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!

 

Rainy Day Tofu Scramble

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So Mother Nature has not been happy with us. A couple of weeks ago, we were having extreme heat that schools actually closed down for a day. Now, Denver and Northern Colorado is having extreme rain and flooding. (And we can’t forget about the snowstorm in May!) Fort Collins is shutting down bridges and closing up shop. Other cities, like Lyons are being completely evacuated. Many of the mountain towns have no water, electricity and gas! We’re fortunately doing fine where we’re at, but other neighborhoods in Fort Collins are gearing up for some serious flooding.

flood

This is between Lyons and Estes Park. Image from Estes Park News.

Yikes! I hope everyone stays safe and that this rain gives us a break!

So while we wait it out, might as well eat, right? Here’s a quick, easy, and versatile breakfast that will be ready in minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil
1 14-oz tub extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumbled
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 C green onions, sliced
1/2 C black olives
A few dashes of turmeric
A few dashes of cumin
A couple dashes of garlic salt
A couple of dashes of black pepper
1/4 C salsa
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
Daiya cheese shreds
Flour tortillas, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and green onion and saute over medium, heat for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms cook down a little. Add the turmeric, cumin, garlic salt, and pepper. Next, add the tofu and black olives and saute 5 minutes, then stir in the salsa. Cook for a few minutes until everything is hot. Serve either in a bowl, or tortilla along with some Daiya, tomatoes, and avocado. Enjoy!

Homemade Gluten-Free Ravioli

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Nothing says Easter like ravioli, right? Well, if you’re vegan and some of your dinner guests can’t eat gluten, then yes, raviolis are an ideal Easter meal—or for any occasion, actually. In all of the excitement, I didn’t get a good picture of the finished product with the amazing garlic-butter-walnut sauce, but I did get one with some regular raviolis that I made as well.

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In addition to the raviolis, one guest brought some delicious vegan horseradish mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts with pecans and another guest brought this incredible corn and avocado salad.  So, I was living on the edge when I decided to not do a test run on the gluten-free dough before the big day. Luckily, it turned out ok, but not before having a slight meltdown when the GF dough wouldn’t fully cooperate with me. First off, don’t try using your pasta maker; the dough will fall apart. You’re better off using a rolling pin and lots of GF flour to roll it out. Believe me, it’s doable and worth the extra effort; just be patient. I also recommend using a ravioli plate like this one—and that goes for any type of raviolis—it just makes life easier. For the filling, I made two: pureed beet/cashew and tofu ricotta with spinach and mushrooms. Make it easy on yourself and prepare these fillings ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use. If I was unable to eat gluten, I would miss homemade pasta, especially raviolis, so I’d be making these all the time. Our GF guests loved them and happily took the few leftovers home with them. My friend Kerrie gave me a conversion for GF flour and regular flour a while back and uses it for most things, so I thought I’d give it a whirl for pasta. Basically, for every 1 cup of regular flour, use 7/8 C of rice flour and 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum—worked like a charm.

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

1-3/4 C white rice flour

7/8 C brown rice flour

3 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp salt

1 C warm almond milk

2 Tbs olive oil

Spinach-Tofu-Mushroom Filling:

14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/3 C nutritional yeast

2 Tbs lemon juice

3 C fresh spinach, chopped

3 mushrooms, diced small

Beet/Cashew filling: see link above

Garlic-Butter-Walnut sauce: (I was feeding a crowd, so for 3-4 people, you may want to halve the sauce recipe)

1-1/2 C walnuts, chopped

6 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

1-1/2 C Earth Balance margarine, cut into pieces

DIRECTIONS:

To make the spinach filling, puree the first 9 ingredients in food processor. Set aside, or refrigerate until ready to use. The beet filling will take just over an hour to prepare, so keep that in mind if using that one. (click on link above to see instructions).

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To make the dough, combine both rice flours, xanthan gum, and salt in a bowl of a stand mixer. On medium speed, slowly add the oil, then the warm almond milk. When it’s fully incorporated, form it into a ball and refrigerate if not using right away. The dough will probably work better if it’s room temperature.

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On a constantly-floured surface, roll out the sections of the dough into long pieces, big enough for your ravioli plate. I wouldn’t bother using the plastic mold part, as it will easily break through the dough. Gently use your fingers to create a small dip where the filling will go. Fill each dip with about a teaspoon of the filling. If using the spinach one, place a few pieces of mushroom on top of the filling. Roll out another long piece of dough and place it carefully over the top of the filling and gently press down. You can use the rolling pin to then finish the process. (This is a great YouTube video showing how to use the plate). Here’s a pic of the regular dough with the fillings:

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I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out. A couple of them had some a filling peeking out, but they still cooked up great.

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Let them sit for 20 minutes. While this is happening, prepare the sauce. In a medium, dry saucepan, add the walnuts and brown them over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then add the Earth Balance. Stir over low to medium heat until the butter is melted and reduce the heat to low.  To cook the raviolis, boil them, about 4-6 at a time, for 3-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. I usually give them a minute more, just to make sure they’re heated though.

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I’m happy to tell you that none of them fell apart and they were delicious. The regular ones seemed to taste a little sweeter, but otherwise, they tasted very much like regular raviolis! Top them with a ladle of the garlic sauce and enjoy!

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!

Vegan Sweet Potato and Ricotta Ravioli with a Butter-Garlic Cream Sauce

I’m very proud of this meal. And it was certainly a labor of love. Three hours of labor, to be exact. (Although that includes the Caesar salad I had to make). Luckily, many of the steps involved can be made way ahead of time and kept in the fridge, making assembly and cooking time a breeze. It may have taken a while to make, but it was nothing compared to my first attempt at raviolis. I got wise and bought a ravioli mold that made the process so much easier!! (Check out this great YouTube video on how to use it). I threw together a butter-garlic cream sauce which looks pretty weird, as you can see, but I promise you, it tastes better than it looks. After using the ravioli mold, I’m excited to try other types of ravioli—it’s less daunting now that I’ve got the right tools. The sweet potato and tofu ricotta are an excellent combo! You can also try my soy-free version. I made enough dough and filling to feed an army; I easily could have made a 100 raviolis. The leftovers are perfect for freezing and saving for another meal. Feel free to half the recipes for the dough, fillings, and sauce to make about 50 raviolis. (One serving is 10-12 raviolis). Even though there are several steps to this meal, they’re very simple and there’s nothing like fresh pasta!

INGREDIENTS:

Dough

2 C flour

2 C semolina flour

1 tsp salt

2 Tbs olive oil

1-1/2 to 2 C water

Sweet Potato Filling

2 sweet potatoes

3 large green onion, minced

2 Tbs almond milk

Salt and pepper

Ricotta Filling

14-oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

Butter-Garlic Cream Sauce

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 C Earth Balance

3 Tbs flour

3/4 C to 1 C almond milk

Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Begin by cooking the sweet potatoes. I cooked them in the microwave to save some time—only took 10 minutes. Scoop out the potato and mash it with a fork or pastry blender. Stir in the almond milk and combine well. Add the green onion, salt, and pepper; set aside. To make the ricotta, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth; set aside. To make the dough, combine the flours and salt in a large bowl of a stand mixer (you can use a food processor too). While the mixer is running, slowly add the oil, then water until you reach a somewhat damp (but not too sticky) dough.

Knead on a lightly floured surface for 3-5 minutes. I used my pasta maker to roll out flat sheets. You can easily use a rolling pin instead. Lay a sheet of dough over the metal portion of the mold. Place the plastic mold on top and press gently, creating pockets for the filling. Place about a teaspoon of each filling into each pocket.

Place another sheet of dough on top and press down, sealing the edges and flattening the top. Using a rolling pin, roll over the top to create the raviolis. (Again, check out the You Tube video at the beginning of the post to see this magic happen).

