Empowered Noodle Bowl + A Giveaway of The Oh She Glows Cookbook!

DSC08248I was thrilled to have an opportunity to post a recipe from Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook AND be able to give a copy away to one lucky reader! I’ve been glued to this cookbook since I received it because not only is it full of beautiful photographs (about every recipe has a pic), but the recipes look downright delicious. Like Liddon, I had some unhealthy eating (or should I say, not eating) habits before I went vegan. I can truly say that a vegan diet saved my life. This is a great cookbook to have in your collection because it is full of tasty, healthy recipes that use only whole, minimally-processed ingredients. If you’ve been a fan of the Oh She Glows website, you’re going to love this cookbook with 75 brand-spankin’ new recipes, plus 25 updated reader favorites. So if you want to win this beautiful cookbook, leave a comment; it’s that easy! You have until midnight (PST) on Sunday, April 6. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 7th. 

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You’ll love Liddon’s Empowered Noodle Bowl, two ways: Thai Peanut & Orange-Maple Miso on page 153. I decided to make both dressings and honestly, I can’t tell you which one is my favorite; they’re both delicious. The Thai Peanut is thicker with some garlic kick, whereas the Orange-Maple Miso is a tad thinner and milder. They’re both easy enough to make, so why not do both? This is a fantastic lunch or light dinner, that comes together rather quickly. I like how the veggies take precedence over the noodles—it’s not a heavy pasta dish, but rather, a bowl of fresh veggies with some noodles thrown in and coated with a tasty dressing. A winner for sure.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

Thai Peanut Sauce

1 large garlic clove
2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
3 Tbs natural smooth peanut butter
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs + 1 tsp low-sodium tamari
1-2 tsp granulated sugar

Orange-Maple Miso Dressing

3 Tbs light miso
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs tahini
1/4 C fresh orange juice
1 Tbs water
1 tsp maple syrup

Salad

4 oz gluten-free soba noodles
Extra virgin olive oil, for the noodles
16 oz bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 carrot, julienned
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
Sesame seeds, for serving

DIRECTIONS

To make the Thai Peanut sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Do the same for the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing.

Empowered NoodleCook the noodles according to instructions on the package (5-9 minutes). Drain, rinse under cold water and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with a little of the olive oil, then toss with the veggies and dressing of your choice. Top individual servings with sesame seeds and enjoy! If you like the looks of this recipe, you’re going to want this cookbook, so leave a comment and you just may get it! Good luck!

DSC08246With the Thai Peanut Sauce
DSC08247With the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing

 Reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.

Quinoa & Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing

QuinoaKalePitasThese are packed with some of my favorite ingredients! Quinoa is loaded with protein and the kale is well . . . it’s kale! We all know kale is high in iron, calcium and several vitamins. Check out these 10 Health Benefits of this super green. I also threw in some pepitas, which are rich in vitamins, beta carotene, and protein. I made a pretty big batch so that I can nosh all week (especially post workouts), but feel free to halve the recipe if you’re fearful of getting quinoa’d out. (Inconceivable! ;-) )

INGREDIENTS

Filling

2 C tri-color quinoa
4 C vegetable broth or water
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C red onion, diced
3/4 C green onion, sliced
2 C mushrooms, diced
1 bunch kale, leaves removed and chopped (stems discarded)
3/4 C pepitas

Dressing

2 large cloves of garlic
1 Tbs tahini
2 Tbs yellow/light miso
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1/2 C cold water
2 Tbs chia seesds
1/4 tsp black pepper

The rest

Pita pockets
Avocado slices

DIRECTIONS

I recommend making the dressing first. It’ll be a little runny, but letting it sit for 20 minutes or so, will allow the chia seeds to do their thing and thicken up the dressing. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside.

DSC08213In a large soup pot, combine the broth (or water) with the quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

DSC08214Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Add the red and green onions. Saute until softened and a tiny bit browned. Add the kale and mushrooms and saute until the the kale is bright green, about 5 minutes.
onionskaleFold the veggies and pepitas into the cooked quinoa.
DSC08215I placed a little dressing inside the pita,  along with a slice or two of avocado, then added the filling, and topped with some more dressing. Enjoy!
QuinoaKalePitas

Tempeh-Salad Sandwich

TempehSalad

If you want to call this “Egg Salad” or “Tuna Salad,” go right ahead. It certainly has the feel, so to speak. I do put some kelp powder in this salad, so it can have that tuna-ish essence. I made this version somewhat chunky, but I’ve also made it more like a pate. If that’s more your fancy, I suggest using a food processor to mash up the tempeh, then finely cut the onions instead of chopping them. Either way, this is a healthy lunch that will keep in the fridge for a few days. Serve on some toasted bread with lettuce, and if you like, a slice of vegan cheese.

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz tempeh, cut into large chunks
1/3 C onion, chopped (I prefer red onion in this, but I was out)
1/3 C vegan mayo
1-1/2 Tbs yellow miso mixed with 1 Tbs water
1/4 C fresh parsley, minced or chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried dill
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp kelp powder
1 Tbs water

The rest…optional ingredients

bread
tomato
lettuce
vegan cheese
cucumber slices

DIRECTIONS:

Steam the tempeh for 15-20 minutes.

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Transfer the tempeh to a bowl (or the food processor) and mash up until your reach the desired consistency.

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Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Makes about 2-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

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Quinoa & Veggies with a Tahini-Miso Dressing

Quinoa2Quinoa is such a fantastic lunch option. It’s packed with protein and it can be made so many different ways, that it’s pretty hard to get bored with it. I wanted a light dressing for this and came up with this tangy tahini-miso goodness. I also love adding nuts for a bit of crunch to these types of dishes, so I threw in some toasted almond slivers. Delish!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 C quinoa (I like this Rainbow Quinoa from Alter Eco)
2 C vegetable broth or water
1-1/2 to 2 C mushrooms, sliced
6 green onions, sliced
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 C slivered almonds, toasted

Dressing:

1 tsp tahini
1 Tbs yellow miso
1/8 C almond milk
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt

nutsandveggies

DIRECTIONS:

Rinse the quinoa in fine mesh strainer with cold water. Combine it with the broth (or water) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until there is just a little bit of water left, about 12-15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and green onions, but don’t combine—cover and let the veggies steam 3-4 minutes. For the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth.

DSC08038Once the mushrooms have softened, stir them into the quinoa. Add the tomatoes, nuts and dressing. I recommend adding a little dressing at a time in case you don’t want it all. I had a little left over.

DSC08041Gently fold and combine everything. Enjoy!

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Veggie Bowties with Mushrooms and Walnuts

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This always makes for a great, quick lunch—or even a few lunches. I love veggie pastas and this one, from Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers, is made up of spinach, beets, and red bell pepper. Aside from the wonderful flavor, it doesn’t hurt that there are 8 grams of protein per serving (1/4 C), as well as vitamin C and iron.

