Blackened Tofu & Brussels Salad with Spicy Garlic Dressing

This is the kind of salad that makes a great brunch, lunch, or hearty dinner!

This is the kind of salad that makes a great brunch, lunch, or hearty dinner!

I love making up new salad recipes or better yet, just laying out a bed of greens and dressing it with all kinds of goodness in the form of veggies and proteins. When I don’t have a plan for dinner I often look in the fridge and list off potential options and ask my husband “do you feel like spicy? Would you rather have tofu or tempeh? Brussels or Broccoli? Do you want a salad?” and his answers help me build my recipe idea knowing we have the ingredients. This salad is easily adaptable with different proteins or dressings, leave out the avocado if you want a less filling option.

Recipe makes 2 hearty servings of salad or 4 small side salad bowls

Salad Ingredients

1 head Romaine Lettuce
2 Radishes
1/4 cup Sugar snap peas chopped
1/4 Onion thinly sliced
1 Avocado thinly sliced
2 cups Roasted Brussels Sprouts Spray oil or 1-2Tbl olive oil
1/2 cup vacum sealed extra firm tofu 6-8 Tbl Blackening Seasoning (store bought or recipe below!)
1/2 Yellow pepper sliced

Dressing Ingredients: toss all into a mason jar and shake to combine!


4tbl garlic hummus
1tbl lime juice
1tbl rice vinigar
Dash garlic salt & Fresh ground pepper to taste
1tsp chipotle sauce or 1/4 tsp chipotle powder and 1tsp water
2tbl water 
1 tbl avocado oil mayo or other vegan mayo

Blackening Seasoning

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Onion Powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp Oregano

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

First things first! Get your Brussels Sprouts going! If you plan to roast in your oven preheat to 425. I prefer to use my air fryer for the brussels and I set it to the french fry setting. Slice the ends off each sprout and then slice in half. Add the sprouts to a sheet pan or your air fryer basket and spray with cooking oil or drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast in the oven or air fryer flipping once after 15min and let them cook until you have singed and crispy exterior layers.

While your Brussels are roasting prepare your tofu. I prefer to use extra firm and vacum sealed tofu so there is very little water to squeeze out or cook out. If you can’t find this type of tofu the water packed style works fine as long as you get extra firm and press it between some kitchen towels to extract some of the moisture before you cook it. Slice the block in half and set half of it back in the fridge for another recipe. Slice the half you’re using into 1/4 thick slabs or you can go a bit thinner if you’re using the vacum sealed style which holds together much better and won’t crumble.

While your Tofu is being pressed or after you’ve set it aside. Mix up your blackening seasoning (the recipe above makes more than you will need so you will have it on hand for a few more recipes!) Once mixed place 4-6Tbl of the spice blend into a shallow bowl and coat both sides of each slice of tofu by pressing it down until the mix sticks to the surface. In a medium skillet heat 1 Tbl oil of your choice and place all the slices down into the pan. Cook on medium heat and flip them cooking both sides until the spices begin to singe or take on a golden brown color. Set the tofu aside to cool while you prepare the salad.

Prepare two medium sized bowls with a bed of romaine topped with onion, yellow pepper and radishes and sugar snap peas. Lay your sliced avocado in one quarter of the bowl and your brussels sprouts in one half and then slice your tofu into thin strips (it’s easier to slice when it’s cooled a bit) and lay the strips in the last quarter. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!!!!







Tofu Scramble Salad & Tahini Dijon Drizzle

If you’ve been paying attention to my instagram feed you’ve noticed my obsession with this bowl/plate shape. It’s a super shallow ‘blate’ combining a flat bottom with rounded sides to hold in all the goods! These ripple blates will be appearing soon in my online shop and you won’t want to miss them! They are perfect for salads, rice and pasta dishes, small serving bowls and so much more!

If you’ve been paying attention to my instagram feed you’ve noticed my obsession with this bowl/plate shape. It’s a super shallow ‘blate’ combining a flat bottom with rounded sides to hold in all the goods! These ripple blates will be appearing soon in my online shop and you won’t want to miss them! They are perfect for salads, rice and pasta dishes, small serving bowls and so much more!