So much better than trying to make by hand! The mold was worth the $20 I paid for it. Let the raviolis sit for about 20 minutes. To make the sauce, combine the garlic and butter in a small saucepan and melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, one tablespoon at a time. Slowly whisk in the almond milk, using enough to reach a semi-thick consistency; keep warm.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a spatula, I placed 12 raviolis at a time, into the pot. Boil for 5-7 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a colander.

Repeat the process until they’re all cooked. (For the last dozen, instead of removing with the slotted spoon, I placed the colander in the sink and poured the remaining raviolis and boiling water into the colander. That way, the other raviolis that cooled off could be somewhat reheated).

Drizzle a ladle of sauce over a serving of the raviolis and enjoy!

Baked Tofu Tacos

 

This was a delicious experiment. The Eighth Grader suggested these tacos, so why not? Tofu’s the chameleon of plant-based foods. I had bought some seasoning mix from Savory Spice Shop   that we thought sounded interesting, and decided to try it out on these tacos.

I think it works best to try to marinate the tofu in the seasoning for a few hours. (These tacos tasted even better the next day).

INGREDIENTS:

16-20 oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

2 Tbs Seasoning mix of your choice, divided

2-4 Tbs Olive oil, divded

1 onion, sliced

Taco shells

Lettuce, chopped

Tomatoes, chopped

Salsa

Avocado

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the tofu into little slabs . . .

Line a baking sheet (preferably with sides to catch the oil) with foil. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix with about 1 to 1-1/2 Tbs of olive oil. Brush the foil with a little of the mixture, then line the pan with the tofu. Brush the tops and sides of the tofu with the olive oil mix. If you can cover and leave the tofu for an hour or two, that would be great. You can also combine the the 2 Tbs of the mixture and olive oil in a bag or dish with the tofu and marinate it that way.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake the tofu for about 15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Turn the tofu slices and brush the remaining seasoning/oil mix on the other side. Bake another 15 minutes or so, again, until the edges begin to brown.

While the tofu is baking, saute the onion slices in a little olive oil over medium heat.

Once baked, cut each slice in half, longways.

I transferred the tofu to the onion pan.

Scoop into some taco shells, add a slice or two of avocado, some lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. 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.

Home-Made Ravioli

I bought a pasta maker many years ago and used it a few times. Then, two years ago, when we moved, I couldn’t find the damn thing. Even though it was something I hardly used, I was determined to find it. But I couldn’t. I figured it had run off with my white Chantel soup pot because it too, was missing. So last December, I was digging around in the laundry room for something else entirely, when I opened a bin that was supposed to contain miscellaneous crap. Well, there it was. Along with soup pot. I let out a celebratory yelp and the Husband rushed in, wondering what my deal was. When I showed him that I finally captured the elusive kitchen appliance, I assumed he’d be as excited as I was and happy that I’d quit lamenting over losing the thing. But he didn’t seem too thrilled.  He left the room and returned with a wrapped box, about the same size of the box I held in my hands. “I’ll take this one back tomorrow,” he mumbled. He had gotten me a new pasta maker to replace the one I “lost.” He was really happy that I found it, but then he had to come up with something else to give me for Christmas.

So jump to October 2011, nearly a year later. It was the first time I used that stupid pasta maker since finding it. I know, it’s terrible . . . the Husband wasn’t even home to enjoy these raviolis! But now that I have some practice, I’ll make more of an effort to use it because there’s nothing like fresh pasta. Making fresh pasta, however, isn’t always easy, especially raviolis—it will take some trial and error to get these right. Regardless of their less-than-pretty appearance, they were delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

1 C flour

1 C semolina flour

Dash of salt

1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 to 3/4 C water

Filling: (I used my go-to ricotta cheese recipe)

1-14oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 C fresh basil

2 Tbs fresh rosemary

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 C Daiya mozzarella shreds

The rest:

1 jar of marinara or spaghetti sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Using a food processor with the sharp blade, pulse the flours and salt together. While the machine is running, add the oil and water. The dough shouldn’t be sticky.

Knead the dough using some all purpose flour. Using small pieces of dough, feed it into the pasta maker—the widest setting, then one notch thinner, then a third time on the next thinner notch. The Seventh Grader and I didn’t quite figure this method out until halfway through, but oh well, we had fun experimenting. His job was to cut the rolled out dough into squares.

Place the squares on a cookie sheet or cutting board to dry a little—about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine all the filling ingredients, except the mozzarella, in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese. Place a small scoop, about a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each ravioli square.

There are other ways of doing this. I think it’s better to NOT cut squares first, but to have a long piece of rolled out dough, place the filling dollops in a line and fold over the dough, then cut using a pastry wheel to seal the edges.

I finally got smart and used the pastry wheel to seal the edges instead of a using a fork, but accumulated an unusable pile of dough shrapnel.

Anyway, we ended up with pretty ghetto ravioli.

In batches of 5-6, add them to boiling water and cook for about 2-3 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon. Top with warm spaghetti sauce and enjoy!

Mushroom & Spinach Manicotti

It’s hard not to please the family with this simple, flavorful dish. Many people think that vegans can’t enjoy Italian food because the cheese factor, but in reality, it’s so simple to veganize. I use my go-to ricotta cheese recipe and Daiya cheese is really delicious, so there’s not reason herbivores can’t indulge in their favorite pasta dishes!

INGREDIENTS:

12-13 manicotti shells

1 jar marinara sauce

1-1/2 C sliced mushrooms

2 C chopped fresh spinach

1 tsp olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

1/2 C diced onion

1/2 C Daiya mozzarella

Tofu Ricotta:

1 14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 C fresh basil

2 Tbs fresh rosemary

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Cook the pasta until just al dente—it will cook more in the sauce while in the oven. Meanwhile, combine all of the ricotta ingredients in a food processor and blend well. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic and add the onion. Cook under tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes.

Combine the tofu mixture and the mushroom mixture in a medium bowl. Stir in the spinach.

Pour about a half the sauce on the bottom of a 9×13″ pan; spread evenly. Using your hands or a spoon, stuff each manicotti shell and place in pan. Cover with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle the cheese on top.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5-7 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Vegan Mushroom-Onion Quiche

Yes, you can make a quiche without eggs. Which also means it comes without cholesterol and bird embryos. Ok, I won’t get all crazy-vegan on my non-vegan readers . . . :) But have you seen Forks Over Knives yet? We watched it last night. Please watch it—I guarantee you will come away from it wanting to make positive changes in yours and your kids’ diet.

So onto the quiche . . . I got the recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. This is so simple to make and tastes rich and creamy. You can also use regular firm tofu for a more scrambly-egg texture–just don’t blend as smooth.  The cookbook offers several variations such as adding spinach, broccoli, or vegetarian bacon bits. I went with the mushroom quiche.

INGREDIENTS:

1 prepared 10″ pie crust

3 C (2 12-oz pkgs) firm silken tofu, mashed

3/4 C plain non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)

1/2 C flour (any kind; I used brown rice flour)

1/4 C nutritional yeast

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp white pepper

1 Tbs olive or organic canola or safflower oil (I used olive oil)

1-1/2 C finely chopped onions

2 C sliced mushrooms

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Bake the pie crust for 10-12 minutes; let cool. (Mine was done at 8 minutes, so check often). Reduce oven temperature to 350.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onions; cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they soften. Add the mushrooms and cook another few minutes.

In the meantime, combine the tofu, milk, flour, nutritional yeast, salt, nutmeg, turmeric, and pepper in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. You’ll probably need to scrapes the sides once or twice and continuing blending.

Pour into a large bowl and stir in the mushrooms and onions. Pour mixture into the prebaked crust. I accidentally picked up a 9″ pie crust, so I poured the extra batter into two ramekins.

