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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Ask Aunt Nettie

We're delighted to share our Aunt Nettie with you. She's agreed to answer any questions you might ask about food, its preparation, and even clean-up tips. But we have to prepare you. She just might want to come right over to your house and help you fix dinner.

To send any questions to Ask Aunt Nettie an/or get her cooking advice, .

Editor's Note: Instead of Aunt Nettie answering individual questions, she has decided to address a number of requests from people who want to save money on the food budget and still enjoy healthy dining. This is one of a series of money-saving tips and recipes designed to stretch those slim dollars.

As an example of Aunt Nettie's impressive, penny-pinching ability to save, she still has some depression glass dishes and bowls in the cupboard--they're the real thing and she still treasures them.

In future issues of Vegetarians in Paradise, Aunt Nettie and her niece Zel will offer more money-saving recipes for the most extreme skinflints along with suggestions to help bargain-hunter foodies seek out cheap fare that still brings good cheer to the table.


Sixty-eighth in a series of articles


Howdy there Darlin's,

Well, ain't no doubt it's summertime! Why that sun's shinin' so powerful it's even too hot ta pull up them pesky weeds in my veggie garden! Now, child, I'm not really complainin'--I jes loves summer 'cause it's when all that sunshine makes them good li'l veggies grow they way they oughter.

An' when them purty veggies is good 'n' ripe, why they go right inter the jumbo salad bowl fer my summer supper. It's purfect eatin' when it's jes too hot ta cook. Y'all know that feelin' --ya jes feel a bit tuckered out 'cause the heat's gotten to ya an all ya feel like eatin' is anythin' that's gonna make ya cool down.

Them li'l summer veggies is not jes nice an' crunchy, they's also full o' water inside. That's what makes 'em so nice ta eat durin' them dog days o' summer.

'Nother thing that's so speshul 'bout this kinda supper is that it don't take much outta yer wallet. Look fer them weekly market speshuls an' jes use this recipe as a sample. You kin change the veggies, take out veggies, add new ones--y'all decide hows ya like it.

An' when y'all put them veggies inter the bowl so nice an' purty, why you'd swear it was painted by one o' them famous artists like Goya or Van Gogh!

So now, all's ya need is a nice Tangy Tarragon & Garlic Dressin' an' yer all set fer an easy summer supper with hardly any fussin'. Now, if'n this recipe makes too much salad ta finish in one meal, don'tcha fret none. Why jes put them leftovers in one o' them nice heavy plastic zipper bags an' tuck the bag in the fridge fer the next day. Long as ya don't add dressin' ta the whole salad bowl, why that salad oughter keep nice an' perky like a puppy with a new toy.

I surely hopes y'all enjoy them nice fresh summer veggies --I sure do.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Well, Aunt Nettie was waxing a bit by comparing this cheery salad to a Goya painting, but it definitely does look inviting. It's the perfect summer meal with no cooking involved--just chop and slice and before you know it, dinner is done.

Goya Salad Extravaganza


Yield: 6 servings

    1/2 bunch kale, torn into bite-size pieces
    1/2 head red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
    2 cups (480 ml) spinach, torn into bite-size pieces
    1 (15-ounce/424g) can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 (15-ounce/424g) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

    1 (3-inch/7.6 cm) wedge purple cabbage, shredded
    2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded
    3 Persian cucumbers, sliced
    8 to 10 radishes, sliced
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1 orange bell pepper, chopped
    1 (8-ounce/226g) package enoki mushrooms
    1/2 cup (240 ml) nuts or seeds (optional)

    Garnish (optional)
    1 jalapeno pepper
    1 yellow chile

  1. Combine the kale, lettuce, and spinach in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle the black and garbanzo beans over the top.
  2. Artfully arrange the cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, red and orange bell pepper, and enoki mushrooms over the greens and beans. Sprinkle the nuts over the top and bring the salad to the table to show off it's enticing beauty. Using long salad tongs, toss the salad well and serve with Tangy Tarragon & Garlic Dressing on the side. (Recipe below).

Note: The salad is gorgeous and eye appealing as is, but if you want to tease the eye even more, garnish the top with jalapeno and yellow chile flowers.

Here's how:

  1. Use a sharp paring knife to cut several thin slits in the jalapeno and yellow chile. Be sure the slits go down to within 1/4-inch of the stems.
  2. Separate the slits away from the core so each long "leaf" is no longer attached to the core.
  3. Put the chiles in a deep bowl or container and cover with water by 2 or 3 inches. Add several ice cubes and put the bowl in the refrigerator for several hours. The cold water will allow the chiles to bloom into beautiful flowers.


Yield: 2 cups (480 ml)
    1 cup (240 ml) water
    1/2 cup (120ml) fresh lemon juice
    5 to 8 pitted dates, snipped in half
    6 gloves garlic
    2 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon dried tarragon
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  1. Combine all the ingredients in the blender and blend on high speed until for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth and creamy and lightly thickened.
  2. Use a funnel to transfer the dressing to a narrow neck bottle for easier pouring. Use immediately or chill until ready to serve. Refrigerated, the dressing will keep for up to 1 week. Shake well before serving.
For a very tangy dressing, use only 5 pitted dates. Using all 8 dates will make the dressing delicately sweet and help to tame the acidic quality.

If You Haven't Met Aunt Nettie. . .

Our Aunt Nettie has a head like a hard disk. It's filled with gigabytes of information about food and cooking. And she's just itchin' to share her learnin' with city folk who live in mortal fear of the stovetop.

Aunt Nettie grew up on the farm. She did not eat out of a can or reach into the freezer. There was no microwave to pop her food into. Everything she made was from scratch. All the food she ate was natural, without pesticides. It was grown right there on the family farm, and she had to cook to survive. At eighty-three years young she still leaps and bounds around the kitchen and can shake, rattle, and roll those pots and pans with the best of them.

Nowadays, Aunt Nettie just shakes her head and complains, "Nobody cooks anymore. They have no idea about puttin' a meal together." She's on a mission. She wants to help those younguns eat better so they can grow up healthy like her own eight kids.

Click here for past Ask Aunt Nettie Columns

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