I know I say this a lot, but this is my new favorite way to enjoy tofu. Yes. Tofu. Tofu is the chameleon of vegan foods, taking on the flavors of whatever you cook with it, while providing a nice texture your mouth will enjoy. This recipe was inspired by the clearance corner of the local grocery store. It’s located right next to the produce department–very, very convenient for this vegan! Anyway, a recent visit produced a variety of Asian sauces and marinades, including a Kung Pao sauce. Kung Pao has always been a favorite Chinese take-out option, so why not try it at home? With tofu. Oh, yeah, yum-o-palooza!
I Googled around and found most Kung Pao recipes had peppers, onions and squash–staples of my vegan fridge. I also had a bit of broccoli and a head of cauliflower. Essentially, this is a stir-fry of whatever veggies you have, Kung Pao sauce and usually peanuts. I used cashews instead. Here’s what was in my recent Kung Pao, cut all veggies to a similar size–about 1 inch.
- 2 bell peppers (different colors), diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 small zucchini
- 1/4-1/2 head of cauliflower
- 1 package firm or extra firm tofu
- Kung Pao sauce–enough to coat the veggies
- 1/4-1/2 cup cashews
Squeeze moisture from tofu and dice.
Lightly spray a large fry pan or wok with cooking spray and saute tofu until golden.
Set tofu aside and add peppers and onion to the pan. Saute until onions start to caramelize–about 5 minutes.
Add the rest of the veggies to the pan and saute until tender-crisp, another 5-10 minutes.
Gently add tofu back to the pan, avoiding breaking it up.
Add cashews, gently stir to combine.
Add enough sauce to coat the veggies and tofu. I used about half the jar.
Serve over rice. How pretty is this?! The pre-made sauce makes this company-worthy meal quick and easy. And taste? Yum-o-palooza! I liked it just like this, but Michael added some hot sauce to kick up the heat. Red pepper flake would be awesome as well, or a sambal chile sauce. Mmmmmmm.
Hummus just got multi-purpose. Well, hummus has always been spreadable and dip-able, but make it with white beans, and it becomes almost mayo-esque. You know, that extra little bit of flavor that really makes a sandwich yummy, but doesn’t try to take over the sandwich filling. The perfect veggie dipper as-is or with whatever fresh chopped herbs inspire you….dill? Oh yeah. How about adding rosemary and topping a baked potato? Are you feeling the versatility? You’ll want some in your fridge at all times.
How simple are these ingredients?!
- 2 cans of white beans, drained and rinsed–retain the liquid from one can to adjust the texture
- 2 small lemons, juiced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
Place beans, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor.
Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides and adding bean liquid as needed to smooth out the spread and attain a velvety texture. Taste it and add salt and pepper as needed.
Spread on a flat bread, top with veggies of your choice and lunch is served! Yummy!
Store in a sealed container in the fridge. I added some to a tabbouleh instead of the oil suggested–even better! How will you use YOUR spread?
My college-student son shared his favorite coffee shop, Margie’s Blue Mug, with us on one of our visits. Besides coffee, Margie’s offers a variety of breakfast and lunch items. One of those is my new favorite sandwich; the only sandwich I want to eat right now: The Lexi.
I get it vegetarian/vegan, without the cream cheese and sliced turkey it usually comes with. My son says it’s spectacular with those things, so if you’re not vegan, I’m sure he’d recommend you add those in to the somewhat quirky ingredients:
For one sandwich
- 1 whole wheat bagel (or bagel of your choice)
- 1-2 TBSP prepared basil pesto (get or make pesto without Parmesan to be vegan)
- 1-2 TBSP apricot jam (I used peach today)
- sliced tomatoes (I used 4 slices from a roma tomato)
- sliced red onion (I used one thin slice, separated into rings)
- lettuce (Margie’s uses a greens mix, I had romaine)
Spread pesto on one side of the bagel, and jam on the other. YES! This is the quirky part, but what a combo! These two condiments MAKE the sandwich. They’re what make me want to make a Lexi for every meal. Even breakfast.
Put the lettuce, onion and tomato on the bottom half, top it with the lid of the bagel and there you are! The Lexi!
WARNING– this sandwich disappears in a hurry. One second you have a whole bagel sandwich, the next second you have a plate with a crumb or two on it. Yup. It’s THAT yummy.
Aka: Sopa De Flor De Calabaza. When Mom and Dad moved to New Mexico years ago, Mom immersed herself in all things Southwest, especially the flavors. She and Dad had a favorite restaurant in Palomas, Mexico called The Pink Store, where she ALWAYS ordered their Squash Blossom Soup. Last summer, as my plants produced more squash than I could keep up with, I decided a bit of flower pruning was in order and thought about Mom’ favorite soup. A squash plant makes tons more male flowers than female (the ones with a baby squash at the base of the blossom), so you can gather the male flowers for this soup. Or, if you need a break from squash, gather some female flowers as well. Without the recipe from The Pink Store, I was on my own with my friend, The Google. I selected a recipe that was attributed to Frieda Kahlo–I think Mom would have liked the recipe with a history. And, like Mom would have, adjusted it it to ingredients I had on hand that stayed within the intent of the original recipe. So here you go, Mom:
I made this prior to becoming vegan, but it will be super easy to veganize the recipe this summer. I’ll place vegan substitutes in parenthesis.
