Tag Archives: vegan

Sesame Soba Noodles with Spinach and Baked Hoisin Tofu

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Welcome to another Food Matters Monday!  This week’s recipe was Sesame Noodles with Spinach and Salmon, chosen by Sara from Pidges Pantry.  Check out everyone’s variations on the dish here.  So far I’ve seen posts starting with this simple noodle dish and changing things up with crab, sea bass, kale, green beans, lamb, ahi, and fried tofu.  Wow!

Whatever variation you choose, this noodle dish is a perfect weeknight supper or quick lunch.  Add more spinach than noodles and you have a perfectly satisfying and very healthy dish.  The sweet soy-garlic-ginger sauce will be a hit with any diner at your table.

My version uses baked hoisin-glazed tofu and adds ginger and agave nectar.  I love the chewy texture of baked tofu and I wanted to make some for a friend of mine who is not eating meat this month to show her how satisfying baked tofu could be.  This was the perfect opportunity!  I promised to take photos to illustrate the process so here goes…!

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First, I press the tofu for a while to get some of the liquid out.  This is an especially important step when you are frying tofu but I do it for baked tofu anyway to speed up the baking time.  To press tofu, wrap the tofu in a clean towel (I use flour sack towels but any clean towel or paper towel will do) and place a small plate on top for 1/2 hour or longer to press.  Make sure the plate isn’t too heavy or else it can smush and crack the tofu.

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Once the tofu is pressed, unwrap and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Place on an oiled baking sheet and brush with a marinade or hoisin sauce.

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Bake at 300 degrees for 1/2 hour.  The result is toothy and satisfying:  smooth on the inside and crispy on the outside with a dense texture.  It is my favorite way to eat tofu!

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The noodle dish is so simple.  Just cook the noodles while quickly sauteing the garlic, ginger, and spinach in a wok.  Add the noodles, toss in soy sauce and agave, top with the tofu and you have a meal to the table in 1/2 hour.

As I always like to remind you, feel free to change things up if you would like!  This dish would also taste good with cabbage, green beans, zucchini, snap peas, or snow peas.  I added a few cubes of sweet potato to one of my plates of noodles.  Enjoy!

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Sesame Soba Noodles with Spinach and Baked Hoisin Tofu

Makes 4 servings; Time: 30 minutes

  • 1 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • 8 ounces firm block tofu
  • 3 tablespoons store-bought Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 and ½ pounds spinach, trimmed and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar (or sugar)
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 8 ounces buckwheat (soba) noodles
  1. Drain the tofu and wrap it in a clean towel.  Place a small plate on it and let sit for a half hour to extract some of the liquid.
  2. Heat oven to 300 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking pan.
  3. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch slices. and place on baking pan.  Brush with hoisin sauce on both sides and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet on medium. Add the garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to soften and the sesame seeds turn golden, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, for another minute or 2. Add the soy sauce, agave, sesame oil, and a splash of water and cook until the spinach is wilted, another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  6. Cook the noodles in the boiling water until they’re tender but not mushy (start tasting after 5 minutes), then drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Turn the heat under the spinach mixture to medium and add the noodles. Toss, adding enough reserved liquid to keep things moist. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately or at room temperature with tofu laid on top and some sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
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“Hippie Rice” With Beet Greens, Currants, and Seeds

Hippie Rice:  With Beet Greens, Currants, Sunflower Seeds, and Orange Zest

Welcome to my first post of 2013!  It’s been a busy, busy (yet wonderful) few weeks but as much as I hate to admit it I’m kind of happy to be getting back into my old routines.  I am even somewhat relieved that the holidays have passed and I can look forward to catching up on my “honey do list” including actually organizing my office closet, sewing the linen pillow covers that have been cut and ready for the machine for months, organizing the photo folders on my computer, and other riveting grown-up extra-curriculars (when I feel as good now when my house is clean as I did when I was a kid and I got an elephant ear at the fair, I wonder if I grew up and somehow found myself in some twisted opposite-world).

This post is also the first Food Matters Project post for 2013.  This week, Gracie chose the recipe, “Hippie Rice,” and how fitting it is considering all of the “diets” I’m sure we are thinking about or actually following through on.  It is a good reminder from Bittman that “we are what we eat” and that feeling better (emotionally and physically) and looking better starts with eating better.

My goal this year is to eat mindfully.  I do a good job of eating well:  eating whole foods and following a mostly plant based diet.  But I have my hangups with some junk foods and tend to overeat, especially when I am not being mindful about my eating.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened a bag of pistachios or popcorn in the car and when I got home realized that half the bag was gone and my car was a mess (followed soon thereafter by a declaration that “there will be no more popcorn/pistachios/other messy snacky foods eaten in this car from this point to as long as we both shall live and into eternity!”).  I can get carried away when I’m distracted.  So my goal is to eat mindfully, to take my time, to try (I said try, okay?) not to eat in front of my computer, to savor each bite and taste the flavors, to eat more deliberately.

