Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad and Salad Samurai Giveaway

Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad - Salad SamuraiIf I was exiled to a desert island and was only allowed to bring cookbooks from two or three authors, the books of Terry Hope Romero would definitely be on my list. You may be asking yourself – why are you being exiled and what sort of strange punishment would involve cookbook requirements? Let’s not quibble about the who-did-whats and why-on-earths… The point here is that when it comes to cookbook authors, Terry Hope Romero is well loved in my household.

To name a few, I’ve raved about Veganomicon, Vegan Eats World, and Viva Vegan (which is probably still my all-time favorite). So when I heard Terry was releasing a book devoted to salads, I could hardly wait to get my greedy fingers on it.

Salad Samurai - Terry Hope RomeroSalad Samurai includes 100 meal-worthy salads. These aren’t the kind of salads that leave you hungry an hour later. These are stick-to-your-ribs dinnertime salads that include dishes like Tempeh Reubenesque Salad, Coconut Samosa Potato Salad, and Asparagus Pad Thai Salad. Plus, there are all kinds of dressings and add-ons like Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan and Coconut Bacony Bits.

This book came at just the right time. With a farmers market exploding with summer’s riches, I’m going to be very busy. I’ve only just begun with Salad Samurai, but here are a few of the things I’ve made so far:

Grilled Kale Salad - Salad SamuraiI made this Grilled Kale Salad with Spicy Lentils, which uses kale that has been marinated in coconut milk and lime juice. It’s topped with lentils, onions, and tomatoes for a warm take on kale salad. (This recipe is available on Chic Vegan.)

Lentil Pate Banh Mi Salad Rolls  - Salad SamuraiI never would have considered using a lentil pâté for rice paper rolls, but these Lentil Pâté Banh Mi Salad Rolls showed me the error of my ways. The black lentil and walnut pâté gives savory depth while cucumber, carrots, lettuce, cilantro, radish, and scallions balance it. I especially liked the added vinegary crunch of pickle. I made these for lunches for a couple of days, and they are surprisingly filling! David is not a fan of rice paper, and so I packed his lunch with the black lentil pâté and crackers for a snack, which he really enjoyed.

Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad - Salad SamuraiMy very favorite thing I’ve made is this Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad. It involves several steps – making Back at the Ranch Dressing, Red-Hot Saucy Tofu, and Classic Croutons – along with chopping lettuce, celery, carrots, and cabbage. However, the results are totally worth it. Every bite gives you something new to mmm over. The hot-out-of-the-oven croutons are tinged with the flavors of lemon and garlic while the tofu is tossed in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.

I made the full recipe – enough for two meals for two – and found myself on Day 3 sad that it was gone. So after eating it for two meals in a row, I made it again! It is one craveable salad. (You can find the recipe over at The Sweet Life, where Sarah is also offering a copy of the book for a giveaway!)

Pesto Cauliflower & Potato SaladI had a chance to pull out the grill pan for this Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad. Grilled cauliflower along with fresh green peas and boiled potatoes are tossed in a basil pesto. This fresh salad would be wonderful for a summer potluck or even served warm for a main course-style salad. I like that the pine nuts are toasted and added on top, as opposed to blending in the pesto itself. Since pine nuts are on the pricey side, I like really being able to see them and taste them, as opposed to them just falling into the background of the dish.

The publisher of Salad Samurai, Da Capo Press, is letting me share the recipe for the Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad with you today, along with one of the photos from the book (shown below). The photos in Salad Samurai were taken by V.K. Rees, the same person who shot the photographs for Isa Does It. I love her style and the way her photos have an action-shot quality as you can see for yourself.

Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad - Salad Samurai

Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad

45 minutes

Serving Size: 3 to 4

This classic combination of pesto and potatoes is lightened up with irresistible grilled cauliflower. For a more substantial pesto entree, replace half or all of the cauliflower with pasta, preferably those tight little twists called gemelli.


