Day 28 of vegan recipe challenge: channeling the God(dess) in all of us

I shall defer from making a litany of excuses and instead dive right into another recipe (blogger guilt in effect!) Although, I did write a blog post for our organization in the interim.

Need something simple, comforting, and cozy? From the brain of Isa Chandra Moskowitz, this dish combines tahini with tempeh, broccoli, and linguine to make that ideal bowl of goodness (or goddess). I tried this dish out last Friday on a friend, and rave reviews were heard around the table,

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Goddess Noodles with Tempeh & Broccoli
Serves 4
Total time: 30 min; Active Time: 30 min

8 ounces whole-wheat linguine
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup warm water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt plus a couple more pinches
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flake
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
8 ounces tempeh, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
6 cups broccoli florets and thinly sliced stems
4 cloves garlic. minced
1 cup chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. When it’s boiling, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside, reserving a cup or so of the cooking water.

In a liquid measuring cup, use a fork to stir together the tahini, warm water, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Depending on the consistency of your tahini, you may need to add more water to get it to be relatively smooth. Mix in the nutritional yeast. Set aside.

Preheat a large pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Saute the tempeh in the soil with a big pinch of salt for about 7 minutes, tossing frequently, until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In the same pan, cook the broccoli in another 1 tablespoon oil with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes. The broccoli should be bright green and still have a snap to it.

Push the broccoli over to the side of the pan, and add the garlic, along with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Toss together and let the garlic cook for about 15 seconds, then  mix it in with the broccoli.

Now, add the pasta and use a pasta fork (or fork) to mix together the pasta and broccoli. Turn off the heat, add the tahini, and stir to coat. Now add the reserved pasta water as needed to thin the sauce and get everything coated.

Stir in the tempeh, chives, and some black pepper. Serve.

Notes from Isa:

  • The consistency of tahini can vary greatly from brand to brand. Some are thin and smooth, and others are firm and clumpy. Even the temperature of your tahini can make a difference. Depending on what your tahini is like, you may need to add more warm water to get it smooth. And if it is really clumpy, you may even need to transfer it to a small blender to smooth it out. For the best results, let your tahini come to room temperature before using for this recipe.
  • If you’re not up for tempeh, then you may use 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas instead. No need to saute: just toss them in with the linguine to heat through. And if you can’t find fresh chives, then chopped scallions make for a great dish, too.

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Day four of recipe challenge: cooking vegan does not need to be labor intensive

Let me say that again: Cooking vegan does not need to labor intensive.

It can be, sure. So can preparing countless other meals with animal product. But, there seems to be this mental barrier the general public associates with vegan cooking. “It must take you hours to finally eat!” Or course, that’s not when I’m eating another salad. Because that’s all vegans eat too, salads.

(Note: I am not knocking salads in the least. I quite like salads. But, I loathe the association that somehow that one particular dish sustains me for 365 days a year).

This recipe is going to have two-options (hooray! we love options, Katie). I’m giving you the “I need to make this in 15 minutes” option or the “Okay, I can take a little longer because I don’t believe in store-bought hummus.”

Option 1: Hummus & Tofu Wraps
Recipe notes that it makes 4 total wraps; depending on type of bread & how much tofu you put in each, I argue you could get more like 6 to 8 servings

For the tofu:
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt

Remaining items:
Your favorite hummus (since the tofu is cooked in sesame oil, I would opt for a wasabi or edamame hummus, but even plain will be tasty!)
2 cups hearty sprouts, like broccoli or sunflower sprouts (we used pea shoots from Trader Joe’s)
Whole-wheat wraps or pita pockets

Prepare the tofu:
You’ll need a cast-iron pan or something nonstick that can take very high heat. Preheat the pan over high heat. Once the pan is good and hot, add the sesame oil. Add the cubed tofu and sprinkle with salt. The tofu should immediately sizzle when it hits the hot oil; otherwise, turn the heat up. Cook for about 10 minutes, tossing often, until it’s nicely browned.

To assemble:
Spread hummus in pita/on wrap nice and thick. Add a handful of tofu cubes and a good bunch of sprouts. DIVE IN and enjoy!

