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!!!!







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

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.

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

 

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!

 

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!

Vegan, Gluten Free Mac & "Cheese"

vegan glueten free mac and cheese

What's better than comfort food in the Winter? When you're looking for a hearty and tasty easy one pot wonder, this yum yum will do the trick!  Despite the fact that this dish clearly takes center stage at any meal, it's the 'right thing to do' to add veggies and a protein, so I served up a side of roasted brussell sprouts and marinated pan fried tempeh. Nom, nom nom!

Ingredients

1/2 lb gluten free pasta (i used shells but it works fine with any shape pasta)

6 Tbl melted Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread

6 Tbl Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

2 Tbl Mustard Powder

Salt / Pepper to taste

1/3cup Nutritional Yeast

1 1/2 cups Daiya Cheddar Cheese Shreds

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs

First get your water boiling for your pasta. Add a pinch of salt and a Tbl of olive oil and while you're waiting make your "cheese" sauce. (keep an eye on your water and toss in the pasta once it boils).

Preheat your oven to 350. On the stove top, over low heat, melt the butter in a saucepan and add flour and mustard powder. Whisk quickly and add almond milk continue to whisk until mixture begins to thicken. Add yeast and cheese and continue to whisk over low heat until the mixture is smooth, (do not boil as you will boil out the nutrients in the yeast!) add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, cover and set aside until your pasta is cooked.

Drain your pasta and add it to the cheese sauce and stir to fully coat. Pour the mixture into a casserole, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for approx 30 min or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve!

 

 

Lentil Butternut Squash Soup

I love soup all year round but there is nothing like a homemade bowl of scrumptious hearty soup on a chilly Fall day. When I'm creating a new recipe it's usually in part due to having ingredients I need to use and this one included a home grown butternut squash my Dad grew this past summer that had been sitting on my counter for quite some time. (thankfully winter squash lasts forever!) I love to add fresh toppings to warm soup as well and this one is the perfect candidate so make sure to check out all the options in the ingredients list and let me know if you come up with your own ideas too!

vegan lentil butternut squash soup

 

Ingredients

2 Tbl olive oil

13 cloves garlic - 3 minced, 8 whole

3 carrots diced

1 sweet onion diced

1 red pepper diced

1 small butternut squash

2 cups french lentils (the small black ones, they are actually speckled but these are the best kind because they hold their shape and don't turn to mush!)

3 cups thinly chopped fresh spinach

1/4 tsp ground mustard

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1/4 tsp ground sage

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 chipotle powder

3 Tbl *no chicken soup base bullion (or sub the water for veggie broth)

10 cups water* or veggie broth

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

**Optional toppings: diced fresh avocado, sliced scallions, fresh squeezed lime, tortilla chips

First up, roasting the squash. Preheat the oven to 425. Slice the top and bottom of the squash off and then slice it long ways down the middle, remove the seeds and turn them face down onto a baking pan. Place 4 cloves of garlic in the well of each half of squash and add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Roast the squash for 30 min. If a knife tip easily pierces the squash, it's ready, otherwise roast for an additional 10-15 min. Let cool and peel off the skin. Some will easily peel by hand, other parts are easily removed with a pairing knife. Diced into small pieces once peeled and set aside in a bowl

In a large soup pot saute the olive oil, garlic, onion, carrot and red pepper until onion begins to turn translucent. Add all the spices and stir well for 1-2min. Add the lentils, water and bullion (or veggie stock if substituting).  Bring to a boil and add squash. Simmer for 30 min or until lentils are cooked through.  Add fresh chopped spinach and simmer another 5-10min.

Serve hot with toppings of your choice or a side of fresh baked bread!