Tag Archives: rice

Tofu Veggie Tikka Masala

I’m one of those people who can be convinced to try a new grocery item with a coupon for it.  Recently, I had a coupon for one item from a certain brand.  The shelf-safe Tikka Masala sauce caught my eye.  It sounded exotic and flavory.  A perfect compliment to my veggies and tofu.  So I bought it without checking the label–I was shopping my local health food store, what could be a problem?  Dairy.  Turns out this particular sauce has dairy.  In reading recipes for Tikka Masala sauce, yogurt seems to be key.  Sigh.  Oh well, I had it, why not go ahead and cook with it?  This yummy recipe is therefore vegetarian rather than my preferred vegan.  Have a look–you can make this in no time.

garnish with cilantro

I cruised the Google and found quite a few vegetarian and vegan versions of Tikka Masala, which is traditionally made with chicken chunks (tikka).  I combined ideas from these two: Tofu Masala and Vegetarian Tikka Masala, made all the easier for the premade sauce.  Here are the ingredients:

ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced  (the pic shows little garlic ends leftover from roasting whole garlic heads)
  • 1 (14 oz) extra firm, organic tofu
  • 1 (14oz) can chickpeas, drained
  • premade Tikka Masala sauce
  • cilantro for garnish
  • prepared rice
  • naan or pita bread for serving

Drain and then press the tofu.  Wrap it in a clean kitchen towel and set something a bit weighty on top of it.

press tofu

Saute onion and pepper in a bit of veggie broth until onions are translucent–about 2-3 minutes.

saute onions and peppers

Add garlic and saute until fragrant–30 seconds to a minute.

add garlic

Remove the saute to a bowl.  Set aside.

remove saute

Cube the tofu by cutting through the center of the flat side, then cut into sticks and then cubes.

cube tofu

Spray your pan with a bit of spray oil and saute the tofu cubes until mostly browned.  I do this by stirring occasionally–I’m too lazy to turn each cube for perfect even brownness.

brown tofu

When tofu is sufficiently browned, add saute back to the pan, along with drained chickpeas. Stir to combine.

add saute and chickpeas

Add the sauce and stir to coat.

add sauce

stir to coat

Scoop rice into a bowl, add the tofu tikka masala, garnish with cilantro, and serve with naan or pita.

serve with rice

serve with naan or pita

So yummy!  I’m currently looking around for a truly vegan masala sauce recipe.  I’ve found a few so far, some using coconut yogurt–a flavor that sounds yummy with the rest of the ingredients here.  I’m also thinking about marinating the tofu ahead of time and grilling it to more closely recreate a traditional Tikka Masala.  Do your recipes evolve like this?

 

 

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Muy Bueno Vegan Tamales

Yesterday, I made my favorite chili-stuffed peppers, which always leaves me with extra stuffing.  I’ve turned that stuffing into burritos, I’ve turned it into enchiladas; both delish.  This time I got to thinking: tamales!  My friend, the Google, provided me with lots of inspiration–recipes without lard or butter, but still used a fair amount of fat, and some that used very, very little fat.  I decided on one that used vegan margarine, thinking it might create a dough that would be closer to tamales I’ve enjoyed before.  I reduced the margarine by half and upped the other liquid.  The dough was super workable and the resulting tamales were, well, muy bueno!

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Another reason to love this recipe is that it only makes 12 tamales.  Very do-able.

ingredients

  • 4 ounces dried corn husks
  • 2 cups masa harina (a corn flour–find it in most grocery stores)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup vegan margine, room temperature
  • About 1 1/2 cups warm “no-chicken”  broth, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups of the vegan filling of your choice.  I used my pepper stuffing, there are a couple more that sound yummy here.
  • sauce of your choice

First, 15 minutes before starting the dough, soak the dried husks in warm water, using a plate to weight them down.

soak husks

Then, mix the masa harina with the baking powder and salt.  Set it aside.

Whip the margarine until it becomes fluffy.  Add the masa and broth alternately until a light, soft and non-sticky dough is formed.

whip butter, ad masa

soft dough

Pat each corn husk dry and place on a surface, the pointed end toward you.  Roll a two-inch dough ball and place it near the top of the husk.

