We’re on a quest to eat more veggies – both in quantity and variety. This journey has lead to cookbooks that have not only exposed us to new plant-based recipes but also to new cultures and cuisines. One of our favorite discoveries is “Afro-Vegan” by Bryant Terry. The recipes are a blend of African, Caribbean, and Southern U.S. classic dishes, redesigned as plant-based.
Here are two recipes that each stand alone as amazing vegan sides. We paired them together for family dinner. The heat from the red peppers in the crispy Spicy Smashed Potatoes is offset by the cool, raw, and naturally sweet Carrot Salad with Carrot-Peanut Dressing. Adding raw carrot to the dressing produces a lighter peanut flavor which is delightful. You could easily serve this Carrot Salad as a side dish at a summer picnic or barbecue. If you have any leftover Carrot-Peanut dressing, consider using it on a green salad the next day – yum!
Carrot Salad with Carrot-Peanut Dressing
- 1 medium carrot coarsely chopped or grated
- 1/3 cup skinless raw peanuts
- 1 pitted date
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 6 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
Raw Carrot Salad
- 1 lb carrots shredded
- 2 tbsp fresh mint chopped
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts crushed
- Make the dressing: combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until creamy. You may want to add more Kosher salt, to taste.
- Make the salad: Toss to combine the carrots and mint in a medium bowl Add enough dressing to lightly coat, and mix well. Serve with a crushed peanut garnish.
Spicy Smashed Potatoes
- 4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup peanut oil
- 3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 12 small yellow potatoes
- 10 oz frozen sweet green peas
- 10 oz frozen corn kernels
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley chopped
- Make the chili oil: about 30 minutes before your meal, add the red pepper flakes to a small heatproof bowl. Warm the peanut oil in a small skillet over medium heat, and then pour it over the red pepper flakes, stir, and allow to cool.
- Steam the potatoes until fork-tender, up to 45 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, until they’re cool enough to handle.
- Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt to a large bowl. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Gently mix the potatoes with the olive oil in the large bowl to coat. Place one potato at a time on the parchment-lined sheet, and use the palm of your hand to gently press the potato until it’s about 1/2 inch thick.
- Bake the potatoes until they’re brown and crispy on the edges, about 30-35 minutes. While they’re backing, prepare the peas and corn.
- Add another teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the same bowl used to coat the potatoes. Fill a medium pot with water and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Add the peas and corn to the boiling water and cook uncovered until the vegetables are just barely tender (not soggy), 2-4 minutes.
- Drain the peas and corn, and toss them in the bowl with the olive oil.
- To serve, top each smashed potato with a few heaping tablespoons of peas and carrots, and drizzle with the red pepper oil. Garnish with chopped parsley.