Summer Black-Eyed Pea Salad ♥ Recipe

Summer Black-Eyed Pea Salad, hearty salad full of crunch and flavor, tastes like summer in a bowl but can be made any time of year. Vegan, low-carb and for Weight Watchers, just PointsPlus 1.
graphic button small size size 10 Say hello to my latest salad obsession, a hearty salad that's full of crunch and color. It looks like – tastes like – bites like – summer in a bowl! But it can be made any time of year, delivering the sense of summer all year long. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real" and just 1 Weight Watchers point! graphic button small size size 10

~recipe updated 2015~
~ republished for a little weekend cooking inspiration 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

BACK IN 2011 My friend Chris first brought this to a Mardi Gras shindig. All the food that night was extra fabulous but a few of us all kept going back for more black-eyed pea salad! A few days later, I made the salad myself, nixing the bacon entirely and cutting the oil by half. Again – SO good! Those extra calories weren't in the least bit missed.

And then I made it again – didn't I say this salad is my current obsession? – cutting the oil by three-quarters. Chris and her husband were back for another little gathering and all three of us went back for seconds! So good! So fresh! So flexible!

This is a great dish to carry to a potluck, a family dinner, a church supper. It would be a great dish to deliver to a family where people are gathering for a funeral or where someone's sick or ... to make a meal of, all by yourself, just yourself and a spoon. (Obsession, you say? Uh huh.) I hope you like this salad as much as I do!

"... smitten by the results. Such a beautiful dish!" ~ Charlie
"... it was fabulous!" ~ Tina
"So yummy with fresh mint!" ~ Robyn

Smitten Kitchen’s Avocado-Cucumber Salad ♥

Avocado-Cucumber Salad, addictively good, many variations ~ Low carb, gluten-free, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 4 ~
graphic button small size size 10 A salad to make again and again, so many variations yet grounded by the terrific combination of crisp cucumber and soft avocado. Low Carb, Gluten Free, Vegetarian. For Weight Watchers, PointsPlus 4. A great choice for Meatless Monday! graphic button small size size 10

So I always wonder, when a recipe goes viral, do grocers notice? I-am-SO-betting there's been a run on cucumbers and avocados since two weeks ago when Smitten Kitchen shared this recipe for what she calls "obsessively good avocado cucumber salad". She's right. Let's count, just me, I made the salad seven times, one with an on-hand cucumber, six more with cucumber three-somes from Sam's Club. So yeah. I'm smitten. Am I obsessed? Uh maybe?

Luckily, the object of this obsession isn't something sugar-butter-flour-laden. I've strayed – not far, but still, finding my own path – from Smitten Kitchen's original combination. Three things are essential: chunks of crisp thin-skinned cucumbers plus cubes of soft but not mushy avocado plus a creamy make-it-how-you-like-it dressing. Smitten Kitchen likes the dressing drizzled over the chunks of vegetables, I like it all tossed together. A little onion is important, so is a good grind of pepper. I found myself adding "stuff" to the salad, all the while maintaining a one:one balance between the "crisp" of cucumber and the "soft" of avocado.

Zucchini Mushroom Tacos ♥

Zucchini Mushroom Tacos, a quick vegetarian or vegan filling for Meatless Monday tacos. For Weight Watchers, PointsPlus 3.
graphic button small size size 10 Today's great recipe idea for Meatless Monday and other nutritious vegetarian suppers. The filling is slightly sweet, slightly hot, a big mess of zucchini, mushrooms, tomato and beans – a great base to easily adapt with what's on hand or just sounds good. With a vegan cheese, the tacos are not just vegan but "Vegan Done Real". With more vegetables and/or protein instead of beans, the filling meets the requirements of both paleo and Whole30 diets. For Weight Watchers? The filling is just three PointsPlus for a whole cup! You're gonna love this one, I promise!

