Two Simple Tofu Stir Fries

Both of these recipes are so good they will knock your sock off.  I loved them both, especially the spicy tofu stir fry.  That one is mostly tofu, with an amazing sauce- but I think next time I would toss in some veggies, just to get something besides tofu in there- like snow peas.  The spicy, peanuty, thick sauce is to die for, and I would be willing to use it in so many places.  As for the broccoli and tofu stir fry, well, I haven't had pressed tofu in quite a while, and this made for a very nice change of pace.  Not to mention it got rid of some broccoli that had been sitting around for quite a while... so that made it even better.  The sauce was not as thick as the spicy stir fry, but good in it's own right.

Tofu and Broccoli Stir Fry

Adapted from 175 Quick & Easy Chinese Recipes

Serves 3

9 oz pressed tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
2 large green onions, chopped
4 slices ginger
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp vegetarian fish sauce
3 tbsp rice wine
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tbsp corn starch
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pine nuts, to serve
Mix together the soy sauce through salt and pepper, and set aside.  Heat a wok over medium high heat, and add the ginger slices with a bit of water.  After a couple seconds, add in the broccoli, garlic, mushrooms, and onions, and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the sauce and tofu, and stir fry for another minute, until the veggies are tender and hot.  Serve, topped with pine nuts.

Spicy Tofu Stir Fry

Adapted from Ken Hom's Quick Wok

Serve 6

5 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
3 tbsp peanut sauce
1 tbsp chili bean sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp sugar
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp pressed garlic
2 lb fried frozen tofu, thawed and cut into bite-sized pieces

Mix together the soy sauce through sugar.  Set aside.
Heat a wok over medium high heat, and add the onion with a bit of water.  After a minute or so, add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.  Add in the tofu and sauce, and heat through.  Serve.

Stuffed Bell Peppers Plus Sweet Roasted Cashews

Here's another set of delicious recipes that can be made in just a few minutes each.  The cashews take no time at all, and develop a very nice flavour in the oven.  I especially liked the subtle sweetness of the agave- not to mention the added side effect of all the nuts sticking together.  Just a btw- did you know that cashews have the lowest fat content of all nuts?  I thought that was rather interesting.  Walnuts, of course, have teh omega-3 fatty acids, and almonds are just plain old nutriet packed - the "king of all nuts", is what I have heard them called.  Anyway, I liked these cashews...
The last time I made stuffed bell peppers, they were not very good at all.  These, on the other hand, are the exact opposite, and there is a perfect balance of bell pepper to filling, which was my problem last time.  Not to mention they take minimal prepwork, and are a good way to use up leftovers.  Even M, who has eaten many stuffed peppers, said they were really good.  I actually tried to eat them with my fingers, because cutting them with a fork is kind of hard.  Failure.  But, hey, they still tasted excellent.

Agave-Coconut Roasted Cashews
Adapted from 175 Quick & Easy Chinese Recipes

Makes 1 cup

1 cup cashews- whole or pieces
1 tbsp agave nectar or honey
1/3 cup dried coconut flakes
Chili sauce, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and spread onto a baking sheet.  Roast for 12 minutes or so, until lighty browned and they smell really nice, checking occasionally.  Serve hot or cool.

"Burger" Stuffed Red Bell Peppers
Adapted from 175 Quick & East Chinese Recipes
Serves 4
8 oz Boca crumbles
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 large green onion, chopped
1 tsp finely chopped or grated ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
3 small red bell peppers, or enough to put the stuffing in, cut in half, stemmed, and seeded
1 tbsp Panko break crumbs
Heat a wok over medium heat with a bit of water, and add the Boca crumbles, carrot, onion, and ginger.  Saute for 5 minutes, and then add the soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar.  Heat through, and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 375.  Stuff each bell pepper half, and then put the stuffed peppers, filliing side up, on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with Panko, and then bake for 35-40 minutes, until the peppers are deflated and the filling is lightly browned.  Serve.

Mini Sweet Potato Balls!

