Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Quick Post-Yoga Zucchini Noodles in Peanut Sauce 

with Smokey Baked Tofu 


So after an hour of sweaty, exhausting power yoga (and a shower) all I wanted was a big bowl of carbs! Pasta to be exact.  However, that doesn't exactly go along with my gluten-free aspirations. I also wanted something quick - as the post yoga hunger set in. So, I improvised! I keep coming across recipes that replace noodles with sliced zucchini, and this seemed like a good time to give it a try. Especially considering the fact that my parents recently returned from visiting my aunt in Missouri with bags and bags of fresh produce from her garden. We'd already used most of the cucumbers in a quick pickle, and eaten more peaches than I ever thought possible - however, we still have quite a few zucchini and summer squash, so I decided to use thinly sliced squash and carrots in place of pasta, toss on a light Pad Thai-esque sauce (because to me, there is nothing more comforting than something smothered in peanut butter), and add some baked tofu for protein. And it turned out rather lovely - and quick! Light, yet filling, and absolutely yummy. By the time the tofu was done getting crispy and delicious in the oven, the noodles and sauce were also ready to serve - about 30 minutes.

I call them Zoodles! Get it - zucchini+noodles - brilliant, I know. Also, as you'll see in the pictures, while I began with the best intentions of creating fine thin strips of squash using a peeler (my mom does own a mandoline, I'm not afraid to admit it - that thing terrifies me - I just know that I'll walk away from it missing skin, so I chose to ignore it's existence). However, after the first squash, I got a bit tired (so many sun salutations), and whipped out my knife - and I actually liked the slightly thicker slices, as they held up better to the blanching. And yes, I chose to blanch the squash, but I may simply saute it next time- I think it would give it a bit more color and flavor.

I love it when an experiment turns out well, and I will definitely be making this again.

Zoodles in Peanut Sauce with Smokey Baked Tofu

serves 3-4

4-5 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into long strips (with a mandoline, if you dare! Muahahaha!)
3 carrots, thinly sliced into half moons

1-2 TBS natural peanut butter
2 TBS wheat-free Tamari
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
1/8 tsp ground ginger

1 package Extra Firm tofu, sliced into 12 pieces
2 tsp wheat-free Tamari
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

1-2 TBS roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped (optional for garnish)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

For the Tofu: 
Combine the tamari, garlic powder and liquid smoke in a small bowl. Set aside, and lay out your tofu slices on a cookie sheet (I don't find it necessary to oil the sheet, but you can always wipe it down with a bit of oil if you find that your tofu sticks - I find that about 1/4 tsp of oil on a bit of paper towel smeared about works well - plus, no need for propellants!). Using your fingers, or a brush, brush half of the tamari mixture onto the side of the tofu facing you. Flip them over, and use the rest of the mixture on the other side. This doesn't need to be pretty -just get it as even as you can. Pop the tofu in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove and flip the tofu strips. Place back in the oven, and bake for another 15 minutes, until the tofu is crispy and golden. I find that cooking the tofu at such a high heat gives it an almost fried texture and flavor.

For the Sauce:
Combine all ingredients (it's okay if it starts to separate a bit), and set aside. That was difficult.

For the Zoodles:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the veggies and tofu. Once the water comes to a boil, blanche the squash and carrots for about 2 minutes, until tender. Remove from the water and drain in a colander. Run under cool water to stop the cooking process. Pour the blanching water out, and return the zoodles to the pot, and add the sauce. Mix to heat through. Serve the noodles with several slices of tofu and garnish with chopped peanuts and enjoy an easy, delicious and healthy dinner!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper and Zucchini Scrambled Frittata Pie & Greek Potatoes

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Low Fat

See - I couldn't wait long enough - so my frittata looks a bit more like a scramble here :)

One of my favorite recipes from FatFreeVegan.com, is the Vegan Zucchini Frittata: smooth, creamy, light, mildly spiced, slightly eggy tofu goodness. While delicious warm, it is absolutely divine when cold! Especially on a hot summer afternoon. Though I always enjoy the original, I have developed my own adaption of this lovely recipe- I like to add a bit more extra firm tofu, so that it becomes more of a baked tofu scramble pie. I also add more veggies, drawing on my childhood love for quiche : ) This recipe is also very easy to play with by changing up the veggies (I've found that spinach, leeks, and potatoes do well) and spices. Today, I had some lovely roasted red peppers lying about and decided to throw those in with the zucchini, and the result was quite tasty - I really enjoyed the sweetness they brought to the frittata. I also love topping it with a few slivered almonds, the crunchy texture of the nuts alongside the creaminess of the tofu - mmmmm.

