Monday, June 29, 2015

Spinach Pizza Pesto Pasta

Yum
I am finally having some success growing herbs at home. We live in a ranch style home and we do not have any good south facing windows. So all of my previous attempts to grow my own kitchen herb garden ended with sad dying plants. I finally invested in a grow light and this latest batch of herbs are doing very well. I am so excited to have fresh herbs growing year round! This recipe came from wanting to use my fresh basil and oregano in a pasta recipe. It turned out great.

Spinach Pizza Pesto Pasta

Ingredients:

13.25 oz package whole grain pasta

1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves
6 oz fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup raw shelled hemp seed hearts
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (you could sub pine nuts here, my son is allergic to nuts so I use seeds)
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (you can drain them a little if you like)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

3 roma tomatoes, diced

Directions:

Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions. Drain and reserve the pasta.

Put everything from the basil to the liquid smoke in a powerful blender or food processor and pulse until it is blended but not completely broken down. I like to distinguish little bits of garlic, seeds, and basil in mine. So I go until it is broken down, but still retains some characteristics of each ingredient. Simply pulse a few times and taste....stop when you like the consistency - you really can't mess this up.

Dice the roma tomatoes into bite sized pieces. Then toss the pasta, sauce, and tomatoes together. Voila...spinach pizza pesto pasta.

For 8 servings. Nutritional information from caloriecount.about.com.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 146 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 
240
Calories from Fat 
41
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 
4.6g
7%
Saturated Fat 
0.5g
3%
Trans Fat 
0.0g
Cholesterol 
0mg
0%
Sodium 
175mg
7%
Potassium 
524mg
15%
Total Carbohydrates 
41.7g
14%
Dietary Fiber 
7.0g
28%
Sugars 
1.6g
Protein 
12.4g
Vitamin A 49%Vitamin C 23%
Calcium 7%Iron 28%
Nutrition Grade A
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Friday, June 26, 2015

Smoky Tempeh Pasta

Yum
I love combining tempeh with whole grain pasta. It has all the flavor and food groups you could want in one bowl.

Smoky Tempeh Pasta


Ingredients:

8 oz. whole wheat pasta
7 oz tempeh, crumbled
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, slivered
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup daiya mozzarella
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain when al dente. I like to put the frozen peas in the bottom of the colander and pour the pasta right over them. This thaws them out.

While your pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat and add the diced onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions begin to soften. Add the crumbled tempeh and cook until it is heated through. Add some flour to the pan and stir to coat all the ingredients. Then add the broth. Let this simmer for a few minutes to thicken up like a gravy.

Finally, add the pasta, peas, daiya, liquid smoke, and lemon juice to the tempeh mixture. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

For 6 servings. Nutritional info from caloriecount.about.com.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 155 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 
274
Calories from Fat 
74
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 
8.2g
13%
Saturated Fat 
1.5g
7%
Trans Fat 
0.0g
Cholesterol 
0mg
0%
Sodium 
204mg
8%
Potassium 
361mg
10%
Total Carbohydrates 
37.9g
13%
Dietary Fiber 
5.1g
21%
Sugars 
2.9g
Protein 
13.4g
Vitamin A 11%Vitamin C 7%
Calcium 6%Iron 15%
Nutrition Grade B+
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Oven Roasted Kabocha Squash

Yum
I am so in love with kabocha squash. It is a Japanese squash and often called a Japanese pumpkin. It is very reminiscent of pumpkin but denser, sweeter, and more amazing (to me, anyway). I first heard of kabocha when I got The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. I found it at Whole Foods and have been hooked ever since. I can also find it at our local Japanese grocery store, The Pacific Mercantile. You can use kabocha squash like you would use any other winter squash but my favorite way to eat it is also the simplest way to prepare it.

Oven Roasted Kabocha Squash

Kabocha Squash Sprout



Kabocha Squash Thriving in Summer



Kabocha Squash




Last year, when seed shopping for my garden, I came across kabocha squash seeds. I was so excited and had to try it. That first season I had no luck but this year the seeds sprouted and the plant did very well. I have been tending to this first homegrown kabocha squash for months and am so excited I was able to grow one.

Ingredients:
1 kabocha squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp salt
pepper

Optional
pinch of nutmeg
drizzle of maple syrup (about 1 tsp)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the kabocha squash and cut it in half. Then scoop out the seeds and cut it into half moon slices about 1" thick. If you squash is organic then go ahead and leave the peel on.

Drizzle the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with the seasoning. If you want a sweeter squash add the nutmeg and maple syrup. The best process I have found for this is to drizzle with the olive oil first and use your hands to massage the oil into each slice of squash to really distribute it evenly. Then I sprinkle the seasonings over the slices and massage them in again to distribute the seasoning.