These are soooo cute!  Not to mention fun to make, and they taste fabulous, especially with a dipping sauce.  I was very happy to be able to use my treasured black sesame seeds in these- in fact, they are now over halfway gone.  Boo hoo... but anyway, it was so worth using the sesame seeds, because that added so much more to these delectible little finger foods.  The only down side is that I now am finding sesame seeds all over the floor, because they keep flying off the plates. Which is not really such a big deal, but still. 
Anyway, these taste great, and are good hot or cold, so they make a good lunch item for me, as well as a nice and filling side dish for dinners.

Sweet Potato Balls

Adapted from 175 Quick & Easy Chinese Recipes by Jenni Fleetwood

Makes about 28

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, chopped, and boiled until tender
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp garam masala or other curry powder
1 oz grated ginger root
1 cup whole wheat flour
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds, for rolling the balls in (about ½ cup)
Dipping sauce, to serve (I mixed up thick soy sauce, rice wine, and chili garlic sauce, which was excellent)

Mash the sweet potatoes, and then mix in the sugar, masala, ginger, and flour, until they are well blended. Roll into balls about 1 inch across, and then roll the balls in the seeds to coat. Put on a baking sheet, and repeat with remaining sweet potato mixture.
Preheat the oven to 375. Bake for about 12 minutes, until heated through. Serve with a dipping sauce.

Quinoa Broccoli Casserole (Fabulous!)

I think that this is the first time I have ever tried quinoa not in a soup.  I was kind of concerned, but hah!  It turned out to taste fabulous.  The tofu topping was oh so creamy, and the broccoli was a brilliant green burst of flavour.  Not to mention the ever popular chicken, and parmesan cheese, which added a deep and rich flavour.  Plain quinoa would not be all that great- I have to admit- but, mixed with a smooth sauce and other flavours, it makes for a stellar casserole that makes a large amount of better than average leftovers.

Quinoa, Broccoli, and “Chicken” Casserole

Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Serves 6--8

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked for about 20 minutes, like rice, in 1 cup water
3 cups broccoli florets
1 small onion, chopped
½ bunch spinach, stemmed
2 cups vegetarian chicken, diced small
12 oz tofu, pressed
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp dijon mustard
½ tbsp curry powder
1-2 tbsp molasses
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350.
Heat a small frying pan over medium heat, and add the broccoli and onion with a bit of water. Sauté until
tender, about 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread the quinoa on the bottom of a casserole dish – I used a 9x13.
Put the broccoli and onion on top of that.
Reheat the pan, and then wilt the spinach, which should take about 2 minutes. Spread over the broccoli and onions.
With a blender, blend the tofu with lemon juice, mustard, curry powder, and molasses until they become a smooth paste. Spread over the spinach.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven, add the cheese on top, and let the cheese melt for 5 minutes. Serve hot, topped with salt and pepper.

Fancy Cabbage Soup

There's really not much to say about this soup - it just has tons of cabbage, along with a lot of other soupy things like potatoes and carrots.  The chickpeas were a very nice addition, I thought, and the noodles really topped this soup off as delicious and filling.

Fancy Cabbage Soup

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan

Serves 8

1 large onion, chopped
3-4 carrots, coined
5 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
8 cups water
3 tbsp vegetarian chicken bullion
3 yukon gold potatoes, chopped
1 tbsp thyme
1 tsp sage
2 bay leaves
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp corn starch
3 cups vegetarian mutton
2 cups spaghetti or other pasta, cooked
Parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat, and add the onion and carrots. Sauté for a couple minutes, and then add the garlic and cabbage. Sauté until the cabbage is cooked, about 5 minutes. Add through the bay leaves, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Mix together the corn starch, miso paste, and a couple tbsps water, and then add to the soup with the remaining ingredients except cheese. Heat through, and serve, topped with parmesan.

Coconut Udon Tofu Stir Fry

This stir fry is amazing.  I wasn't feeling all that great today- my stomach had been hurting and I have this aweful taste in my mouth.  So I didn't eat very much for my lunch, and by dinner I was so hungry that I didn't really care how much my stomach hurt, I was eating a lot.  So I made this stir fry, which turned out to be just the thing that I have been craving for a long time.  It's been ages since I have made udon noodles, and these seemed to turn out really well.  I thought it was just slightly sauce heavy, and M agreed, so go a bit heavier on the veggies if you want.  And I always love the tofu, as usual...

