Sunday, April 28, 2013

BBQ Tempeh Sandwich with Coleslaw & Avocado

Can it just be summer already!?  The days are getting longer, the flip flops have had a couple outings, and baseball is here but I'm done with wearing a coat to the games.  So yea, I've been daydreaming about all things summer and it shows with what I've been craving.  
This is the first of many summer recipes that I'll be cooking up.  The marriage of a smokey barbecue sauce and a tangy coleslaw is simply divine.  Add in the avocado, put it between bread, and it's heaven!  It's important to get a stellar barbecue sauce and if you're vegan, read the ingredients.  Some have worcestershire sauce in them and therefore can have anchovies (yes, many worcestershire sauces have anchovies).  Some BBQ sauces also have honey so heads up for those who may avoid that as well.  I love Stubb's or Trader Joe's Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce, which is pretty kickass.  Check out it's 5 out 5 stars  review on this site loaded with reviews of barbecue sauces. 

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Makes 2 sandwiches


1/2 package of tempeh, sliced
Barbecue sauce

2 Tbsp unsweetened almond or soy milk
2 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp vegan mayo, such as Earth Balance or Vegenaise
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp grated onion
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded or chopped cabbage
1 small carrot, grated

Slice bread or roll
Avocado, mashed


Place sliced tempeh in a shallow tupperware or dish.  Slather on the barbecue sauce with a brush (a small spatula or spoon will work) getting it all nice and coated. Let it sit in the fridge for an hour.

While it's marinating, make your slaw.  This is also best if it has a little time to sit.  Mix your almond milk, vinegar and lemon juice in a bowl.  Give it a stir and let it sit for a 5 minutes.  Now whisk in your mayo, sugar, onion, salt and pepper.  Make any adjustments to suit your taste.  Add cabbage and carrot and toss to thoroughly coat.  Set in the fridge.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Take tempeh slices and lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, flip pieces and bake another 10-12 minutes depending on how thin the tempeh is sliced and how crispy you want it. 

Take some mashed avocado and spread on one or both slices of bread.  My favorite way to assemble is bread w/ avocado, tempeh, spread on a little extra barbecue sauce, coleslaw, bread w/ avocado.  Dig in!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Crispy Tofu Tacos

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner so it couldn't be a better time for perfecting some of those Mexican inspired recipes, of course done vegan and healthy.  When I teach cooking classes people always ask me for tips on cooking tofu.  I think getting the right texture is the biggest challenge when cooking with tofu.  In this recipe I've used one of my secret weapons, the vacuum packed tofu that's already been pressed.  Not the kind in water that you have to drain and press yourself.  This way you cut out a step and the tofu already has that firm texture.  You definitely wouldn't a watery, mushy mesh of tofu in your tacos. Yuck.
 I love the House Foods Vacuum Packed Tofu, and the Cutlet is great too because it also has a "skin" on it, as well as great texture. And bonus - they're CERTIFIED ORGANIC and NON-GMO CERTIFIED. So, so important when buying soy products. You can read more about GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms) on the Non-GMO Project site.

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Makes 4 tacos


1 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne (optional)
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
1 8oz. package vacuum packed tofu such as House Foods (not the kind in water)
1/4 cup diced onion (or add 1/2 tsp onion powder to spices)
4 crispy taco shells, warmed in the oven

Fixins: Avocado (mashed with a pinch of salt), pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, hot sauce


Mix spices in a bowl, then add soy sauce.  Crumble tofu into the bowl and mix with a fork to further break up tofu and thoroughly coat with spices. 

Heat a skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly coated with oil.  Add tofu and onion.  Cook over medium-heat, stirring a few times, for about 5-8 minutes.  Spoon into tacos shells and pile on the fixins!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

No-Bake Lemon Coconut Bars

I love lemon anything and I love coconut anything.  And I love the two together .  One of my all-time favorite desserts is the lemon coconut bundt cake in my Veganomicon cookbook but unfortunately I can't eat cake everyday. Since I've been experimenting with making my own version of Lara Bars, I had to do one of my favorite flavor combinations.  Oh boy, it did not disappoint.  I feel way less guilty about devouring these little treats that are raw, vegan, whole food ingredients, with no sugar added.  

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Makes about 20 1-2 inch squares


1 cup raw cashews
2 cups dried dates, pitted
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Zest of one lemon
2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt


Note: If your dates aren't very soft, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes or until softened.

Blend cashews in a food processor until it's just beginning to turn from a powder to a nut butter.  This will take a few minutes so be patient.  Now add your dates and process until it all comes together.  This could also take a few minutes.  Scrape down the sides if needed.  Now add remaining ingredients pulse several times until all incorporated. 

