Spicy Red Bean and Tofu Jambalaya

IMG_3393This dish can be put together in 30 minutes or less but tastes like it’s been simmering for hours. My secret is a homemade cajun spice mix I always keep on hand for a quick kick of flavor! You can also use Emeril’s Essence right off the shelf.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pre-cooked brown rice
  • 14 oz. package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 tbsp. Cajun spice mix, homemade or store-bought (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced (reserve 1/4 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced medium
  • 1 medium tomato, diced (or 3/4 cup canned, undrained)
  • 1 14-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp. Earth Balance non-dairy margarine
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • Hot cayenne pepper sauce (optional)

Prepare the tofu. Cut block horizontally across to make two slabs. Sprinkle both sides liberally with 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning. Sear in a hot pan coated lightly with a bit of canola oil, about 5 minutes on each side (cast iron is ideal). Remove from pan and set aside. Cut into bite-sized cubes or strips.

Add canola oil to the pan and sauté scallions, celery and bell pepper until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add tomato, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning and margarine, stirring until melted. Reduce heat to medium low. Toss in the rice and beans and heat through. Lastly, add the tofu back into the pan and stir occasionally until heated through. Adjust seasoning, adding more Cajun spice as desired. Garnish with reserved scallions. Serve hot sauce on the side.

Cajun Spice Mix

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container.

Chocolate Mousse Pie

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Here’s a recipe that will impress your sweetie pie, or heck– just impress yourself!  A no-bake chocolate cookie crust filled with super easy, super rich and delicious chocolate mousse.

The secret is buying the best darn vegan-friendly chocolate you can afford! This is a dessert I pull out every so often for a special occasion or to share with non-vegans who doubt whether a non-dairy dessert can measure up to what they are used to.

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Personally, I never truly appreciated chocolate until I enjoyed it without dairy and additives and the other junk it is often processed with.

Chocolate Mousse Pie

Adapted from “The Joy of Vegan Baking” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Ingredients:
1 cup nondairy semisweet chocolate chips, chunks or bar cut into small chunks
12 oz silken tofu (soft or firm)
½ cup nondairy milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch sea salt

Vegan cookie pie shell, homemade or store bought

Melt chocolate in double boiler or in microwave until smooth and pourable. Puree tofu, milk, salt and vanilla in food processor until well blended. Stream slightly cooled but pourable chocolate into the tofu mixture and blend immediately until fully incorporated. Transfer to pie shell and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Crispy Marinated Tofu with Braised Kale

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I can’t emphasize enough how tasty, simple and quick this recipe is. So much flavor, from so few ingredients!

Crispy Marinated Tofu with Braised Kale

Ingredients:

1 package extra firm tofu, drained and patted dry

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce

1 bunch green kale, torn into bite-sized pieces

1-2 tbsp. Olive oil

Method:

Prepare marinade. Mix soy sauce and brown sugar together and set aside. Slice tofu 1/2 inch thick slabs and then into squares. Place into container with marinade to cover. Marinate for  20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Salute tofu until brown and crisp, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove to plate and keep warm.

In hot skillet, add kale and saute until wilted, stirring constantly, adding remaining marinade halfway through and coating greens until mostly evaporated.

Plate and top with sautéed tofu. Serve immediately.

 

 

Mini Tofu Omelets

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Here’s a tasty, portable breakfast option from the new cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, “Isa Does It”.

These cute little mini-omelets have a great flavor and are super easy to prepare!

Mini Tofu Omelets

  • 2 cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 14 ounces Soft, silken tofu
  • ½ cup Water
  • 2 tbsp. Nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil
  • ½ tsp. Turmeric, ground
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Chickpea flour
  • 1 tbsp. Arrowroot powder

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop the garlic in a food processor.: Add the tofu, water, nutritional yeast, olive oil, turmeric and salt. Puree until smooth.
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2. Add the chickpea flour and arrowroot and puree again for about 10 seconds, until combined.:
3. Make sure to scrape down the sides so that everything is well incorporated.:
4. Brush a 12-cup muffin pan lightly with oil. Pour the batter into each well until a little over halfway full.:
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5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges have pulled away from the sides a bit and the top is firm to the touch.:
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6. For the best results, let cool for at least 10 minutes. :
Servings/Yield: Yield: 12
Source:  “Isa Does It” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Easy Mozzarella Cheeze Sauce

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So, you reach a point when you stop trying to replace cheese with processed substitutes like Daiya or Follow Your Heart. Your palate can finally appreciate the pure flavors of the tomatoes, the onions, the garlic against the sprinkling of herbs simmered into the sauce.

And yet, there is that missing element. You are looking for a light, creamy counterpoint to the tangy, savory marinara in your lasagna or pasta bake or fresh vegan pizza. This quick and easy recipe is just the solution.

Made with basic pantry staples, this no-cook, tofu-based cheesy sauce comes together lickety-split, faster than the time it takes to boil pasta.