A Noodle Dish

Adapted from Eat Air

Serves 4

12 oz fried tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 heat broccoli, cut into florets
5-7 green onions, white parts thinly sliced, green parts chopped into 1 inch pieces
4 small carrots, cut on the diagonal
1 red bell pepper
2/3 cup edammame
1 tsp ginger, grated
2/3 cup reduced fat coconut milk
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp curry paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
2 tbsp corn starch
Udon noodles, cooked, to serve
Peanuts, to serve

Mix together the coconut milk through the corn starch in a bowl and set aside.
Heat a wok over medium high heat with a bit of water. Add the carrot and sauté for a couple minutes and then add the broccoli and ginger. Cook for 3 more minutes and add in the bell pepper and green onion. After another minute add the edammame, and then stir fry another couple seconds. Add in the sauce and cook for another minute. Add in the tofu, heat through, and serve over udon noodles topped with peanuts.

Another Beefy Soup and Omelete Roll

I made this soup in honnor of St. Patrick's Day.  Ok, let me back up.  This soup showed up on the menu because of all the Irish themed recipes that popped up EVERYWHERE on every food blog that I know.  It seemed inevitable, then, that I would be making some version of vegetarian corned beef soup.  I just go with the flow... anyway, it turned out to be very delicious, but I had a hard time tasting the soup because it was so hot.  Not the spicy kind, but the steaming hot kind.  I think there was still steam comming out of my bowl even when I had finished... but, from what I gathered, it was quite good.  Caraway seeds really add so much to soups, and I just happened to spot the jar of them when I was digging through the spice cabinet, so in they went.  I think that this soup would have been even better with fake beef- not fake mutton.  But that was not to be, because none was in the freezer. 

About the omelete roll- it was fabulous.  Like, really, really fabulous.  I rarely eat eggs anymore, mostly because I would rather get protein from fake meat and beans, but I need to make a bento box for a school project, and this was one of the recipes that I had wanted to put in there.  Although the directions seem to be really complicated, it's not really, and totally worth the ten minutes to put together, because the eggs have an excellent, slightly sweet flavour.  I think next time I would roll up a few veggies inside of the omelete, too, which would jazz it up even more.

Sweet and Simple Egg Rolls

Serves 2

 Adapted from Chinese and Thai 400

2 eggs
1 tbsp sugar
½ tbsp soy sauce
A drop peanut or veggie oil

Lightly beat the eggs. Mix together the sugar and soy sauce and then add to the eggs.
Wipe a small frying pan with oil, and bring to a medium heat. Pour ¼ of the eggs into the pan to create a thin layer. When the edges have just set, fold the egg in half towards you, lifting it up with a spatula. Pour 1/3 of the remaining egg into the frying pan, and let it run under the cooked egg. Once the new egg has set, roll the omelet away from you, and lift it up again. Add in ½ of the remaining egg and let it run over the bottom of the pan, and do the same thing as before: roll the omelet in the opposite direction, towards you. When that has set, repeat with the remaining egg. Once all the egg is cooked, roll the entire thing up, and slice in half. Serve

Corned “Beef” Stew

Adapted from I Eat Food

Serves 8
1 large onion, diced, or 12 oz frozen pearl onions
5 carrots, chunked
½ small green cabbage, chopped
5 cloves garlic, pressed
12 oz fingerling or regular potatoes, cut in half if large/diced
5 cups water plus vegetarian beef bullion
¼ cup tomato paste, or 1 can tomato sauce
A bit of apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chili sauce, to taste
2 bay leaves
3 cups vegetarian beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 tbsp corn starch mixed with water

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, and add the onions and carrots. After sautéing for 2 minutes, toss in the cabbage and garlic. When the cabbage is tender, add in the remaining ingredients except “beef” and corn starch, and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add in the “beef” and corn starch, heat through, and serve.