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INGREDIENTS:

8-oz vegetable bowtie (farfalle) pasta

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 C mushrooms, sliced

1/2 C walnuts, chopped

2 Tbs Earth Balance

Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Cook pasta according to package instructions. In the meantime, melt the Earth Balance over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the walnuts and saute them 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to brown; season with salt and pepper. Combine the mushroom mixture with the pasta and if needed, season with more salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Mock Tuna Salad

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I never like to spend a lot of time preparing lunch, which can make it difficult to come up with something. Not only is this easy to throw together, but it makes plenty for a few lunches. The recipe is adapted from 1000 Vegan Recipes. If you’re not a fan of garbanzo beans, I suggest trying white beans instead. I also added chopped cashews, but sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, or pepitas would also be great. Cucumber can be subbed in for the celery as well and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast wouldn’t hurt either. Miss the omegas? Toss in some flax seeds! The recipe calls for 1 tsp of kelp powder and of course, the only amount I could buy was a pound. A pound of kelp powder?! Sure! I put that on . . . and . . .What do you use kelp powder for? (besides mock tuna salads)? Well first of all, it helps to know that kelp powder is loaded with health benefits. According to Livestrong.com it helps lower LDL cholesterol, lowers breast cancer risk, lowers blood sugar, and is a great source of iodine. After some research, I found it’s great to throw it in  your smoothie, sprinkle it on your veggie sushi rice, add it to bread dough, and even use it as a seasoning—in place of salt. What do you use kelp powder for? 

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cans garbanzo or white beans

2 stalks celery or 1/2 C cucumber, chopped small

1/4 C minced onion

1/2 C cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, or pepitas, chopped

1 Tbs nutritional yeast

1 tsp capers, drained and chopped

1/2 C Vegenaise (or other vegan mayo)

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp kelp powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

Lettuce leaves

Tomato slices

8 slices of bread

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, coarsely mash the beans, or chopped them up on a cutting board. Add the celery (or cucumber), onions, nuts, capers, mayo, lemon juice, mustard, nutritional yeast, and kelp powder. Season with salt and pepper if you’d like. Combine thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve on bread with the lettuce and tomato and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Burrito Bowls with Avocado-Lime Rice

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This is my new favorite versatile meal. I saw this recipe for the avocado rice, where they also suggested making burrito bowls using it. Obviously, I wasn’t keen on their meat and dairy version, so I made my own, healthier ones. I also made some changes to the rice recipe by using this awesome rice from Lundberg. The guys tend to be white rice kind of men, but there were no complaints! It’s a blend of sweet brown rice, short grain brown rice, long grain brown rice, whole grain Wehani (brand) rice, whole grain black Japonica (brand) rice.

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And I have to mention the quite ingenious Velcro re-closeable bag!

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This is such a fresh, simple, and healthy meal where everyone in the family can create their own with their favorite fresh ingredients. Now, my new favorite ingredient . . . is this tri-bean blend. Organic and on sale for $1 a can! Love these. Packed with protein and fiber.

DSC07541

So, on to the recipe!

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 6 bowls)

Rice:

3-1/2 C water

2 C Lundberg Jubilee rice

2 avocados, mashed

1/2 C cilantro, chopped

zest and juice from one lime

The beans:

3 cans tri-bean blend (black bean, pinto, and kidney)

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp Ancho Chili pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 C water

The rest (toppings):

Green onion, sliced

Tomato, diced

Daiya cheese

Sour cream

Lettuce, chopped

Salsa

Corn tortilla crunchies/chips

DIRECTIONS:

The rice will take 35-40 minutes, so you’ll want to get that started first. Bring the 3-1/2 cups of water to a boil, add the rice, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Check after 30 minutes.

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Meanwhile, in a small to medium saucepan, add the beans, seasonings, and water. Heat on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

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When the rice is done, stir in the mashed avocados, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice.

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Fill a bowl with about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the avocado rice . . .

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 . . . layer on some beans and toppings and enjoy!

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Field Roast and Avocado Burritos

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Yikes, it’s been a while. I have so many new recipes on my list to make, but I’ve been so busy with various different projects, that throwing together a simple favorite has been all I’ve had time for. I’ll get back into the swing of things. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be emerging from the cold and depressing days of winter! We even got our garden started this weekend. (I’ll be bringing you Garden Watch soon). In the meantime, here’s a fast and simple meal that is ready in less than 30 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs chipotle-flavored olive oil (or regular)

1/2 C yellow or white onion, chopped

1/2 C red onion, chopped

4 Field Roast Sausages, Italian Seasoning flavor, crumbled

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced

4 Flour tortillas

Other (optional) burrito fillings: vegan sour cream, salsa, cilantro, diced tomatoes, Daiya cheese

 

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DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the onions. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until they soften. Add the Field Roast and cook over medium heat until heated through, again, for 5-7 minutes.

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On a warmed tortilla, layer on some sour cream, Field Roast mixture, avocados, and any other burrito fillings you want. Roll up and enjoy! (See, I told you it was easy)!

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Quinoa Pasta with Kale and Mushrooms

DSC07295

 

This is a very quick and healthy lunch. It’s also a good idea to munch on if you’re feeling under the weather since it has immune-boosting ingredients like kale, mushrooms, garlic, and pepita seeds. Regardless, it’ll hit the spot!

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz quinoa pasta, veggie curls (I used Ancient Harvest brand)

2-3 C chopped kale (I used red kale)

2 C diced or quartered mushrooms

1/2 C green onions, sliced

1/2 C pepitas seeds

1 Tbs olive oil or 2 Tbs Earth Balance

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. You don’t want to overcook quinoa pasta, as it tends to get mushy if you do. Drain and set aside.

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Using the same pot, heat the olive oil or Earth Balance and add the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the kale, mushrooms, and green onions and cook 5-7 minutes, or until they soften.

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Once the veggies are cooked down a little, stir in the pasta and pepita seeds. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Quinoa with Dried Apricots and Black Beans

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The next time someone asks you, “Where do you get your protein?” you can (politely) point out this dish as one of numerous options. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 amino acids essential to human health. It offers up roughly 8 grams of protein per cup and also passes along calcium, iron, folate, manganese, and other vitamins. Black beans also carry nearly 15 grams of protein per cup, so add some veggies and you have healthy lunch!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 C red quinoa, rinsed and drained

1/2 C regular quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 tsp Better than Bouillon paste

1-1/2 C water

1 C fresh cilantro, chopped

1 C green onions, sliced

1 C dried apricots, chopped

1/3 C pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp lime juice

2 Tbs red wine vinegar

2 Tbs olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the bouillon and water; bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cilantro, green onion, apricots, pepita seeds, salt, lime juice, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.

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Once the quinoa is finished, add it, along with the black beans to the bowl.

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Combine well and enjoy! (You can also chill it in a covered dish and serve cold).

Quinoa and Rice Stir-fry with Cashews & White Beans

 

When I want to create a quick and filling dinner, I usually reach for quinoa or rice. Mixed with veggies and nuts, it always makes a great meal and very handy leftovers. I threw in some white beans, too and ended up with a flavorful, protein-filled dish that is nearly gluten-free. The rice mix I used contained wheat, but you can sub in another variety to make it gluten-free.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 C quinoa

1 box Long Grain Wild Mix

4 C vegetable stock, divided

2 C mushrooms, chopped

6 green onion, sliced

1 C cashews

1 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 Tbs olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 C white wine

1 C fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Start by getting the rice and quinoa going. In a medium saucepan, bring 1-3/4 C of the stock to a boil. Add the rice mix and seasoning packet, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes.

