Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Dressing

I’ve had today’s recipe ready to go for about the last….oh, I don’t know….4 months? Goes to show how much I had been neglecting this poor old blog prior to MoFo. Lucky for me, after signing up to MoFo and starting to panic about how on earth I would actually get some posts together, I realised that I could sneak this recipe in under the International Week theme, with it’s Lebanese flavours. Excellent (cue Mr Burns hands).


This salad was actually inspired by one that my Aunty brought along to Christmas lunch one day – I believe it was from one of Ottelenghi’s books (why have I not got my hands on any of these yet?) Prior to this I’d never really given much thought to roasting cauliflower, but now it’s a hot favourite – we have it in salads, tacos, and occasionally even do a marinated and whole roasted cauli as the main meal. Say goodbye to steaming your cauliflower, because roasting gives it a beautiful nutty flavour which is out of this world. Hot damn!


Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Dressing

1 medium-large head of cauliflower
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sumac
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup loosely packed mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 cup raw or dry roasted almonds, roughly chopped

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 200C, and line a tray with baking paper.

Cut cauliflower into small florets, and place in a bowl. Pour over olive oil and toss to coat.

In a small bowl, mix together sumac, cumin, coriander and salt. Pour over cauliflower and mix well to coat. Spread cauliflower out over prepared tray and place in oven for 20-25 mins, flipping once halfway. When done, the cauliflower should be slightly browned and have a nutty aroma.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing. Place all ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. If too thick, add a little more water, one tablespoon at a time. Taste for seasoning.

When cauliflower is done, remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add herbs, pomegranate and almonds and stir through. Drizzle dressing over and serve immediately – best served when the cauliflower is still warm.



Hello 2015 and Tangy Edamame Buckwheat Noodle Salad

Hellooo everyone and happy 2015! I’m back! I was never really gone, but I’ve had a busy couple of months – moving house, festival-ing, having family over from Perth, going on a mini-holiday, Christmas, New Years, ALL THAT JAZZ. It’s hard to believe that one and a half months slipped away from me just like that, but it’s been lots of fun and I’m now feeling a lot more relaxed and grounded in my new home. Our house has lots of light, lovely floorboards, a rocking kitchen, an outdoor patio and a BACKYARD. I am still very excited by this and I have been here a month now.

I have so much to share with you, but I’m trying not to get too overwhelmed with it today and instead I’ll just hit you with a lovely simple noodle salad recipe. This is a great one for summer because there is pretty minimal cooking involved. In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing a bunch more summer-friendly recipes. I’ve always been a fan of stronger flavours, and this one packs quite a tangy punch thanks to the combination of rice wine vinegar, sriracha and ginger. Nothing like a good hit of ginger to boost the old immune system!

Tangy Edamame Buckwheat Noodle Salad
(serves 4)

3-4 carrots
1 medium red capsicum
6 spring onions
2 cups frozen edamame
2 cups snow pea tendrils
200g buckwheat soba noodles
3 Tbsp black sesame seeds

4 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sriracha
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced

Prepare your veggies – using a julienne peeler, a mandolin or a really sharp knife and a bit of patience, cut your carrots and set aside. Julienne the red capsicum, and chop your spring onions into 1cm chunks.

Cook your noodles according to instructions, and in the final minute or two, throw in the edamames.

Meanwhile, whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside, and lightly toast sesame seeds in a pan over low heat until fragrant.

Drain noodles and edamame, and place in a large bowl along with carrot, spring onion, capsicum and snow pea tendrils. Pour over dressing and toss to combine. Top with toasted black sesame seeds.


Music for your Mouth: Agent Orange/Orange Juice

Another double shot of tunes today with Agent Orange – a punky, surfy band from the late ’70s, and Orange Juice – a post-punk, Scottish band. It’s kind of strange to present to you a salad in association with a band whose namesake is a herbicide used during the Vietnam War, but I assure you there are no crop destroying chemicals in this dish.

It’s another throw together simple salad which is great to take along to a barbecue or put on the Christmas table. I have no idea about pomegranates. I had my first taste of them only a couple of years ago – my mum served one with breakfast on a special occasion – maybe Christmas? I have had one since then, not including this one. So I had no idea what I was doing when I was trying to select a ripe one, nor get the seeds out. What a strange strange fruit. I’ve been seeing them in so many recipes lately and I guess I just thought they would look pretty in a salad.


