One of our favorite things to do when we come into a new area is to find out where they have a farmers’ market. We love seeing what the local farmers grow, which is often very different than what you can find in your local grocery store. The Rockland, Maine farmer’s market is a great example of this. You can still get local, organic eggs, green peppers, onions, and mixed greens, lettuce, tomatoes, and all the typical things you’d expect to find, but this outdoor market next to the harbormaster’s office right by the water always has some interesting options.
The last time we stopped there, I found sunflower sprouts, pea shoots, and some of the biggest garlic scapes I’ve ever seen. Garlic scapes, by the way, last a crazy long time! Just put them in your refrigerator with a dry paper towel to absorb moisture, and I’ve had them last as long as 3 weeks. They add so much flavor to soups, salads, and stirfry dishes.
For this recipe, I used homemade sourdough bread I’d already baked and store-bought vegan cream cheese. I like the Violife brand. I find it creamier than some of the others, and you can get it in cheddar cheese or chive flavors, too (which are both amazing for cucumber sandwiches).
I also had some left over falafel, so I crumbed that into the salad for an extra boost of flavor…and because I hate wasting food. I’m always looking for creative ways to use up bits of what’s left from previous meals.
(Note–I did not pay attention to amounts when I made this, as I tend to be an “eye ball” cook, and you may like more of certain ingredients than I would, such as onion or Sriracha. Also note that NOTHING in this recipe is cooked except the sourdough bread I’d baked the day before and the left over falafel.)
Salad–mixed greens, sliced radishes, red onion slivers, Violife shredded cheddar cheese, and crumbled left over falafel
Salad Dressing–olive oil base seasoned with mustard, sriracha, salt, pepper, and oregano
Bread Topping–a cut up mixture of sunflower sprouts, red onion,& garlic scapes, then toss with imitation bacon bits, green chili hot sauce, salt, pepper, onion powder, and olive oil to make a course paste. Apply cream cheese to the bread and then spread the vegetable topping on top in a thin layer.
Gaylen liked it so much we had almost the same meal a second night in a row, but I made two changes. I ran out of falafel, so I used some pieces of seitan instead (also left over from another meal). I had also run out of cream cheese, so instead, I used garlic hummus for the base under the fresh topping on the bread. It was really good but created a very different flavor. We both liked the hummus version but preferred the cream cheese base on the bread.
I’m sure you could come up with a hundred different variations of this easy meal based on what you had handy and what you found at a farmers’ market. That’s kind of the cool part in my mind–trying different combinations and taking risks. Fresh vegetables are so flavorful, especially when combined with just the right spices. A lot of it is trial and error, but the more you do it, the more you’ll start to get a feel for what will compliment different flavors.