Start the quinoa about 15 minutes before the rice mix is done. In another medium saucepan, bring the remaining 2-1/4 C stock to a boil and stir in the quinoa. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. In a large skillet, toast the cashews over medium heat until they begin to brown; transfer to a boil and set aside. In the same skillet,  heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the mushrooms, green onion, and white beans, and saute 5-7 minutes.

 

Stir in the rice, quinoa, and white wine; saute 3 minutes.

Stir in the parsley and cashews and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

French Bread Pizzas

Now this is pizza you have eat with a fork and a knife. These really are a no-brainer to make, but I’ll post them because sometimes the easiest and quickest meals can be the hardest to come up with. I didn’t feel like taking the time to make dough, let it rise, knead it . . . so using French bread is a way around that. Just add your favorite toppings . . .

 . . . and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

Portobello Wraps

After the delicious portobello wrap I had at Ouray Brewery last weekend, I decided to make my own. I had purchased some Vegenaise Chipotle Spread a couple of weeks back and figured it was high time to try it out.

This certainly has a zip to it, so go easy if you’re not keen on really spicy food. However, I did use chipotle olive oil and cumin in this meal, so that could have added some heat as well. Overall, an excellent spread or dipping sauce, plus dinner was ready in about 15 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

3 large portobellos, washed, stems removed, and cut into slices

1/4 of a medium head of red/purple cabbage, sliced into strips

1/2 of a large red onion, cut into strips

Olive oil

1/4 to 1/2 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 spinach tortilla wraps

Romaine leaves

Tomato slices

Vegenaise Chipotle Spread

Optional: Black olives, sliced

DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the red onion and cabbage and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until they begin to soften.

Add the portobello mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper.

Layer some Vegenaise onto the tortilla, then one large romaine leaf. Scoop some mushroom filling on next, then top with a few tomato slices (and black olives, if using). Roll up tightly and cut diagonally in the middle. Enjoy!

Guac & Bean Tacos

If you need a fast and fresh dinner (or lunch) these are ideal. I really like La Tortilla Factory’s homemade style tortillas for these. They’re a cross between a corn and flour tortilla and are the perfect size.

INGREDIENTS:

4 avocados

1/2 C diced white or red onion

1/2 to 1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp lime juice

1 can black beans, undrained

1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tomato diced

Tortillas

Lettuce, diced (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Mash the avocados and add the onion, lime juice, and garlic salt.

In a small sauce pan, heat the beans, stirring often, until heated through. Get ready to assemble . . .

Layer on some avocado mixture, cilantro, beans, and tomatoes. Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Lunch: Chunky Chickpeas and Rice

Not eating wheat, it can be tough not being able to make a quick sandwich. Scouring the pantry, I found Chunky Chickpeas from Tasty Bite.

We’ve taken these camping because they’re so easy—just pour into a pan and heat. At home, you can heat the packet in the microwave for 90 seconds. In this case, I decided to combine the chickpeas with some cooked rice and diced mushrooms. So easy! During the last few minutes of cooking the rice, throw in some mushrooms. Then heat the chickpeas in the microwave (according to the package instructions) and stir into the rice. Voila. Lunch is served.

The ingredients in the packet are simple: water, chickpeas, onions, sunflower oil, garlic, ginger, coriander, salt, cumin, and spices. There’s even 9 grams of protein per 1/2 a packet. I don’t remember how much the packets are, but I know they’re just over $3. (The Bombay Potatoes variety is awesome)!

Chickpea Salad

I got this recipe from Luminous Vegans who called it “Chick-Peace Salad.” Great name—I didn’t want to steal it, so mine’s just plain old Chickpea Salad. Regardless of the name, it’s a delicious vegan version of tuna salad. LV added crumbled up nori to the mix to give it that tuna taste, but I didn’t have any. I still think it had amazing flavor without it. I did add some carrots and parsley. Just because. I also used Earth Balance’s vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free mayo that my good friend, Angela of The Veracious Vegan turned me on to. It’s fabulous!

I also served the salad on Food For Life’s brown rice tortillas.

I have to say, they’re ok. Heated up, they’re better, but you have to eat it fast before it gets crispy and falls apart. I’m wondering if steaming them would be better, or make it worse. The taste is chewy, but crunchy at the same time. Is that possible? Apparently so. Anyway, they’re not horrible, but they made eating this sandwich a bit tough because they tend to crack and split.

INGREDIENTS:

1 15-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1-2 Tbs fresh dill, chopped

2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1 carrot, shredded

2 Tbs vegan mayo

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

Veggies, crackers, tortilla, etc

DIRECTIONS:

Mash the chickpeas. I used a pastry blender. You can also pulse them in the food processor.

Stir in all of the other ingredients and combine well. I layered the salad on some lettuce inside one of the tortillas and added some sliced cucumber and tomato.

This salad would also be great on crackers, or sliced veggies. Enjoy!

Kale & Cabbage Salad with Lemony-Almond Butter Dressing

Ok, this is probably my favorite dressing I’ve made so far. Love it! It has just a hint of lemon and with the ginger, goes fabulous with the almond butter. There’s some prep work involved here, but if can, make this the night before and you won’t be able to wait for lunch!

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:

2 large bunches of kale, stems removed and chopped

1/4 of a red/purple cabbage, diced

1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), diced

1 C carrot, shredded or finely chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 small red onion, diced small

1/3 C sunflower seeds

Dressing:

1/4 C tahini

1/3 C + 1 Tbs almond butter

1″ piece of ginger, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 Tbs lemon juice

1 Tbs miso (light, yellow or red)

1/4 C nutritional yeast

1/8 C water

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients.

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in the blender—except the water—just start with a little and add more as you blend it to reach the consistency you want. You may need more than the 1/8 cup. It also depends on how lemony you want it—you can thin it out with more lemon juice if you’d like. Blend until smooth.

You can pour the dressing over the salad, just a little at time to coat the salad, or serve on the side and mix into individual servings. Yields about 1-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Quinoa with Mushrooms and Spinach

Occasionally, there are nights I don’t cook dinner for the fam. Either we have lots of leftovers, or everyone is doing their own thing, so we fend for ourselves. Tonight was one such night. But when The Husband saw what I made, he kindly asked if I’d share. He said this was one of his favorites dishes—we both loved it. And so easy! Throw this together in 20 minutes and you have a healthy, protein-packed meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C quinoa

2 C water

1 vegan vegetable bouillon cube

3 C fresh spinach

3 C fresh mushrooms, sliced

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, bring the water with the bouillon cube to a boil. Stir it around so the cube dissolves completely. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to low, and cover for about 15 minutes. When the quinoa is almost done—just a tiny bit of water left—add the spinach, mushrooms and seasonings; combine well.

Turn the heat off, cover, and let the spinach and mushrooms steam a bit—5-7 minutes. You may need to drizzle with some water if there isn’t enough moisture left. Once the spinach is wilted and the mushrooms are tender, serve and enjoy!

