Archive | October 2011

Raw ranch?!?


I’ve made vegan ranch dressing for years now. It’s one of my favorite toppings for taco salads, and of course a necessity for dipping vegan wings in. My usual recipe is mostly just vegan mayo, soy milk, and spices. I just came up with this though, and not obit is it healthier, the texture and flavor are way better too! Win-win!

I have a million cucumbers from the dumpster lately, and got a nice ripe avocado last night. The ranch dressing is just two peeled cucumbers and an avocado blended until smooth (more or less avocado to thin it out). Then I added lots of dill (about two tablespoons), minced garlic, salt, black pepper, and some chives.

This is definitely going to be a staple recipe for me! We ate it over fajitas tonight — it went great with carrot nacho cheese — and it got the seal of approval from omnis and vegans both. Score!


Soup and sandwiches



You know a soup is good when it’s green!

I made another simple veggie soup by throwing half the veggies in the blender to make broth. Today’s soup: kale, zucchini, red onion, red and yellow peppers. I spiced it with Rosemary, thyme, and cayenne.

I made some sandwiches to go with it that came out better than I expected. I grilled zucchini slices with salt and cayenne pepper then put them on bread with mayo and grilled them. Better than any grilled cheese!

The bread was a bit squished, but it tasted just fine.

Everything but the kale and mustard in this meal was scavenged.

Quite a haul!

Last night I almost didn’t go to this dumpster. I walked over (it’s near my house) thinking I’d check it out, and there was so much in there I had to walk back home to get the car!


Not only was it enough to warrant a car-trip, we had to buy a freezer today to save it all! Fortunately, we found an amazing deal (25 bucks!) on a big freezer, so now we can take dumpster-diving and preserving our finds to the next level of awesomeness.

In that pile: TONS (litereally, hundreds) of bananas, red/yellow/orange peppers, grapes, mushrooms, blueberries (my favorite!), cucumber, zucchini, bread, and a whole case of nectarines. There was also a ton of cantaloupes in the dumpster but we have so much frozen cantaloupe already I thought it was best to leave it behind, and another honeydew but this one was weirdly flavorless so I ended up tossing it (not sure if it was under-ripe or over-ripe?).

I got a chance to use some of it for lunch today… I made some grilled tempeh/veggie sandwiches, and a roasted red pepper soup:

This sandwich (too big… to really be a sandwich — it had to be ope-faced!) was made with several of the veggies I dumpstered (zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, and onion) along with some tempeh that I had to take out of the freezer to make space for other stuff. The wheat buns were also dumpstered. I grilled all the veggies and tempeh and then glazed them with a bit of tamari and maple syrup — I probably could have added a pinch of cayenne for a sweet/spicy combo but I wasn’t sure if everyone would like the spicy so I just added some Sriracha afterwards. A little spinach from the co-op and some homemade coconut bacon on top, and this sandwich was pretty darn awesome.


This roasted red pepper soup was almost 100% scavenged.  Soups like this are super quick and easy, and a great way to use lots of veggies! I sliced a red pepper in half and roasted it in the oven on 400 degrees for just a few minutes. Cut up half an onion, about a cup of mushrooms, and two zucchinis. I like to make my own veggie broth by putting half the veggies in my blender and blending them nice and smooth. You can make a creamy soup by using rice/soy/etc. milk or do what I did here and make a more vegetable-soup-like broth by just using water. Add the blended half of the vegetables to the chopped half, bring the whole thing to a boil, and there you go. I spiced it with a little salt and black pepper, and some rosemary from a friend’s garden.

I threw a few homemade croutons on top of the soup. Croutons are a GREAT use of stale dumpstered bread and they’re easy to make. Just dice your bread up, drizzle with olive oil, add some spices (I just used salt and rosemary) and bake them in the oven until they’re toasty. They’ll keep practically forever, and they’re awesome on salads/soups/or just as a snack.

No dumpster-diving tonight because of rain, but we’ll see what tomorrow has to offer!

Veggie fajitas

Quick and simple dinner last night, but it was delicious!

Zucchini, broccoli, onion, and green pepper sauteed with taco seasoning on corn tortillas with a layer of nacho cheese made from red peppers and jalapenos (basically my carrot-cheese recipe but with red peppers instead).

Simple, quick, and great. The red and green peppers, zucchini, and broccoli all came from a dumpster. The jalapeños were grown by my niece. The only thing I had to purchase was the tortillas, onion (it was leftover from a precious meal) and the tahini and nutritional yeast for the nacho cheese.

Many mini pumpkins!

All these mini pumpkins were a pretty cool find tonight! In addition, there was a couple dozen cans of various sodas, some broccoli, lots of zucchini (I love zucchini, so I’m PSYCHED about that one), a few nice cucumbers, a gourd, and a melon that looked not ripe at all, but after the first bite I was amazed. So good. Like candy!

I already have my breakfast-smoothie planned out… cucumber-melon is going to be a GREAT way to start my morning!


Sweet and Sour Veggies


Finally got the new jar for my blender, so now I can get back to making a few of my favorite dishes I’ve been missing! This is one of my favorites…

The base is easy… veggies stir-fried in sesame oil over brown rice. The sauce is where the magic happens.

I threw an orange, some frozen pineapple, tamari, miso, a jalapeno pepper and garlic in the blender with just enough water to get things moving in the blender. Once blended I heated it in a saucepan with the veggies and poured the whole thing over the rice. It’s a great sweet/spicy/salty combo that goes great on just about any veggies.

The orange was dumpstered, and the pepper and broccoli and carrots were as well (they’re the microwave-in-the-bag type but I don’t own a microwave). The jalapeño came from a friend’s garden.

Another awesome night scavenging!

We had a nice group the other night.  A couple of friends joined us for their first time experience diving.  They both seemed to enjoy themselves and were amazed at what was thrown out.  I was even a bit surprised when we found wedding dresses in the bottom of a dumpster.  Sure they had a couple of tears or a small stain, but nothing a little sewing couldn’t fix!  Anyone looking for a cheap wedding dress – let me know!

This booty included a couple cases of mixed veggie bags that had just expired, a ton of bell peppers, a few pieces of other veggies and fruit (including a nice eggplant), lots of books, DVD’s, CD’s, a suitcases, a paint sprayer, sealed games, milk crates, shopping bags, bread (which we made stuffing and a ton of croutons from), unopened French dressing, a bucket, flowers, and the 4 wedding dresses.

We ate stuffed peppers for dinner tonight – delicious!  Considering the amount of bell pepper we collected, we will be eating them for a while!  I was excited to find a Shel Silverstein book, a cd label maker and several other items I will be gifting over the holidays.

Near the end of running around, we did get hassled by a cop.  This happens on occasion.  He pulled up and asked what we were doing and if we worked there.  I just replied, “we’re hanging out” and went back to organizing the books I had found.  He knew that we knew he couldn’t legally kick us out, so he asked us to leave.  We took our sweet time loading up the car and left.  They try to make you feel dirty or low, and get really annoyed when it doesn’t work!  🙂   I suggest parking as inconspicuous and not visible as possible to avoid being noticed.  Diving in pairs or a group is a good idea for safety, hauling, sharing and in worst case scenario, a witness.  If you have to deal with an employee or cop, be polite, be concise and leave.  If you say or do something negative, it reflects badly on all of us and it usually leads to locked dumpsters and violation signs.

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