Spread the slices on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes turning them over halfway through. I used two cookie sheets and did half of the squash with the salt and pepper only, and added the nutmeg and maple syrup to the other pan.

They are irresistible and I love to eat them just like this.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Vegan Ranch Dip with Crudités

Yum
There are a few foods that have been elusive for me to capture in vegan recipes. Brownies, angel food cake, and ranch dressing are a few examples of these. I am not happy until the flavors and textures are reminiscent of what I remember. This ranch dip did that for me. It took a lot of tweaking, but I have my favorite vegan ranch flavor captured here.

I often serve a platter with cut fresh vegetables when we have get togethers, as people like to snack on them. They will fill up your guests without making them feel gross... you know how it is when you go to a potluck and try too many rich things right? This is the antidote :)

Vegan Ranch Dip with Crudités 

Ingredients

1 cup vegan mayo (I loves me some Vegenaise!)
Vegan Ranch Dip with Fresh Summer Vegetables
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp vegan worchestershire sauce
dash of red vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together and let the dip chill for a couple of hours to let the flavors develop and combine.

I love this time of year when my vegetable garden is producing delicious food. The carrots, squash,
sugar snap peas, and tomatoes were grown in my front yard :) love. that.

Vegenaise is 90 calories per tablespoon, so I base my calorie intake off of that; assuming the herbs don't add much in the way of calories.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chayote Soup

Yum
My husband does the grocery shopping for us every week. Last weekend he brought me a vegetable that I had never seen before. It turned out to be a chayote, which is native to Mexico and Central America and is actually a fruit. It is now grown all over the world and is a cross between a summer squash, cucumber, and jicama. I looked up several types of preparations, and found that it is often used in soups or salads. As I am all about warm soup as comfort food, I decided to make a vegetable soup with brown rice. After searching the internet, I narrowed in on two recipes that looked good: one was a Chayote Soup Recipe from Yummly and the other a Vegan Caribbean Stew from Allrecipes. These served as inspiration along with my own ideas and what I had in my kitchen that day.

The resulting dish was savory, filling, and intriguing (in a very good way) as it tasted slightly exotic (to me). It was really good leftover for lunch the next day as the flavors had continued to combine. This soup is definitely a new favorite and I can't wait to make it again.

Chayote Soup


Ingredients:

Chayote
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup chopped onion (1/2 medium sized onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced tomato*
1 cup diced zucchini
1 chayote, peeled and diced
4 cups water
1/4 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp dried dill weed
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro


Directions:

Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the brown rice. Toast the brown rice, until it begins to turn opaque. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often to let the onions soften. Add the tomato, zucchini, and the chayote and let it cook for 5 minutes. Then add the water, ginger, dill and cumin. Next, let it simmer over low heat for 35-45 minutes. Check to see when the rice is done and add more water as necessary. Finally, add the pepper, salt, and cilantro and let it cook for 5 more minutes for the flavors to blend.

*I used fresh grape tomatoes in this soup. When tomatoes are cooked, the peel will separate from the flesh. If you don't want tomato peel in your soup, then blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute. Let them cool and the peels will come right off. You could also use a 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes to make it easier.

For 4 servings. Nutritional information from caloriecount.about.com

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 418 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories
133
Calories from Fat
19
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
2.1g
3%
Cholesterol
0mg
0%
Sodium
597mg
25%
Potassium
367mg
10%
Total Carbohydrates
26.5g
9%
Dietary Fiber
3.2g
13%
Sugars
3.8g
Protein
3.4g
Vitamin A 9%Vitamin C 29%
Calcium 5%Iron 6%
Nutrition Grade A
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pan Fried Tofu

Yum
This is my favorite way to make tofu. I seriously eat it like finger food and have to be careful that I don't eat a whole block of tofu on my own without even noticing. I have tried so many ways to make tofu and have finally settled on this as my standby recipe.

Pan Fried Tofu

Ingredients:

1 block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed between two plates
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce

Directions:

Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the sesame oil and let it heat up. Dice the tofu into bite sized pieces and add them to the pan. It may splatter due to the moisture in the tofu so be prepared. I like to put a pan lid directly on the tofu to press it into the pan. Then stir occasionally, but not too much because you want the sides to brown.

Once the tofu has started to brown on at least two sides, add the soy sauce to the pan and stir to distribute. Let it fry for a few minutes more to brown on all sides and then serve. I have added this to pho soup, salads, in sandwiches, etc. On the evening pictured, I put it over steamed brown rice with stir-fried veggies, toasted sesame seeds and bottled teriyaki sauce. It was very satisfying and delicious.