2 inch dough ball

Smoosh (yes, this IS a culinary term!) the dough ball into a square about four inches per side.

smoosh to 4 inch square

Place 1 1/2-2 TBSP filling down the center and top with the sauce of your choice.  We like enchilada sauce.

add filling and sauce

Roll the husk from the side, encircling the dough and filling.

roll

Fold up the bottom and tie with a little strip of husk if you want.  If you’re making tons of tamales, they’ll hold each other together as they pack in the steamer.  I worried the ones on the edges might flop open, so I tied them.  They’re kinda cute that way; yummy little presents.  🙂

fold up bottom

tie

Place them into a steamer basket open side up, place it over boiling water and put a lid over them.  Steam for 50 minutes to an hour–until the dough firms and pulls easily from the husks.

stand up in steamer

all 12 in steamer

place lid

When they’re steamed, unwrap your yummy little presents and enjoy!

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We had just a couple each, with a bowl of squash blossom soup.  We’re expecting a freeze tonight, so I picked all my squash and squash flowers.  The last time we’ll enjoy the soup until next summer, but I’m planning on LOTS of tamales!  Can’t wait to try all sorts of fillings!  Especially at Christmas–tamales are a Christmas tradition I thought I might need to do without. What will you fill your tamales with?

 

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, Holiday foods, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

Chili-Stuffed Peppers

This year has been a very good year for peppers in my garden.  This is the Big Bertha Bell pepper I picked this week that inspired a cruise around my fave vegan blogs for a stuffed pepper recipe.

big bertha

Success!  The Fat Free Vegan to the rescue!  I modified her recipe just a bit and loved the result; definitely a keeper.  I grew up eating peppers stuffed with a burger mixture, which I always loved, and these are just as yummy!

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I had everything I needed in my pantry and garden:

ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 package fresh mushrooms, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (or more to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed well (or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans)
  • 1 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup prepared rice (I cooked 2 cups, and saved the remainder for other recipes)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 bell peppers

For toppings:

  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, chopped
  • fresh tomato, chopped
  • avocado, sliced

Preheat oven to 400F.

Saute onion in a bit of veggie broth or water until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

saute onions

Add mushrooms, jalapeno, and garlic.  Cook until mushrooms soften, adding broth as needed to prevent sticking.

add garlic mushrooms jalapeno

While onions and mushrooms cook, cut an opening down the side of each pepper, leaving the stem end on.  Carefully remove ribs and seeds.

cut opening in peppers

Chop the pepper parts you just cut off and add them to the pan.  Saute for a few more minutes to allow them to soften.

add diced pepper

Add beans, corn, fire roasted tomatoes, and spices.  Stir to combine and cook for a minute or two to blend the flavors.

add beans corn tomato spices

Add cooked rice.  1 cup was what looked right to me, but add more or less to your own taste.  Stir to combine.

add rice

Spray a pan with cooking spray and arrange peppers in it.  Stuff each with the filling.  Don’t they look yummy?!

stuff peppers

Bake 30-40 minutes, until peppers are tender.

bake til tender

Arrange toppings next to a pepper to serve, or place them on top.  Enjoy!

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I couldn’t stop making the yum sound.  I was a bit worried these wouldn’t be as hearty as a meat-stuffed pepper, but turns out they are just as satisfying if not even more so.  I had a fair amount of stuffing left over, which we’ve made into some mighty yummy burritos.  I think it would also be fabulous as a squash stuffing, and as a topper for a tofu scramble.  Yum, yum, yummy!

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Broccoli Rice Cups

The other day, a friend posted a recipe for broccoli rice cups on her Facebook timeline.  They involved cheese and eggs, which reminded me of the tofu mixture in a recent gratin recipe.  Could I somehow combine the two ideas and come up with Somethin’ Yummy?!  I tried it out on my usual test subjects, and the verdict came in like this:  vegan hubby sez yummy, non-vegan son sez I’d like a couple for breakfast with an over-easy egg and some cheese.  I thought they were mighty fine.  Have a look:

broccoli rice cups

I could have eaten them all.  I didn’t take a bunch of pictures like usual, but wanted to share this idea, because now I’m thinking of all sorts of “cups,” as individually portioned breakfasts and side dishes.  Let’s brainstorm those in a bit.  First, here’s how it all started today.

