Asian-Inspired Risotto

AsianRisottoYep, I’m still on my risotto kick. This time, however, I gave it an Asian twist by adding bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and a touch of sesame oil (among other seasonings). This is a unique and delicious change from the usual risotto dish and would be great paired with some veggie crystal rolls. Yum!

INGREDIENTS:

4 C vegetable broth
1 Tbs red miso
1 C water
1-1/2 C Arborio rice
2 heads baby bok choy, chopped
2 C shiitake mushrooms, chopped
3/4 C green onion, sliced thin
1/2 C Sherry cooking wine
2 Tbs Earth Balance
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp Chinese 5-Spice blend
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs tamari ( or soy sauce)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a Dutch oven, whisk the 4 cups of broth and 1 tablespoon of miso; stir in the rice. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Fifteen minutes before the rice is done, begin steaming the bok choy. Steam for 10 minutes, then add the mushrooms and green onion.

bokchoyWhen the rice is done (most of the liquid has been absorbed), stir in the one cup of water,sherry and Earth Balance. Stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes—it’ll thicken up. Next, add the nutritional yeast, five-spice blend, sesame oil, and tamari. Stir well for at least a minute. Fold in the bok choy mixture and enjoy!

 

Tofu & Shiitake Stir-fry with Soba Noodles

sobanoodlestirfryThis is such an easy and tasty dinner to throw together—as long as you remember to give the veggies time to marinate. Even it’s just an hour, that’s quite all right. Feel free to use your own favorite veggies, but keep in mind, that you may have to marinate certain vegetables separate, depending on whether or not they need longer cooking time. The vegetables I chose could be all cooked together at the same time, so it made this dish a breeze.

INGREDIENTS

Marinade:

1/2 C tamari
2 Tbs brown rice vinegar
2 tsp agave
2 tsp sesame seed oil
2 Tbs sherry
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs ginger root, grated
1/2 C green onion, sliced

The rest: 

8-oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
14-oz pkg. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed
3/4 C snowpeas, cut in half
6 to 8 oz buckwheat soba noodles ( I like Hakubaku brand. They come in a package of 3 separate rolls of noodles. I used 2 of the 3)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs arrowroot

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a resealable bag. Mix it up well, then add the mushrooms, tofu and snowpeas. Coat the vegetables thoroughly and lay flat in the refrigerator for at least an hour, turning over once, half way through.

DSC08184In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Drain and reserve the marinade in a measuring cup; you should have about a 1/3 of a cup; set aside. Saute the vegetables over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until they begin brown. Meanwhile, heat the water for the noodles. They’ll only take 4 minutes to cook once adding them to boiling water, so it will all come together pretty quickly.

When the vegetables are about done, whisk the arrowroot into the reserved marinade. Make sure you don’t have any clumps. Pour it into the skillet, coat the vegetables well, and reduce the heat to low.

DSC08187Drain the soba noodles and serve with the vegetable mix on top. Enjoy!

 

Tofu Sliders

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This recipe is from Vegetarian Times, but I made just a few alterations. The original recipe is called “Kung Pao Sliders,” but I’m not sure where the kung pao is because they weren’t spicy at all—the recipe only calls for an optional pinch of cayenne. The recipe also says it makes 16 sliders and I sliced the tofu the same way and ended up with just 14. Next time, I’ll actually just cut large slabs instead of using 2 per slider, because they were pretty small. If you want them to have more of a kick, I suggest adding more cayenne, or some sriacha to the slaw mixture. Ok, with all of that out of the way, I have to say, these were quite delicious. The slaw is really flavorful and any leftovers would be great eaten alone, or on some rice or noodles. I made some fries to go with them and it was a great meal. (I guess you can call it “Frasian” dining . . .)

INGREDIENTS:

Sliders:

1 14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, patted dry

4 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce (I used tamari)

2 Tbs natural cane sugar

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp cornstarch

(I also added 1 Tbs yellow miso)

slider buns

Slaw:

3 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari)

2 Tbs vegan mayo

2 Tbs creamy peanut butter

5 tsp natural cane sugar (I reduced this to 2 tsp)

2 Tbs rice vinegar

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 tsp black pepper

4 medium carrots, julienned* (I recommend 2 carrots, as there was a lot of slaw left—unless you’re fine with that)

2 medium (I recommend small ones) zucchini, julienned*

1/4 C dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

Optional: sriacha or other hot sauce for some heat

*Another option is to use a peeler and make ribbons of carrots and zucchini—this can be much easier than julienning them.

DIRECTIONS:

I recommend making this a couple of hours ahead of time to allow the tofu to marinate and give yourself plenty of prep time. The recipe says to cut the tofu into 8 slices lengthwise; halve the slices to make 16 pieces. I did the best I could. (Again, next time I’ll make larger cuts)

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In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, cane sugar, toasted sesame oil and cornstarch. (This is also where I added in the miso). Pour about a third of the sauce on the bottom of a baking dish and place the tofu squares in the pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the tofu to coat it.

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Cover and chill while you prepare the slaw. Basically, whisk together all of the slaw ingredients (minus the veggies and peanuts) in a large bowl. Stir in the carrots, zucchini, and peanuts. Cover and chill.

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Preheat oven to 375. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and transfer the tofu to the sheet. The recipe says to drain the tofu, but I just poured the marinade over the tofu.