Lemony Pan-Fried Chickpeas with Chard

This recipe is from Color Me Vegan and considering I love chickpeas, (a.k.a garbanzo beans) and chard, this is a new favorite. I would, however, make a few changes next time. Even though chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein, and have no saturated fat, they do sport 90 calories per half a cup. Given this, I would use just half a can and even double the chard. So what to do with the other half of beans? Make a small batch of hummus, perfect for a few sandwiches during the week. I could have eaten the entire pan of this, which would not have been wise, so reducing the amount of chickpeas and adding more chard, I think, is a smart way to go. Otherwise, share this dish with plenty of others! (The recipe below is sans my suggestions).

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained

1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped

1 small lemon

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook until tender. Add the chickpeas and cook 10 minutes, or until the beans begin to brown.

Stir in the chard and cook until it begins to wilt and cook down, about 5-7 minutes. Zest the lemon over the pan, then cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half over the mixture. (Watch out for seeds). Stir well to combine. Add salt, pepper, and more lemon, if desired. (If you go with my suggestions, you can use the leftover lemon—if there is any— in the hummus). Serve immediately, or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

This is a great salad to take to work for lunch, a mid-day snack, or even for a picnic. I typically steam kale, but if I’m not careful, it’s easy to deplete it of nutrients if I steam it too much. Raw kale can be awfully bitter, but chopped and served with other veggies and this tahini dressing, it tastes amazing. The dressing recipe is for 2 large bunches of kale, making at least 4 good-sized salad servings. Like any salad, you can throw in your favorite ingredients and actually be excited about lunch! (and be sure to read about kale’s super powers)!

INGREDIENTS:

Dressing:

1/2 C tahini

1 Tbs miso

1 tsp tamari

1/2 tsp lime juice

1 tsp agave

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp garlic, minced

3/4 C water

Variation: You can use almond butter instead of tahini, in which case, I’d leave out the agave since almond butter is sweeter. I also sometimes add some chia seeds.

The rest:

2 large bunches of kale, chopped

I diced up: cucumber, mushrooms, red onion, and green onion. I also threw in some Craisins and slivered almonds.

DIRECTIONS:

Put all the dressing ingredients in a blender and combine until smooth.

Combine the chopped kale with your other salad ingredients and toss well to combine.

(This is just one bunch of kale)

Pour the dressing over the salad and massage into the kale with your hands. Enjoy!

Tofu “Egg” Salad

This recipe is from Big Vegan. And it is big. It has over 350 recipes, most of which look and sound fantastic. When it comes to lunch, I seem to struggle finding something besides a mixed greens salad, or leftover pasta. And frankly, I’m not wild about leftovers anyway. So this I can get in to! This “egg” salad (I hate putting things in quotes, but egg salad is what this salad resembles) needs to be prepared ahead of time, so I recommend making it the night before or early in the morning–you’ll need some time. But it’s worth it. I served it on toasted bread with lettuce and avocado. The recipe calls for 12 ounces of firm tofu, but I recommend using 14-16 ounces because the recipe makes quite a bit of sauce—great for a few lunches.

INGREDIENTS:

12-16 oz firm tofu, drained and pressed

1 Tbs olive oil, plus 1/8 to 1/4 C

Salt

1/2 tsp celery seeds

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 C fresh parsley

12 oz silken tofu

2 tsp cider vinegar

2 Tbs Dijon mustard (I used just 2 tsp and I think it came out perfect–depends on how much you like mustard)

1 tsp dried basil

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

2 large green onions, chopped

1 medium carrot, grated

1/4 C sunflower seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400. Crumble the tofu into a bowl and combine with the celery salt, 1/2 tsp salt, and black pepper. Lightly oil a baking sheet (I used foil and oiled that). Layer the tofu on the baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, then use a spatula to turn the tofu. “Turning” crumbled tofu is about as easy as giving a cat a bath. Just move it around so it doesn’t stick and burn. Bake another 10 minutes.

While the tofu is baking, however, start on the sauce. In a food processor or blender, mince the parsley, then add the silken tofu. Process until smooth, then add the basil, vinegar, mustard, and a pinch of salt; combine well. While the machine is running, add the remaining oil. The recipe calls for a 1/4 cup, but I reduced it to an 1/8 cup.

While the tofu is cooling (which should only take about 10 minutes or so), you can chop up the veggies and toast the sunflower seeds. Combine the sauce, carrots, green onion, celery, and tofu in a large bowl.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Enjoy on bread with lettuce, tomato, avocado, or on crackers or toasted baguette slices.

Pasta with Kale

I was on my own for dinner the other night, so after staring blankly at the cupboards, then the fridge, I decided to combine some of my favorite ingredients for dinner: tri-color pasta, kale, mushrooms, and miso. For some added crunch (and protein) you could throw in some pine nuts or chopped cashews.

INGREDIENTS:

8-10 oz tri-color rotini

1 bunch kale, chopped

5-6 mushrooms, sliced

2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

1 Tbs yellow miso

1 tsp garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the pasta until al dente and drain. Meanwhile, steam the kale and mushrooms 3-5 minutes—just until they’re tender. Usually, once the kale turns bright green, it’s ready. Using the same pot you cooked the pasta in, melt the margarine and garlic. Stir in the miso and blend it in. Add the kale and pasta and combine well. Enjoy!

Mushroom and Snow Pea Soup

This soup is perfect if you want a comforting meal in no time. I used lots of my favorite ingredients and like most soups, it will taste even better the next day.

INGREDIENTS:

6 C vegetable broth

1 Tbs olive oil

6 green onion, sliced

3 C Shiitake and white mushrooms (or cremini), sliced

2 C snow peas, cut into pieces (and ends snipped)

1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated

3 tsp garlic, minced

2 Tbs yellow miso

6-oz Angel hair pasta

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, heat the oil and garlic. Add the green onion, mushrooms, and snow peas. Cook until the veggies are tender.

Add the ginger and miso, and combine well. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.

Add the pasta and cook another 3-5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Experimenting with Ramen: Let Junior Cook

The Seventh Grader loves to cook. He’ll help me out in the kitchen whenever possible and makes some pretty darn good chocolate chip cookies! There are times, however, when he wants to create something for lunch and be the master of kitchen without me hovering over him. In comes Top Ramen and Maruchan Ramen. Ask any college student (or any one who spent a few semesters in a dorm) and they’ll tell you that Top Ramen accounted for about 60% of their diet (along with beer, Lucky Charms and Totino’s pizzas). At 19 cents a package, Top Ramen is a mainstay for those on a tight budget.

The spice packets that come with the noodles are not vegan, but who needs them? This has prompted the Seventh Grader to come up with his own ramen meals. The variations are endless. Today, I took some pics of his cooking and I thought I’d pass along his recipe of the day. He didn’t really measure the ingredients, but that’s the fun of winging it. So if you have middle schoolers at home, this is a fabulous way to give them some freedom and independence in the kitchen. I also think it’s imperative to teach boys how to cook . . . girls dig a guy who can cook.

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2)

2 packages Oriental Top Ramen

Tamari

black pepper

garlic salt

cayenne pepper

olive oil

Optional ingredients: green onion, minced garlic, mushrooms, red bell pepper

DIRECTIONS:

After adding the noodles to boiling water, he added some tamari, then continued to cook for 3-4 minutes. He drained the noodles, but reserved some of the cooking water because The Husband likes his with some broth. In a large skillet, he heated about a tablespoon of oil and then added the noodles. He added some water once the noodles started to get dried and sticky. This created more of a sauce. Add the spices here, too.

