Tag Archives: zucchini

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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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

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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Celine’s Favorite: Squash Blossom Soup

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 Frida 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:

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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.

ingredients

  • 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)

For toppings:

  • tortilla chips
  • plain yogurt (soy yogurt or skip altogether)
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • avocado

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.

saute onions

Add chile peppers, corn and cumin.  Cook for an addition 2-3 minutes.

add peppers and corn

Add squash and tomatillos, cook 2-3 more minutes.

add squash

Separate the stems and sepals from the flowers.

clean blossoms

Chop and add squash blossoms and continue to cook, 5 more minutes.

chop and add blossoms

Add broth (No chicken broth) and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Adjust seasonings to your taste.

add broth

Ladle into bowls, garnish with toppings and enjoy!

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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.

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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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Quick and Easy Tortilla Soup

Winter weather warning….winter weather advisory…..freeze warning….windy….. chance of rain, 90%.  Quoted from the current weather and forecast for Western Colorado and the surrounding high country this week–Ack!  What to do when Fall decides to be Winter?  Soup!  Here’s a quick, easy and yummy soup perfect for the first chill of Fall (and also uses up some of the summer squash sitting on your counter).

 Mmmmm!  Hot, flavor-y and spicy.  Gather up a few staples; you’ll have soup in under an hour!

For the soup:

  • 1-1 1/2 pounds chicken (thighs, breasts or combination)
  • 2 boxes chicken stock
  • 2 cans Rotel tomatoes
  • approximately 1 pound EACH zucchini and yellow squash, sliced into half-moons or quarter moons
  • 4-5 tomatillos, chopped

Garnishes:

  • tortilla chips
  • avocado, chopped
  • green onions, chopped
  • shredded cheese–I like a Mexican Blend
  • sour cream
  • red or green salsa
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • squeeze of fresh lime

In a large pot, poach the chicken in chicken stock and Rotel tomatoes until completely cooked and tender.

While chicken cooks, chop the squash and tomatillos. 

When chicken is cooked, remove from broth and shred, using two forks to pull the meat into bite-sized pieces.

Add chicken back to broth, along with squash and tomatillos.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until veggies are tender.

Set up garnishes so each person can jazz up their soup to their own taste.  I like ALL of them!

How easy was that?!  Change into somethin’ comfortable while the soup simmers, serve yourself a bowl with your favorite garnishes and watch the chilly weather stay on the otherside of the window.  Inside, it will be warm, toasty and yummy!

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Zucchini Gratin with Goat Cheese

In French, that would be “Tian de courgettes au chevre.”  How Provencal, eh?  My friend Cirrue shared this recipe with me from one of her Provencal cookbooks, along with a couple others coming soon to a blog near you!  Cirrue knew about my zucchini…ahem…problem; that is, I have A LOT of zucchini this year, and shared some uber-gourmet ways to enjoy it. (Thanks, Cirrue!)

I also was able to brush off some of my zucchini abundance on a friend, with a copy of this recipe–something to think about if you, too, have tons and tons of zucchini.  Zucchini is better received with a yummy way to deal with it!  

Oh the cheesy, garlicky wonderfulness of this yummy gratin:

Did I mention this recipe uses up 2(!) medium-large zucchini? If you’re feeding a crowd, I’d double the recipe.  This was enough for dinner for 3 plus a wee bit leftover for my lunch the next day.  I ate it cold from the fridge; it was spectacular cold!  Ready to make some for yourself?  Run to the garden and get a couple zucchini before they get any bigger and some herbs.

  • 2 pounds zucchini, thinly sliced or coarsely grated (2 medium-large zucchini.  If you use a large, Moby-sized zucchini, seed it first.)
  • salt
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup slivered fresh basil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) fresh goat cheese (I used garlic oil-marinated goat feta.)
  • 2 TBSP fresh or dry bread crumbs (I used Panko.)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Oil a 2 qt gratin pan (or any shallow 2 qt oven-safe pan). 

Place the zucchini in a colander.  Add 1-2 TBSP salt, stir, and let sit for 15-20 minutes over a bowl or in a sink.  The salt will draw some of the water out of the zucchini.

Rinse and gently squeeze out the moisture. 

Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add the zucchini, salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and continue to saute, stirring, for an additional 5 minutes.

Stir in parsley and basil and remove from heat.

Beat together the eggs and goat cheese.

Add zucchini and stir to coat. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Transfer to the gratin dish.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs and drizzle on the remaining oil.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until the top is browned and the mixture is sizzling.

Let stand a couple of minutes.  Serve hot or room temperature (or cold!).  I thought a slice of toast and some fresh tomatoes would be yummy accompaniments.

I found 6 more zucchini in the garden this morning.  I’m craving some more of this gratin!  Louise, the friend who was kind enough to take a couple zucchini off my hands, added more eggs, used gruyere instead of goat cheese, and turned this recipe into a breakfast frittata!  So, so yummy!

How do you say yummy in French?

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