Food & Drink

Recipe Friday – Chickpea, Barley & Zucchini Salad with Vegan Feta

September 9, 2016
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One of our favorite salads is the Chickpea, Barley and Zucchini Salad with Feta. The initial version of this recipe came a few years ago from kitchn.com. It’s one of those recipes that you can easily substitute the grains and herbs for whatever grains and herbs you have available, and the salad is still delicious. For those of you following a Vegan diet or just trying to incorporate more plant based meals into your diet, we recently found a cheese replacement for the Feta. I don’t know why it took us so long to look for a Vegan alternative, but I’m so glad we did! The Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese by greenevi.com is the perfect topping.

Besides being an easy to make salad that is also yummy, this dish has immunity boosting properties. Eating immune boosting foods along with decreasing our stress and getting enough sleep helps to prevent sickness before cold season hits. Here are some highlights of barley and nutritional yeast and their immune boosting properties.

Barley:

Beta-Glucan compounds bind to white blood cells and turn on their anti-infection properties. Barley contains a high amount of beta gluons and are known for their antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

 

Nutritional Yeast:

An inactive yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses and have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Nutritional yeast can help provide B vitamins and can provide the compounds beta-1,3 glucan, trehalose, mannan and glutathione, which are associated with enhanced immunity, improved cholesterol levels and risk reduction of cancer.

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Chickpea, Barley & Zucchini Salad with Vegan Feta 

Recipe Adapted from: The Kitchn (we made a few tweaks, so to see the original recipe, follow the link)

INGREDIENTS:
2 medium Zucchini
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more for salting water
1/3 cup pearl barley
2 teaspoons lemon juice 
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup avocado oil (optional olive oil)
2 tablespoons vegan feta (optional regular feta)
3 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Cut zucchini into thin matchstick pieces (we used a spiralizer) and place in colander in the sink. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt & massage lightly with hands to evenly disperse the salt. Let stand for 20-30  minutes, or as long as it takes to prepare the rest of the salad. 

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the barley. Cook, stirring occasionally, until barley is cooked through but still pleasantly chewy, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, barley and about half of the dressing. If the barley is still very hot, let the mixture sit until just warm, stirring occasionally. Squeeze the zucchini gently to get rid of any excess moisture and add to the bowl, along with the remaining dressing and the mint. Stir and transfer to a serving bowl. Crumble the feta over the top and serve.

Additional Notes

Warm beans absorb dressing better. The chickpeas can either be warmed in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove before being tossed with the dressing, but if you’re gripped by summer cooking laziness, feel free to skip this step; the salad will still be good.

The salad can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated. Longer than that, and the texture of the zucchini becomes a bit soggy.


VEGAN FETA

Adapted From: GREEN EVI

INGREDIENTS:

1 package of extra firm tofu (400 g)
2 tbsp white miso
1 lemon, juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp oregano (optional)
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
black pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
Press water out of tofu. Place tofu between two paper towels and put something heavy on top. Let it sit for at least an hour.
 
Prepare marinade. Whisk together every ingredient in a bowl until nice and even.
 
Cut tofu into small cubes and add to a jar or an air-tight container. Add marinade and mix well together. Place jar in fridge and let tofu marinade for at least 2 hours.
NOTES
Marinade the tofu feta for 8-48 hours for the best result.
After marinading keep the tofu covered with olive oil in the fridge in an air-tight jar to preserve it for 2-3 weeks. Add fresh herbs, chili, black peppercorns and garlic cloves for an extra fancy version.
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