Tag Archives: red onion

VeganMoFo: Spicy Baked Tofu Sandwich

Tofu SandwichI’ve got a thing for tofu snuggled between two pieces of bread and have offered a few variations (Muffaletta w/ Smoky Tofu; Tofu Salad Sandwiches; The Virtues of Baked Tofu) here already – so what’s one more?  This sandwich contains flavors that I return to again and again in my cooking and is accompanied by the always-welcome creamy avocado, juicy tomato and peppery red onion.

What I posted one year ago today: Rice and Beans with Greens and Artichoke Hearts

Spicy Baked Tofu Sandwich
Makes 4 sandwiches

1 16 oz. block tofu, cut into 8 thick slices
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp. chipotles in adobo sauce (I puree mine)
1/2 tsp. paprika, smoked or otherwise
1 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. soy sauce
dash Liquid Smoke
1 tbsp. tomato paste concentrate (I use the stuff in a tube – wonderful)
1 tbsp. white miso paste
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 cloves garlic
dash ground black pepper

1 avocado
handful of cilantro, chopped
dash cumin, chile powder, coriander and black pepper
squeeze lime
glug of Chipotle Tabasco
some chopped red onion

1 big tomato, thinly sliced

8 slices whole grain bread, toasted

Make the tofu:
The tofu…The first time I made this I didn’t take the time to press/freeze/press the tofu.  What I ended up with was a rather bland sandwich – more tofu than spicy.  The second time I pressed the *!@$ out of the tofu, cut it into 8 slices, froze the slices, thawed them and pressed again.  Yes, you just end up soaking the tofu in the marinade, but the spicy liquid gets into the tofu and isn’t diluted by – - tofu water.  End of speech about pressing/freezing/pressing. You now know where I stand on the matter.

Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a shallow baking dish.  Add the slices of tofu, flip them, and then let soak for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425F and bake the tofu, turning once or twice, until deeply reddish-brown and crispy on the edges.  Add more vegetable broth if needed.  I prefer the tofu to be very firm throughout – but bake it to your textural liking.

Make the guac:
Meanwhile, prepare the “guac.”  In a small bowl, lightly mash the avocado and mix in the cilantro, spices, lime juice, Tabasco and red onion.  Let the guac sit for a while to let the flavors develop.

When the tofu is ready, assemble the sandwiches by piling the guac, tofu and tomatoes on the whole grain bread.  Slice and serve.

Baked Tofu

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The Cooked and the Raw (and a Virtual Vegan Potluck Question)

Raw Sauce

Raw Sauce, NoodlesThis is a hybrid of the cooked and the raw.  Seems that some kindly neighbor folks have taken pity on Kel and me – being transplants and all – and have been sharing with us their bounties of zucchinis, cucumbers, peppers of all kinds, peaches, pears and…tomatoes.  Lots and lots of tomatoes.  Fresh, juicy, no-hothouse-mealiness-allowed tomatoes go into everything.  (It will really be hard to go back to those mealy, tasteless poor excuse for tomatoes…)

I made this quick raw tomato+roasted tomato sauce on an evening when my heart wasn’t into making an elaborate meal.  I had about a cup of roasted tomatoes from another meal so I chopped them up and added them to four beautiful tomatoes (also chopped), a couple of tablespoons each of kalamata olives and capers (I adore capers), fresh basil, lots of cracked black pepper, garlic, chopped red onion and a splash of Bragg Liquid Aminos.  Then I boiled up enough pasta for two.  When the sauce gets mixed into the hot pasta, the smell of garlic rises with the steam.  It’s wonderful.  I like a preponderance of sauce to noodles, but serve it at whatever ratio pleases your palate.

Now for the Virtual Vegan Potluck Question.  Thanks to a post by Tom of New Vegan Age over at Vegan Bloggers Unite! I found out that World Vegan Day is November 1.  Seems like the perfect day on which to hold the next Virtual Vegan Potluck.  What do you think?  It falls on a Thursday rather than a Saturday a day I find slightly preferable for a potluck, but since this is a virtual thing and it’s possible to schedule posts in advance anyway, perhaps it doesn’t matter too much?  Please let me know what you think!