  • 1/2 pound cauliflower
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound waxy yellow or white potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or toasted pine nuts
  • Basil Pesto Dressing
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Remove the thick inner stem from the cauliflower, slice into thick 1-inch slabs. Preheat a cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Rub the cauliflower with olive oil and arrange the pieces in a single layer in the preheated pan. Grill the cauliflower until charred on the outside and crisp-tender inside, about 4 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer the cauliflower to a cutting board, chop into bite-size pieces, and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Peel and dice the potato into 1/2 inch pieces, transfer to a large saucepan, cover with 4 inches of cold water, and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce th heat to medium and cook the potatoes for 6 to 8 minutes, or until almost tender. Stir in the peas and cook another minute. Reserve 1/4 cup of cooking water, then drain the potatoes and peas and rinse with cold water. Add these vegetables to the cauliflower.
  3. For the Basil Pesto Dressing
  4. In a food processor, pulse together the pesto ingredients plus 2 Tablespoons of the potato cooking water until smooth. Spoon onto the vegetables, add the nuts, and combine thoroughly. Cover and chill for ten minutes to blend flavors. Serve the salad slightly chilled or at room temperature. Garnish each serving with a few nuts.


From Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014

The folks at Da Capo Press are also offering one copy of Salad Samurai for a giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada. The winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

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I received a complimentary copy of Salad Samurai from the publisher, but the thoughts and opinions are totally my own.  This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Vegan Eats World Review & Giveaway

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway!When I saw Terry Hope Romero speak at Vida Vegan Con last year, she said that when she’s looking for inspiration in cooking, she ventures outside of the vegan realm. She reads non-vegan cookbooks, studies cuisines from other cultures, looks at restaurant trends and cooking shows. By examining what other people are doing in the world of food, she can take it and put her own vegan spin on it.

Her cookbook, Vegan Eats World, is the perfect example of that philosophy. The cookbook, which came out in 2012, offers a wealth of global options to the tune of 300 recipes. With each recipe she asks, “What if this was a vegan world? How would a culture’s traditional flavors translate to plant-based fare? Sometimes it’s a natural fit with things like vegetable heavy Ethiopian stews and sometimes it takes creative license with things like gyro-roasted seitan.

Her philosophy has certainly benefitted me. One thing I’ve appreciated about Terry’s work over the years is not only that she creates such interesting, multi-dimensional recipes but also that I feel like I get an education in other food traditions. Plus, her cookbooks consistently deliver amazing, restaurant-quality recipes that have expanded my cooking repertoire and my spice rack.

I was a recipe tester for Vegan Eats World, and so it has been a cookbook I’ve been using in one form or another for years now. So when the publisher, Da Capo Press, contacted me about a review of the new soft cover release, I felt more than equipped to handle it! (They are also offering a copy of the book to one lucky reader at the end of this post!)

The cover is different from the hardcover original, but otherwise, everything else inside has stayed the same. It is still loaded with lots of big, colorful photos of mouthwatering food.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway! (Sauerkraut & Mushroom soup)For the purpose of a review, it seemed like a good excuse to make some of the recipes that have been on my “must try” list since the hardcover book came out. Number one on that list was Sauerkraut Mushroom soup (ShChi). I am an enormous sauerkraut fan, but I had never experienced sauerkraut in soup form. Needless to say, I was intrigued by this Russian-inspired dish!

Terry recommends using high-quality sauerkraut sold in jars in the refrigerated section for this recipe, and so I opted for my favorite sauerkraut from Gold Mine. Even after cooking, I knew it would keep its crunch. The soup is made with mushrooms, leeks, carrots, and celery in a vegetable broth with white wine. I had a chance to use a lot of forgotten spices from my spice rack like caraway seeds and marjoram.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway! (ShChi - Sauerkraut Mushroom Soup)This soup was well balanced with a mix of flavors that reminded me of drinking a reuben. It was topped with sour dilly cream made from non-dairy yogurt, Vegenaise, garlic, and dill, which added a creamy, cool brightness to the soup. If you’d like to try it yourself, the ShChi recipe is available on Post Punk Kitchen.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway! (Salad & Dukka)The next new-to-me recipe was for Toasted Hazelnut Crunch Dip (Dukka). I’ve had Dukka in the past, most memorably used as a topping on one of the most delicious hummus platters I’ve ever tasted. Dukka is an Egyptian blend of roasted nuts and toasted spices. I remember how it added a nutty extra dimension to the creamy spread.

The only thing that had kept me from making it was that it seemed a bit involved for something that was only going to be used as a topping. It’s typically served with extra virgin olive oil as a dipping sauce for bread. The recipe involves roasting whole hazelnuts, removing their skins, toasting spices like cumin, fennel, coriander, and caraway, and then grinding them with smoked salt.

