Ginger-Scallion Cold Tofu

With summer approaching and the temperatures rising, you can bet I will be eating a lot more of this tofu.  This is super simple to prepare, it’s refreshing and cold and light.  This goes great with a salad (I’d recommend an Asian cabbage salad like this or this or this) for a quick, light summer meal.  Tofu is also a great vegetarian (vegan too!) source of protein, iron and calcium.  And while the biggest complaint with tofu is that it’s bland, this dish adds spicy fresh ginger, scallions and soy sauce…I think it’s anything but bland with all those flavors going on.  Try it and let me know what you think.Ginger tube

I like Silken brand soft tofu for this, it has a really smooth texture.  If I’m really lazy I even cheat on using fresh ginger and use some from a squeeze tube.  But using fresh ginger does taste a bit better and is pretty easy to use with a proper sharp knife.

Silken soft tofuI like to store gingerroot in the freezer and break off a knob when I need to use it.  I use a pairing knife to carefully peel the outer layer (you can run some warm water over the root for a little so it’s not quite so cold to hold).  Once it’s peeled I use a sharp knife and slice, then mince the still mostly frozen ginger.  This works great for getting a good mince.  Ginger can get a bit stringy, so I’ve found this to be the best way.  You can also try using a microplane to grate the ginger, but that takes longer in my opinion.


Ginger-Scallion Cold TofuGinger-Scallion Cold Tofu (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 2-4

  • 1 block Silken soft tofu, preferably chilled
  • 1-2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced (about 1/2 inch knob)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ponzu (optional, this adds a hint of citrus…you could try a squeeze of lime juice too)

Carefully open the box of tofu and squeeze tofu out onto your serving dish (something with a bit of an edge to hold soy sauce).  Sprinkle with scallions, place ginger on top of the tofu block, then drizzle with soy sauce and ponzu.  Serve and enjoy!

Miso Glazed Tofu and Bok Choy

This is based off of a recipe I saw in a magazine, I thought it sounded delicious, and went to the grocery store intending to make it later in the week.  And yet some how I forgot to get half of the ingredients.  So when trying to eat up all the produce before leaving for a weekend trip, I decided to use the miso-glaze from the recipe for the tofu, and just add some bok choy and serve it over rice.  It turned out fabulous.  Tofu can be rather bland, but this miso-glaze is super flavorful, full of salty umami flavors.  The best part is that you don’t even need to marinate the tofu!  If you have the forethought, press the tofu during the day, but at least press it for about 30 minutes.

Miso Glazed Tofu and Bok ChoyMiso Glazed Tofu and Bok Choy (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Cooking Light (May 2013)

  • 6 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white (shiro) miso
  • 2 Tbsp minced peeled ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 pkgs extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • about 2 lbs baby bok choy, quartered and washed
  • 2 Tbsp water

In a bowl, whisk together the first 7 ingredients.  Cut the tofu into large cubes.  Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add 1/2 the tofu in a single layer, pour 1/3 of the glaze over the top.  Let cook for about 3 minutes, until tofu has browned on one side.  Flip the tofu and cook for a few more minutes until browned.  Remove tofu from the pan and then repeat with the remaining tofu.  Once the tofu has finished cooking, add the bok choy to the pan and add the remaining glaze and water, cover and let cook for a few minutes, or until the bok choy is tender.  Add the tofu back into the pan and give a stir.  Serve over rice.

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I’ve always been a bit skeptical about vegan baked goods.  But every so often I like to be able to bake treats for a specialized diet crowd and so it’s important to have a good vegan recipe on hand for those instances.  These cookies are good.  They aren’t my ideal chocolate chip cookie because they’re a little bit too cakey for what I would consider perfection, but they’re very tasty.  They don’t look quite like normal chocolate chip cookies either, but except for the most discriminating of palates, I don’t think anyone will be able to tell that they’re vegan.  I hope you’ll give these a try and surprise your vegan friends with your considerate baking skills.

Vegan Chocolate Chunk CookiesVegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 15 cookies

Adapted from Pastry Affair

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (soy or coconut would also work)
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (make sure you’re using a dark enough chocolate that there’s no milk in it)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, oil, and milk until smooth.  Whisk in the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Slowly fold into the sugar mixture.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Drop cookies onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until set and beginning to brown around the edges.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Apple Crumble (vegan)

I’m still recapping foods made in April!  This is the last recipe I made for the ladies at my church’s annual Women’s Retreat.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend since I had a bunch of studying to do, but I was glad to at least participate by providing the food.  It sounded like it was an excellent event and everyone seemed to enjoy the food.  So if you’re looking for a meal plan for your next gathering, this was a great, healthy, colorful, easy combination.  For a snack in the morning I made Paleo Morning Glory Muffins.  For lunch there were three salads:  Strawberry Spinach Salad, Springtime Quinoa Salad, and Garden Bean Salad.  And for dessert I made this Apple Crumble.  It’s based off the Pear and Cranberry Crumble I made awhile ago, and is really easy to scale up or down depending on how many you’re feeding.  It would also be lovely served in individual ramekins with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!  Sadly this was too delicious and I forgot to snap a picture of it!

