Tofu-Avocado Bowl with Cilantro-Ginger Cashew Sauce

TofuAvoBowlIt’s been a busy spring, but I hope to get back to posting more regularly very, very soon. I’m excited to bring you this new recipe that is a “smorgasbord of flavors,” as The Husband called it. (That’s a good thing, I found out). This weekend, we went to WaterCourse Foods in Denver where I thoroughly enjoyed their Street Tacos that had a cilantro cream sauce. I have no idea how they made theirs, but it inspired me to make my own. Then came the veggies, rice and tofu and an incredible meal was born! (Sorry, a little dramatic). But I think you’ll really love this easy to make meal (no judgment here if you lick the bowl).

INGREDIENTS:
Cilantro-Ginger Cashew Sauce:
1 C raw, unsalted cashews, soaked for at least an hour in hot water
1 Tbs white or yellow miso
1/3 C packed cilantro leaves
2 Tbs lime juice
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
1/4 C water
1/4 C unsweetened, unflavored almond milk

The rest:
1-3/4 C vegetable broth
1 C wild rice (I used Lundberg Jubilee variety)
14-oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed, cut into 6-7 slabs
1-1/2 C snowpeas, ends trimmed and cut in half
3/4 C green onion, sliced
2 carrots, grated
Shallot salt (or regular salt)
1-2 avocados, sliced
Cooking spray

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DIRECTIONS:
Start with preparing the rice. Combine the broth and rice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, to make the amazing sauce, drain the cashews and transfer them to the food processor. Add the other ingredients and puree. Scrape the bowl a few times and process until completely smooth.

20140507_172656Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Place the tofu slabs in the skillet, season with shallot salt. Turn the tofu once one side is browned. Season once again with shallot salt.
20140507_171113Once the tofu is done, transfer to a cutting board and cut each slab into 3 long pieces, then again in half.
20140507_173012Add the snowpeas and green onion to the same skillet. Over medium heat, saute the veggies for just a few minutes; enough to soften them a little. If need be, spray the skillet again with cooking spray. Stir in the carrot and cook another few minutes. Season with a little shallot salt, if you’d like.
20140507_173644To assemble, start with rice, top with the vegetable mixture, then add the tofu and avocado. Drizzle, drop or dump some sauce on top. Then . . . mix it all together and enjoy!
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Gluten-Free Burrito Bowls with Avocado-Lime Rice

Gluten-Free Burrito Bowls with Avocado-Lime Rice -- Epicurean VeganThis 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.

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

DSC07545This 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.

Tri-Bean BlendSo, 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.

DSC07551Meanwhile, in a small to medium saucepan, add the beans, seasonings, and water. Heat on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

DSC07549When the rice is done, stir in the mashed avocados, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice.

DSC07552Fill a bowl with about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the avocado rice . . .

Avocado-Lime Rice -- Epicurean Vegan . . . layer on some beans and toppings and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Burrito Bowls with Avocado-Lime Bowls

Quinoa with Dried Apricots and Black Beans

Quinoa with Dried Apricots & Black Beans -- Epicurean Vegan

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.

Quinoa with Dried Apricots & Black Beans -- Epicurean Vegan

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

Spicy Empanadas

Spicy Empanadas -- Epicurean Vegan

Happy New Year!

We spent our New Year’s Eve with friends and I brought these empanadas. I’ve made similar ones before and I noticed that I had written 5-6 jalapenos for that recipe. Those must have been some pretty mild peppers, because I used one in this recipe and they were plenty zippy! I changed these up a little and they turned out great. I think adding a chipotle-flavored Field Roast sausage link would also be great for the filling. I’m going to have to figure out how to keep them from opening up during the baking process, but it didn’t seem to make a difference in taste—they were gone in minutes!

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

3 C flour + some for kneading
3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + 4 Tbs water
12 Tbs Earth Balance (1-1/2 sticks)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs white vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 C water

Filling:

8-oz non-dairy cream cheese
2 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs almond milk + some for brushing
1 tsp shallot salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 C vegan pepper jack, shredded
1 tsp cumin
1 jalapeno, chopped fine
1/3 C red bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbs olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

To make the dough, combine the egg replacer with the water and process until foamy.

