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We've been enjoying Noah Galuten's The Don’t Panic Pantry Cookbook: Mostly Vegetarian Comfort Food That Happens to Be Pretty Good for You and his very entertaining YouTube cooking show.  

Noah says: "This is my version of the “health food restaurant” salads I enjoyed for most of my life—a nutty vegan dressing with the required dose of crunchy seed things, sprouts, legumes, lettuces, vegetables, and, since it is California, some avocado and citrus. Any lettuce will work, but I’m partial to red leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and roughly torn into big floppy leaves."

Note: You can use a peeled and segmented orange instead of a tangerine. Simply
cut the segments in half, crosswise.

  • 1 head lettuce or about 4 cups loosely packed leaves
  • 3 ounces sprouts, such as alfalfa, broccoli, daikon, or onion
  • 8 ounces cucumber (any type will work), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (or your bean of choice), drained and rinsed
  • 2 small or 1 medium seedless tangerine, divided into segments (see Note)
  • Vegan Tahini Dressing (see below)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, freshly toasted or purchased already roasted

Makes 2 big salads or 4 to 6 side salads

  1. If you are starting with a head of lettuce, tear it into large rough pieces and then wash and thoroughly dry the leaves. Add them to a large bowl, followed by the sprouts. Break up the sprouts in the bowl a bit and try to disperse them into the lettuce without too much clumping. Add the cucumber, carrot, chickpeas, and tangerine to the bowl. Add the dressing and toss it thoroughly to combine the salad, being careful again of large sprout clumps. Taste the salad for seasoning and then adjust it with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Divide the salad into individual bowls or one large serving bowl. Halve and pit the avocado, then use a spoon to carve out thin little slices and lay them on top of the salad(s). Season the avocado with a sprinkling of salt. Top the salad(s) with a relatively even coating of sunflower seeds. Serve immediately.

Vegan Tahini Dressing

This dressing has become a staple in my home— a delightful addition to a salad that comes together in about 30 seconds, and also works as a dip for a crudités board (snap peas are especially good with this). The dressing will look broken as you first start stirring, but after sitting for just a few seconds longer, it hydrates and thickens into something smooth, silky, and alluring. 
A note: If it is an especially dry brand of tahini, you may need to increase the
olive oil slightly to thin it, and then season it with a bit more salt to compensate as

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • Salt (optional)
  • Equipment: Whisk (or fork)

Makes about 6 tablespoons

  1. In a small bowl, combine the tahini, olive oil, rice vinegar, wine vinegar, and tamari and whisk them vigorously. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Use the dressing immediately or store in the refrigerator for a few days.

From The Don’t Panic Pantry Cookbook: Mostly Vegetarian
Comfort Food That Happens to Be Pretty Good for You © 2023 by Noah
Galuten. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin
Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be
reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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