Tag Archives: vegan

Amy’s New Sonoma Veggie Burgers (Vegan)

28 May

Amy’s came out with a great new veggie burger recently that’s sure to be a big hit with a lot of people. Not only is it vegan, and thus dairy free, but it’s also soy and gluten-free as well. So what is it made of? Veggies, Quinoa & Walnuts. So not good for those with a tree nut sensitivity, but a great option for just about anyone else.

I didn’t get to dress them up as pretty as the serving suggestion on the box, and ate them straight off the plate instead. Still good, but I think they’re right, they’d probably be amazing with some avocado in sandwich. I tried them with balsamic dressing, ketchup and hot sauce, and mustard, (not all at the same time!) and they were also delicious on their own.

If you like quinoa, you’ll definitely like these, as that’s the most prominent flavor. Here’s a link to the nutritional facts.

Easiest Baked BBQ Tofu

21 May

You can’t get easier than this 3 ingredient tofu recipe. Especially since the BBQ sauce comes from a bottle. Make sure you pick something quality, as there are a lot of junky, non-vegan, and non-delicious ones available on the market. I like to jazz mine up with a little hot sauce, agave and mustard, but that part’s totally optional depending on the sauce you use. DO make sure you press the tofu first, though. It doesn’t have to be a 30-60 minute press. Check out my directions at the bottom for quick pressing tofu cubes!

Easiest Baked BBQ Tofu

canola oil
1 package of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes and pressed (about 1-1.5″ cubes, no smaller)

Your favorite BBQ sauce, about 1/2 cup
agave syrup, optional
hot sauce, optional
dijon mustard, optional

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450*F. Spray or grease a cookie sheet with canola oil.

2. Arrange tofu cubes on cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Leave oven on! **

3. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, whisk BBQ sauce with additional ingredients to taste, if using, and set aside. After tofu bakes for 15 minutes, brush with BBQ sauce and place back in oven for additional 10-15 minutes. Reserve sauce.

4. Remove the tofu from oven and let it cool slightly. Drop tofu pieces into bowl with sauce and coat evenly.

You can serve this with rice and veggies, or mashed potatoes, fries, whatever you like!

**You could make this even easier by skipping the basting in step 3, baking the tofu for 25-30 minutes, and then doing step 4. Up to you.

How to quick press tofu cubes:

1. Remove tofu from package and gently squeeze between your palms over the sink. Place tofu on cutting board.

2. Cut into desired size cubes. I usually make 4 cuts along the length, 3 cuts along the width, and then cut the height in half.

3. Grab a couple of paper towels and wrap around 3-4 cubes at a time. Gently squeeze out over the sink. Don’t squeeze so hard that you crumble your tofu, but just enough to get some of the water out. Continue with remaining cubes.


Spiced Brown Rice with Caramelized Onions and Lentils

10 May

Okay, this is the second time I’ve made this dish, only this time with a lot more oomph! The first time I made it, I had intended to make a similar Veganomicon dish, but didn’t care for the flavor profile. This time I used the same spices I jazzed it up with before, but took it up a notch. It takes about an hour total, but most of the time is inactive, so it’s a pretty simple dish. It’s also a good way to use up onions, because it takes 3 big ones! I used yummy sweet yellow onions. I also used regular brown/green lentils here for heartiness. You can use red ones; just know they will mush into the dish as you cook them and be sort of indetectable. I like the different textures together here.

Spiced Brown Rice with Caramelized Onions and Lentils

3 large onions, halved and  thinly sliced into half moons
olive oil for misting
salt

1 c. brown rice
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. curry powder
0.5 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of cayenne, optional
salt & pepper

1 c. lentils

This makes 4 servings, or 2 good dinner servings and a big lunch portion! ; )

Directions:

1. . Pre-heat oven to 400*F. Prepare and spray baking pans with olive oil. Add onions to pans, spraying with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 30-45 minutes. After this time you can drop the heat down to 200*F, and let them cook until the rice and lentils are ready.

2. Bring 4 cups of water or broth to a boil in a medium pot. Add all spices, and add brown rice. Drop heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Bring back up to a boil and add lentils. Cover and simmer for 30 more minutes. At this point, most of the liquid should be absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff and fold in caramelized onions.