Cheesey Garlicy Odd-Yet-Good Israeli Couscous

This has got to be on the top ten list of odd and  insanely good combinations of ingredients.  I have never eaten Israeli couscous before, and was a little weirded out at first.  Then, as I ate more and more, the dish started to taste better and better.  Once all the leftovers were gone, I was very determined to make this quick, protein packed dish again soon.  It would be excellent for lunches, too.  M absolutely loved the raisins; I wasn't that big on them, but, then again, I have never really liked raisins all that much.  Which just goes to show how much I loved this dish, because normally I would never even condiser touching something with raisins in it.  Yum!
Quick, Jazzy Israeli Couscous
Adapted from Happy Healthy Life

Serves 5

2/3 cups Israeli couscous
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup shredded spicy cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mirin
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp raisins
1 cup frozen green peas
3/4 cups cooked white beans
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tbsp fat free mayo

Bring the water to a boil in a kettle with the couscous.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 9 minutes.  Remove from heat, and let sit for 5 more minutes.  Then, return to very low heat and add in the remaining ingredients, and heat through.  Serve.

Cranberry Risotto

As I was putting this together, I had a fear of it being bland, because, as I scanned the ingredients, there were no spices whatsoever.  I started to pull out different spices until they looked sufficient- actually, the whole small counter space was covered with herbs... but I think this risotto was my best one yet- which isn't saying much because I have only made three.  But still- the cranberries added a nice sweetness, and the flecks of onion were delicious.  Not to mention all the herbs that went in.  Another plus was that it needed about 15 minutes of prep work, and it was done.

Baked Cranberry Risotto

Adapted from Oceanspray.com

Serves 6-8

4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup risotto rice
2 cups water, plus vegetarian chicken bullion
Scant 1 tbsp thyme
Scant 1 tbsp oregano
3/4 cup dried cranberries
Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 425.
 In a deep frying pan or Dutch oven, heat a bit of water, and add the onions. Sauté for 2 minutes and add in the garlic.  Sauté for 2 more minutes and add the bell pepper, and sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except the cheese and stir well. Pour into a casserole dish and cook for 30 minutes. When the liquid is gone, take out of the oven and top with a few tbsp of parmesan cheese. Serve.


Another Soup... With Molasses

So here’s yet another soup. Pretty much the same as another soup that I made a few weeks ago, except this one has quite a bit of molasses. Which M thinks is really weird, but I am totally and completely in love with molasses, and it’s really a key ingredient that makes certain dishes tastes so much better. I had spotted this recipe on AllRecipies a month or so ago, and put it in my recipe box. And last week I couldn’t really find a soup recipe, so I decided to go poking around in my archives, and stumbled across this one. So I added a few more veggies, and ended up with yet another amazing soup. So there.

All Recipes “Ham” and Bean Soup

Adapted from All Recipes.com

Serves 8-10

1 large onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, coined
4 large cloves garlic, pressed
1 tbsp dried thyme leaves
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
5 cups water plus vegetarian beef/chicken bullion
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
28 oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
3-4 yukon gold potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp water
3 cups vegetarian ham, chunked
1 cup dry pinto beans, cooked
1 1/2 cup pasta, cooked (I used shells which seemed to work. Not spaghetti!
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat, and add the carrot and onion with a bit of water. After 2 minutes add in the garlic, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients through peas, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes, covered. Add in the remaining ingredients except pasta, and heat through. Add in the pasta, and then mix well. Serve with salt and pepper to taste.

Multi-Nut Stir Fry (Pine Nuts!)

Here's something really pretty, really tastey, and really easy.  In other words, I could eat this every week and still be happy.  I got some pine nuts for Christmas, (I know, I'm weird), and this is how I broke the pakcage open.   Oh my gosh, this was so good.  The pine nuts and sun flower seeds, neither of  which I had eaten in a stir fyr before, were absolutely fabulous.  Although the ration of noodles to veggies was higher than I would normally do, this has got ot be one of my favourite stir fries that I have made in a long time.  The leftovers were good, too, which was a huge plus.
Triple Nut Stir Fry

Serves 4

Adapted from 101 Vegetarian Cookbooks

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons mirin
½ cup tamarind juice
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Chili sauce, to taste
Fine-grain sea salt
2 bundles soba noodles, cooked
12 ounces fried tofu
1 onion, sliced
4 carrots, sliced into thin strips
2 baby bok choy, sliced
Sesame seeds, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds

Mix together the sugar through the sea salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Heat a bit of water in a wok over high heat, and then add the onion. After a minute add in the carrots, and then cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Add in the bok choy and cook until almost tender. Add the tofu, sauce, and noodles. Keep stirring until combined. Serve topped with sesame seeds, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds.