 

Easy Mozzarella Cheeze Sauce

From VegNews magazine

 

1 pkg Tofu, firm silken, 12.3 ounce (shelf-stable type, like Mori-Nu, not water-packed)
¼ cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
1 ½ tbsp. Miso, white
1 tbsp. Olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Lemon juice
1 tsp. Cornstarch
½ tsp. Onion powder
¾ tsp. Salt

 

Puree all ingredients in a blender. Store refrigerated up to 5 days.

 

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Korean Gochujang Barbecue Bowl

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You may have noticed a condiment called gochujang popping up in your neighborhood grocery recently. It’s basically a spicy Korean ketchup that has made its way into the mainstream and it’s delicious! But why buy it when you can make it so easily?? Try your local Asian market for Korean chili powder, or buy it here through Amazon.com. The rest of the ingredients are already in your pantry!

 

KOREAN BARBECUE BOWL

INGREDIENTS:

1 CUP TOFU, EXTRA FIRM, PRESSED, CUT INTO SMALL TRIANGLES 1/4 INCH THICK
2 CUPS CREMINI MUSHROOMS, HALVED
1 CUP ONION, YELLOW, SLICED

MARINADE:
¼ CUP LOW SODIUM TAMARI
¼ CUP AGAVE NECTAR
2 TBSP SESAME OIL
1 TBSP WHITE WINE
2 TSP MINCED GARLIC
4 CHOPPED SCALLIONS
1 TBSP KOREAN CHILI POWDER

GRAIN:
1 CUP JASMINE RICE, UNCOOKED
2 TBSP SESAME SEEDS, WHITE, TOASTED
1 SCALLIONS, JULIENNED

METHOD:
1.PREPARE MARINADE: MIX ALL MARINADE INGREDIENTS AND POUR OVER TOFU, MUSHROOMS AND ONIONS. MARINATE UNTIL COOK TIME.:
2.PREPARE RICE: COOK USING DESIRED METHOD, THEN FINISH WITH TOASTED SESAME SEEDS, RESERVING A PINCH FOR GARNISH.:
3.TO COOK: HEAT A SMALL AMOUNT OF OIL IN SAUTE PAN OVER MEDIUM-HIGH FLAME AND ADD DESIRED PORTION OF TOFU, MUSHROOMS AND ONIONS. :
4.SAUTE UNTIL BROWNED AND SAUCE IS THICKENED. SERVE OVER RICE, WITH GOCHUJANG CHILI SAUCE (RECIPE BELOW).

Servings/Yield: 2 servings

KOREAN CHILI SAUCE (GOCHUJANG)

2 TSP SESAME OIL
¾ TSP GRANULATED GARLIC
⅓ CUP KETCHUP
¼ CUP MAPLE SYRUP
¼ CUP KOREAN CHILI POWDER
2 TSP APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
1 TBSP SESAME SEEDS, TOASTED
COMBINE ALL INGREDIENTS IN SAUCEPAN AND SIMMER OVER LOW HEAT ABOUT 7 MINUTES UNTIL FLAVORS ARE WELL BLENDED.
Servings/Yield: 8 servings

Tofu Pad Thai

Image courtesy of Steve daPonte

Image courtesy Steve daPonte

This is a quick and easy recipe for a Thai restaurant favorite. I like to make this dish at home, because I can choose the ingredients. I think it tastes even better than traditionally prepared. Most Thai restaurants season with fish sauce– a real bummer for vegans.

I also like to press and freeze my tofu, then thaw it completely before using in dishes where I want more texture. This method also helps tofu absorb marinade more readily. I just wrap it airtight, freeze overnight, then when thawed, I squeeze it out one more time, and use as desired.

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Tofu Pad Thai

from “Big Vegan” by Robin Asnell

  • ¼ cup Vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp. Lime Juice (or more, to taste)
  • ¼ cup Tamari
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. Canola oil
  • 12 ounces Firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1 tsp. Red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. Ginger, fresh, minced, peeled
  • 2 cloves Minced garlic
  • 8 ounces Rice noodles, banh pho
  • 4 Scallions, Cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 4 ounces Bean sprouts
  • ½ cup Roasted peanuts, chopped
  • ½ cup Cilantro

Method:

1.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a cup, mix together the stock, lime juice, tamari, sugar and cornstarch.
2.Heat the oil over high heat, and crumble the tofu into the pan. Add the pepper flakes and fry until the tofu is browned, stirring constantly. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for 1 minute.
3.Meanwhile, cook the noodles in the boiling water for 5 minutes, or until al dente. Drain them. Stir and add the stock mixture to the pan with tofu. Taste for seasoning, adding more lime juice if desired. If too strong, add more stock or a bit a of water. If too sour add a bit more sweetener. Balance the flavors to your taste.
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4.Stir and quickly add the noodles, scallions and sprouts. Stir-fry gently until the liquids are thickened and the noodles are coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with the peanuts and cilantro.