Candle 79 – NYC, Upper East Side

30 Mar

So, FYI, the top searched blog post on this entire site is my review of Candle Cafe, Candle 79′s more casual, and slightly less expensive sister restaurant. So I’m really pleased to finally get to tell you about Candle 79! It’s a really lovely, upscale all vegan restaurant located in the upper east side of Manhattan. I decided on it because of its super close proximity to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Candle Cafe is just a little further south.) I originally planned on having brunch, but once I got there, found the lunch menu more tempting.

Upon arriving, they asked if I had reservations, (nope!) but it wasn’t a problem. It was about 2pm on Sunday, and it was just slowing down from the brunch crowd.  I was seated upstairs and enjoyed the quiet & luxe ambiance of the purple velveted walls and gold leafed mirrors.

Everything sounded delicious, so it took a little while to make selections. I ordered a really delicious ginger tisane tea to drink while tending to my arduous task, ; ) It came as a loose tea steeped in a personal size teapot. The server also brought some wonderful banana mini muffins to nibble on.

After a tough decision on appetizers, I ordered the chimichurri seitan. I’d had it at the Cafe before, and it was amazing, so I had pretty high expectations. It did not disappoint! The texture of the seitan was perfect and it was SO delicious. It had all of that wonderful smokiness that I remembered with the fantastic flavors of the chimichurri and 79′s extra sauces.

GRILLED SEITAN CHIMICHURRI,  horseradish cream, red pepper coulis…  $10

Deciding on lunches was an equally difficult task.

BLACK BEAN-PUMPKIN SEED BURGER with mixed lettuces, avocado, polenta fries, and chipotle ketchup…  $14

This was really, really good. Especially the more you got into the burger and past the oversized bun! There were caramelized red onions that made every bite incredibly tasty, and the polenta fries were so satisfying. It was like eating savory fried cornbread. The chipotle in the ketchup was not easily discernible.

STUFFED AVOCADO on baby greens, stuffed with quinoa, zucchini, cucumber, english peas, grape tomatoes, radishes, toasted pumpkin seeds, and drizzled with a chipotle-avocado dressing…  $16

My salad was spectacular, albeit a little small. The waitress said it was really meant to be a starter salad more than an entrée salad, which makes you wonder at the $16 lunch price. For $4 more you can get tofu or tempeh added to a salad to make it more substantial, though because we had the seitan first, I ended up getting quite filled up. It had a wonderful variety of different tastes and textures, and the dressing was delicious!

I was pretty stuffed after this, but wanted to try dessert. The MEXICAN  CHOCOLATE  BROWNIE with caramelized bananas, vanilla mole ice cream, toasted pecans, chocolate-ancho sauce  $12, sounded awesome, but I was just too full, so I ordered the HOUSE MADE ICE CREAM & SORBET SAMPLER chef’s daily selection $9, instead.

From Left to right: Peanut Butter ice cream, I can’t remember what the sorbet selection was, and Dulce de Leche ice cream. The peanut butter was absolutely the winner! It tasted less like peanut butter and more like vanilla ice cream infused with fresh roasted peanuts. Superb! The sorbet was super sour and mouth puckering, and quite a contrast to the super sweet and creamy Dulce de Leche.

If you have the opportunity to go to either Candle 79 or Candle Cafe I highly suggest you do so! The food is just amazing, the service is excellent and they have either 79 if you want a more upscale dining experience or the Cafe if you’re feeling a little more laid back. I think it would be difficult to order something bad at either location, and they have plenty raw and gluten-free options too!

Candle 79 is located at 154 East 79th Street at Lexington Avenue, New York, NY, is open M-F for lunch and dinner and Sat & Sun for brunch, and take both credit cards and reservations.

Easy Stuffed Avocado Salad

30 Mar

Just wanted to share the easy, delicious and surprisingly filling dinner I made last night. It was inspired by the stuffed avocado salad I had at Candle 79 on saturday. (post coming soon!) Thanks to my mom who gave me these two large, ripe avocados from her tree!