Once the noodles begin to get a bit crispy, he separated them into two bowls, adding the reserved broth to one.

Enjoy! (and of course, use chopsticks!)

The Ultimate Veggie Burger

This truly is the ultimate veggie burger! The recipe comes from Oh She Glows and is nutritious, healthy, and all-natural! They’re simple to make and the flavors mesh really well together. I also liked the crunch that the nuts provide; not a mushy burger at all. The original recipe makes 8 burgers, but I halved it, so below are for 4 burgers.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 C onion, diced (I used red onion)

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1-1/4 Tbs flax meal + 1/4 C warm water

1/2 C oats, ground into flour

3/4 C breadcrumbs (I used panko)

1/2 C grated carrot (This, I would grate pretty small-I shredded it and I think next time I’d chop them up more)

1/2 C black beans, mashed (but still a little chunky)

1/8 C fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 C almonds, chopped

1/4 C sunflower seeds

1/2 Tbs olive oil (I used 1/4 tsp)

1/2 Tbs tamari

3/4 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 hamburger buns

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and warm water. I’m sure you could also use egg-replacer powder if you don’t have any flax meal. Set it aside for 10 minutes. This is a good recipe to have all the ingredients chopped and ready to go before proceeding. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onion and cook until tender. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion, flax mixture, oat flour, bread crumbs, carrot, black beans, parsley, almonds, sunflower seeds, and tarmari. Stir in the seasonings.

With slightly wet hands, shape the mixture into patties and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 16 minutes, flip them over, then bake another 16 minutes.

The guys had theirs on buns with ketchup, tomato and avocado slices. I had mine sans the hamburger bun.

Enjoy!

Raw Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles from Vegangela

I saw this recipe from Angela at Vegangela earlier this week, and it’s all I could think about. I had to wait until the reboot was over since it contains cashews. She came up with the sauce based on the creamy cashew sauce. Using non-pasteurized miso will make it raw and I think zucchini makes ideal noodles. Thanks for another amazing recipe, Angela!

INGREDIENTS:

4 medium zucchinis

1 C raw cashews

3/4 C water

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp thyme

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt & pepper, to taste

1 Tbs light miso paste (optional)

2 Tbs nutritional yeast (optional)

Fresh basil (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the cashews for minutes in water. While that’s going on, remove the peel of the zucchinis. Using a peeler, peel the zucchinis from one end to the other, rotating until the core is too small to peel anymore.

Next, grind the cashews in a food processor to a fine consistency. Add the other ingredients and blend until fairly smooth.

You can mix the noodles with the sauce or spoon it over them. Top with some fresh basil and enjoy!

Quick Gazpacho Soup

This refreshing soup is great not only for the summer, but for a reboot, too! You can actually juice these ingredients, but I decided to use the food processor.

INGREDIENTS:

4 large tomatoes, chopped

1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped into big pieces

2 celery stalks, cut into large pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces

1/4 C red onion, chopped

1/2 C fresh parsley

1/2 C fresh cilantro

Salt and pepper (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Add the onion, bell pepper, parsley, cilantro, and celery to the food processor. Process until smooth. Add the cucumber and tomatoes and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if you’d like. Enjoy!

Makes about 5 cups.

Falafel Burgers and a Contest Winner!

First of all, congratulations to sandition of Please Pass the Tofu for being the randomly selected commenter who will receive the $25 Amazon gift card!! Thank you to everyone who left a comment about juicing. So far, I’ve made some incredible apple-kale-spinach-parsley juice that is delicious! I think giving away stuff is way too much fun, so I look forward to doing it again soon!

So onto the food. :) This recipe is another winner from The Vegan Table. You can serve these on buns, pita pockets, or open-faced like I did. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy the well-blended flavors of the patty as well as the cucumber sauce—an ideal combination.

INGREDIENTS:

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbs tahini

1-1/2 to 2 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp baking powder

1 C bread crumbs (I used panko)

For falafel sauce:

1 container (6-oz) plain nondairy yogurt

1-2 Tbs tahini (I used 1-1/2)

1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped

1 tsp dried dill

Optional ingredients:

hamburger buns or rolls, pita bread, tomato slices, lettuce

DIRECTIONS:

I recommend making the sauce first since it has to chill for 30 minutes. I could have made it while the patties baked, but that’s when I cleaned up the kitchen and set the table, etc. To prepare the sauce, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400. Pulse a few times the chickpeas in the food processor until thick and pasty; transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, tahini, cumin, corriander, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and baking powder. (I actually left the beans in the food processor and added the other ingredients and pulsed a few times to just mix them in a little–easier than using a spoon. Then I transferred to a bowl and mixed it more). Slowly add the bread crumbs—using more or less—until the mixture holds together well.

Shape into patties and place on a nonstick baking sheet. I used foil that I lightly sprayed with cooking spray. I also made 5 patties, but the recipe says you can get 8-10 patties.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Don’t expect the tops to get brown—they won’t. Flip over and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Serve with some falafel sauce, tomato, and lettuce on bun, pita, or open-face. Enjoy!

Crispy “Chicken” Salad

This salad is a staple around my house and each time I make it, I never learn. I eat way too much of it. It’s just so damn good. Not to mention, easy to make. Bake some meatless chicken nuggets and throw some fresh veggies together and you have a healthy meal in minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bag Boca nuggets, baked and diced

Romaine lettuce, torn

Fresh spinach, torn

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced

1 cucumber, sliced, then quartered

Vegan pepper jack cheese and/or cheddar, shredded

Green onions, sliced

Tortilla chips, broken up

Vegan Ranch dressing:

1 C Vegenaise

1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

6 Tbs almond milk

1/2 tsp dried chives

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp dried dill

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

I tend to put everything in separate bowls and let everyone create their own salads. To make the dressing, just whisk everything together in a small bowl and transfer to a pourable container. Refrigerate the leftovers. Enjoy!

I Feel A Vegan Revolution Coming On!

Remember when I posted my vegan version of the Drunken Chicken Sandwich for Endless Simmer? Marly of Namely Marly had rounded up vegan bloggers to veganize these meat-laden sandwiches and thanks to her, a vegan revolution is a brewin’! Turns out, the author of the original series liked our veganizing idea and our results are now posted on Endless Simmer today and hopefully soon . . . on Huffington Post. Please visit the post, comment and give it a “thumbs up” on Stumble Upon. So exciting!

Peanutty Tofu Roll-Ups

These wraps are excellent for a fresh and quick meal that you can customize to your liking. The recipe comes from 1000 Vegan Recipes, but I altered it a little, as I thought it was too peanut buttery. You can add your own favorite veggies to make your perfect wrap.

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz firm tofu, drained and patted dry

2/3 C peanut butter (I used just a 1/3 C–and crunchy, too. The food processor smooths it out anyway)

1 Tbs soy sauce (I used tamari)

1 Tbs lime juice

1/2 tsp grated ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 Tbs yellow miso (I added this)

4- 10″ tortillas or lavish bread

Veggies I used: spinach, sliced carrots, sliced cucumber, and sliced orange bell pepper

DIRECTIONS:

In a food processor, combine the tofu, peanut butter, and tamari; process until smooth. Add lime juice, ginger, garlic, and cayenne; continue to process until smooth and well blended. Leave for 30 minutes at room temperature to allow flavors to blend.

