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In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian diet including:better health, longer lives, animal rights, food safety, public health, frugal living, global food crisis and the immense contribution of meat/livestock production to climate change/resource depletion.
                 

Macca's Meatless Monday/Meatless Advocates is a solution oriented activist group, with solutions for some of the most pressing issues of our time including: climate change, global food/water insecurity and public health.  Here we don't just talk about the severity of the crisis.  Armed with knowledge about how our actions can contribute we become part of the solution.

I was inspired to create this series by former Beatle and vegetarian advocate Paul McCartney who partnered with the Meatless Monday campaign to promote less consumption of meat.  We not only discuss the advantages of a less meat diet we also do some cooking, share recipes and listen to great Beatle music!

It's too darn hot.  So what to do for dinner?  This time of year I bring out my favorite salad recipes.  Preferably ones that require very little or no cooking.  I refuse to turn on my oven in this heat, so has to be either something that I can grill outdoors or indoors or some simple stove top or nuked ingredients.  And I must confess when the weather is this hot I've been known to make a meal out of Tofutti cuties or Frozen Smoothie Pops.  But I don't want you to do that so today I'll share some healthy entree salads.
          portobello mushroom salad
GRILLED PORTOBELLO SALAD
Lovely extreme weather entree salad.  I grill the shrooms on a stove top grill pan..easy and fast. H/T Veganomicon & erinmatthes

Dressing:
1/4 cup prepared spicy, smooth mustard
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or use olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or use agave

Salad:
8 cups mixed greens (whatever you like)
1 avocado, peeled, halved, pitted, and sliced thinly
1 small red onion, sliced into very thin half-moons
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 recipe grilled portobellos (grill 2 or 4 mushrooms)
crumbled goat cheese(optional)

Prepare the dressing:
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Done.

Prepare the salad:
Throw together all the ingredients except the portobellos, in a large mixing bowl. Pour on the dressing and use tongs to toss.

When ready to serve, place the dressed greens on plate and add the sliced, warm portobellos. That’s all there is to it!
         Sprouted Quinoa Salad with Mango, Black Beans and Avocado - Gluten-free + Vegan
SPROUTED QUINOA SALAD with MANGO, BLACK BEANS and AVOCADO
Perfect combo.  Satisfying and cool. Serves 4-6  H/T Tasty Yummies

2 cups cooked organic sprouted quinoa (cook according to package directions)
1 mango, diced
1 cup of canned organic black beans, drained and rinsed (Eden brand are BPA free!)
1 cucumber, quartered the long way, then sliced
1 cup organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1 jalapeño, seeds removed, minced
3-4 scallions, sliced thinly
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 avocado, diced

Dressing
juice from 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
zest from 1/2 lime
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. After it is cooked, fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside to cool.
While the quinoa is cooling, mix the dressing in a small bowl, whisk well to combine.

Once the quinoa is cooled, toss it with the mango, black beans, cucumber, tomatoes, jalapeño, green onions and cilantro. Drizzle the dressing over top the salad, and toss gently to evenly coat. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the salad at room temperature or chilled topped with a small sprinkle of sliced green onions and fresh cilantro, as well as some diced avocado on top, if you like.

Note: I found a perfect strainer for my quinoa at the pet store! Yep, a goldfish stainer (large size) works perfectly for rinsing and draining quinoa!
           3-Bean Salad with Sundried Tomatoes
3 BEAN SALAD with SUN DRIED TOMATOES
Delish and great for picnic or take to work lunch. Serves 4-6 H/T 28 Cooks & britton618

1 can each red kidney beans, black beans, and cannelini beans
3/4 c red onion, chopped
1 c oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, julienned
1/4 c oil from sun dried tomatoes
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 tsp green peppercorns in brine, drained and chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp mustard powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 c pomegranate balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic vinegar)

In a large bowl, combine drained and rinsed beans. Add onion, sun dried tomatoes, parsley, basil, and green peppercorns. In a small bowl, whisk oil from sun dried tomatoes, mustard powder, salt, and vinegar. Pour over salad and stir well. Serve and enjoy!
           Grilled Peppers and Lentil Salad
GRILLED PEPPERS and LENTIL SALAD
Really delicious main dish salad.  Serve on a bed of mixed greens.  Serves 4

    1 green or red bell pepper, quartered and seeded
    1 yellow bell pepper, quartered and seeded
    Cooking spray
    1 1/8 teaspoons salt, divided
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
    1 1/2 cups dried lentils (about 3/4 pound)
    1 small onion, peeled and halved
    1 bay leaf
    2/3 cup chopped plum tomato
    1/2 cup chopped green onions
    1/3 cup cilantro leaves
    1/3 cup fresh lime juice
    1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil    

    1. Preheat grill to high heat or use stove-top grill pan.
    2. Lightly coat bell pepper pieces with cooking spray. Place bell pepper pieces, skin side down, on grill rack; grill 12 minutes or until skins are blackened. Place bell pepper pieces in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes; peel (optional) and chop bell peppers. Discard skins. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Place bell peppers in a large bowl.
    3. Rinse and drain lentils; place in a large saucepan. Cover with water to 3 inches above lentils; add onion and bay leaf to pan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are just tender(don't overcook!). Drain lentils. Discard onion halves and bay leaf. Add lentils to bell peppers. Add remaining 5/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, tomato, and remaining ingredients to lentil mixture; stir well and serve on a bed of mixed greens.
        august basil bounty + labor day = amazing vegetarian pasta salad
PASTA with PESTO and PEAS
This recipe is from Barefoot Contessa so you know it's going to be decadent and over the top scrumptious.  It's fantastic for a picnic and everyone loves it  Serves 12

3/4 pound fusilli pasta
3/4 pound bow tie pasta
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto, packaged or see recipe

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise.yum!)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or use vegan cheese
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Pesto:
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or vegan cheese

Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days. Yield 4 cups pesto.
                  Asian Quinoa Salad
QUINOA with PINEAPPLE and MINT
Can't have too many quinoa recipes. It's a complete protein and one of the healthiest foods on the planet.  This salad is so refreshing and one of my faves.  Serves 4 H/T Vegan Feast Catering

1 cup quinoa
½ each red onion, small dice
½ cup grated carrots
2 cups peeled and cored pineapple, cut 1”X1”
6 each large, fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces
1 each-zest from one lime
1/4 cup salad oil

To taste-salt and pepper

Fresh pomegranate seeds(ariels) or scallions or both for garnish

Rinse quinoa with cold water for 30 seconds in a fine sieve.

Bring a minimum of 3 cups of salted water to a boil and add the quinoa. Reduce heat immediately to simmer and cook until the quinoa looks “popped.” About 15-20 minutes or use package instructions.

Once the quinoa is cooked, drain through a sieve, rinse with cold water and set aside until ready for use.

Place all ingredients into a bowl double the size of the ingredients and mix with a spoon

Note:You can use more or less oil, depending on how moist you like your salad.  Basically you want just enough to coat the salad; you do not want it swimming in oil, as it will get soggy

"Strawberry Fields Forever"   The Beatles  "living is easy with eyes closed

"Penny Lane"  The Beatles

What have you all been cooking? Stay cool! ;)  Please share your recipes and fave Beatle music here!

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