Tag Archives: cauliflower

Thai Peanut Veggies with Pasta

Pressed for time and tired of take-out?  Want somethin’ yummy using stuff you already have on hand?  Love the hot nutty wonderfulness of a Thai peanut sauce?  Look no further, my vegan friends; dinner will be chopstick-ready in no time.  (And for you non-vegans, stir in some rotisserie chicken if you like, but I’m thinking you ought to try it as written here–you won’t miss the meat!)

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This is another fabulous recipe from The Fat Free Vegan.  If you’re vegan and not following her blog or Facebook yet, go do that now!  (I’ll wait here until you get back.)  I’ve altered the recipe slightly, dropping the oil, adjusting to veggies I had on hand, and adding peanuts and cilantro for toppings/garnish.

ingredients

  • 8 oz pasta, prepared according to the package (I used udon noodles)
  • 4-5 cups mixed, chopped veggies (I have red onion, broccoli, two kinds of cauliflower, zucchini, and carrots here)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder or 1 tsp fresh grated
  • 2-3 TBSP natural peanut butter, smooth or chunky  (I used chunky)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8- 1/4 tsp cayenne  (I used 1/4 tsp–we love spicy!)
  • 2-4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

Start heating water for your pasta and chop veggies into similar sizes.  Drop the pasta into the boiling water and saute veggies in a large pan, using veggie broth to keep them from sticking.

saute veggies

As the veggies and pasta cook, saute garlic and ginger in a bit of veggie broth for a minute or two–until aromatic.

saute garlic and ginger

Stir in peanut butter and cook until heated through and combined.  This will start sticking quickly; not to worry–the next step will release it from the bottom of the pan.

add peanut butter

Stir in water, soy sauce, vinegar and cayenne.  Mix until smooth–as smooth as you can get with chunky peanut butter, that is!  Add more water or more peanut butter to adjust the thickness to your liking.

add liquid and cayenne

Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce.

toss with pasta

Stir/toss in the veggies.

toss with veggies

Serve with sliced green onions, peanuts and cilantro.  How easy was that?!

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Perfect for a busy weeknight, fabulous for company, special enough for date night.  Delicious and more spicy for lunch the next day!  Yummy!  We love to use chopsticks for Asian foods…do you?

 

 

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Kung Pao Tofu

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!

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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.

ingredients

  • 2 bell peppers (different colors), diced 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • broccoli
  • 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.

cut tofu into cubes

 

Lightly spray a large fry pan or wok with cooking spray and saute tofu until golden.

saute tofu til golden

Set tofu aside and add peppers and onion to the pan.  Saute until onions start to caramelize–about 5 minutes.

saute peppers and onions

Add the rest of the veggies to the pan and  saute until tender-crisp, another 5-10 minutes.

add squash cauliflower and broccoli

Gently add tofu back to the pan, avoiding breaking it up.

add tofu back

Add cashews, gently stir to combine.

add cashews

Add enough sauce to coat the veggies and tofu.  I used about half the jar.

add sauce

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.

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Roasted Cauliflower and Purple Potato Curry

Mr18 is home from college on spring break.  However, he hasn’t had a part in Michael and my decision to eat vegan.  When he’s home I usually cook his favorite meals for him–most of which involve meat, cheese and eggs.  I did buy him eggs for the omelets he loves in the morning, and treated him to his favorite meat-layered pizza.  The rest of the time he’s been eating vegan with us.  He’s always been a kid who ate his veggies and has always been game to try a bite of something new.  I’ve stayed away from anything with beans (Mr18’s kryptonite), and I’ve tried to stay with flavors he likes; curry is one of his favs.  He did miss the chicken that was included in the curry I used to make, but decided this curry was ok.  Since I’ve been having a bit of a love-fest with cauliflower lately, I replaced the chicken with cauliflower.  I thought the combo of the sweet roasted cauliflower was perfect with the savory spiciness of the curry.  Yummy!

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Once you’ve roasted the veggies, this curry comes together quickly.

ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 purple potatoes, peeled and cubed  (I picked purple because of the color, but red or yellow potatoes would be yummy, too)
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 3-4 TBSP veggie broth
  • 1-2 TBSP curry powder
  • a pinch or two red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1/2-1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (coconut milk would be yummy)
  • pasta of your choice, prepared according to package directions (optional)
  • toppings of your choice–I have coconut, cilantro, cashews, and edamame

Preheat oven to 425F.  Prepare a baking sheet with a silicon mat, parchment paper or spray oil.

Chop the cauliflower, potatoes, apple and onion.  Spread them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Season with salt and pepper and mix with your hands.  Spray lightly once more and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir, then place back into the oven for an additional 15 minutes.

chop potatos cauliflower onion

While the veggies roast, prepare your pasta and the curry sauce.

Place 3 TBSP veggie both in a large pan over medium heat.  Whisk in 2 TBSP flour to create a paste.  Add more broth if your paste is too thick.

make paste w flour and broth

Add the curry and red pepper flake, stir to combine.

add curry and red pepper

Whisk in 2 cups of veggie broth until smooth.  Heat to a simmer to thicken.

add broth

Add 1/2-1 1/2 cups non dairy milk, depending on how you like the flavor and thickness.  I ended up using 1 1/2 cups, to tone down the heat from adding a bit too much red pepper.  🙂

add milk

Remove veggies from the oven, and add the roasted veggies, stirring to coat.

roasted2

add veg1

Add the cooked pasta and toss.

add pasta

Serve with toppings!  Other topping to consider: golden raisins, peas, peanuts, more red pepper flake, chile oil…..  I was thinking I’d use peas, but when I looked in my freezer, the bag I thought was peas was actually edamame.  Not as sweet, but a nice punch of protein.  I love recipes that let me adjust them according to what I have on hand.

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Curry is also a lovely flavor with shrimp or chicken.  It can be served over a starch such as the pasta I chose, or rice or another cooked grain.  It can also be served without the added starch or thinned out with more broth as a soup.  Make it according to your personal tastes and whatever’s in your pantry.  Enjoy!

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Rainbow Spring Rolls with Spicy Plum Sauce (Served with Thai Cauliflower Soup)

I just love it when the flavor ideas I have in my head come together.  I have a recipe for Thai Pork in a crock pot; full of lovely, delicate spices, served with yummy black forbidden rice..  I also had part of a head of cauliflower left over from making cauliflower steaks from the middle part.  AND I wanted to try making spring rolls because I finally found rice paper in one of the grocery stores I shop.  The perfect culinary storm resulted in one super yummy meal.

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Let’s talk about the soup first, because you’ll want to start it before the spring rolls.  I made it using the Thai Pork recipe with a few exceptions:  1.  I cooked it in a large pot on the stove.  The slow cooking was mainly for the pork.  2.  I wanted it more broth-y so I doubled the amount of broth (No Chicken Broth), doubled the Thai spices and used half again as much green curry paste: So 4 cups broth, 2 TBSP Thai spice blend and 1 1/2 TBSP green curry paste.  3.  I used cauliflower instead of the pork.  Chop up approximately 1/2 a head (about 2 cups-ish) of cauliflower in bite-sized pieces.  Otherwise, make the recipe as is from the link above, cooking the carrots, onions, garlic and cauliflower in broth and spices for about 30 minutes before adding the peppers, curry and coconut milk.

cauliflower soup

After starting the soup, make black “Forbidden” rice according to package directions and set aside.  Legend has it that this rice (which isn’t a true rice) was so special it was grown for the emperors.  Commoners were forbidden to eat it.  If you can’t find it, use your favorite rice,  I like the flavor and color contrast of the black.

