (starts at the 2:22 mark)

Watch Jacques prepare this recipe here (starts at the 2:22 mark)


1/2 T. butter
4 ears corn, husked
3 eggs
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 to 1-1/2 c. half 'n half
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 T. Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375-degrees and butter a 1 quart gratin dish.

Cut the kernels off the ears of corn and put them in a food processor and puree – while it's running, add the eggs and flour. Turn off processor and add the salt and pepper. Turn on again and add the half and half through the feed tube and process for another 5-10 seconds. Pour into the buttered gratin dish and grate fresh parmesan generously over the top of the dish. Place gratin dish on a cookie sheet and put in the oven.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until just set, puffy, and nicely browned on top.

– Jacques Pépin, "More Fast Food My Way"

Banana Bread with Sour Cream and Dried Apricots

Moist, cake-like, and baked to a golden brown, this banana bread is sure to please. The apricots add that little something that enhances the banana flavor. Serve warm with lots of butter!



2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large overripe bananas, mashed
8 dried apricots, chopped
1/2 c. sour cream

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5" loaf pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk the eggs with sugar, oil and vanilla for a few minutes. Stir in the mashed bananas and sour cream, then add the apricots. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown.

Cool for about 10 minutes, then turn out the loaf onto a cooling rack. Best cut with a serrated knife, especially when warm.

Sweet & Sour Bombay Lentils

This is my favorite Indian lentil recipe! A bit sweet, a bit spicy, thick and filling and contains about 11 grams of protein per serving. It's well worth the effort. Gather your ingredients before starting. I find it easier to line up the spices in little containers so it's all ready to go. Watch the turmeric though - it stains everything! The recipe is from my Indian cuisine go-to cookbook – Julie Sahni's "Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking." Every recipe I have prepared from her book is excellent!


1-1/2 c. red lentils (masar dal)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 T. vegetable oil
4-1/2 c. water
1 heaping tsp. tamarind paste
1 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish)
3 T. shredded coconut, unsweetened or sweetened (for garnish)

Wash the lentils in several changes of water. Put in a saucepan with the turmeric, oil and water; bring to a boil. Stir often. Cook over medium heat, partially covered for 25 minutes. Cover, reduce heat and continue cooking for another 10 minutes or until soft. Add tamarind paste and brown sugar and cook an additional 10 minutes. Stir in the salt. Turn off heat and beat with a whisk for a minute or two to smooth and thicken the puree. Keep on a low simmer while preparing the spice-perfumed butter.

3 T. ghee (or vegetable oil)
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. garam masala

Heat the oil in a small frying pan (I use cast iron) over medium-high heat. When hot add the cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. When the spices turn dark brown and the spattering of the mustard seeds subsides, add the turmeric, cayenne and garam masala. Let the spices sizzle for a second or two and immediately pour over the dal and mix well. Let it cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with chopped fresh cilantro and flaked coconut. Serves 4-6.

– Julie Sahni, "Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking"

Fettuccini with Butter and Sage Sauce

I've been so excited to try out my new Philips automatic pasta machine, and for my first batch I made about 10-1/2 ounces of fettuccini with a mix of semolina and all-purpose flour, water, egg and a touch of olive oil. Fresh pasta is such a treat. I cooked it immediately after it came out of the machine in heavily salted water. It took about 7-8 minutes to cook. Since I have loads of fresh sage in the garden right now, Mario Batali's butter and sage sauce was a no brainer! Simple yet elegant.



Pasta of choice (in this case, fettuccini), cooked in liberally salted water
4 T. butter
10 sage leaves, torn or cut into 2 or 3 pieces each
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp. lemon zest (for garnish)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
1/2 c. reserved pasta cooking water

Melt butter in a 12- to 14-inch saute pan and continue cooking until a golden brown color ("noisette") appears in the thinnest liquid of the butter. Add the sage leaves and remove from heat. Add the lemon juice and set aside.

After pasta has cooked, drain (reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking water), and gently pour into the saute pan and return to the heat. Add the cheese (and a little pasta water if needed)and toss to coat. To serve, sprinkle with the lemon zest and more freshly grated parmesan.

– Mario Batali