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals to make but often on my days off my husband and I eat breakfast closer to lunch time and I end up wanting more savory options. I’ve made tofu scramble a million different ways but I took my flavor inspiration from some of the ingredients my husband had leftover in the fridge from his last recipe (see Gluten Free Pasta Salad) and enhancing the flavor with a simple tahini dressing. I love keeping things simple and this recipe is easily adapted with any leftover veggies you’ve got in your fridge and tofu could be switched out for crumbled tempeh too. Leave me a comment if you try it out I’d love to know what you think! This recipe makes 2-4 servings dependent on how frugal you are with your tofu!

Tofu Scramble Ingredients

2 cups fresh organic baby spinach leaves
Ten cloves roasted garlic minced
Three sun dried tomatoes minced
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbl liquid aminos
1 tbl olive oil
1 package extra firm packed tofu drained
4 tbl minced chives
3 Marinated Artichoke hearts minced
1 tbl liquid from marinated artichoke hearts

Dressing Ingredients

2 tbl tahini
1/2 tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbl rice vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup 
1-2Tbl water (depending on how thick you like your dressing)

In a medium frying pan heat the olive oil over medium heat and then crumble the tofu into the pan with your hands. If your tofu was air packed in water it should not be too water dense and you will not need to press it. If your tofu was packed in water gently squeeze the block over the sink to drain as much water as you can but I don’t waste my time trying to press it. It will cook down in no time. Toss the tofu around to coat with olive oil and sprinkle in the liquid aminos, pakrika, chilli powder, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and allow to cook for 8-12 min stirring occasionally until the tofu begins to brown.

While the tofu is cooking prepare a shallow bowl with a bed of fresh baby spinach leaves (break them up by hand if they are large) Set your bowl of spinach aside and prepare your dressing. Add all dressing ingredients into a small mason jar or bowl and shake or whisk until well combined. This can be made the day before and I store mine on the countertop rather than in the fridge so the consistency doesn’t thicken. If you find it’s too thick just drizzle water and mix until it is the desired consistency.

Check in on the tofu, once it’s showing some golden brown color, add the garlic, tomatoes and artichoke hearts as well as the artichoke heart juice and continue to stir until fragrant and combined. Once the tofu is nicely browned remove it from the heat and toss a hearty helping over your bed of spinach and drizzle with dressing.

Optional *

Swap out spinach for romaine or spring mix or any combination

Swap out tempeh for tofu but it’s best to steam your tempeh first

Substitute sun dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts for roasted red peppers and calamata olives




My Husbands Gluten Free Pasta Salad

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My husband has many amazing qualities but until now I would not have listed cooking among the reasons I married him. I always knew he was capable of making meals but his interest was never strong enough and he was always content being the ‘sous’ chef in the household. Recently we completed a Spring Detox program which we try to make an annual endeavor and this time we both felt particularly energized and unburdened by letting go of caffeine, sugar, and for my husband flesh foods and dairy. (Yes folks, the vegan girl married an omnivore! I never imagined he would ever be a vegan much less be COOKING vegan for ME!) One night last week I came home to this delicious pasta salad that he had concocted and we are happy to share it here with you!

Ingredients

1 box Jovial Brand Farfalle Pasta (bow ties)

5cloves garlic minced

1 cup broccoli florets diced and lightly steamed

¼ cup diced radishes

5 sundried tomatoes diced

1/2 of Vidalia onion diced

¼ cup artichoke hearts diced

½ cup cucumber diced

¼ cup calamata olives diced

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2-4TBL olive oil

2-4TBL marinating juice from jar of artichoke hearts

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: grated Violife Vegan Parmesan

In a large soup pot boil the brown rice pasta until soft. Drain and rinse with cold water and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until well combined and add more oil, salt or pepper to taste. Refrigerate or serve immediately.

*Optional: serve with homemade hummus or diced avocado

** I find the Jovial brand brown rice pasta to be the best for cold salad options. Other brands tend to stiffen up when served cold.

Crispy Polenta Fries

Air Fried Polenta sticks are so addictive!

Air Fried Polenta sticks are so addictive!

