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Meatless Monday Recipe: Quick & Easy Pad Thai Spring Rolls
Making pad thai at home is deceptively easy, but making spring rolls is ridiculously fun! Combine both, and you have the pad thai tofu spring rolls below - a quick and creative meal you'll definitely find yourself making more than once. You should be able to find spring roll paper, tamarind, and chili garlic sauce in the ethnic food aisle of your local supermarket and most Asian grocers. 10-Ingredient Pad Thai Spring Rolls (Adapted From Minimalist Baker) MAKES 8 ROLLS INGREDIENTS: For The Spring Rolls - 14 ounces extra firm tofu 8 ounces white or brown rice noodles 8 - 10 white or brown rice spring roll papers 2 cups thinly sliced carrots 1 large handful fresh cilantro For The Sauce - 3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce + more for tofu 3 - 4 tablespoons coconut sugar, agave, or maple syrup 1/2 lime, juiced 1 - 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce + more for tofu For Serving (Optional) - Peanut sauce (Check out my Vegan DIY: Thai Peanut Sauce recipe card.) Sriracha Directions: 1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wrap tofu in a clean towel. Set something heavy on top - such as a cast iron pan - to press out liquid for 15 minutes. Then cut into 1/2-inch wide rectangular strips. 2) Arrange tofu on the baking sheet, giving each piece some space so it can firm up. Bake for 28 - 30 minutes to dry and firm the tofu. For softer tofu, bake for 20 minutes. For firmer, bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Set aside. In the meantime, prep carrots, cilantro, and cook rice noodles according to package instructions, then drain and set aside. 3) To make the sauce, add tamarind, tamari, coconut sugar, lime and chili garlic sauce to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once it begins bubbling, lower heat to low and cook for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring frequently.Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more tamari or soy sauce for saltiness, chili garlic for heat, coconut sugar, agave, or maple syrup for sweetness, or lime for acidity. Remove from heat and set aside. 4) Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add baked tofu and 1 teaspoon each chili garlic sauce and tamari or soy sauce, plus 1 tablespoon of the Pad Thai sauce. Sauté, stirring frequently, for 1 - 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. 5) Add cooked noodles to the still-hot pan over medium heat and add remaining Pad Thai sauce. Use tongs to disperse sauce and toss noodles. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside. 6) Assemble a station for preparing the spring rolls with a shallow bowl or plate (for dunking the rice paper), bring a kettle or pot of water to a boil (to cook the rice paper with), and a clean work surface (such as a large cutting board). Gather all ingredients and add hot water to the shallow bowl or pan. Let it cool for 1-2 minutes, then add 1 rice paper at a time and cook/soften for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Lift and let excess water drip off, then transfer to your clean work surface. 7) Top with pad thai noodles, tofu, carrots and cilantro, then roll over once, tuck in sides, and continue rolling all the way up. Place seam-side down on a serving plate or baking sheet and cover with a damp, room temperature towel to keep fresh. Continue until all spring rolls are prepared - about 8. 8) Serve as is with a bit more chili garlic sauce or sriracha! Another great addition is the aforementioned peanut sauce posted above. Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Meatless Monday Recipe: Chipotle Black Bean Tortilla Soup
One full week into June means that we're well on our way to Summer! But I'll be honest - the weather has been a little bit strange here in San Diego. With Tropical Storm Blanca coming up from Mexico, the month so far has been unexpectedly cool and overcast - a bit dissuading for those of us who want to reach for our flip-flops and head to the beach! However, the wonky weather of Southern California's late Spring and early Summer always has me looking to make some unconventional soups. For example, I might go for some matzoh ball soup with a side of sauerkraut pirogi or sprinkle some Follow Your Heart cheddar shreds on a hearty potato soup. But perhaps my favorite soup for this weather is a bean-based tortilla soup garnished with a couple corn tortilla chips for an added crunch, so I can enjoy the flavors of summer while beating that untimely chill! Try this recipe with a number of different garnishes. Top it with a dollap of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream or chop up some fresh slices of avocado. Either way, you'll find yourself falling in love with the slight kick and aroma of this soup - and have plenty of leftovers too! Chipotle Black Bean Tortilla Soup (Adapted From Minimalist Baker) MAKES 6 SERVINGS INGREDIENTS: For The Soup - 2 tablespoons avocado, grape seed, or coconut oil 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 red or orange pepper, diced 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 1/2 cups chunky spicy salsa 4 cups vegetable stock 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or maple syrup (optional, to taste) 2 15-ounce cans of black beans cooked in salt, slightly drained 1 15.25-ounce can of whole kernel corn, drained For The Garnish (Optional) - Lime juice Fresh cilantro, chopped Red onion, diced Tortilla chips Ripe avocado, cubed Hot sauce Non-dairy sour cream (or cashew crema) DIRECTIONS: 1) Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, garlic, onion, pepper, a pinch each salt, and pepper, and stir. Cook for 4 - 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and the peppers have a bit of color. 2) Add cumin and chili powder and stir to coat. Then add salsa, vegetable stock, and coconut sugar. Stir to combine, then increase heat to medium heat and bring to a low boil. 3) Once it’s boiling, add black beans and corn, and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 30 minutes or more, stirring occasionally. 4) Serve as is or with recommended serving options above. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 5 - 6 days, or in the freezer for 1 month.
