Tag Archives: tofu

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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Tofu-riffic Tacos!

Pickled red onions on a taco?!  Oh bay-bee!  The favor combination of the vinegar-y onions, creamy guacamole and the spicy, smoky sauce on the tofu is other-worldly good.  Like something I’ve never tasted or even imagined.  You may think you don’t like tofu, but after trying these tacos, you’ll be running to the store for more!  We came across this combo in a Denver restaurant called Fuel Cafe–a tricky place to find in an industrial part of the RINO district–click through the images on their page to get a feel for the place.   Well worth the journey for tacos like these.

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To get started, you’ll need to pickle a red onion.  It’ll need time to chill and be ready for your tacos.  You can make the pickled onion ahead of time.

ingredients for pickled onions

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced.

Slice the onions as thin as you can.

slice thin

Blanch the onions in boiling water for about 10-20 seconds.  You don’t want to blanch the color out–if you see it starting to fade it’s time to drain them!

blanch

Drain completely in a colander and return to the now empty but still warm blanching pot.

drain

Add the vinegar, sugar and salt along with enough water to just cover the onions.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute.

add vinegar sugar salt water

Place onions and vinegar into a jar and chill.  The onions will turn a beautiful fresh hot-pink color!  So pretty!

in a jar

Now that your onions are chilling, prepare the sauce–it’s essentially the same as for sofritas.  The sauce can be made ahead of time.  You’ll need:

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 poblanos, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili blend–like a fajita mix or a chili powder of your choice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a splash of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup broth–I use No Chicken broth
  • 1-2 TBSP tomato paste
  • NOTE-ignore the tofu, I recycled the pic from the sofritas post!  🙂

Roast your poblanos, either in a 400F oven or on your grill.  I chose my outdoor grill–it was a beautiful day!  Roast, turning until blistered on all sides.

roast poblanos

Place the peppers in a plastic bag and seal to steam.  This will help the skins slip right off.

steam poblanos

When the peppers have cooled enough for you to handle them, peel by rubbing them gently with your fingers.

peel poblanos

Then remove the seeds and stem.

seed poblanos

Place the cleaned poblanos in your blender.poblanos in blender

Then add the chipotles, cumin, chili blend, salt, garlic powder, oregano, lime juice and broth.

everything else in blender

Blend until smooth, transfer to a bowl and stir in the tomato paste.  Set aside.

add tomato paste

Now for the tacos!  You’ll need:

ingredients tacos

  • pickled red onions (see recipe above)
  • prepared sauce (see recipe above)
  • 1 (14 0z) package extra firm tofu–always choose organic tofu to avoid GMOs
  • prepared guacamole–buy it or make it yourself.  Mine is simple–avocado, garlic powder, salt, lime juice, and cilantro.
  • corn tortillas
  • chopped lettuce
  • chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges

Drain and then press the tofu by placing it on a clean kitchen towel.

drain tofu and place on towel

Wrap the towel around the tofu and place something on top to help press out most of the remaining liquid.

add weight to press water out

Let the tofu sit for at least 15 minutes (up to 30 minutes) and then cut into cubes, by cutting through the side and then cutting long sticks.  Finally cut the sticks into cubes.  The cubes will be about 1/2 inch on a side.

cube tofu

Spray a fry pan with oil and place over medium high heat.  Add tofu cubes and fry, stirring occasionally to brown on all sides–or as many as you can get.  Don’t worry about getting every cube perfectly browned.  🙂

fry tofu

Reduce heat to low and add enough sauce to coat the tofu–about half of the sauce.

add sauce

Stir to coat.  Now it’s time to put the tacos together!

stir to coat

 

Warm the tortillas inside a kitchen towel in a microwave or however you like to warm them.  Place a bit of lettuce, then tofu cubes, then a bit of guacamole, then pickled onions and finally a sprinkle of cilantro.  Look at them!  Like art!

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Squeeze a lime over the top, pick one up and have your first wondrous bite.  Oh my.

Both the sauce and the onions can be made ahead to speed up the tacos when you’re ready to make them.  Is this my new favorite way to eat tofu?  Yessssssss!  Mmmmmmmmmm-yummy!

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Filed under dinner, lunch, recipe, restaurants, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian

Chipotle-Style Sofritas

Generally, eating out–especially fast food, and being vegan in Western Colorado is not an easy thing.  And THEN(!) Chipotle introduced its fabulous Sofritas (Crumbled tofu marinated and braised in chipotles, poblanos and other spices….slurp!).  So yummy!  Any time we’re in the Chipotle neighborhood, we’re there for a Sofritas Burrito.  Michael suggested we could figure out how to make this spicy tofu nirvana ourselves; we are “accomplished” vegans, after all, now that we’ve been cooking with tofu for over a year.  🙂

By chance, another blogger liked one of my posts, and I clicked his link “to see what he’s been up to” from the WordPress notification that always shows up with a like.  In the sidebar of his blog, there it was.  Chipotle Sofritas Recipe!  I always have tofu, but needed the poblanos.  Unfortunately, none to be found, so I used a combo of serranos and cubanelles.  The resulting sofritas were spicy (thanks serranos!) and close enough to the Chipotle flavor that I wanted to make them again.

I found poblanos, adjusted the seasoning just a bit and voila!  Homemade sofritas!

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Plan ahead–the sofritas are best after marinating for at least two hours.

