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Babe's "Naked" Fruit & Veggie Salad ♥

Today's salad inspiration: A "naked" salad: No dressing. Not a drizzle of vinaigrette, not even a splash of lemon juice. What do we think, what makes a salad a salad? Is it the dressing? or what's dressed? Back in June, a reader forwarded a recipe. (Thanks for the recipe, Mary!) She listed a few of my favorite ingredients for salads, romaine and chopped vegetables plus fresh fruit and dried fruit, coconut and a few nuts. The instructions were simple, "Cut all ingredients in medium pieces and mix together. Very delicious!" The recipe struck me as a fall salad so onto the stack it went until last week when it hit me, Hey wait, this salad has no salad dressing! Sure enough, said Mary when asked. "Actually, I like it without dressing." My brain got to working. Is it the "dressing" that makes a collection of chopped veggies a salad? Do I ever make a salad without stirring in some sort of something to bind it all together? Admittedly, I was

Pumpkin Hummus with Honey ♥

Today's healthy hummus recipe: A traditional chickpea hummus, turned pretty and slightly sweet with pumpkin and a drizzle of honey. Weight Watchers Friendly. Easily adapted to vegan. Once upon a time, back BFB (before Facebook), back BiP (before iPhones, iPads and iLives), there was a food blog which published one hummus recipe after another. Week in, week out, hummus and more hummus and still more hummus. I've lost track of the blog but at the time, I wondered, Who can eat so much hummus? I'm here to say: it happens! A couple of months back, a Syrian restaurant opened nearby. Their hummus is so creamy-dreamy, I don't want to know how much olive oil it takes to achieve ethereal dimensions. So last week I set out to use up some of that kabocha squash "pumpkin" I've been roasting. (See Homemade Kabocha Squash "Pumpkin" Purée from Kitchen Parade, my food column.) Hummus came to mind – especially because the textures of roasted pumpkin and p

Favorite Pumpkin Recipes ♥

Just in time for "pumpkin season" – that's October and November in the northern hemisphere – my favorite pumpkin recipes, sweet and savory and everything in between. BUT FIRST, A FEW FACTS Pumpkins are for jack o' lanterns, sure -- and Cinderalla carriages and moonlit nights awaiting the Great Pumpkin. But best of all, pumpkins are for eating! But don't try eating pumpkins grown for Halloween carvings, they'll be watery. Instead, for cooking, choose anything except a carving pumpkin. In fact, my favorite "pumpkin" is called a kabocha squash (more information below). No surprise, though, pumpkins are part of the squash family. In 2009 and again in 2011, pumpkins are in short supply. I've been reading about shortages of canned pumpkin purée. When buying canned pumpkin, be sure to buy "100% pumpkin purée" which is 100% pumpkin and not "pumpkin pie mix" which is pumpkin mixed with spices and other ingredients. I

Raw Butternut Squash Salad ♥

Today's salad recipe: It's one thing to eat raw tomatoes and cucumbers and zucchini. But winter squash? When grated small, winter squash is surprisingly tender. Pair it with a little fresh ginger and add some dried fruit for sweetness. This is a salad that will delight the eyes and the tastebuds! A small serving is "low carb" and even a larger serving adds up to only 1 Weight Watchers point (old points) or 2 Weight Watchers points (PointsPlus). As sweet as vegetables can turn once they're cooked, especially when they're roasted slowly in a hot oven, every once in awhile, "raw" vegetables can really hit the spot. I first made this salad last fall -- on the very day the recipe was published in the New York Times. I made no notes, I wrote no post, mostly because mid-November didn't strike me as the "right time" for a raw winter squash salad. But I did take a pretty picture and it kept popping up when perusing the photo files for the sco

Beet Salad with Sumac, Yogurt & Pita ♥

A quick beet salad turned appetizer when served with a garlicky yogurt sauce and fresh pita bread. For Weight Watchers, just three points (PointsPlus) or two points (Old Points). So I set off to find another delicious way to use the sumac that makes a Fattoush (Traditional Middle Eastern Salad) so delicious. You see, I really want you to seek some out and the fact that I just might be a tiny bit smitten to sumac's earthy sourness, well, that might not be enough so, well, will another temptation help? :-) But what I accidentally happened onto was another contribution to a meze (also spelled mezze and pronounced [MEZ-ay]). It's a happy style of casual eating, a few dishes, full of flavor and texture and -- let's be truthful here -- lots of garlic. Just one meze-style dish we might call an 'appetizer' but with a handful of different dishes, that would be a meal. It's easy to imagine sitting cross-legged on Turkish rugs eating this stuff but in my world, the ki

Butternut Squash Soup with Mango & Toasted Coconut ♥

Today's soup recipe: A smooth almost custard-like soup, served chilled on warm days or warm on chilly days. But first, it's "back to school" for a quick lesson about vegetables, specifically 'squash'. What's the difference between 'summer squash' and 'winter squash'? Is it that one grows in summer and one grows in winter? Nope. Is it that one's eaten in summer and one's eaten in winter? Nope, at least not in today's global food distribution system that delivers year-round availability of many of our staple fruits and vegetables. This book you can read by its cover, for the difference between summer squash and winter squash is up-front and visible, right in the skins. Summer squash have tender, edible skins. Think zucchini (called 'courgette' in many parts of the world) and yellow squash. Winter squash have tough, inedible skins. Think butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash and even pumpkin.

Chilled Zucchini Soup Shooters ♥

Here's a soup that will satisfy as summer winds toward autumn, made with little more than zucchini charmed with a touch of curry and served cold. It tastes much richer than it is, for the recipe is low carb and for Weight Watchers, either 1 or 2 points. Enjoy! REVIEWS "... loved it warm ... it's creamy without using cream or much fat ... " ~ Anonymous "Absolutely outstanding! ... SO GOOD!" ~ Anne I If I were the "document everything" sort, I could impress you by naming exactly how many recipes there are here on A Veggie Venture. But I'm not that sort. Sure, I could figure it out, it wouldn't even take that long. Maybe some day I will. But it seems beside the point somehow -- for there's no disputing that A Veggie Venture has a lot, a LOT of vegetable recipes whether it's a 1000 or 1200 or 1400. How many vegetable recipes are here? A lot. That's all you (and I) really need to know. During the first year, I cooked a new