Remove and place on parchment paper.  Press into a square or rectangle and place another sheet of parchment on top.  Optional: use a cast iron skillet to flatten the top.  Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour, then cut into squares.  Store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Southwest Black Bean, Corn, and Rice Salad

So many great things about this dish - it's an easy mix some stuff together kind of recipe, it's vegan and healthy, it's delicious, and it doesn't really require cooking if you get the kind of rice you can just microwave.  Oh and it's versatile too.  You can switch up the grains (I used a combination or brown rice and barley), add avocado if you like, use it as a side or a main dish, in tacos or burritos, whatever you want.  The recipe makes 2-3 side dish servings but it can easily be doubled for a 4-5 person dinner or for a party.
Serves 2-3 as a side dish
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne (optional)
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cups cooked brown rice, barley or another grain
3/4 cup cooked black beans (about half a can drained)
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix spices, oil, broth and vinegar in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until everything is combined and mixed with the dressing.  This is best if left to chill in the refridgerator 1-2 hours before serving.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mango Coconut Rice

Yummy, creamy coconuty rice studded with chunks of sweet mango makes an easy tropical treat for breakfast or even dessert.  I prefer champagne mangoes but you can use regular ones as well and frozen mango is also an option.   Opt for unsweetened shredded coconut but if you can't find it, just omit or lessen the agave.  Another possible add-on for this, garnish chopped macadamia nuts and enjoy this tropical island vacation in a bowl!

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Serves 2


1 cup cooked brown rice
1/3 cup light coconut milk
Pinch of salt
1-2 tsp agave nectar
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 champagne mango, diced (just shy of a cup)


Place rice and coconut milk in a small pot over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, begin stirring and it will thicken quickly.  Once desired consistency is reached, remove from heat and stir in agave, coconut, and mango.  Spoon into a bowl and serve.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Veggie Lasagna with Tofu Cashew Ricotta

Yep, this lightened up, healthy lasagna is vegan but you really won't miss the cheese, I swear.  I know because I always loved cheesy baked pasta dishes so I if I was going to create a cheeseless lasagna, it had to be good.  I skip using any type of packaged vegan cheese on this because I'm really picky about how I use those and I wanted to preserve the other flavors going on here.  Of course you can always switch up the veggies based on what you like or have on hand.  One important tip, do pick a good quality pasta sauce if you don't make your own.  I love Rao's, Marinelli's, and Paesana sauces.
Serves 6
Basil Ricotta
¾ cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked in water 3-4 hrs
½ block of firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
¼ cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Low-sodium broth for sautéing
2 portobello caps, gills removed, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 heaping cup chopped broccoli
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package
2 cups pasta sauce
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Add all the basil ricotta ingredients to a food processor and process until it all comes together.  Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a few  tablespoons of broth, just enough to barely coat bottom of the pan.  You don’t want too much liquid because you want the veggies to brown a bit.  Add portobello, bell pepper, and onion.  Cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Stir in broccoli and garlic and, adding a little more broth as needed. Cook 3-4 minutes longer or until liquid has cooked off.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. 
Assemble lasagna: (note: you will have to trim noodles to fit and you may not use them all).  Coat bottom of a 8 or 9 inch square baking dish with some of the tomato sauce.  Add a layer of lasagna noodles, spread 1/3 of the ricotta on the noodles, top with half the veggies.  Spread 1/3 of remaining sauce on top.  Repeat with another layer of noodles, ricotta, veggies and sauce.  Now top with the last layer of noodles, ricotta and sauce. Cover with foil and bake 35-40 minutes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

This is my way of duplicating my favorite Lara Bar.  I figured they're so simple with just a couple ingredients that I could just make my own.  There's no sugar in these either, well except for the chocolate chips.  Keep them in the freezer and they'll be firm but still totally soft enough to eat without thawing.  Warning: these are addictive!
Makes about 20 squares or tablespoon size ball
20 dried dates, soaked in hot water 15-20 minutes
1/2 cup natural peanut butter, divided (no other ingredients except peanuts and salt!)
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
After soaking your dates they should be soft and pliable.  Add them to a food processor with half the peanut butter, and the cocoa.  Process until it's all combined and smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining peanut butter, chopped peanuts, and chocolate chips. 
You can either scoop tablespoon size amount of the mixture and roll into balls or take the mixture and press into a 1/4 inch thick disc on parchment paper.  Lay another piece of parchment and press on top so it is flat. Try a large cast iron skillet or just use your hands.  Chill in the freezer an hour or so. 
Remove from freezer, with a knife trim edges so they're straight (optional) and then cut into squares.  With the extra you've trimmed, you can roll into balls or just eat right then!
Store in the freezer.