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Bake 20-25 minutes, then flip and bake 15-20 minutes. I reduced the times a little from the original recipe because mine seemed to bake pretty fast. Every oven runs different, so just check them often to make sure they’re not burnt to a crisp. On to assembling them . . .

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Add about 2 Tbs of slaw and you’re ready to eat! Enjoy!

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Hot and Sour Soup

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I have always wanted to try making hot and sour soup at home. Typically, Asian restaurants use a chicken or beef-based broth in their soups, so I usually have to pass on it. I found a recipe in Color Me Vegan, but I made some alterations to it. We loved the results! I went easy on the hot part, so feel free to spice it up more if you’d like.

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 oz dried mushroom variety such as shiitake, oyster, porcini, boletus and woodear

3/4 oz dried exotic mushrooms

14-oz extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into cubes

7 Tbs tamari or soy sauce, divided

1 Tbs canola oil

6 C vegetable broth

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 C rice vinegar

1/4 C arrowroot

1 can bamboo shoots, sliced into thin strips

2-3 tsp chili sesame oil

4 green onions, sliced

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dried mushroom variety mix

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dried exotic mushroom mix

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3 packets of dried mushrooms

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit for about an hour. Drain, but reserve the liquid (approx. 2 cups). Then cut/slice the mushrooms.

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Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with foil and coat with canola oil. You don’t have to use foil, but I find stuff still sticks to the pan regardless. Place the tofu on the baking sheet and drizzle with 4 Tbs of the tamari.

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Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the pieces. I’m sorry to say, there really isn’t an easy way to do this other than one by one . . . bake another 8-10 minutes.

DSC07107(These may look pretty scorched, but it’s actually just the baked-on tamari)

In a large soup pot, bring the broth to a boil, then add the mushrooms. Let simmer or med/low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and black pepper. In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot, rice vinegar, and 3 Tbs of the tamari. Whisk well to thoroughly combine. Stir into the soup and bring it to a boil.

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Add the bamboo shoots, tofu, and chili sesame oil; cook for 5 minutes. You may want to thin out the soup a little, so add some of the reserved mushroom water. I had two cups and ended up using it all–it just depends on how thick you want the soup. Top each individual serving with some green onions and enjoy!

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles

Sorry for the absence…I haven’t been making new dishes over the last couple of weeks, but instead, have been relying on some old favorites like enchiladas, creamy cashew pasta, and tofu sandwiches. We are leaving Wednesday for Santa Fe and Taos, so it was a good time to use up the veggies in the fridge. I’m excited to bring you lots of wonderful vegan food and news from New Mexico. It’s been ten years since we’ve there and we’re  looking forward to going back. Of course, any road trip is not complete in my household without an accident/injury a day or two before leaving. (Last year, the Eighth Grader got his two front teeth knocked out during a trampoline incident. We were supposed to drive to Southern CO for a wedding. It didn’t happen. Spring Break this year was altered after the kid’s appendectomy). It was my turn, I guess. I got a little too excited trying out my new mandolin slicer Sunday night…

I should have seen it coming. I’ve heard the horror stories associated with the mandolin, but I bought one the other day anyway. First time I use it, I slice a pretty large chunk off my right pinkie finger. I’m lucky though, it could have been worse. I was millimeters short of taking off bone and nail! Yikes. Good thing I married an Eagle Scout. He kept me calm and got it wrapped up. I ended up going to urgent care yesterday morning and they cleaned it up good, wrapped it, and I have to go back today to have it looked at. The doc said it will take several months to heal. :-(  The mandolin is in timeout.

Had I not been an idiot and lost part of an appendage, I probably would have used it to make this stir-fry, but I decided to stick with a good old-fashioned knife. It was slow-going, but I had some help. I picked up some East-West Stir-fry Sauce and these awesome ramen noodles from Hakubaku. Both were outstanding. The sauce had a mild flavor with just a tiny bit of zip. I used about 1/2 the jar, but feel free to use as much or as little as you’d like.

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium zucchinis, cut into sticks

6 mushrooms, quartered

6 celery stalks, sliced

1 bell pepper, cut into chunks

1 can bamboo shoots, drained

6 green onions, sliced thin

1-2 handfuls of cashews

3 Tbs freshly grated gingerroot

1 jar East-West Stir-fry Sauce

9.5 oz Hakubaku noodles

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the zucchini, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until they begin to get tender, about 7-9 minutes.

Add the bamboo shoots and ginger. Cook another 5 -7 minutes.

The noodles will take four minutes to cook in boiling water, so when you toss them in to cook, add the mushrooms, green onion, and cashews to the skillet. Cook 2 minutes…then add the sauce. Stir well to combine and saute to heat the sauce.

Drain the noodles and serve them topped with some stir-fry. Enjoy!

 

Sweet & Sour Boca Nugget Stir-fry

Stir-fries are great ways to use up veggies and they’re typically easy to throw together. I didn’t feel like using tempeh or tofu, so I went with Boca nuggets. The sweet and sour sauce came out perfect–a great balance of both elements!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg. Boca nuggets

2 C mushrooms, cut into chunks

6-8 green onions, sliced

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1 C carrots, sliced thin

1 Tbs olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

2 C cooked rice

Sauce:

2/3 C rice vinegar

8 Tbs brown sugar

2 Tbs ketchup

2 tsp tamari

4 tsp arrowroot

6 tsp water

DIRECTIONS:

The sauce won’t take long to make, so I suggest combining everything in a small saucepan (except the arrowroot and water) and set aside for now. Bake the nuggets according to the bag’s instructions (12-13 minutes). Then cut each nugget into fourths. (And if using rice, don’t forget to get it started, too)!