I made rice before I went to work today–1 cup brown rice, 2 cups water; boil and simmer covered 50 minutes.  When I got home, I cut up a “head” of broccoli, mainly the floret part, and steamed it for 5 minutes.  A head in this case was the amount packaged together by the grocery store.  I set my oven to 350F, and sprayed a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

Then, I made the tofu mixture from the Potato, Spinach and Summer Squash recipe, adding enough non-dairy milk to make it somewhat pourable–1/2-3/4 cup total.  I mixed the steamed broccoli, cooked rice and tofu mixture together, divided it evenly into the muffin pan, and discovered I needed room for a couple more.  I sprayed a couple cups in a second pan, filled them with my remaining mixture and popped ’em in the oven for 35 minutes.

Ta-Da!  I was lucky enough to have a couple ripe tomatoes in the garden today and sliced a few for the tops, along with a fresh basil leaf.  Perfect flavor combination! The baked cups lifted cleanly out of the pan without needing to cool at all.  I thought they needed a bit of salt and pepper after the first taste; an easy fix.

broccoli rice cups

So what do you think?  I have a vegan chorizo that’s just screaming to be a part of a breakfast cup, along with some green onion and green pepper?  How about turning the potato squash gratin into little cups?  Asparagus!  Black beans and chorizo!  Potato, green pepper, red onion and mushroom!  How about cooked macaroni and frozen peas to make little mac and “cheese” cups–maybe with a few bread crumbs baked on top!  What flavors will you try?

 

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

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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Lentil, Mushroom and Rice Cabbage Rolls with Mustard Sauce

St. Patrick’s Day is lurking right around the corner; the time of year this Norwegian starts callin’ herself Fiona and enjoys doin’ the Irish thang: the wearin’ of the green, drinking beer, eating corned beef and cabbage…..Wait!  What’s a vegan to do about that last thing?!  Cabbage Rolls!  Cooked just like corned beef and cabbage, spices and all.  Served with Irish Soda Bread and a stout beer.  Who needs the corned beef?yum4

In spite of the use of a slow cooker, this meal is time-intensive.  If you don’t have all day, cook the cabbage to “harvest” the leaves and make the filling the night before or even on multiple nights before.  The mustard sauce can also be made in advance.  Bake the soda bread right before serving dinner for maximum yumminess.

My go-to vegan blog, FatFree Vegan Kitchen got the cabbage rolling, my recipe is based on hers.

ingredients cabbage rolls

For the cabbage rolls:

  • 1 large cabbage
  • 3 cups cooked lentils (from 1 1/4 cup dry–follow package instructions, adding 2 minced cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to the pot)
  • 1 cup cooked rice (or other cooked grain of your choice:  bulgur, quinoa, barley,….)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced  (4 cloves shown, because you need 2 for the lentils)
  • 1 package mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Added to the crock pot to make a whole meal:

  • 4 or 5 carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 3 or 4 potatoes, cut into chunks (peeled or not)
  • 1 celery heart, chopped
  • 1 TBSP pickling spices
  • 1 stout or porter beer
  • No Chicken broth, for the pot and to saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms

Cook the lentils and rice (separately) according to package directions, adding garlic, salt and pepper to lentils as they cook.

simmer lentils

Cutting at an angle, remove the core from your cabbage, along with any outer leaves that look a bit gnarly.

remove core

Place the cabbage, core-side up in a large pot and fill with water until the cabbage starts to float, or is covered.  Bring to a boil and simmer, carefully pulling off leaves with tongs as they begin to loosen.  I helped some of mine to loosen using a knife near the core end.

simmer cabbage, core up

Collect 10-12 leaves if large, up to 14 if you end up with some smallish ones.

collect leaves as they loosen

Saute onions and garlic in broth until onions start to caramelize, about 10-12 minutes, adding more broth as needed.  Add mushrooms and saute until softened and water that the mushrooms give off has cooked off.

saute onions garlic and shrooms

Combine lentils, rice, mushrooms, onions, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and spices in a large bowl.

mix filling

Trim the thick stem on each cabbage leaf to allow for easier rolling.

trim thick stem

Place about 1/3 cup of filling near the stem end of a cabbage leaf.  I measured for the first leaf, and eyeballed it from there.

place filling near stem

Fold the stem end over the filling.

fold stem end over filling

Fold in each side.

fold sides in

And roll tightly, placing rolls seam-side down in the bottom of your crock pot.  I didn’t have some of mine rolled tightly enough and some of the rolls came apart while cooking.  (Lentils on the loose!)  I would recommend refraining from overfilling your rolls (my tendency) so you can get the cabbage to roll a second time over the filling, or to fasten the rolls with toothpicks.

