This time of year is always busy. So many weddings, BBQs, birthday parties, and of course, work (work, work, work, work). Come the weekend, all I want to do is sleep in, wake up to birds chirping and a strong cup of coffee, and shop locally at our farmer’s market. In Wisconsin, we currently have a plethora of carrots, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, potatoes, and of course, green beans.
Green beans and wax beans as far as the eye can see. $3 for how many beans? Um, done. Goodness, I love summer.
Combine minced shallot, oil, vinegar and salt in a mason jar and set aside.
Bring several inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add beans. Boil until the beans are bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the beans from the saucepan and submerge in an ice bath. Shake dry and place on a platter.
Spread the corn on top of the beans. Shake the dressing to blend and drizzle it over the vegetables. Top with fresh basil and pepper. Serve at room temperature or cold.
Recipe adapted from http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/
I don’t often eat vegan, but when I do I’m usually very happy with that decision. My brain and my body feel good. But once in awhile I have to eat something that satisfies that craving for comfort food. I admit, I feel less guilty for eating such a comforting dish when it is vegan. Does that make me a terrible person? I could eat a pound of deep-fried tofu and probably feel okay with that.
Let’s start with the mozzarella cheese shreds. The flavor was surprisingly good and the “cheese” melts like normal cheese! I was able to create a successful cheese sauce with this. Highly recommended. I’ll buy this again. I’m especially excited to try to make a vegan pizza with these shreds. Gonna shred on some shreds, yo.
What am I talking about? Who knows.
On to the co-star of the show: The pepperoni. By itself, the flavor of this pepperoni is not my favorite. I realize this is fake meat, but I was hoping this would taste a little closer to pepperoni. But who eats pepperoni by itself? When you use this in combination with the Go Veggie! cheese, brown rice pasta, and sauce, it’s pretty darn good! Each bite of this dish had a great cheesy, mouth feel. Plus you got a nice bit of spice from the pepperoni.
This is something I will definitely make again and again.
1 cup grated vegan cheese (I used mozzarella but I like a blend of mozz and cheddar)
1/4 cup vegan pepperoni, chopped
Salt and pepper
Boil the macaroni according to the package instructions while you make the sauce.
Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium low heat. Add the flour and whisk, constantly stirring for 1-2 minutes. Your roux should resemble a thick paste. Add the milk in 1/2 cup increments, whisking well after each addition to form a thick but smooth sauce. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, onion, mustard, paprika, tomato paste, and vegan cheese and whisk until everything is melted together and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more milk if the sauce becomes too thick.
Drain the pasta and return it to its pot. Add the cheese sauce to the pasta. Fold the sauce into the pasta until each piece is coated and then fold in the pepperoni. Serve hot.
I think we all need a little more curry in our lives, don’t you think? Well we do. Curry recipes are generally easy to make, just as long as you have all of the ingredients you need, so they’re great for weeknights. I have to say, this was good on rice but I especially enjoyed it with flatbread. YUM! Love me my carbs.
After all, this is a vegan dish. That means I can eat more flatbread right?
This makes a good amount of curry. I’d say we could have fed a family of eight. We ate leftovers until we were saturated with curry since there are only two of us and even though we tried, our efforts failed to feed curry to the cat. Apparently she only eats succulent beef.
Cats… I tell ya. It’s a good thing curry is human friendly.
1 pound red potatoes (4-5 egg sized potatoes), diced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or grated on a microplane
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
2 to 3 teaspoons salt
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
10 ounces baby spinach
Warm a tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions with a half teaspoon of salt until they begin to brown. If they pick up some charred edges, even better. Add the potatoes with another pinch of salt and continue cooking until the potatoes are almost cooked through but still hard in the very middle. Clear a little space in the middle of the pan and add the spices with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and then stir the spices into the onions and potatoes.
Serve hot with rice and/or flatbread.
Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring the curry to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Cook until the potatoes are completely soft and the sauce has reduced and thickened. Stir in the chickpeas, then stir in the spinach in two batches. Taste and add more salt or other seasonings as desired. If the curry looks soupy, let it simmer until thickened.
Remove from heat. Curry can be made up to three days in advance.
Summer may be “officially” over but that doesn’t mean the BBQing has to stop! I’ve been on a skewer kick lately. For me, skewers are always a favorite at a party because they are simple to put together and are hand held so guests can simply grab one and go.
This was the first time I had grilled tofu on a skewer before and it turned out really well! The marinade is packed with so much flavor, you don’t need to do anything else with your vegetables except add a bit of salt and pepper. The tofu really is the star here. Because tofu is basically a blank slate protein, the longer you marinate the tofu the better. Keep that in mind as you prepare these.
Vegetables (we used peppers, onion, mushrooms and zucchini), cut into large chunks
Skewers (soaked, if you are using wooden skewers)
salt and pepper
Slice tofu into one to one and a half inch thick cubes.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade and place in a medium sized ziplock bag. Place the tofu in the the bag and tightly close the bag. Allow the tofu to marinade for at least one hour (the longer the better), turning at least once.
