Archive for the Vegan Category

Tomato & Cumin Tofu Scramble

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I made my Tomato & Cumin Tofu Scramble twice in one day as requested by my sister. It’s very easy to prepare, simply flavored with tomato sauce, ground cumin, and fresh cilantro. You might want to keep tomato sauce handy for this and other recipes, frozen in an ice cube tray. Serve with rice or potatoes and top with optional avocado, queso fresco, sour cream, etc.!

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 Tomato & Cumin Tofu Scramble

  •  Serves 4

2 tsp. canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 container firm or extra firm tofu, drained and cubed

1/3 cup tomato sauce

1/8 tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tofu, tomato sauce, cumin, and salt to pan and increase heat to medium-high. With a heat-proof spatula break up the tofu, stirring occasionally, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the tomato sauce coating the tofu and onions begins to caramelize. Adjust salt and cumin to taste.  Mix in cilantro.

Rosemary Chickpeas & Bell Peppers

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Fast food doesn’t have to come from a restaurant. Rosemary Chickpeas and Bell Peppers is a dish that requires little prep time and cooks up in less than 20 minutes. It’s a great vegetarian recipe that I usually enjoy with polenta or brown rice.

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Rosemary Chickpeas & Bell Peppers

  • Serves 4

1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, small dice (3/4 c.)

1 rosemary sprig (about 7 in.)

½ tsp. kosher salt, divided

3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp.)

3 medium bell peppers, large dice (12 oz.)

15.5 oz. can low sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 Tbsp. dry white wine

pepper, to taste

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, rosemary sprig, and ¼ tsp. kosher salt and cook for about 3 minutes. Mix in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add peppers, chickpeas, and ¼ tsp. kosher salt and cook covered for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Add white wine, scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook for 2 more minutes or until peppers are cooked. Add pepper to taste, adjust salt as needed, and drizzle with 1 tsp. olive oil before serving.

Note: You may have heard that plant-based proteins (beans, nuts, seeds, bread, cereal, pasta, and rice), except for soy beans, are “incomplete proteins”. This means that they lack one or more of the nine essential amino acids that our body cannot produce on its own. To complete “incomplete proteins”, make sure to consume a variety of protein sources throughout the day. For instance, rosemary chickpeas at lunch can be complemented by rice at dinner.

For more information take a look at Diana Burrell’s article: “Build Muscle, No Steak Required” at

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442463961&terms=vegetarian%20protein#.UQxINqU81fF

Egg-Free Banana, Corn, & Pumpkin Baked Treats

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All out of eggs?  Allergic to eggs?  Choose not to eat eggs?

You might already have an egg substitute, such as banana or ground flaxseed, in your kitchen!

Years ago, I learned that mashed banana could be used as an egg substitute from the Vegetarian Times’ Egg-Free Chocolate-Banana Loaf recipe. Try it; this bread is a real treat!

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Check out the recipe at http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/egg-free-chocolate-banana-loaf/.

I also discovered that 1 Tbsp. of ground flaxseed plus 3 Tbsp. of water could be used to replace 1 egg. I have successfully used this mixture in cornbread  and pumpkin cookie recipes. Bits of flax are visible in these baked goods, but barely impart a nutty flavor.

I usually enjoy a not-so-sweet corn bread made with 2 Tbsp. of granulated sugar, but the recipe below is for those who love their sweets. The recipe for vegan pumpkin cookies also follows.

Sweet Corn-Studded Corn Bread

  •  One 8-inch square bread

1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

3 Tbsp. water

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

2½ tsp. baking powder

½ cup granulated sugar

¾ tsp. salt

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup milk

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

Preheat oven to 425°F and grease an 8-inch square pan. In a large bowl, whisk together ground flaxseed and water until mixture thickens. In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. To the large bowl containing the flaxseed mixture, add canola oil, milk, and half of the corn kernels. Stir dry mixture into wet ingredients until just mixed. Pour batter into pan and gently push the remaining corn kernels into the batter. Bake bread for 25 minutes.