Vegan Pastel De Tres Leches (Tres Leches Cake)
Growing up, I took a number of trips to Central Mexico. While my family is Middle Eastern by heritage, I have a lot of family who immigrated to the Coahuila region of Mexico instead of the United States, and because of this, our family somewhat incorporated various Mexican traditions and foods into our lives. When it's my mother's birthday, my father wakes her up with "Las Mañanitas". When my sister and I were little girls, my grandmother taught us Mexican nursery rhymes and children songs. Traditional Mexican food was some of our favorite go-to comfort food. Pan dulce, tamarindo candy, and fruit sprinkled with lime and Tajín were some of our favorite treats. And to this day, pastel de tres leches is my favorite dessert! Tres leches cake is usually made with three different types of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. So I know what you're already thinking - how could you even make this vegan? Fortunately for vegans, we've already got three milks (even more!), and for this recipe, we use almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk! Try it the next time you're wanting to add a delicious dessert to your spread of vegan Mexican food. It's definitely worth the effort! ------------------------------------------------------------ Vegan Pastel de Tres Leches (Tres Leches Cake) 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup vanilla almond milk 1/3 cup warm coconut oil 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar 1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk (do not shake can before opening) Vanilla soy creamer 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-inch square baking pan. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. 3. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract and vinegar. Blend on medium until smooth. Add flour mixture and blend on medium until ingredients are well combined. 4. Pour batter into a prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not over bake. Set aside to cool. 5. Meanwhile, carefully open the can of coconut milk and spoon the thick cream into a medium bowl. Place this cream in the refrigerator. 6. Pour the remaining thin, watery coconut milk into a 2-cup measuring cup and add enough vanilla creamer to make 1 1/2 cups total liquid. Invert the cake onto a rimmed platter and poke holes on the top of the cake using a dowel. 8. Pour the creamer mixture all over the cake, using a spoon to evenly distribute the liquid and fill the holes in the cake. Set aside for 30 minutes for the liquid to soak in. 9. Use an electric hand mixer to whip the chilled coconut cream until fluffy. Spread whipped coconut cream over the cake. Slice and serve.
Vegan Margarita Cupcakes - Made with Real Tequila!
