Spiral Zucchini Noodle “Zoodle” Greek Salad ♥ Recipe

Spiral Zucchini Noodle Zoodle Greek Salad ~ AVeggieVenture.com
graphic button small size size 10 Today's latest "zoodle" recipe: A Greek salad gone spiral, a big jumble of zucchini noodles, tomatoes and olives tossed in an oil-free Creamy Feta Vinaigrette. It's the salad of the summer, people! And you won't believe that those noodles aren't pasta! Weight Watchers Friendly, WW 2 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Vegetarian. graphic button small size size 10

So here's a salad – if our tastes are similar, and they are, right? that's why you're reading? – that you'll make all summer long and might even dream about in-between times.

The first time I made the salad, we were rushing out the door, pleased to spend a lazy Saturday with friends basking in late-summer sunshine in the silence of the Missouri countryside. Honestly? I just winged it that day, hapdash-style throwing a few "Greek style" vegetables into a bowl. For the dressing, I went for a tried 'n' true recipe, the Creamy Feta Vinaigrette works so well in a real Greek pasta salad, made with actual pasta, Greek Pasta Salad – except, me being me, always experimenting, always learning, I substituted buttermilk for the usual olive oil, creating an extra-creamy and no-added oil g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s dressing for the vegetables.

That sweet-September day, our friends laid out a lovely spread but oh! the Zucchini Noodle Greek Salad! Lucky, lucky, I'd nailed it the first time, for sure. And our hosts? They couldn't believe that the "noodles" weren't pasta but zucchini! That made for a really full-tasting extra-healthy salad. If that's your taste, well, here's your salad for the summer. I've got a feeling it's mine, too.

Seven-Layer Strawberry Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing ♥

Seven-Layer Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing ~ AVeggieVenture.com
graphic button small size size 10 Today's party salad: A spring riff on the traditional Seven-Layer Salad, layers of strawberries, mangoes, kiwi and avocado plus the traditional romaine and red onion. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". graphic button small size size 10

~ recipe updated & republished for a little weekend cooking inspiration 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

Everybody loves the Classic Seven Layer Salad, you know, that messy concoction of lettuce, bacon, cheese, bacon, tomato and hard-cooked egg. Wait, is that seven layers? Ooops, add green peas, too.

This is a summer and fruity version of that salad, substituting colorful layers of fresh fruit: strawberries, kiwis and mango plus avocado and toasted walnuts. Seven-Layer Strawberry Salad: the name alone makes me want to mix up another beautiful bowlful!

It was the crowd favorite at a party last week and would make a great contribution to the next potluck or dinner gathering.

Simple Zucchini Ribbon Salad ♥

Simple Zucchini Ribbon Salad ~ ribbons of small, young summer squash tossed in a simple vinaigrette ~ low-carb, low-cal, gluten-free, vegan and for Weight Watchers, just PointsPlus 2 ~ AVeggieVenture.com
graphic button small size size 10 A simple-simple zucchini salad, just thin-sliced ribbons of young, small summer squash tossed in a simple vinaigrette and dusted with parmesan. WW 2 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". graphic button small size size 10

Are you noticing, too? It's just spring here in Missouri, but I can tell, It's summer, somewhere. That's because the vegetables, even at the grocery store, are so sweet and perfect, miracle of miracles emerging somewhere from the earth. And small! You can tell, these were picked young. Usually, we must wait for vegetables like this until July or August, either from our own garden or the farmers market. But for a short window, the grocery store's produce department is a vegetable lover's heaven.

Summer Black-Eyed Pea Salad ♥ Recipe

Summer Black-Eyed Pea Salad, hearty salad full of crunch and flavor, tastes like summer in a bowl but can be made any time of year. Vegan, low-carb and for Weight Watchers, just PointsPlus 1. AVeggieVenture.com
graphic button small size size 10 Say hello to my latest salad obsession, a hearty salad that's full of crunch and color. It looks like – tastes like – bites like – summer in a bowl! But it can be made any time of year, delivering the sense of summer all year long. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real" and just 1 Weight Watchers point! graphic button small size size 10

~recipe updated 2015~
~ republished for a little weekend cooking inspiration 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

BACK IN 2011 My friend Chris first brought this to a Mardi Gras shindig. All the food that night was extra fabulous but a few of us all kept going back for more black-eyed pea salad! A few days later, I made the salad myself, nixing the bacon entirely and cutting the oil by half. Again – SO good! Those extra calories weren't in the least bit missed.

And then I made it again – didn't I say this salad is my current obsession? – cutting the oil by three-quarters. Chris and her husband were back for another little gathering and all three of us went back for seconds! So good! So fresh! So flexible!

This is a great dish to carry to a potluck, a family dinner, a church supper. It would be a great dish to deliver to a family where people are gathering for a funeral or where someone's sick or ... to make a meal of, all by yourself, just yourself and a spoon. (Obsession, you say? Uh huh.) I hope you like this salad as much as I do!

