Veg in Cow Country

cooking (and eating) vegan and vegetarian in the midwest

Champagne Mangoes: new favorite fruit! May 5, 2012

Filed under: favorite products,Summertime — vegincowcountry @ 5:27 pm

I didn’t know I liked mangoes until I bought one for the parrots – they’re high in vitamins A and C and in folate. The parrots approved — and no wonder! I found that I like them, too. 

Then I noticed smaller, yellow mangoes… and those were fantastic! Apparently, they’re called Champagne Mangoes or Ataulfo Mangoes. Their major advantage over the big reddish-green ones I usually find in the stores here that they are not nearly as stringy. They’re small, about 4-5 inches long, but they also have a small seed. 

(Comparative size to a banana)

There are all kinds of recipes  on this site dedicated to Champagne Mangoes:

We’re purists here, though, we eat them as they are. It also seems to be mango season, because they’re on sale everywhere…

Mango addict: Oliver the Green Cheeked Conure. The second time I put a little square of mango in his cage, he recognized it, and made a beeline for it muttering “pretty pretty” under his breath.


Jerusalem Salad March 18, 2012

Filed under: Middle Eastern,Salads,Summertime — vegincowcountry @ 5:27 pm
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This has got to be one of the prettiest salads I’ve ever made, and the fresh parsley is what makes it so visually appealing. It tastes fresh and tangy and very much like spring! I have this salad every time I go to my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, which sits unostentatiously in a run-down strip mall (don’t all of the best restaurants??)

As a teenager, I worked for a Palestinian family in their (now long-closed) sandwich shop, and developed a taste for Middle Eastern food in general and falafel in particular. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet figured out how to make falafel that doesn’t fall apart in the frying pan… 😦 Fortunately, I CAN make Jerusalem Salad — and with fresh pita bread, kalamata olives, and dolmas from the Mediterranean market, it’s an easy meal.

The dressing recipe makes much more than you’ll need for this amount of salad, but it keeps for several days in the fridge — and you might want more salad…

If you’ve never had occasion to buy tahini, you’ll find it at Middle Eastern or Mediterranean markets and some health food stores. It’s crushed sesame seeds made into a paste that’s nice and creamy for dressings.

I was told at my Mediterranean market that my jar of tahini would keep for a year in the fridge… I’m doubting that, but am willing to bet that it will keep longer in the fridge than in the pantry! Lemon juice bleaches the tahini in this recipe, so it’s an almost white dressing. It also makes a great dip for falafel, and is an essential ingredient in homemade hummus.

Jerusalem Salad

1 medium or large cucumber, diced

2-3 small tomatoes (Romas work well), seeded and diced

1 handful fresh parsley, chopped

4 Tbsp tahini dressing

Fresh ground black pepper to taste


Tahini Dressing

¼ cup Tahini

¼ cup water

5 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp salt

 Combine cucumbers, parsley and tomatoes in a bowl. Add tahini dressing and pepper and mix. Chill before serving. Enjoy!

Do you shop at ethnic markets? What is your favorite?


White Bean Salad September 11, 2011

Filed under: Salads,Summertime — vegincowcountry @ 7:51 pm

I have been eating a lot of fast food lately, and too much of that included dairy and fried stuff. So I wanted something light and fresh for supper — and something that would last a couple of days for lunch at work, so I can avoid said fast food!

I checked out my second-favorite source for recipes:… and found White Bean Salad!

Cannellini beans, a/k/a White Kidney Beans, have a very mild flavor and soft texture that makes them perfect for salads. 

Kalamata olives and plain old black olives are my favorites… never been a big fan of green olives, so I wasn’t excited to spend money on them, let alone put them in a salad. However, don’t ever let it be said that I’m not willing to try things — these were very good chopped up in little pieces in salad!

I’m virtually incapable of following a recipe exactly — I always have changes to make and the directions portion is usually lost on me, as I follow my own directions (which are, on occasion, wrong and make a big mess)! So here’s the original recipe:

My version below:

2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup green olives, sliced

1 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

1/2 cucumber, diced

1 ½ cup tomatoes, diced – I used some halved yellow grape tomatoes in the mix, which in addition to being sweeter than regular tomatoes, are prettier!

2 celery ribs, diced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

½ tsp dried rosemary

1 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

Stir together the beans, artichokes, olives, peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, celery and green onions in a large bowl; set aside.

Whisk together the vinegar, Dijon mustard, parsley, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually pour in olive oil until well combined. Pour the dressing over the salad, and stir until all ingredients are coated. Refrigerate at least one hour or overnight before serving.