Apple Crumble (vegan)

Serves 12

Filling:

  • 8-10 apples (I used a half Pink Lady, a tart apple; and half Fuji, a sweet apple)
  • 1-2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel and core the apples and cut into bite-size pieces (about 1/2″) and spread out in a 9×13″ baking dish.  Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.  Toss gently and set aside.

In a food processor combine all the ingredients for the topping.  Pulse several times until well combined.

Spread oat-walnut mixture evenly over the top of the apples.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly, golden and delicious.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Baked Falafel

Falafel are great.  They’re a wonderful vegan option (I was surprised to learn they don’t even use egg to bind them).  They’re super flavorful, have a nice texture and are a great compliment to other delicious foods.  I’ve always thought of falafel as being rather fussy and something better ordered out than made at home.  However, this recipe is a game changer.  Baking falafel not only makes these healthier, it’s also easier than frying.  The result, while not as crunchy as traditional falafel, is still wonderfully moist, tasty.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, I’ve already made these twice in two days.  Once with friends and once (when I doubled the recipe, seen below) for my parents.  These are super delicious, and I can’t wait to make them over and over again this summer with a nice big Greek Salad.

Baked FalafelBaked Falafel with pita

Makes about 20 golf-ball sized falafel

Adapted from Hungry Girl

  • 1 large (32oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 small onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Generously grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large food processor, add chickpeas and onion and pulse a few times until minced.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to mix.  Baked Falafel

If you don’t have a food processor, you can smash the chickpeas with a fork by hand, or use a blender.  Mince the other ingredients and add everything to a large bowl and mix by hand until it comes together.

Taking about 3 Tbsp of the mix, roll into ball and place on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining mixture and then spray the tops of the falafel with cooking spray.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the falafel halfway through.

Red Lentil Mexican Soup

This is a great soup to whip up on a gloomy day or when you’re feeling under the weather or when you just don’t know what else to make.  I usually have most of these ingredients on hand, so it can come together quickly and doesn’t take a lot of forethought.  The lentils make it hearty and comforting and you can add as much or as little heat as you want.

Red Lentil Mexican SoupRed Lentil Mexican Soup

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayene pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 6 – 7 cups vegetable stock
  • a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions, garlic, celery and red pepper.  Once the vegetables have softened, add spices and tomatoes.  Add rinsed lentils and vegetable stock.  Stir, cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are tender.  Stir in the lime juice, and serve, garnish with cilantro or parsley.

Roasted Carrot Soup

This is a wonderfully simple soup.  The flavors are delicate and warm.  I think it would be a great soup for when you’re feeling a little under the weather, or when you just need a light but delicious soup.  Roasting the carrots brings out their sweetness, and the ginger and thyme infused vegetable stock adds a nice warmth and earthiness in the background.  I think you could make this even easier by roasting the onions with the carrots.  This was very popular at the last School of Christian Living class of the term.  I served it with Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus Salad and a Dark Chocolate Cardamom Mousse, but this would also be sublime with a sandwich, or a simple green salad.

Roasted Carrot SoupRoasted Carrot Soup

Serves 12-14

Adapted from Food 52

  • 5 lbs carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2″ rounds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (more to taste)
  • 3 1/2 (32oz) boxes good quality vegetable stock
  • 3 one-inch pieces of ginger, peeled
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the chopped carrots with half the olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Set oven rack 6-8 inches from the broiler and turn the broiler on.  Broil for about 10-15 minutes, rotating the carrots every 4-5 minutes until they’ve got some color and are tender.

Meanwhile, bring stock to a boil in a large pot with the ginger and thyme in it, simmer for 15 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and sauté for a couple of minutes, then add garlic and sauté until fragrant and onions begin to brown.

Remove ginger and thyme from the stock pot and then carefully add onion/garlic, the roasted carrots, and ground ginger.  Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes until carrots are soft enough to puree.  Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread (vegan)

Do vegan baked goods kind of make you cringe?  I’m always hesitant to label things vegan because I think mainstream society thinks of vegan food as extreme and unappealing, but I promise, this vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread is yummy!  I got the recipe from Joy the Baker, who I definitely trust to make a delicious anything, so despite my skepticism about vegan baked goods I gave it a try, and per usual she did not lead me astray.

Now it’s confession time….sometimes I make really big mistakes in the kitchen…mistakes like leaving out half of the flour in this bread.  I realized as I was cleaning up, once the bread had been in the oven for about 7 minutes…too long to do anything about it.  But sometimes mistakes workout, and in this case, I had a dense, super moist almost brownie-like “bread,” and it was still delicious.  This also is about as close to gingerbread as I’m going to get.  It has those great fall flavors, but is definitely not overwhelmingly spicy as gingerbread can be.  So if you have vegan guests coming for the holidays, give this bread a try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much non-vegans enjoy it as well!