Bowl of Pasta

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Searching for the Holy Grail of Raw Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Soup in BowlsI am on a quest.  A quest to replicate the raw broccoli (a.k.a. The Nectar of the Gods) soup from Omar’s Rawtopia located in the Sugarhouse neighborhood of Salt Lake City. It’s thick and creamy and nutty and very un-raw-broccoli-like.  After one sip even ol’ #41 (George Bush, Sr.) would fall to his knees in adoration of the mighty green Brassica oleracea after one sip of this soup.  Omar tops his with his tantalizing seed cheese (another recipe onto which I’d like to get my raw amateur mitts) and a delicious slice of “bread.”

My search began – as many a search has – with a quick stroll through Google, which yielded many results; none of which even hinted at coming directly from the kitchen of Rawtopia.  Perhaps employees sign a Confidentiality Agreement…  Anyway, I started with a recipe I found at Food.com and messed with it ever so slightly.  It’s delicious, no doubt about it, but it’s not It yet.  So the search continues.  In the meantime, it will take dedicated and prolonged taste-testing at Omar’s to suss out his secrets.  Someone’s got to do it.

Raw Broccoli Soup
Serves 4

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours
3 cups water
1 tsp. agave nectar
2 cups broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1 avocado, cut into chunks
1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp. onion, chopped
1″ nubbin of fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
dash black pepper
dash red pepper flakes

sliced radishes, chopped red onion, sesame seeds and fresh cilantro, for topping (optional)

Drain the cashews and add them to a high-powered blender along with the water and agave nectar.  Process until smooth.

Add the remaining ingredients (except for those used as the garnish) and process until smooth and creamy.  Divide among four bowls, top with the cilantro, red onion and radishes and serve immediately.  Best eaten the same day it’s made.

Broccoli Soup in Bowls, Spoons

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Curried Couscous & Vegetable Salad

Couscous in BowlMom used to make a super simple but delicious curried rice recipe that baked in the oven seemingly forever, tantalizing us with the delicious warm smell of curry, but it was worth the wait.  It came out creamy and mild, studded with red and green bell peppers and buttery-soft onions.  When I left home and began cooking for myself, it was my go-to dish, humble-looking, but sure to impress after the first bite.  And the recipe made tons so I ate on the leftovers for days.

I haven’t made that rice dish in years, but when I ran across a curried couscous recipe from Feeding the Healthy Vegetarian Family, by Ken Haedrich, it immediately reminded me of those long ago days.  I reduced the oil, mixed up the vegetables, used dried cherries instead of currants and totally ditched the dressing.  This doesn’t cook forever in the oven (it spends no time at all in the oven) – in fact, you can have it on the table within a half hour or so.  But that warm curry essence is in there.  The veggies here are just a suggestion, of course.  Use what you love.  Once again I must thank Bar at The Veg Bar for sharing her wonderful oil-free dressing.  Instead of basil, I used parsley this time around – and it’s just as fabulous.

Curried Couscous & Vegetable Salad
Serves 4

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. mild curry powder
1 cup whole wheat couscous
~ 2 cups water
pinch salt
1/3 cup dried tart cherries, chopped
2 tbsp. red onion, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

(adapted from The Veg Bar’s Oil-Free Lemon Basil Dressing)
3 tbsp. vegetable broth
1 tbsp. water
2 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh parsley
juice of half a lemon
zest of half a lemon
1 tbsp. chia seeds
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. unsweetened coconut milk yogurt
salt & pepper to taste

Make the dressing:
Put all of the ingredients into a blender and process until nice and smooth.  Set aside.

Make the couscous:
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and stir in the curry powder.  Cook for about 30 seconds and then stir in the couscous, coating it with the olive oil-curry powder mixture.  Slowly pour in the water and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and let cook for a couple of minutes.  Remove from the heat, cover, and let the couscous absorb the liquid.  It’ll be kind of a nice, thick saucy mixture.  This is good.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cherries, onion, zucchini, bell pepper, parsley, mint and tomatoes.  Add a dash of salt and pepper.  When the couscous is mostly cool, add it to the vegetables.  Stir in the salad dressing.  Serve at room temperature.