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“Meaty” Grilled Tofu

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One the fundamental building blocks of my weekly meals is tofu. Through much trial and error over the years, I have come to a great appreciation and respect for its versatility and its ability to absorb flavors and even change texture with the right method of preparation.

  1. Buy the right tofu. This seems like a no-brainer, but  it can be confusing, with all the brands and styles: silken, firm, extra-firm, etc. For this recipe, we need to start with the firmest tofu we can find, packed in water, found in the refrigerator section. If you stumble upon the Woodstock brand, extra-firm, know that you have found the holy grail of tofu. This brand is available only in select stores in my area and in limited quantity, so when I find it I buy it up!

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2. Dry, dry, dry! The secret to good texture with grilled tofu is to press out as much water as possible. Either press it with a pressing apparatus, or wrap it in paper towels and lay a cutting board on top, then add some weight to it. I have used heavy books, canned goods, even hand-weights. Let the tofu press for a good 20 minutes or so.

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3. Fabricate! Cut the tofu in the shape that fits the dish you are making. For grilling, obviously, you want nice strips that fit on the grill and not too thick, so as to absorb the flavorings. I cut the block in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half again and so on, until I have 8 planks

4. Marinate! This step is crucial. If you want flavor in your tofu, you have to apply it yourself. My go-to marinade for grilling is 3 tbsp. tamari sauce to 1 tbsp. sesame oil. Simple and delicious! When you press the tofu well, it will be thirsty for the marinade, so you won’t need to soak it too long. Twenty minutes is plenty of time for this one, although, you can marinate longer or overnight if you like.

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5. Grill! Get your grill searing hot and you will have a nice, brown sealed outside on your tofu. You can also fry in a dry non-stick skillet on medium-high heat, for a crisp, brown exterior.

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6. Optional step. Another way to alter the texture of tofu is to wrap it after pressing and freeze it until solid, then thaw it out. Press the liquid out again, then marinate and grill or pan-fry. This gives the tofu more of a chewy and porous texture. It’s worth a try. I like it both ways.

Tofu Scramble

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Tofu scramble, when I reflect on my day to day cooking, is probably the recipe I cook most often at home and for clients. It’s quick, easy and versatile. Delicious on its own, it also lends itself well to sandwiches, burritos, casseroles…you name it.

And this recipe is SO tasty and good it’s a staple on my  menus. I think you will agree this recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the best!

Scrambled Tofu 

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Vegan Gorgonzola: A Passion Project

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In between all the professional cooking I do, there is also all the household cooking I do, which includes, of course, food I like to eat. Once in awhile I embark on a very special veganizing project as shown here.  I ain’t gonna lie. As long as I have been vegan (about six years now) I have not forgotten the flavor of fine, aged cheese.

I chose THIS RECIPE for its simplicity. It’s not a science project like some I have read. It is straightforward and the wait time was only overnight. The result is very much like the real deal…which led me to veganize another old favorite of mine: blackened Gorgonzola steak with jalapeños. I know, what a crazy combo, but it was oh, so delicious back in the day.

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I picked up a package of Field Roast Hand-Formed Burgers (the absolute best vegan burger, in my opinion) and pressed it out as flat as I could. Dusted it with blackening spice and seared it in a hot pan. Then I topped it with thick slices of this lovely vegan Gorg and a sprinkle of jalapeños. Heaven!

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General Tso’s Tofu with Green Tea Soba

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I am always looking to veganize recipes. Any recipe. Some of them traditionally feature meat. That doesn’t stop me from subbing out for tofu or tempeh or any other protein…even beans or legumes if the sauce sounds legit.

Here is one such recipe I actually picked up from my daughter Kat’s Facebook timeline. She is not vegan, but enjoys plant-based dishes and loves to cook. We share recipes and ideas all the time. This one looked so good, I simply couldn’t resist.

All I did was switch out the chicken for pressed, cubed tofu. I also would recommend skipping the crock pot and just making the sauce on the stove, because tofu, as it cooks down, does not provide moisture the way chicken does.  I also opted to make my own hoisin sauce, which turned out delicious, by the way 🙂 Just double it, and you will be all set.

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I was so proud of my dish, I packed some up to share with Kat :;-)

Here’s the original recipe from ChefSavvy.com: General Tso’s Tofu.

Tofu Vindaloo

This is a spicy Indian dish I decided to prepare without any added oil. It turned out  tasty and well balanced, served with a fluffy timbale of fragrant jasmine rice.

Tofu Vindaloo

Recipe adapted from the cookbook,

“Vegan Planet” by Robin Robertson

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1/1/2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons water

One 16 oz. pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained and diced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1/2 large carrot, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch-thick half-moons

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced

One 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 cup water, or more as needed

Method:

In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, ginger and spices with 1 tablespoon of water. Process until smooth and set aside. Very lightly spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium high. Add the diced tofu and sear until nicely browned. This may take up to 10 minutes. Move the tofu around carefully to brown evenly. Remove tofu from skillet and set aside. Season with salt and pepper.  Add 2 tablespoons water to the pan and heat until bubbly. Add onions and carrot, cover, and cook until softened. About 5 minutes. Add red pepper, cover, and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spice paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and juice and 1 cup water and bring to boil.

Reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add the peas and tofu and heat through. This sauce may be served chunky or smooth. If you prefer a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender before adding the peas and tofu.

Tofu Curry

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This recipe is a client favorite! It’s a north Indian style curry, filled with aromatic spices and baked tofu.

The recipe comes from the cookbook “Vegan Indian Cooking” by Anupy Singla. Ms. Singla generously provides the recipe on her website as well. You can find it here.

With authentic Indian cooking, it’s all about the spices. Once you gather them together, the process runs pretty smooth and simple.

grindThe recipe starts with the grinding of the aromatics which will be folded into soy yogurt and a few spices then added to fried spices in the saucepan.

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The scent is heavenly as the spices and flavors blend together. The big flavor comes from the mingling of these many aromatics and spices as they simmer over low heat for about 15-20 minutes. As with most curries it will taste better the next day, but even fresh from the stove it is delicious!

Thai Peanut Curry with Vegetables and Tofu

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This is one of my very favorite dishes! Creamy, sweet and spicy–with lots of tender-crisp vegetables and protein-rich tofu! My recipe is easy to prep ahead of time and enjoy whenever you are ready!

Thai Peanut Curry with Vegetables and Tofu

2 tbsp. Cornstarch
1 cup Veggie broth
¼ cup Peanut butter, creamy
1 tsp. Red curry paste
2 tbsp. Brown sugar
2 tbsp. Tamari sauce
2 tbsp. Ginger, fresh, minced
2 tsp. Garlic, minced
1 Bell pepper, red, diced
7 ounces Tofu, extra firm, diced
6 ounced Mushrooms, sliced
½ head Broccoli
1 cup Coconut milk
1 tbsp. Lime juice

1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped

Method: First, make the sauce base. Combine ingredients 1 through 8 in a medium saucepan and whisk until smooth and well-blended. Continue whisking and cook on medium-low heat until thick. Remove from stove and set aside. At this point, you may wish to refrigerate your sauce base until about 30 minutes before meal time.

If not, continue on by adding the coconut milk and vegetables. Cook on medium low, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, about 7-10 minutes. Finish with lime juice and garnish with cilantro.

If using the make-ahead option:  Pull base from fridge and heat gently until warmed. Add coconut milk and vegetables and follow remaining recipe steps to finish. Enjoy!

Sesame Grilled Tofu with Sichuan Vegetables

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Here’s a quick and easy weeknight treat! I do not own a wok and still refuse to buy one. However, I have learned to make do–by creating my Asian-style meal as components and bringing them together in one perfectly cooked meal.

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Sesame Grilled Tofu

recipe courtesy “Isa Does It’ by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, pressed and sliced into 8 planks

1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

3 tbsp. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce

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Press tofu slices into marinade and flip over to cover all surface area. Marinate while grill heats.

With a tabletop grill on the SEAR setting, grill marinated tofu for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Sichuan Vegetables

recipe adapted from Veg News magazine

2-3 cups assorted vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces or matchsticks (peppers, carrots, celery, mushrooms)

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tbsp. dry sherry (or mirin)

1 tbsp. Chinese black vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)

1 tbsp. water

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1 tsp. natural sugar

1 tsp. chile-garlic sauce, to taste

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (to taste)

1 tsp. cornstarch

*If you have a micro-wave steamer, steam vegetables about about 3 minutes, until crisp-tender and set aside. Meanwhile, combine all sauce ingredients except cornstarch in a skillet and simmer for about 5 minutes. Combine cornstarch with water to make a slurry and whisk gently into sauce until thick. Add vegetables and grilled tofu, cut into small triangles. Simmer until heated through.

*If you don’t have a micro-steamer, go ahead and stir-fry vegetables in a skillet or wok until crisp-tender then follow sauce instructions.

Eggless Tofu Salad

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This is a quick and easy sandwich filling and certainly one of my husband Steve’s favorites. He’s what I lovingly refer to as a “meat and potatoes” vegan, and so am I, to some extent. We were both raised on the standard American diet which included familiar lunchbox staples such as tuna fish, chicken and egg salad sandwiches. We like veganized versions of homestyle, familiar dishes we grew up on as well as some of the more modern veggie dishes.

Interesting thing about these fillings, they are all made pretty much the same. This recipe is adaptable to chicken substitutes like soy curls and seitan and also mashed chickpeas that can stand in for tuna fish.

So this is my version, and I think it’s pretty darn close to the original in terms of flavor. I like a few high notes–sweet relish, tangy onion, crunchy celery and lots of black pepper. All of these ingredients are adjustable to suit your taste, so give it a try!