I’m obsessed with my Air Fryer and always trying to think of new ways of using it. This recipe is multi step but SO worth it! My husband and I devoured this entire recipe in a night! Perfect for party snacks, appetizers or fun sides. I’m so sure they will be loved by adults and kids alike! The best part is that you can make the polenta in advance and do the air frying on the day you want to eat the dish!

Ingredients for Polenta

1 cup polenta

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

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1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

2 Tbsp Nooch (Nutritional Yeast)

salt/pepper

3 step dipping process: aquafaba, flour mixture, panko

3 step dipping process: aquafaba, flour mixture, panko

In a medium saucepan bring the broth to a boil and add spices and polenta and simmer and STIR frequently to avoid clumping. Simmer 5 min or until the polenta thickens considerably. Pour the mixture into an 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper and refrigerated until set (2 hours or overnight)

Ingredients for Crispy Coating

1/2 cup aquafaba (chick pea water)

1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour (I use Bobs Red Mill)

2 tsp Everything Spice mix (optionally replace this with any seasoning you’ d like)

1 cup gluten free panko crumbs

1 tsp everything spice

salt/pepper

Spray oil

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When you’re ready to fry your polenta simply remove it from the fridge and slice it into 1/2” thick fries. In three shallow small dishes gather your dipping layers. Dip each polenta fry into each mixture in the order below and then load them into your air fryer and spray with spray oil. Air fry at 390 degrees for 10 minutes, flip and spray the other side and fry for an additional 8-10min or until golden brown and crispy.

  1. flour and 2tsp everything spice

  2. aquafaba

  3. panko and everything spice/salt/pepper

These fries are perfect in any condiment or dipping sauce you want to try out! I’ve tried them with chipotle dip or simple dijon mustard and they are divine!




Tempeh Chili & Rice

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This is a quick, easy and hearty meal to prepare! Easily adapted with different beans or veggies and goes well on top of rice or other grains.

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Ingredients

2 packages of Tempeh (8oz packages, I use Lightlife)

1 can black beans

1 can hominy

1 jar Salsa 16oz.(I use Culinary Tours Campfire Roasted Salsa Medium heat)

1 small onion diced

1 small yellow pepper diced

4 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 Tbl cocoa powder

1 cup water

2 TBL tomato paste

2 Tbl Hot Sauce (I use Cholula) * this is obviously an optional ingredient depending on your taste!

1 Tbl olive oil

In a large saucepan over medium heat, sautee the onion and pepper in the olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and saute another minute or two and then crumble up the tempeh into small bits and stir well. Add cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and mix until well combined. Add salsa, beans, hominy and water. Stir and cover for 10-15 min until most of the water has evaporated and the mixture has thickened a bit. Uncover and sprinkle with cocoa powder, tomato paste and hot sauce and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt or extra hot sauce to your hearts desire! Serve over rice or other grain and top with your favorite crunchy topping!

Topping Options:

Chopped Sugar Snap Peas (as shown in the pic)

Sliced fresh radishes

Shredded cabbage

Kitchen Sink Soup

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It’s winter, it’s cold, you’re tired and hungry and you’ve not been grocery shopping this week. You open the fridge and scrounge a few sad looking veggies and you open the cupboard and find a few canned goods and you throw it all in a pot with some spices…..I call it ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ soup…or ‘kitchen sink’ soup. But don’t worry it tastes REALLY good!

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ingredients

4 small red potatoes diced with skin

4 large carrots chopped with skin

3 yellow onions diced

6 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can refried black beans

1 20oz can of crushed tomatoes

Four cups vegetable broth

3 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp pepper

Sauté onions and garlic in oil, add carrots, potatoes and spices and stir until well combined. Simmer for 2-3 min and then add all other ingredients and bring to a quick boil and then simmer for one hour or until veggies are tender

Serve with avocado and blue corn chips



Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Gluten Free Options!

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Ever since I was little, I always loved to bake. My mom would let me help in the kitchen and taught me how to follow recipes but I often saw her adapt them and add her own twist. My Dad loves dessert (and I've got his sweet tooth) and the best part of baking was seeing my Dad enjoy the sweets. When I went vegan more than two decades ago, the first dessert recipe I adapted was good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies, my Dad's favorite. I've been baking this recipe for pot lucks, house warming parties and birthdays for years. It's tried and true and it will satisfy vegans AND omnivores alike!