Remember, make sure you reduce the heat on the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The top will be firm, browned, and slightly puffed up. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Vegan Brie

This recipe is from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. I was intrigued. I’ve tried lots of other recipes from this cookbook and many have been outstanding, but there have been a few that just didn’t do it for me. I was nervous about this one. Surprisingly, however, it’s pretty delicious. I wouldn’t say it’s like brie; both with consistency and taste, but it does taste very good. The recipe doesn’t mention this, but I highly recommending briefly warming this cheeze in the oven or microwave. It only takes about 10 seconds in the microwave. It seems to taste better when it’s a bit melty. I also think this would be really tasty with some warm fruit compote over the top, such as warmed raspberries and blueberries. The possibilities are pretty endless!

INGREDIENTS:

1-2 Tbs wheat germ, or 1/3 C toasted sliced almonds

1-1/2 C water

3 Tbs agar flakes, or 1 Tbs agar powder

1/2 C chopped raw cashews

1/2 C silken tofu

1/4 C nutritional yeast

1/4 C lemon juice

2 Tbs tahini

1-1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp ground dill seed or ground coriander (I used the coriander)

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly oil a 2-1/2 cup round mold. I used a Pyrex bowl, but you can also use a pie plate or cake pan. Dust the bottom of the bowl with either the wheat germ or toasted almond slices. I used the wheat germ; set aside. Combine the water and agar flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often until dissolved. Transfer to a blender and add the rest of the ingredients; blend until very smooth. Pour it into the prepared mold.

Place it uncovered in the refrigerator until it cools completely. Then cover it with a lid and let it chill for several hours, or overnight. To serve, I used a sharp knife to go around the edge—mostly to just break the suction. Turn it over and it will slide right out of the bowl.

Cut it into wedges and serve with crackers. Like I said before, I recommend serving it warm; I think it taste much better that way. It will keep for 5-7 days. I don’t see why it can’t be wrapped up and frozen, too.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Field Roast, Ricotta & Spinach

I love stuffed pasta shells, but I don’t always love filling up with carbs and wheat from the pasta. This is a fabulous and healthy alternative, which the family raved about. My hegans agreed that these were the best stuffed peppers I made. You can check out the other recipes here.  I used my go-to ricotta recipe, as well as The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook’s Parmezano Sprinkles–both very easy to whip up.

INGREDIENTS:

My go-to ricotta:

1 14-oz pkg extra-firm tofu, press and drained

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 C fresh basil

2 Tbs fresh rosemary

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

1/4 C Daiya mozzarella

Parmezano Sprinkles:

1/2 C blanched almonds

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1-2 tsp light miso

1/4 tsp salt

The peppers:

4 bell peppers, washed, tops removed and innards cleaned out

1 tsp olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

1 C onion, diced

2 Field Roast sausages, Italian flavor

2 C mushrooms, diced

4 C fresh spinach, chopped

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

To make the ricotta, crumble the tofu into a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the Daiya) and blend until somewhat smooth. You don’t want it too smooth. Stir in the cheese.

To make the parmezano sprinkles, grind the blanched almonds to a fine consistency. Add the nutritional yeast, miso, and salt. Combine well. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. When you get read to use it, give the container a shake to loosen it all.

Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and cook until they just begin to get tender. Using your fingers, crumble up the Field Roast sausages and add to the skillet. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and diced tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften. Stir in the spinach and cook 5 minutes, or until the spinach cooks down a fair bit.

Remove from the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Drain any excess tomato juices if you need to. Then, stir in 1 cup of the ricotta mixture.

Stuff each pepper with the mixture, pressing down with every scoop.

Bake for 30 minutes. Top with some of the parmezano sprinkles and bake another 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

A Look Back

When it’s time to plan meals for the week, I sometimes rely on some old favorites of mine. When looking back on my recipes, I always come across yummy ones I’ve forgotten about. I thought I’d bring these oldies, but goodies to you.

Appetizers

Party Cheese Ball

Stuffed Mushrooms

Mustard Greens and Cheeze Filo Pie

Avocado Bruschetta

.

Breads

Pesto Potato Bread

Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping

Home-made Pita Bread

Chive-Flecked Spud Muffins

.

Side Dishes

Israeli Couscous with Pine Nuts & Parsley

Easy, Creamy Pasta Salad

Baked Fries with Sea Salt & Truffle Oil

Easy Cole Slaw

.

Soups

Eggplant Parmagiano Stew

Vegetable-Barley Soup

Vegetable-Barley Chili

.

Lunch

Smoky-Miso Tofu Sandwiches

Garden Wrap

BLTA with Tempeh Bacon

Green Tea Rice with Lemon, Snowpeas & Tofu

.

Breakfast

Quinoa-Couscous Cereal with Dried Fruit

Colorful Kale and Potato Casserole

Hash Brown Casserole

Home-made Granola

.

Dinner

Sweet Chili-Lime Tofu

Breaded Zucchini with Lentils and Rainbow Chard

Angel Hair Pasta with Mushrooms & Ricotta

Spinach & Tofu Calzones

Spinach & Pesto Lasagna

Fresh & Healthy Soft Tacos/Burritos

Pecan-Crusted Seitan

Field Roast with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

.

Desserts

Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes

Chai-Spiced Berry-Oatmeal Cookies

Cheeze Danishes

Sunflower-Cherry Oatmeal Bars

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!

Curried Yam, Tofu & Broccoli

We received our box of fruits and vegetables from Green Buffalo today and I was thrilled with the contents. I ended up using several ingredients from today’s delivery: the Napa cabbage, broccoli, one yam, and one of the two bunches of cilantro

I served this over the steamed Napa cabbage, which I recommend trying, or you can serve it over rice.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbs curry powder

2 Tbs fresh ginger, minced

2 tsp garlic, minced

2 tsp olive oil

1 medium yam, diced (about 1-3/4 C)

1 12-oz pkg. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed and cut into small rectangles

1 can light coconut milk

1-1/2 C vegetable broth

1 head of broccoli florets

1 C fresh cilantro, chopped

4 green onions, sliced

1 Napa cabbage, torn

1/2 C peanuts

DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, curry powder, ginger, and garlic. Cook a few minutes, or until it forms a paste. Add the yam and cook over low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until the they begin to soften.

Add the tofu and saute another 10 minutes.

Add the broth and coconut milk and bring to a low simmer. If the sauce doesn’t thicken within 10 minutes, combine 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and about 1 tablespoon of water and then stir it into the mixture. It ought to thicken up in minutes. Add the broccoli, reduce the heat to low and cover for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the Napa cabbage for about 5-8 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the green onions and cilantro into the tofu mixture.

Serve over the steamed greens and top with some peanuts. Enjoy!

Creamy Tofu-Port Spread

I love experimenting with making vegan cheeses and spreads and this one is so easy and delicious. It’s ideal as a sandwich or wrap condiment, or a dip for crackers and veggies (particularly, veggie crackers)! I also think it’d be great on a toasted bagel, English muffin, or toast.

INGREDIENTS:

14-oz tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed

2/3 C nutritional yeast flakes

3 Tbs yellow or red miso (I used yellow)

3 Tbs tahini

1 Tbs lemon juice

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 C port wine

Salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Add everything into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes about 2-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Angela’s Vegan Quiche

This wonderful recipe comes from Angela of Vegangela, one of my favorite vegan bloggers. Her recipes all look amazing—I’ve bookmarked so many of them. I had to try this one out—perfect for Easter, by the way. The Sixth Grader remarked, “It’s amazing,” and The Husband, who loved quiche before going vegan, couldn’t get enough  of it. I made only one or two minor changes, otherwise, I followed Angela’s recipe as she posted it. Next time I make it (and believe me, it will be a regular thing at my house) I’ll add mushrooms. Angela also lists sun-dried tomatoes as another addition.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 bag fresh spinach or 1/2 package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (I used 3 cups of fresh spinach)

1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for an hour and drained

1/2 block firm tofu

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

4 Tbs soy milk (I used almond milk)

1/2 tsp tumeric

Salt & pepper

1 package defrosted phyllo dough, or 1 vegan pie crust

1/4 tsp paprika

1-2 tomatoes, sliced (optional)

1 C mushrooms, diced (optional)

1/2 C fresh basil, chopped (I added that to the spinach)

1/3 C Daiya cheese (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. If using the phyllo pastry sheet, be sure to thaw it according to the package instructions. I thought I was being so clever by placing it in a zip lock and placing it in warm water. Wrong. Since it’s folded in thirds, it will meld together. I’m such a dork. So I ended up shaping it into a ball and rolling it out. No biggie, but really not as easy. I ended up piecing the darn thing together to make it fit into a pie plate and it came out funky, but still worked!