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Add the water chestnuts and carrots and cook until tender. Add the mushrooms, green onion, and Boca nuggets.

At this point, bring the sauce to a boil. Mix together the water and arrowroot and whisk it into the sauce to thicken it up. This should only take about a minute.

Pour the sauce over the veggies/nuggets and combine well. Serve over hot white rice and enjoy!

Asian Veggie Salad with Almonds

This is a simple summer salad that is ideal for parties and picnics. It’s also easy to throw together and I love the Asian dressing, too—gives it a yummy, peanutty-flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped

1 C corn kernels, thawed (if frozen)

1-1/2 C cabbage, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 C edamame, thawed (if frozen)

1/2 a cucumber, sliced, then halved

1 C slivered almonds

1/3 C Light Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing (from Kraft)

DIRECTIONS:

In a small, dry skillet, toast the almonds for a few minutes, until they begin to brown.

In a large bowl, combine all the veggies. Add the dressing and coat thoroughly. Note: if you are making this ahead of time, stir in the nuts just before serving, as they can get mushy if they sit too long in the dressing. Enjoy!

Tacos with Pear Cilantro Slaw

I can’t make anything with cilantro in it and not think of my friend, Kerrie. She often checks out my recipes, but when one of them has cilantro in it, she’s very upfront with me about her dislike for the herb. Even just talking about it with her induces her gag reflex. I on the other hand, love it and so I apologize, Kerrie, that the last 2 recipes I’ve posted have had a cup of *gag* cilantro in them! I guarantee however, you’d like these tacos sans your least favorite herb . . . :) The recipe is from VegNews and I made some minor alterations. For one, I couldn’t find Korean red pepper and I left off the avocados (much to my dismay) because they were priced at $1.99 each! They still turned out delish—especially with that cilantro!

INGREDIENTS:

For the tofu:

6 garlic cloves, crushed (I used minced)

1/4 C soy sauce (or tamari)

2 rounded Tbs brown sugar

1 Tbs sesame seeds

1 Tbs peanut oil or vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

2 tsp tomato paste (I froze the rest)

1-1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1/2 tsp Korean red pepper (I used regular red pepper)

2 green onions, finely chopped

1 14-oz pkg. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 8 slices

For the Pear Cilantro Slaw:

1 large Asian pear

2-1/2 C finely shredded cabbage

1 C chopped cilantro

1-2 jalapeno peppers, roasted and finely chopped (I used 1 rounded Tbs of canned)

2 green onions, finely chopped

3 Tbs lime juice

1 Tbs agave

1/2 tsp salt

The rest:

8 tortillas

8 leaves of green lettuce

2 avocados, sliced

(Optional): mung, soybean, or radish sprouts, hot sauce. I added a shredded carrot.

I also decided to make a sour cream dressing: 1/2 C Tofutti sour cream mixed with some lime juice, garlic salt, and cumin—to taste.

DIRECTIONS:

For the tofu, whisk together the soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, sesame seeds, peanut oil (or other oil), tomato paste, sesame oil, red pepper powder, and green onions.

I used an 8″x8″ baking dish, poured some marinade in it, placed the tofu on top, then layered on the rest of the marinade. Spread it around evenly.

The recipe says to marinate for 20 minutes, but since I had some time earlier in the afternoon, I made it then and stuck it in the fridge—tightly covered.

To make the slaw, quarter the pear, remove the core and grate it, using the largest holes on a box grater. Squeeze the pear shreds of excess liquid. Place in a large bowl and add the other slaw ingredients; combine well.

Over medium-high heat, heat a cast iron, or other skillet and spray with cooking spray. Cook the tofu for about 3 minutes per side, or until brown along the edges.  The recipe didn’t specify whether or not to keep the marinade, so I just added it with the tofu.

I then sliced each tofu slab into 3 pieces to make it easier to eat in a taco.

Serve in a warmed tortilla with the lettuce leaf, carrot (and any other optional ingredient), slaw, and tofu. I also drizzle on some of my sour cream sauce. So delicious!! Enjoy!

Tasty Harmony

Vegan MoFo, Day 18

Doesn’t that look wonderful! They are Asian Lettuce Wraps that my favorite restaurant makes (and they happen to be the only vegan restaurant in town). They are amazing! Tasty Harmony is a fabulous restaurant downtown that seems to always be packed when we go there. Thanks to them, I’ve discovered jackfruit tacos, sea vegetables, and an incredible nondairy raw key lime pie!  I love to bring meat-eaters there because it’s impossible not to love their food!

Photo: Feasting Fort Collins

So if you ever find yourself in Downtown Fort Collins, CO, hit up Tasty Harmony. If not, try my own version of Asian Lettuce Wraps.