"... smitten by the results. Such a beautiful dish!" ~ Charlie
"... it was fabulous!" ~ Tina
"So yummy with fresh mint!" ~ Robyn

Smitten Kitchen’s Avocado-Cucumber Salad ♥

Avocado-Cucumber Salad, addictively good, many variations ~ Low carb, gluten-free, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 4 ~ AVeggieVenture.com
graphic button small size size 10 A salad to make again and again, so many variations yet grounded by the terrific combination of crisp cucumber and soft avocado. Low Carb, Gluten Free, Vegetarian. For Weight Watchers, PointsPlus 4. A great choice for Meatless Monday! graphic button small size size 10

So I always wonder, when a recipe goes viral, do grocers notice? I-am-SO-betting there's been a run on cucumbers and avocados since two weeks ago when Smitten Kitchen shared this recipe for what she calls "obsessively good avocado cucumber salad". She's right. Let's count, just me, I made the salad seven times, one with an on-hand cucumber, six more with cucumber three-somes from Sam's Club. So yeah. I'm smitten. Am I obsessed? Uh maybe?

Luckily, the object of this obsession isn't something sugar-butter-flour-laden. I've strayed – not far, but still, finding my own path – from Smitten Kitchen's original combination. Three things are essential: chunks of crisp thin-skinned cucumbers plus cubes of soft but not mushy avocado plus a creamy make-it-how-you-like-it dressing. Smitten Kitchen likes the dressing drizzled over the chunks of vegetables, I like it all tossed together. A little onion is important, so is a good grind of pepper. I found myself adding "stuff" to the salad, all the while maintaining a one:one balance between the "crisp" of cucumber and the "soft" of avocado.

Zucchini Mushroom Tacos ♥

Zucchini Mushroom Tacos, a quick vegetarian or vegan filling for Meatless Monday tacos. For Weight Watchers, PointsPlus 3. AVeggieVenture.com
graphic button small size size 10 Today's great recipe idea for Meatless Monday and other nutritious vegetarian suppers. The filling is slightly sweet, slightly hot, a big mess of zucchini, mushrooms, tomato and beans – a great base to easily adapt with what's on hand or just sounds good. With a vegan cheese, the tacos are not just vegan but "Vegan Done Real". With more vegetables and/or protein instead of beans, the filling meets the requirements of both paleo and Whole30 diets. For Weight Watchers? The filling is just three PointsPlus for a whole cup! You're gonna love this one, I promise!

~recipe & photo updated 2015~
~ republished for a little weekend cooking inspiration 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

BACK IN 2007 Did I mention I love-love-love Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday? I do! This recipe is one more reason. It makes an excellent quick supper of tacos, infinitely variable, completely delicious. And then? The leftovers are just excellent for a simple lunch! Next time, I will go easy on the canned chipotle pepper and its adobo sauce. This turned out hotter than pleasant – not inedible-hot, not eye-watering hot, not mouth-burning hot, just hotter than pleasant. I added a can of hominy in an attempt to quell the heat, turns out, it was a great addition!

Kale Recipes ♥ Alphabet of Vegetables

Ready to fall for kale? This collection of seasonal Kale Recipes from A Veggie Venture can help, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, sandwiches to smoothies, simple to special. Many Weight Watchers, vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, whole30 recipes. | AVeggieVenture.com
Hello Vegetable Lovers: Over the next while, watch for some housekeeping with the Alphabet of Vegetables here on A Veggie Venture. The goal is to separate out our "most favorite" vegetables so their pages will load more quickly, handy for all but especially those of us who check for recipes on our phones. ~Alanna

PS Facebook & Pinterest users, if you love A Veggie Venture, be sure to "like" and "pin" this page! More and more, search engines and even real-live human beings rely on social media indicators to identify favorite sources of trusted information.

IN A RUSH? Prefer Another Vegetable?
Skip Straight to the Recipes or Switch to the A-Z of Vegetables.

Kale 101: THE BASICS
Pronounced (Duh) [kale]. The Season. The growing season for kale is "late winter" to "early spring". Thanks to the miracle of our global food distribution system, however, beautiful kale is easily found year-round in grocery stores. Other Names for Kale. Also called Scots cabbage and borecole. What's some times called Chinese kale isn't kale but Chinese broccoli aka gai-lan or kai-lan. Taste Kale is a bitter green, this can be countered with a splash of vinegar. When added to soup or stew, usually near the end so it doesn't cook to mush, kale actually adds a lovely savory-sweetness. Kale = Super Food. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. Special Diets. Kale is gluten-free, paleo approved, South Beach diet approved (Phase 1), Weight Watchers friendly and Whole30 approved. (Naturally, specific preparations matter to each of these eating regimens.) Sources. Personal experience and accumulated learning.

Specific Kale Varieties
"Curly Kale" could also be called "salad bar kale" because it's often used as ruffly filler in salad bars – just for looks, not eating! But don't worry, it's not only edible, it's good eating. This is the most widely available kale variety, also the least expensive. It keeps for a week or more in the fridge.
"Lacinato Kale" ia also called black cabbage, Tuscan Kale, Tuscan Cabbage, Cavolo Nero and Dinosaur Kale. I have the darnest time not incorrectly calling it "lacinto" kale. Its long, elegant leaves and nubbly texture is so pretty, I some times put lacinato kale in a vase on the kitchen table! Lacinato kale is quite tender, it needs less cooking than curly kale. It's also more perishable and should be cooked within a couple of days.
"Red Russian Kale" or "Red Winter Kale" has beautiful purple stems with silver-green leaves. Truth be told? I don't know that I've ever cooked this kale! Must fix that!