Black Bean Salsa Dressing & Cauliflower “Cheesy” Risotto

December 28, 2012

Good morning! Why is it that a holiday week such as this one goes by way faster than an ordinary week? I don’t think I accomplished half of the fun (or productive) things I wanted to do, but I guess that’s just the way it goes. I did manage to at least open the new reference software that I’m going to be using for my independent study research project I’m doing next semester for my master’s degree. This project is going to run through July and I’m really excited (and nervous) about it. I will tell you more as it unfolds. Back to the software…ugh! I consider myself fairly analytical and organized, but managing citations and learning a new software program devoted to that just crushes every ounce of creative spirit in my body. I am the same way with anything related to finance. In other words, I can do it, but it hurts. Thanks for letting me vent. :)

I went to the farmers’ market on Wednesday and got some awesome sunflower sprouts that I incorporated into my usual lunch salad. I also made a new black bean salsa dressing that was pretty yum:

Green salad with sunflower sprouts and Black Bean Salsa Dressing

The recipe:

This is a simple dressing at its finest. I just love that the beans are incorporated into the dressing and yet the addition of nuts keeps it creamy and satisfying. I served my regular salad greens with the dressing, plus some avocado, radishes, the sunflower sprouts, more chopped green onion, broccoli and celery.

Because I love you so much, I am including another recipe today. I had a giant cauliflower also from the farmers’ market, but this one I got almost 10 days ago and I was feeling really guilty yesterday for not using it. Usually when I cook cauliflower, I blanch it according to this recipe from The Chef & The Dietitian where I first developed my love for cooked cauliflower (love that it tastes like potato!).

Anywho, since I’ve been on my pressure cooker kick lately, I decided to try cooking it that way instead of going to the trouble of boiling water, blanching, draining, etc. Guess what? It worked awesome!

I chopped up my ginormous cauliflower and put the florets into the pressure cooker with a cup of water:

Cauliflower in the pressure cooker.

Three minutes on high pressure (using the quick release) and it was cooked to perfection. At that point, I added a bunch of fresh kale and chopped mushrooms and cooked it on the stovetop for an additional five minutes:

Kale and mushrooms.

What made this meal amazing was the cheesy sauce I put on top and that fact that the cauliflower totally fell apart into a risotto-like texture as I stirred it:

Veggies with cheese sauce.

Such a fantastic dinner with a lot of flavor and richness:

Cauliflower Risotto

I had two bowls of this plus I have enough for dinner tonight.

Here is that recipe:

Before I forget, today is Healthy Vegan Friday and I just love co-hosting this link-up party. The top 3 most popular recipes from last week were these:

1. easy vegan christmas fudge from tessa @ tessa the domestic diva

2. fudgy guilt-free brownies from lauren @ oatmeal with a fork

3. mediterranean crustless chickpea flour quiche from janet @ the taste space:

Add your recipe to the link below this post.

I said on Wednesday that I would be presenting my 2012 wrap-up post today, but I didn’t realize that I have a few more days for that. So, I’ll wait and do it on Monday. Even just thinking about everything that has happened in this last year kind of boggles my mind. After all, this was the year that my dad died and I got cancer. Those would be the sucky things. On the other hand, this was also the year that I released my recipe app (you can buy it here), grew my activism and got to meet Dr. Fuhrman (twice!). Those were just the highlights. I also made a lot of new friends and enjoyed seeing my blog increase its readership 4-fold in the past 12 months. Okay, I need a nap now, ha ha. Enjoy the rest of the holiday week and weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday.



{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Nikki W. December 28, 2012 at 11:01 am

The dressing and cauliflower both look delicious! I have never used a pressure cooker, but am always open to new kitchen adventures. Happy holidays, Carrie :)

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Carrie December 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Happy holidays to you, too, Nikki! I highly recommend pursuing using a PC, it is transforming my cooking almost as much as the Vitamix did.

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Kim December 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Wow that looks so tasty. I don’t have a pressure cooker, but look forward to trying to make it. I haven’t had successful attempts at “ricing” cauliflower, but will persevere until I do!

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Angela December 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I can totally relate Carrie. I’m in the middle of writing my own master’s thesis and citations are the pits. Are you using RefWorks? Or EndNote? Not very creative or fun, indeed. Can’t wait to hear more about the project though.