Tofu in Tahini Sauce

Vegan MoFo, Day 4

I know, a very monochromatic meal! The recipe called for mixing half the sauce with the rice, or other accompaniment, but feel free to omit that step, especially for a less beige result. I also recommend adding some steam asparagus and/or mushrooms, or broccoli. This is simple and the sauce is rich and delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

1-14oz pkg firm tofu, drained and pressed

2 Tbs olive or peanut oil

1/3 C chopped peanuts, cashews, or a combination of both

Toasted sesame seeds

Sauce:

1/4 C soy sauce

1 Tbs tamari

1/4 C tahini

2 Tbs rice wine vinegar

2 Tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp hot pepper sesame oil

1/2 a small white onion, chopped

1/3 C water

Salt, to taste

Accompaniment:

1 C Arborio rice (risotto)

1 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

1-1/2 C water

DIRECTIONS:

I recommend making the sauce first so that you don’t have to pan-fry the tofu at the same time. In a food processor, combine all of the sauce ingredients and puree until smooth. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan, combine the water, margarine, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover tightly with a lid for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil. Slice the tofu into 7-8 steaks, then slice each diagonally in half. Add to the pan and fry each main side until golden brown.

Pour sauce over tofu and coat each piece of tofu.Remove from heat and stir in nuts. If using, add steamed (or roasted) veggies of your choice. Serve over rice, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and enjoy!

Recipe: Adapted from Epicurious

Tempeh and Peanut Stir-fry

This is another quick meal to make when you’re short on time. You can substitute the soba noodles with rice if you’d like and add other ingredients such as bamboo shoots or Chinese snow peas.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg tempeh, diced

1 Tbs olive oil

1 med zucchini, sliced then quartered

1 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces

1/2 a med onion, cut into large pieces

8-10 mushrooms, quartered

1/2 C lightly salted peanuts

12-14 oz soba noodles or 2 C cooked rice

Sauce:

1 Tbs cornstarch

1/8 C water

1/2 C shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce

1 tsp mirin

1/2 tsp brown rice vinegar

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1/4 tsp ginger

2 Tbs Hoisin sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. In the meantime, cook the noodles or rice. Add the zucchini, tempeh, onion, and bell pepper to the pan and saute for about 15 minutes. Drizzle with a little mirin. While these are cooking, combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients, then whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce mixture. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook just a few minutes–I don’t like shriveled mushrooms, so I always add them last. Stir in the sauce and the peanuts and combine well. Let it simmer a couple of minutes, then serve on the noodles or rice. Enjoy!

Asian Coleslaw

We received another head of cabbage from our CSA this week and I wanted to try making an Asian version of coleslaw.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cone-headed cabbage before. . .anyway, this is would great as a side dish, in a wrap with Asian-spiced seitan, baked tofu strips, or with plum sauce and sauteed tempeh.

INGREDIENTS:

1 head of cabbage, sliced thin/shredded

3 Tbs rice vinegar

3 Tbs vegetable oil

1-1/2 Tbs Shoyu (you can also use tamari or soy sauce)

1-1/2 Tbs brown sugar

1 Tbs grated ginger root

1 tsp garic, minced

1 large carrot, grated

1 yellow or red bell pepper, sliced thin

1/2 C fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1/8 C Vegenaise

3 green onions, sliced thin

1/4 C sunflower seeds

1/4 C slivered almonds

DIRECTIONS:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, vegetable oil, shoyu, brown sugar, ginger root, Vegenaise, and garlic. Add cabbage, carrot, bell pepper, green onions, cilantro, sunflower seeds, and slivered almonds. With a rubber spatula, fold and stir all the ingredients together until well combined. Enjoy!

For this, I layered on some plum sauce, the coleslaw and some teriyaki baked tofu on a tortilla, then warmed it in the microwave for about 20 seconds.  Fold in half and enjoy a quick and tasty lunch or dinner!

Quick Szechuan Stir-Fry

CAUTION: this can get hot very quickly—that is, when I make it. I tend to get a little heavy handed with the hot spices, much to the dismay of the rest of family. Once again, I put a little too much heat on this stir-fry, earning a few glares from the Husband and 6th Grader. They agreed that it was really tasty and liked the udon noodles a lot, but the numb lips interfered a little. Next time I’ll go easy on the szechuan sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

1-8oz pkg Koyo Organic round udon noodles

1/4-1/2 C szechuan sauce like San-J brand

1/4-1/3 C tamari sauce

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces

1 garlic clove, minced

1-2 Tbs olive oil

1 small summer squash, cut into small pieces

1 can sliced water chestnuts

8-10 mushrooms, sliced

4-5 green onions, sliced

Toasted sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS:

Cook noodles according to package instructions (they take about 7-8 minutes). Heat olive oil and garlic in a skillet. Add bell pepper, water chestnuts, and squash; saute for about 15 minutes, or until softened. Add mushrooms, green onions, tamari, and szechuan sauce. I’d start with about a 1/4 cup of the szechuan sauce and go from there. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, then add the cooked noodles to the pan and stir to combine everything. Top with sesame seeds. Depending on how hot you make it, serve it with a hankie to wipe the brow! Enjoy!

Broccoli Almond Sweet-and-Sour Tofu

There is definitely a method to this recipe and I learned that there are easier ways to make this dish than what the original recipe instructs. I also doubled the sauce recipe because I tend to wish I had done that with other sauces from this cookbook. I’m glad I did because not only is the sauce delicious, it was made the tofu gooey with yumminess.

