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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Lake

4 salads to spice up your summer

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

Eating plant-based whole grain, I eat a salad almost every day. I love salad, and I put everything but the kitchen sink on all my salads these days; spinach, spring greens, cabbage, kale, red bell pepper, tomato, red onion, beets, garbanzo or pinto beans, avocado, and sunflower seeds.

The one problem I was having was finding an oil-free dressing. In "How Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease", you can find a no-oil hummus recipe that is really good, and they say you can just water down this hummus for a good dressing.

Simple no-Tahini Hummus

1 15 oz can chickpeas(2 cups cooked), drained(and saved-aquafaba) and rinsed

3 garlic cloves, minced

zest of 1 lemon

2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp aquafaba(saved from garbanzo bean can)

1 Tbsp white miso

Just combine all the ingredients in the cuisinart and process until hummus like texture.

I have never tried to make this hummus into a dressing, but I do love the hummus so I will give it a try someday. The two dressings that I use every day are the caesar dressing:

Creamy no-oil caesar dressing

3 oz. medium, medium firm, regular or silken tofu

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 Tbsp soy sauce

3 Tbsp dijon mustard

3 Tbsp almond meal

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 1/4 sheets of nori

4 cloves of garlic, minced

You just throw all of these ingredients into the blender and Voila! you have a fantastic oil-free dressing for any salad. This is the dressing that the salad in the picture is drenched with. The balsamic vinegar I used is from Trader Joes and is the gold label "Aceto Balsamico Di Modena. It's not cheap, $5.49 or something, but it is the best balsamic vinegar that I have found, except for the fig balsamic vinegars such as "Sonoma Canyon Balsamic Fig Vinegar". They are even more expensive $7.35 but even a little bit more rich than the Trader Joes balsamic. So use sparingly but have fun with it.

This caesar dressing is so close to the caesar dressing above but it came out so great that I wanted to add it in case someone wasn't a fan of nori:)

Caesar Dressing

3 oz. medium, medium firm, regular or silken tofu

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 Tbsp soy sauce

3 Tbsp dijon mustard

3 Tbsp almond meal

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp white miso

1/2-4 cloves of garlic, minced (depending upon how much garlic you like:)

Throw everything in a blender and blend until smooth!!! This is the total bomb!! You will absopositively love this caesar dressing!!!!

This second favorite dressing for everyday use is the 3-2-1 balsamic dressing:

3-2-1 Balsamic Salad Dressing

3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar(or 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar)

2 Tbsp dijon mustard or whole grain mustard

1 Tbsp maple syrup or 1 Tbsp of jam


1 half a clove of minced garlic

2 Tbsp aguafaba

1 tsp minced chia seeds

Place all the ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake. Delicious! I just discovered this dressing last summer when, where we were vacationing didn't not sell any nori, so I looked up a dressing online and found this 3-2-1 dressing! It's very very good and my husband and kids love it as well and so easy to make with ingredients one has always about the house. I think the best dijon mustard is "Annie's" but when making the 3-2-1 dressing, feel free to use any dijon or brown mustard that you have on hand. The balsamic vinegar goes the same way. The last time I made this dressing (I usually double or triple this recipe) I used half balsamic vinegar and half apple cider vinegar and it came out delicious so feel free to play around with the ingredients to match your tastebuds.

Ranch Dressing

I found out about this dressing from Tammy at The Nutmeg Notebook and it is incredibly delicious especially because of all the fresh herbs in it. You blend the first 10 ingredients and then you pulse the herbs in and it's the bomb!! I add more plant milk and add a few more dates when I make it and throw handfuls of fresh herbs in(I don't really measure how much I'm putting in):). I figure the more fresh herbs you eat, the better is is for you:) Usually when I make this a make a double batch. This photo shows all the herbs blended into the dressing so a Green Goddess dressing results:)

Ranch Dressing

12 ounces Silken tofu

1/2 cup plant milk

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 garlic cloves minced

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp white miso

1 Tbsp chia seeds(I use minced chia seeds because they are so hard to process)

freshly ground black pepper

1 medjool date or two Deglet Noor dates

2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill(I usually add much more dill because I love dill:)

1 Tbsp Italian parsley

1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

Feta Cheese

14 oz of extra firm tofu, drained, squeezed, frozen, thawed, squeezed, crumbled

1/3 cup distilled white vinegar

3 Tbsp lemon juice

3 Tbsp white miso

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp chopped fresh garlic, packed

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp iodized salt(for your thyroid)

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Drain the extra firm tofu and then press it any way you would like. Then freeze the block. I froze it in a plastic container that had a snap able lid. Thaw the tofu. Squeeze it one more time and then chop it into little cubes. Set aside. In a medium bowl add the vinegar, lemon juice, miso, nutritional yeast, garlic, oregano, Italian seasoning, iodized salt, onion powder, garlic salt, and black pepper. Whisk. Set aside the marinade. Spread the cubed tofu across the bottom of a 13x9 dish so that the tofu is on a single layer on the bottom.

Pour the marinade across the tofu until the entire tops of the tofu are covered. Cover the 9x13 and place in the refrigerator. Allow the marinade to meld with the tofu. In just a few hours time you can toss the tofu cubes, or crumble the tofu cubes onto your salad or your pasta or your pita or falafel:) Enjoy!!!

