Vegetable Dishes for the Buffet Breakfast
We all love the traditional white fish/bagels/smoked salmon breakfast – and what’s not to love? !
But these days, many people are adopting more plant-based eating habits, either for environmental and ethical reasons, or to reduce their cholesterol or sodium intake, to lose weight, or for other health considerations.
My sister-in-law Esther, who eats healthily, made these recipes on a recent visit and, although not traditional, they would be great additions to the breakfast buffet. Both are pareve, healthy, provide plenty of fresh veggies as well as fiber, protein, and of course, they’re delicious. Both of these dishes are also colorful, so they add a bit of visual pop and interest to the buffet.
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When cooking for a holiday crowd, it’s ideal to offer a variety of dishes to suit all preferences and needs; these two recipes do just that! For people who need to watch their sodium, try using low-sodium soy sauce and reduce the amount as needed. Ditto for low-fat sesame oil and peanut butter diets.
Cauliflower Lettuce Wraps
For 5 people
These chicken wraps mimic those on many Chinese and Vietnamese menus.
Cauliflower rice is available in the produce aisles of most supermarkets these days. If you can’t find it, see the note below on how to create your own.
Wraps are designed to be an appetizer, but they can be quite messy; some may want to serve them plated with a knife and fork.
1 teaspoon rapeseed oil
2 cups cauliflower rice
½ cup diced water chestnuts
¼ cup diced red onion
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha or your favorite chili sauce
12 cups lettuce, either Boston or bibb lettuce, small heads of romaine or iceberg
Optional toppings: chopped peanuts or cashews; cilantro sprigs, sliced jalapenos and/or sliced green onions
In a large skillet, heat the canola oil and sauté the onion, garlic and mushrooms until fragrant. Add the water chestnuts, cauliflower rice, soy sauce, hoisin and sriracha with a little water to help distribute the sauces. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly – you don’t want the mixture added to the lettuce while it’s hot or it will cook the leaves.
Place the lettuce cups on a large platter and fill them with the cauliflower mixture.
Garnish as desired and serve.
To make cauliflower rice, divide a large head of cauliflower into florets and small pieces.
Blanch the pieces in boiling water for 30 seconds, then immediately place them in an ice bath. Drain them well and put them in a food processor. Whisk the cauliflower until the pieces look like rice. This will do more than you need for lettuce wraps; save it and use it in salads or as rice or couscous.
Spicy Thai quinoa salad
For 6 to 8 people, depending on portion size
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
2 cups grated carrots
1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
2 cups of edamame
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
4 tablespoons natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2-3 tablespoons Sriracha or other hot sauce
1 cup hot water
Combine all the vegetables and quinoa in a large bowl. Put aside.
Combine all dressing ingredients except hot water in medium bowl. Gradually add water, starting with about a quarter cup, and whisk. Keep adding water and whisking until the dressing becomes creamy and smooth. It should be thin enough to pour over the salad but not too runny.
Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetable/quinoa mixture and mix.
It’s best if it has some time to sit, allowing the flavors to meld.