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour (substitute for Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour)

1 tsp Baking Powder

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1 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

3/4 cup organic fine turbinado sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1 tsp vanilla

2 Egg Replacer Eggs  (I use Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder)

1/4 - 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life mini chips)

 

Preheat oven to 350 & Line a large baking sheet with Parchment paper.

Mix Flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a large bowl or stand mixer mix brown sugar, white sugar and buttery spread until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg replacer eggs and mix until smooth. Gradually add and mix the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Carefully mix in chocolate chips.

Use a scoop or a spoon to drop dough onto the parchment paper. Leave 1-2" in between each scoop and if you like thinner cookies, gently press each dough ball down. Bake 8-10 min. For softer style cookies take them out of the oven when bottoms are slightly brown but tops appear undercooked. For crispy cookies wait until tops appear slightly brown to remove.

Let cool on cookie racks and store in airtight container.

 

Pancake Muffin Donuts

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Yes it’s true, I’ve got a sweet tooth. This recipe emerged out of the want for all three things in it’s title, Pancakes, muffins and donuts. Essentially these yummies have the flavor of pancakes with the texture of muffins and the shape of donuts. I’m also always looking for how to incorporate a little protein and nutrients into my sweet tooth satisfaction which is why I chose to use a Paleo pancake mix. So there you have it, take it for what it’s worth, a strange but delicious concoction that my husband (also my taste tester) was pleased with and did not leave us with a sugar high!

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Ingredients

1 cup flour

2 cups Bob’s Redmill Paleo pancake mix (this is a vegan and gluten free mix)

1/2 cup turbinado sugar (could be cut to 1/4 cup for you health freaks)

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tsp egg replacer powder

1/2 cup almond milk unsweetened

1/2 cup natural applesauce unsweetened

Preheat oven to 350

Grease a donut baking pan. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and scoop into a zip lock bag. Snip corner off bag and squeeze mixture into donut cups.

Bake for 10-12 min or until golden brown

Drizzle with glaze, dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with maple syrup and serve warm

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Tempeh Chili

There is nothing better than supporting other artist/makers, especially when they are my friends! Bowl by  Quail Pottery . Hand dyed cloth napkin by  Flatland Alpacas .

There is nothing better than supporting other artist/makers, especially when they are my friends! Bowl by Quail Pottery. Hand dyed cloth napkin by Flatland Alpacas.

This is a throw together, ready in an hour easy vegan chili. It was inspired by a recipe for pozole, my husband loves from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook (which is a household favorite). It makes a big pot so be ready for leftovers!

Ingredients

2 Tbl olive oil

1 medium onion diced

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5 gloves garlic minced

4 cubanelle peppers (or 2 green or red peppers)

1 package tempeh

1 22oz can of crushed tomatoes

1 can black beans

1 can chick peas

1 can hominy

1 can corn (I know this is redundant because hominy is corn but it’s nice to have pops of yellow in the chili! )

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp chipotle

1 Tbl cocoa powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 cups water

Garnish (optional)

sliced avocado

shredded red cabbage

lime juice

cilantro

sliced radishes

slivered green onion

Saute onion and oil over medium heat until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add garlic and peppers and toss until fragrant. Add spices except cocoa and crumble tempeh and stir until well coated. Add beans, hominy, corn and crushed tomato, cocoa and water. Mix thoroughly and simmer on low heat for 20min-45min (if you have the time, let this simmer for longer, it only gets better with time.) If you like your chili more loose, add another cup of water. Serve warm with garnish of your choice.

Sweet & Smoky Cashews

Serve cashews in a ripple bowl! Part of our “Seaside” Collection!

Serve cashews in a ripple bowl! Part of our “Seaside” Collection!

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We are cashew obsessed in our household. We always have roasted salted cashews on hand for a quick snack and I love playing with raw cashews and incorporating my own flavors. This is a super simple way to make a tasty snack. Eat them on their own or toss them in a salad or savory trail mix!

Ingredients

3 cups raw cashews

2 Tbl maple syrup

3 tsp liquid smoke

2 Tbl molasses

1 tsp fine salt

Toss all ingredients in a bowl until well combined and cashews are completely coated with mixture.

