Tag Archives: low-fat

Gazpacho: The Perfect Summer Soup!

Who knew Gazpacho was so yummy?!  Who knew it would turn into my favorite summer soup?!  Not me, until now.  When I think “soup,” I think hot, and when it’s hot outside, who wants soup?!  I was requested to make a soup for a recent gathering.  A gathering that took place on a near 100 degree day.  I JUST COULDN’T bear the thought of soup.  As luck would have it, said gathering happened just after this blog went to 35,000 views, and a friend had suggested Gazpacho as a celebration recipe.  I searched for recipes, altered one for things I had on hand, and it turned out GREAT!  No cooking at all!  Look how pretty–wanna bite?

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So simple; a couple of cans and a few fresh things:

ingredients

  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, seeded, cut into small dice
  • 3 TBSP red onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest (just the yellow part–the white part is bitter!)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley (I like flat-leaf Italian parsley)

Puree both cans of tomatoes in a blender and transfer to a bowl.

tomatoes in blender

Peel, seed and chop the cucumber.

seed and cut cucumber

Chop the yellow pepper.

cut pepper half

Mince the onion.

mince onion

Zest the lemon.

lemon zest

Stir them into the tomatoes, cover and chill for at least 25 minutes, or up to overnight.

all veggies in

Just before serving, season with parsley, salt and pepper.

add parsley salt pepper

Ladle into serving dishes, I used juice glasses my Mom bought for me in Mexico–perfect!

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So, so yummy!  So much flavor and NO FAT!!!  Perfectly spiced, wonderfully chilled.  JUST the soup for a hot summer day!

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Filed under dairy-free, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, Vegetarian

Crustless Vegan Asparagus Quiche

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.

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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.

ingredients

  • 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.

everything but asparagus and shallot

Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

blend til smooth

Remove the blade and stir in steamed asparagus and sauteed shallot.

add asparagus and shallot

Pour and spread evenly into the prepared pie pan.

pour into prepared pan

Bake 30-40 minutes; until golden and firm in the center.  (Not mushy)  Allow to cool 10 minutes before cutting.

bake

Cut into 6-8 wedges and dish it up!  Very quiche-y, super yummy paired with this savory tomato soup.

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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.   🙂

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

Creamy Tomato Soup

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.

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Assemble a few pantry staples and you’ll have this savory soup in no time!

ingredients

  • 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.

saute onions and garlic

Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, and  cider vinegar.  Bring to a boil.

add tomatoes and spices

Stir in broth and non-dairy milk.  Bring to a boil again.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

add broth and milk

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.

blend til smooth

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!

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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, lunch, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

Sweet-Tooth Saturday: Suzi’s Ginger Cake

We live out in the country on a small acreage near friends on adjoining properties; we call it the commune.  🙂  The space gives us privacy, but because we’re all friends, we have a neighborhood where you can stop over for a visit, share a meal and get help with projects.  One neighbor family is vegan–they inspired us to be vegan, too.  Occasionally, we get together for great food, wine and laughs.  The other night, Suzi (she who is the best vegan baker of the whole commune) baked the most amazing ginger cake for dessert.  Suzi made her cake in a 9″ square pan, and I made one the very next day in a bundt pan.   Moist and light.  Perfectly spiced, topped with a mapley glaze and pecans.  Decadent.

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The recipe is from one of our favorite vegan blogs, The FatFree Vegan.  (So, yeah–this cake is nearly fat-free as well!)  Grab some applesauce and spices and get ready for ginger-liscious nirvana.

ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized (candied) ginger, chopped small (about 3/4 ounce)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly oil a bundt pan or a 9″ square pan.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

mix dry

Add the applesauce, vanilla, and lemon juice and stir just enough to combine.

add wet

Pour into the oiled pan.  My mom bought me this bundt pan in the early 80s.  I love its classic “harvest gold” color and faithful non-stick finish.

pour into greased pan

Bake 45-60 minutes; until a toothpick comes out clean.  My cake was perfectly baked in 45 minutes.

bake til pick comes out clean

While the cake bakes, make the glaze.

glaze ingredients

  •  1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • pinch ginger powder
  • Additional candied ginger or pecans for serving (optional)

Whisk cornstarch and ginger into the maple syrup in a small pan over medium heat.

whisk glaze

Heat to boiling and boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken.

Cool the cake 10 minutes in the pan and then serve or tip it out onto a plate.  This cake stand is from my mom’s milk glass collection; it makes a cake look extra pretty.  Pour glaze over the cake and allow to drip down the sides.

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Slice and top with pecans or candied ginger.

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Savor each tender spicy bite.  You deserve a treat, especially when that treat is under 250 calories and has only 5 grams of fat. (Based on 9 servings per cake.  Skipping the maple glaze saves 25 calories per serving.)

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Terrific Tofu Scramble

I missed eggs more than meat when I became vegan.  Our switch from omnivore to vegan began Jan 1, 2013, while Mr18 was still home on his winter break.  Mr18 LOVES omelets, and was more than happy to eat up the eggs left over from our former eating habits.  Let me tell you; making those omelets knowing I couldn’t have one was just killer then.  Now that we’re almost 3 months into veganland, making omelets for Mr18 while he’s home for spring break is no biggie.  Especially now that The Happy Herbivore‘s Basic Tofu Scramble is on my breakfast menu!  She states this is her favorite way to eat tofu and I must agree, especially for breakfast.  (I do love the tofu chocolate pie I made a week ago….)  I find this scramble very egg-like.  So egg-like that I honestly no longer crave eggs.  We love the scramble with sauteed onions and peppers and boiled potato cubes mixed in; both as is and as a filling for breakfast burritos.  A seriously yummy, hearty protein-rich breakfast.

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You’ll have this scramble on the table as quickly as you would using eggs.  Makes enough for 4, or 2 with enough leftover for burritos the following day.

ingredients

  • 1 lb firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed a bit to release most of the water
  • 3-4 TBSP nutritional yeast (provides the cheese flavor, I use 4 TBSP)
  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • non-dairy milk as needed to prevent sticking
  • salt and pepper to taste  (I’m loving truffle salt in this recipe, if you can find it)
  • Mix-ins of your choice.  I have about 1/4 each of three different colors of bell pepper, 2 small potatoes and 1/4 of a red onion.

Prepare your mix-ins by boiling or sauteing.  I saute in veggie broth to keep the fat content low.  Set aside.

cooked veggies

cooked potatoes

Collect and measure all the spices, etc.  The recipe moves along more smoothly if you can add all of them at once.

Drain and press the moisture from the tofu and crumble into a large pan over medium heat.  Stir and break up larger pieces until it resembles the consistency of scrambled eggs.  Cook 3-4 minutes.

cook crumbled tofu

Add the nutritional yeast, mustard, garlic and onion powders, turmeric and cumin.  Stir to coat and continue to cook until all water evaporates.  Add non-dairy milk if you need to loosen the scramble up a bit and to prevent sticking.

add and stir in spices

Mix in prepared veggies and continue to cook until everything is warmed through.

add veggies and potatoes

Taste, season with salt and pepper and serve! Looks like eggs.  Tastes a LOT like eggs.  Exactly what I was craving for breakfast today!  Can’t wait for the breakfast burritos tomorrow morning.

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Filed under breakfast, comfort food, dairy-free, Garden produce, recipe, Vegetarian

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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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, lunch, recipe, Vegetarian