Houston’s Veggie Burger August 18, 2011

Filed under: Summertime — vegincowcountry @ 8:19 pm

This recipe has been passed around in the vegetarian community since Houston’s restaurant introduced the burger. Full of black beans, rice, barbecue sauce, and some other ingredients that are more surprising, this is the veggie burger that will make even the most dedicated carnivore say “Hey, that’s ok!”

I’m not usually attracted to recipes with more than about 5 ingredients (or men who spend more time on their hair than I do). But these are definitely worth it! These burgers NOT a quick and easy meal. Plan to spend an hour in the kitchen making and frying these, and do it when you’re not hungry, or else about halfway through chopping and mixing, you’ll be strongly tempted to start eating uncooked rice…

Good news: they freeze easily. Make a double batch and layer them between sheets of waxed paper and stick in a freezer bag. I also like to freeze my leftover pickled jalapenos and canned beets (because really, what else are you gonna do with canned beets?)

Here in Cow Country, we like our barbecue sauce, and vegetarians and vegans, rare as we are, are no exception. I use a Kansas City favorite, Zarda’s Sweet Hickory. Some brands of barbecue sauce include little dead fishies in their ingredients, but this one is vegan!

Best way to fry these suckers: drop a big spoonful of mixture in a hot skillet, then shape in the pan. Trust me, you’re not going to be able to shape these with your hands. They hold together fairly well when they’re shaped in the pan.

Houston’s serves on buttered, toasted buns – I use either Earth Balance or Smart Balance (some varieties are vegan).

4 Tb Hickory BBQ sauce

1 Tb molasses

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 Tb oat bran (can usually be found in bulk in the health section of the grocery store)

1 Tb onion, finely chopped

1 Tb canned beets, finely chopped

1 tsp beet juice

1 tsp chili powder

¼ tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1 Tb pickled jalapenos, chopped

½ egg-worth of egg replacer

1/4-1/2 cup flour

2 tsp olive oil

Stir together BBQ sauce and molasses; set aside.

Mash beans, stir in 3 Tb of BBQ/molasses mixture. Add remaining ingredients except olive oil. Hear olive oil in skillet, drop large spoonfuls of mixture into skillet and shape to form 4-6 patties. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes per side. Top with remaining BBQ/molasses mixture. Serve on a toasted, buttered bun!


Mexican Confetti Cactus Salad August 2, 2011

Filed under: Mexican,Salads,Summertime — vegincowcountry @ 11:45 pm

This recipe is the creation of my friend Donna, moderator and owner of Yahoo’s vegetarian_group: This group is so much fun – great recipes and wonderful, kind, generous, funny people. Also one of Yahoo’s Top 10 Groups — I highly recommend joining.

Depending on where you live, you might find nopales, an edible Mexican cactus, in a jar at Wal-Mart in the Mexican section. They are kind of tangy but very fresh-tasting. I have yet to make this with fresh nopales, but if you have a Mexican market near you and want to prepare them yourself, ask for “nopales limpios” — “clean nopales” (as in, cactus needles removed, and sometimes even cut into neat little strips). Here’s an interesting link to information on nopales and how to prepare fresh ones:

1 cup chopped nopales

1 cup chopped red onion

1 cup corn

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 – 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained


2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

dash of red pepper flakes

1 or 2 squeezed garlic cloves

1/2 Tablespoon sugar

2 Tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients; pour vinaigrette over, chill at least 1 hour.


Cold Cucumber Sesame Noodles

Filed under: Asian,Salads,Summertime — vegincowcountry @ 11:44 pm

A new and exciting place for me to shop is my huge local Asian market. A large variety of produce, rice, beans, sauces, dried mushrooms are available — and three whole aisles of nothing but noodles! Japanese udon noodles have become a favorite, and they’re great in this dish. Even if you don’t have an Asian market near, soy sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, and sesame oil are easily found in most large grocery stores.

It’s very easy to make vegan Asian food, because tofu is a common ingredient, so it’s easy to leave the meat out. Asians don’t seem to eat a lot of dairy, either. The inspiration for this dish, however, was something I scooped up off the salad bar at Whole Foods recently – cool, tangy, sweet, and a little spicy, this is perfect for the 100+ degree F temperatures we’ve been having in the Midwest!

¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
½ Tablespoon sugar
½ Tablespoon lite soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced or julienned
8 ounces dried spaghetti or udon noodles, cooked
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
2-3 green onions, sliced
2 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

In a large bowl, stir together rice vinegar, soy sauce, salt, sesame oil. Add cucumbers and cooked spaghetti.

Add red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and green onions. Chill one hour. Top with sesame seeds and serve.


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