Couscous Aerial Shot

Couscous with Spoon

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Sleepwalk Southwest Bean & Rice Salad

Southwest SaladMy kitchen mojo has been a little spotty lately so my weekly menus have been stacked with meals I can prepare without needing much time or brain power.  Right now I need to be able to sleepwalk through dinner prep.

But even a detailed shopping list isn’t a guarantee that dinner will turn out as planned.  About an hour before this salad was due to hit the table, I realized that I’d somehow made it home from the grocery store without buying all of the necessary ingredients – despite the fact that they had been written (somewhat eligibly, it’s true) right there on the list.  So, using the base ingredients that I had on hand, I completely switched around the flavors of the original recipe  and traveled from Southeast Asia to South of the Border.

Southwest Bean & Rice Salad
Serves 4-6

2 14 oz. cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 medium green, red, yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and chopped, optional

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp. chipotle in adobo sauce
dash Chipotle Tabasco
salt & pepper to taste

Combine the dressing ingredients in a big bowl and whisk to combine. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the avocado, and stir gently to combine. Let sit for a while so that the flavors can get acquainted.

To serve, top with chopped avocado.

Southwest Salad Aerial Shot

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Buckwheat Noodles with Spicy Almond Sauce

Bowl of Noodles

All you big-hearted bloggers totally embraced the idea of adding Jason to the Potluck roster and since SO many of you also said – the more the merrier!  – I added Lindsay of Lindsay is Vegan as well!  Please welcome Lindsay into the fold.  Unfortunately, Tiffany at Live. Learn. Love. Eat. has had to back out.  I’m really bummed about this because I know she would have contributed something really delicious and I adore her blog.  But all of us wrestle with time issues and family/work/other obligations so I totally understand.  I hope Tiffany will join us for the next one.  So: again, make sure you keep an eye on that participant list (I’ve updated it on the VVP Page and it’s right at the top now) and make sure you’ve got your links updated.  Thanks to all of you for commenting and for welcoming Jason.

From peanut butter yesterday to almond butter today.  This is one of those classic recipes where you can mix it up – throw in whatever goodies you have on hand in the refrigerator – and have yourself a feast.  I find pasta dishes to be especially satisfying and buckwheat noodles are one of my favorite kinds of pasta.  The almond sauce is creamy and tangy and mixes perfectly with the unique, nutty flavor of the buckwheat.  Make the sauce and prep the veggies ahead of time so all you have to is boil the noodles and ladle into bowls.  Substitute peanut butter if you don’t have almond butter.

Buckwheat Noodles with Spicy Almond Sauce
Serves 4-6

4 tbsp. almond butter
1 tbsp. white miso
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. garlic chile sauce
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. agave nectar
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, microplaned or finely minced
3 cloves garlic
pinch of ground black pepper

A big handful of cooked buckwheat noodles
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces, lightly steamed or raw
2 cups snow peas, lightly steamed or raw
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup grated carrots
1 zucchini, grated
1/2 cucumber, seeded and chopped
fresh cilantro
fresh mint
chopped, roasted peanuts
tomato chunks

Place all of the sauce ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  If desired, thin out with more vegetable broth or water.

Combine sauce with noodles and veggies and top with cilantro, mint, roasted peanuts and tomato chunks, if desired.

Almond Sauce

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7 Days of Salad. Day 6: Red Quinoa & Green Apple (and Making Vegan Butter)

Quinoa CollageBig thanks go out to Holly at My Plant-based Family and to Averil at The Cook, The Baker and the Clay Boy Maker for sharing The Versatile Blogger and The Sunshine Awards with me.  Woohoo!  I really appreciate the recognition from these two wonderful women and am enjoying their posts and getting to know them both.  Please take some time to check out their blogs.

