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Summer Lunch Menu

Menu


  • Roasted tomato and pepper gazpacho
  • Kale salad with chickpeas and spicy tempeh
  • Broiled figs with cashew cream


We had a friend over for lunch last Sunday and I thought it would be a great idea to record here what I served. Often my only recollection of what I prepared for someone is that it was easy or too hard, a flop or a success, but I can't recall what was actually on the menu. So in the interests of being able to go back and dig up old menus, I thought I'd try and make a practice of recording them here for your benefit and mine when trying to put a menu together for lunch.

None of our friends are vegans. The closest we get are a couple who eat dairy and fish but no meat. Would that be a lacto-pescatarian, or a pesco-lactarian, or a lacto fishatarian, or... Oh, whatever!

Well it's mid-summer here and was going to be a hot day, and we almost always eat outside on the deck. So I wanted something cool and light.

What better than to start with some gazpacho. I've always loved it and can remember the excitement I felt when I first encountered it in my early 20s, which believe me, is too many moons ago to count. I have always loved both tomatoes and cucumbers, and that these two could be made into a soup just thrilled me no end.

My current favorite recipe for gazpacho uses roasted tomatoes and bell pepper to give it a nice roasty, smoky kind of base to it. It's all very easy to do, and of course I recommend you use the freshest ingredients you can. I picked up the tomatoes and cucumber that morning at the local farmers' market.

The recipe comes courtesy of Susan Voisin (The Fat Free Vegan) and can be found on this page: Gazpacho with roasted tomatoes. I added a can of these organic fire-roasted tomatoes to punch up the tomato flavor. I also offered some chopped up cilantro, parsley, and limes as condiments.

Next up was the center piece. I have been growing kale at home this year and wanted to use some of that freshly-picked from the garden. I came across this recipe for Kale Salad with Chickpeas and Spicy Tempeh Bits at "May I have that recipe". I love tempeh when it's been dressed up to party with a few spices like it is in this recipe. Just bear in mind that once you blanch the kale, what seems like a lot becomes a little. You need a whole lot! The Asian-inspired dressing goes really well with this!

The desert was a very simple-to-do dish of broiled fresh figs with cashew cream from thekitchn.com. Figs are in season here in Southern California at the moment so were easy to come by. I also used some fresh apricots from the farmers market. Just watch the fruit when you are broiling it as they really do only need about 4 minutes to cook, and you don't want to burn them. The cashew cream is DELISH and will delight all your non-vegan guests. I also made a balsamic reduction which I drizzled on the fruit after it had come out of the oven.

All in all this was a pretty simple menu, absolutely tasty and nutritious. Give it a shot and let me know what you think. Unfortunately  I didn't think to take any photos of the food! Next time.

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