Easy Stuffed Avocado Salad

1 large, ripe avocado, halved and peeled
2 handfuls of greens (I used baby spinach)
2 small tomatoes, sliced into eighths or thinner
1 – 1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice, warm or cold
2 tbsp. of sunflower seeds, optional
3 tbsp. of salad dressing (I used balsamic vinaigrette)
Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Arrange one half avocado on each dinner plate and surround with salad greens. Top greens with sliced tomatoes. Place 1/2 of cooked brown rice into each avocado and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Drizzle lightly with dressing and salt & pepper to taste.

How to cook Bulgar Wheat

9 Mar

Bulgar is not only SUPER nutritious, it’s also REALLY easy to prepare! All you need is a bowl and some boiling water and you’re in business. The traditional ratio is 1:2,   bulgar wheat: water. I found that I still had to strain some water out at the end, so I recommend using less.

So…

1 cup bulgar wheat
1 3/4  cups filtered water

sea salt, optional

Use any amounts with the same ratio. Here I used 1.5 cups of bulgar wheat, 0.5 tsp sea salt, and just under 3 cups of boiling water. I think using a bit less water absorbs better, with less to strain. Especially if you’re going to be adding liquids to it to make tabbouleh or something else.

Directions:

Place bulgar wheat in a bowl large enough to fit it, and the water. Add boiling water and cover for 20 – 30 minutes. At this point, the water should be absorbed. If you still have some water remaining at the bottom you can strain it out.

Easy, right?!

From here you can use it for whatever you like. I added some homemade salsa (it had parsley in it!) to it to make a lazy girl’s low-fat tabbouleh.

Dry.

Add the water and stir bulgar.

I covered it with a dinner plate.

About 30 minutes later. There was still a little water at the bottom, which I strained out.

I added about 2/3 cup of my chunky homemade salsa, some more sea salt, a little more chopped parsley and a second or two spray of olive oil to make some easy, low-fat tabbouleh.

Appetite for Reduction’s Tamarind BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potato w/ Coleslaw

11 Feb

This is my first recipe tested from Isa’s new book, Appetite for Reduction. (Author of Vegan with a Vengeance, and co-author of Veganomicon and Vegan Cupcakes & Cookie books with a new one on pies coming soon!) Apparently she indulged a little too much in making & testing those books on vegan sweets, and came up with this! It’s not a diet book, just a really nice collection of tasty sounding, low-fat recipes. If the rest of the book is as good as this recipe was, this will be my new go to book for sure. (I’m writing this as I take delicious bites of my leftovers/lunch, hah.) Now I don’t re-post recipes from cookbooks, but other people do, so you can google this one to find it if you are curious about the book.

This recipe called for 12 oz of tempeh, which really worked out because this is precisely what I had left! That’s a package and a half of tempeh.

It also called for 1.5 lbs of sweet potato. I had about that much in yams, so I substituted them in.

I will probably use 2 packages of tempeh next time, and slightly less sweet potato.

I ended up with about 1.5 cups of marinade.

The sauce thickened up nicely as it cooked to glaze the pieces.

I served it with red quinoa and a quick and very simple coleslaw. Recipe Below!

Coleslaw:

1 head of cabbage, shredded (If you don’t know how, google, it’s REALLY easy to do and just takes a minute, or you can buy a bag pre-shredded.)
red wine vinegar (or another type of your choosing)
agave syrup
salt & pepper

Directions: In a bowl add cabbage and drizzle lightly with red wine vinegar. I didn’t give any measurements because cabbages come in all different sizes. Don’t overdress it; it will get soggy. If you put too much, drain it out. Agave, salt & pepper to personal taste. Start with just a little of each. You can always add more. It’s so nice and fresh lightly dressed, and a nice contrast to the BBQ.

Macadamia-Cashew Pesto with Zucchini & Farfalle

9 Feb

So this was the EASIEST thing to throw together with my leftover 2 cups of macadamia-cashew “cheese” sauce. I put it back in the food processor and added more nutritional yeast, a handful of italian parsley, some basil leaves and little more salt & fresh ground pepper. I cooked up half a box of farfalle to toss it with, and shredded 2 medium zucchini. It was still really fresh and delicious, but the pasta gave it a little more heartiness. There was so much sauce though, that I went ahead and shredded the other 2 zucchini I had, and mixed them in too. The hot pasta warmed everything up without having to cook it, and I just ate it cold for lunch, and it was nice that way too. If you want a totally raw dish, leave the pasta out! Recipe below.