Vegan Pumpkin Cookies

  • Makes 29 cookies

1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

3 Tbsp. water

1¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. allspice

¼ tsp. salt

¼ cup canola oil

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup pumpkin puree

½ tsp. vanilla extract

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease two cookie sheets. In a small bowl, whisk together ground flaxseed and water until mixture thickens. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla extract, and flaxseed mixture until smooth. Mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Drop flat tablespoonfuls of cookie dough on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes and allow cookies to cool. Lightly dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Note: Fore more egg replacers and other vegetarian substitutes visit  http://www.vegetariantimes.com/article/ingredient-substitution-guide/.

Spiced Watermelon Fig Popsicles

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My summer was way too short, so I’m holding on to the season with the last watermelons and figs that I can find. Last Saturday, I bought the very last watermelon that the farmer’s market had in my neighborhood and it was delicious! This week, my nearby Stop and Shop has watermelons on sale, so let’s enjoy them before they’re all gone.

Watermelon is an amazing fruit that is made up of 91% water plus vitamins A and C, potassium, and lycopene. One cup of watermelon has almost 2x the amount of lycopene in 1 fresh tomato! Figs are a great source of potassium, calcium, and iron. Since iron absorption is increased by vitamin C, the watermelon, lemon juice, and white grape juice in this recipe aid in the absorption of iron from the figs.

The flavor of Spiced Watermelon Fig Popsicles bridges the end of summer with the beginning of fall. If you’ve already had enough popsicles for the season, you might enjoy this recipe as a smoothie instead!

Spiced Watermelon Fig Popsicles

  • Makes 6

1½ cups watermelon cut into about ½ inch chunks

1 cup fresh figs cut in quarters (about 6 large)

1 Tbsp. honey*

1 tsp. lemon juice

3 shakes cinnamon

2 shakes nutmeg

100% white grape juice (about ½ cup)

Blend first 6 ingredients until smooth and add enough grape juice to bring the total to 2¼ cups. Blend once more to mix in juice and pour into popsicle molds.

*Adjust honey according to sweetness of the watermelon. Also, remember not to introduce honey to children less than 1 year of age.

Creamy Tomato & Hummus Spaghetti

Posted in Savory, Simply Delicious, Vegan | No Comments »

After enjoying carrots and hummus for a few days a week, I sometimes lose interest in using hummus as a dip. So, one day I decided to add hummus to freshly cooked rotini and I liked it. The tangy “sauce” was made with 1/2 cup hummus and 3 Tbsp. pasta cooking water for 2 cups of cooked pasta. Then, I took the idea one step further and added hummus to homemade tomato sauce. If you’re going to try this recipe, I strongly suggest using homemade tomato sauce because commercial tomato sauces may be too strong/salty to mix with hummus.

Creamy Tomato & Hummus Spaghetti

  • Serves 2-3

2 cups freshly cooked spaghetti

2 tbsp. pasta cooking water, plus more reserved to use as needed

¾ cup homemade tomato sauce

¼ cup hummus

Combine pasta cooking water, tomato sauce, and hummus in a small bowl. Add to spaghetti and use more pasta water to add more fluidity if needed. Garnish with some grated cheese and parsley.

 

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Posted in Gluten Free, Savory, Simply Delicious, Vegan | 2 Comments »

Looking for a new side-salad? Try this salad of raw zucchini ribbons tossed in an almond butter dressing. If you don’t have almond butter, try peanut butter as a substitute.

Zucchini Ribbon Salad 

  • Serves 4

1 garlic clove, crushed

5 tsp. red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. almond butter

kosher salt, to taste

2 small zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise

1. Add the garlic clove, vinegar, oil, and almond butter to a large bowl and mix together until smooth. Season with salt.

2. Use a peeler to make zucchini ribbons about 1/2 inch wide.

3. Remove the garlic from the dressing. Add zucchini and toss to coat.

A couple of tropical fruits

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A few weeks ago, I was enjoying the warm weather of the Philippines and many of the sweet flavors of the tropics. There I was introduced to a new fruit – Chico

When I first tasted Chico, I was surprised by its slightly granular texture and wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue eating it. However, I took another bite and delighted in its unique flavor – a combination of ripe pear and brown sugar. I liked it so much that I encouraged my sister to try one!

