Monday, October 28, 2013

Vegan And Gluten-Free Antipasto Salad
The Perfect Start To A Holiday Dinner

Everyone loves antipasto salad- A real holiday pleaser!

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Antipasto Salad
You know it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter when my cousin's all post pictures of their gorgeous antipastos. But this year, I'm leaning towards an antipasto salad. What's the difference you might ask? Well, an antipasto is usually a large platter with ingredients such as olives, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, etc., all laid out in a beautiful and creative fashion. If you're not vegan, you'll see provolone, bocconcini (small mozzarella balls) or chunks of salami on the platter as well. An antipasto salad has many of the same components but also has more raw salad ingredients such as cucumber, romaine lettuce, raw onions, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and more, in a Italian dressing. I find the antipasto salad a little easier to serve and you don't have your guests picking out their favorite ingredients :-)
So for those of you coming to my Thanksgiving feast this year, expect to see a huge platter of this delicious vegan and gluten free antipasto salad!

Feel free to substitute your favorite fresh salad or olive bar ingredients for the ones listed in this recipe. Or just add more ingredients. At dinner last night, while consuming (and testing!) an entire platter of this salad, my husband mentioned that I left out radishes, his favorite. So we quickly cut up a bunch of them and threw them on! So if I left out something you love, please don't hesitate to make modifications.

Box Beans - A Healthy Alternative to Most Canned Beans 
My father's favorite antipasto ingredient was garbanzo beans. Even though he is no longer with us, I always include garbanzos in my holiday salad to make me feel like he's at the table.

When shopping for garbanzos this week, I was very excited to discover that Whole Foods now sells them and other beans in little boxes that are BPA free! BPA, or bisphenol-A, is an industrial chemical that is commonly found in the lining of cans. Beans are one of the only things that I still buy in cans so it is worrisome. There are companies, like Eden Foods, that make cans without a BPA lining but these companies are few and far between. BPA is an endocrine disruptor because it mimics the body's hormones and is linked to an increased risk of infertility, obesity, breast and other cancers. So if you can find these cute boxes of BPA-free beans, they are a better choice than canned beans that have BPA linings.

Whole Foods sells beans in boxes.
A great option when trying to avoid
BPA linings in canned goods.

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Antipasto Salad
Vegan and Gluten Free
[makes 8 servings]

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive or cold-pressed hemp oil (or a mixture of both)
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 large clove pressed or finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup sliced red onions
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup peeled, halved and sliced English cucumbers
1 cup seeded and sliced red bell pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup mixed, pitted marinated olives
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 cup marinated button mushrooms
1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (15 oz can or 13 oz box)
1 large head of romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped

Mix the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Stir in the onions and let them marinate while you are preparing the remaining ingredients.

Let the onions marinate in the dressing while
you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Add the remaining ingredients and toss until well combined.

Spoon onto a large, shallow platter and serve.

A large shallow platter makes a nicer presentation
than a tall salad bowl.

Check out other healthy and delicious vegan and gluten-free Thanksgiving and holiday favorites


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