Eggless Tofu Salad

Recipe by Melanie daPonte

14 ounces Tofu, extra firm, drained
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
2 tbsp. Sweet relish
1 stalk Celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp. Red onion, finely chopped
½ tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Dill, dried
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Pepper
2 tsp. Dijon mustard

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Drain tofu, squeezing out any excess liquid. Crumble with hands into large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and blend well to incorporate to a smooth, spreadable consistency.

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I cannot stress enough the importance of tasting for seasoning. If you like more salt, add it now. If you like it sweeter, add more relish, etc. Make this recipe your own, and you won’t regret it.

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Cauliflower Potato Curry and Palak Paneer

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If it were up to me, every night would be Indian night in my kitchen! I love the complex spice blends and flavor contrasts as well as the great variety of vegetarian dishes that can be created with just a few humble kitchen staples.

I haven’t enjoyed palak paneer in years, ever since I went vegan–so I was elated to come across an excellent recipe online for a vegan version made with tofu instead of the cheese.

Vegan Palak Paneer

 www.olivesfordinner.com

I couldn’t decide which recipe to make, so I made both the Palak Paneer and Cauliflower and Potato Curry for the same meal. Boy, were we stuffed–but happily so and with plenty of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch!

Cauliflower Potato Curry

http://www.ethnicvegan.com

Coconut Curried Tofu and Spinach

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Flipping through the pages of  Fitness Magazine I was  delighted to find a vegan recipe. I was also happy to find the recipe quick and easy (crock-pot), with familiar, easy-to find ingredients. Not only that–the ingredients are easy to substitute–say, for instance, bok choy for the spinach or Creminis for Shitakes, etc.

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This dish is delicious. I’ve already made it twice in one week! The tofu really offers a rich protein source and the veggies lend great flavor, while the coconut milk and peanut butter give it a creamy sauce with just a little red curry kick!

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Coconut Curried Tofu and Spinach

 from Fitness Magazine

 Nonstick cooking spray

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup low-sodium veggie broth

¼ cup natural peanut butter

1 teaspoon red curry paste

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy or tamari sauce

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 14-ounce package firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes

6 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced (or white, cremini, etc.)

1 cup light coconut milk

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

6 cups baby spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces

4 lime wedges, optional

4 servings hot cooked brown rice

1. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine cornstarch and broth in cooker until cornstarch is dissolved.; stir in peanut butter, curry paste, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Add peppers and mushrooms and toss gently. Cook on low 4 hours.

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2. Stir in coconut milk, lime juice and spinach, turn slow cooker to high; cook 15 minutes more.

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Serve wth rice and garnish with lime wedges if desired.

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Tofu Pad Thai with Rice Noodles

IMG_1381One of my favorite noodles dishes made vegan and oh so much healthier than take-out! This recipe is super-easy and is adapted from the cookbook “Big Vegan” by Robin Asbell.

Tofu Pad Thai with Rice Noodles

4 ounces Rice noodles
¼ cup Vegetable broth
¼ cup Lime Juice (or less, to taste)
¼ cup Tamari
2 tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
1 ½ teaspoons Canola oil
7 ounces Firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/4 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons Ginger, fresh, minced or grated
1 cloves Minced garlic
1 ½ Scallions, Cut in 1 inch pieces
3 ounces Bean sprouts
2 tablespoons Roasted peanuts, chopped
2 tablespoons Cilantro

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a cup, mix together the stock, lime juice, tamari, sugar and cornstarch.

2. Heat the oil over high heat, and crumble the tofu into the pan. Add the pepper flakes and fry until the tofu is browned, stirring constantly. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for 1 minute.

3. Meanwhile, soak the noodles in the boiling water for 5-7 minutes, or until al dente. Drain them. Stir and add the stock mixture to the pan with tofu.

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4. Stir and quickly add the noodles, scallions and sprouts. Stir-fry gently until the liquids are thickened and the noodles are coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with the peanuts and cilantro.

Servings/Yield: 2 servings

Zesty Orange Mojo Baked Tofu

IMG_2438It’s never too late to rediscover tofu. If you think you’ve tried it before, you haven’t really, until you’ve tasted this recipe from “Viva Vegan” by Terry Hope Romero. IMG_2427The recipe is not officially posted on the web by Ms. Romero, but it can be found here at the ChowHound site. I can attest it is the same from the book. What I love about this recipe is the flavor packs a real punch for the relative simplicity of the ingredients. Think fresh citrus, cumin and garlic.  I also love that it is baked, so you can pop it in the oven and wander away for awhile or make your side dishes in the meantime with the stovetop free. IMG_2433 I would serve this tofu with lime cilantro rice and grilled tri-color bell peppers. It would be nice stuffed in a burrito or or taco as well. I would also put it on a plate all by itself and eat it, which I can’t seem to stop doing. IMG_2436I tried this recipe a few days ago, then I had to make it again today and I doubled the recipe this time. That’s how delicious it is. This is the recipe to make for those that do not  yet appreciate the subtle flavor of tofu on its own.

