I love, love, love peanut sauces. On veggies, on pasta, on anything! This time I decided to expand my go-to peanut sauce recipe and try it with marinated, baked tofu. The result was a delicious, peanuty success!
Coconut Tofu and Veggies
- 1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
- 1 handful green beans, cut into pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 c. coconut flakes
- 1/4 c. cashews
- Cilantro, for garnish
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/4 c. peanut butter
- 1/4 c. coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Sriracha
- 2 tsp. lime juice
- 4 Tbsp. water
- 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 4 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
While tofu is pressing, whisk together all ingredients for the marinade. Cut tofu into triangles or cubes and drop into the bowl with the marinade. Toss gently and leave marinating in the fridge for about 30 minutes, tossing once or twice.. You can use this time to prep your veggies and rice. After about 30 minutes, place tofu pieces on a lightly oiled cooking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350°F. Set aside the remaining marinade. Turn tofu once during cooking. Meanwhile, toast the coconut and cashews in a small frying pan on medium heat until fragrant and coconut is lightly browned.
Stir fry veggies and add remaining marinade during last few minutes of cooking. Gently stir in the tofu. Garnish with coconut/cashew mixture and cilantro. Serve over brown rice.
This is my take on Eggplant Parmesan. As I mentioned earlier, our zucchini has finally started flowering (although from the looks of the plants, I think we’ll only get a few more out of the garden this summer). In hindsight, I wish I would have baked the breaded squash and eggplant instead of frying it. Not because I don’t love fried vegetables (because I really do), but because the leftovers turned rather soggy from all the oil that had soaked into veggies while frying. I didn’t love that. If baking, I would probably go for about 10 minutes on each side at about 375°F.
Zucchini and eggplant
Fried Zucchini and Eggplant Pasta
- 8 oz. pasta (I used macaroni, but spaghetti or linguine would be more traditional)
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced into coins
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced into coins
- 2 c. bread crumbs
- 4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 2 c. soy milk
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- Your favorite pasta sauce
Boil the pasta and set aside. In a bowl, mix lemon juice and soymilk together and let sit for a few minutes. Heat a good amount of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Mix bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper in another bowl. Dip the zucchini and eggplant coins in the soy milk mixture, then the bread crumbs, then the soy milk, and finally the bread crumbs again before placing in the hot pan (I have to keep repeating the mantra “wet, dry, wet, dry” to myself during this process). Fry a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Once all the coins are fried, place slices on top of pasta, then top everything with pasta sauce. Enjoy!
Last night I was in the mood for burgers. I love the black bean burgers from Chili’s, but always end up feeling gross after eating there because of their heavy hand with the salt shaker. So, I decided to make my own! I am really excited about these burgers because I came up with the recipe all on my own and I think it turned out great. I also whipped up a batch of speedy hamburger buns and baked french fry wedges (coated in chili seasoning).
Burgers after baking
Black Bean Burgers
makes about 6 burgers
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 Tbsp. cumin
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- salt and pepper
- egg replacer = to 1 egg (I used EnerG Egg Replacer)
- 1/2 c. oats
- a few pinches of cilantro
- up to 1/2 c. flour
Mash beans in a bowl, leaving a few of them whole. In a blender, process onions and garlic. When you achieve a fairly small dice, drain the onions and garlic in a mesh strainer and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Do the same with the shredded carrots. Add to mashed beans, along with spices, egg replacer, oats, and cilantro. Use your hands to mush everything together. It will be really sticky at this point. Slowly add flour, a little at a time, until the burger mixture is less sticky but still sticks together well. I added just a little less than 1/2 cup. Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Also spray your hands lightly to form the mixture into patties. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the burgers and bake another 10 minutes.
Burger & Fries
One of my favorite meal memories as a kid is chili night. It’s a little ironic because the chili I liked as a kid is the complete opposite to what I eat now. Back then I didn’t like beans, so my mom would make me a special “beanless” chili that was mostly just ground beef, tomatoes, and spices. Now, of course, I load up on the beans and leave the beef out. Go figure. Anyway, what really sticks in my memory is not the chili – it’s the cinnamon rolls. Gooey, slightly spicy cinnamon rolls. We usually got our cinnamon rolls from an Amish bakery outside of my hometown and they were delicious. We had this meal at school a lot, too (anyone know who came up with chili & cinnamon roll combo?) and my twin sister would always con people out of their cinnamon rolls by offering to give them her chili. We liked our sweets 🙂
My version of chili is full of beans and veggies and as hearty as any meat-based chili you might find. But, as in childhood, the cinnamon rolls are the star of this meal. They take some time to prepare, because they contain yeast, but they are absolutely worth the extra time. The recipe poster claims they rival Cinnabon cinnamon rolls and I’m in agreement. These are a big hit at work parties, too!
