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Two Perfect Summer Vegan Lunches

June 6, 2011

Hi all!

Although you may think that all I’m doing these days is touring Toronto cafés, I have actually been making some food as well. And today I’m here to share with you two awesome vegan lunch recipes that I think are perfect for summer. Ready? Here we go!

So what’s our first perfect summer vegan lunch? Spring rolls, of course! (Seriously, I really think spring rolls have got their seasons mixed up.)

I was reminded of the excellence of spring rolls last weekend during a brief visit back home, when my parents offered me some for lunch. Caitlin and I had actually made spring rolls together a while back and loved them, but for some reason we never got around to blogging about them! When I realized this, I knew this was something I would have to remedy. Then, as soon as I returned to Toronto, my roommate who was just about to move out happened to give me a big pack of rice paper wrappers from her pantry, and with that my fate was sealed. Some higher power was definitely telling me that it was my duty to make some spring rolls—an imperative to which I happily complied.

As when Caitlin and I made them before, I followed Vegan Dad’s general guidelines for spring rolls, which I think are a really good introduction for anyone who hasn’t made spring rolls before. However, this time I took a few more liberties in my choice of ingredients, coming up with this tantalizing combination:

Moving clockwise from the top, what we have here is: (a) Korean-style sweet potato starch noodles/glass noodles/cellophane noodles/dangmyeon/당면; (b) some raw Ontario asparagus; (c) daikon radish; and (d) chili ground tempeh. The noodles were simply boiled and then strained, the asparagus stalks were simply chopped in two, and the daikon was simply shredded. The tempeh took a little more work, but not much: following Vegan Dad’s recipe, I simply boiled the tempeh for 10 minutes and then panfried it with some soy sauce, mixing in some sriracha chili sauce at the end. It’s a really great way of preparing tempeh that is very versatile and works well in many dishes, though I particularly like how it works in these spring rolls.

With these ingredients all set, I then quickly microwave the noodles and tempeh just to get them a little bit warm, and then assemble my rolls. It took a little bit of practice of first, but now I’m pretty good at squeezing all these things together. All in all, I love how these spring rolls came together. The crunch of the asparagus, the freshness of the daikon, and the strong flavor of the tempeh combine to make a wonderful treat which is light, fresh, but still filling. These little guys are also easily taken on the go; simply wrap them up in plastic wrap and just make sure they don’t get smushed!

In addition, Vegan Dad has an excellent (though fairly standard I guess) recipe for chili dipping sauce, which complements these spring rolls nicely. It’s just vinegar and sugar simmered together for a few minutes with some sriracha mixed in at the end, but it makes for a very authentic tasting and pungent sauce which I love. Enjoy!

And for our second perfect summer vegan lunch, we have Choosing Raw Gena’s Pistachio Pesto Zucchini Pasta!

This easy-to-make dish is not only tremendously tasty, it’s also raw, which means it’s cool, light, and fresh—perfect for summer—while at the same time being quite filling and very nutritious. The formula is simple: You start by making a batch of pistachio pesto in your food processor (more or less like regular pesto but with pistachios in place of pine nuts), and then mix this in with some spiralized zucchini pasta. Top with some chopped up cherry and sun-dried tomatoes, garnish with some nutritional yeast, and you’ll all set! It really is delicious. Also, if you’re without a spiralizer, don’t fear—you can still make zucchini pasta by just finely slicing up a zucchini yourself.

And that’s all I have to share for today. Summer is a great time for eating, and I hope to be back soon with more light and fresh recipes to share!

Until we eat again,

Willie

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