I tried the recipe with both frozen thawed tofu and regular pressed tofu and prefer the regular. The frozen thawed tofu absorbed too much of the marinade during baking and it came out pretty dry, although flavorful. It would almost fool a non-vegan.

Kudos to Ms. Romero, co-author of “Veganomicon”! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Sesame Grilled Tofu with Spicy Green Beans

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I am all about a quick and easy dinner idea and here’s one of my favorites. Especially with a couple of pieces of timesaving equipment: microwave steamer and pasta cooker, this dish goes really fast from stove to table.

Sesame Grilled Tofu

3 Tablespoons Tamari or Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon Sesame oil

14 ounce pkg. Extra firm tofu, pressed

Preheat grill or grill pan to sear setting. Slice tofu width-wise in eight equal slices. Mix soy sauce and sesame oil. Marinate tofu while grill is heating. Remove tofu slices and reserve marinade. Grill tofu slices for approximately 6-8 minutes, until brown and nicely marked.

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Meanwhile, boil up your favorite asian noodle: ramen, soba and udon and micro-cook a couple servings of green beans. Heat about 1 tablespoon of light oil on low in a non-stick pan and add 1 tablespoon Tom Yum Paste or Spicy Black Bean Paste. Toss green beans lightly.

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Drain noodles and toss with remaining marinade. Divide into two bowls. Slice tofu and top noodles. Add green beans on top and serve immediately.

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Savory Breakfast Bake

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I woke this morning dreaming of the perfect breakfast combination in one dish: Tasty tofu scramble, smoky tempeh bacon, sautéed mushrooms, spinach and melted cheez on top of a fresh layer of sweet, moist cornbread.

I think I nailed it with this recipe. Delicious and filling–this is a great dish for a lazy Sunday brunch and the leftovers freeze well for reheating on a busy weekday.

Savory Breakfast Bake

Ingredients

Tofu Scramble:

(recipe courtesy http://www.ppk.com)

14 ounce pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. Olive oil

2 tsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Dried thyme

1/2 tsp. Turmeric

1 tsp. Salt

3 tbsp. water

1/4 cup Nutritional yeast

Freshly ground black pepper

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Cornbread Layer

¾ cup Soy milk
1 cup Whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup Corn meal
2 tbsp. Masa Harina
½ cup Apple sauce
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
½ cup Earth Balance margarine, softened
¼ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking powder
dash Baking soda
2 tbsp. Nutritional yeast

Topping

4 Slices Tempeh bacon, browned and chopped

8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, sliced

Large handful fresh Spinach

1/4 cup vegan cheese shreds

2 Scallions, thinly sliced

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Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish. Make the tofu scramble. Saute the garlic in olive oil until fragrant, but not browned. Add the crumbled tofu and sauté for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, if possible. Lower heat and combine the turmeric, cumin, thyme, salt and water in a small dish. Add to the pan and stir until well coated and water is absorbed. Off the heat, sprinkle nutritional yeast evenly over tofu and stir well, allowing to coat and be absorbed. Season with fresh ground black pepper.

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Saute mushrooms until tender and add spinach until slightly wilted.

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Meanwhile, set up the cornbread layer.

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Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Incorporate softened margarine into dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly, as in making biscuits. Mix wet ingredients well in a separate bowl, then add to dry ingredients. Fold mixture together well but gently, careful not to over mix.

Spread cornbread layer evenly over bottom of prepared baking dish. Top with tofu scramble, mushrooms and spinach. Sprinkle with cheese and scallions. Bake about 25 minutes, until cornbread is puffy and lightly browned, edges pulling away slightly from dish.

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Cool in pan about 10 minutes and cut into squares.

Serves 8

Sesame Noodles with Ginger-Soy Braised Tofu and Steamed Broccoli

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Ever Since I found out my beloved Ma Po Tofu at PF Changs contains more than a full day’s worth of  sodium (3450 mg) I’ve been getting creative coming up with quick Asian lunch ideas.

I cook an extra serving or two of spaghetti at dinner time and store it in the fridge for later. That’s the first timesaver. With a few spare minutes in the kitchen I whip up an easy sesame sauce that is delicious over noodles, or just for dipping steamed broccoli. In about 2 micro- minutes I braise up some tofu to add some protein to my lunch. Toss in some steamed veggies and I’ve got a delicious, nutritious meal for lunch or dinner.

Quick Asian Noodle Sauce

Recipe courtesy Jenna Webber (www.eatliverun.com)

     ½ cup Tahini

       ¼ cup Canola oil

       ½ cup Hot water, as needed

       ¼ cup Sugar

       ¼ cup Rice wine vinegar

       ½ cup Tamari

       ½ tsp. Red pepper flakes

       2 tsp. Ginger, fresh

       1 tsp. Minced garlic

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Refrigerate in airtight container. 

Ginger-Soy Braised Tofu

       7 ounces firm tofu, drained and crumbled

2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari sauce

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

Splash rice vinegar

½ teaspoon chile-garlic sauce

½ teaspoon sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe dish. Cover with a vented lid and microwave at 70% power for 2 minutes. Stir and taste for seasoning. Crumble over noodles and sauce with steamed vegetables as desired.

