Food · vegan

Chimichurri sauce! 

Mmmm… this chimichurri sauce is so good- I forgot to shoot a good picture of it before I started to chow down… classic

This sauce of Argentinian descent is a great fresh topping for tofu steaks, veggies, or basically anything you put on the grill. My version is a little different from the traditional recipe, but I like a little spin on an original recipe any day of the week- especially when it involves the addition of cilantro. I used it to top some tofu steaks that I served alongside rice and black beans and a generously salted avocado- oh so good. 

Here’s what you need: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar, 5 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 cup of fresh flat leaf parsley (stems removed- lightly packed), 1/2 cup of cilantro lightly packed, squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

Here’s the plan: Place all items in a mini food processor or chopper (or large if you don’t have a small one) and blend until completely ground and smooth. Top your food, enjoy! It’s as easy as that! 

Food · vegan

Creamy avocado (vegan) potato salad!

‘Tis the season for backyard picnics, grilling and basking in the sun! Nothing is better than a cool potato salad to temper that hot sun… unfortunately, most potato salads at the BBQ’s I attend tend to be laden with mayo. This potato salad is just as flavorful, creamy, and satisfying, without any egg products! It’s great to whip up a quick batch (it really is quick!) to bring to your meat loving friend’s backyard, so you know at least the potato salad is animal free! And I bet your friends will be asking for seconds too!

Here’s what you need:

4 lbs of small potatoes- washed and cut into small bite sized chunks- salt, pepper, 2 avocados, 3 tsp lemon juice, 5 cloves of garlic, 2 tsp of chopped basil, 1/2 cup non dairy milk (almond, soy, etc) 1/2 red onion- chopped

Here’s the plan: 

Bring a large pot of water to a roaring boil. Add 2 tbsp salt to the water. Add the chopped potatoes and boil for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. You want them cooked through, but not mushy! Drain and set aside. Peel and pit the 2 avocados, put into a food processor. Add to the food processor the garlic, basil, lemon juice, non dairy milk, 1 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. Put the potatoes into a large bowl, add the red onion and pour the creamy dressing over the top. Stir well to combine! Chill before serving for at least 1 hour! 

Food · vegan

Roasted corn and orzo salad

I love a good pasta salad- and this is a nice spin on the classic. I’m bringing this salad tomorrow to our Fourth of July picnic as a side, but it could easily adapt to a main dish as well. I like this salad a lot because you can serve it warm, room temperature, or out of the fridge and it’s just as tasty!

Here’s what you need:

6 cloves of garlic minced (yes, I said 6), 1 white or yellow onion, chopped, 1 bag of baby spinach, 1 box of orzo pasta, 6 ears of corn- roasted in the grill with kernels removed from the cob (or, you can buy a frozen bag of roasted corn kernels at Trader Joe’s to save you time!), 10 ounces of fresh spring English peas- or any less you can find, 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, salt and pepper, lemon juice, olive oil 

Here’s the plan:

Put about 1-2 tbsp in a large sauté pan, heat the oil, and add the garlic and onion. Sauté in pan until soft and translucent on medium heat. Add the bag of spinach and stir until spinach cooks down and becomes soft and wilty. Add the corn and peas, cook for about 7 minutes, stir occasionally, every minute or two, then, lower the heat to low. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, boil water to cook the orzo in. Once water is boiling, add the orzo and cook for 7-10 minutes until orzo is tender. Drain. Add the drained orzo pasta to the vegetables in the large sauté pan. Add about a tbsp of salt and 1 tbsp of pepper, to taste. (Psst, I have a salty palate, so feel free to later salt to your taste!) Add 2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice and the 1 cup of chopped cilantro to the pan. Mix well, remove from heat, and serve, or refrigerate to later! 

Food · vegan

Edamame salad

This quick Asian inspired edamame salad is great as a starter or a side, or you could add some stir fried or baked tofu to it to make it a dish! It come together so fast, you’ll be noshing on this protein filled bowl in no time!

Here’s what you need: 1 bag frozen shelled edamame (1lb), 1.5 cups of shredded carrots, 3-4 green onions- sliced thinly into small rings, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp toasted Sesame oil, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp agave, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp sriracha, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 cup hemp hearts

Here’s the plan: boil the edamame is a small pot of boiling water for about five minutes or until tender. While the edamame is cooking, mix together the rice vinegar, Sesame oil, soy sauce, agave, lemon juice, sriracha, salt and hemp hearts in a medium sized bowl. When edamame is done cooking, drain and run under cold water. Dump edamame, shredded carrots and green onions into a medium bowl. Pour dressing over the top, mix it all up to combine. Chill in fridge for 15-20 minutes before serving! Enjoy! 

Food · vegan

Rustic gnocchi with butternut squash and mushrooms

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Is there anything more satisfying than potato pasta? The fresh vegetables paired with this pasta makes it lighter fare for a summer night, yet still very satisfying. A simple garlic and basil sauce rounds out this simple, rustic and delicious dish that’s easy enough for weeknight cooking, but impressive enough for weekend guests. (This is also a one pot wonder- so you don’t have to stress about cleaning multiple pans!)

What you need: 1 lb of gnocchi, 1 butternut squash- peeled and cubed, 10 ounces of porcini mushrooms- cleaned and cut into chunks, 1 onion, 5 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves- chopped, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt

Here’s the plan: Boil a large pot of water on high heat. Add the cubed butternut squash to the water once it is boiling. Cook for about 10 minutes, until tender. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes. (Gnocchi cooks pretty fast- you can usually tell when they are done when they start floating to the top.) Drain the squash and gnocchi in large colander.  Peel and dice the onion. Peel and mince garlic. Add olive oil to the pot and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the chunked mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are soft. Lower heat to low. Add the squash and gnocchi back into the pan. Add the basil and salt to taste. Mix well. (Optional, add an additional tbsp of olive oil and stir.) Enjoy!

