ISO a Vegan Pasta Salad for Brunch that will please Veg and Non-Veg alike
I'm hosting a New Years Day brunch and while the menu is definitely not vegan or even vegetarian (ham, bagels and lox, french toast casserole, mini-frittatas, mini-muffins) there will be one or two vegans there and I want to have a little something for them to eat. We'll have fruit salad and some vegetable kabobs (mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions) but I was going to do a grain salad of some sort. Either couscous, quinoa or pasta. I know I can do a good southwest couscous salad (black beans, corn, avacado, etc) but that doesn't quite feel very "winter brunch" to me.
Any suggestions for something fun that would work well with a brunch but that isn't overtly vegan (no veganaise, seitan or tofu please)? Thanks.
Soak some wheat berries, covered with about 2 inches of water, overnight (6 - 8 hours)
Heat enough water (about 3 1/2 cups of water to every cup of uncooked berries) to cook the berries; cook in actively simmering water until done (about 45 - 50 minutes)
The berries will be firm and chewy when done. Drain the wheat berries and set aside to cool.
Just before ready to serve, toss the wheat berries in a light coating of good quality olive oil, use a large spoon to fold in chopped green olives, capers, chopped red pepper if you like.
Season to taste. Your favorite herbs, in moderation, can be added to expand the flavor profile according to individual taste.
Diced, roasted root veg, maybe eggplant if I can get over my not-in-season guilt, grain or pasta (or not) and gremolata "dressing" is what I'm going for for my NYD brunch this year, I think. Adding roasted mushrooms would be great, too. Bonus that it's best at room temp and stands without getting weird.
There's some great peanut noodle recipes out there. Or soba noodle anything with ginger/soy/garlic. Both have always gone over well at my parties. I add a lot of julienne veg to these...
Don't knock the vegenaise! Actually, even lots of non-vegetarians I know love it or even prefer it to mayo, and it's not actually that processed or weird.
Maybe a farro and Puy lentil salad with a shallot / herb vinaigrette would be seasonally appropriate? You could use some gently cooked heirloom carrots and other seasonal vegetables.
I think quinoa would be awesome with roasted butternut squash cubes, craisins, pistachios, sliced shallots, and an orange vinaigrette. Maybe some chickpeas too for texture?