INGREDIENTS:

1 14-oz package extra firm tofu, drained

2 tsp egg replacer, plus 4 teaspoons water, mixed (I had to make a little more)

1/4 C cornstarch (Again, I needed a tad more)

1/4 C canola oil

1/2 C sliced almonds

1-2 cups steamed broccoli (I used 2 heads of broccoli)

Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Sweet and Sour Sauce: (recipe below is doubled)

6-1/2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar

1/2 C plus 2 Tbs water (I left this out for a thicker sauce)

4 Tbs plus 4 tsp sugar

4 Tbs tamari

4 tsp ketchup

2 tsp molasses

1/2 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp salt

1-1/2 Tbs cornstarch, plus 2 Tbs water, mixed (I didn’t double this–didn’t need to)

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the tofu into triangles or cubes. Toss the tofu with the end replacer/water mixture until coated . I would use a large ziploc bag–much easier than a bowl. Then toss in cornstarch. Again, I recommend using a ziplock bag for this and coat each piece thoroughly.

I would then make the sauce. You can also make it while frying the tofu, but I found it hard to do both at the same time. To make the sauce: In a small saucepan, mix rice vinegar, water (if using), sugar, tamari, ketchup, molasses, ginger powder, and salt and whisk over medium heat until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and whisk until the sauce thickens.

Place the tofu in the hot oil—you can do all at once, or in batches. I transferred pieces to a plate lined with paper towels. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Add the almonds right before removing the tofu. (I did this after I drained the oil first). I then combined the tofu, sauce, and almonds in a large bowl and stirred to thoroughly coat the tofu. I served over rice and the steamed broccoli and topped with toasted sesame seeds.

Recipe source: Vegan Yum Yum

Asian-Inspired Lettuce Wraps

This meal reminds me of Thanksgiving—lots of prep and then devoured in ten minutes! Not that the prep time took all day–more like 20 minutes, just lots of chopping. The recipe is from The Vegan Table cookbook, but I made a few minor alterations and added some ingredients. Despite the prep work, I’ll make these again and again.

INGREDIENTS:

4 Tbs water, divided

2 Tbs minced garlic

1 Tbs finely grated or minced ginger

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped (I used 1/2 of one)

1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 pkg (16-oz) extra-firm tofu (I used just a 14-oz pkg)

1 Tbs chili paste

2 Tbs light brown sugar

2 Tbs light miso paste

2 tsp sesame seeds

10 Boston bibb or butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry

10 basil leaves (I accidentally left these out)

2 small cucumbers, peeled and julienned (I found that one was plenty)

Optional ingredients:

1 can bamboo shoots, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

5 mushrooms, diced (these also make up for the 2 ounces of tofu I didn’t use)

Drizzle sauce:

1/2 C soy sauce

1-2 Tbs rice vinegar

Light miso paste

Chili paste

DIRECTIONS:

Heat 2 tablespoons of water in a saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes, until they softened. Add red pepper and carrot and cook another minute. This is where I added the bamboo shoots. Meanwhile, crumble the tofu in a separate bowl until pretty small–like bread crumbs (I diced it up ). Add to pan and cook for 10 minutes, thoroughly combining with vegetables (this is also where I added the mushrooms and green onions).

Add chili paste and stir to combine. To make sauce (not the drizzle sauce) place brown sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan and dissolve over low-medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in miso paste and sesame seeds. Add to tofu mixture and combine well.

To make sauce: combine soy sauce and rice vinegar. To make wraps: trim edges of lettuce leaves to make them uniformly circular. Add a basil leaf and a julienned cucumber to each “cup”, add tofu mixture and drizzle with soy sauce/rice vinegar sauce. Enjoy!

Vegetable Chow Mein

This is a pretty quick dish to throw together and served with some vegetable spring rolls, it makes the perfect meal. I used buckwheat soba and chow mein noodles from O’Hana House—fully cooked and vegan. They come with two 6-oz packages, so I combined one of each variety. They only boil for about 2 minutes and the leftover (unopened) packages will keep in the fridge for a while. Other ingredients to try: diced up tofu, celery, bell pepper, and/or cabbage.

INGREDIENTS:

12-oz buckwheat soba or chow mein noodles, fully cooked

4 Tbs soy sauce

3 tsp sesame seed oil

2 Tbs rice vinegar

1 tsp ginger root, grated

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tsp garlic, minced

1 can bamboo shoots, chopped

1 can water chestnuts, chopped

1/2 C cashews, coarsely chopped

1/2 C snow peas, cut into 1/2″ pieces

3 green onions, sliced thin

3-4 mushrooms, diced

1 Tbs olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, sugar, and ginger; set aside.  In large skillet, heat oil and garlic over high heat for 1 minute. Add the bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and snow peas for about 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and green onions and cook another 4 minutes. In the meantime, boil the noodles according to package instructions–about 2 minutes. Add sauce and cashews to the skillet and mix well with the veggies. Drain the noodles and add to the skillet mixture, stirring well to combine. Enjoy!

