Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lemon Tahini Dressing (oil-free)

An easy to whip up oil-free dressing that goes great on salad, rice, veggies, baked potatoes, sandwiches, endless possibilities. I always have these ingredients on hand, even the lemon juice and garlic.  Buy a couple lemons, juice them and freeze it ice cube trays.  However, if you don't have the lemon juice, you can also use red wine vinegar but adjust the quantity to taste.  I always have garlic in the freezer too.  I peel the cloves, put them in a plastic bag, and toss in the freezer.  Then just grate a frozen clove on a microplane.  Make as little or as much of the dressing as you need.  Store in the fridge 2-3 days.

Makes 2-3 servings


2 Tbsp tahini paste
3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1 garlic clove, grated on microplane
Salt and pepper to taste (try pinch of white pepper if you have it)


In a small bowl mix tahini and water until it comes together.  Add lemon juice, garlic, and stir.  Consistency should be like heavy cream or coconut milk, not too thin.  Add salt and pepper and make any adjustments to suit taste.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tofu Rancheros

This makes a nice hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner!  If you don't want to make the ranchero sauce just simply top with your favorite store-bought salsa.  For the beans I happened to have a black bean dip (it was fat-free!) so I served with that. You can either eat in the the corn tortillas like tacos or use tortilla chips and eat like nachos! For an extra bonus top with guacamole or sliced avocado.

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Serves 2


1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
½ block firm or extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 cup chopped veggies (peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, corn, whatever!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Salsa or Ranchero Sauce (recipe below)
Refried beans, black beans, or a bean dip
Corn tortillas (recipe for homemade)
Cilantro for garnish


In a medium bowl, mix the nutritional yeast, turmeric, cumin, and garlic powder.  Stir in the soy sauce; it will look like a paste.  Crumble the tofu and mix until the tofu is thoroughly coated. Mashing with a fork helps incorporate all the flavors into the tofu but leave some chunks.

Lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray or vegetable oil and heat for one minute over medium heat. Add the tofu mixture and peppers, onions, mushrooms (I like to start with them the veggies and tofu separately in the skillet and then halfway through mix them). Cook for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables reach desired tenderness.  Serve topped with cilantro and salsa with beans and corn tortillas on the side.

Ranchero Sauce
1/2-1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp chopped jalapeno
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper

Heat a skillet for a minute over medium heat.  Add a just enough broth to cover the bottom and add onion and bell pepper and a pinch of salt.  Cook 3 minutes, add cumin, garlic, and jalapeno and cook for a minute, adding more broth as needed.  Add tomatoes and their juices.  Cook 10-15 until tomatoes are softened.  Let cool and puree in a blender, add any extra broth if needed.

Tofu and veggies just starting to cook.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Old Bay Roasted Chickpeas

I absolutely love roasted chickpeas.  They're great in salads, wraps or just for snacking.  Not only are they versatile, but so simple to make.  You just need to toss with a little oil and your favorite spices.  Try cumin and chili powder for a Mexican flavor or just some garlic powder, salt and pepper.  I happen to love Old Bay so recently I gave that a shot and they were pretty amazing!


1 cup or half can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tsp olive oil
Old Bay Seasoning (I use the less sodium), as much as you want


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss chickpeas with oil then sprinkle with Old Bay.  Mix with your hands, getting the seasoning evenly distributed. Add more seasoning if desired.

Place in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until desired crispiness is reached; shake the pan halfway through. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Homemade Corn Tortillas

When you can't find good corn tortillas without unecessary additives and preservatives, there's only one option: make your own!  It's really pretty easy, I promise.  It requires 3 simple ingredients, masa (corn flour), water, and salt.   I found the masa in the supermarket with the other flours.  The brand I bought, Maseca, had instructions for making tortillas on the back of the package which was helpful.  Even more helpful were the videos (see below) on their website.  They're in Spanish but luckily they have subtitles. One thing to note is that they use a tortilla press, something I do not own.  So I put the balls dough, one at a time, between two sheets of plastic wrap and used a can of beans to roll them out.  No, they were not anywhere close to being perfetly circular in the end, but they tasted great, were functional, and best of all, they didn't break when folded into a taco.

Video #1: Preparing the masa

Video #2: Making the tortillas

Recipe (my adapted version)
Makes 16 tortillas
Two cups Maseca
1/4 tablespoon salt
1 1/4 cup water
A large mixing bowl

Mix Maseca corn flour, water and salt in a large bowl.

Mix by hand until a smooth consistency has been created and does not stick to your hands. Shape into a ball and divide into 16 portions and roll into balls.

Cover a large cutting board with plastic wrap. One by one, place a ball of dough on top, press down to slightly flatten it.  Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and roll out with a rolling pin (a can works too).  Carefully peel off when done.  You don't want them to break.

Place in a pre-heated ungreased skillet and cook for about 1 minute on each side.  Place them on between damp cloths or paper towel to keep from drying out.

When reheating you can place them in aluminum foil and heat in the oven at 350 degrees 5-10 minutes.  You can also wrap them in damp paper towel and microwave them for 15-20 seconds.  Both of these methods allow them to steam, preventing them from getting dry.