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onion and cook a few minutes—until they start to brown. Add the spinach (and basil, if using), along with some salt and pepper. Cook a few more minutes, or until the spinach starts to wilt; remove from heat.

Meanwhile in a food processor, grind the cashews up until fine. Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, milk, and turmeric. Blend until smooth and creamy. You may need to add a bit more milk.

In a medium bowl, combine the tofu mixture and spinach mixture. You can stir in some cheese if you’d like, too. Line a pie plate with the pastry sheet, just like a pie crust. Pour the tofu/spinach filling into the pie and spread around evenly.


Bake for 20 minutes. I then sprinkled the top with a mixture of Daiya cheddar and mozzarella and baked it another 10 minutes, or until the crust browned and the cheese is melted.

You will love this vegan quiche—a fabulous and easy breakfast. Thanks, Angela for sharing this winning recipe! :)

Field Roast and Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

Yesterday’s nearly 80 degree day turned to a cloudy and soon-to-be rainy day today, so a breakfast casserole seemed quite appropriate for the morning. It didn’t disappoint and has proved to be ideal for a cozy day in. Turn it into a breakfast burrito by wrapping some up in a flour tortilla.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced

3 small russet potatoes, diced

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1 C mushrooms, chopped

2 Chipotle-flavored Field Roast sausages

1-1/2 C fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 pkg silken tofu

1/3 C nutritional yeast flakes

8-oz vegan pepper jack, or other favorite vegan cheeze, shredded

1/2 C Tofutti sour cream

3/4 C almond milk

1/4 to 1/3 C panko bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 13″x9″ baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add all of the potatoes. Cook, covered, on medium heat for 15 minutes, or until they just begin to soften (stir them often).

Add the bell pepper and Field Roast; cook another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the tofu, cheeze, sour cream, nutritional yeast, and almond milk. Stir in the spinach.

Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until they begin to soften, 2-3 minutes.

Then combine the potato mixture to the tofu mixture and stir well to combine. Pour mixture in the pan and top with the panko.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 minutes. Let sit a few minutes, then dig in and enjoy!

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!

Plum Crock Cheez

Today’s high is a whopping -4 degrees. School was even canceled. So not only is it a great day to be in the kitchen (later I’ll be baking something delish–stayed tuned), but thanks to the snow day, I’ll be home to watch Oprah and her vegan challenge! Since the crock cheez was such a big success, I decided to make it again, but follow one of the variations listed in the cookbook (The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook).  This one is actually called, “Plum Good Crock Cheez” and uses umeboshi plum paste. It is outstanding! It tastes very similar to the original version, but with a tangier, sweeter punch. I’m not sure which version is my favorite!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 lb (8oz) firm tofu, drained

3 Tbs nutritional yeast

2 Tbs tahini

2 Tbs lemon juice

1-1/2 Tbs umeboshi plum paste

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dry mustard

DIRECTIONS:

Cut tofu into large cubes. Place in a small saucepan and cover with water—just enough to cover the tofu. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain well. I used a fine mesh strainer to ensure any small pieces didn’t fall through. Chill uncovered in the refrigerator until it’s easy to handle. Crumble it up into a food processor and add the other ingredients. Process until smooth, scraping the sides, if necessary. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for several hours to overnight. Enjoy!

Crock Cheez

When I tell people I’m vegan,  a lot of them will say that they could probably give up meat, but cheese?! Are you kidding? They just can’t give up this coagulated, compressed, salty, melty product of milk. I can understand; back in the day, I was definitely a cheese-whore. But thanks to The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, I can go back to my cheese-whoring days of yore. If  you don’t already have this cookbook, run, walk, bike, drive (carpool, if you can), ride the bus . . . to the nearest locally-owned and operated (if possible) bookstore and buy it!  Either that, or visit me often, because rest assured, I will be making (and posting) every recipe from this cookbook throughout the coming months. I am amazed at how delicious (and easy!) these recipes are. I know . .  *eye roll* . . .there may be a few cheeze recipes that won’t fool you skeptics out there, but that’s ok, I’m aware that some fake cheese taste, well, fake. It’s gonna happen, but I’m finding that there are enough out there to make up for those few.

This crock cheeze is absolutely amazing! It tastes incredible. The cookbook also list several different variations of this recipe that I will definitely try–watch out for those posts. :)  I made it shortly before dinner and I wanted to eat just that on crackers, but my family would have gone hungry . . . I don’t know that I would have shared.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 lb (8oz) firm regular tofu, drained and pressed

3 Tbs nutritional yeast

2 Tbs Tahini or raw cashew butter (I used tahini)

2 Tbs lemon juice

1-1/2 Tbs light miso

1 tsp onion powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dry mustard

I love Denver Tofu (not just because I live in Colorado) but because it really is outstanding.

DIRECTIONS:

Cut tofu into large cubes. Place in a small saucepan and cover with water—just enough to cover the tofu. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and drain well. I used a fine mesh strainer to ensure any small pieces didn’t fall through. Chill uncovered in the refrigerator until it’s easy to handle. Crumble it up into a food processor and add the other ingredients. Process until smooth, scraping the sides, if necessary. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for several hours to overnight. This is a pretty important step, like with the Party Cheese Ball and the Cheddar and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip. The flavors really need a chance to mesh and mingle. That is, if you can wait that long. :)

Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes

Avocado and chocolate? Absolutely! You can’t taste the avocado, but it takes the place of eggs, as well as some of the oil. These cupcakes are so rich, moist, fluffy and decadent. Even the Husband said, “Oh man, these are dangerous.”

INGREDIENTS:

Cupcakes:

1-1/2 C flour

3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 avocado, pitted and peeled

1 C pure maple syrup (I used light pancake syrup)

3/4 C plain soy milk (I used almond milk)

1/3 C canola oil

2 tsp vanilla

Glaze:

1/4 block soft silken tofu (from a 14-oz container), drained and patted dry

3 Tbs pure maple syrup (again, I used light pancake syrup)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

4 oz semisweet chocolate chips, melted

DIRECTIONS:

To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Puree the avocado in a food processor until smooth. Add the maple syrup, almond milk, oil, and vanilla; blend until creamy. Whisk into flour mixture.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cups. I wasn’t sure how much to fill them because you never know with muffins, but as long as you evenly divide the batter among the cups, you’ll be fine.

Bake for 25 minutes.

To make the glaze, blend the tofu, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in the food processor. Add the melted chocolate and blend thoroughly.

Transfer to a bowl.

Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the glaze, pulling up straight to form peaks. Enjoy!

Recipe: Vegetarian Times

Creamy Veggie Bake (Made possible by Green Buffalo Food Co.)

When one door closes, another one opens. In this case, when one CSA ends, another comes! We had our last week of our CSA this last Monday, and luckily, I met another food delivery company in my area, at an event for our Writers Association. Green Buffalo Food Company delivers organic, locally-grown/raised food right to your door. I was very enticed by the fact that they don’t require a contract–just weekly or bi-weekly delivery and we can tell them what we don’t want in our delivery. I have 3 butternut squashes on my counter, so I can wait on getting more. Oh, and fruit! It includes fruit!

We received our first delivery today and let me tell you . . .I get excited over home-delivered organic vegetables! Christmas came early.