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Let’s start with this dish.  I used Bittman’s recipe as the starting off point (see Gracie’s blog for the full recipe) but diverged quite a bit based on what I had on hand and what I was in the mood for.  My version has interesting flavors, textures, and colors…a perfect dish to enjoy mindfully.  Beet greens add color and powerful health benefits.  Currants add a hint of sweetness flavor without overpowering.  Sunflower and pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds) add crunch and depth.  A little bit of heat comes in from the crushed red pepper.  And orange zest adds a bright pop to finish it off.

This recipe can be modified in any-which-way-you-choose.  So don’t get hung up on the exacts.  I used my standard grain blend, a mix of brown rice, quinoa, farro, and radish seed, which I had cooked ahead of time and frozen, making this recipe very quick and easy!

My rice blen

Next, I lightly steamed shredded beet greens.  The next time you buy a bunch of beets with the greens still attached, don’t throw them away!  They cook up much like swiss chard but I like the flavor even better.  Beet greens are also an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin A, making this a vision-boosting, cancer-fighting superfood.

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Next I sauteed some onion in a little olive oil, adding the seeds to toast for the last five minutes.  I squeezed the juice of an orange into the pan and added about 1 tsp of zest.

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Then I tossed all of the other ingredients into the pan (grain blend, beet greens, currants, red pepper flakes, salt), sprinkled it with a little patchoulie (just kidding), and voila, a bowl of righteous grains and veggies was born.

“Hippie Rice” with Beet Greens, Currants, Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds, and Orange Zest; makes 4 servings; takes 45 minutes (with pre-cooked grains will take 20 minutes)

  • 1 bunch beet greens, shredded
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sunflower and/or raw pumpkin seeds (or a blend)
  • 2 cups grain blend (anything you want but I make brown rice, farro, quinoa, and radish seeds in a pot ahead of time and freeze in quart-sized plastic bags)
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/2 tsp red chile flakes
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • juice of 1 small orange
  1. Put beet greens in a saucepan with 1/2 inch of water on the bottom.  Bring to a boil then simmer, steaming lightly for about 5 minutes.
  2. Put the onion in a heavy skillet and saute until lightly browned.  Add sunflower and pumpkin seeds and saute until they are lightly toasted.
  3. Add beet greens, grain blend, currants, red chile flakes, orange zest and orange juice to the pan and stir to heat through.  Enjoy!

Vegan Baked Oatmeal with Apricots, Walnuts, and Blueberries

I hope this day after Christmas finds everyone well.  For me, this cold and peaceful winter morning involved staying in bed late, drinking tea, and best of all, enjoying baked oatmeal.

Baked Oatmeal with Walnuts, Apricots, and Blueberries

I am a bona fide oatmeal lover.  I never ever thought I would be such a goody-two-shoes that I would eat oatmeal every morning.  But somehow this routine has a solid foothold now.  I have rolled oats, steel-cut oats, quick-cooking steel-cut oats, quick oats and oat bran on hand at all times.  When I travel for work, I have BetterOats packets on hand for snacking and mornings in the hotel.  So when I came across baked oatmeal after hearing people rave about it, I had to try it.  I had noticed a recipe in Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday and went at it.

We have been trying our hand at baked oatmeal recipes over the last week and I can’t get enough of it.  Next week I’m throwing a brunch for my lovely former roommate and her out-of-town guests the day after her wedding.  Being that some guests are vegan, I tried my hand at making a vegan version of baked oatmeal, launching off from Heidi Swanson’s baked oatmeal recipe from Super Natural Every Day.  Her version includes eggs, butter, and milk (and her version is delicious, I can attest) but with a few tweaks, everyone can enjoy the miracle of baked oatmeal.  I replace the milk with non-dairy almond milk (you can use soy if you prefer but I prefer the lighter taste of almond milk), the butter is replaced with oil, and the egg is replaced with a half of a mashed banana.  If you like oatmeal you will love this version, which is like a mildly sweet dessert for breakfast.  Without the guilt.  And having tried a dairy version and my vegan version, I can honestly say I liked the vegan version even better.