Sesame Noodles With Tofu Steaks

This recipe has so many of my favorite ingredients: tofu, sesame, and bok choy. It’s a hands-on meal from start to finish, but it definitely isn’t complicated. The tofu is wonderful and the recipe for it would be perfect for tofu sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 pounds firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 12 equal slices

7 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons mirin

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed, canola or sunflower

3/4 pound udon or soba noodles

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil

1 pound baby bok choy, rinsed well but not trimmed

1 scallion, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

Fill a large pot three-quarters full with water and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, and keep the water at a boil while you prepare the tofu.

Lay the tofu slices on one half of a clean cloth towel. Fold the other half over the tofu and gently press down to extract any excess moisture. ( I pressed the whole block, then sliced it)

Place 6 tablespoons of the soy sauce, the mirin, honey, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Warm a large nonstick skillet over high heat and add the neutral oil. Let it heat for 30 seconds. Add the tofu and fry until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip the pieces over, pour on the soy mixture, and cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened, another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the noodles to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions until done. Drain the noodles, and transfer them to a large bowl.

Add the sesame seeds, sesame oil, and remaining soy sauce, tossing the pasta to blend well. Return the pot to high heat and add the bok choy and 1 cup of water. Cover the pot and steam until the bok choy is crisp-tender and bright green, about 2 minutes.

Serve the noodles topped with greens and tofu, sprinkled with scallions. For some crunch, I suggest sprinkling chopped peanuts on top. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Peter Berley

  1. Fill a large pot three-quarters full with water and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, and keep the water at a boil while you prepare the tofu.
  2. Lay the tofu slices on one half of a clean cloth towel. Fold the other half over the tofu and gently press down to extract any excess moisture.
  3. Place 6 tablespoons of the soy sauce, the mirin, honey, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Warm a large nonstick skillet over high heat and add the neutral oil. Let it heat for 30 seconds. Add the tofu and fry until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip the pieces over, pour on the soy mixture, and cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened, another 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, add the noodles to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions until done. Drain the noodles, and transfer them to a large bowl.
  6. Add the sesame seeds, sesame oil, and remaining soy sauce, tossing the pasta to blend well. Return the pot to high heat and add the bok choy and 1 cup of water. Cover the pot and steam until the bok choy is crisp-tender and bright green, about 2 minutes. Serve the noodles topped with greens and tofu, sprinkled with scallions.

Sweet and Sour Seitan

This is a really quick and easy meal to throw together–less than 30 minutes. Tofu can easily be substituted for the seitan and other vegetables can be added as well.  The original recipe calls for frying the seitan in 2″ of oil, but I’m not a fan of deep-frying so I sauteed the seitan instead, which worked out great. This recipe makes quite a bit if you use 2 packages of seitan–it’ll feed 4-6. For a small crowd, I’d do just 1 package and halve the other ingredients.

INGREDIENTS:

2 packages seitan cut into bite-sized chunks
3/4 cup flour
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup water
Peanut oil (I used olive oil)
1 green pepper cut in chunks
1 red pepper cut in chunks
1 onion cut in chunks
1 can pineapple chunks (drain, but reserve 1/4 C of juice)
Jar (11.5 oz) of sweet and sour sauce (I like Kikkoman’s brand)

DIRECTIONS:

Mix together flour, water, cornstarch, salt and baking soda in medium bowl.

Stir seitan into batter until well coated.  Heat 2-3 Tbs of olive oil in a large skillet. Add seitan. Because of the batter, the pieces will stick together–use a metal spatula to turn sections of seitan and cut apart later. Cook until golden brown, then remove from heat; keep warm.

Combine green pepper and onion and sauté for 5 min.  Add pineapple and reserved juice, and sweet and sour sauce. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Pour over seitan–I recommend not adding the seitan to the pan because the coating may come off. Serve with rice and enjoy!

Recipe source: Vegweb

Hoisin-Glazed Tempeh with Green Beans and Cashews

This is from Vegetarian Times and if you don’t have a lot of time, it’s a fast and easy meal. I made a few minor changes to the recipe like doubling the tempeh and sauce ingredients, plus I served it over rice that I seasoned with sesame seed oil and ground ginger. (I’ll list the original recipe–decide for yourself if you’d like to double it). If you’re not a big fan of tempeh, tofu would work great. The sauce itself is a great basic stir-fry sauce for any of your favorite stir-fry ingredients. I think mushrooms or bamboo shoots would have been a great addition to this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

4 tsp hoisin sauce

2-1/2 tsp rice vinegar, divided

1 Tbs soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp cornstarch

1 Tbs vegetable oil

1-1/2 Tbs minced ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp)

1-8oz pkg tempeh, cut into 1/2″ cubes

1-12oz pkg frozen whole baby green beans (I used just 10 ounces of cut green beans)

1/3 C roasted, unsalted cashews (I used 2/3 and roasted them self in a dry pan over the stove–cheaper)!

1-2 C cooked rice seasoned with 3-4 splashes of sesame seed oil and 1/8-1/4 tsp ground ginger (Optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk together hoisin sauce, 2 tsp rice vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1/2 C water in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat skillet or wok over medium heat. Add oil, then ginger and garlic. Stir-fry 1-2 mins or until garlic turns pale gold. Add tempeh and hoisin sauce mixture to pan. Stir to coat tempeh. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 2 mins, or until sauce begins to thicken. Stir in green beans. Cover, and simmer 4-5 mins, or until beans are hot, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/2 tsp of rice vinegar. Serve topped with cashews.