~recipe & photo updated 2015~
~ republished for a little weekend cooking inspiration 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

BACK IN 2007 Did I mention I love-love-love Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday? I do! This recipe is one more reason. It makes an excellent quick supper of tacos, infinitely variable, completely delicious. And then? The leftovers are just excellent for a simple lunch! Next time, I will go easy on the canned chipotle pepper and its adobo sauce. This turned out hotter than pleasant – not inedible-hot, not eye-watering hot, not mouth-burning hot, just hotter than pleasant. I added a can of hominy in an attempt to quell the heat, turns out, it was a great addition!

Kale Recipes ♥ Alphabet of Vegetables

Ready to fall for kale? This collection of seasonal Kale Recipes from A Veggie Venture can help, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, sandwiches to smoothies, simple to special. Many Weight Watchers, vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, whole30 recipes. |
Hello Vegetable Lovers: Over the next while, watch for some housekeeping with the Alphabet of Vegetables here on A Veggie Venture. The goal is to separate out our "most favorite" vegetables so their pages will load more quickly, handy for all but especially those of us who check for recipes on our phones. ~Alanna

PS Facebook & Pinterest users, if you love A Veggie Venture, be sure to "like" and "pin" this page! More and more, search engines and even real-live human beings rely on social media indicators to identify favorite sources of trusted information.

IN A RUSH? Prefer Another Vegetable?
Skip Straight to the Recipes or Switch to the A-Z of Vegetables.

Kale 101: THE BASICS
Pronounced (Duh) [kale]. The Season. The growing season for kale is "late winter" to "early spring". Thanks to the miracle of our global food distribution system, however, beautiful kale is easily found year-round in grocery stores. Other Names for Kale. Also called Scots cabbage and borecole. What's some times called Chinese kale isn't kale but Chinese broccoli aka gai-lan or kai-lan. Taste Kale is a bitter green, this can be countered with a splash of vinegar. When added to soup or stew, usually near the end so it doesn't cook to mush, kale actually adds a lovely savory-sweetness. Kale = Super Food. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. Special Diets. Kale is gluten-free, paleo approved, South Beach diet approved (Phase 1), Weight Watchers friendly and Whole30 approved. (Naturally, specific preparations matter to each of these eating regimens.) Sources. Personal experience and accumulated learning.

Specific Kale Varieties
"Curly Kale" could also be called "salad bar kale" because it's often used as ruffly filler in salad bars – just for looks, not eating! But don't worry, it's not only edible, it's good eating. This is the most widely available kale variety, also the least expensive. It keeps for a week or more in the fridge.
"Lacinato Kale" ia also called black cabbage, Tuscan Kale, Tuscan Cabbage, Cavolo Nero and Dinosaur Kale. I have the darnest time not incorrectly calling it "lacinto" kale. Its long, elegant leaves and nubbly texture is so pretty, I some times put lacinato kale in a vase on the kitchen table! Lacinato kale is quite tender, it needs less cooking than curly kale. It's also more perishable and should be cooked within a couple of days.
"Red Russian Kale" or "Red Winter Kale" has beautiful purple stems with silver-green leaves. Truth be told? I don't know that I've ever cooked this kale! Must fix that!


Cauliflower Rice with Ginger Vinaigrette ♥

Cauliflower Rice with Ginger Vinaigrette, just grated cauliflower with a bright ginger dressing ~ Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Whole30, Vegan, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 1 ~
graphic button small size size 10 Once again, cauliflower turns into something amazing, this time not quite cauliflower and not quite rice – maybe more like couscous? It's easy to make and to my taste, totally addictive.

Weight Watchers Friendly, just 1 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. Whole 30 Compliant. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". And Totally Tasty. (There should be a program for that, too!) graphic button small size size 10

Three grants, count 'em. Granted, Cauliflower Rice doesn't look like much. Granted, Cauliflower Rice is no more than grated cauliflower tossed in a surprising ginger-y vinaigrette. Granted, Cauliflower Rice got so-so attention on Easter Sunday. (In its defense on this last grant, there was tons of competition!)