I added a few more items to my salad. I added arugula, blueberries and a small apple and dropped the tomatoes and the sunflower seeds and the avocado. These are the blueberries I use. They are wild blueberries and delicious and they come from Canada! They spray no pesticides.(It says so on the pkg.) Berries and apples are always on The Dirty Dozen so always try to buy organic when buying them because they spray the heck out of them when they are not organic:)

Once you cut out all the meat and dairy and even highly processed vegan food, you can feel when certain foods don't agree with you. I had cut out the sunflower seeds and avocado and then my Reed avocado tree started giving me tons of avocados!! So one week I added a small amount of avocado to my salad every day and my left hip started making me walk funny. Weird. So I stopped eating it again for a month and tried it again. Same thing!!! Avocado does not agree with me:(

Another salad I totally love is the no-egg egg salad:

No-Egg Egg Salad

This is the tastiest no-egg egg salad I have ever had:

No-egg egg salad

1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 pkg. Trader Joes lentils(1 cup of cooked lentils)

1 apple, chopped finely

1 Tbsp Tahini

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

1/3 cup diced red onion

1/3 cup diced celery

1/3 cup diced dill and sweet pickles(I might have added just a few more than a third of a cup)

1 tsp capers drained and chopped

1/2 pkg. Trader Joes,'s steamed lentils

healthy pinch each salt and pepper

1 Tbsp roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped

1/2 tsp black salt, kala namak

Smash all of the chickpeas in a large bowl. Add lentils, tahini, dijon and black salt and mix well. Fold into mixture, apple, red onion, celery, pickles, capers, sunflower seeds and almonds. Serve on crackers or toast or just eat a bowl of it, it's that good!

This is the bomb! The Tahini melds with the chickpeas wonderfully! The Tahini is smashed sesame seeds, and is very high in fat although low in saturated fat. In the "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" book, they make their hummus without Tahini because of the fat content. I truly cannot eat the original recipe because of the 3 Tbsps Tahini. I've tried replacing the some of the Tahini with aquafaba(chickpea juice) but it wasn't as good. I'll keep trying to find a lower fat alternative to the Tahini, but for you younger vegans, you may be able to eat the Tahini with no bad consequences. I probably have a lot of heart disease because I ate meat and dairy for decades before I became vegan. So I have a lot of "reversing of heart disease" to do.

UPDATE! I discovered how to make the no-egg egg salad with much less Tahini! I added 1 Tbsp of dijon mustard instead of 1 tsp, and then I added 1/2 pkg. of Trader Joes lentils, and increased the amount of red onion, celery and dill pickle to 1/3 cup instead of 1/4 cup. And one tablespoon of Tahini, instead of three!

Vegan no-egg egg salad

Another phenomenal salad is this:

Potato Salad

Homade Pickle Relish

The potato salad has pickle relish in it so the first thing you either must make(it's super easy), or procure, is the pickle relish! This is how to make it!

Tangy Pickle Relish

3 lbs. cucumbers (8-9 pickling cucumbers)

2-3 sweet onions

1/4 cup pickling salt

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup sugar

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dill seeds

2 tsp celery seeds

1/2 tsp tumeric

Finely chop cucumbers and onions. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt, stir well. Let stand for an hour. Drain mixture in a colander, rinse under cold water and drain again, pressing out any excess moisture. In a large pot, bring vinegars, sugar, garlic, dill seed, mustard seed, celery seed to a boil. Add cucumber mixture, bring to a boil again, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add the tumeric and mix well.

This is going to taste so good you will find reasons to make it even if it isn't summer food. I made it with no to little sugar to try to make it a dill pickle relish, and although it reminded me of the pasta salads I used to get with Hellmans mayo, my kids wouldn't eat it because it didn't have a sweet kick to it. This pickle relish comes out a little more sweet than dill when made with original ingredients, but it goes really well with the potato salad, so-be-it.

My Momma's Potato Salad

My Momma's Potato Salad

8 medium red potatoes

1 (12 oz) pkg. firm or extra firm silken tofu

1Tbsp prepared yellow mustard

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp miso

1/2 cup pickle relish, drained

4 large celery stalks, finely diced

1 medium red onion, finely diced

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook potatoes about 8 -10 minutes until just tender. In a blender, combine tofu, yellow mustard, dijon, garlic, lemon juice, and miso and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and fold in the relish. Stir well to combine. Fold celery, onion, and potatoes and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

German Potato Salad

2 1/2 pounds of potatoes-sliced to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick(skins on)

2/3 cup white wine vinegar

1/3 cup water

1 Tbsp coarse grain mustard

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

3 green onions, white and green parts

1/3 cup chopped fine fresh dill

Cook potatoes in pot. Once water is boiling, turn down the burner until potatoes are not boiling but very hot. This will help your potatoes to not split. Continue cooking potatoes until stabbed with fork easily.(don't overcook-we want well formed but cooked potatoes.) Drain when done cooking. Set aside. In a separate bowl combine the vinegar, water, mustard, sugar salt, pepper and stir until well combined. Once cooled, slice the potatoes 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Place in big bowl. Add chopped green onions and dill. Pour liquid dressing all over potatoes, onion mixture. Toss potatoes to distribute onions and dill and dressing. Eat immediately or refrigerate to meld the flavors. Excellent.

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