Enjoy!

Honey-Glazed Tofu on Couscous

I have a stack of magazines, each with at least ten Post-Its sticking out, marking delicious-looking recipes to try. Facing a hungry family, I looked through this arsenal of dinner options. This one is from Healing Foods Cookbook from Vegetarian Times.  Calling for 2 tsp of black pepper, it had a bit of a kick–I definitely loved it, but if you don’t, I’d cut the pepper dose in half. The recipe also called for (2) 10-oz of extra firm tofu, but I used just (1) 14-oz and that was more than enough. I made a couple of other alterations, but I’ll post the original recipe with my changes.

INGREDIENTS:

Honey-Glazed Tofu:

2- 10 oz pkgs. extra-form tofu (I used 1- 14 oz pkg.)

2 tsp cracked black pepper

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp salt

1/4 C vegetable oil

1/2 C honey

Pumpkin Seed Couscous:

2 C low-sodium vegetable broth

2 medium carrots, chopped–1 cup (I didn’t have any…oops)

1 C frozen edamame, thawed

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1-1/2 C whole wheat couscous (I used regular)

1/2 C toasted pumpkin seeds (I used toasted sliced almonds)

DIRECTIONS:

To make Honey-Glazed Tofu: Place tofu between two plates and set heavy pot (or cans) on top. Drain 10 mins and pat dry. Cut tofu into 3/8″ thick slices. (I didn’t get a ruler out–just went for it).

Combine pepper, thyme, and salt in a small bowl. Coat tofu slices with pepper mixture and set aside.

To make Pumpkin Seed Couscous: Bring broth, carrots, edamame, olive oil, and salt to a boil in a covered saucepan. Remove from heat, and stir in couscous. Cover 5 mins, then fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil and honey in a large skillet over medium-high heat until bubbling. Place seasoned tofu in pan and cook 3 mins. Turn and cook 3 minutes more, spooning thickening sauce over tofu.

To serve: Stir pumpkin seeds into couscous. (I sprinkled them on top of single servings to keep them from getting soft or soggy, especially for leftovers). Spoon onto plates and top with Honey-Glazed Tofu. It will feed about 6 people. Definitely delicious and I think any leftover tofu would be great for sandwiches, too. Enjoy!

Tempeh (or Seitan) in Hearty Mushroom-Mustard Sauce

This is another outstanding recipe from Vegetarian Times, this time, from their Healing Foods Cookbook. I used chicken-style seitan instead of tempeh and served it over mashed potatoes. I doubled it–making about 5 servings. Plus, taking less than 30 mins to make, I will certainly be making this again and again.

INGREDIENTS:

4 Tbs olive oil, divided

1 7-oz pkg tempeh, cut into 1/2″ cubes (I used 2 pkgs Westsoy seitan–blue box)

1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce

10 oz cremini or button mushrooms, sliced

8 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (I didn’t have these so I just used more cremini mushrooms)

2 Tbs all-purpose flour

2-1/2 C lager, such as Samuel Adams Boston Lager (I used Dundee Lager–I don’t think it matters, plus I didn’t completely double this–used about 3-1/4 cups)

2 Tbs Dijon mustard

2 green onions, white and green parts finely sliced

DIRECTIONS:

Heat 2 Tbs oil in 12″ skillet over medium heat. Cook tempeh (if using seitan, keep in mind that seitan cooks faster than tempeh–it’s just a matter of browning it, which doesn’t take more than 5 mins) cubes in oil 7-10 mins, or until browned on all sides, stirring frequently. Add soy sauce and cook 2 mins, or until pan is almost dry. Transfer tempeh to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Add remaining 2 Tbs oil and mushrooms to pan, and sprinkle with salt to taste, if desired. Saute 10 mins or until browned and slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in flour. Cook 1-2 mins or until flour begins to brown, stirring constantly. Increase heat to medium-high, add lager and mustard, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 15 mins, or until the sauce thickens. Stir in tempeh; simmer 5 mins more. Serve sprinkled with green onions.

NOTE: The recipe suggests that for a sweeter take on the sauce, stir in 1 Tbs agave nectar with the mustard and use use just 1-1/2 C of lager plus 1 cup of water.

Enjoy!

Marinated Tempeh with Vegetables

This is just a great basic marinade that would work with seitan, tofu, or even as a stir-fry sauce and takes no time at all to throw together.

INGREDIENTS:

8oz tempeh, sliced into 16 triangles

3 Tbs minced ginger

4 Tbs Tamari

3 tsp brown spicy mustard

3 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbs mirin

1 Tbs Ume plum vinegar

4 Tbs water

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped

6-8 mushrooms, quartered

(asparagus would be good, too)!

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together the ginger, tamari, mustard, sesame oil, water, mirin and vinegar in  small bowl. In a medium-sized baking dish, combine the tempeh and vegetables and then coat thoroughly with the marinade. Cover with foil and bake for 20 mins. Remove foil, stir the tempeh and veggies and cover again; bake for another 12-15 mins. If you have more time, marinate the tempeh and veggies in the refrigerator for about an hour before baking.

Thai Peanut-Burger Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce

These require a little bit of (easy) prep work and they’re well worth it! I also think they’d taste great as the next day’s cold lunch.

