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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.


Seventy-fourth in a series of articles


Howdy there Darlin's,

Ever since I was jes a young'un, I kin remember eatin' all the salads my mama made, right down ta the last lettuce leaf. It really tasted good to me, an' I thought it was a heap o' fun ta chew on them noisy, crunchy vegetables. I still love my salads, but I know there's plenty folks that jes don't cotton to 'em.

So I was thinkin' it would be mighty good if I could make salad more appealin' and much purtier to look at. Why then, it jes might git them folks ta likin' them fresh vegetables.

So I done come up with a recipe fer butternut pizza salad, a really differnt way ta git the goodness of them veggies inter yer belly. An' heaven only knows, it jes might could be you'll say, "Why, that were purty good tastin'."

But fer them folks that loves salad like I do, well, sometimes, it jes fun ta eat salad in a differnt way.

I surely hopes y'all enjoy yer butternut pizza salad. Y'all let me know, would'ya.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Because you may not have all the vegetables on hand, or may favor different choices, feel free to substitute your favorite vegetables for those listed. You might also like to season the butternut squash to your taste. Aunt Nettie didn't put cheese on her pizza salad, but we think it would taste great with a slice of vegan cheese melting over the top. The recipe makes a tasty lunch for two people or an appetizer for four people.

Butternut Pizza Salad


Yield: 2 seven-inch pita pizzas

    2 seven-inch (17.5 cm) pita breads
    1 to 1 1/2 cups (240 to 360 ml) cooked, mashed butternut squash seasoned to taste with salt and pepper

    1 medium orange or yellow carrot, sliced
    1 cup (240 ml) lightly packed baby spinach, chopped
    1 leaf red lettuce
    1/2 cup (120 ml) purple cabbage, chopped
    3 radishes, sliced
    1 green onion, sliced
    2 to 3 mini bell peppers, sliced crosswise
    2 button mushrooms, sliced

    1 to 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    Salt and pepper

    5 or 6 slices vegan Swiss or cheddar cheese (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (Gas Mark 5)
  2. Put the pita breads on a baking sheet and slather them with a generous amount of mashed squash. Set aside.
  3. Combine the carrot, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, radishes, green onion, mini bell peppers, and mushrooms in a bowl.
  4. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss well. Divide the salad between the prepared pita breads and press down lightly.
  5. For the finishing touch, arrange 2 to 3 slices of cheese over each pizza and bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut into quarters for easy serving.

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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