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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

This tasty little salad was inspired by a presentation on the latest emerging trends in the fruit and vegetable world at Melissa's Produce in Vernon, California. Further inspiration was the box heaping with gorgeous vegetables that came home with me that day.

The unique looking head of cabbage became the focus of this salad. It wasn't round like one might expect a cabbage to be. Instead, it was conical, coming to a point at the top, and it was deliciously sweeter than our familiar cabbage. I thought this tasty cabbage would show off its best with a dressing that hints of far away places and turned to Asian flavors. The salad is an attractive, eye-appealing medley of vegetables, full of color and full of promise.

Yet, after tasting the salad, I was disappointed in the flavors. It just didn't zing like I thought it would, so I set it aside on the kitchen countertop. There was quite a bit leftover, and there it sat for 3 or 4 hours. I didn't know whether I should throw it out or put it in the fridge.

But sometimes cooking mishaps or simple neglect can turn a negative into a positive. In this case, allowing the vegetables marinate in the dressing for that 3-to 4-hour period became the key to success with this recipe. It simply needed time to marinate and become irresistibly delicious. Plan to prepare the salad at least it 4 to 6 hours ahead for the best-tasting marinated dish ever.

Cool Cabbage Meets Asian Salad


Yield: 3 to 4 servings

    2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
    1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
    1 tablespoon sesame oil
    1 garlic clove, pressed
    1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

    1/2 pound (226g) firm or extra-firm tofu, diced, crumbled, or cut into thin slices
    4 cups (1 liter) shredded green cabbage
    6 shishito peppers, cut into crosswise slices and seeded
    5 green onions, sliced
    3 leaves red Napa cabbage, cut in half lengthwise and shredded crosswise, or 2 cups shredded purple cabbage.
    2 baby yellow or orange carrots, thinly sliced
    1 large handful snap peas, cut in half lengthwise
    1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    1/2 cup roasted peanuts
    1/2 cup chopped cilantro

    2 teaspoons toasted white or black sesame seeds
    Cluster of cilantro

  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add all the salad ingredients to the bowl and mix well. Set aside to marinate for 4 to 6 hours, stirring occasionally with long-handled tongs.
  3. Transfer the salad to an attractive serving bowl and garnish with the sesame seeds and cilantro cluster.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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