VEGAN CUCUMBER-GARLIC-"YOGURT" SALAD

This is a veganized version of a delicious, creamy Middle Eastern salad. This is adapted from a dairy-based recipe in Habeeb Salloum's book, "Arab Cooking on a Saskatchewan Homestead".

2 cucumbers, about 8" long each (see NOTE below)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 Tbs fresh mint, chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

freshly-ground black pepper to taste

1 cup Tofu Sour Creme (homemade or commercial)

(Cashew Sour Crème [recipe below] is also excellent in this recipe-- see below for Nutrition Facts using Cashew Sour Creme.)

(NOTE: Peel and seed the cucumbers only if necessary. I use English cucumber, or the type you don't have to peel and seed-they are sometimes called "seedless", though they do have tiny, edible, seeds, or "burpless", or "European"or "greenhouse", or "hothouse", or "gourmet" cucumbers,. You could also use "Armenian cucumbers", or"snake cucumbers".)

Slice the cucumber into thin rounds, then slice them in half (or you can dice them small, if you prefer). Combine the remaining incredients and then toss them with the cucumbers in a serving dish. Chill before serving.

Servings: 8

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 55.7 calories; 57% calories from fat; 3.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 187.2mg sodium; 141.0mg potassium; 4.1g carbohydrates; 0.4g fiber; 1.7g sugar; 3.6g net carbs; 2.6g protein; 1.3 points.

NUTRITION FACTS USING CASHEW SOUR CREME:

76.7 calories; 69% calories from fat; 6.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 162.6mg sodium; 163.4mg potassium; 5.2g carbohydrates; 0.6g fiber; 1.8g sugar; 4.5g net carbs; 1.6g protein; 1.9 points.

BRYANNA'S CASHEW SOUR CRÈME (OR "YOGURT") (wheat-free and soy-free)

This is a delicious dairy AND soy-free vegan product.

1/2 cup raw cashew pieces

1 cup water

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup plain rice or almond milk

2-3 Tbs lemon juice

Blend the cashews, water and salt in a blender for several minutes, or until VERY smooth. Pour the mixture into a heavy medium saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until the mixture thickens considerably. DO NOT ALLOW TO BURN or the taste will be awful!

MICROWAVE OPTION:

Pour the mixture into a microwave-safe bowl and cook on HIGH for 2 minutes, or until quite thick.

With a wire whisk, whisk in the lemon juice (to taste) and the milk until smooth. Place in a covered container and chill. If it's too thick after chilling, add a little water or more non-dairy milk.

For the "yogurt"variation, use just a pinch of salt and use water to thin the mixture to the consistency you want. Add a little more lemon juice if you want more "tang". If you like, you can add some dairy-free acidopholis powder.

Servings: 6

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per 1/4 cup): 67.3 calories; 67% calories from fat; 5.4g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 86.3mg sodium; 87.5mg potassium; 3.8g carbohydrates; 0.4g fiber; 1.1g sugar; 3.4g net carbs; 2.1g protein; 1.7 points.