Now I'm not saying my best friend Mandy is an alcoholic, I'm just saying that if she can take any given recipe and add a sufficient amount of booze to it, she's pretty excited. Needless to say, when we were planning her second annual 29th birthday party, and I was the one on dessert duty, I decided to create a batch of these beauties! This Margarita cupcake recipe has a lot going for it. It's completely vegan, has the natural flavor of fresh lime, and uses an entire mini bottle of tequila. It's pretty magical. The garnish, like margaritas themselves, is completely up to you! I put pectin lime gummy slices on top of mine (see picture 2), but I would also recommend trying out course cocktail rim sugar or even bright paper umbrellas! ------------------------------------------------------------------- Vegan Margarita Cupcakes To Make Cupcakes: 1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest, freshly grated 1 cup soymilk 1/4 cup canola oil 2 tablespoons tequila 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt To Make Icing: 1/4 cup margarine 1 tablespoon soymilk 3 tablespoons lime juice 1 tablespoon tequila tiny drop green food coloring 2 -2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar 1 pinch kosher salt or 1 pinch coarse salt 1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line muffin pan with cupcake liners. 2. Beat together lime juice, zest, soy milk, oil, tequila, vanilla and sugar. 3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Combine into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. 4. Fill liners about 3/4 fill. I use an ice-cream scoop. Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 5. Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack and cook completely before frosting. 6. To make the icing, blend margarine until soft and fluffy; stir in soy milk, lime juice, tequila and food coloring. Use only the tiniest bit of food coloring. 7. Sift in 2 cups confectioners sugar and blend until smooth and creamy. Add additional confectioner sugar if the icing appears too liquidy. Refrigerate until ready to use. 8. Spread icing on the cupcakes spreading all the way to the edges. 9. Garnish to your preference. Enjoy!
Thai Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Flautas with Spicy Peanut Sauce
In pursuit of the perfect sweet potato flautas recipe for dinner tonight, I found this little game-changer. Not only are these sweet potato flautas amped up in nutrition with the inclusion of cauliflower, but Thai-style Mexican food? This is about to attack like, five different cravings in one. Word. ------------------------------------------------------------- Thai Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Flautas Peanut Sauce: 1 cup peanuts 1 cup water 1 tsp brown sugar 1 tsp toasted sesame oil 2 Tbsp soy sauce 1 Tbsp lime juice 1 small red Asian chili Flautas: 2 tsp toasted sesame oil 1 stalk lemongrass, beaten and finely chopped 1 medium head cauliflower, finely chopped ½ yellow onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 small red Asian chili, minced ½ sweet potato, grated ½ cup Thai basil ¼ cup cilantro, chopped salt & pepper cooking oil for frying 8 small tortillas (corn or flour) 1. First, make the sauce. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. IF you have time, add another half or full cup of water and bring to a simmer in a saucepan as you prepare the flautas. If not, no worries! You can also just use peanut butter, instead of peanuts, if that's what you have on hand. 2. In a frying pan over medium heat, add the sesame oil and lemongrass. Let cook for a minute or two before adding the cauliflower. Cook for another minute (assuming the cauliflower is very finely chopped, if not — cook it longer! It needs to be softening before you proceed) before adding the onion, garlic, and Asian chili. 3. Cook for one minute before adding the grated sweet potato and half of the Thai basil. Cook for another two minutes before removing from the heat and adding the remaining basil, cilantro, and salt & pepper to taste. 4. In a clean, heavy frying pan, heat ½" of cooking oil over medium heat. Let it heat for at least 3-4 minutes before proceeding. Roll about ⅓ cup of filling in each tortilla to make eight flautas. 5. When the oil is hot, work in batches placing each flauta seam-side-down in the oil. Cook until each side is golden-brown, rolling over to get all sides. 6. Top with extra basil, cilantro, peanuts, and lime. Serve with peanut sauce.
