Amy's triumphant return from Budapest brought Grab 'n' Growl week to an end, as well as a large bag of authentic Hungarian paprika. Given these two fantastic new developments, it was time to cook it the hell down.

We'd been searching for a good recipe for Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup for quite some time, never really satisfied. I recently stumbled upon this one from Sweet Cheeks in the Kitchen, in turn nabbed from the Candle Cafe Cookbook. It was sufficiently awesome that it required almost no modification--we added half a cup of soy creamer; that's it. I also learned something really interesting: when a recipe calls for a dry white wine, it's acceptable--nay, preferable--to use a dry vermouth. It's cheaper, dryer, and saves better than an average white wine.

Not surprisingly, we rounded the soup out with breadsticks and an amazing salad based on our recently acquired paprika.

The salad was inspired by VeganYumYum's Avocado Wasabi Salad, with paprika taking the central role in place of wasabi.

Check it:

Paprika Cashew Chickpea Salad

Cashews & Chickpeas

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tsp sugar OR enough maple syrup to coat the cashews
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce/tamari/shoyu
  • salt & pepper, to taste

You can approach the cashews one of two ways: baking or sauteing. We sauteed them, but our friend Ryan has baked them with better results. So.

Baked Candied Cashews

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, coat the cashews in maple syrup. Once thoroughly coated, toss in 1 tbsp paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bake until brown, stirring often.

Fried Candied Cashews

In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, saute the cashews in high heat oil, coating in sugar, 1 tbsp paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook until the spices and oil have congealed. Remove from heat. Note: they'll seem soft at first, but they'll firm up.

Paprika Chickpeas

In the same pan (if such a beast was used) as you cooked the cashews, saute the chickpeas in the soy sauce and remaining spices, until well coated and no liquid remains, salting and peppering to taste.

Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey/agave
  • water, to desired consistency

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Finally, the salad

Toss the chickpeas, cashews, some diced purple onions, and cherry/grape tomatoes (optional) in with some fresh lettuce and enough dressing to coat lightly.