Finally the spring rolls.  Spring rolls are more of a technique than a recipe.  You can include any veggies you like, tofu, mushrooms, shrimp,…..  I would avoid juicy veg like tomatoes unless they’re seeded.  Spring rolls can be enjoyed as a meal or an appetizer or snack or lunch!

spring rolls

Because the rice paper is transparent, it’s fun to make your ingredients pretty.  I made 14 spring rolls and had a bit of sliced veg and rice paper leftover.

ingredients

  • 1 package rice paper
  • 2 nests of red rice noodles, prepared according to package directions  (any thin rice or bean noodle will do)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 or 4 carrots, thinly sliced and cut to match the length of the peppers
  • 1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded
  • 5 green onions, mainly the white part, thinly sliced and then chopped on a diagonal into 1″ pieces
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced

Prepare all your veggies and place on a cutting board or platter to make the spring rolling more efficient.  Prepare noodles and place in a bowl near the veggies.

chopped rainbow

Soak each piece of rice paper in warm water for 15-20 seconds–until it becomes pliable, but not gummy.  Place it on your working surface and arrange your filling in the lower half.

filing on rice paper

Fold the lower end of the rice paper over the filling.

fold up bottom

Fold in the sides.

fold in sides

Roll it up tightly.  Don’t worry if you don’t roll each roll identical to the last, they’ll be yummy no matter what.

roll up

Place your rolls on a plate or platter.  Don’t worry  they stick to each other, they’ll come apart without tearing.

on platter

Now to make the dipping sauce.  This recipe makes a sweet-hot sauce–my preference.  Michael dipped some of his rolls in hot mustard, and I’ve had some yummy peanut sauces for spring rolls.  So, find your favorite or make a variety to choose from!

The ratio that I like is 2/3 plum sauce to 1/3 Sambal Oelek.  I like the heat to stay in the background.  Adjust it to your heat tolerances.  Both of these sauces can be found on the Asian aisle in your grocery store.

sauce2

Time for the perfect flavor storm!  Place some black rice in one corner of a bowl and ladle in the soup.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and a lime wedge to squeeze over the top.  Grab a couple of spring rolls and a personal bowl of dipping sauce.  Exquisitely yummy.

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Louise’s Creamy Chipotle Carrot Soup (and Cauliflower Steaks)

We have such great friends.  Friends who welcome us into their house even if they’re not there.  Friends who adjust dinner menus according to our newly vegan ways.  This amazing creamyspicysmokyhearty soup pleased everyone at the table.  A perfect soup for chilly weather.  And actually, pretty tasty chilled.  And, as most complexly-flavored foods are, better the next day.  Mmmmmm….yummy!

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Run out to the garden or the produce section to gather up what you need:

soup ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of carrots, peeled and diced (about 6 large-ish carrots)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo sauce), minced
  • 1 TBSP adobo sauce (from the can)
  • 2 cups No Chicken broth , plus more to saute veggies
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sliced scallions to garnish

In a large, deep pot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in 2-3 TBSP of the broth.  Cook until starting to caramelize, about 10-12 minutes–adding additional broth as needed to prevent sticking.

saute onions and garlic

Add the carrots, potatoes and chipotle.  Cook for 5 more minutes.

add carrots potatoes and chipotle

Add 2 cups broth and adobo sauce.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.

add broth and adobo

Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender.

remove from heat and blend

Keep blending until smooth.

blend until smooth

Return to low heat and add the non-dairy milk and season to taste.

add soy milk and season

Serve garnished with chopped scallions and roasted cauliflower steaks.  (Recipe below.)

serve with cauliflower steaks

The Roasted Cauliflower Steaks couldn’t be simpler!  All you need is:

ingredients for cauliflower steaks

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425F.  Prepare a baking sheet with parchement paper, silicon mats or cooking spray.

Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and cut the stem off so it will sit flat.

remove leaves

Cut the cauliflower in half, then make two 1/2-inch slices from each side, through the stem so the pieces hold together.  Save the rest for a salad or something….

slice in half then into steaks

Place the steaks on the prepared baking sheet.  Spray lightly with cooking spray, add salt and pepper.  Flip the steaks over and do the same to the other side.

place steaks on prepared pans and season

Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, carefully flipping about halfway through the cooking time.  Serve along side the soup for a perfect pairing.  Yum!  Roasted cauliflower is so sweet and tender.  Yummy on it’s own, alternating bites with the soup, or even dipped into the soup.