Preheat your grill to medium heat and grease the grate. In the mean time, carefully slide the vegetables and the tofu onto your skewers. Lightly salt and pepper the skewers then grill them for 5-6 minutes on each side. Baste with extra marinade if desired.
How was your Independence Day? I hope it was filled with good people and good memories. And here’s hoping you don’t have to work until Monday!
After all of that alcohol and BBQ, it’s nice to treat your body with an easy vegan meal. Salads are great, but sometimes I need something more substantial. These fajitas are great for that. Seitan is my absolute favorite non-meat. To me, the texture resembles chicken breast. I spiced these up and added this seitan fajitas for Mister and he didn’t even know it was a Vegan meal until I saw him going back for seconds and mentioned, “Not bad for a meatless meal, huh?”
Fajitas are great because they are so versatile. We put onions, peppers and mushrooms in ours, but you can really customize it according to your likes and dislikes. You can add slaw, avocado, corn, etc. to your own fajitas.
1 10-ounce chipotle flavored package of seitan (or omit the chipotle if you want milder fajitas)
1 cup bell pepper strips
1 small yellow onion, cut into strips
1 cup mushrooms, sliced in half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Tablespoon canola oil
Salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc. (optional)
Cut the seitan into 1-1/2 inch strips of a moderate thickness. Add the salt, cumin, chili powder, and both types of pepper, and toss together until evenly coated. In a large skillet heat the canola oil. Add the onions, pepper strips and mushrooms and stir fry quickly over medium high heat until they barely soften. Add the seitan and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until seitan is warmed through! Do not overcook! Because seitan is already “cooked” all you need to do is just add it at the very end.
Warm the tortillas and keep them covered so they don’t cool off & dry out. Serve these buffet style with toppings and sides.
Tofu is a new protein in our household. I’ve never been a huge fan of tofu growing up but I have been eating more and more of it to help ease into more of a plant-based diet. Call it a transitional food for me. Though there are mixed feelings around soy in the vegan community, tofu seems to be everywhere these days.
Tofu has a reputation for being plain or boring, and frankly, it is… by itself. But think of tofu as a blank canvas, and think of yourself as an artist who can manipulate that canvas to your heart’s content. Tofu can be a very flavorful addition to your dish if you treat it right.
Here I took an Indian spin on tofu. Traditionally, Aloo Matar is a curry dish with potatoes and peas. I didn’t have potatoes on hand but I did have tofu so I thought I would try it out. I like the way this dish turned out. It is vegan-diet friendly, the tofu absorbed all of the flavors of the curry and because I omitted the potatoes and served this on rice, I feel that this dish turned out a lot lighter. Not a bad way to enjoy tofu if I don’t say so myself!
Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large pan to medium heat and add the onions and ginger. Cook until the onions begin to sweat, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato, chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, curry powder, cayenne powder (if using) and salt. Add about a tablespoon of water and mix. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the tofu, peas, 1 cup of water and bouillon cube and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the garam masala powder, mix and cook for another minute. Serve ith bread or rice.
You’ve seen tofu at restaurants. You may have already eaten tofu yourself. Tofu is just about everywhere these days. Tofu is a soy product that is one of the easiest and healthiest food to cook. It’s packed with protein and has such a mild flavor that you can influence it’s flavor profile however you want. If you want to make restaurant-quality (a.k.a. really tasty) crispy tofu at home, there are a few steps you need to take.
Slice open the package and cut the tofu into thick rectangles or cubes. Lay each piece on a dish towel or layers of paper towels, then place another dish towel or paper towels on top of the tofu. Set a cookie sheet on top to squeeze some of the moisture out. You shouldn’t have to go to extremes here, because you purchased extra-firm tofu.
2. Make the surface of your tofu as dry as possible
Like anything you cook in hot oil, you want to make sure you’re not adding any unwanted moisture to the pan. Dry, dry, dry your tofu. Wipe it dry, or better yet toss your tofu in corn starch. I’ve cooked tofu both ways and to me the only difference between the two are that adding corn starch to your tofu prevents dangerous and unpleasant sputtering.
3. Use a cast-iron skillet to pan fry your tofu
If you want crispy tofu, you really need a pan that has an evenly heated surface area. For me, that is my seasoned cast-iron skillet. Add a layer of oil, heat it up, and gently drop your tofu in. Fry all sides of the tofu until golden brown and crispy.
Boom! Extra crispy tofu. Just remember, if you plan to use your tofu in a stir-fry or with something saucy, set the tofu aside first. Then cook all of the remaining ingredients and add the tofu back in at the last minute so it remains crispy as long as possible.
Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch thick rectangles and pat dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel. Toss the tofu in cornstarch until coated. Heat oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat, until the oil is just shimmering. Carefully place the tofu pieces into the oil. Lightly fry the tofu until golden brown on one side, then flip with a slotted spatula. Once golden brown on both sides, drain the tofu on a paper towel and set aside. Lower the heat of the pan to low and wait a few minutes.
In the same oil, add the onions. Fry lightly until the onions turn soft and transparent. Take care not to burn them by maintaining the heat at low to medium-low. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring to prevent burning.