Orange, Avocado and Pomegranate Salad

3 cups salad leaves – I used a mix of baby spinach and rocket
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 small navel oranges
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

Juice of half an orange
1 tsp orange zest
Juice of half a lime
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp agave nectar
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut your oranges into slices. It’s probably easier to slice them then cut the skin off – the first one I did I peeled first and then tried to slice it up – it was a juicy juicy mess.

Throw all salad ingredients in a bowl.

Put all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend to combine. Pour over salad.




Music for your Mouth: Chuck Berry

You Chuck the Berry in the salad and what do you get? Strawberry salad, duhh.

Um hello! Day 7: Week 1 of MoFo complete! I can’t believe I’ve managed a post every day, it’s pretty crazy. I’ve been loving reading everybody’s posts, I’m about one quarter of my way though the blogroll – I’m trying to visit every blog by the end of the month. I’ve already found some killer blogs and met some great new people. Yay MoFo!

chuckberry3Onto the food! – This is a lovely side dish, and a winner to take to a barbecue or potluck. With juicy red berries and zesty cashew cheese, I reckon it just screams summer (even though we’re not quite there yet!)


Strawberry Balsamic Salad with Cashew Cheese

3 tightly packed cups of baby spinach
1 1/2 cups strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

Cashew Cheese:
1 cup cashews, soaked
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp water
Salt and pepper

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

First, prepare the cashew cheese. Place cashews in blender or food processor and blend until they resemble coarse crumbs. Add remaining ingredients and blend until desired consistency. It’s nice to make it super creamy, but to chuck in salads, I like it to be a bit chunky/pasty. If you want it smoother, just add a little more liquid.

Put all salad ingredients in a bowl. Take blobs of cashew cheese and toss through salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and toss.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

chuckberry1I wasn’t going to put Johnny B-Goode up, because it’s the obvious choice – but then I went to listen to it and he just rips right in with that opening riff and how could you not? So GOOD!


Mediterranean Pearl Cous Cous Salad

Today marks the first day of ‘meat-free week‘ 2014.

Yes, I know. Every week is meat-free week here at little vegan bear, but nevertheless, I am going to share a recipe with you all to mark the occasion. I whipped up a big bowl of this salad last night to take to work for lunch this week, as I am finding that it is better to plan ahead and be prepared, or else I will be tempted by the delicious food calling my name from Smith and Gertrude streets. Sneaky cafes!

The salad is a little Mediterranean inspired, full of tang. I had thought that the combination of mint and basil might be a little strange, but I think it worked quite well as they are only used in small amounts and actually compliment each other nicely. This salad is a great side dish, or works well with a big side of leafy greens.

ImageMediterranean Pearl Cous Cous Salad

250g tofu, pressed and cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt

Rest of salad:
2 cups dry pearl cous cous
1 tsp veg stock powder
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, rehydrated (approx 1 cup once rehydrated – or use semi-dried)
1/3 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 cups baby kale, roughly chopped

1 Tbsp lemon zest
Juice of one lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1/4 tsp sea salt
Healthy dose of cracked pepper

Start by marinating the to-feta. Whisk together all ingredients apart from the tofu until combined. Add tofu and stir to coat all pieces in marinade. Set aside for a couple of hours (or overnight)

Next, cook the cous cous according to packet instructions. I think the one I used directed 1 1/4 cups of water to 1 cup of cous cous. Add the stock powder to the pot while cooking for a little extra flavour. Once it’s done, transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

Give the kale a good scrunching (just moosh or massage it between your fingers) to break up the fibres a little bit. Add it along with the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl once the cous cous has cooled. Throw in the to-feta and stir to combine.

For the dressing, simply whisk all the ingredients together. Pour over salad and mix to distribute evenly. Store salad in the fridge until ready to use.


Single Serve Super Salad

Okay, so I lied. This recipe is more like a double serve, but it just didn’t have the same ring to it.

