Happy Independence Day, Everyone! In honor of America’s birthday, I thought I’d kick off Meat-Free Monday a little early and share a couple of recipes.
I know many of you will be celebrating with picnics, BBQs and fireworks. For me, when I think of a summer picnic, potato salad springs to mind. Of course, I could eat potatoes every single day! Many people eat the store-bought kind but why do that when it’s so easy to whip up? Feel free to use dairy mayo or vegan mayo. If you’re feeling a tad more ambitious, you can make your mayo from scratch (I’ve provided the recipe for that too). The potato salad recipe I’ve adapted from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau‘s indispensable cookbook The Vegan Table. The mayo recipe comes from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, written by those vegan culinary goddesses, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
For dessert, there are sumptuous strawberry cupcakes. As strawberries are in season, this is the perfect time to make these divine treats. If you can, try to make the frosting the night before as it won’t melt as easily. From Colleen Patrick-Goudreau‘s dessert bible The Joy of Vegan Baking, these cupcakes are so moist and delicious, you may not want to wait till the end of the meal to devour them!
For a full veg 4th of July Menu, fire up the grill and serve Portabella Mushroom Burgers.
Better Than Store-Bought Potato Salad
8 medium-size Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered (peeling optional)
2 cups mayonnaise, eggless mayo (Vegenaise is delish) or Silken Mayo Dressing (recipe below)
6 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/4 cup chives, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dill, dried
Salt & pepper to taste
Steam or boil potatoes until tender but not too soft. Drain, cool, and cut into cubes.
In a large bowl, combine cooled potatoes with mayo, celery, chives, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving. The longer you chill, the more the flavors blend.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Silken Mayo Dressing
2 pounds silken tofu
6 tablespoons white vinegar or brown rice vinegar
6 tablespoons grapeseed or almond oil
4 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (orig. recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder)
1 teaspoon garlic powder (not in orig. recipe)
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until creamy. Transfer to a tightly covered container and chill for 30 minutes.
Makes 3 cups
Strawberry Cupcakes w/ Buttercream Frosting
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces fresh strawberries, pureed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (orig. recipe calls for white)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Buttercream Frosting (recipe below)
8 whole strawberries, stemmed and halved (for decoration)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Mix together the flour, baking soda and sugar in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine oil, vinegar and vanilla. Puree 8 ounces of strawberries in a blender or food processor. Add pureed strawberries to bowl with wet ingredients and stir to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir to combine but don’t overstir (or the cupcakes will be tough). Pour the batter into the lined muffin tin, filling them halfway.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When cool, frost the cupcakes and top each with a halved strawberry (cut side down).
Makes 12 to 16 cupcakes
2 cups confectioner’s/powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup vegan butter, at room temp (Earth Balance rocks)
1-2 tablespoons vanilla soy milk, or more if needed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
With an electric hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Having room temperature butter is key. With the mixer on low-speed, add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of soy milk. Once the ingredients are combined, beat on high-speed for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluff. Add more soy milk if too dry. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up until 2 weeks. Refrigerating overnight before using works best. Rewhip before using.