Baked Oatmeal in Dish

Vegan Baked Oatmeal with Apricots and Blueberries; adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday

Serves 6 for Breakfast

  • 2 cups of rolled oats (use ‘old fashioned’ oats, not ‘quick’ oats)
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar or maple syrup, plus more for serving
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Scant 1/2 tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 cups almond milk, soy milk, or other non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 2 Tbsp canola or coconut oil (melted if hard)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into thin strips
  • Raspberries, to serve (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° with a rack in the top third of the oven.  Oil the inside of an 8 inch square baking dish.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the oats, half the walnuts, the sugar, if using, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, if using, the non-dairy milk, 1/2 mashed banana, the oil, and the vanilla.
  4. Arrange the banana slices in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle two-thirds of the berries over the top.  Cover the fruit with the oat mixture.  Slowly drizzle the non-dairy milk mixture over the oats.  Gently give the baking dish a couple thwacks on the countertop to make sure the milk moves through the oats.  Scatter the remaining berries and remaining walnuts across the top.
  5. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set.  Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.   Cut into squares and serve in bowls.  Drizzle with maple syrup and pool some almond or soy milk on the bottom.  Serve with a few raspberries if you have ’em.

Shredded Sauteed Cabbage With Tomato and Ginger

Shredded Sauteed Cabbage with Ginger and Tomato

At the risk of being totally unoriginal, I am going to share a Martha Stewart recipe because it is my absolutely favorite way to eat cabbage.  I think I ate this for three days straight a couple of weeks ago and I could have kept on going but alas, the head of cabbage had to meet it’s end.

This was one of my go-to detox dishes and a surefire way to convince anyone to enjoy cabbage.  I served mine over my grain blend (with short-grained brown rice, farro, quinoa, and radish seeds).  Note that Martha’s recipe lists ginger as optional.  It is a must, in my opinion!

Keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you ‘get back on track’ in January.  Light and healthy, yet warming.  Great as a main dish or side–I’m planning on serving these with some perogies on the day after Christmas.  Mmmmm.

Shredded Sauteed Cabbage; from Martha Stewart

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  •  1 medium onion, sliced
  •  1 tomato, chopped
  •  1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (optional)
  •  1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  •  1 small head of green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 10 cups)
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for serving
  1.  Heat a 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat, and then add the oil and onion. Saute to soften the onion slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato, ginger if using, and red-pepper flakes. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Add the cabbage and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir to combine. Cover, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally as the cabbage begins to collapse. Add a little water, 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed if the cabbage becomes too dry. (This depends on the moisture level of the cabbage. You don’t want it too wet.) Cook for approximately 13 minutes, or until the cabbage is just tender. Salt to taste and serve.

Roasted Sweet Potato Puree With Coconut Milk

Have you guys heard of Bryant Terry?  If you haven’t, I’m thrilled to introduce you.  Although his Vegan Soul Kitchen cookbook is vegan (obviously), this wonderful chef belongs in any kitchen.  He offers “Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine” in this particular book along with a soundtrack for each recipe–how cool is that?  I love this book because not only are the recipes solid, his family stories are great and you get a big dose of culture as you cook.

The first recipe I tried was this Sweet Potato Puree With Coconut Milk. I am pretty daring so I decided to take a gamble the first time trying it and made a double batch for a huge potluck party.  I felt a little sheepish bringing in a big bowl of what looked like mashed sweet potatoes but that feeling soon disappeared when I had people seeking me out for the recipe.  In two months time this recipe has entered the “well loved” recipe pile and has made it to a few events.  This week, it will find itself onto another holiday table for Christmas–methinks it will become a tradition.

Somewhere in the process of this recipe, something magical happens.  It may be the extra step of roasting the sweet potatoes, or the agave sweetener (which I love), or the creaminess from one of my pantry favorites, coconut milk.  But I don’t want to know what does it–this dish is perfectly delicious.  So close your eyes and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Puree With Coconut Milk

Roasted Sweet Potato Puree with Coconut Milk; adapted from Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen

  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 can coconut milk, warmed (use the full fat version for best results)
  • A few tablespoons of chopped pecans to serve (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, agave nectar, coconut oil, and sea salt.  Toss well.
  3. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a parchment-lined baking dish or roasting pan and roast for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven.
  5. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the sweet potatoes with warmed coconut milk.  Puree, adding a little hot water if needed (my sweet potatoes were dry and needed a little bit more liquid) and transfer to a serving dish.  Top with some pecans if using.

Creamy White Bean and Celery Root Dip With Fresh Herbs

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Welcome to another Food Matters Monday!  Today’s recipe choice, selected by Lexi at Lexi’s Kitchen, is something that will surely find its way onto my (healthier) holiday spread.  It is creamy, simple, delicious, and so much better than many of the creamy dips out there.  I’ll take this over Rondele any day!

White Bean and Celery Root Puree

This was also a great opportunity for me to pull out some of my pre-cooked beans to use.  I recently read something about cooking beans in Super Natural Every Day that inspired me.  Heidi suggested cooking beans and storing them in the freezer in freezer bags so they are quickly ready to use.  I had been storing my cooked beans in Pyrex but it always took so long to thaw out the block of beans so this new method was worth a shot!  I cooked up some garbanzo beans, mung beans, white beans, pinto beans, and black beans, all in separate large pots (I felt a little crazy with so many pots bubbling away but I knew that the result of my madness would pay off!).  I let each pot cool, drained the beans (let sit in the colander for a couple of minutes until all the liquid is gone), and scooped beans into sandwich, quart, and gallon freezer bags.  Now I have beans of all types for any size recipe: larger recipes (soup), medium recipes (like this bean dip), and single portion sizes for when I just want to add some beans to a stir fry or salad.  Genius!