Isn’t it a gorgeous box of produce?! (potatoes are in the bag). Organic is of course wonderful, but it  isn’t always the prettiest—or the very large, so I was very impressed with what we got.  And everything is packed so carefully and sweetly (which is fitting because Ali and Ryan, who own GBF, are incredibly lovely people). (sorry, that’s a lot of adverbs). I was giddy with vegan excitement as I perused through the box, wondering what to make for dinner. I had to refrain from using everything—reminding myself that it needed to last the week. I opted for a vegetable bake that didn’t use up everything and certainly didn’t disappoint.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil

2 tsp garlic

1 large zucchini, sliced, then quartered

2 C mushrooms, quartered

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1-8oz pkg. tempeh, cubed (small)

2 small broccoli heads, florets only

1/2 C almond milk

1 pkg Silken tofu

1/2 C nutritional yeast

1 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 C vegan cheddar (I used a combo of cheddar and mozzarella)

1/2 C bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS:


Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet heat olive oil and garlic. Add the zucchini, broccoli, bell pepper, onion, and tempeh. Saute on medium heat until they just barely begin to soften. Add mushroom and saute another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the tofu, nutritional yeast, almond milk, garlic salt, and pepper in a food processor. You can also just whisk it in a bowl; stir in the cheese.

Lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish and layer half of the sauce on bottom. Add the vegetable mixture, then top with the rest of the sauce. Stir around to combine everything.

Cover and bake 40 minutes. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and bake another 10 minutes.

Let sit for about 5-8 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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

Savory Tofu and Sauteed Apples

This was a very sweet and savory meal—the flavors meshed so beautifully together. I made enough for leftovers, but the recipe can easily be split in half. The original recipe is from Whole Foods, but I deviated off their version a little.

INGREDIENTS:

Marinade:

4 Tbs balsamic vinegar

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs agave

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

The rest:

2-14 ounce pkgs extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1 med onion, sliced thin

5 large mushrooms, cut quartered

1 large carrot, sliced thin

2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

5 Grannie-Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

Parsley, garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, agave nectar, garlic, oregano, thyme, sea salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.

Cut tofu into 16 equal slices.

Pierce the tofu in several places with a fork to allow the flavor of the marinade to penetrate. Pour balsamic mixture over tofu and marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer tofu to a shallow 15-inch baking pan. Add onion, mushrooms and carrots. Pour balsamic marinade over tofu and vegetables, brushing to coat everything.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the tofu and continue to bake an additional 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare apples. In a skillet over medium heat, heat the margarine. Add the apple slices and sauté until tender and lightly browned but not mushy, about 10 to 15 minutes.

The original recipe says to serve apples alongside the tofu as a side, but I highly recommend eating them together–very, very good! I also served Near East brand pilaf, Mushroom and Herb flavor:

Enjoy!

Kale, Chard, and Tofu Calzones

When I said I was making calzones tonight, The Husband joked, ‘Oh, yeah, those nine pounders?’ Ok, yes, these calzones typically run a little big. I should call them “No Joke Calzones.” They’re a little different than the other calzone recipe I’ve made by adding the same tofu mixture that I use for lasagna and stuffed shells. I had some leftover tofu mixture so I just threw in the freezer—I’ll use add it to a batch of lasagna at some point. This is also a great recipe for sneaking in some extra veggies, especially for the kids—they’ll never know!

INGREDIENTS:

Dough: (from Vegan Planet)

1-1/2 tsp active dry yeast

3/4 C warm water ( I found that I needed another 1/2 cup)

2-1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

Pinch of sugar or natural sweetener

1 Tbs olive oil, plus more for spreading

The Tofu mixture:

1-14 oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 C fresh basil (I also threw in a tablespoon or two of fresh rosemary)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

The rest:

4 C chard and kale, chopped (you can also add in some spinach)

1-3.8 oz can of sliced black olives

6 mushrooms, sliced

1-1/2 C vegan mozzarella cheese

1 jar marinara sauce

DIRECTIONS:

To make dough: Place yeast in a small bowl. Add 1/4 C of the water and stir to dissolve. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. To make the dough in the food processor (like I did), combine the flour, salt, and sugar, pulsing to blend. With the machine running, add the yeast mixture through the feeding tube, along with the olive oil and as much of the remaining 1/2 water (I needed another 1/3 C in addition to the 1/2 C) as necessary to make the dough hold together. To make the dough by hand, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture, olive oil, and remaining 1/2 C water until well combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large oiled bowl. Spread a small amount of oil on top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Use immediately or store for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator or for 3-4 weeks in the freezer. Make sure it is tightly wrapped in plastic.

To make tofu mixture: Add tofu, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to a food processor and process well until the mixture resembles ricotta cheese.

Preheat oven to 375. Punch the dough down and divide it into fourths. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a 1/4″ thick circle. Divide the filling equally between the dough circles, leaving a 1″ border around the edge. I layered on some tofu mixture, greens mix, olives, mushrooms, and cheese.

Fold over one side and roll up the bottom part and press with a fork to seal the edges.

Place on a baking sheet lined with foil that is slightly greased. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

In the meantime, heat the sauce in a small saucepan. Ladle a scoopful on top of each calzone and add a bit of cheese. Enjoy!

Zucchini-Tofu Scramble with Roasted Red Peppers

I love tofu scrambles—as you have probably already gathered, but they’re so easy to change up and are perfect for those times when you need to clean out the produce drawer of on-the-verge-veggies. You can pile it into a wrap or a toasted English muffin, or just eat it as it is. I had half a package of tofu just waiting for me to use it, so it was easy to figure out what to make. A great protein-packed breakfast to start the day.

INGREDIENTS:

7-8oz tofu, extra firm, drained and pressed

1 small zucchini, sliced, then quartered

1 jarred roasted red pepper, diced

1/3 C salsa

3 green onions, sliced

1/3 C fresh cilantro, chopped

1/3-1/2 C Vegan cheese, shredded (any kind you like: cheddar, pepper jack, Monterrey Jack, etc)

1 avocado, diced

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin

A few dashes cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add zucchini and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the roasted red pepper and saute another 5 minutes. In a small bowl, break up the tofu to resemble scrambled eggs. Add turmeric, cumin, and cayenne; stir to combine. Add tofu and green onions; combine well with the veggies. Saute for about 4 minutes and then stir in the salsa, cilantro, and cheese. Finish off with salt and pepper and then top individual servings with some avocado. Enjoy!

Lemon Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

These are perfect little, squatty, tasty, cute cupcakes. The outside is crispy, slightly sticky with lemon cake goodness on the inside. They are easy to make and once frosted, gone in seconds!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C soft Silken tofu

4 heaping tsp egg replacer powder mixed with 10 Tbs water

3/4 C granulated sugar

2 Tbs lemon juice

Rind of 1 lemon, grated

1/2 C flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Frosting:

1/2 C vegan margarine

2 C confectioners’ sugar

1 Tbs plain or vanilla soy milk

3/4 tsp pure lemon extract, or vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325. Using a mixer, mix the tofu until smooth. Add sugar, lemon juice, and lemon rind. Mix until thick, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Slowly add to the tofu mixture and mix until smooth and thick.

In the medium bowl with the egg replacer and water, add the cream of tartar and mix for about 5 minutes until it is well combined and a little fluffy. Fold it into the tofu and flour mixture. Grease a muffin tin and fill each one with a 1/4 cup of the mixture. I got 11 cupcakes. . .why not a dozen? I have no idea. Oh well.

Bake for 35-40 minutes–the edges will get a little brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before removing them from the pan and frosting them.

To make frosting: Let margarine sit out until room temperature. Using a mixer, mix the margarine until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, soy milk and flavoring. Combine thoroughly. You may need to adjust the consistency to how you’d like it by adding more milk or more sugar. Since all I could find was one lonely frosting tip and no pastry bag, I snipped off the corner of a zip lock back as a substitute. It worked lovely. Enjoy!

Sauteed Tofu with Shallots, Almonds, and Amaretto

This recipe, from Vegan Planet, was certainly yummy, but it struck us as more of a breakfast than a dinner meal. The tofu had a pancake-like texture and the amaretto gave it a sweet, syrup-y taste. It was delicious, but I could see serving it for breakfast or brunch, rather than dinner.