 

Tofu Black Bean Quesadillas

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I’ve been working pretty hard the past couple of weeks, planning for a big upcoming event. This is where my diet tends to break down and food choices get kind of lax. Too tired to even think about dinner by the time I get to Sunday evening.

Sometimes, however, while rummaging around in the fridge I am hit with that second wind of inspiration. I thought about how I really enjoy scrambled tofu and how easy it is to flavor up with Indian spices and garlic. Tofu absorbs whatever you add to it. So I decided to flavor it with Mexican spices and see if I could make it like taco filling. It worked really well!

 I put it together with whole grain tortillas, leftover black beans, faux cheese, cilantro and green onions. This will make a great filling for tacos, casseroles, nachos or salads too. Dinner crisis averted!

Tofu Taco Filling

1 12-ounce package extra-firm tofu, pressed or squeezed well and crumbled

2 tsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 tsp. cumin

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt ( or less depending on your taste)

1/2 cup water

Saute the onion in olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute about 30 seconds. Add tofu and sauté for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Add spices, salt and water to combine well. Cook and stir over low heat until moisture is absorbed. Check for seasoning and serve hot.

Barbecue Tofu with Baked Beans and Cheesy Mash

TofuBarbequeWith daylight savings time and the longer evenings, I just can’t wait for those summer cookouts. It’s fun to pull out the grill on a regular old weeknight and turn out some great barbecue!

Whether you like it smoky or spicy, savory or sweet, there’s no reason to give up your favorite barbeque flavors as a vegetarian or vegan. Tofu has a wonderfully absorbent quality when it comes to flavors. It’s especially so when it is frozen, thawed and pressed  beforehand.

Here’s a basic barbecue flavored marinade, that can be used by itself or along with your favorite barbecue sauce at grill time.

Smoky BBQ Tofu Marinade

¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or mirin)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1-1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons paprika or chili powder

Blend all ingredients and pour over tofu. Makes about 1/2 cup, enough for 1 pound.

There are so many sides to choose from, but on a weeknight, I choose the easiest to prepare. Here is a quick and easy baked bean recipe that can be baking in the oven while you prepare the rest of the meal. It is sweet and tangy with a rich tomato flavor.

Homemade Baked Beans

courtesy of Jenna Weber (www.eatliverun.com)

1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 of a large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 bay leaf
1 tsp hot sauce
8 oz tomato sauce
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 350
In a cast iron skillet or non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté for about five minutes or until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more.
Add the maple syrup, tomato sauce, salt, ground mustard, hot sauce and ketchup and simmer for five minutes.
Add the beans and bay leaf, stir, then cover the skillet with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, stirring once during the baking process.
Allow to cool and serve warm.

Serves 4

Cheesy mashed potatoes is the simplest side dish of all, provided you have some leftover cheesy sauce hanging around in the fridge, which I think everyone should! https://veganflavorista.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/sexy-cheezy-sauce/

Cheesy Mash

courtesy of Vegan Flavorista

Wash and dry four big potatoes. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave 10 minutes. Mash with unsweetened non-dairy milk until desired consistency is reached. Stir in a big dollop of Dijon mustard, then season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Take about 4 scallions, washed and dried, and snip them with kitchen shears right into the potatoes. Stir to blend.

Gently reheat cheesy sauce and drizzle over warm mashed potatoes. Heavenly!

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Cheesy Broccoli Soup

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It’s still winter where I live, in sunny Florida. Happily, our little cold snaps are short-lived. This is great weather for curling up in a blanket with a hot bowl of nourishing soup.

This broccoli soup is refreshingly light as compared to the traditional butter, milk and cheese recipe many of us grew up with. It is thickened by the puree of vegetables, and lightly finished with a rich and flavorful blend of cashews, silken tofu and seasonings  combined to create a wonderfully cheese-like experience that compliments vegetables, nachos, pizza, tofu scramble, and many other dishes.

Broccoli Soup

  • 1 tbsp. Canola oil
  • 1 White onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 1 ½ pounds Broccoli
  • 4 cups Vegetable stock
  • ½ tsp. Sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups Spinach leaves, fresh, packed
  • 1/2 recipe Cheezy Sauce (see below)
1.Trim and chop broccoli, including stems, reserving 2 cups of florets.
2.In a large soup pot, saute onions and celery in canola oil until transluscent, about 10 minutes.
3.Add broccoli, except reserved floret, and stir in stock, salt and pepper. : Cover and bring to simmer over high heat. Decrease heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, until very tender.
4.Stir in spinach and continue to simmer until wilted. Puree with immersion blender until smooth.: Add broccoli florets and simmer until tender.
5.Drizzle individual servings with cheezy sauce and serve immediately. Yields 4-6 servings.

