As the vegan of the family you're often asked to prepare your own food, or bring a few dishes to add to the line up. Over the next few weeks I'm going to be busting out a great selection of super simple, tasty and vibrant recipes for your Christmas feast that will make omnis stoked to be chowing down on vegan food.
First up is salads, sometimes a simple bowl of greens well dressed suffices for a salad. But at Christmas I like things to be a little more flashy, and a little more filling, because it's hot and I am not interested in eating a roast dinner.
In our little lineup we've got a zucchini pesto salad, a quinoa and nectarine salad and a kolrahbi yoghurt salad. Each dish has different distinct flavours, packs a flavour punch and is set to impress. Each one will last well for a night or two in the fridge, because leftovers-able food is very important at this time of year!
Basil & Kale Pesto Zucchini Zoodle Salad
This salad is super quick to throw together, and lasts well overnight, the zucchini noodles soften as the salt pulls out the moisture and the dish become super easy to eat. You don't need a flash spiralizer to make this dish, I've used a simple julienne peeler which you can grab at any decent kitchen shop, or just shave your zucchinis into ribbons using a regular vegetable peeler.
4 medium sized zucchinis - cut into noodles.
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes - halved
large bunch of basil
3 large leaves of curly kale
1 cup of pine nuts toasted
1/4 cup of raw cashews
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 large clove of garlic
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
4 tbsp of olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Set noodles and tomatoes aside. Place all other ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Process until well combined, still retaining a little texture, you don't want to make a paste. Toss pesto through zucchini noodles, and then toss through the cherry tomatoes.
Quinoa and Nectarine Salad
This salad is filled with fresh and yummy fruits and vegetables, utilising some of the best of summer stone fruit. If you can get your hands on some Damona feta that is the perfect addition to this dish adding a creamy, cheesy quality which balances well with the bright fruit. Or you could really impress your guests and have a go at making some almond feta yourself.
1 cup of quinoa - cook according to packet instructions
2 medium nectarines - sliced
1/2 a red onion - sliced
1 small red capsicum - sliced
1 small lebanese cucumber - halved and sliced
A small handful of parsley - roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of raspberry balsamic. If you can't get your hands on raspberry balsamic look for a white balsamic, and mix with a little olive oil and sugar.
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp of Damona Almond Feta
Cook the quinoa following the absorption method, when cooked separate with a fork and allow to cool.
When cooled toss all ingredients together, except the almond feta, and season. Top with almond feta and serve.
Kohlrabi Yoghurt Salad
This salad is twist on a Yottam Ottolenghi recipe which relied on a lot of dairy. I've simplified it and added some of my own touches. Kohlrabi is an unusual veg in Australia, but you can track it down at a farmers market or quality grocer if you're lucky. It's part of the cabbage and broccoli family, so the taste is familiar. You'll want to find smaller kohlrabi for this recipe, as the larger ones tend to be a bit tough and a bit of an effort to crunch through. However, if your vegetable is on the bigger side just slice it into smaller match sticks and you'll be fine.
The dressing uses coconut yoghurt, but the coconut flavour fades into the background with the savoury additions of olive oil, garlic and lemon.
3 small to medium kohlrabi - cut into 1cm cubes
4 small radishes - finely sliced
2 cups of roughly chopped kale - you could also use watercress or any other leafy green with a bit of texture.
1 cup of coconut yoghurt - I like Pure n Free, but any plain coconut yoghurt will work
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
3tbsp of olive oil
1 clove of garlic minced
1/3 cup mint finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp sumac
1/4 cup dill roughly chopped
Set aside the kohlrabi, radishes, kale, sumac and dill. Combine all other ingredients in a mixing bowl for the dressing, just a quick whip with a fork should do the trick. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust as needed.
Assemble by tossing the kale in the dressing first, gently massage the kale to break down some of the tougher fibres. Then toss through the kohlrabi and radishes, and dress with a sprinkle of sumac and finally the dill. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.