I also had the opportunity to taste fresh Jackfruit for the first time. Any time I’ve eaten Jackfruit in New York, I’ve had it coated in syrup from a can or a jar. I always liked it, but I knew Jackfruit would even be better fresh. So when I saw the large fruit being sold at a roadside fruit stand, I bought a piece of it. When I got it to the hotel, my mom and my aunt helped to remove the yellow flesh from the seeds.

This Jackfruit had a slightly crisp texture with a flavor that some people describe as banana-like. I enjoyed the fresh fruit, but what I liked even more were Jackfruit chips! They were crunchy, light, sweet, and not at all oily. Here’s a link to the fruit chips that I tasted in the Philippines: 

 http://www.amazon.com/Mit-Say-Vinatural-Fruit-Chips/dp/B003UPOMRO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=grocery&qid=1296053040&sr=1-3

They’re expensive to order on Amazon.com! One day, preferably when it’s not snowing, I’ll hunt for them in Chinatown so that I can taste them again and share them with friends.

Fruit and Nut Snack Bars

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I’ve been snacking on Larabars for a couple of years now. I like them because they are made with simple, tasty ingredients. For example, the Apple Pie Larabar is made of dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon. I buy the Apple Pie and the Cherry Pie flavors because they have less than 5 % daily value saturated fat.

Lately, I’ve discovered Pure Organic’s Chocolate Brownie bar. It’s amazing! The mixture of organic dates, walnuts, agave nectar, almonds, cashews, brown rice protein, and cocoa remind me of the Little Debbie brownies I ate as a young girl. It’s a healthy way to get your chocolate fix.

Read more healthful facts about these bars at:

http://www.larabar.com/food/larabar/apple-pie

http://www.larabar.com/food/larabar/cherry-pie

http://thepurebar.com/pure-products/our-6-flavors/chocolate/

Toasted Buttercup Squash Seeds

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Winter squash, such as pumpkin, sweet dumpling, and buttercup, are bountiful during this time of year. They’re a beautiful way to decorate a home in the fall. They’re also a great way to get beta carotene into your diet to decrease the risk of certain eye diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Beta carotene is what makes most winter squash flesh orange.    

This is the first year that I’ve tried buttercup squash. It’s the dark green squash with lighter green stripes next to the pumpkin in the photo below. By the way, I purchased the big pumpkin in the photo for $3.99 at Trader Joe’s. What a deal!   

While preparing the buttercup squash for dinner, I saved its seeds. They’re similar to pumpkin seeds. I left them out to dry on my kitchen counter for a couple of days and rubbed them clean to expose their white shells. You can also rinse the seeds first and then dry them. They can be eaten raw or toasted to add protein, iron, potassium, and phosphorus to your diet.  Remember, it’s best to eat seeds sparingly because they are high in total fat and calories.   

To toast seeds without turning on the oven, place seeds in a single layer in a heavy, ungreased skillet. Then, toast over medium heat for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan and stirring them until they are lightly brown. The seeds are almost ready when you hear them start to “snap, crackle, and pop”.  Transfer them immediately to a dish to cool before eating.     

Fresh Gazpacho Salsa Dressing

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Last week, I picked up a recipe for Fresh Gazpacho Salsa Dressing at my CSA distribution site.  It’s a great way to put the many tomatoes I am getting from the farm to use.  I made a few changes to the recipe to suit my family’s needs and taste.  However, you may want to use the 1 green chili pepper and freshly ground black pepper that I omitted.   

 Fresh Gazpacho Salsa Dressing

 ½ lb. ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1 large tomato)

1/4 cup diced sweet white onion

½ Tbsp. onion powder

½  red bell pepper, diced

¾ tsp. garlic powder

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

¼ tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. kosher salt

pinch of sugar

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.

2. Use immediately or store tightly covered in the fridge.  Use within 3 days.

The recipe suggests using the dressing in a salad with any combination of the following: roasted corn, black beans, chickpeas, lettuce, spinach, hearts of palm, marinated artichokes, etc. 

I used it as a marinade and sauce for baked salmon.  The dressing imparted a pleasant sweetness to the fish, which my family and I throughly enjoyed.