I modified the original recipe to give it a little more oomph with some garlic and fresh lemon juice.  I also had a celery root hanging around and begging to be put to good use so I cooked that up and pureed it with everything.  If you love celery root as I do, it is a great addition but completely optional.  This dip is great without it too.

Check out what the other Food Matters Project participants came up with here.  They are a creative lot!  For visual inspiration, check out the FMP Pinterest board.

White Bean and Celery Root Dip With Fresh Herbs

White Bean and Celery Root Dip With Fresh Herbs; adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook

Note from Bittman:  This puree has a stunning green color from all of the fresh herbs and is the perfect dip-warm, cold, or at room temperature-for toasted bread or crudites.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 leek, white part and some of the green, trimmed, well rinsed, and chopped; or 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped mixed mild herbs, (I used parsley, cilantro, and mint but you can also try basil or chervil as options)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, tarragon, or thyme
  • 3 cups cooked or canned cannellini, navy, or other white beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 small celery root (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • About 1 cup bean-cooking liquid, stock or water, or more as needed
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Crudites and crackers to serve
  1. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped herbs and garlic and cook a minute or 2 more.
  2. In the meantime, add cubed celery root to a small pot with water to boil.  Boil for about 10 minutes or until very soft but not breaking apart.
  3. If you want a smooth dip, transfer the beans, leek/herb/garlic mixture, lemon juice, and celery root to a blender or food processor and process, adding as much liquid as you need to make a smooth but not watery puree. If you want a lumpier texture, mash the beans right in the pan with a fork or potato masher, adding liquid slowly to get them as soupy as you like.  Note:  I saved a couple of spoonfuls of the un-processed bean mixture to top the dip with.  I also added a sprinkling of pine-nuts.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; taste and add more if necessary. If you want your dip hot, heat and serve immediately or keep warm over low heat for up to an hour or so. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil if you like.  This dip also tastes quite good cold!  I served mine with carrots, cauliflower, radishes, and rye crackers.  Mmm!

Rainbow Salad with Roasted Squash, Broccoli and a Tahini Sauce

As I just got done blabbing about in my last post, in which I shared a recipe for Indian-Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash Apple Soup, I am on a clean eating kick.  It’s not that I don’t eat healthy most of the time and I’m sure I have a higher vegetable to other stuff ratio at the checkout than most.  But lately I just keep wanting to eat sweets.  And then I do.  And then I feel icky.  And tired.  And bigger than I really am.  And I know that it just means that I need to reset my diet and my body a bit to get rid of those intense cravings for sugar.  Hence my plan.  Want to know my plan?  Well I’m going to tell you anyway…

Squash ready to get popped into the oven

My plan is to eat only whole foods for a week.  And cut out dairy.  And no meat (I only eat meat about once a month anyway).  And no refined sugars, flours, etc.  Just good food.  And then when my plan commences in a week or so I’m going to see how I feel and try to carry on with said plan until the holiday goodies call my name…and then I hope to not want them so badly, so often, and in such amounts! We’ll see if my sinister plan to ruin Christmas cookies powerful and dramatic effects works.  I’ll let you know…

Squash, all roasted up and ready for salad and leftovers!

In the meantime, I am not missing any of the aforementioned foods right now.  I have had gorgeous meal after gorgeous meal the last few days and I’m trying to get around to sharing a  few gems with you now.

These mixed greens and micro greens from two local farmers were so pretty I almost didn’t want to add anything to them!

This salad has been a favorite so far.  Can you see why?  It seems like the more colorful the dish, the better it tastes and the better I feel.  Recipes like this, adapted from Whole Living’s Steamed Broccoli and Squash with Tahini Sauce make eating well a breeze and a joy.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Salad with Roasted Dumpling Squash, Broccoli, and a Tahini Vinaigrette;

Adapted from Whole Living Steamed Broccoli and Squash with Tahini Sauce

  • 1/2 head broccoli florets
  • 1 Dumpling or Delicata squash, sliced and seeded
  • 1 cup mixed tender greens such as mizuna, pea shoots, or arugula
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Tahini Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°.  Lightly spray or drizzle a baking pan with olive oil and lay squash onto the baking sheet, taking care not to overlap.  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and roast, about 20-30 minutes, flipping each piece halfway through.
  2. In the meantime, steam broccoli florets until bright green and tender, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, toss greens, cabbage, radishes, and red onion. Top with steamed and roasted vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with tahini sauce and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Serves 3-4