roll up tightly

Keep rolling and packing.  It’s best to try to squish them all on the bottom in one layer.  My crock pot is smallish and making two layers added to the issue with the rolls coming apart–I think.

place in bottom of cooker

Place carrots, potatoes and celery on top of the rolls.  Sprinkle with pickling spice or place the spice in a tea ball or cheesecloth bag if you want to contain them.  Pour the beer over the top; add No Chicken Broth to cover.

add potatoes carrots celery spices and liquids

Place crock pot on high for 4 1/2 hours.  Sometime during the slow cooking, make the mustard sauce:

ingredients gravy

  • 2 cups No Chicken Broth
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 TBSP miso (white or yellow)
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBSP soy
  • 4 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • ground pepper

Place broth in a medium pan and heat to a simmer.  Dissolve cornstarch in non-dairy milk, whisk into the simmering broth.  Whisk in miso, nutritional yeast, soy and Dijon.  Add pepper to taste.  Beware–watch this sauce carefully while heating it.  It boils over quickly and will leave quite a mess for you to clean up.  Not that I’ve ever done that……

simmer until thick

Make soda bread right before the cabbage rolls and veggies are ready, open up a nice, cold, dark beer, top everything with a bit (or  lot!) of the mustard sauce and TADA!

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This meal totally has the feel of a corned beef and cabbage meal–just as savory, hearty, filling and yummy!

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I made everything in one day and felt like I’d spent all day cooking and washing dishes.  The meal was so worth it, but I’m using the cook some of it ahead of time method next year!  Happy St Patty’s Day!

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Filed under comfort food, crock pot, dairy-free, dinner, Holiday foods, recipe, Vegetarian

Vegan Enchiladas

Today I was scrounging around for lunch and found a bunch of related leftovers: a bit of Spanish rice, a cup or so of cooked plain rice, half a lentil burger, less than a serving of black bean soup, a tiny bit of sauteed onions, mushrooms and green chiles.  I grabbed a couple tortillas, combined all the little bits of this and that and thought I’d whip up a couple burritoes.  As the mixture was heating in the microwave, something said enchiladas.  A clear picture of enchiladas appeared in my head.  I stopped the microwave, we had leftover “turkey” burgers for lunch instead and enchiladas for dinner!

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So scrounge around in your fridge for leftovers or make some beans and rice and you’re well on your way!

ingredients

  • 2 cups (or so) filling:  beans, rice, tomatoes, peppers, corn…..
  • 8 corn tortillas

For the enchilada sauce: (based on a recipe from The Happy Herbivore)

  • 2 TBSP whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 TBSP chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder and my sauce was HOT!  You may want to start with one TBSP and add more if you want it hotter!)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups No Chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 TBSP tomato paste
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350F and spray an enchilada or other baking pan large enough to hold 8 enchiladas.  Set aside filling and tortillas for now.

Whisk flour, cocoa and spices in a pan without turning on the heat.

dry ingredients in pan

Add 1/4 cup of broth and whisk into a smooth paste.

whisk into a paste

Slowly whisk in the rest of the broth and water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and add tomato paste.

add broth

Reduce to a simmer and cook until sauce has the thickness of tomato soup.  Remove from heat and add salt if needed.

add tomato paste

Set up an assembly line for your enchiladas with the sauce, tortillas, filling and  pan.  I also included leftover “cheesy sauce.”

set up assembly

Dip each tortilla in sauce, place in the pan and roll.  Place edges down.

dip in sauce stuff and roll

Continue rolling until you run out of filling.  Spoon a bit more enchilada sauce over the tops, making sure tortillas are sauced all the way to the edges of the pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

spoon additional sauce

While enchiladas bake (they smell sooooo yummy!), dice a tomato, shred some lettuce, chop a few scallions and tear up some cilantro.  Serve up a couple enchiladas with a schmear of cheesy sauce, and topped with the tomato, lettuce, scallions and cilantro.

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OMG my sauce was HOT!  It was well flavored and super-yummy, but wow.  It was perfect for Michael, lover of all things hot-hot-hot, but for me, I’m cutting back on the chili powder or using a milder chili powder next time.  Leave it alone if you’re in the hot camp with Michael.  🙂

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Gluten-free, lunch, Potluck, recipe, Vegetarian