And dang, that dressing does look pretty yum. Thanks for the recipes! :)

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Carrie December 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Hi Angela! I bought the student version of EndNote because that’s what was recommended to me. I watched a few tutorial videos and it doesn’t necessarily seem that hard, but more just a bit overwhelming. After freaking out a little bit about it this morning, I resolved to not try and master the program, but to just use the basics for now. Which one are you using and how is your project going?

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Angela December 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Yeah, citations can get pretty overwhelming, so I think it’s smart to focus on just the basics at first. I’m using RefWorks, which is relatively user friendly so far, but I’ve dabbled in EndNote a bit. Thankfully, the topic and data for my thesis are all set, I just need to finish my lit review, and get everything out of my head and organized into a Word document. Easier said than done I’m afraid. Good luck with your project!

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Carrie December 29, 2012 at 6:41 am

Glad to hear that your project is coming along, Angela! I am in the very beginning stages and I’m so curious to see how I like doing this type of research. It seems like it is needed in the real world and could be a potential career, as long as I don’t get too bogged down in the technology and organizational aspects of it. I’m jealous that you are so far along in your project. :) Are you graduating in the spring? I will finish at the end of the fall semester 2013.

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Angela December 29, 2012 at 9:02 am

Yes, I will graduate in May. Well, that’s the plan anyways. ;)
It doesn’t feel like I’m that far along in my thesis, so thanks for your encouragement! When you say “this type of research” are you talking about doing literature reviews and meta-analyses?
Remember to plan some time to relax and decompress with some enjoyable activities. Enjoy the final days of 2012 :D

Danielle December 30, 2012 at 5:55 am

Hi Carrie, I’m a loyal reader from the Netherlands and I wanted to purchase your app Vegan Delish today. However, I can’t find it in my app store! I tried everything, but no luck:( Is this app not available for Europe? I have an Iphone 4 and had no problems searching/downloading other apps. Hopefully it will work!

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Carrie December 30, 2012 at 5:59 am

Hi Danielle! Thanks so much for the message. I’m working to convert my recipe to metric so I can release Vegan Delish in Europe. My developer has advised me not to release it until the metric option is available. So, temporarily, the app is only available in the US and Canada stores. I’m sorry!!! Thank you for trying to download it, though, and I will let you know when it’s available in Europe. xoxo! :)

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Tammy Stanton December 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Hi Carrie, I’ve enjoyed following you on Instagram–love posting vegan dishes and meals and checking out other’s ideas. I, too, am a cancer survivor–2.5 years out from colon cancer diagnosis, surgery and chemo. Still in the “surveillance” program, but have been all clear. As you have stated–what a journey it has been—was not on my radar at 43!! We had a very healthy diet at the time–lots of veggies, including lots of kale;-), but I was not a vegan. I’ve now been a vegan for a little over a year now and it has been a beautiful process. I got real clear that we never know what is going to happen–even though we think we do. I feel a kindred spirit to all who have walked through cancer. Thanks for you blog and all you do–let’s stay in touch! Tammy

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Carrie December 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Hi Tammy! Thank you so much for reaching out to me. I am so happy to hear that you are doing well, although I get that you never feel fully free of this burden. You are so right that life is constantly changing and we can plan all we want, but that doesn’t ensure that things will go according to those plans. I suppose that is part of the beauty and mystery of life, at least that’s how I like to look at it. :) Thanks again for the comment.

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vegantester February 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm

hi carrie – i don’t have a pressure cooker, can i just shove all the veg in a pot and boil?

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Carrie February 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Yeah, you could totally do that. I would recommend adding the kale at the very end so it doesn’t overcook, though. :)

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Carrie December 30, 2012 at 5:19 am

Hi Angela. I’m using this project as a way to test my interest in doing literature-review type research; sorry for my lack of clarity. I think one of my problems with taking on a major project like this is the difficulty in seeing the baby steps and getting overwhelmed by the ultimate goal. I’m trying to work on it a little bit each day, though, so I don’t have that feeling. I am already thinking that research might not be the career path for me, but I’m trying to keep an open mind. This is going to be a great experience because I have been thinking about pursuing a DrPH and now I’m not sure if I can handle the whole “more school” and dissertation thing…the thought kind of sends shivers down my spine at this point. :)

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