It thickened up a bit in the fridge. About 2 cups.

The shredder disc in my food processor got these to a nice size in a flash.

4 medium zucchini, shredded or made into thin noodles

8 oz pasta, cooked according to package directions, optional

Macadamia-Cashew Pesto

1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1 1/2 c. cashews
water for soaking

1 c. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled
about 1/2 c. packed fresh parsley
about 10 leaves of fresh basil
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
1/2 c. nutritional yeast
Salt & Pepper

Directions:

1. Soak macadamias and cashews for 1-2 hours, or longer. Add all cheese ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth.

2. Add cheese mixture to hot pasta and zucchini. You’re done! Enjoy!

PS- Is nutritional yeast raw? NOPE! It would be dangerous to have live yeast in your system, so if you’re a hardcore raw foodie, leave it out!

and now, here is Tashi…

Sweet Rice & Tofu Scramble

6 Feb

When I was brainstorming breakfast (brunch!) yesterday afternoon in bed ; ), I first thought of tofu scramble and biscuits. Then I reconsidered the biscuits. I have half a recipe of cheddar biscuit dough in the freezer, so I put that in the fridge to thaw for another midday meal. I decided that it would be nice to pair up with a whole grain, and brown rice seemed like a nice sweet choice on it’s own. I added a lil bit of sugar, some pumpkin seeds, raisins and spices to make it subtly sweet and a nice contrast to the savory scramble du jour. It turned out quite well : ) So well in fact that I made a slightly bigger batch this morning, only using blackstrap molasses for sweetness, hoping to take some to work this week for a nice nourishing breakfast.

Sweet Rice

3/4 c. short grain brown rice
1 1/2 c. water
2 tsp. sweetener of choice (sugar, agave, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
2 tbsp. raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 c. raisins

Directions:

1. In a 2 quart dutch oven or pot with a tight fitting lid put rice, water, spices and sugar to boil. Once boiling, stir in pumpkin seeds and raisins and drop to low to simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Check rice, cook for an additional 5-10 minutes if necessary, depending on your stove. Most of the water should be absorbed. Then let it sit covered for an additional 5 minutes.

2. If you like you can pack the rice into a ramekin or teacup and then invert it on the plate for a cute presentation.

The tofu scramble I made was a variation of this, made with leftover green onions, adding some spinach, and substituting braggs for the soy sauce.

Tofu Scramble

olive oil for spraying skillet
4  green onions, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 c.  frozen stoplight pepper strips
1/4 c. chopped frozen spinach
1 package of tofu (i used firm, you can use firm or extra-firm regular or silken tofu)
1/2 tsp. Bragg’s liquid aminos (or shoyu or tamari or soy sauce)
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. paprika
salt & pepper, to taste (i used sea salt with sea vegetables & ground pepper)
cayenne pepper, optional

1/4 c. nutritional yeast

Ketchup & Hotsauce, optional

Directions:

1. Spray a skillet with olive oil and raise to medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for until slightly softened, about 4 mintues. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add bell peppers and and spinach, and cook for an additional 3-5 mintues, or until heated through.

2. Add tofu and all other ingredients except nutritional yeast. Stir until well combined and heated through, about 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in nutritional yeast.

Teriyaki Tofu

19 Jan

I tried buying bottled teriyaki sauce, and didn’t really have any luck finding one that I liked. Luckily once I started looking up recipes, I realized how easy it would be to just make my own. Here’s my recipe for teriyaki tofu. I served it over some brown rice and sauteed frozen veggies.

Teriyaki Tofu

Tofu
canola oil
1 package of firm or extra firm tofu, cut into cubes and pressed

Sauce
1/2 c. shoyu or soy sauce or braggs (i used half shoyu / half braggs)
1/4 c. water
2 tbsp mirin
1/4 c. sugar
1″ piece of peeled ginger, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450*F. Spray a cookie sheet with canola oil.

2. Arrange tofu cubes on cookie sheet and spray lightly with canola oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine shoyu, water, mirin, sugar, ginger and garlic.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.

4. In a ramekin, or small dish, whisk cornstarch with water. Raise heat to medium high on sauce, add cornstarch mixture, and simmer until thickened.

5. When tofu is ready, toss into sauce to coat, and serve over rice and veggies. Enjoy! : )