AIR FRYER: Air Fry at 350degrees for 10-12min shaking the basket or flipping the cashews every five minutes (THIS IS IMPORTANT! if you don’t flip them or toss them around they may burn!) They should appear dark molasses brown when done and they may be slightly sticky while hot. Spread them on parchment paper to cool and store in a mason jar or airtight container once completely cool.

STOVETOP: In a non stick skillet roast the cashews over low/medium heat stirring often to avoid burning until cashews are nearly dry. They may be slightly sticky while still hot. Spread them on parchment paper to cool and store in a mason jar or airtight container once completely cool.

*create your own concoction! Add a touch of siracha or cajun seasoning for some heat!

Blackened Tempeh

Blackened Tempeh with Roasted Brussell Sprouts and Brown Rice Pasta

Blackened Tempeh with Roasted Brussell Sprouts and Brown Rice Pasta

Tempeh is a soybean product made by culturing and fermenting soybeans into a block form. It's high in protein, holds its shape and easily accepts marinades and can be fried, baked, roasted or crumbled into soups, sauces or stir fry. This is an easy way to prepare tempeh and pair it with pasta, stir fry, veggies or breakfast/brunch.

Ingredients

2 packages tempeh cut into 1/2 inch wide strips

3 Tbl Canola Oil

Marinade: 

2 Tbl soy sauce

1/4 cup water

1 Tbl Siracha

2 Tbl Olive Oil

Blackening Seasoning

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1 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Onion Powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp Oregano

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

Use a steaming basket to steam tempeh for 8-10 min. Steaming helps soften the tempeh so it can soak up the marinade. It also helps sweeten the tempeh.

While the tempeh is steaming, mix the marinade in a mason jar or small bowl and shake the jar or whisk in a bowl to mix. Once the tempeh has steamed, remove it from the steaming basket and set into a shallow dish and pour marinade over it. Make sure it's evenly coated. Let sit while you mix the seasoning.

Mix ingredients for the blackening seasoning in a shallow bowl and set aside. Prepare a non stick frying pan with 3 Tbl of canola oil and heat over medium heat. Dredge each strip of tempeh into the blackening seasoning and carefully lay them into the hot oil. Allow to cook 2-3 min and flip to brown each side.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Sandwiches

  • Stir Fry

  • With Rice or Pasta

  • With Roasted Veggies

 

Sweet or Salty Pretzel Bites

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Dough

1 ½ cups warm water

1 Tbl organic sugar

2 tsp active dry yeast or 1 package

1 ½ tsp salt

3 Tbl coconut oil

3 ½ -4 cups all purpose flour

 

Bath

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5 cups water

3 Tbl baking soda

 

Sweet Coating: mix

¼ cup sugar or coconut sugar

2 ½ tsp Vietnamese cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

 

Salty Coating

Coarse sea salt

In a large bowl add the warm water and add sugar and mix until dissolved. Add yeast, cover and let sit for 10 min to activate yeast.  Once the yeast is foamy add salt and coconut oil then slowly mix in flour. Knead the dough on a clean floured surface 3-5 min and shape into a ball. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover and set in a warm place to rise for 15 min.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 450. Heat the water for the baking soda bath in a large soup pot. Once the dough has risen cut it into 8 triangles like a pizza. Roll each triangle into an 18” long rope and cut 1-2” bites. When the water boils add the baking soda and stir. Add about 20 dough bites to the bath at a time and let soak for 30 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon and place on parchment paper. Don’t overcrowd. Bake at 450 for 10-12 min until tops are nice and brown.

Brush bites with coconut oil once they have cooled and toss into sweet coating. Or sprinkle with salt.

Vegan Broccoli Quiche

photo credit: Amma Rhea Photography

photo credit: Amma Rhea Photography

Ingredients

1 ½ cups raw cashews soaked overnight

½ cup cannellini beans

1 ½ tsp garlic powder

4 Tbl Nutritional Yeast

1 tsp turmeric

½ tsp black salt

2 Tbl garbanzo bean flour

2 tbl unsweetened almond milk

¼ tsp celery seed

¼ cup diced onion

½ cup steamed and chopped broccoli

1 Tbl tofu bacon bits (optional)

1 package of frozen prepared pie crust

In a food processor blend: cashews, beans, garlic powder, yeast, flour, salt and turmeric until smooth.

Preheat oven to 375.  Par-bake the crust for 10 min and set aside to cool. Saute onion, broccoli until onion is browned. Add celery seed, tofu bacon bits. In a large bowl combine cashew mixture and veggies with almond milk. Fill the mini crusts and bake for 35 min or until filling is firm and crust is golden brown.

*options: replace broccoli with roasted potatoes, spinach or any veggie of your choice!

 

Oatmeal Raisin & Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These cookies are super simple and perfect for dipping in your alternative milk of choice!  Add or omit raisins/chocolate or any other add-in you prefer!

Ingredients

makes 24, 3" cookies

1/2 cup melted vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

2 egg replacer eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups whole oats

1 cup flour

1/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips

1/2 cup organic raisins

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Once blended, add egg replacer and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, oats and baking powder. Add the dry mix to the wet and mix thoroughly. Add the chips and raisins and mix until well combined. Drop spoonfulls of dough mixture onto a cookie sheet and flatten a bit with the back side of a spoon.

Bake 10-15 min or until lightly browned on top. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container (if they last that long!)

Butternut Squash Chili

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Ingredients

1 tetra pack of vegan broth (1 qt)

1 jar salsa of your choice (I used Newman's Own)

1 can hominy

1 can corn

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced

6 cloves garlic crushed

1 large onion diced

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1 can small red beans

1/2 cup chopped black olives

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

In a large soup pot, saute garlic, onion, squash and spices until onions begin to look transparent. Add all other ingredients and simmer uncovered until squash is tender.

Serve with corn chips and vegan cheese! I recommend aged cashew cheese from Three Girls Vegan Creamery in Guilford, CT. If you've not tried this amazing vegan cheese it's a must!

Spinach Bites

photo credit: amma rhea photography

photo credit: amma rhea photography

These are quick, easy and delicious for snacks or appetizers. Dip them in seasoned olive oil or hummus and enjoy!

Ingredients

photo credit: amma rhea photography

photo credit: amma rhea photography

3  Cups Fresh organic spinach

½ cup raw cashews

¾ cup almond meal flour

3 Tbl Olive Oil

1 tsp salt

1 egg replacer or flax egg

1 small chopped red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 cup oats

¼ tsp pepper

¼ tsp smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined. If the mixture is overly wet, add more oats and blend until smooth. Scoop tablespoon sized balls of the mixture onto the parchment paper. Bake for 15-20min or until bottoms have browned. Remove and let cool on a cookie rack, serve warm with hummus for dipping.

Summer Tomato Marinara Sauce

Heirloom Brandy wine tomatoes are my favorite!

Heirloom Brandy wine tomatoes are my favorite!

Ingredients:

8-10 ripe tomatoes of your choice chopped and seeds removed

8 cloves of fresh garlic minced

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1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbl light brown sugar (this can be omitted depending on preference)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I prefer California Olive Ranch Brand)

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In a large shallow saucepan heat half of the olive oil over medium heat and add the minced garlic. Saute until fragrant and then add chopped basil, stir for another minute and then add the tomatoes, the rest of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium until bubbling, turn heat to low and simmer for 30-45min until tomatoes are cooked down and color deepens. Taste the sauce and add brown sugar if desired.

Cool and blend with emulsion blender or table top blender if you want smooth sauce! This sauce freezes well and is wonderful for lasagna, pasta, stuffed peppers and so much more!

Chai Tea Concentrate

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I've been a chai tea lover for years and I've tried all the store bought concentrates which tend to be pricey and filled with sugar, not to mention they often lack the real spicy flavor I'm craving in a good chai. Despite being obsessed with hot drinks all year round the hot New England Summer has left me wanting something cool. I looked at a bunch of recipes for chai concentrate before concocting my own version which leaves out the controversial star anise. Let's face it, anise is a love it or hate it flavor and my hubby hates it so I left it out of this recipe.  If you love it, skip to the bottom for *suggestions. This recipe makes about 6 cups (or 3 pint sized mason jars full) and can easily be halved, but why bother when it keeps in the fridge for several weeks or makes a great hostess gift for a summer soiree! 