While I usually like to serve this with a nice green salad, today I made a batch of Greek potatoes to accompany my scrambled frittata pie - small wedges of Yukon golds, smothered with lemon and oregano, and baked until golden and crispy. Both dishes bake at 400, which makes it easy to have them on the table at almost the same time!

Here is my adaptation of Susan Voisin's Vegan Zucchini Frittata and my recipe for Greek Potatoes!

Roasted Red Pepper and Zucchini Scrambled Frittata Pie

Serves 4-6

  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil (or whatever cooking oil you like)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp dried oregano or thyme (optional - honestly, I usually omit this)
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated 
  • 4 roasted red bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu (not silken), crumbled
  • 1 12.3-ounce package lite firm or extra-firm silken tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup water or unsweetened almond milk (you may need a splash more)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon tahini, or 1 TBS raw cashew pieces (the cashews create their own nut butter in the blender, which makes them a nice substitute if you don't have tahini)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • generous grating of black pepper
  • 2 TBS blanched slivered almonds  (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400.

In a medium sized skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until they begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced zucchini (not the grated), and cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the squash begin to soften. Add the grated zucchini, chopped roasted red bell peppers, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper, and crumble in the tofu (not silken). Continue to saute for another few minutes, so that everything is heated through. Set aside.

Onion, zucchini, roasted red peppers and spices.

While the vegetable mixture is cooking, place the rest of the ingredients, except for the slivered almonds, in a blender or food processor, and blend until creamy and smooth. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as needed. Pour the blended tofu mixture into the skillet of veggies, and mix so that everything is incorporated.

I know- this looks delicious :P  It get's prettier, I promise!

Pour the whole lot into a 9" pie or tart pan (you can lightly oil the pan, but I didn't find it necessary). Smooth the top, and place in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle the almond slivers over the top. Return to the oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the almonds are lightly toasted, and the center of the frittata is set.

Pre-oven and almonds.

Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before serving - though, I must admit, I can never let it go that long. Or, place in the fridge overnight, and enjoy it cold the next day!

If you actually allow it to set, it does hold up very nicely.

I like how this is quite chunky - scramble pie!

The almonds really give this some wonderful texture contrast.

Greek Potatoes

serves 6
  • 2lbs small Yukon gold potatoes
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 TBS dried oregano
  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tps salt
  • pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Wash and dry the potatoes. I like to cut each potato into 8 wedges, about 1/2"- 3/4" thick. In a large roasting pan, mix everything together. Place in the oven and cook for 40-60 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Stir every 20 minutes or so. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Today I thought I'd share a list of some of my favorite vegan cookbooks, blogs, and websites.  While I  don't always follow recipes (one of the things I love best about cooking is the freedom of expression and experimentation), I do love my cookbooks!  They're great sources of information and inspiration. I love blogs because they're such a wonderful way to connect to other cooks, and find a community of people dedicated to vegan cooking and living, even if you're surrounded by the Texas stockyards, or Wisconsin dairy land. It lets you reach out and find people trying to break the stereotype of the bland vegan meal, who truly enjoy the creative process and labor of love that makes real, whole, good food. So here are some of my favorite sources of culinary inspiration.

Go-To Blogs and Sites

Fat Free Vegan Susan Voisin's is one of my blogging heroes, and FatFreeVegan is one of my go-to sources when I'm planning the weeks meals. She has so many wonderful recipes - all super healthy, low-fat, and she provides nutrition information for each recipe. She also takes gorgeous photos and gives some really great advice.

