DDD #140 – Violife Vegan Cheese Review (Sharp Cheddar, Feta & Parmesan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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6-Ingredient Wheat Berry Salad with Peas, Mint & Feta (Vegetarian or Vegan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Wheat berries – crunchy & healthy & tasty!  If you don’t like or cannot find wheat berries – use any other grain like couscous, quinoa, rice – whatever.  It is all about the peas & mint.  I used real feta here but I also made a version with this vegan cheese below & it was just as delicious.

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6-Ingredient Wheat Berry Salad with Peas, Mint & Feta (Vegetarian or Vegan)

Serves 4 as a side dish

INGREDIENTS

1 cup uncooked wheat berries (or other grain)

2 cups fresh peas (or frozen)

1/4 lb feta (or vegan cheese) – crumbled

1/4 cup fresh mint – chopped

1/8 cup olive oil

1/8 cup apple cider vinegar

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the wheat berries or other grain.  Add the FRESH peas about 4-5 minutes before the grains are done to soften the peas.  If using frozen – add them in the last minute or 2.

Run the wheat berries & peas under cool water to stop their cooking then toss with the other ingredients.  Season with S&P.

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Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto & Feta Cheese (Vegan or Vegetarian)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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A few months ago, I made the vegan arugula pesto you see above.  I made a lot of it & then I froze it in batches of about 1/2 to 1 cup each – freezing each serving in sandwich baggies – like below.

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They freeze flat – like little DVDs – and take up very little room in the freezer.  Then – you can just thaw it as you need it.  I used some to make this pasta salad for a BBQ this weekend.  I used real feta in this but – at home – I would have used this vegan cheese here – below the feta.  You could do whichever – or leave the extra cheese out entirely.  Your call!  Whatever you decide – this is easy & fresh & tasty!

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Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto & Feta Cheese (Vegan or Vegetarian)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta – cooked, drained & rinsed in cold water

1 arugula pesto recipe

6 oz feta or vegan cheese – crumbled

1/2 to 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes – halved or quartered

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta & drain under cold water.

Make (or thaw – if you are using some you froze) the pesto.

Ratio of pesto to pasta is a personal thing.  Start light & add as much as feels right to you.  Mix well.

Stir in cheese & tomatoes.  Season with S&P.

Enjoy!

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Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Fennel is a divisive vegetable.  The sharp licorice flavor is either something you love or hate, it seems.  But, as with garlic, the flavor of fennel mellows into something else entirely – when you roast it.  It becomes soft & sorta sweet & it compliments this salad nicely.

I used arugula but any mixed greens or baby spinach would work, too.  I added pistachios but any nuts would work – especially if you toasted them a bit first.

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I used this lovely blood orange olive oil but regular olive oil would work.  I used the dark balsamic – but white balsamic would be lovely, too.

And for the goat cheese – I used this stuff (below).   It has the texture of a soft goat cheese & was really delicious.  If you eat cheese – real goat cheese or feta would also work.

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Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

4-6 beets (red or golden – no matter)

1 large fennel bulb

2 fists full of arugula or other greens

1/4 cup pistachios

1 avocado – cubed

Vegan soft cheese (or real goat or feta cheese) – quantity up to you

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wrap the beets in foil.  No need to even wash them – as that will happen later.  If they are large (mine were about the size of ping pong balls) – cut them into smaller chunks.

Cut the fronds off the fennel (saving some of the dilly leaves for garnish) & cut the bulb in half.  Place on a cooking sheet & drizzle with olive oil.

Place the beets in foil on the cooking sheet with the fennel & roast 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.  The beets might take longer than the fennel.

When the beets cool – wash them under running water & rub the skins off.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Slice up the fennel.

Place some greens on each plate.  Top with beets, fennel, avocado, pistachios & crumbled cheese. Drizzle with olive oil & balsamic.  Garnish with fennel leaves and S&P.

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Kale & Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad with Avocado (Vegan or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Kale, Spinach & Cashew Pesto

Makes about 2 cups – which is a lot

INGREDIENTS

2 cups kale with the ribs removed

2 cups organic spinach

2-6 garlic cloves (depending on your taste for garlic)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative)

1/4 cup cashews (or almonds or pistachios or walnuts or pecans)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Blanch the kale in boiling water for 1 minute & then drain & put into cold water.  When it is cool enough, squeeze the water out & pulse it in a food processor a few times.

Toast the nuts in a dry pan – agitating them so they do not burn – for a few minutes or until they start to brown a bit & smell fragrant.  Do not burn them or the pesto will be bitter.  Pulse them into the Kale.

Add all the other ingredients & pulse until smooth.  You might need to add more or less water to get the desired consistency – which should be thick but smooth.  Season with S&P.

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This is a pretty healthy pasta salad.  No mayo & lots of veggies.  I used some leftover kale & spinach pesto that I had frozen but any pesto will do.  I added some feta cheese to mine because I had some leftover from Blue Apron meals I never prepared but there was not a lot & it certainly was not critical to the dish so – if you are vegan – simply omit it.

The amounts you add of each thing is really a personal preference but here is how I did it.

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Kale & Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad with Avocado (Vegan or not)

Feeds a lot as a side dish maybe 10-15 people

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 lbs pasta – cooked, drained & cooled

1 small red onion – diced

2 large avocados – cubed

1 red bell pepper – diced

1 green bell pepper – diced

10 oz of cherry or grape tomatoes – halved

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1/2 cup pesto (more or less – according to taste)

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (more or less acording to taste) – OPTIONAL – omit if you are vegan

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Mix it all up & season with S&P.

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Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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OK – this is another fast & easy one.  If feta & watermelon seem like an odd mix – just think of the popularity of salting watermelon.  It might seem, initially, like an odd combo but it works really well.  It it refreshing & clean & and the water density of the watermelon makes it surprisingly satisfying.

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Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

2 cups diced watermelon

1/4-1/2 (or more) diced feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/4 red onion sliced paper thin

1-3 tsp olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lime

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Mix & serve.

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Roasted Beet and Chickpea Salad with Dill and Arugula and Lemon Vinaigrette

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

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I love beets!  I love lemon!  I love arugula!  I LOVE THIS SALAD!  If you are vegan – either just lose the feta cheese or add a vegan alternative.  There is enough flavor here that the cheese is just a layer of flavor but the salad doesn’t depend on it.

I roasted the beets days ahead & just used them yesterday.  You can do this, too, or roast them as needed.  I like having them in the fridge – ready & waiting for me to be inspired to use them.  I made this dressing fresh but most any tart dressing would work.

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Lemon Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup olive oil

juice of one lemon

1 1/2 tsp Dijon

1 garlic clove – minced

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Blend the ingredients & then add more lemon or oil or S&P – to suit your taste.

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Roasted Beet and Chickpea Salad with Dill and Arugula

INGREDIENTS

The ratio here is really up to you but here are my suggestions:

2 large beets

1/2 (15 oz) can chickpeas – drained & rinsed

A few cups of arugula

1/2 cucumber – sliced thin

1 cup feta – crumbled

Fresh dill

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DIRECTIONS

Wash the beets & wrap them in foil with a little olive oil drizzled on them.   Roast, wrapped in foil, at 400 degrees for about an hour.  Allow to cool & peel.  Cut into bite-sized chunks & set aside.

Make the vinaigrette.

Now just layer your ingredients as you like & drizzle with dressing.  Lots of freshly cracked pepper adds a nice touch.  Eat it up & sit back & think about the fact that your pee will likely be pink tomorrow.  🙂

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