Option 2: Edamame Hummus & Tofu Wraps
This is when YOU make the hummus, not someone else. You can find wasabi powder at your local Asian market or even a Whole Foods or Earth Fare. I would assume it would be less expensive at the Asian market.

For the tofu:
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the hummus:
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups shelled frozen edamame, thawed completely
1/3 cup water, plus more as needed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons wasabi powder (see note)
1/2 teaspoon salt

For serving:
Whole-wheat wraps or pitas
2 cups hearty sprouts, like broccoli or sunflower sprouts (or peas shoots!)

Prepare the tofu:
You’ll need a cast-iron pan or something nonstick that can take very high heat. Preheat the pan over high heat. Once the pan is good and hot, add the sesame oil. Add the cubed tofu and sprinkle with salt. The tofu should immediately sizzle when it hits the hot oil; otherwise, turn the heat up. Cook for about 10 minutes, tossing often, until it’s nicely browned.

Prepare the hummus:
While the tofu is browning, start the hummus. pulse the garlic in a blender or food processor to chop it up a bit. Add the remaining hummus ingredients and puree until smooth, adding a little extra water as needed to thin. Taste for seasonings. Refrigerate in a tightly sealed container if not using immediately.

To assemble:
Spread hummus in pita/on wrap nice and thick. Add a handful of tofu cubes and a good bunch of sprouts. DIVE IN and enjoy!

The secret is: get that tofu nice and crisp:

TofuCubed for your pleasure.

Then, voila! Dinner/lunch/snack served:

pitasOh hai pea shoots, where have you been all my life?

Day three of vegan recipe challenge: I hear you parents!

Kudos to you, parent!

I am not one, although someday (SOMEDAY, Aaron), I hope to be. Until then, I admire those who have been able and willing (I hope on both fronts) to take on such an undeniably powerful and overwhelming task. Discipline. Diapers. Teething. Talking-back. Destruction. Chaos.

Wait, am I talking about my cats?

No no, kids. At least, these sentient beings spend far fewer moments in those states of terror (or, at least I will continue to tell myself this) and far more loving, learning, shining, taking on adventures, laughing, and reminding you why pro-creation is a good thing.

One area that could still be challenging – the kitchen. Now, I was a semi-picky eater growing up. Most of my meals consisted of buttered noodles, peanut butter, and a pickle (with ice cream + chocolate sauce for dessert!). Despite that not being the most nutritionally-sound meal, it failed to spark my non-bread/salt tastebuds. Yet, it was an easy meal. And one thing I have gathered from parents: the easier to make/prepare the meal, the better.

So, parents, I bring you a gift courtesy of Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati who put together “The Cooking with Trader Joe’s Cookbook.” There are several out in the market that serve as an homage to this boutique grocery-chain. Most of the recipes aren’t vegan, but – aha! We can be adaptable.

tjs

Without further ado, I present one of the tastiest, easiest vegan recipes I have stumbled up:

White Lightning Chili

Makes 8 (1-cup servings)
Prep time: 5 minutes; Hands-off cooking time: 20-25 minutes

2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can white kidney beans (cannelloni beans), rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (13.75-ounce) jar Corn and Chile Tomato-less Salsa

Notes:
The original recipe also calls for 1 (1-lb) package of Just Chicken or 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded into bite-sized chunks. If you want to include this, I would recommend one of the Beyond Meat Chicken products, which you can find at Whole Foods or even – yes – Walmart. Trader Joe’s also has chickenless strips. Or, you could throw in Morningstar chicken stripes. Additionally, the recipe calls for 1 cup of shredded three cheese blend. If your kids are wild about cheese, in my opinion, the Daiya brand is the best (less so Follow Your Heart).


1) Pour broth into a medium or large pot. Add quinoa and bring to a boil.
2) Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
3) Serve in bowls, topping with shredded cheese (optional).

white lightningImage via CookTJ.com

Hope this goes over in your family better than that time someone had the idea of playing indoor football with grandma’s priceless vase.