Potato and Broccoli Rabe Bake

This dish totally blew my socks off.  I have never tasted anything similar to it.  Seriously, out of all the dishes that I have made, none have been anything close to this dish.  What puzzles me is that I thought, while I was making it, that it would be rather bland.  I think that fear made me add more spices, and then I ended up with a wad of flavour in the dish.  It’s rather pretty, too.  The bell peppers were really supposed to go on top of the potatoes, under the broccoli rabe, but that did not happen.  I was too hungry to wait for the pepper to roast, and so it just went on top.  But the pepper was totally worth the trouble, because both M and I love roasted bell pepper, and the house smelled good for the rest of the night.

Potato and Broccoli Rabe Bake

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan

Serves 6-8

3 medium-large red potatoes, chopped into about ½ inch pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 huge red bell pepper
1 large bunch broccoli rabe, thick stems cut off, and cut into 2 inch pieces
12 oz tofu, pressed
¼ cup milk
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbsp miso paste
1 generous tbsp corn starch
1 tsp onion powder
Scant 1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp Spike seasoning
1 tbsp basil

Preheat the oven to 400.  In a casserole dish, spread the potatoes out into a single layer, and bake those for 25 minutes, until they begin to brown and become tender.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cut the bell pepper in half.  Take off the stem and deseed it.  Place both halves, skin up, on a baking sheet that is not very valuable (lots of sticky juice will come out).  Pop the pepper in the oven with the potatoes for about 35 minutes, until the skin is dry and blackened.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  I stuck mine in the freezer for 5 minutes, and that really sped things up.  Then take off the skin, and chop. 
While those are baking, prepare the broccoli rabe.  Bring a pot of water to a boil with 1 tbsp of salt, and cook the broccoli rage for 5 minutes.  Drain and dry well.
While all that is going on, prepare the tofu.  Combine the tofu through basil in a bowl, and blend with an immersion blender.  Or use a regular food blender, or food processor.  Anyway, blend well.
To assemble, spread the broccoli rabe over the potatoes, and then the tofu mixture.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or more, depending on how thick the dish is.  Mine was pretty thin, and done after 35 minutes.  Top with bell pepper, and then let sit for 10 minutes.  Serve.

Easy Hummus Wraps plus Falafel- Chickpea Madness!

I am so excited about this falafel. I had had falafel in a restaurant for the first time a bit over a year ago, and ever since it’s been on my list. So I finally decided to make it this week, and it turned out really amazingly fabulous. I was quite surprised at how good it tasted. And they are fun to eat, too. I like them plain, or I suppose any sort of sauce would go well with them. Plus they pack well in a lunch, hot or cold. I was also pleased to have a use for my immersion blender…
These wraps put made good use of my immersion blender, too.  I love hummus so much, but never really have an excuse to make it.  So, when I stumbled on this recipe it seemed to fit the bill perfectly.  They are so easy to make, very portable, and filling.  Not to mention they taste absolutely fabulous.

Baked Falafel

Makes about 25

1 cup dried chickpeas, cooked
About ¼ cup water
1 small onion, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, pressed
½ cup cilantro, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp ground cumin
Chili sauce, to taste

In a bowl, blend the chickpeas with an immersion blender until they form a rough paste, adding water as needed. Add in the remaining ingredients, and then continue to blend until everything is well blended and smooth. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450. Shape the dough into small balls, using just under 2 tbsp dough per ball. Put on a baking sheet, and flatten slightly to form a cake. Bake for 25 minutes, until the outside is lightly browned and crispy, but the inside is still moist.  Serve hot or cold, perhaps with a dipping sauce.

Easy Hummus Wraps

Adapted from Happy Healthy Life

For each wrap:
Hummus (I blend about 3/4 dried chickpeas, 1 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, rosemary, and water until they are smooth)
Carrot sticks
Alfalfa sprouts, spinach, or other poofy veggie
Opt: Vanilla yogurt

To assemble the wraps, spread a line of hummus down the middle of the wrap. 
Then put a line of carrots down the middle, followed by a pile of alfalfa or whatever.  Finally, add a line of yogurt, if using.  Wrap it up, and serve.