Assemble the wraps by spreading some tofu mixture on a tortilla, add your favorite veggies, wrap up, and slice in half. Enjoy!

Pasta with Almond Parmesan

This has always been one of my favorite go-to lunches or quick dinners. I tend to have the almond Parmesan, from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, in the fridge because it’s delish and so easy to make. It’s packed with B vitamins (nutritional yeast) and protein (almonds). I also use low-carb, whole-wheat pasta when possible and the beauty of this, is that you can make as little, or as much as you want.

INGREDIENTS:

Cooked pasta, any variety

Mushrooms, sliced and lightly sauteed

Tomato, diced

Earth Balance margarine

Parmezano Sprinkles:

1/2 C blanched almonds

2 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes

1-2 tsp light miso

Heaping 1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

To make the Parmezano Sprinkles: place the almonds in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes, then drain them; rinse with cold water. When pinched between your fingers, the skins will slide right off. Dry off with a paper towel and place the almonds in a food processor; grind to a fine powder. Add remaining ingredients and pulse several times to incorporate everything. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator; will keep for a month or so and can be frozen.

Cook pasta according to instructions on package. In the meantime, saute the mushrooms a little. Once pasta is cooked and drained, add a little Earth Balance to the pot and coat the pasta. Stir in the mushrooms and tomatoes; let the tomatoes heat through a minute or two. Serve with Parmezano sprinkles on top! Enjoy!

America’s Top Ten New Sandwiches-Veganized! And my Contribution

300th Post! Woo-hoo!

Last month, Endless Simmer did an article on their top ten new sandwiches, and as you can guess, none of them were vegetarian, let alone vegan. Big surprise. So Marly of Namely Marly, posed a fantastic challenge to food bloggers, to veganize these cancer-licious sandwiches. I rarely turn down a challenge to veganize a recipe, so I went with #8: Crispy Drunken Chicken Sandwich. Check out my veganized version as well as another version from Veggie Num Num. Thanks, Marly for this really fun challenge and putting it all together. I’m excited to see the rest of the healthier versions of all the sandwiches in the coming weeks!

Thai Green Curry Chickpea Burritos

When we were visiting my sister in Northern California recently, she made us these fabulous burritos. The ingredients are from Trader Joe’s, so I was sure to pick the items up before returning to Trader Joe’s-less Colorado. :( Taste of Thai makes a green curry paste  though that could be substituted in with some coconut milk. However, a sub for the Cumin and Chickpea mix also required for the recipe, was hard to locate. So if you’re lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, or have a generous relative to send you TJ loot, this recipe is for you. Are you listening, sis? ;)

INGREDIENTS:

1-12 oz jar Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce

1-8 oz pkg Cumin and Chili Chickpea mix

1 medium zucchini, sliced, then quartered

1-15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

Olive oil

Flour tortillas

Optional: Tofutti sour cream, fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS:

I sauteed the zucchini and can of drained chickpeas for about 3-4 minutes. Add the bag of seasoned chickpeas and jarred curry sauce. Stir well to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 20-25 minutes.

Serve in a flour tortilla with sour cream and cilantro and enjoy!

Portobellos with Tomatoes and Truffle Cheeze Sauce

We got some beautiful portobellos and tomatoes from Green Buffalo Food Co. and this came together so fast. The truffle cheeze sauce is amazing! I could have eaten it with a spoon—it is rich, creamy and perfect for veggies, pasta, or by the spoonful!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 Tbs olive oil

2 Portobello mushrooms, stem and gills removed

2-4 large basil leaves (I used spinach, but I think I’d prefer basil for more flavor)

4 tomato slices

Sauce:

1/3 C almond milk

1/2 C Daiya mozzarella

1/8 tsp (or less) white truffle oil

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Place portobellos, face down, in the pan and lightly saute for about 2 minutes. Turn over and saute the other side. Add the basil leaves and 2 tomato slices per mushroom. Reduce heat to low and cover.

To prepare the sauce, bring the almond milk just to a boil, reduce heat to medium and whisk in the cheeze and truffle oil. Whisk until smooth—it’ll only take a couple of minutes.

Serve the portobellos with sauce drizzled on top and enjoy!

Garden Wraps

I’m no June Cleaver, but I will go that extra mile to make sure the kid eats a healthy and delicious lunch at school. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, it’s important to include kids when making meals, especially when it comes to eating vegan. We’ve been lucky that The Sixth Grader has embraced veganism so willingly and he loves participating in cooking and meal-planning. So he was getting a little bored with St. Ives ham sandwiches, so together, we came up with a new idea: Garden Wraps. Yes, there is work involved—I spent some time Sunday afternoon making them, but golly, Wally, they are so good and worth it!

INGREDIENTS:

Spinach wraps/tortillas

Hummus

Cucumber, diced

Carrots, julliened

Red onion, chopped

Celery, sliced

Tomato, diced

Avocado, sliced

Daiya cheese

Optional: cooked Boca “chicken” nuggets, diced

Layer 2-3 spoonfuls of hummus on a tortilla, then the rest of the ingredients.

Fold in the sides first, then roll from the bottom. Slice in half and wrap with plastic wrap. I made several for both The Sixth Grader and I for lunch this week—it’s a quick and healthy snack/lunch to grab, especially if you don’t have a lot of time. Enjoy!

Ready to grab and go!

Amazing Mac ‘N Cheez Sauce

Guess what? You’ll never guess where this recipe came from! That’s right . . . how’d you know? The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. All right, I have one more recipe from the book in the que, then that’s it. Promise. I just can’t help it; these recipes are amazing. As vegans, we all know how difficult it can be to find tasty “cheese” so when you find what works—go with it. This sauce is delicious, creamy and ready in less than 10 minutes. I added some vegan Worcestershire and some light miso, but feel free to tweak the recipe to your liking because it’s a pretty basic sauce. You can serve it over pasta, potatoes, or other veggies.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 C flour (any kind)

1/2 C nutritional yeast flakes

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp paprika, sweet, hot, smoked or regular

2 C nondairy milk (I like almond milk)

1/4 C olive oil

1/2 tsp prepared mustard, any variety (I used Dijon)

Optional: 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire, 1 Tbs light miso

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, combine the flour, nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Gradually whisk in the nondairy milk, olive oil, and mustard. Combine well, then add the optional ingredients, if using. Cook over medium heat stirring with a whisk constantly until the sauce is smooth and thick. Enjoy! Oh, and when it comes to leftovers, like most nondairy cheese sauces, I recommend heating the sauce in a saucepan on the stove. Otherwise, it gets dried out.

Pesto and Almond Feta Pizza

After the craziness of the holidays, a quick, easy meal is a welcome reprieve. I usually have homemade pesto in the freezer, so it paired perfectly with the almond feta I made a few days ago. I had one flat bread left and a loaf of French bread which made the perfect pizza “dough.” You’ll love the softness of the cheese and the absence of all grease–this is probably my favorite kind of pizza.