Over the last week or two, I’ve found myself skipping lunch on quite a few occasions – more often than not because I’m busy doing something, or I’ve snacked on something else and as a result found myself not hungry. So yesterday I resolved to make a nutritious lunch for myself to try and make up for my days of no lunches.

This is my go-to salad when I want to pack heaps of goodies into one meal.

Single Serve Super Salad (for two)

1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
100g tofu, pressed and cubed (I used some leftover marinated tofu from the night before for extra flavoury goodness)
1 tsp rice bran oil
1/2 lebanese cucumber, diced
1 medium carrot, grated
1/4 cup capsicum, diced (whatever colour!)
Small handful of snowpeas, chopped
1 small tomato, diced (or a handful of cherry tomatoes)

1/2 cup mushroom, sliced
1 cup baby spinach or other leafies such as rocket or arugula
1/4 cup coriander, chopped
2 Tbsp pepitas
Small knob of ginger, minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 small lime
2 Tbsp flax seed oil
2-4 Tbsp tamari

Chili flakes (optional)

Cook quinoa according to instructions. Set aside.

Heat rice bran oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger and tofu and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, being careful not to burn the garlic and ginger. I also added the mushrooms for a couple of minutes, just to make them a little golden. I’m not the biggest fan of raw mushrooms (I’ll get there…) but if you are, feel free to chuck them straight into the salad raw. When golden brown, take off heat.

Combine all salad ingredients, including the quinoa and tofu mix in a bowl. Add flax oil, lime juice, and 2Tbsp of tamari and stir well to combine. Taste for flavour, adding more tamari if required. If you love chili, like me, sprinkle some in and combine.

And voila! A healthy and filling lunchtime booster.


Raw Pad Thai

So I’m thinking about doing Vegan MoFo…is anyone else here signing up?

I’ve been following it for years, but now I’ve got my own blog I think it’s time to  participate. I don’t know how well I’ll do at posting every day, especially once we’re on the move again, but hey – could be fun trying! I’m excited for the interweb being alive with vegan blogging!

Yep, I’m in.


Now, I just wanted to interrupt my backlog to share this beautiful meal I ate the other night, courtesy of the lovely Sophia at Silk and Spice. Raw Pad Thai had been at the back of my mind for a while, and once I saw the colourful recipe she’d put forth, I knew I had to try it. I managed to snap a picture of it just before sun down (we get terrible light in the van), so it doesn’t quite do the dish as much justice as it deserves, but you can hop over and check out the recipe in all its glory here.

I used coriander instead of chives as I had them on hand, and we squeezed a bit of lime juice on top too, and let me tell you – it was deliciously fresh, crunchy and filling. A winner! Thanks Sophia!


Crunchy Sweet Potato Noodle Salad

This is a recipe that I adapted from a trashy magazine I was reading in the waiting room at the burns unit back in Sydney. We had one of those moments where the planets aligned and we had pretty much every single ingredient we needed on hand, so this was perfect. Billy claimed it was his favourite meal in ages (though he says that quite regularly) and at the shops the other day, he disappeared and came back with a packet of fried noodles…subtle hint.


Crunchy Sweet Potato Noodle Salad
(Serves 2)

1 large sweet potato, cubed
100g fried noodles
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp red curry paste
Dash of chili flakes
2/3 cup peanuts, toasted
1 cup coriander, chopped roughly

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pan and saute the ginger and garlic until golden. Transfer to a bowl or jug and allow to cool. Add coconut milk, lime juice, sugar and red curry paste and whisk together with a fork. I got a bit more of the coconut cream than intended, so added a little water to thin the dressing out. Salt to taste, then set aside.

Heat the other tablespoon of oil in the pan and add sweet potato, cooking over med-low for a couple of minutes. Add a dash of water and cover, allowing the potato to steam a little. Once softer, remove the lid, add a pinch of salt and a (generous) pinch of chili flakes and continue to cook uncovered until the edges are nice and golden and a bit crispy. If you have access to one, you could oven-cook the potato by drizzling it with oil, tossing with the salt and chili and baking for 20-30mins, until tender.

Combine noodles, potato, half the coriander and half the peanuts in a bowl. Pour over dressing and toss to combine. Top with the rest of the coriander and peanuts. We also sprinkled some fried shallots on top as an afterthought. Eat immediately. Yummo.