INGREDIENTS:

1-16 oz (I used 14 oz) pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed and cut into 1/4″ thick slices

1/4 C all purpose flour

Salt and black pepper

3 Tbs olive oil

4 shallots, thinly sliced lengthwise

1/2 C vegetable broth

1/4 C amaretto or other other almond-flavored liqueur

1/2 C slivered almonds, toasted

1 Tbs minced fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Dredge the tofu in the flour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook until brown on both sides, 2-4 minutes per side. Remove from skillet, transfer to a plate; set aside.

Add the shallots to the skillet, cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and liqueur and heat almost to boiling. Reduce the heat to low, return the tofu to the pan, add the almonds and parsley, and simmer to infuse the tofu with the flavor of the sauce and heat through.

Serve hot and 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

Breaded Tofu with Lemony Tomato Sauce

If you  liked chicken parmesan before you were “enlightened” and became a vegan, I think you’ll love this recipe. I really wasn’t sure what to make for dinner tonight but I had tofu and diced tomatoes, so I winged it.  The Husband and Sixth Grader informed me that this meal is a “make again” and I have to agree—it was yummy, no to mention easy—a good combo.

INGREDIENTS:

1-14oz tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 8 slices

1 packet Shake n’ Bake

1/2 C vegetable broth

1 C vegan mozzarella, Vegan Rella

Sauce:

3 Tbs olive oil, divided

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-14.5 oz diced tomatoes with juice

1/4 C fresh chopped basil

1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary

1 tsp lemon zest (then slice lemon into 8 slices)

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400.

For sauce: In a small saucepan, heat garlic in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add tomatoes, basil, rosemary, oregano, onion powder, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, dip each slice of tofu into the vegetable broth, cover with Shake n’ Bake, then place into a 13×9″ dish. Top each with a lemon slice.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. It will basically look the same way coming out of the oven as it did going in, but the outside crust of the tofu will be crusty and crispy. The lemon slices will look a bit dried out, too. Remove the lemon slices before serving with the sauce and some very yummy vegan mozzarella.

Vegan Rella (they don’t seem to have a website) is excellent soy-free vegan mozzarella—very impressed with it. It’s a little slimy when you first open it, but it shreds nicely and tastes great! Enjoy!

Sweet Chili Lime Tofu

This recipe is tofu-licious! Even though the recipe has a long list of ingredients and you’ll need 3 pans and a bowl, it was extremely easy and it was done in about 25 minutes. I recommend doubling the sauce. As it is, it makes a great glaze for the tofu, but I would have liked it a little more saucy. It made about 5 servings and as I was eating the final pieces of tofu, I was thinking that these would be great toothpicked (minus quinoa and kale) and served as a hot appetizer. Yum!

INGREDIENTS:

Quinoa:

3/4 C quinoa, rubbed/rinsed, drained

Zest from one lime, divided in half and slice lime for garnish (use 1/2 the zest)

2 bruised cardamon pods (optional–I used a dash or two of dried cardamon)

1/4 tsp salt

1 tiny cinnamon stick (optional)

1-1/3 C water

Sweet Chili Lime Sauce:

3 Tbs sugar

3 Tbs tamari

1-3/4 Tbs lime juice

1/2 zest of the lime

1/2 tsp red chili flakes (I didn’t have this, so I used 1/2 tsp of Ancho chili pepper)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp salt

4 mint leaves, sliced thinly

The Greens:

1 bunch collard greens, washed with middle veins removed (I used kale)

2-3 Tbs water

1 tsp lime juice

1 pinch salt

The rest:

14-oz extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed

Lime slices for a garnish (optional)

Mint leaves for a garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the quinoa, 1/2 the lime zest, cardamon, cinnamon stick, salt, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and don’t remove the lid. Let steam for 10 minutes.

Sweet chili lime sauce: Whisk together the sugar, tamari, lime juice, lime zest, red chili flakes, garlic,  salt, and mint until the sugar and salt and dissolved. Set aside.

Tofu: Slice the tofu into 7-8 rectangles:

Then cut each rectangle in half to make two squares, and then each square into four triangles:

I sauteed the tofu in a dry skillet for about 10 minutes on each side. The recipe says to add it a “well-seasoned” skillet.  Add the chili lime sauce and stir to coat the tofu. Turn off the heat.  The sauce will bubble up, reduce, and form a glaze.

While this is happening, slice up the kale. In a wok (which I didn’t have, so I used a small skillet) add water, lime juice, and salt. Cover with a lid and steam  until tender. (The other thing to do, is just add the greens to the quinoa and steam them that way).

To serve, layer plate with  a scoop of quinoa, kale, then tofu. Garnish with lime slices and mint. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Vegan Yum Yum

Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

These have always been a favorite of mine and are great for a big crowd. I won’t lie—there is a bit of prep work. Fortunately, you can chop up ingredients either earlier in the day, or even the day before. It also doesn’t hurt to enlist some help. The recipe is inspired by The Vegan Table, but I deviated off her recipe a bit and made some changes. These are definitely worth the work and can be served as an appetizer or light meal (depending on how many you put away)! ;)

INGREDIENTS:

20 rice paper wrappers

8-oz rice noodles

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

1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into strips

3 large carrots, peeled and grated

1 can water chestnuts (I steamed them for about 10 minutes, but that’s optional)

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 C fresh mint leaves

1 cup chopped peanuts

2 avocados, sliced thin (optional)

Peanut Dipping Sauce:

1/2 C peanut butter

1/4 C water

3 Tbs tamari soy sauce

2 Tbs lime juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbs ginger, minced

DIRECTIONS:

Saute the tofu in a pan with a bit of oil:

Cook noodles according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water. In a pie plate or other large plate, add some warm water and place a rice wrapper in it–let it absorb the water for about 30-45 seconds. Lay it onto a clean, dry surface and add another sheet to the plate of water so it’s ready to go when you’re done making the first roll.

Layer on noodles, carrots, tofu, cucumber, peanuts, water chestnuts, avocado (if using), 2 small basil leaves, and one mint leaf.

I found that it’s best to tightly fold over one side (top), then fold each side (on the left and right), then fold remaining side (bottom). Place onto a large platter. I got roughly 18 rolls.

Peanut Dipping Sauce:

Blend all ingredients. I used a food processor. The sauce is a little thick for my taste, so I added some more water. I think it’s easiest to spoon the sauce onto the rolls, otherwise, the innards will fall out. Slice in half to serve as appetizers or enjoy as they are!

Sauce recipe: The Vegan Table

Savory Tofu Spread

Yum. That’s all I really have to say. Ok, really yummy. This is now one of my new favorite appetizer spreads–you would think this is loaded with cream cheese or goat cheese–it’s so creamy and flavorful. Like cookie dough, I’d like to just eat it with a spoon.

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium yellow onion, roughly cut (not sure what this looks like, so I just chopped it up–going in a food processor anyway).

3 whole garlic cloves, peeled

1 tsp salt

3/4 C vegetable broth, divided

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp sage

1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

12 oz extra firm tofu (not silken)

1/4 C light or white miso

1 tsp lemon juice (optional–I added it for a little extra flavor)

DIRECTIONS:

In a saute pan, combine onion, garlic, salt, and 1/4 C vegetable broth until onion starts to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, sage, rosemary, basil, oregano, pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 cup vegetable broth.

Cover and cook until liquid evaporates and onion and garlic are very soft and light brown, about 20 minutes (for me, this took only 10 minutes). Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.

Add the tofu, miso, and cooled onion mixture to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. This is where I added the teaspoon of lemon juice. Makes 2-1/2 cups.

Serve with crackers, hearty bread like toasted slices of a baguette or vegetables. Enjoy!

