Three lots of cravings: quesadillas, Caesar salad and potato salad

You know sometimes when a craving sneaks up on you, and you have to satisfy the craving monster before it takes over your brain and you sit there drooling, unable to contemplate anything else? You know when you're just at work, and then all of a sudden, all you can think about is onion rings onion rings ONION RINGS, and you have to go get some before you lose it entirely?

Yeah, that's been happening to me of late.

The first thing that I felt calling out to be was Cheesy Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas, a recipe from a recent edition of VegNews. Alas, I can't find it online anywhere, so I can't link back. That's a real shame, as I'm pretty sure you'd really, really like it!

For something so tasty, the quesadillas are pretty easy to make: beans and spinach (you guessed that part from the title, right?) and a cheesy sauce of cashews, beer, nooch, and a couple of other bits and pieces. Blend up the sauce ingredients, stir in the beans and defrosted spinach, then Bob's your uncle. Or, in this case, Roberto es tu tío.

I made this for about three days on the spin, I loved it that much. I'm also pretty sure that the black beans and spinach make this one of the healthier things I tend to crave.

The other thing I find myself yearning for was a chickenless caesar salad. I think the thought of making Caitlin from the Vegan Word's caesar dressing has been on mind for a few months now, whispering 'make me, make me' during my unguarded moments.

Who am I to not give in to that?

Only, when I did, using baked croutons and Fry's Louisiana Tenders, the whole thing was a bust.

 Don't get me wrong, that dressing was great (I could have put it in a pint pot and chugged it), but the rest of it felt wrong - like I'd chucked some toast on some lettuce, and hoped for the best. (Which, now that you point it out, is exactly what I had done.)

So, Caesar aficionados, where did I go wrong, and what can I do to make things better the next time the cravings strike?

And recently, I've been craving Japanese potato salad.  I'm a big fan of all potato salads: mayonnaisey ones, ones with olive oil, hot ones, cold ones, and all their friends. But it's only Japanese ones that I crave.

Japanese potato salad is fairly similar to the mayonnaise-plus-spud combo that's the standard in most countries, but it subtly rearranges the elements. Instead of the potato being all chunked, it's gently mashed, and has carrots and cucumber thrown in for extra vegetable goodness.

There's a complete recipe for vegan Japanese potato salad on Just Bento (including the tofu mayonnaise that goes with it), which is pretty darn good, even if you're too lazy to make your own mayo and just use the jarred stuff instead, like me!

The simple version goes like this: slice some cucumber, salt it, and leave to drain. Chop up some potato and boil it until tender. Separately, do the same with a few chunks of carrot. (I like to use konbu for this, for added inauthentic Japaneseness). Mash the potato with a fork, then stir in the carrot and leave to cool. When coolness has been achieved, squeeze moisture out of the cucumber, then add that too. Stir in a goodly amount of mayonnaise, and a bit of salt and white pepper.


The mashedness makes it a more comforting dish than the traditional version. It makes a good foil for deep teriyaki flavours or just a nice picnic staple. But you know what? I could just get a fork and dig into a bowl of this without anything else. My cravings have great taste!

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  1. Japanese potato salad sounds like the perfect solution for someone like me who usually overcooks the potatoes. Is there really such a thing or did you make it up? I keep craving the spinach artichoke dip I made for Thanksgiving, and now in my mind I'm seeing it appear in a quesadilla. It's been appearing in all sorts of guises — with mac 'n' cheese, on pizza, etc. I'm gonna have to give in and make some.

  2. Well I think all your cravings seem very healthy - I just crave chocolate :-)

    The quesadillas sounds spectacular and I would love to taste the potato salad (never met one I don't like) but am unsure about caesar - never had them before I went veg and don't have them now but I often crave one with a some tofu bacon on it - that would be my sort of salad

  3. I always see the delicious recipes from VegNews pop up in my email, and think that I should write them down - now I know to do it! The quesadillas sound wonderful.

    Sadly, I've never been able to replicate caesar salad correctly. At this point, I'm not sure if the memory of taste that I'm chasing is the actual correct flavor. Ha!

  4. Ah, Japanese potato salad! Such a guilty pleasure for me, and sadly a craving that has gone unfulfilled for years for lack of a good kewpie substitute. I think that the secret is just added MSG, which I am totally not above trying. Anything for the sake of a craving.

  5. Oh man the quesadillas! I want them too! It's such a bad habit I have of reading my blogs when I'm hungry...but even when I'm not hungry, everyone's pictures will make me want to eat! They look awesome. Sorry about the salad. I don't really like croutons. Maybe they were the problem?

  6. Now, I'm craving Japanese potato salad and quesadillas. Never really ate Caesar salad so nothing there. :-)

  7. Thanks for transferring your cravings onto me...and I'd never even heard of Japanese potato salad before this, but what a great idea! Also, quesadillas on the docket for this week's dinners...

  8. Damn, now I'm totally craving quesadillas and not the lazy kind I usually make which consist of refried beans and cheese, you got me wanting to make a fancy with spinach and stuff.
    I've never heard of japanese potato salad before but now I need some in my life!

  9. Onion rings are the best! I love them a bit crunchy! Quesadillas are filling and easy to make, we also made them almost everyday whilst living in Spain for the summer. Aha, I made a vegan Japanese potato salad on my blog few years ago…loved it and grew up eating it!


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