This is a simple and beautiful salad you can make using only a handful of ingredients. You want to wait until you have the most beautiful, in season vine ripened tomatoes for this. Flavourless winter tomatoes will not lend well to a dish that is truly celebrating an ingredient when it's at its best. My friend who is a passionate gardener gave me a basket of several varieties of tomatoes she had grown. There was no way I was going to make anything other than this. The tomatoes cut into varying chunks, my cashew basil ricotta, good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sea salt and black pepper & a bit more fresh basil to garnish. HEAVENLY. I really want to share this salad as an example of HOW to use my ricotta recipe. I also use the ricotta in my Zucchini Involtini.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
This is less of a recipe than it is a list of ingredients that you can just arrange on a plate. The key to this dish being successful is all in the quality of the ingredients. You must use a delicious olive oil, and a balsamic vinegar with some natural sweetness. You need to spend a bit more for quality but it is worth it (a little goes a long way too). Alternatively for balsamic, you can buy bottles of balsamic glaze fairly inexpensively...I find I like to use them sparingly in different dishes just as a garnish for a touch of added sweet & acidity. I think that would work great in this salad as well.
THOUGHTS ON SALT
If you have a good quality finishing salt, this is the time to use it. Finishing salts are ususally a coarser grind and are meant to be used just as the name implies, to garnish a dish either after it's been cooked or sprinkled on something like this tomato salad. Fleur du sel comes to mind, one of my favourites that I wish I would have had on hand while making this salad. If you have never used or even heard of finishing salt, look into it! Definitely a way to improve your kitchen creations. I just had a pink Himalayan salt so I used that. I wouldn't want to use regular table salt here personally (I never buy regular table salt...for cooking I use flaked kosher salt)
This is a simple plant based alternative to ricotta, and it tastes amazing!
If you are new to a recipe like this, making plant based cheese might seem like a bit of a hurdle or even unappealing... But.... I promise you, the flavour is incredible, and it couldn't be more simple to prepare. All you need is a food processor to blend up the ingredients and you will be on your way to making something that's delicious and satisfying all while using good for you ingredients.
I originally developed this cashew & tofu based ricotta to use in my Zucchini Involtini Recipe. Now I find it's something that comes to my mind for all sorts of uses. (Stay tuned for my gorgeous tomato, caramelized onion & ricotta galette.) Use this ricotta as a spread on fancy toasts, in sandwiches or tucked into wraps for a flavourful and healthy alternative to mayo or dairy based spreads and cheese. Use it in pasta, lasagna, pizza, sandwiches, on fancy ricotta toasts, in a salad or as a spread for crackers. You could easily switch up the flavour profile by using different herbs and or spices. I haven't tried that yet because I'm pretty in love with this variation for now, but it will probably evolve over time.
Yield: about 1 3/4 cups
1 . In a food processor combine all ingredients except for the basil. Blitz until as smooth as possible, scraping down sides a couple of times.
2. Now add in basil, and pulse just to give it a chop and mix in evenly.
3. Scrape ricotta into a container and refrigerate to set up before using in desired recipe.
I had an abundance of canned pumpkin hanging out in my cupboards, so I decided to use one of the cans to make a pumpkin soup. I can't think of a more appropriate soup to make with fall in the air and pumpkin spice everything showing up everywhere you look. One must stay trendy right? lol
Anyhow, this soup is
The creamy factor comes from pumpkin seed butter!!! I feel kinda proud this idea came to me haha. I saw the pumpkin seed butter in the organic section at the grocery store knowing I was making this soup then I quickly connected the dots. I add peanut butter to my African Peanut Stew so I figured this would be perfect. It is! I also add fresh ginger, and as mentioned above.... cinnamon, coriander, cumin & maple to flavour the soup. I think you could add curry powder or whatever spices you prefer really. I'm happy with how mine turned out, though.
Serve this soup with crusty multigrain bread, or if you want a treat, some buttery biscuits.
I find the soup rich. Smaller portions might be nice as a starter or if you want it as the main meal, round it out with your favourite salad.
I like to garnish the pumpkin soup with vegan yogurt or sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds and something fresh and green. I used sunflower sprouts in the photograph. Regarding vegan sour cream and yogurts, not all products taste equal, some are better than others and sometimes work great in one recipe but not in others. For this soup I do like the tofutti brand sour cream. I thin it out with a bit of water or plant milk to achieve the right consistency for drizzling.
Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Yield: 3 L
Serves: 6-8 people
Succotash dates back to the 17th century and was first introduced to colonists by Indigenous Americans. The original version of this dish was perhaps more simplistic than the current one. Likely a simmering pot of corn to which lima beans were added, and then evolved to contain various other ingredients as well. The meal became popular during the Great Depression as an affordable and nutritious offering. It's noteworthy that pairing a grain with a legume provides all essential amino acids (think beans and rice in Latin cooking). Succotash is now popular on Thanksgiving tables throughout New England and will often include onions, peppers, tomatoes, okra and sometimes meat. I found two possible origins of the word Succotash. From the Narragansett word sohquttahhash, meaning "broken corn kernels", the other “misckquatash” which meant “boiled whole kernels of corn”.
Traditionally this dish gets finished with butter and salt, I however couldn't resist dressing my Succotash with a simple lime and olive oil vinaigrette, I also added in pickled jalapeno to kick it up a notch and lots of fresh mint. I think it's a fun & vibrant variation. A recipe like this is pretty forgiving too. You could easily go with different ratios of beans to corn to peppers to tomato etc....and it will still be delicious. I'm saying this mainly because if I was making it, I personally wouldn't take the time to measure things. I did for the purpose of writing a recipe, but having a loose cooking style is so much more enjoyable than being rigid about it. That doesn't always translate well say if you're baking a cake, but for something like this, it totally does. Tasting as you go until things are balanced is how you better learn the nuances flavour, and somehow cooking with a relaxed flow just feels better energetically, if that makes sense. If it doesn't...that's OK, just scroll down for the recipe and enjoy!
I find this salad tastes best not piping hot or fridge cold. Room Temp really lets you enjoy the flavours the most.
Hey! I'm Trisha