After one bite, I was immediately kicking myself for waiting this long to make it! This recipe was so worth the effort, and it makes 1 ½ cups of dukka, which is enough to last a very long time. I had to go back again and again for one more bite of the salty, crunchy mix of varied flavors and spices.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway (Cashew feta)I served it with one of my Vegan Eats World favorites. This Greek Village Salad with Cashew Faux Feta (Horiatiki Salad) is one that I make fairly regularly, particularly in the summer. It’s a tomato and cucumber salad that is topped with raw cashews that have marinated in lemon juice, vinegar, olive brine, minced garlic, and spices. I often make the cashew feta on its own for topping salads. Along with its marinating brine, it makes for a delicious alternative to standard dressing. While it’s not similar in texture to animal-based feta, it has a bite and tang that makes me want to grab a spoon and eat it all on its own. (And yes, I have been known to sneak bites straight out of the refrigerator.)

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - Review & Giveaway!  (gyro seitan)To finish off the salad, I made the gyro-roasted seitan.  It is another beloved recipe in the book.  In addition to being terrific on salad, it’s wonderful in a pita or tortilla wrap with cucumbers and tomatoes or served with roasted lemony potatoes.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - Review & giveaway!As a big fan of all things tangy and garlicky, I fell for hard for this seitan that was roasted with lemon juice, white wine, six cloves of garlic, and spices. It filled the house with so many mouthwatering aromas and made it smell amazing. (I used the white seitan from Viva Vegan for this dish. Not only was it the first seitan I ever made from scratch, it’s also a totally foolproof recipe. I’ve made it many, many times over the years, and it always comes out like a dream.)

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway! (scrambled chickpea eggs)Finally, I made but’echa. I’d heard great things about the Fluffy Scrambled Chickpea “Eggs” with Shallots from lots of other bloggers. So I was eager to add it to a platter of Ethiopian wots with injera. (The other wots on this platter are from Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian.) I’d never made but’echa before, and so it was totally new to me.

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero - review & giveaway! (scrambled chickpea eggs)I had a bit of user error as the recipe involves toasting chickpea flour, removing it from a skillet, then using the same skillet to sauté shallots and chilies with niter kibbeh (infused oil), and finally emptying the skillet again to make a polenta-like mixture with chickpea flour, water, and lemon juice. Our stovetop runs very hot, and after all of that use, the skillet was so warm that the water cooked down immediately and the flour made a very thick roux. I added more water to the skillet, but was left more or less with cooked chickpea dough balls. The flavor was still fine, but I don’t feel like I got an authentic experience of what this recipe is like. I plan on trying it again in the future and switching out skillets when it comes time to make the chickpea flour mixture, so that there is time for the flour to be fully absorbed.

Some of my other favorite recipes in Vegan Eats World include:

The Savory Baked Tofu is my one of my top choices for Asian stir-fries. Pineapple Fried Rice with a Thai Kick is a fabulous restaurant-quality recipe that is also terrific with rice noodles instead of rice. (Just toss the noodles with a smidge of sesame oil after draining to avoid clumping.) The seitan tibs simmered in berbere and wine (seitan tibs w’et) is full of richness and umami and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at an Ethiopian restaurant. The Artichoke Skillet Paella with Chorizo Tempeh Crumbles was also a big hit at our house.

These items are still high on my to-make list:

Preserved lemons, potato pierogies with fried onions, yogurt naan griddle bread, steamed barbecue seitan buns (char siu seitan bao), scrambled tofu breakfast bahn mi, French socca, and crispy plantains with chocolate mole dip.

One final note, several people have mentioned having difficulty finding recipes in the index. A person on the Post Punk Kitchen forum made an expanded version of the index that is good for referring to or even for printing out and keeping in the book for easier searching.  (You’ll have to scroll down just a bit to see where to download.)

Would you like to get a copy of Vegan Eats World for yourself? Now is your chance!  Da Capo Press is offering one copy for readers in the U.S. Good luck!

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of Vegan Eats World for review, but the opinions are completely my own.  This post includes Amazon affiliate links.

Congrats to Kelly G. for winning the Everyday Vegan Eats Giveaway!