INGREDIENTS:

Burgers:
1/2 C chopped red onion
1/2 seeded and chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/2 C unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
8 oz extra-firm tofu, drained and mashed (I recommend squeezing all the water out, too)
3 Tbs smooth peanut butter
2 Tbs chopped fresh Thai basil or cilantro leaves
2 Tbs tamari or dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp Asian chili paste
Salt
1/2 C dry bread crumbs (I had to use about a cup)
flour tortillas or pita bread
Shredded romaine lettuce
Spicy Peanut Sauce:
1/2 C smooth natural peanut butter
1 Tbs minced garlic
1/4 C tamari or other soy sauce
1/4 C water, or more as needed
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp Asian chili paste
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger and peanuts. Pulse to blend, leaving some texture. Add the tofu, peanut butter, Thai basil or cilantro, tamari, chili paste and salt to taste and pulse until mixture is well combined. Shape the the mixture into 4 large or 8 small patties (I advise going for the smaller patties–they are much easier to handle because they will fall apart if too big) and coat evenly with the bread crumbs. (Here, I recommend shaping the patty with hands and leave in your hand and thoroughly sprinkle with bread crumbs, then flip to other hand and sprinkle the other side with bread crumbs). Arrange on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake turning once, until browned on both sides, 25-30 mins. (15 mins on each side was just about right. This is where you’ll be glad you did small patties because they’re hard to keep together if they’re too big). While these are baking, make the peanut sauce: In a small bowl or food processor, combine peanut butter, garlic, tamari, water, vinegar, chili paste, and sugar until well blended. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more water if the sauce is too thick. (Use at once or refrigerate until ready to use). Stir in the cilantro just before using. Will keep for 4-5 days. It makes 1 cup, but I doubled it since I’ll use it on baked tofu, tempe, steamed veggies and even sandwiches.

Ok…to assemble cut the burgers in halves or thirds, if necessary, so that they roll up easily. Place them end to end on the lower third of the tortillas. Top with the lettuce and drizzle with the peanut sauce (it goes a long way, so you don’t need a ton) and roll up. Serves 4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe source: Vegan Planet

Miso Soup with Tofu and Baby Spinach

This soup has all my favorite ingredients! Mushrooms, spinach, tofu, green onion….It’s a very light soup that would go great with half a sandwich and is tasty, tasty, tasty! Plus, with prep and cook time, it was ready in about 25 minutes. This is great soothing soup–it’s the new chicken soup! Add or substitute your favorite ingredients like celery, leeks or shredded carrot.

INGREDIENTS:

6 C water
1 1/2 C baby spinach leaves, cut into thin strips
1/2 C thinly sliced mushrooms
3 Tbs minced scallions (about 3 large green onions)
1 Tbs Tamari or other soy sauce
1/3 C mellow white miso paste
4 oz extra firm silken tofu, drained and cut into 1/2″ dice

DIRECTIONS:

Place the water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach, mushrooms, scallions, and tamari. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables soften, about 3-6 mins. Reduce the heat to low. Place 1/4 cup of the soup mixture in a small bowl and add the miso, blending well. Stir the mixture back into the soup and add the tofu and simmer for 2 minutes, being careful not to boil. Serve hot. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Vegan Planet

Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup

Very easy and very delicious! It smelled so good as it simmered. I could easily taste each ingredient such as the toasted sesame oil and cilantro.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 dried cloud ear or shiitake mushrooms, soaked in very hot water to cover, 20 mins (I used the shiitake)
2 C canned or fresh sliced bamboo shoots (The recipe didn’t specify what sized can. I used 14 oz of small, cute, little bamboo shoots)
4 tsp peanut oil
8 oz (just over 1/2 a usual pkg of tofu), drained and cut into thin strips
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbs peeled and minced fresh ginger root
4 C Vegetable stock
2 Tbs tamari or other soy sauce
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Asian chili paste
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tsp water
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro
2 Tbs chopped scallions (I left these out)
One thing I thought it needed was at least a 1/2 C of chopped green onion. I say add with the mushrooms.
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Drain the mushrooms and discard the stems. Cut into thin strips and set aside. If using canned bamboo shoots, drain and rinse, then cut into thin strips (unnecessary if they’re the ones in the can–typically) and set side. If using fresh ones, soak in water to cover for 30 mins. Cut into thin strips, cook in boiling water until tender and set aside.
Heat 2 tsp of peanut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook, stirring until golden brown, about 5 mins. (I found that 10 mins was better). Set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tsp oil in a large pot. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the stock, tamari, vinegar, sugar, chili paste, and mushroom strips. (If you don’t want crunchy bamboo shhots, add them now). Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until mushrooms are tender, about 5 (to 10) mins. Add the tofu and bamboo shoots and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook until heated through, about 5 mins. Stir in the sesame oil, scallions, cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
This was such a delicious soup and can be quite changeable. Try 8-10 oz rice noodles during last 5 mins of cook time. If  you’re going to do that, I would recommend adding at least another cup of broth and nearly doubling some of the other ingredients like the rice vinegar, sesame oil, tamari, chili paste and cilantro.
This made about 4 servings with no leftovers. Next time, I might just double it. I was impressed with the various flavors and the ability to taste so many of them at once. I loved it! Enjoy!

Recipe source: Vegan Planet