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 pizzas)

3 flat breads or 3/4 of a loaf of French bread

1 C basil pesto

1-1/2 to 2 C almond feta

2-3 tomatoes, diced

1 C black olives, sliced

Shredded vegan mozzarella, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400.  On each piece bread, layer 1/3 C of the pesto, then equally divide the rest of the ingredients among the pizzas.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the feta begins to brown. Enjoy!

 

Easy Flatbread

Vegan MoFo, Day 6

How many times have you gone to make a panini or quesadilla and you find there’s no bread? Happens all the time, right? ;) Well, have no fear, an easy, tasty flatbread is here! The original recipe, from Vegan Planet uses cumin, but I decided to use garlic salt and dried basil. It also called for frying them in a pan, but I opted for baking them.

INGREDIENTS:

2 C flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 C water, or as needed (I needed just a smidge less)

Olive oil for brushing

2 Tbs sesame seeds

Garlic salt

Dried basil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Using a mixer, combine the flour and salt. Add the water little by little until the dough holds together. Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Wrap in plastic and set aside. Divide the dough into 6 pieces.

Shape the dough pieces into balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball to 6″ in diameter. Brush lightly with oil, the sprinkle with sesame seeds, garlic salt, and basil. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes.

The Sixth Grader made a type of grilled cheese with Tofutti slices:

The Husband made a couple of quesadillas in the oven using Daiya cheese, onions, and salsa:

And I went with the panini maker using roasted red pepper, Vegan Rella, and some jarred olive tapenade:

Enjoy!

Potato-Spinach Bake and Pesto Pizzas

I stared at a bag of small red potatoes, wondering what I should make with them before they go bad (and before getting more tomorrow from our CSA). It’s hard not to think of comfort food when making something with potatoes, so I threw together an easy casserole using stuff just sitting around in the fridge and pantry. I was going to make just regular garlic toast with some pesto butter,  but the Sixth Grader had the idea to make little pesto pizzas and they were amazing!

INGREDIENTS:

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

4-5 C red and/or russet potatoes, diced

5 C fresh spinach, chopped

8-10 mushrooms, quartered

1-1/4 C Tofutti sour cream

1 C vegan cheddar, divided

1/4 C almond milk (or other nondairy milk)

1-1.8 oz pkg. leek soup mix

2 Field Roast Italian Sausage links, diced (optional)

Pesto/tomato pizzas:

2 round flat breads, each cut into fourths

1/4 C pesto

1/3 C Earth Balance margarine

1 /2 large tomato, thinly sliced

3/4 C vegan mozzarella, shredded

Olive oil

Garlic salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Add potatoes and cook until somewhat soft, about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime,  combine the sour cream, 1/2 a cup of the cheddar, milk, and the leek soup mix. If using, add the Field Roast to the skillet and cook just a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the potato mix, spinach, mushrooms, and sour cream mixture. Pour into a 9×13″ baking dish, cover, and bake for 40 minutes.

Add the rest of the cheese and bake uncovered until cheese melts, about 2-3 minutes.

To make the pesto pizzas, preheat broiler on high. Combine pesto and butter in a small bowl.

Brush flat bread with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Spread about a tablespoon of pesto onto flat bread pieces, then some cheese and a tomato slice.

Place under the broiler about 3 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Enjoy!

Pasta with Marinated Mushrooms and Cashew Cheese

I have been making this dish for years, usually using vegan Parmesan or mozzarella, but since I have a huge hunk of cashew cheese, I decided to use that (which by the way, shreds beautifully). This dish also makes great leftovers for the next day’s lunch. The amounts of each ingredient isn’t specific, but dependent upon how much you want to make.

INGREDIENTS:

Pasta

mushrooms, sliced

tomatoes, chopped

red wine

minced garlic

olive oil

cashew cheese, shredded

Earth Balance margarine

Salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Marinate the mushrooms in some red wine and let sit 15-20 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile heat olive oil and garlic in a small saute pan, then add mushrooms. Saute a few minutes—I don’t like to cook them until they’re shriveled. You may have to drain some leftover marinade.

Drain pasta and add 1-2 tablespoons of Earth Balance to pasta pot and coat the drained pasta. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and combine well. Season with salt. Serve with cashew cheese and enjoy!

Quinoa Wraps

My favorite vegan restaurant, Tasty Harmony, makes the best quinoa wraps and I wanted to duplicate it at home. I think I did a pretty good job, but theirs are just plain awesome and hard to totally copy.  You can serve these warm or cold and ordinarily I would use whole wheat wraps, but I didn’t have any. I served these with a spinach salad and it made a quick and healthy meal (especially after all those cupcakes)! They are also ideal to pack for a picnic–don’t forget, quinoa is a great source of protein!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C quinoa

1 avocado, diced

1/2 pkg baked tofu, such as from Westsoy, diced

1 plum tomato, diced

Sandwich wraps

Caesar dressing:

1 Tbs Vegenaise

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 tsp vegan Worchestershire sauce

1/4 C olive oil

1 Tbs nutritional yeast

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Add quinoa to 2 cups of boiling water. Stir, cover, and reduce heat to low for 20 minutes. If you want a cold wrap, make this earlier and keep refrigerated. If you’re in a rush, place pan of quinoa in a sink of cold water. To make dressing: Whisk together all ingredients. Pile on the quinoa, avocado, baked tofu, and tomato onto a wrap and drizzle with the dressing. Enjoy!

“Tuna” Salad Sandwich

This recipe is from The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone who says this recipe doesn’t exactly replicate tuna, but isn’t necessarily trying to. It has a taste all its own and she’s correct. It’s delicious in its own right. I recommend making this ahead of time as it requires steaming tempeh and marinating onions, as well as chilling time—all worth it.

INGREDIENTS:

1-8oz pkg tempeh

1 red onion, minced

1/4 C umeboshi vinegar

1 celery stalk, chopped

1/2 carrot, chopped (I used a full carrot as I usually don’t have a use for 1/2 a carrot)

1/2 C frozen corn kernels, thawed

1/3 C frozen peas, thawed

1/2 small cucumber, chopped

1/4 C chopped kosher dill pickles

1 Tbs Vegenaise

1/2 tbs Dijon mustard

1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs chopped fresh dill, or to taste

1 Tbs drained capers (I left these out–not a big fan)

2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

Optional ingredients: I added about 2 tablespoons of Tofutti sour cream for extra creaminess and also some salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Cut tempeh in half and steam for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the onion and boil for 10-15 seconds. Used a strainer or slotted spoon to transfer onion to a mixing bowl. Keep water boiling on the stove. Add the vinegar to the onions and let marinate for 30 minutes.

Blanch the celery, carrots, corn, and peas in the reserved boiling water for 10 seconds each, scooping them into a mixing bowl as each veggie is done. Set aside to cool.

Drain the marinated onions on a sieve, and rinse quickly under running water. Squeeze the excess liquid from the onions, and add to the bowl with the vegetables. Cut the cooled tempeh into small cubes, and add to the bowl along with the cucumber, pickles, Vegenaise, mustard, lemon juice and dill. This is also were I added the sour cream and salt and pepper. Serve topped with capers and parsley. (I stirred parsley in with the other ingredients). Enjoy!

Portobello Burgers

This is my kind of burger! They took no time at all to prepare—you can saute or grill the portobellos and use your favorite toppings. I went with Hawaiian-style.