But by Monday, when we played afternoon-hooky and headed to the country for a little late-winter/early-spring hiking? On the trip back at dark, Cauliflower Rice was all I could think of. We could've stopped for fried chicken at our Mondays-only fried-chicken dive. We like a BBQ place on the way back too. There's even an unlikely new Thai place that we hear is quite good, the only business (albeit in a private home) on the entire length of a long, lonely country road. But me? All I wanted was Cauliflower Rice.

Asparagus Scallion Salad ♥ Recipe

Asparagus Scallion Salad | gently poached for substantial, dreamy spring salad | low carb, vegetarian, high protein, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 2 | A Veggie Venture
graphic button small size size 10 Asparagus and scallions gently poached together, then drizzled with a simple vinaigrette and tossed with hard-cooked egg. (Who else has leftover cooked eggs from Easter?!) Dreamy good plus low carb and low cal. For Weight Watchers, this substantial (lunch anyone?) salad adds up to only PointsPlus 2. graphic button small size size 10

~updated & republished 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

How many children have gagged over boiled asparagus? What were we thinking, leeching all color and flavor from the earthy spears, leaving a mushy gushy slimy mess? Ish, no wonder.

So please, stick with me here, I really truly want to sell you on this little salad which I completely adore. These asparagus are not boiled – nosiree, they are poached. What's the difference? Marketing, people, vegetable marketing.

WORD DANCERS And one more thing. The asparagus are poached with – no turning up your nose, please! – scallions. Yes, other people call those little gems green onions, but me, I'm sticking to scallions if only for the linguistic loveliness of the sibilant alliteration of asparagus scallion salad.

Am I losing you? Then let me pull out a little asparagus capital. There are dozens of asparagus recipes on A Veggie Venture and this little salad makes the Top Five. Still don't believe me? Then believe Heidi from 101 Cookbooks who paired asparagus, green onion and farro in this gorgeous vegetarian supper.

Spring sunshine in a spoon. That's what this is.

Creamed Eggs with Spinach ♥ Recipe

Creamed Eggs with Spinach | Low-carb, high-protein, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 5 |
Today's easy-easy eggs-with-spinach recipe: A great way to use up leftover Easter eggs, hard-cooked eggs in a cheesy sauce, served over quick-cooked spinach. Beautiful color, hearty enough for supper. Low carb, high protein and for Weight Watchers, just PointsPlus 5.

~recipe & photo updated 2015~
~ republished for a little after-Easter cooking inspiration 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

BACK IN 2009: Okay, so we tried, we really did. My friend Mary and I spent four hours on Sunday making what we hoped would be beautiful Easter eggs using natural dyes like turmeric and onion skins. Harumph. What did we get? Three dozen outright ugly amateurish-looking Easter eggs. And what else? Three dozen leftover hard-cooked eggs, many already cracked, needing to be used up. Anyone here share this pain?!!

But whoa, was I ever happy with the first recipe, something created out of "air" but definitely to be repeated. There's just something magical about the combination of astringent spinach and creamy eggs.

GETTING RID OF LEFTOVER EASTER EGGS If you too have a surfeit of hard-boiled pre-cooked Easter eggs, I've added a collection of cooked egg recipes to this list of Easy Egg Recipes. The recipes are from my own sites but also from other food bloggers, great classic recipes for eggs.

FOR THE CRAFTY SORTS Mary is an artist and her hand-painted Easter eggs are just beautiful, painted on paper mache eggs from Hobby Lobby. For photos, see Easter Eggs on Flickr.

EASTER RECIPES Easter is a big deal for cooks! See all the Easter recipes ideas on Kitchen Parade, my food column, including my favorite recipe for Hot Cross Buns which are traditionally made on Good Friday, Choereg, the traditional Armenian Easter bread, and an Asparagus Custard Tart which I remade last week and loved once again! It uses a commercial pie crust so no pastry skills required.