- 1 white or yellow onion, peeled, and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 4 TBSP unsalted butter (use veggie or “No Chicken” broth for sauteing)
- 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off, or one package frozen corn
- chile peppers of your choice–I used 1 poblano and 1 jalepeno–finely chopped, seeded if you want less heat
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 cups chopped summer squash–I used 1 zucchini and 2 patty pans
- 2 or 3 tomatillos, chopped
- 1-2 cups squash blossoms, cleaned and rough-chopped
- 4 cups chicken broth (No Chicken broth)
- tortilla chips
- plain yogurt (soy yogurt or skip altogether)
- lime wedges
In a large pot, melt butter (heat about 1/4 cup of broth) and saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent. 3-5 minutes.
Add chile peppers, corn and cumin. Cook for an addition 2-3 minutes.
Add squash and tomatillos, cook 2-3 more minutes.
Separate the stems and sepals from the flowers.
Chop and add squash blossoms and continue to cook, 5 more minutes.
Add broth (No chicken broth) and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings to your taste.
Ladle into bowls, garnish with toppings and enjoy!
Squash blossoms taste like squash, only more delicate. They add a luxurious texture and flavor layer to this soup; and for me, a lovely memory of my Mom.
Filed under appetizer, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Food memories, Garden produce, Gluten-free, lunch, recipe, restaurants, side dish, Vegetarian
Potatoes are my ultimate comfort food. I love them baked, fried, mashed, boiled, stuffed, scalloped,… I don’t think I’ve encountered a potato I didn’t like. Aside from being comforting and yummy, potatoes are nutritious–containing almost half your daily requirement for vitamin C in a single potato! This post is really more of a technique rather than a recipe–think of what you’d stuff a baked potato with–and mashers can be your go-to side dish in no time.
Just a few ingredients, a couple of pans and you’re on the way:
- 4 medium red or yellow potatoes–”boiling” potatoes work best for mashers–washed and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 bunch of broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 packet of vegan cheese sauce, (purchased at a natural foods grocery) prepared according to the package, thinned with 1/2 cup soy milk
- extra soy milk to adjust the texture of the mashers
Cut your veggies into pieces of a similar size, cover with water and boil until potatoes are fork tender. I don’t peel the potatoes to keep as much of the nutrition intact as possible.
Prepare the cheese sauce and thin it a bit with non-dairy milk. Set aside.
Drain the veggies and place back into the hot pan to cook off any left-over water. Add the cheese sauce.
Mash everything together, adding a bit more non-dairy milk to adjust the texture to your preferences. I like to leave my mashers a bit chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve as a side dish! Mashers are a yummy and nutritious alternative to chips or fries with (veggie!) burgers.
What will you put in your mashers?
Asparagus is my absolute favorite spring-time veggie. It grows wild on our property, but won’t be up for a while yet. Lucky me, though-it has started appearing in the grocery store! Hurray! But….quiche always comes to mind when I see asparagus–what’s a vegan to do? You go to your new friends, the authors of vegan cookbooks and blogs and get a tasty solution! While this quiche is not exactly the same as a custardy quiche, it has the eggy-cheesy yum factor of quiche. Enough that I crave the leftovers as much as I ever did. Served up with a savory tomato soup, it’s one satisfying meal. Happy, happy tummy.
This recipe is now a go-to when I have tofu in the fridge; it’s adapted from The Everyday Happy Herbivore‘s Greens Quiche.
- 1 lb firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1 1/2 TBSP Dijon mustard
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
- 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into bite-sized pieces and steamed (half of the bunch shown)
- 1 large shallot, chopped and sauteed ( I have 5 little ones from last years’ garden–I have a tendency to use the big ones up first.)
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a shallow 8 or 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray, set aside.
Prepare and steam the asparagus, saute the shallot in a couple TBSP veggie broth until soft and translucent.
Combine everything else in a food processor.
Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
Remove the blade and stir in steamed asparagus and sauteed shallot.
Pour and spread evenly into the prepared pie pan.
Bake 30-40 minutes; until golden and firm in the center. (Not mushy) Allow to cool 10 minutes before cutting.
Cut into 6-8 wedges and dish it up! Very quiche-y, super yummy paired with this savory tomato soup.
So wonderful warmed up the next day. You’ll be so glad you made it. Especially when you know 1/6 of the quiche costs you only 84 calories with only 1.2 grams of fat, 10.7 grams carbs and a whopping 9.2 grams of protein! (A regular egg and cheese asparagus quiche comes in at 260 calories with 17 grams of fat, 18 carbs and 7 grams of protein.) Happy tummy and healthy me.
One of the stars of our impromptu potluck the other night was this soup. Earlier in the day, I decided to make a vegan asparagus quiche, and asked my blog’s Facebook fans what they thought I should serve with it. Tomato soup was suggested, and I decided to look for a low-fat, vegan recipe. I found one on this funky blog, Foodie Fiasco, written by a 14 year-old! That little chica has skillz! It was quick and easy to make and killer-yummy. We ran out of soup before we ran out of the desire to eat more of it! I made it pretty much exactly as written, and wouldn’t change a thing.
Assemble a few pantry staples and you’ll have this savory soup in no time!
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 average-sized cloves)
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used two 140z cans, one of which was fire roasted–yum!)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup almond milk (I used light soy)
- salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot, saute onion in 2-3 TBSP veggie broth over medium-high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute.
Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, and cider vinegar. Bring to a boil.
Stir in broth and non-dairy milk. Bring to a boil again. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup to your desired consistency. Alternately, you could blend in a regular blender in small batches, being especially careful with the hot soup. Let the soup simmer a while longer for the flavors to really blend.
Serve it up with a slice of quiche, a sandwich, a salad or just get a big ol’ bowl and make it a meal! Try this soup just once, and you won’t want canned tomato soup ever again!