Add the turmeric, coriander, chilli, salt, and tamarind paste and fry for about a minute. Then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, sri racha (if using), beans and edamame and cook until the tomatoes break down and the oil separates from the sauce, about 5 minutes. Taste the beans, the beans should be more than half cooked at this stage. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as needed.
Finally add the fried tofu and mix well. Simmer for a minute to reheat the tofu, remove from the heat, garnish wtih green onions and serve warm with rice or rice noodles.
This is my new favorite, quick and easy snack or side dish. This couscous salad is packed with bright flavors from the lemon, basil and fresh vegetables. It’s also light and refreshing, perfect for these warm days ahead of us. Plus it keeps for awhile, so you can prepare it ahead of time for parties.
I didn’t have any chickpeas or garbanzo beans on hand, but I bet a can of these would make this couscous salad more filling and packed with protein.
Howdy and happy Groundhog’s Day to you! This isn’t really a Groundhog’s Day inspired recipe (who eats groundhog anyway?) but I had a plethora of oats and almonds in my pantry that inspired this recipe instead.
I bought some fresh strawberries and these vegan strawberry bars were born! I love that this recipe uses real fruit instead of jam. That makes it healthy right? Okay, not really. There is plenty of sugar in these bars, but they are completely dairy and egg-free, so that helps.
Usually when I read those words (“dairy-free” and “egg-free”) I instantly connect it to being tasteless. I know, that’s a shameful thing to do but I am a bacon-lover at heart after all. Have no fear though, because the fresh strawberries with the texture of the crumble really are a winning combination that does not lack in flavor one bit. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!
Are you looking for something new to make for brunch this weekend? Try this scramble on for size. With the right method and seasonings, this dish will mock scrambled eggs.
This is one of those recipes that is super versatile too. It’s great for those days when you want to use up some leftover produce odds and ends from the previous week. Add or omit cheese to make this a vegan dish. Wrap in a flour tortilla for an easy breakfast burrito. Serve with breakfast potatoes for a heartier meal. Experiment with different vegetable combinations.
1 cup diced vegetables (I used broccoli, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes)
1 block tofu, drained and pressed
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Shredded mozzarella, Parmesan or feta (or nutritional yeast)
Dash of turmeric, optional (this will make your tofu look more like real eggs)
Using either your hands or a fork, crumble the pressed tofu.
Sautee onion, vegetables and crumbled tofu in oil for 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium and allow to cook 5-7 more minutes, stirring frequently and adding more oil if needed.
Serve as is, wrapped in a flour tortilla, or on top of a pile of breakfast potatoes.
Nutritional information based on a recipe that does not include dairy or potatoes.
Quinoa is magical, isn’t it? It fills your belly but it doesn’t fill your waste-line. Quinoa is one of those healthy grains that you can manipulate to make it your own too. I like to cook mine in broth and add fresh herbs and veggies. This salad is tasty at any temperature too – great for those outdoor parties where you don’t necessarily have access to a stove or oven.
My porch garden is doing surprisingly well this year, considering the hot summer we are having. These guys are in full bloom.
And I’m using them in full force. This summer salad is fresh and easy and great for those times when you come home from the farmer’s market and realize that you can’t recall anything that happened in the last two hours but somehow came home with bags and bags of produce.
This was my first attempt at a vegan dessert and I must say that I patted myself on the back for this one. There aren’t a ton of kooky ingredients in this recipe (by “kooky” I mean ingredients that I buy once and never again) however, you might be surprised to read that this mousse consists mostly of avocado. Don’t worry, you can’t taste the avocado at all. It simply provides the smooth texture you want in every good mousse. Wild huh?
What makes this recipe even better is that every part of it requires absolutely ZERO baking. That is especially nice to hear after surviving these 100 degree days. So mix this up, relax and indulge in this chilled, practically sin-free yet completely decadent dessert. You deserve it.
2 tbsp coconut oil (other light taste oil may work)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the chocolate mousse:
2 cups avocado flesh (approx 3 small avocados), pitted and scooped out
1/3 cup almond milk
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tbsp chocolate chips, melted
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted if clumpy
Fresh fruit (I used strawberries and raspberries), for serving
For the crust:
Oil a 7-10 inch springform pan and line it with a circle of parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse the pecans until crumbly. Be careful not to over process them as you still want them a bit chunky. Now add in the rest of the crust ingredients and pulse until just mixed. Scoop mixture onto prepared pan and press down firmly and evenly with slightly wet fingers or a spatula. Pop into freezer to set while making the mousse.
For the chocolate mousse:
Place all mousse ingredients (except chocolate chips) into food processor. Process until smooth. In a small bowl, melt your chocolate chips in the microwave and scoop melted chocolate into food processor mixture. Process until smooth.
Remove crust from freezer and scoop this mousse on top of crust. Smooth out as much as possible and then place in the freezer for 2 hours to firm.
Once firm, remove from freezer and allow to sit on the counter for about 5-10 minutes before serving chilled. Place leftover torte in the freezer wrapped and placed in a seal container. Serve with fresh sliced strawberries or raspberries.
This torte should be served chilled. It will get soft at room temperature.