Recipe source: The Vegan Table

Creamy, Tangy Potato Salad

I’ve always loved potato salads, but never realized how boring they had all been until I tried this recipe. (My mom’s recipe is an exception :) ) Plus, those made with mayo (vegan or not) can be a bit questionable at those July 4th picnics). I made some tweaks to the original recipe which consists of making a French dressing. I used only half of the dressing recipe because it made a lot more than I thought, but that’s ok. I can keep the rest as a dressing for a green salad. I would suggest that, or halving the dressing recipe, or add more potatoes (which I did already, but next time I’ll do even more potatoes).

INGREDIENTS:

5-6 cups organic potatoes (russet or Yukon Gold), peeled and diced

1 small leek, chopped small

1 green bell pepper, chopped small

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing:

1 C canola oil

1/4 C white vinegar

1/4 C lemon juice

1/2 pkg silken tofu, soft or firm

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp paprika

DIRECTIONS:

Boil potatoes for about 10-12 minutes. Drain, rinse and chill in the refrigerator. This can take a while, so if you’re in a hurry, run them under cold water for a bit. Add the leeks and bell pepper to the potatoes.

For the dressing, put tofu in a food processor and blend smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, dry mustard, and paprika. Add oil mixture to the tofu and blend well until smooth.

Again, I recommend adding the dressing a little at a time to the potato mixture to reach the desired amount. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dressing into the potato mixture. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Tofu Fries

These are inspired by Home on the Range and I just had to try them. You can use any kind of seasoning you choose and Dale, of Home on the Range, lists several different spices you could use. These were super crispy on the outside and chewy, soft on the inside. I served these with some paninis and it made a great meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg 14 oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1/4 C cornmeal

1/4 C brown rice flour

2 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp salt (optional)

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Cover a baking sheet with foil and brush with oil.  Slice tofu into fries and in a ziplock bag, combine flour, cornmeal and seasoning. Add tofu slices (about 5 at a time) to the bag and dredge with the mixture. Place slices on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. These are great with some vegan ranch dressing. Enjoy!

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!

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!

Western Tofu Scramble

This is a great way to start the morning! Especially when the morning is snowy. Yes…snowy. It’s the end of April, right? Well it snowed last night, so instead of heading out for my morning walk, I decided to cook up a protein-packed breakfast and tackle that walk later when things clear up.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1-14oz pkg. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumbled

3 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 a large orange or red bell pepper, diced (about 3/4 C)

4 green onions, sliced (or 1/4 C of diced yellow onion)

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/3 C salsa

1/4-1/3 C vegan cheddar or pepper jack cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. Add garlic and bell pepper. Reduce to medium heat and saute until pepper is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the green onion and saute another minute, then add the cumin and turmeric. Add tofu and stir to combine–the turmeric will immediately turn the tofu yellowy-orange, like real scrambled eggs. You don’t have to use it–totally optional. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the salsa, then the cheese. Serve alone, or wrap in a warmed flour tortilla and enjoy!

Spinach and Tofu Calzones

Now that’s a calzone!

I’ve noticed I’ve been making a lot of pasta/Italian dishes like the Stuffed Shells and Lasagna–no reason, really–perhaps the rainy weather is prompting cravings for comfort food…whatever the reason, I’m not complaining.

The spinach part of the recipe makes quite a hog of a calzone, so if you’re not into that, I recommend either halving the spinach/tofu mixture or doubling the dough recipe to make more calzone that can be stored in the fridge or freezer…or make smaller calzones–8 instead of 4. As the recipe stands, you could easily split one between two people.  Add your favorite pizza toppings if you wish…I added mushrooms, olives (black, green or both), vegan mozzarella. Try Smart Deli ham with pineapple…you name it. I also warmed up 1/2 a jar of marinara sauce to pour on top–a must!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C cooked, chopped spinach, squeezed dry

4 oz soft silken tofu, drained

Salt and pepper

1 Tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1-16oz pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumbled (I use 14 oz since that’s all I had)

1 Tbs minced fresh basil leaves

1 tsp dried oregano

Optional: your favorite calzone/pizza toppings like mushrooms, olives, vegan ham, pineapple…

Optional: 1/2-1 C vegan mozzarella

Optional: 1/2 a jar of marinara sauce (Muir Glen Organics only has 4 grams of sugar–much less than my previous favorite–Newman’s Own)

1 recipe Traditional Pizza Dough (below):

1-1/2 tsp active dry yeast

3/4 C warm water

2-1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

Pinch of sugar or natural sweetener

1 Tbs olive oil, plus more for spreading

DIRECTIONS:

To make dough: Place yeast in a small bowl. Add 1/4 C of the water and stir to dissolve. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. To make the dough in the food processor (like I did), combine the flour, salt, and sugar, pulsing to blend. With the machine running, add the yeast mixture through the feeding tube, along with the olive oil and as much of the remaining 1/2 water (I needed another 1/3 C in addition to the 1/2 C) as necessary to make the dough hold together. To make the dough by hand, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture, olive oil, and remaining 1/2 C water until well combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large oiled bowl. Spread a small amount of oil on top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Use immediately or store for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator or for 3-4 weeks in the freezer. Make sure it is tightly wrapped in plastic.

(I decided to store it in the fridge for about 45 minutes and it continued to rise…)

Anyway…

To make calzone: Preheat oven to 375. In a blender or food processor, combine the spinach, silken tofu, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and set aside.

(I recommend having the rest of the ingredients ready to go before proceeding).  Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the firm tofu, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring , until any liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the spinach mixture. Taste and adjust the seasonings, the set side to cool.

Punch the dough down and divide it in half (to make 4 calzones, divide into fourths). On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a 1/4″ thick circle. Divide the filling equally between the dough circles, leaving a 1″ border around the edge. (This is where I smooshed in fresh mushroom pieces, olives and a bit of vegan mozzarella).

Fold the empty half of the dough over the filling and press down along the edge with your fingers, then seal with a fork.

Place on a lightly oiled pizza pan or baking sheet. Bake until the crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

If using, heat marinara over the stove and pour a ladle-full over the calzone. Top with a pinch or two of vegan mozzarella and enjoy!

Recipe source: Vegan Planet

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.

Stuffed Shells

Ricotta what?! Who needs ricotta? These stuffed shells are outstanding and the tofu mixture can easily be used for lasagna. If you don’t have fresh basil, use 1-1/2 tablespoons of the dried variety. In the past, I’ve also added about 6 large spinach leaves after processing everything else. Great way to get some added calcium and veggies. Also, if you don’t have any French or Italian bread, make garlic toast easily with leftover hamburger or hot dog buns. I had some whole wheat hamburger buns in the freezer, so I thawed them briefly in the microwave, spread them with some Earth Balance and sprinkled them with garlic salt. Pop them in the oven under a high broiler while the shells cool after baking.

INGREDIENTS:

1 12-oz pgk. jumbo pasta shells

1 14-oz pgk. extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed

1 jar marinara sauce (I like Newman’s Own)

1/4-1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 C fresh basil, chopped

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

1-1/2 C vegan mozzarella, shredded and divided

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. Add tofu, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and lemon juice to a food processor and process well until the mixture resembles ricotta cheese. Stir in 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese.

Cook shells according to package instructions, but subtract a couple of minutes–you want the shells very al dente so that they do not split. Pour a layer of sauce on the bottom of a 15″ baking dish. Stuff each shell (about 43 of them) with 2-3 tsp of tofu mixture and place in pan. Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and enjoy!

Garlic-toasted hamburger buns

Green Tea Rice with Lemon, Snowpeas and Tofu

Sushi rice isn’t a requirement, but it does work nicely–giving it a risotto texture. Cooking it in green-tea’d water gives it a welcomed, subtle flavor. This would also make a great lunch as well, serving it with vegetable spring rolls.