For 8 servings. Nutritional information from caloriecount.about.com.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 53 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories
51
Calories from Fat
34
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
3.8g
6%
Saturated Fat
0.7g
3%
Cholesterol
0mg
0%
Sodium
119mg
5%
Potassium
78mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates
1.0g
0%
Protein
4.2g
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 10%Iron 5%
Nutrition Grade B
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Vietnamese Gardein "Beef" Bowl

Yum
Way back when, my husband and I were newly on our own, living in a small studio, on a shoestring budget, and life was really good. We used to get takeout from a nearby Vietnamese restraunt and they served a dish with seasoned meat over rice with cold vegetables, crushed peanuts, and herbs on top. The combination was really good, and I sometimes get nostalgic for both that time in our lives, and this dish (but not the meat!).

I set out to veganize it about a year and a half ago and posted the results on my old site. I took a lot of liberties with a recipe from the site Phamfatale, and was thrilled with the results. I am slowly moving my favorite recipes from my old site to this one in order to have them all in one place. This one is definitely worth re-posting.

Vietnamese Gardein "Beef" Bowl


Ingredients:
2 cups brown rice or rice noodles
1 package Gardein Beef Tips or seitan
2 green onions sliced into 1" pieces
1 tbsp sesame oil

Marinade:
1 carrot minced
1 inch ginger root minced or shredded
1 clove garlic minced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kelp powder (to replace the fish sauce in traditional recipes)
3 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oil

Toppings:
1 carrot chopped
1 cucumber chopped
fresh cilantro
1/2 cup coarsely crushed roasted soy nuts (or crushed peanuts)

Sauce:
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic chili sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce

Okay, after seeing that list, you may be thinking "too many steps, no thanks" but it really was easy and totally worth the effort.

Basically it breaks down into four parts:

1. Marinate the Gardein
2. Make the rice or rice noodles
3. Saute the onions and Gardein
4. Prep the toppings and the sauce

Directions:

Start with the marinade and just mash it all together with a mortal and pestle, you can also run it through a food processor. Traditional recipes use green papaya, but I went with a carrot instead. Once the marinade is all combined, add it to the bag of Gardein Beef Tips and seal it back up. Then shake it up and stick it in the fridge.

Put the rice in your rice cooker with 4 cups of water and leave it to do its thing. (Or you can wait and quickly boil the rice noodles right before you are ready to serve).

When it is almost time to eat...throw the onions in a frying pan with the heated sesame oil and then add the Gardein (I took the extra step to thinly slice it before adding it to the pan). As that's cooking, mix the soy sauce, sugar and chili garlic sauce together.

Finally, chop the carrot, cucumber and mince the cilantro. I also decided to crush some soy nuts and then it all came together rather easily. Turn the Gardein once at about 4 minutes into cooking and let it go a few minutes more. To assemble the dish, put rice (or rice noodles) on the bottom and add the sauce. Then put the gardein, veggies and cilantro with the crushed soy nuts on top.

We will definitely be putting this into our regular recipe rotation. It totally satisfied my hankering for that savory Vietnamese dish I remembered so fondly.

For 5 servings:
Nutritional Info from caloriecount.about.com


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 216 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories
451
Calories from Fat
90
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
10.0g
15%
Saturated Fat
1.4g
7%
Trans Fat
0.0g
Cholesterol
0mg
0%
Sodium
757mg
32%
Total Carbohydrates
332.8g
111%
Dietary Fiber
5.3g
21%
Sugars
3.6g
Protein
48.9g
Vitamin A 90%Vitamin C 8%
Calcium 8%Iron 20%
Nutrition Grade B
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tofu Salad

Yum
I like this salad on whole wheat bread with lettuce or sprouts for a quick and easy lunch. It is also good with crackers for an easy snack.

Tofu Salad


Ingredients:

1 14oz block extra firm tofu
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 dill pickle, diced
1/8 cup finely sliced scallions
1/4 cup vegan mayo
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried parsley or (1 tbsp fresh)
dash turmeric
dash salt and black pepper

If you want to fancy it up you can also add....
dash of cumin
dash of celery seed
dash of dill weed
dash of paprika

Bread, lettuce, and thinly sliced radishes, for serving

Directions:

Crumble the tofu into a bowl and add all the other ingredients. Stir to combine well and chill before serving.

For 4 servings. Nutritional information from caloriecount.about.com.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 140 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 
165
Calories from Fat 
119
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 
13.2g
20%
Saturated Fat 
1.4g
7%
Trans Fat 
0.0g
Cholesterol 
0mg
0%
Sodium 
330mg
14%
Potassium 
176mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 
2.8g
1%
Dietary Fiber 
1.3g
5%
Sugars 
1.2g
Protein 
8.3g
Vitamin A 2%Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 20%Iron 10%
Nutrition Grade B-
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet