Vegan Month of Food, day 22: Fancy but frugal

Today’s VeganMoFo theme is Fancy but Frugal. You definitely do not need to spend a lot of money to make a meal feel fancy. There are some vegetables that I rarely buy in supermarkets because they tend to be quite expensive, but from time to time I’ll find them at the outdoor market for a reasonable price, so that’s when I buy them! Case in point: these artichokes, asparagus and several types of leafy greens:

market haul - asparagus, artichokes, purslane
Rocket, red onions, tomatoes, beetroot leaves, baby dinosaur kale (I think?), nectarines, strawberries, sweet potatoes, asparagus, purslane, fresh herbs, and artichokes.

fresh parsley and coriander
Ideally, the first thing I do after buying fresh herbs is to wash and store them properly. I don’t always remember to do this, but it really seems to help to keep them fresh! I like to store fresh coriander/cilantro wrapped in a damp tea towel inside an airtight container in the fridge. Parsley seems to keep best when I trim off the ends and put it in a glass of water covered with a plastic bag, also in the fridge. (I try to wash and reuse the bags — I think this one originally had tofu in it and it was just the right size.)

roasted asparagus over sweet potato mash
The person who sold me the sweet potatoes recommended a recipe and I’m so glad she did, because this was amazing. I think she told me to mash them with walnuts and spring onions — I didn’t have spring onions, so I used fresh chives and sautéed red onions instead. I topped the mash with roasted asparagus and tempeh. This was so good! I’m sure the sweet potatoes would be great with other toppings too, so I want to make them again soon.

purslane salad
I combined the purslane with rocket, tomatoes, green lentils and red onion to make this salad. So summery and refreshing.

tempeh pesto pasta - strawberry mint water
On the left: a quick pesto pasta bowl with tomatoes and more tempeh. Not very fancy, but delicious nonetheless. On the right: water flavoured with fresh mint and strawberries. I mostly just drink plain tap water so this did feel slightly fancy! (:

kale crisps - chickpea dish
These kale crisps were based on the Cool Ranch Kale Crisps from Jessica Nadel’s book Greens 24/7. I haven’t made a lot of kale crisps because where I live, kale is often sold shredded into small pieces, and in general the crisps don’t seem worth the effort to me. But since I did have whole kale leaves now, I thought I’d give this recipe a try. I like that the leaves are coated in a cashew dressing that adds flavour and texture. Maybe that’s just because I didn’t blend it properly but I liked the extra crunch!

On the right is a dish with chickpeas, rocket and sweet potatoes. I’m sure it was delicious, but to be honest that’s all I remember about this particular dish.

artichokes and potatoesFinally, artichokes always feel fancy to me. I had this one with a vinaigrette for dipping and a spinach and lentil salad and roast potatoes on the side. Eating this meal was actually kind of a challenge, because this cute little guy kept trying to steal my artichoke leaves and potatoes:

This is Nox, who sometimes stays with us when his own humans are on holiday. In addition to being cute, he’s also very clever and a highly skilled thief! We tried to keep him off the kitchen counters (at least while we were in there, haha), so he loved this spot on the window sill where he could look out the window as well as oversee everything we were cooking. I think he also used these moments to decide which foods he was going to try to steal first. :D

Link of the day

Susan from Kittens Gone Lentil has been reviewing recipes from cookbooks and, for the past week, focusing on complete menus in particular. I love this idea because I don’t think I’ve ever actually made a full menu from a cookbook, and now I want to. This also matches today’s fancy meal theme! I’d love to try this autumn-themed menu from Miyoko Schinner’s book Japanese Cooking.

6 thoughts on “Vegan Month of Food, day 22: Fancy but frugal

    • Thanks, Julie! :) He is too cute and funny — he likes to get into mischief from time to time during his visits but you just have to forgive him instantly, haha.

  1. Everything looks so fresh and vibrant! I am terrible at remembering to store herbs properly. I do try and do what you do with coriander if I think about it. I have had some good success with basil trimming the stems and keeping it on the bench in a jar of water if it isn’t too hot.

    Thanks for the link, to my post. :)

    • Thank you! :) Oh me too, sometimes I’ll just store them in the vegetable drawer but they dry out and/or go limp so quickly. Fresh basil is probably my favourite! I don’t see it at my local market very often — it’s mostly parsley, coriander and mint.

    • Thanks Chili! :D Ja ik was het vergeten tot ik deze foto’s weer tegenkwam en vond ze zo leuk! Hij zit ook tussen de foto’s van het eten omdat hij er steeds bij wilde haha. Hij had toen echt een beetje een aardappelobsessie volgens mij?

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