INGREDIENTS:

3 C water

4 green tea bags

1-1/2 C white sushi rice

2 Tbs canola or grapeseed oil (I used olive oil)

8 oz extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/4″ dice

3 green onions, minced

2 C snow peas, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1″ pieces

1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the tea bags and remove from the heat. Let stand for 7 mins and remove and discard the tea bags. Rinse the rice under running water until the water runs clear (I used a fine-mesh strainer) then add to the brewed tea. Cover and cook over medium heat until tender, about 25 mins (15-20 mins was perfect). Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook until golden  brown, 5 mins. Add the green onions and snow peas and cook until softened, 3 mins. Stir in the lemon juice and zest.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice with the tofu and snowpea mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Recipe source: 1000 Vegan Recipes

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!

Breakfast Sandwiches

These were delicious, but I made it harder on myself than I needed to…I thought I could get away by using soft, Silken tofu, not firm, like the recipe says…won’t make that mistake again. Despite the detours I had to make these sandwiches were very yummy and served with some tempeh bacon, it was a satisfying breakfast.

The recipe includes homemade biscuits, but I used toasted English muffins instead–I didn’t have ALL morning…!

INGREDIENTS:

Tofu eggs:

1 12-oz pkg Firm Aseptic Silken Tofu

5 Tbs soy milk

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1 Tbs olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

1 Tbs tahini

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbs plus 1 tsp cornstarch

1/8 tsp baking powder

Vegetable oil for heating in pan

Maple Soy Tofu:

1 14oz block of water-packed tofu, pressed

3 Tbs soy sauce

3 Tbs maple syrup

DIRECTIONS:
To make the tofu egg, mix all the ingredients, except vegetable oil in a blender or food processor. Blend well.  Heat a nonstick skillet with a few teaspoons of vegetable oil.  Pour 1/3c of batter into the hot pan, using a rubber spatula to gently spread the batter into a thin pancake. When beginning to brown, flip gently and cook on the other side. Continue to cook the tofu egg “pancakes”; stack and set aside. (Ok…this was not as easy as it sounds–perhaps it was the tofu issue, after the first “pancake” fizzled and disintegrated into the oil, I said screw it–I’ll make scrambled eggs. That didn’t work. BUT…after 5 mins, it made a thicker batter, so I poured it back into a bowl and was able to make the egg pancakes).

They weren’t real pretty, but that’s ok..they tasted great.

To make the maple tofu:

(And I recommend doing this while the egg pancakes are cooking–save on time–if you don’t mind having 2 pans going)

After tofu is drained and pressed, slice it into 10 thick slices. Cook in an ungreased, nonstick skillet until brown on both sides, cooking in batches if necessary. Place all of the cooked tofu into the pan. Add the soy sauce and maple syrup (I whisked together both in a bowl first–made more sense) until the sauce bubbles up and thickens into a glaze, being careful not to burn it. Set aside. Place the tofu eggs and maple tofu on the toasted english muffins and serve. I had a third pan going with the tempeh bacon–and then added a slice to the sandwich. Hmmm….despite all the work and my “egg” mishap, it was well worth it! The tofu eggs really tasted very much real like egg–impressed. I think a good variation would be to use a Tofutti cheese slice in the place of the tofu egg, the maple tofu and tempeh bacon.

Recipe source: Vegan Yum Yum

Crispy Tofu Slices with Orange Dipping Sauce

Holy…mackerel, I have never seen 8oz of tofu disappear so fast. This is was outstanding–I just wish I had made more!

INGREDIENTS:

1-8oz pkg savory-flavored baked tofu (I used Westsoy Sesame Peanut flavored and the picture only shows about 1/4 of that)

1/2 C corn flour

1/2 C brown rice flour

Safflower oil

2/3 C orange juice

1/3 C maple syrup

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the baked tofu into slices about 1/4″ thick. Mix the flours together in a shallow bowl. Pour enough oil into a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer and heat over medium heat. Dip each of the tofu strips into the flour mixture, coating well on all sides. Place the tofu strips in the skillet, and cook until lightly browned on both sides, about 3 mins per side. Transfer the fried tofu strips to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Stir together the orange juice and syrup in a small bowl. Serve the tofu strips with the dipping sauce along side.

So delicious!

There was quite a bit of leftover flour, so I saved it for another batch, but I would recommend using 2 packages of tofu because there was also quite a bit of sauce left, too. With the orange juice and maple syrup dipping sauce, it would be delish for breakfast. Or try a tamari and brown sugar combo, or teriyaki sauce…the possibilities are really endless and I can’t wait to make more!

Recipe source: The Kind Diet

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

Smoky Miso Tofu Sandwiches

I love sandwiches, but I typically don’t post any unless they are unique and out-of-this-world. This sandwich is just that! The baked tofu slices will keep in the refrigerator for a while for future lunches, snacks, pasta salads, etc. I end up making a batch every couple of weeks. When it comes to sandwiches, anything goes! Add your favorite ingredients. I like mayo, roasted red pepper, spinach, a Tofutti cheese slice. I sometimes substitute the roasted red pepper for tomato. My husband likes to add some balsamic vinegar. Just go for it!

INGREDIENTS:

1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
3 Tbs red miso
3 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp Liquid Smoke flavoring
Your favorite sandwich bread

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Wrap drained tofu in a few paper towels. (What I do is wrap in paper towels, place in/on a large dish or plate. Top with a plate and then stack 2-3 heavy cans on the plate. I press down just a little. I wait 5 mins then re-wrap tofu again in new paper towels and repeat. Works great). Meanwhile, mix together the miso, lemon juice, sugar, tamari, yeast, and Liquid Smoke to make the marinade. Unwrap tofu and cut many thin, width-wise slices with a large knife. (Don’t use a serrated knife–you don’t want to saw your way through the tofu. I like it a bit thick and got 17 slices, but depending on how thick or thin you want it, you can get 20 slices).

I then line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. I brush one side of each tofu slice with the marinade, placing the brushed side down. Then I brush the other side. Let the slices absorb the mariade for 10 mins, then brush just the tops again. Bake for 20 mins (unless you go really thin with the slices–check after 10 mins). Remove from the oven and let the slices cool on the sheet. (I like them a bit warm). The tofu should be darkened around the edges, but not burned.

To make a sandwich, I toast a couple slices of sour dough and add my favorite sandwich toppings! Here’s some suggestions:
roasted red peppers
spinach
Tofutti cheese slices
cucumber
tomato
avocado
sprouts
Dijon mustard
bell pepper
The ideas are endless. What your favorite sandwich ingredients?
I store the leftovers in a well-sealed container in the fridge. Dice up the slices for pasta salad, stir fry, rice, or just plain snack on it! Enjoy!

Recipe source: Vegan Yum Yum

Tarragon Pasta with Roasted Asparagus


This is a wonderful take on pasta salads! With the flavor of the roasted asparagus, the baked tofu and shallots, there’s no need for a heavy, rich mayo-sour cream dressing. The lemon juice and cayenne dressing is the perfect accompaniment to the other flavors. I just made a couple of small changes to the recipe for convenience, but I’ll list the original recipe and my changes.

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz rotini pasta (I used about 16oz because I just didn’t think 8oz was quite enough)
1/4C plus 1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb thin asparagus, bottoms trimmed (I cut them into about 1 1/2″ pieces as well)
Salt and pepper
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
Cayenne, to taste (I used about 1/8 of a tsp)
1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 shallots, minced
1 large, ripe yellow tomato, seeded and diced (I used a large roma tomato)
8 oz baked tofu, cut into small cubes (I used Westsoy’s Garlic and Herb baked tofu–so yummy)!
2 Tbs minced fresh tarragon leaves

DIRECTIONS:

Cook pasta until al dente, 8-10 mins. Drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a large bowl, toss with 1 tsp of the olive oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the asparagus on a lightly oiled baking sheet, season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with 1 tsp of the olive oil. Roast until soft and lightly browned, about 10 mins. Set aside and cool. (I did this while the pasta was cooking). In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, salt and cayenne to taste. Whisk in the remaining olive oil until well blended and pour over the pasta. Add the bell pepper, shallots, tomato, tofu and tarragon and toss to combine well. Divide among 4 individual plates and top with the asparagus. Serve immediately. (I added the asparagus with the other ingredients). 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