Low-Fat Spinach Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach
Who said that being vegan means you have to skip out on your favorite Italian? This lasagna recipe is not only highly customizable (I sauteed some mushrooms and added them right under the spinach in mine!), but the handful of olives across the top gives this dish the right amount of salty kick without kicking up the amount of sodium in a serving. One serving of this lasagna (1/6 of the recipe) is only 300 calories, but switch that standard pasta out for something whole wheat, and you've got the ultimate diet recipe! --------------------------------------------------- Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach To Make Ricotta: 1 medium-size head cauliflower (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces 2 teaspoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 pound extra-firm tofu 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper For the Red Sauce: One (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with basil 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon salt To Assemble: 8 ounces lasagna noodles, broken in half, cooked in salted water 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach 1/4 cup chopped black olives 1. First, we’ll roast the cauliflower. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; that way the cauliflower won’t stick. Place the cauliflower on the sheet and drizzle the oil over it. Spray it with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Toss it with your hands to make sure everything is salted. Spread the cauliflower in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes, then flip it with a spatula. You don’t have to flip each and every one, so don’t get OCD about it. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned, tender, and toasty. 2. In the meantime, crumble the tofu into a mixing bowl. Use your hands to mash the tofu, squeezing it between your fingers, until it has the consistency of ricotta cheese. Add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, pepper, and remaining salt. Use a fork to mix well. 3. When the cauliflower is done, transfer it to the mixing bowl with the tofu mixture. Use a potato masher to mash it really well, for a minute or so. If it doesn’t seem to be mashing enough with the potato masher, a few pulses in the food processor should get it nice and crumbly. Set aside. 4. To prepare the sauce, mix all its ingredients together and set aside. 5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour a thin layer of red sauce on the bottom of an 8-inch square casserole. Line with a layer of noodles. Spread with one-third of the cauliflower ricotta. Layer with 3/4 cup of spinach leaves. Pour on about a cup of sauce. 6. Repeat the process one more time, creating another identical layer, starting with the noodles. For the top layer it’s just a little different: Layer with noodles, pour the sauce on first, then layer with ricotta. This layer doesn’t get any spinach. Sprinkle with a layer of olives and press it into the the tofu. 7. Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is browned. Let it cool down before serving.
Meatless Monday Recipe: Vegan Olive & Mushroom Stromboli
Stromboli is one of those foods you can't really find all too often here on the West Coast, and yet it is also one of the foods I tend to find myself craving the most when I'm getting a little too nostalgic for my East Coast upbringing. I remember my father had a friend named George who would so often come to our house with large loaves of stromboli to share. My mother, as she was a dietician, seriously hated how often he did that because while stromboli is delicious, it is certainly not something you should let your children eat every single day! (It's essentially a baguette-length calzone, traditionally filled with meats and a whole lot of gooey mozzarella.) I wish I had this recipe for vegan stromboli back then. I feel like my mother would have found it to be the perfect compromise between the stromboli concept and her habit for keeping good nutrition in mind. Unlike traditional stromboli, it is completely cholesterol free and kicks out all the ham and pepperoni for an equally savory vegetarian filling. With that being said, you could easily add your own vegan pepperoni to this. Yves makes a great pepperoni that would work well in this. Also, Tofurkey deli slices or Veggie Garden meatballs would probably make a fun alternative filling too! Either way, this is a recipe your children are going to love, and you can honestly feel good about making. Vegan Olive & Mushroom Stromboli (Makes 1 loaf) INGREDIENTS: To Make the Dough - 1 cup warm water 1 7-gram package (or 2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more to coat the dough and bowl 1 tablespoon agave nectar Healthy pinch of salt 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface For the Filling - 1 tablespoon cornmeal 1 tablespoon olive oil 6 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) cremini or white mushrooms, sliced Another healthy pinch of salt Black pepper to taste 1/4 cup kalamata or black olives, sliced 1 cup marinara sauce 1 cup Daiya mozzarella shreds (Follow Your Heart Mozzarella works well too.) 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegan parmesan-style topping, divided 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon plain soymilk (as an egg wash) 2 tablespoon fresh parsley Extra marinara sauce for dipping DIRECTIONS: 1) Preheat oven to 475 F. If you have a pizza stone, heat it with the oven. 2) To make the dough, combine water, yeast, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, agave nectar, and salt into a bowl. Gently mix it all together and let it sit for 5 minutes, until it starts to froth. This ensures the yeast is active and has not expired. 3) Add 2 cups of the flour and mix it up. You can do this by hand or in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Continue to slowly add the rest of the flour until you have a slightly sticky ball. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. (This will take about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes on medium speed with a stand mixer.) After kneading, form it into a ball. 4) Coat a large bowl with olive oil. (The dough is going to double in size, so make sure the bowl is big enough.) Also coat the dough in olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl, cover it with a damp kitchen towel, and stash it someplace warm for 90 minutes for its first rise. 5) After the first rise, give the dough a couple of light, open-handed slaps to make it collapse so that it's flattened out. Then let it rise for 40 more minutes. Now your dough is ready to use and is the equivalent of 1 pound of store-bought dough. [Note: If you have a favorite store-bought pizza dough that you would prefer to use instead of making your own, make sure it is a pound's worth. Also, start your recipe from this point once you have preheated your oven to the above temperature.] 6) First, you want to begin by lightly dusting your work surface with cornmeal. Then, roll out pizza dough into a 10-by-14 rectangle. 7) In a skillet over medium heat, warm up some olive oil. Add your mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms are softened and have released some of their liquid, about 5 minutes later. Remove from heat and stir in the olives. 8) Spread your marinara sauce evenly across the bottom 3/4 of the pizza dough, leaving margins of approximately 1 - 2 inches on the other 3 sides. Sprinkle both cheeses, onion powder, and garlic powder evenly on top of sauce, reserving 2 tablespoons of the parmesan topping. Next, spread the mushrooms and olives over sauce and cheese. 9) Starting at the long edge on the bottom, roll the dough as tightly as you can into a log. Pinch and fold the two ends and the seam to seal. With the seam side down, lightly brush the rolled up dough with the tablespoon of soymilk. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan topping. 10) Using a sharp knife, cut 3 or 4 slits in the dough. This will prevent your log of deliciousness from ending up as an exploded log of non-deliciousness in your oven. Transfer to preheated oven and cook 10-12 minutes, until top is golden-brown. Remove and sprinkle with parsley. 11) Cool 5 minutes, slice, and serve with extra marinara.
Meatless Monday Recipe: Lasagna Rolls with Seasonal Greens
Living in Southern California, I am truly horrible at knowing which fruits and vegetables are and aren't in season. I'm also horrible at knowing which recipes are and aren't seasonally appropriate. This is why, embarrassingly enough, I'm throwing up cards for grilled watermelon in the middle of January and teaching you how to make ice cream in December. Thankfully, Isa of Post Punk Kitchen is a New Yorker, and as the Northeast is getting hit by a particularly nasty winter, she knows exactly what to recommend. It's spinach season! It's basil season! And fortunately, this recipe for green lasagna rolls uses both in quite the abundance. Whip it up at home, and share some with me. (Promise?) -------------------------------------------- Green Lasagna Rolls 12 oz lasagna noodles For the white sauce: 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours 1/2 cup water 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon salt For the pesto: 2 cloves garlic 3 cups fresh basil, loosely packed 1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), plus extra for garnish 1/3 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon salt Several dashes fresh black pepper For the ricotta: 1 14 oz extra firm tofu, crumbled 1/4 cup pesto 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon salt For the spinach: 2 tablespoons olive oil 6 cloves garlic, minced 10 oz baby spinach Make the noodles: Bring a big pot of salted water to boil and cook the noodles al dente, stirring occasionally to make sure they don’t stick together. If they seem to be, use metal tongs to gently peel them apart. Once cooked, drain them in a colander and run them under plenty of cold water to make sure they stop cooking and don’t stick together. Make the white sauce: Drain cashews. In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until completely smooth. This could take 1 to 5 minutes depending on your blender. Scrape down the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula every minute or so to make sure you get everything. Set aside. Make the pesto: Place garlic cloves in a blender and pulse a bit to chop. Add basil, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice salt and pepper and blend. It should still have some texure and not be completely smooth. Thin with a few tablespoons of water to get it into a spreadable consistency. Make the ricotta: In a medium mixing bowl, mash tofu with your hands or an avocado masher, until it resembles ricotta cheese. Mix in pesto, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice and salt until well combined. Set aside. Make the spinach: Preheat a large heavy bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium low heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook, stirring often, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Set aside. Assemble and bake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish with olive oil. Spread 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each lasagna noodle, leaving a little room around the side edges and 1/2 inch at each end. Scatter about 3 tablespoons of spinach mixture over the ricotta. Starting at the bottom end, roll noodle up and place, seam side down, in the casserole dish. Continue with all remaining noodles. Pour the white sauce over the rolls in thick ribbons. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until edges are lightly browned and white sauce is thickened. If after 25 minutes the rolls are not browning but the edges are crispy, place under a broiler on low heat for a minute or two, keeping a very close eye so that they don’t burn. Remove from oven and smother on remaining pesto. Garnish with additional pumpkin seeds and serve!