Food · Food Trends · vegan

Vegan Poke Bowl

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Poke is a traditional Hawaiian fish salad. It is most commonly made with tuna or octopus, and sometimes salmon or shellfish. Although poke is traditionally served raw, I actually sauteed the tofu to make it nice and crispy. The vegan fish sauce marinade brings out that salty flavor and the sriracha glaze gives the edamame just the kick it needs.

What you need: 12 ounce bag of frozen shelled edamame, 2 cups (uncooked) of jasmine rice, 1 block extra firm tofu, 3-4 green onions, sesame oil, soy sauce, vegan mayo, ginger, sriracha, agave, vegan fysh sauce, avocado, seaweed rice seasoning (optional, but highly recommended), salt. (Brownie points if you use this salt)

Note* If you don’t want to buy a whole thing of fysh sauce for this one recipe, you can make your own- here are two variations, ONE, TWO. (Trust me though, if you buy it, it won’t go to waste!)

Here’s the plan: Press the tofu for about 15 minutes to remove excess water. (You can do this using paper towels, a frying pan, and some heavy books- but I can’t say enough positive things about buying a tofu press!!) Cube the tofu into small cubes about an inch by an inch. Place in a small bowl and cover with vegan fysh sauce. (The tofu does not need to be submerged in fysh sauce, like a traditional marinade, you can actually just shake the sauce from the bottle (it’s a slow pour) onto the tofu until they are coated, you can stir up with a spoon to make sure all sides are covered.) Let sit for about an hour. (Or as long as you can if you didn’t plan ahead!)

Make your rice. To the water, add 1 TBSP of sesame oil and 1 TBSP of seaweed rice seasoning. (optional- but again, you won’t regret it.)

Prepare a pot of boiling water to cook edamame in. When finished cooking (they should still be crisp when you bite them, but not underdone) drain them and mix 1 tsp sesame oil and salt to taste in with the beans. Mix well.

Heat 1 TBSP of sesame oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Cook tofu cubes in the pan for about 10 minutes, stir often, tofu should be crispy on all sides.

Sauce:

Mix 1 tsp ginger (freshly grated or this paste), 1/8 c of soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp sriracha, 3 heaping TBSP of vegan mayo. 1/2 tsp agave. Whisk together well to incorporate. Slice the green onions into thin rings. Top sauce with onions.

Slice an avocado into thin wedges.

Arrange your bowl on top of a bed of rice, top with sauce. Enjoy!

 

 

Food · Food Trends · Halfway Homemade · vegan

Empanadas- 3 ways!

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I love empanadas-actually, anything wrapped in a little handheld pocket is aces in my book. This recipe is great because it makes a small stockpile of empanadas that you can freeze and pull out whenever you want a nice snack or a quick meal. They are also a crowd-pleaser because you get a variety of fillings for every taste. The other nice thing about these is that you use ready made store bought dough- which is totally not necessary, if your a purist and insistent on making your own dough- but is pretty damn awesome when your trying to get together this meal for your hungry family and don’t have a ton of time. (Halfway homemade for the win!)

Here’s what you need: Ready made empanada dough, defrosted (they had this at my supermarket, if you can’t find them in your local supermarket, try going to a market in a more predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, or you can also order them online– although I can only find them to buy in quantities for a small army!), 5-6 TBSP of your preferred choice of cooking oil, (I used sunflower oil), 3 onions- peeled and diced, 7-8 cloves of garlic-minced, corn stripped from 4 ears of corn, 3 cups of butternut squash (peeled and cubed- you can also sub in sweet potatoes!), fresh cilantro, 2 cups chopped porcini mushrooms, 5-6 ounces (1 bag) of fresh spinach, 1 can black beans- drained and rinsed, 3 bell peppers- seeded and sliced into strips, salt, pepper.

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Here’s the plan: Put 2 TBSP on oil into a pan on medium heat. Saute the 3 chopped onions and all the garlic. Cook until soft and translucent. Remove 2/3 of the onions from the pan and set aside. (You will be using those for your other fillings.) Add the butternut squash to the onions and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Lastly, add the corn to the pan, stir to incorporate. Chop the cilantro (I really love cilantro, so I probably added about a 3/4 c of chopped herb- slightly packed, but you add to your tastes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan and put in a separate bowl, set aside.

Take half of the leftover onion mixture and add to the pan with 1 TBSP oil. Add the chopped mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are soft. Add fresh spinach and stir until it cooks down. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and place in separate bowl. Set aside.

Take the rest of the onions and add to the pan with 1 TBSP oil. Add your strips of peppers and cook and stir until soft. Add the can of beans and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a separate bowl, set aside.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Take your first empanada dough disc and place on the baking sheet, all the way to left hand side. Choose which filling to use first- you’ll end up using all 3 so whichever one you want to use first is up to you, scoop about 1/2 cup of filling onto the dough disc. Push onto one side and fold over the disc so it makes a half moon pocket. Using a fork, press the bottom flat part of the fork around the edges of the dough disc to crimp and seal the edge. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the sealed empanada with your choice of cooking oil. Repeat this process with the rest of your dough discs and your 3 fillings. This recipe made about 12 large empanadas for me. Depending on the size of your dough discs (my supermarket had both large and small discs)- and how much you stuff them, the number of empanadas you get may vary slightly.

Bake in oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes until tops are browned. (Watch them! Mine went from white to tan very quickly!)

Remove from oven, cool, and enjoy- with salsa, vegan sour cream, or an avocado crema!