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I love, love, love the balance of smoky-spicey from the chipotle, sweet from the carrots, and hearty from the potatoes in this soup.  Perfect as an appetizer or with the cauliflower steaks as a meal!  Yummy vegan-wonderfulness!

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Whole Lotta Love Very Veggie Lasagna

Lasagna is popular around my house.  It’s one of those meals with a whole lotta love baked right in.  Where does that love live?  In the tomato-y sauce?  The savory fillings?  The cheese?  I worried a bit that the love came from the cheese, when I decided to make a vegan pasta.  Once assembled, baked and tasted…..no more worries!  All the love was still there.

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I gathered up a rainbow of veggies from my fridge, noodles, sauce and nutritional yeast and tofu for the spectacular roasted cauliflower “ricotta.”

ingredients

For the ricotta: (From a recipe in Appetite For Reduction)

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I used my current fav ingredient–truffle salt!)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • cooking spray

For the rest of the lasagna:

  • Your choice of veggies that YOU like.  For example, I used:
  • 1/2 each 4 different colored bell peppers, rough chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped into quarter-moons
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped into quarter moons
  • 2-3 cups assorted sliced mushrooms (I have button, cremini, and shitake)
  • 9-12 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package  (These rice noodles were more narrow than the noodles I usually use, so I needed 12 rather than the usual 9 to cover the width of my 9×13 pan for the three layers)
  • 1 quart prepared pasta sauce  (I used my zesty pasta sauce)
  • 1 package vegan alfredo sauce, prepared according to the package (optional)
  • veggie broth for sauteing veggies

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a sided baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon sheet or spray with cooking spray.

Prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions, drain and set aside.

Prepare the vegan cheese sauce, if using, and set aside.

Chop the cauliflower into 1/2-ish pieces.

chop cauliflower

Place on prepared baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt.  Toss with your hands to distribute the salt evenly.  Spray with cooking spray one more time and spread in an even layer and bake for 10 minutes.

season and roast

Flip it with a spatula, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes–until lightly browned, tender and yummy.

perfecty roasted

While the cauliflower roasts, drain the tofu, squeezing out as much of the moisture as you can.  Wrap in in a clean kitchen towel to squeeze out some more.  I’m learning that the key to tofu is getting it as dry as possible.

press moisture from tofu

Use your hands to crumble the tofu so it resembles ricotta.  Add another 1/4 tsp salt, the nutritional yeast, lemon juice and pepper. Mix and set aside.

season crumbled tofu

Remove the cauliflower from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 F.

Add the roasted cauliflower to the tofu crumble and mash it into the tofu with a fork or a potato masher.  (Steal a little taste here, this is yummy enough to eat by itself!)  Set aside.

mash cauliflower into tofu

Heat about 1/4 cup veggie broth in a large skillet.  Chop the veggies and add to the skillet.  Saute until they’re cooked to your liking.  I like them just getting soft, but with a little crispness left.  Aren’t all the colors pretty?  It’s super healthy to eat lots of different veggie colors.  Season with salt and pepper.

saute veggies

Add the mushrooms and cook til almost soft.  Add additional veggie broth as needed.

add mushrooms

Lightly coat the bottom of a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.  Spread 1/4-1/2 cup of the pasta sauce over the bottom of the pan.

spread sauce in pan

Stir the rest of the sauce into the veggies.

add sauce

Form a layer of noodles (3 or 4 depending on the size of the noodles) and top with 1/2 of the veggie-sauce mixture.

layer noodles and half veggie sauce

Form another layer of noodles and spread about 3/4 of the ricotta evenly over the top.

layer noodles and most of ricotta

Add one more layer of noodles and top with the other half of the veggie mixture and the remaining ricotta.

top with remaining ricotta

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove foil and spread the vegan cheese sauce on top, if using and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

baked

Cut into the size pieces you want and enjoy!

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This lasagna is vegan, low-fat and gluten-free, due to the rice noodles.  No meat.  No dairy.  No gluten.  Very little fat.    Absolutely no loss of yum.  This is some seriously healthy, seriously yummy, whole lotta love lasagna.

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Even better the next day.  What veggies will be in YOUR lasagna?

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