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 poblanos, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1 14-0z package extra-firm organic tofu (Get organic to avoid GMOs)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili blend–like a fajita mix or a chili powder of your choice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a splash of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup broth–I use No Chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf

Roast your poblanos, either in a 400F oven or on your grill.  I chose my outdoor grill–it was a beautiful day!  Roast, turning until blistered on all sides.

roast poblanos

Place the peppers in a plastic bag and seal to steam.  This will help the skins slip right off.

steam poblanos

Drain tofu and place on a clean kitchen towel.

drain tofu and place on towel

Wrap the towel around the tofu and place something on top to help press out most of the remaining liquid.

add weight to press water out

When the peppers have cooled enough for you to handle them, peel by rubbing them gently with your fingers.

peel poblanos

Then remove the seeds and stem.

seed poblanos

Place the cleaned poblanos in your blender.

poblanos in blender

Then add the chipotles, cumin, chili blend, salt, garlic powder, oregano, lime juice and broth.

everything else in blender

Blend until smooth.  Oh my does this smell amazing.  I think it would be a great sauce for all sorts of things!

blended sauce

Crumble the tofu into mostly uniform pieces.  I like mine to be about the same texture as cooked and crumbled ground beef.

crumble tofu

all crumbled

Add the sauce and stir to mix.  Toss the bay leaf in–it will add to the flavor as you cook the sofritas later, and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or over night.

add sauce and bay leaf

Place the marinated sofritas in a pan and heat, stirring until heated through–about 10 minutes.  I added a bit more broth to help keep the mixture moist.

sofritas in pan

Then serve it up however you like!  Use it however you might use seasoned taco meat.  We decided to make burritos with brown cilantro rice, pinto beans, avocado and lettuce.

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How do you like YOUR burrito?  Last time we made sofritas, we combined the leftover sofrita, beans and rice and made it into enchiladas the next night.  Yum-yum-yummy!

You’ll have leftover chipotles, and they won’t keep long in the refrigerator.  I like to place individual peppers with a bit of adobo sauce into snack size bags, seal them and then seal them into a freezer bag.

freeze leftover chipotles

Then I can thaw out however many chipotles I need for a particular recipe later.  🙂

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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

Potato, Spinach, and Summer Squash Gratin AND Becky’s Famous Roasted Asparagus!

My non-vegan friends are often curious about what I can and can’t eat.  “I’d miss eggs!”  “I couldn’t do without cheese!” are the most common responses.  I admit, the first month of being vegan, I did miss both.  But now with recipes like this, those cravings are a thing of the past.  I found myself drooling just now while editing the images for this post.

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Today’s post is based on this recipe from The Fat Free Vegan.  A few weeks ago, I made it very similarly to the original, subbing broccoli and kale for the broccoli rabe (because that’s what was in the fridge!).  It was love at first frittata-y, gratin-y, quiche-y bite, and I knew I’d found more than a recipe; I’d found a method I could apply to many of my former egg custard type recipes.  Oh stratas, how I’ve missed you!  Anyway, if you’re already vegan, you probably have what you need in your fridge.  Sub in whatever veggies you like/have on hand.  The potatoes make it hearty and filling, so I’d recommend keeping them to serve this as a main dish.

ingredients

For the Gratin:

  • 1 pound small red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste for each layer
  • a small package of baby spinach, blanched
  • 1 smallish yellow squash, cut into half-moons and steamed
  • 1 smallish zucchini, cut into half moons and steamed
  • 1 (12 oz) package extra firm tofu, drained but not pressed of all its liquid
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 heaping TBSP potato or corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil or 2 tsp fresh chopped basil

For Becky’s Famous Roasted Asparagus:

  • 1 pound trimmed asparagus
  • cooking spray
  • sea salt

Preheat oven to 400F, and spray a 2 qt casserole or gratin dish.  Wash and cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and arrange in a single layer on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside until ready to assemble your gratin.

chop and bake potatoes

While potatoes bake, cut squash into half-moons and steam until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.  Blanch the spinach in boiling water until just wilted and drain.

slice and steam squash

In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients and process until smooth and pourable, adding additional non-dairy milk as needed.

tofu etc in blender

Assemble the gratin, starting with the potatoes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

layer potatoes first

Next, layer on the spinach, season with salt and pepper.

layer blanched spinach

Then layer the squash on top of the spinach.  Separate by color if you like or mix them.  Again, sprinkle salt and pepper.

layer steamed squash

Pour the tofu mixture over the top, and using a spoon, gently move the veggies around without mixing the layers to allow the tofu mixture to get in between.  Smooth the top.

pour tofu mixture

Bake 40-50 minutes, until the liquid has thickened, feels firm and is golden brown on top.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

bake til firm and golden

While the gratin bakes, prepare Becky’s Famous Roasted Asparagus.  Lay trimmed asparagus in  single layer on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet.  Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt.  While the gratin rests, bake the asparagus for 10-15 minutes–until you can smell it and the tips start to brown.

spray, salt and roast asparagus

Serve up wedges of gratin with roasted asparagus on the side.  OMGosh, so, so yummy!  The smooth, gooey, almost cheesy texture and consistency of the gratin is very reminiscent of those eggy, custardy favorites.  The asparagus is a favorite around here, especially in the spring when it can be stalked and harvested in the wild in the fields between Becky’s and my house.  Her method also works with green beans (I added pressed garlic–yum!), and Brussels sprouts.

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My son, currently not-vegan, thought the squash version was better than the broccoli version and suggested it would also be yummy for breakfast.  And it was!  He had his with an over-easy egg and cheese on top, Michael and I enjoyed it as is.  (Michael’s with hot sauce, as usual!)

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What will be in your gratin/quiche/fritatta/strata?!

 

 

 

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Filed under breakfast, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, lunch, Potluck, 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

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