Cheezy Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Cashews, raw
  • 12 oz. Soft, silken tofu
  • ¼ tsp. Garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. Onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. Turmeric
  • ½ tsp. Yellow miso
  • ½ tsp. Paprika
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Chipotle powder
  • 2 tsp. Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp. Water

Method:

1.In a small pot, cover the cashews with water, and boil for about 8 minutes to soften. Drain and let cool.
2.In a food processor, process cashews until they’re finely ground. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

Savory Scrambled Tofu with Sausage Bacon

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This is my favorite tofu scramble recipe. It features fragrant spices: thyme and cumin as well as a bit of garlic. It’s as easy to put together on a busy workday morning as a lazy Sunday. You can find this delicious recipe and so many others from the Post Punk Kitchen by clicking here.

I like to kick up my breakfast sandwich with thin slices of my favorite vegan sausage, seared crispy brown and layered on whole grain toast with a bit of yellow mustard.

sandwich

Today I used Field Roast chipotle flavor. It’s a spicy companion to the fragrant Indian spices in the tofu scramble. This scramble stores and reheats well (that is, if you have any leftovers) for wraps, stuffing mushrooms or peppers–even sprinkling on a salad.

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Smoky Cheddar Sauce

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The next recipe in my “Turning on to Tofu” series, this deceptively simple cheese sauce. I used soft silken tofu combined with cashews, to add a smooth, creamy consistency that pours easily over nachos, veggies, baked potatoes, burgers–you name it!

prep

I love that I always have these staple ingredients in my pantry and fridge. Tofu stores well, so I try to keep a couple packages handy for whipping up a batch of quick scramble or a cheese spread. Maybe even a chocolate mousse. I’ll get to those recipes later.

“Smoky Cheddar Cheeze Sauce” (from “The Sexy Vegan” by Brian Patton)

Ingredients:

1 cup whole, raw cashews

1 12 oz. package soft, silken tofu

1/4 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder and turmeric

1/2 teaspoon yellow miso

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon liquid smoke, to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2/3 cup water

Method:

Place the cashews in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and cook for 8 minutes, to soften them up a bit. While the cashews are cooking, measure the dry spices, combine and set aside.

Drain tofu of any extra liquid. Measure wet ingredients, combine and set aside. By this time the cashews should be done cooking. Drain them well and allow to cool. This is a good time to prepare the nacho toppings.snip

Here’s a little tip I learned from Martha Stewart back in the day: snip scallions with a sharp pair of kitchen shears. I found this also works great with herbs and olives. One of many great timesavers I learned from Ms. Stewart, including how to say, “Marin-ah-de”.

Grind the cashews in a food processor until fine. Add the tofu and half of the wet ingredients. Process until well blended. Add the remaining wet ingredients and process until very smooth. Add the desired amount to a small pot and heat very gently stirring often, until warmed. Do not boil. The sauce will thicken a bit as it heats and turn a lovely shade of cheese.

While sauce is heating, preheat the oven to 275 degrees and warm the tortilla chips for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour sauce over chips with desired toppings and enjoy! Store leftover sauce in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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Blueberry Pancakes Stuffed with Tofu Scramble and Tempeh Chorizo

This was a dinner idea that popped into my head during the cool down phase of my workout tonight. Yes, I was really hungry!

It got me thinking…how I really enjoy tofu in its many forms, today more than ever. Tofu has this chameleon-like quality that lends itself so well to so many applications.

The thing about tofu–I never really appreciated it until I quit eating meat. Not until my palate adjusted to a level of sensitivity where it could pick up on subtle flavors and textures did I truly begin to enjoy what has become a staple in my menus.

This recipe begins a short series I will call “Turning on to Tofu”. I will be sharing over the coming posts, some of my favorite uses for this versatile food.

For the above recipe, I took a lovely homemade vegan blueberry pancake ( I always keep a few in the freezer), warmed it in the microwave and rolled it out with a rolling pin to flatten it a bit. I scooped in a good portion of fresh scrambled tofu (Post Punk Kitchen’s recipe) and a spoonful of tempeh chorizo (recipe from Sexy Vegan).

I rolled it up like a burrito and served it with a little real maple syrup. It was delicious!

 

 

Blueberry Cheezecake

One of the foods many vegans reluctantly let go of is cream cheese–most eventually finding consolation for the morning bagel in the form of hummus or any one of a dozen different kinds of nut butters available on the market.

One food that’s seemingly impossible to duplicate, however, or find a suitable whole food replacement for,  is cheesecake. It makes me realize how truly decadent that dessert is.

Now, I know there is this substance called “Better than Cream Cheese”. However, it is off the deal, due to it’s high fat content and it is full of additives. I prefer to stick with more natural ingredients. Enter the Golden Cheesecake from fellow blogger, Playful and Hungry

I added a graham cracker walnut crust and a sweet, organic blueberry topping and voila! Of course it tastes nothing like traditional cheesecake, but in my opinion plant-strong recipes always end up tasting better all around. And I get the bonus of knowing that I just ate real food that will fuel my body.