INGREDIENTS:

4 portobello mushrooms, cleaned and patted dry

1 avocado, smashed

4 Tbs Tofutti cream cheese

4 pineapple rings

4 burger buns

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Coat portobellos with oil and salt and pepper. Saute in olive oil for 5-7 minutes on each side over medium heat.

Spread 1 tablespoon of cream cheese on one bun and about a 1 tablespoon of avocado on the other. Top bottom bun with a portobello and then a pineapple ring. It’s that easy! Enjoy!

Tempeh Bacon

I know many people who would consider going vegan, but the thought of giving up bacon brings tears to their eyes. Tempeh bacon may not cut it for them, but I love this stuff. A little caramelized, it tastes wonderful. You could break it up for salads, sandwiches, tofu scrambles, or just snack on it as it is.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg (80z) tempeh

1/4 C tamari

2 tsp Liquid Smoke

3 Tbs maple syrup (I’m not a huge fan of maple-flavored stuff, so I used brown rice syrup)

1/4 C water

Canola oil, for frying

DIRECTIONS:

Steam the tempeh for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine tamari, Liquid Smoke, syrup, and water. Mix well. Let tempeh cool before slicing it into thin, bacon-like strips.

Place slices in marinade (I used a large ziplock bag–just turn the bag over a few times to thoroughly marinate the slices) and let sit for as long as you like. Less than half and hour works great. After the tempeh has marinated, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the strips and each side until crisp. Sprinkle a little extra tamari and syrup on the tempeh while cooking—the tempeh will turn brown, caramelize, and get crisper and chewier . Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Enjoy!

(BaconLettuceTomatoAvocado)

Recipe source: The Vegan Table

Southwestern Tofu Burgers

This recipe is from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Vegan Table and she recommends freezing the tofu for at least 48 hours and thawing 6-8 hours before using. It apparently makes a more chewy, enjoyable burger and I think she’s right! They were delicious. Incidentally, I’ve read in other places that freezing tofu before making patties, nuggets and other “meaty” meals, is a must. So if you can plan for that, it’s well worth it. Anyway, these burgers were tasty and full of flavor and better than any veggie patty I’ve had.

INGREDIENTS:

1-16oz pkg extra firm tofu, frozen and thawed

2 Tbs ground flaxseed

6 Tbs water, plus extra for binding

1-1/2 C bread crumbs

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 C corn kernels

1/4 C vegetarian refried beans

3 Tbs tomato paste

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Salt, to taste

Canola oil, for frying

DIRECTIONS:

Squeeze out water from thawed tofu and crumble into a large -sized bowl. Leave some large chunks, but crumble enough so it will bind well with other ingredients. (I think a pastry blender works great for this).

Combine ground flaxseed and water in a small food processor bowl or blender (I used a blender) and blend until thick and viscous. Add flaxseed mixture to tofu, along with bread crumbs, bell pepper, corn, refried beans, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and salt. Combine everything with a wooden spoon, and then with your hands to feel the consistency. Make sure spices are thoroughly combined and that you can create patties from the mixture. Taste and add salt, as necessary.  Add water to help bind patties, as needed. (I didn’t find that I needed more water).

(oops…I didn’t use a wooden spoon)!

Using your hands, form mixture into patties. (I got 9 patties out of it).

In a saute pan lightly coated with oil, fry over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and crispy. Be careful to keep patties in tact.

I served these on hamburger buns with lettuce and tomato. I think avocado slices and salsa would be great, too. Enjoy!

Vegetable Panini with Pesto

This was certainly a learning experience seeing as this is the first time I used my new panini maker. (Try Cuisinart’s Griddler –it was only $50 at Bed Bath & Beyond–and be sure to use their 20% off coupons to save even more–thought it was good deal and I really like this panini maker). So here’s my tip (which you probably can already guess…) slice everything super-duper thin, otherwise, you’ll have way too much spillage (see my pic). Live and learn. Anyway, I can’t wait to try out other ingredients–even a dessert variety! (Stay tuned). . .

INGREDIENTS:

1 large loaf of ciabatta bread will give you about 4 sandwiches:

But try flat bread, or any other kind of thick bread you want

Remember . . . slice very thin:

Red bell pepper

Roasted red peppers

Avocado

Mushrooms

Red onion

Tomato

Vegan mozzarella

Other stuff:

Basil pesto, jarred or homemade

Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly brush the outside of each slice of bread with the oil. Pile on the veggies in an order that makes sense to you then drizzle with balsamic vinegar and add the salt and pepper. On the other slice of bread, spread on the pesto and then top the sandwich with it. Place in the panini maker and press down. Obviously, you can easily make these sandwiches on the stove or even on the grill–just don’t overload them with stuff—they’ll be too hard to flip over.

Other combinations:

Portobello mushrooms with vegan mozzarella, pesto and roasted red peppers

Roasted zucchini with pesto, roasted red peppers and muchrooms

Smart Deli Turkey with vegan cheese, horseradish, tomato and avocado

The ideas are pretty endless—you can’t go wrong with your favorite ingredients!

Great served with sweet potato fries:

Avocado & Cranberry Mustard Turkey Wraps with Sweet Potato Fries

This is a simple and quick meal and I love the Cranberry-Mustard sauce–perfect for any sandwich or wrap.

INGREDIENTS:

Wraps:

1/2 C Dijon mustard

1/2 C cranberry sauce

6 wraps or tortillas

12 slices Smart Deli turkey

6 slices vegan chese

3 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced lengthwise (I think 1-2 avocados is plenty)

Salt to taste

Fries:

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into fries

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbs olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

For the wraps:

Whisk together mustard and cranberry sauce. Warm the wraps briefly, then spread cranberry mustard sauce equally over the wraps. Then place 2 turkey slices on each wrap, a slice of cheese and top with avocado slices.

For the fries: Preheat the oven to 400. Whisk together the oil, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over potatoes and coat thoroughly. Place on a foil-lined pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Recipe source (wraps): Living Without

Pita Quesadillas with Cilantro Hummus

I was thumbing through the latest issue of Vegetarian Times and when I saw this recipe, I decided right then and there to try these. I happened to have all the ingredients, even adding some Vegan Gourmet Monterey Jack cheese and between that, the roasted red peppers and cilantro, it made a delicious, quick and easy lunch.

INGREDIENTS:

Hummus:

1/2 C cilantro leaves

2 cloves garlic, peeled (I used minced)

1-1/2 C cooked chickpeas (or 1 15oz can, rinsed and drained)

2 Tbs lime juice

2 Tbs olive oil

Quesadillas:

4 7″ whole-wheat pitas, split crosswise

4 jarred roasted red peppers, drained and sliced into strips

1-1/2 C baby spinach leaves

Optional: Vegan Gourmet Monterey Jack, shredded (I did little slices, but shredding it would have been better)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. To make hummus: Process cilantro leaves and garlic in food processor until chopped. (I added the garlic later since it was already minced). Add the chickpeas, lime juice, oil, and 1/4 C water; puree 3 minutes, or until creamy.

To make the quesadillas: Place 4 pitas halves on baking sheet. Spread each with 1/2 C hummus. Top with peppers, spinach, cheese (if using) and remaining pita halves. Bake 10 mins, serve and enjoy!