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Add the flour, Earth Balance, salt, vinegar, and water. Process until well combine.

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Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic in a medium skillet. Add the onions, jalapeno, and bell pepper. Season with cumin and saute 5-7 minutes, then remove from the heat.

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Using a mixer, combine the cream cheese, lime juice, almond milk, shallot salt, and garlic powder. Stir in the cilantro, cheese, and pepper mixture.

Spicy Empanadas -- Epicurean Vegan

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out the dough and using a disk, bowl or cup, cut out 4″ circles.

Spicy Empanadas -- Epicurean Vegan

Place about a tablespoon of the filling in the middle of dough circle. Fold over and you can either use a fork to seal the edges closed, or a pastry wheel cutter, then place onto a large baking sheet.

Spicy Empanadas -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 15 minutes, then brush the tops with almond milk. Bake another 5-7 minutes, or until the tops brown. Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad

Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

I’ve never had anything with wheat berries in it . . . at least I don’t think so. I had bought a bag a while ago for another recipe (that I can’t even remember now) and so when I saw this recipe in Vegetarian Times, I decided to give it a try. Wheat berries refer to the entire kernel, or whole grain form of the wheat. They’re a great source of fiber and are used in breads, pilaf mixes, stir-fry . . . you name it. It usually needs to be soaked for several hours ahead of time, so keep that in mind, otherwise, they’ll take forever to cook! This salad is delicious warm or cold and was great as a side dish for Thanksgiving.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad

1 C wheat berries
1 2″ cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp salt
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice
1 heaping cup thinly sliced dried apricots
1/2 C toasted slivered almonds
6 Tbs chopped cilantro

Dressing

3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the wheat berries and cinnamon stick in 3 cups of water for 8 hours or overnight. I didn’t have any cinnamon sticks, so I added a dash or two of cinnamon later on. Transfer the wheat berries and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. (This is where I added the cinnamon).

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour. Drain any leftover liquid and remove cinnamon stick. In a small saucepan, blanch the carrots, then drain. Toss the carrots with the wheat berries, apricots, almonds, and cilantro.

For the dressing, blend all of the ingredients until creamy and season with salt and pepper. Stir into the salad, cover, and chill for about an hour. Enjoy!

Lime and Veggie Fajitas

Lime and Veggie Fajitas -- Epicurean Vegan

These colorful fajitas are so quick and easy to make. If you’re like me and tired of the same old fajita seasoning packets, I think you’ll love this change up.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil (I used chipotle-flavored)
1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
2 C mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 C fresh cilantro, chopped
Flour tortillas

Seasoning:

1/2 C lime juice
1 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp cumin

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the seasoning ingredients and set aside.

Lime and Veggie Fajitas -- Epicurean Vegan

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook 5-7 minutes, or until slightly tender.

Lime and Veggie Fajitas -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the bell peppers and cook another 12-15 minutes, or until they are softened.

Lime and Veggie Fajitas -- Epicurean Vegan

Stir in the mushrooms. These will cook fast, about 3-4 minutes.

Lime and Veggie Fajitas -- Epicurean Vegan

Stir in the cilantro and lime juice mixture and combine thoroughly. Cook until the sauce is heated through.

Lime and Veggie Fajitas -- Epicurean Vegan

Scoop onto the tortillas and if you’d like, add some Daiya cheese and/or Tofutti sour cream. Enjoy!

Chili Stew

Chili Stew -- Epicurean VeganThe weather has been a bit cold and windy these days, and last night was no exception. On nights like that, a hearty soup or stew hits the spot. I threw in tons of different things in this chili and I think this one is my favorite version so far. It’s also great to scoop onto tortilla chips. I had three avocados I planned on dicing up to top the chili, but each one was bad! Total bummer. Crash Test Vegetarian used olives and roasted red peppers in her chili recipe, so I owe her a big thanks for the idea!

INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (1/2 C of barley is a good substitute)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
4 C low-sodium vegetable broth
2 C water
1 6-oz can black olives, sliced
1 small can tomato paste
3 jarred roasted red peppers, diced
1/8 C lime juice
2-3 Tbs Ancho chili powder
1-1/2 Tbs cumin
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
4-5 green onions, sliced
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Optional: Daiya cheese, diced avocado, Tofutti sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large soup pot. Add the onion and cook for 7-8 minutes, or until tender. Add the broth, water, potatoes, tomatoes, black beans, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are slightly tender, about 20 minutes. Add the seasonings, roasted red peppers, olives, and lime juice. Simmer another 15-20 minutes and stir in the lime juice. Sprinkle servings with green onion, cilantro, cheese, and sour cream, if desired. Enjoy!

Easy Tostadas

Easy Tostadas -- Epicurean VeganThis is one of those no-brainer meals that when you need something quick and easy, these fit the bill. The Seventh Grader, always helpful when it comes to cooking (but not cleaning) makes this even easier to throw together.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bag Boca crumbles
1 can refried beans
1/2 large onion, diced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 pkg taco seasoning
8-12 tostada shells
All the fixins’: Tofutti sour cream, lettuce, tomato, avocado, fresh cilantro, Daiya cheese, and salsa

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Cook the onion and cook 3-5 minutes. Add the Boca crumbles and cook until heated through. Add the can of refries and combine well. In a small cup, prepare the seasoning mix according to the package instructions and stir into the bean/Boca mixture. Place the tostada shells on a baking sheet and warm for 3-5 minutes. Layer on some of the bean mixture along with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Amazing Avocado Salsa

Amazing Avocado Salsa -- Epicurean VeganBeware: This feeds a crowd . . . and . . . you can easily fill up on this salsa before dinner because it’s so delicious! It’s packed full of flavor and would be ideal for a summer get together. (yes, it’s December, but avocados were on sale). The recipe is from All Recipes, but I just made a couple of changes such as using red onion instead of yellow and adding 1 cup of fresh cilantro. Dig in!

INGREDIENTS:
1 (16 ounce) package frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 (2.25 ounce) cans sliced ripe olives, drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 C fresh cilantro, chopped
4 avocados – peeled, pitted and diced

DIRECTIONS:
In a large bowl, mix corn, olives, red bell pepper, onion, and cilantro. In a small bowl, mix garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.

Amazing Avocado Salsa -- Epicurean VeganPour into the corn mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight. (I didn’t have time to let it sit that long. I chilled it for about 4 hours). Stir avocados into the mixture before serving with tortilla chips or toasted baguette slices. Enjoy!

Mango and Avocado Spring Rolls

Mango and Avocado Spring Rolls -- Epicurean VeganI’ve been wanting to make this type of spring roll for a while—I’ve seen recipes for then in various different places, but all I knew is that I had a very ripe avocado and a very ripe mango that needed to be used. These were delicious! The only thing I had trouble with, was coming up with a dipping sauce. Traditional peanut sauce just didn’t seem right for these. They’re good on their own, but I think a sauce would be nice. Any ideas?

INGREDIENTS:
14-16 sheets rice paper
8-oz rice noodles
1-2 avocados, sliced thin
1 mango, sliced thin
1 medium cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1 C fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:
Have everything chopped and ready to go. While chopping, cook the noodles according to package instructions, which is only a few minutes.

Mango and Avocado Spring Rolls -- Epicurean Vegan

Fill a pie plate with warm water. I find it best to set it next to the left of my large wooden cutting board (where I’ll be assembling the rolls). Place a sheet of rice of paper into the water and let it soften for about 45 seconds. Carefully pull it out, let it drip any excess water and then lay it out onto the cutting board. Place another sheet in the water so that it’s ready when you need another one. Start with a handful of rice noodles. They can be hard to tear apart, so I found that having some kitchen scissors on hand is helpful. Place into the middle of the rice paper. Add a couple slices of avocado, mango, and cucumber and top with some cilantro and salt and pepper.

Mango and Avocado Spring Rolls -- Epicurean Vegan

Fold in the sides first, then bring up the bottom and roll up. Transfer to a plate. They’re not that difficult to make as long as your work area is set up before hand. Enjoy!