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!
This recipe, which game from a Better Homes & Gardens magazine a long time ago, is a great make-ahead meal for lunches. It doesn’t call for any mayo so it can usually be made on the fly. You can use white wine vinegar in this recipe and it’ll turn out great, but I highly recommend going the extra mile and getting some white balsamic vinegar. It adds a level of flavor that I don’t taste when just using white wine vinegar.
Vegan Chicken Salad
- 1-2 lbs. chicken substitute (I’ve been using seitan recently, but this also works really well with the “chicken” strips made by Morningstar Farm Meal Starters)
- 4 medium carrots, shredded
- 6 scallions, thinly diced on the diagonal
- 1 Tbsp. fresh or dried tarragon
- salt and pepper
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 3 Tbsp. white wine or white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
Brown “chicken” in a little bit of oil on medium high heat. If using Morningstar chicken strips, shred strips with your fingers. If using seitan, cut into small chunks. In a large bowl, combine the “chicken,” carrots, scallions, tarragon, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. Serve on bread as a sandwich or in lettuce cups (BH&G suggests radicchio cups or Bibb lettuce leaves).
My lunch – chicken salad with lettuce from the garden, radish “chips,” and water (Go Pirates!).
My partner is a huge fan of hot sauce (I must be specific – Louisiana Hot Sauce; no Tabasco for him!). And by huge, I mean he pours it on everything … sometimes even oatmeal (eww). I, on the other hand, am not such a fan of the vinegary heat provided by hot sauce. Nevertheless, I have a new favorite tradition: weekend wings, smothered in buttery Louisiana hot sauce. We’ve been following this tradition for a few months now (not every weekend, we’re not crazy!) and I keep challenging him to up the ante on how much hot sauce we put in … we’re up to about 4 Tbsp.
The reason weekend wings have become such a tradition at my house is because of this recipe for Vegan Buffalo Wings. It is am-az-ing. Seriously. The coconut milk batter results in the most delicious wings. I also like this recipe and our weekend tradition because it means Will and I can team cook, which is always fun. We set up a little assembly line where I do the dipping and he does the frying (we don’t deep fry these, just pan fry them with oil). It’s a bonding experience 🙂
This time, instead of tofu, we used seitan (left over from this batch) for the “wings”. The texture was good (firm and “meaty”) but we both concurred that we like the taste of tofu wings much better. The tofu seemed to soak up more of the coconut milk batter than the seitan did. A good experiment, but it’s back to the original for next time!
This isn’t the best picture, but you get the idea. Delicious!
We sometimes make the cool dipping sauce from the blog, but as I’ve mentioned before, I rarely have vegan mayo on hand. Usually the sauce I whip up is a combo of vegan sour cream (Tofutti Sour Supreme), sometimes with vegan cream cheese (again Tofutti), dried dill, dried parsley, thyme, and garlic powder, finely minced garlic, lots of pepper, and 1-2 chopped green onions. I also like to make homemade french fries to accompany the wings (2-3 smaller Russet potatoes cut fry-style, and tossed simply in olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Roast at 425 F for about 20-25 minutes). I can’t wait for next weekend!
I’ve been in a cooking rut lately so last night I decided to try out a recipe from my file of magazine clippings. The recipe originally appeared in the March 10th issue of Family Circle magazine. The original calls for chicken, but I veganized the recipe using a batch of seitan I made over the weekend (I used the chicken-style seitan cutlets recipe from Yellow Rose Recipes, with the broth from this recipe). I also changed quite a few other ingredients to utilize what I had on hand – let me know if you’re curious about the originals. It was so delicious; filling but very healthful.
Seitan Curry & Brown Jasmine Rice
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 lb. chicken-style seitan, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger root
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1 1/2 c. vegetable broth
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 c. raisins
- 3 cups cooked brown jasmine rice
- 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1/4 c. cashews
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (I actually forgot to do this, but it didn’t matter!). Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add seitan and saute for 7 minutes, turning occasionally. Season with 1/8 tsp. salt. Remove from pan after browned and keep warm. Add a tiny bit more oil to the skillet, then add onion and ginger and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add curry and cook 1 minute. Add broth and remaining salt to skillet. Bring to a simmer and add chickpeas, raisins, and seitan. Simmer for 2 minutes. Evenly spoon cooked rice into prepared dish. Spoon seitan curry mixture over top. It may seem a little saucy, but add all that — it’ll soak into the rice. Scatter peppers over curry. Cover with foil or a lid and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and scatter cashews over peppers. Bake, uncovered, for 15 additional minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
Today is Super Bowl Sunday, and the first time I deviated from my method of randomly selecting recipes (I have a feeling this will probably happen again). In honor of the New Orleans Saints (I lived in Louisiana for a couple of years while I attended grad school), I decided to make the jambalaya recipe to eat during the game. I used up my red beans to make chili last week, so I had to leave those out. I also used white wine instead of cooking sherry for the deglazing. The jambalaya was great — although it probably needed another 20 minutes or so for the rice to fully cook (I used brown rice). I served this with baked sweet potato fries (recipe courtesy of my dear friend Lisa). Geaux Saints!
Recipe: Seitanic Red and White Bean Jambalaya (pg 170) with Simple Seitan (pg 131)