Chili & Cinnamon Rolls
Hearty Veggie Chili
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 small carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz. can tomato puree (diced tomatoes are also good)
- 1 packet chili seasoning, or your favorite combo of spices
Heat olive oil in dutch oven or other sturdy pan. Add veggies and saute until soft. Add beans and chili seasoning, stirring to make sure all ingredients are coated with the seasoning. Add tomato puree and stir well. Cook on medium heat 10-20 minutes. The longer you leave it on the stove top, the more the flavors meld together. Serve with vegan sour cream, crackers, or Fritos chips and corn on the cob. And cinnamon rolls, of course!
The cinnamon roll recipe can be found here. I use Quick Rise yeast and the flax egg replacer and the result is huge, fluffy, and gooey cinnamon rolls. A note on the frosting – more powdered sugar equals a thicker frosting. If you want more of a glaze, just use a cup or so of powdered sugar.
Better-then-Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
This is a great summertime dish and a nice alternative to the traditional “green” pesto comprised of basil, walnuts, and Parmesan cheese. As soon as the cherry tomatoes in my garden ripen I plan on making my own oven-dried tomatoes, but in this case I used the kind you find in the jar, packed in oil. I served this with a side of steamed green beans dressed only in Kosher sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Sundried Tomato Pasta
Sundried Tomato Pasta
- 8 oz. fettuccine or linguine pasta (or your favorite shape!)
- 3 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 oz. sundried tomatoes in oil
- handful of nutritional yeast (opt.)
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 5-6 button mushrooms, sliced
- Handful of fresh basil, torn
Cook pasta according to package directions. Add pine nuts, garlic, sundried tomatoes, and nutritional yeast to a blender and pulse until combined. Turn blender back on and drizzle in olive oil. Pulse until well combined. Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in a bit of margarine or olive oil until fragrant. Once cooked, drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add sundried tomato pesto to the hot pasta, tossing to coat. Add reserved pasta water a little at a time until the sauce is a little creamy (you may not use the whole up). Add fresh basil and sauteed mushrooms and combine.
The Northeast Heat Wave of ’10 (it’s not really called that – but I like naming weather phenomena) has been great for our garden! We’ve harvested bags of green beans, lots of fresh herbs, and the sweetest sugar snap peas I’ve ever tasted.
I just love having a backyard garden – especially when you can run outside and find everything you need for dinner! That isn’t exactly the case with this recipe, but the pretty little lettuce leaves in the garden definitely provided inspiration for dinner. Forgive my non-measurements for the sauce – just add a little at a time and adjust to taste. I’d say the majority of sauce was based on soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. A little sesame oil goes a long way.
Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
- 1/2 lb. seitan or extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
- 2 Tbsp. oil
- 2 handfuls of green beans, but into small pieces
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- For the sauce: sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, ground ginger, chili sauce (like Sriracha), brown sugar
- Cilantro for garnish
- About 5-6 lettuce leaves, depending on size
Whisk sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Fry the seitan or tofu in 1 Tbsp. oil until browned. Remove from pan and set aside. Fry green beans, onion, and garlic in remaining oil until softened but still fairly crisp. Add seitan or tofu back to the pan with the veggies. Turn heat up to med-high and add sauce. Stir fry for a few minutes until sauce has been mostly absorbed. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve on freshly washed lettuce leaves.
p.s. I didn’t add it this time, but I think slivered almonds would provide a really great crunch to the filling!
I’ve mentioned before how easy it is to find vegan-friendly food at Thai restaurants. Indian restaurants are the same, especially when they focus on southern Indian cuisine which is all vegetarian; they do cook with paneer (cheese). As a result of where I live, and the fact that eating out can get expensive, I have begun experimenting with make-at-home versions of our restaurant favorites. Traditionally when we’ve made Indian feasts, we go all out – several entrees, naan bread, fried veggie pakora, etc – the kind of cooking that’s definitely suited for the weekend. These recipes, however, are perfect for a work night. No time for baking bread on weeknights (unless you’re some kind of miracle worker) – so if you want bread (I’ll post a naan recipe someday soon), you’ll have to make it ahead of time or pick up some flatbread of some sort at the grocery store. I made two entrees and a side of basmati rice. The first entrée is Aloo Gobi, found here. In Indian cooking, “aloo” means potato and “gobi” means cauliflower. I used a regular sized bag of frozen cauliflower florets for this recipe and it worked perfectly. I just set it out on the counter while I prepared the other veggies to let it defrost a little. I also used about 2 tsp. chili powder in place of the green chilies. Garam masala can be found at Indian and other ethnic groceries, but if you want to make your own, just use a mixture of cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, coriander, ginger, & turmeric. Or, if that’s too much work, just leave it out 🙂 The second recipe I made was Red Lentil and Spinach Dhal, which can be found here. As with garam masala, red lentils can be somewhat hard to find; I usually buy them in bulk when I make it to the health food store. I am certain brown lentils, the kind you can find at any grocery store, would work just fine in this recipe. You may have to adjust the cooking time a bit. You know lentils are ready when the water has mostly been absorbed and they are fairly soft. Another note on this recipe – it calls for “brown” onions, which I am not familiar with. Yellow cooking onions worked just fine!
Red Lentil & Spinach Dhal