 Some of my favorite recipes are: Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale (this years winter soup obsession), Ridiculously Easy Vegetable Gumbo, Spicy Collards and Black-Eyed Pea Soup, Cosmic Cashew Kale with Chickpeas and Confetti Quinoa (LOVE this one - also great stuffed into peppers - though I usually use collards, and just mix the quinoa (confetti-less) in with the the rest), Vegan Zucchini Frittata (so good cold - if it lasts to the next day, that is :), Creamy Vegan Broccoli and Rice Casserole, Taco Salad, - I could go on forever! So please, go check it out!

Taste Spotting For those of us obsessed with food porn (i.e., beautiful photos of food -okay maybe that's not the best label for it, but it's such an apt description...), there is no better site than this! Plus it's a great way to discover new blogs, and a vast variety of different foods. While not specifically a "Vegan Website" it does have a filter, into which I simply put "vegan" and am presented with page after page of gorgeous vegan foods. You can also narrow your search with "raw vegan" or "gluten-free vegan." But be careful - it's entirely too easy to get lost on this site for hours :P My recent discoveries from TasteSpotting? Raw Nectarine Tarts, PiƱa Colada Smoothies, and Vegan Philly Cheesesteak Sandwhich just to name a few.

VegWeb Was one of the first online vegan recipe sources I discovered back when I first went vegan almost 10 years ago - and it's only gotten cooler. It's basically a big online vegan community - vegan recipe sharing, forums, advice, vegan 101, etc. A great resource, especially for those new to the vegan lifestyle, but also for veterans such as myself.

The Post Punk Kitchen Is the brainchild of Isa Chandra Moskowitz - my hero. I have all of her cookbooks (more on these in the vegan cookbook section) - all splattered, tattered and much loved and used - follow her blog, and kind of want to have her babies. I love her. So yeah. From Chana Masala to Vanilla Bean Cupcakes  - if ever I am without my trusty copy of Vegan With A Vengeance, this is where I go. I just- it's just - just go! <3

The Tofu Guru  - Is a one-girl, online vegan cooking show - very entertaining, especially great for the college student's budget -with some really tasty recipes and easy to follow directions - for example, her Vegan Tamales are absolutely delicious! And especially here, I find her video demonstration of how exactly one is supposed to fold the tamales quite useful.

Emily's Essential Vegan Cookbooks 

A note on cookbooks: Though I have quite a few of them, and love them dearly - I like to use cookbooks like I use blogs  -as jumping off points for culinary adventures. Sometimes I follow a recipe to the letter (especially with baked goods - ask Alton Brown, baking is a science), but most of the time the recipe is simply an outline - I add, remove, substitute and tweak it to make it my own. That being said, cookbooks rule!

Vegan With A Vengeance - by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
This is my must have cookbook, and honestly my favorite vegan cook book of all time. My copy is now well worn, dog-eared, and curry splattered. The recipes are delicious, pretty cheap to make, very accessible, and just plain good.

Appetite For Reduction - by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Though Vegan With A Vengeance will always be my first love, Appetite For Reduction is quickly gaining ground. I absolutely love it! Isa wrote this one after having written three desert books (all brilliant), and she wanted to just feel a little bit healthier. Lots of soy and gluten-free options. The recipes are fantastic - and I make one to two meals from this during the week. Highlights include: Pot Pie Stew with Sweet Potato Biscuits, Masala Baked Tofu, Black Bean Olive and Zucchini Tacos, Temphe Helper, Edamame Pesto, etc.

Veganomicon - by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
The name says it all, doesn't it?

Vegan Brunch - by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Waffles, Scrambles, Scones, Pancakes!

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
Vegan Pie In the Sky 

All by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

These books should come with a warning - especially for those of us who lose our self control where sugary baked goods are concerned. The recipes are delicious and bound to impress even the most skeptical of non-vegans. One of the things I love the most about these books is the fact that they don't require too many crazy ingredients - nearly everything is readily available in any ol' grocery store. I have had to hide these books from my self of late, because I am trying quite hard to break my addictions both to gluten and sugar - however, when I need to impress picky co-workers, or skeptical friends with fantastic deserts - these are the books I grab. Just proceed with caution :) I know that once I start baking, it's not easy to stop. I just can't help it.

