Valentine’s Vegan Lunch Box
Recipes by Jennifer McCann
Hello Readers! In order to
spice up all of our lives, the Satya staff and I have decided to
present the work of other chefs in my column
as often as possible. This month I am pleased to bring you a suite
of recipes by Jennifer McCann. She has been a light in the darkness,
an oasis in the rather non-vegan desert of eastern Washington. She
has been the facilitator of the Tri-Cities Vegetarians, putting together
their monthly potlucks and other events for the past several years
and maintaining a website and newsletter that serve as a great resource
for those of us in the area that want to keep a vegan diet. She has
also been a strong voice for vegetarianism in the local media and at
area food conferences. Personally, everything I’ve had by Jennifer
has been absolutely delicious!
Please join me in welcoming our first distinguished guest. Happy Valentine’s
Send your sweethearts out into the world this Valentine’s Day with a special
lunch that says “I love you!” Don’t forget to include a surprise
Valentine’s card or hand-written love note, along with a little bite of
dark chocolate for dessert.—Jennifer McCann
Heart Beet Salad
This has been a favorite Valentine’s Day meal for my sweetie
and I for several years now. The sweetness of the roasted beets marries
the flavors of orange and apple. Use blood oranges if you can find them.
3 Large Beets, scrubbed
1 Head Butter Lettuce, washed and dried
1 Handful Baby Spinach Leaves, washed and dried
1 Celery Stalk, chopped
1 Tart Apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 Oranges, preferably blood oranges
1⁄4 C. Raw or Toasted Walnuts, chopped
1 T. Fresh Basil Leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1 t. Balsamic Vinegar
3 t. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 450º.
2. Wrap the beets in foil or parchment and place on the oven rack. Roast until
tender, about 60 to 75 minutes. Set aside
to cool completely.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: whisktogether the balsamic vinegar, olive
oil, fresh basil leaves, and salt and pepper
to taste. Set aside.
4. Use the back of a paring knife to peel off the outer skin of the beet. Lay
the beet on its side and cut into 1⁄4
inch slices. Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out hearts (save the
scraps to snack on or use in another dish). Repeat with the remaining beets.
5. Cut or tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces, then place the lettuce, baby
spinach, celery, and apple slices into a large salad bowl. Cut the orange in
half and score as you would a grapefruit,
then spoon out the orange segments into a large salad bowl. Squeeze the remaining
orange juice into the salad dressing and whisk to combine.
6. To serve immediately, toss the salad with the dressing, then arrange on plates
topped with the heart beets and toasted walnuts. If packing for a lunch, arrange
the beets and toasted walnuts on top
of the salad in a lunch container, with a smaller container of dressing on the
Tomato Roses on a Bed of Cannellini Bean Purée
Finally, something worthwhile to do with those firm winter grocery store
tight, flavorless skin can be shaped into beautiful “rose buds” and
nestled on top of a “long stem” of parsley as a cute, romantic garnish.
The savory cannellini bean purée is made with rosemary-infused olive oil
and garlic, and served with crisp wholegrain crackers or pita chips.
1 15 oz. Can Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained
1⁄2 T. Olive Oil
1 4-inch Sprig of Fresh Rosemary
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 T. White Wine Vinegar
1⁄4 t. Salt, or to taste
Pinch of White Pepper, or to taste
1 or 2 Large, Firm Tomatoes
1. Rinse and drain the cannellini beans, then place them in the bowl of a food
processor fitted with the S blade. Set
2. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add
the rosemary sprig and cook, turning occasionally, until the rosemary is dark
and limp and very aromatic, about 2 minutes. Remove
the rosemary from the oil and discard. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly,
until the garlic is soft, about one minute.
3. Scrape the oil and garlic into the food processor and add the vinegar, salt
and pepper. Process until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides
of the bowl as needed.
4. To make the rose garnish, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Have
a small bowl of ice water ready. Submerge the tomato in the boiling water for
30 seconds, then immediately plunge the tomato
into cold water to stop the cooking. Dry off the tomato, then use a sharp paring
knife to cut off two long, thin strips of tomato skin. Wrap the strips into tight
spirals to form the rose buds.
5. To serve, spoon the purée into a serving dish and use a spatula to
smooth the top. Lay a large sprig of Italian parsley on the surface, and nestle
the tomato rose buds gently on top of the beans, surrounded
by parsley leaves. Serve with crackers or pita crisps for dipping.
Cherry Almond Scones
This recipe was a gift from baker-genius Tina
Canyon Herb & Tea
in Kennewick, Washington. Tina makes a batch of vegan cookies or scones every
Friday, and boy, if you don’t get there before noon they are gone. Luckily,
she was nice enough to share the secret to her scone success with me.
1 C. All-Purpose White Flour
1 C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1⁄2 C. Sugar
2 t. Baking Powder
1⁄2 t. Baking Soda
1⁄2 t. Kosher Salt
1⁄4 C. Margarine
1⁄2 C. Soymilk (plain or vanilla)
1 t. Almond Extract
3⁄4 C. Chopped Fresh or Frozen Pitted Cherries
Extra Soymilk and Sugar, for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray
with nonstick spray. Set aside.
2. Sift together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add
the margarine and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or your fingers,
until the mixture resembles a coarse,
3. Add the soymilk, almond extract, and chopped cherries. Mix well with a wooden
spoon or your hands until the mixture comes together to form a dough. You may
need to add an extra tablespoon of soymilk
if the mixture is too dry.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in
half and form each half into a flat round, about three quarters inch thick. Cut
each round into six equal wedges.
5. Arrange scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with a bit of soymilk and
sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the edges and bottom are
golden. Place scones on a wire rack
Jennifer McCann is a stay-at-home mom and vegan activist living in eastern Washington
state. She is the owner of the popular blog, The Vegan Lunch Box (www.veganlunchbox.com),
and is currently working on a cookbook of the same name. She invites you to stop
by and see what’s for lunch.