Ingredients

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10 cups water

2 inches fresh ginger peeled

8 cinnamon sticks

16 tsp loose black tea

16 whole cloves

10 cardamom pods

24 black peppercorns

30 allspice berries

3/4 - 1 cup coconut sugar

muslin bag OR cheesecloth and cotton cord OR strainer

Put the 10 cups of water into a large pot and boil while you prep the ingredients for steeping the tea. I used a piece of cheesecloth folded over several times into a 8"x8" square to make a large teabag for this recipe but you could just add everything to the water and strain it with fine mesh when you're done. 

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Crack the peppercorns, allspice, cardamom and cloves with the back of a heavy knife and add them to the cheesecloth.  Slice the vanillla bean lengthwise and use a knife tip to scrape out the seeds adding them to the cheesecloth. Add the loose tea to the cheesecloth and lift up the corners and twist to make a large tea bag, secure the sachet with cotton cording.  Peel and rough chop the ginger and set it aside.

Once your water comes to a boil add the loose ginger, cinnamon sticks and the sachet with all other ingredients into the water and turn heat down to simmer uncovered for 20 min or until the liquid is reduced by 2 cups. Remove the sachet if using one and add your coconut sugar to taste, I used approx 3/4 cup. Stir to dissolve. Strain the remaining liquid and jar when cooled.

To use your concentrate:

I use 1/3 concentrate to 2/3 almond milk. It depends on how spicy you want your mixture. You could also do a 50/50 ratio.

Suggestions:

  • This is great cold OR hot!
  • For a decaf version, use Rooibos loose tea instead of black
  • Add a cinnamon stick to a hot version for a bit more spice
  • Try it with coconut milk or soy milk!
  • Add in 1 or 2 Star Anise (no need to crack these just toss them in)
  • Add in 1-2 tsp cacao nibs for a chocolate chai!
  • Make your own version of dirty chai with 1/3 coffee, 1/3 chai, 1/3 milk of choice
  • Add seeds from a second vanilla bean for smoother/sweeter tones
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Tofu Breakfast Scramble

tofuscramble

This is a quick and easy recipe that is adaptable for any flavor profile (mexican, indian, italian etc) When you live with an omnivore who loves eggs for breakfast like I do, you want to make something just as easy and that involves similar ingredients so that you can both enjoy a lovely Sunday brunch together. This is a great way to use up leftover veggies too!

Ingredients:

1 package extra firm tofu, drained

2 Tbl olive oil

1/4 cup diced red pepper

1/4 cup diced onion

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh spinach

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

2 Tbl nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp paprika

In a large frying pan heat the oil over medium heat. Crumble the tofu into the hot oil and sprinkle with turmeric, salt,pepper, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and paprika. Toss and cook until the tofu dries out and begins to brown. Push the tofu to one side of the frying pan and add the onions and red peppers to the other side and toss until the veggies heat through. Mix tofu and veggies together and toss in the spinach. When spinach turns bright green, turn off the heat and serve while hot.

* Make it Mexican: add 1/2 tsp ground cumin and 1 Tbl diced jalepeno

* Make it Indian: add 1/2 tsp curry powder and 1/4 tsp garam masala

* Make it Italian: add 1 Tbl of Herbs de Provence and 1/4 cup diced tomatos

Corn Salsa

Looking for the perfect dish to bring to a summer picnic, pot luck or backyard BBQ?  This is IT!  It's quick, easy, delicious and will be a hit with vegans and omnivores alike! Scoop it up with corn chips or enjoy it like a salad or side! It's great leftover on top of rice too!

Ingredients

It is easiest to make the dressing first and let it cool while you do the rest of the recipe.

For dressing, bring to a boil:

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 Tbls. water

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup oil

1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute

Cool before pouring over beans/corn/veggie mixture below.

Combine in large bowl:

1 can black eyed peas (drained and rinsed)

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

1 small orange or red pepper chopped

1 cans of corn, drained

1 small red onion chopped

1 small green pepper chopped

1-2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)

1 jalepeno pepper chopped (optional)