Vegan Planet - by Robin Robertson
500 pages of awesome vegan recipes from all over the world ranging from super simple to complex. It contains a lot of my favorite recipes, including one that I make constantly during the fall: Autumn Vegetable Stew - creamy butternut squash, parsnips and sweet potato with nutrient packed collards, and kidney beans - it tastes like fall in your mouth! One of the most comprehensive vegan cookbooks.

Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons - by Nava Atlas
I love soup. I love stew. I love this book.

Vegan Holiday Kitchen - by Nava Atlas
What makes this book super awesome is the fact that, unlike others, by "Holiday" it doesn't simply mean Thanksgiving and Christmas - it also includes Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah recipes, and even some great Easter and 4th of July/Summer dishes as well. My family loved the vegan Challah, and the gluten-free Skinny Figgy Bars (this recipe was contributed by Susan Voisin, who also shot the gorgeous photos featured in this book, and is available on her website) and the Hot Artichoke and White Bean Dip were huge hits at this years New Years Eve party. A beautiful book in all respects.

The Joy of Vegan Baking - by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Scones, cookies, pies, pretzels, "cheesecakes," brittles, cobblers, cupcakes, crepes,and breads. This is another one that I sometimes have to hide along with my copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World  :)

How It All Vegan - by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard
This was actually the first vegan cookbook I ever bought, and like most of the books on this list, most recipes don't require many difficult to find ingredients. Recipes range from classic American dishes to how to make your own nut milks, and offers oodles of  tips and advice on veganism :) I really love this cookbook.

Live Raw - by Mimi Kirk
My first Raw cookbook, and so far I love it! Not only a cookbook, but a lifestyle guide to living Raw (why I started using coconut oil as lotion :P). It makes attempting raw deserts and nut cheeses, or even getting to know your dehydrator a little less daunting.

So there you have it - a few of my favorite vegan blogs and cookbooks - but by no means all of them! So explore! Find cookbooks at your local library (they don't even have to be vegan - sometimes it's more fun to find an old family standard, and try to veganize it yourself!), and get lost in some beautiful blogs :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Overnight Oatmeal, Yet Again

Serves 1 (but double away!)

I don't think I'll ever get tired of overnight oatmeal. It's so nutritious, so filling, and so easy. Plus, it's a great cold breakfast for warm summer mornings. I think I've eaten some variation of this for breakfast every day for the last two months, and I have no intention of stopping! Especially now that I have a ridiculous amount of chia seeds :D

Yep, That's A Mason Jar The Size Of A Chihuahua Full of Chia Seeds (well, almost full).
I wanted to share my current favorite flavor, which is quite similar to my Chocolate Cherry Pudding recipe, but with a few alterations and improvements. For one thing, I've upped the oats to a little over 1/2 cup per serving, and reduced the almond milk by 1/3rd - I think it makes it a taste a lot more pudding-y. I've also added a banana which brings a lot of sweetness, and mixes very nicely with the cherry and chocolate. So here is a slightly altered, but still delicious recipe for Chocolate Cherry Banana Overnight Oats!


  • 1/4 cup frozen unsweetened cherries (or fresh), defrosted in the microwave for 30 seconds, and broken apart with a fork 
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, mashed (optional - prepared with the cherries)
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 heaping cup regular oats, or gluten-free oats (not instant)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond millk - or non-dairy milk of choice
  • 2 TBS chia seeds
  • 1 heaping TBS cocoa powder
  • 5 drops liquid stevia, or 1/2 TBS maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 TBS roasted, unsalted almonds (or raw almonds, walnuts, etc.)
Banana, Blueberries and Cherries.
All Mashed Up!
Oats Mixed In.
Directions: In a medium sized bowl, defrost the cherries and blueberries (if using frozen) in the microwave for 30 seconds (or just set them out at room temperature for a few hours). Add the banana to the bowl, and mash with a fork or other mashing devise. Add the oats, cocoa powder, salt, and chia seeds - mix together. Stir in the almond milk, stevia, and vanilla extract and until no lumps of cocoa powder remain, and the mixture is starting to thicken..  Cover the bowl and place in the fridge. Let set for two hours, or overnight.

In the morning, remove the covering, top with roasted almonds, and enjoy!

Right Before It Goes Into The Fridge.

Ready To Devour.