Pumpkin Walnut Bread (vegan)Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (optional?  this is what I forgot…if you do too, it’s still yummy, but it will be fluffier if you add this)
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (or another 1/2 cup oil)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 heaping cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease two loaf pans (8x4x2) and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.  In a large measuring cup, whisk together oil, applesauce, syrup, water and pumpkin puree.  Add wet ingredients to the dry and use a spatula to fold together until just combined, making sure to get all the dry ingredient at the bottom.Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread loaf

Fold in the walnuts, reserving some to sprinkle on top.  Divide the dough between the prepared baking pans and sprinkle with walnuts.  Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes before turning out to a cooling rack.

Spiced Stuffed Acorn Squash

This stuffed squash was DELICIOUS!  This will definitely be a regular recipe for me.  It took quite a bit of searching to find an acorn squash recipe I liked the sound of.  So many vegetarian squash recipes out there don’t sound like a main dish (in that they don’t have a lot of protein), so I was really intrigued by the chickpeas.  I also liked the inclusion of some extra veggies that I don’t normally think of in a stuffing but worked out really well.

I’m not sure this is the right name for this since it’s pretty hard to describe in a word or two, the main seasoning is garam masala.  Garam masala is a warm spice blend typically used in Northern Indian/South Asian cuisine.  It has a lot of those warm baking spices like cinnamon and cardamom, so it works really well with this slightly sweet, but savory dish.  I’m not normally a fan of celery or raisins, but in this dish they work wonderfully.  Although if you can’t get your mind wrapped around celery you might be able to use frozen peas instead, and if you don’t want to give golden raisins a chance then you can use dried cranberries instead.  But really I think it was absolutely perfect as is.  Definitely make extra because the leftovers are just as delicious.

Spiced Stuffed Acorn SquashSpiced Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves 14

Adapted from Mountain Mama Cooks

  • 7 acorn squashes, cut in half and scoop insides out
  • olive oil, kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 head of celery, about 10 stalks, chopped
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked buckwheat (or barley, couscous, etc)
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 3 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a large baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Drizzle olive oil on the insides of your prepared acorn squash, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, and stab the insides repeatedly with a fork.  Place squash cut side down on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until just fork tender (the fork should be able to pierce the skin pretty easily.  In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1/2 tsp (table) salt.  In the last five minutes of baking, carefully flip the squash over and sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.  Return to oven to finish baking until fork tender and brown sugar has melted, about 5 minutes.Stuffed Squash and Roasted Cabbage

While squash bakes, prepare the filling.  In a large sauté pan or wok, heat a little olive oil over medium heat.  Add celery, scallions, and garlic, cooking until tender.  Stir in kale.  As kale begins to soften, add in the cooked buckwheat and the garam masala, cumin, and salt.  Mix well.  Just before flipping the squash, add in the raisins and chickpeas, mix to warm through.

When the squash is done, carefully transfer to your serving dish and then scoop filling into the center of the squash.  Serve and enjoy!

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties with Raw Kale Salad

I made this dish for Tuesday’s School of Christian Living dinner, and it was SUPER popular!  I have to admit I was really shocked by how much people liked this meal.  I was taking a chance on the raw kale.  I love salad and raw veggies, but I know they frequently feel like “health” food in the worst sense of the word.  And while this is definitely a healthy meal, it works together so perfectly.  The patties are creamy and tender with fragrant spices, the kale is hearty and chewy with a tart vinaigrette rubbed into each leaf.  It’s definitely a perfect pairing and works so much better than rolls would for these patties because they are so tender and creamy they would just blend with rolls.  With this salad, the patties really shine!

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties with Raw Kale SaladBlack Bean Pumpkin Patty on Raw Kale Salad

Serves 10-12

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

Salad:

  • 2 bunches curly kale
  • 1 romaine heart
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties:

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties

  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 9 scallions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (I used fresh, but one 15oz can should work)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked and cooled brown rice
  • 3 (15oz) cans black beans
  • 6 Tbsp flaxmeal
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (or bread crumbs, or rolled oats briefly processed)
  • olive oil for cooking

To make the salad, tear the kale from the stems and into small bite size pieces, place in a large serving bowl.  In a measuring cup, whisk together the oil, lime juice, vinegar, coriander, salt and pepper.  Drizzle 1/3 to 1/2 the dressing on the kale and then massage the leaves.  Rub the dressing into the leaves until they’re all glossy and shiny looking.  Let sit while you assemble the rest of the meal (the kale can sit like this for about a week without getting soggy and unappealing like normal lettuce).  Just before serving, chop the romaine and cilantro, toss with grated carrots and kale.  Toss with a bit more dressing to taste, or serve it on the side.

In a food processor, combine garlic, scallions, pumpkin, chili powder, salt and cumin, pulse until well mixed.  Add rice,  2/3 of the beans, flaxmeal and oats, pulse to combine.  Remove mixture from food processor into a large bowl and mix in the remaining whole black beans.  At this point you can refrigerate it until you’re ready to cook.

Heat a large skillet with about 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat.  Form the patties (should get about 20 3/4″ thick patties, I used a 1/3 cup scoop to form them) and carefully place in hot skillet.  Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden and heated through.  If cooking in batches, heat the oven to 300°F and keep the patties warm in the oven while you finish cooking them.  Serve over kale salad.