A few years ago, I had no idea what quinoa was.  And when I first saw it, I had my suspicions of the tiny little “seeds” with the funny curly-Qs, but now it’s standard fare in our house.  We love the taste, appreciate its versatility and rely on its wonderful health benefits.  But a recent article in the New York Times, Quinoa’s Global Success Creates Quandary At Home, put a different perspective on this chenopod (or goosefoots – love that name).  Because of high demand for quinoa in Europe and America, less Bolivians are able to afford to eat the crop that they grow – and they’re suffering nutritionally (quinoa is considered exceptional in the plant kingdom for its balance of nutrients) as a result.  Makes one pause and think about where one’s food comes from – and it makes me even more appreciative of this special plant.

This recipe comes from a book called Gluten-free, Sugar-free Cooking, by Susan O’Brien.  This is not a vegan cookbook, but there are some really inventive recipes in it and one of these days I’m going to dive into her desserts.  I didn’t change a thing with this salad, except that I used cabbage instead of red pepper, because I didn’t have one.  It’s one of those salads that you could add almost anything to – steamed asparagus, navy beans, celery, tofu, crumbled tempeh bacon, nuts – nearly endless possibilities.  But what really drew me to this salad is that the dressing contains no oil – just the way I like to make it.

(Ahem.  Speaking of fat…Below this recipe is a link to a recipe to make vegan butter…)

Red Quinoa & Green Apple Salad
Serves 4-6

1 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed if necessary (some come pre-rinsed)
2 cups water
1/2 cup green cabbage, chopped
1/3 cup red onion
1/2 cup carrot, chopped or grated
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2-3 tbsp. vegetable broth
salt & pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large Granny Smith or other tart apple, cored and chopped

Combine the quinoa and the water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed.  Set aside to cool.

In a bowl, combine the cabbage, red onion, carrot, parsley, apple cider vinegar, vegetable broth, salt, pepper and garlic.  Add the cooled quinoa and the chopped apple, stirring gently.  Serve as is, or over a bed of fresh greens.

On a side note…Yesterday I made maybe the coolest thing ever – and it was really simple.  I may never go back to Earth Balance or store-bought shortening again.  Thanks to Keepin’ It Kind, I found out how to make my own butter.  Check out her post, then go to the original recipe here.  There is all kinds of interesting science involved, but my eyes started to glaze over (much like they did in high school chemistry class) and I skipped down to the recipes.  It’s really fun, easy and best of all, you know what’s going into it (though, yes, it’s still fat).  And there are all kinds of variations, many of which I’m planning on trying soon.

Vegan Butter

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7 Days of Salad. Day 4: Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Couscous with Sweet Lime-Ginger Dressing

Sweet Potato Day FourPantry stapes combined with a few fresh ingredients…I usually have a sweet potato or two kicking around in the pantry and couscous and cans of black beans always.  Same for edamame in the freezer.  And with the last of the spinach from the greenhouse, the abundance of mint out in the perennial bed and a smidge of volunteer basil we had in the greenhouse (it had self-planted into one of the citrus pots), I created this colorful, super healthy salad.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Couscous Salad w/ Sweet Lime-Ginger Dressing
Serves 4

1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. agave nectar (or to taste)
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. white miso paste
1/4-1/2 tsp. chile garlic paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
dash black pepper

2 sweet potatoes, roasted, cooled, peeled and cut into chunks
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup edamame
2 tbsp. red onion, chopped
2/3 cup (dry) whole wheat couscous, cooked and well-drained
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
4 cups fresh spinach, torn or chopped

Whisk together all dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Gently stir all of the salad ingredients – except the spinach – together, then add the dressing and stir again.  Divide the spinach between four big plates or bowls and top with the salad.

Basil, Ginger, LimesFor a quick side dish, I mixed together a splash of vegetable broth, soy sauce, white miso paste, ground black pepper and a clove of garlic (minced) and tossed in two sliced two zucchinis.  Baked it at 425F until the zukes were tender (turning now and again).  Pretty durn tasty.


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7 Days of Salad. Day 3: Orzo with Black-Eyed Peas, Olives & Cucumber

Orzo Day 3A quick public service announcement via Tiny Kitchen Stories:  I will be participating in Automattic’s Worldwide 5k WP event taking place between April 23-29.  If the idea of running 3.1 miles “along” with a bunch of other bloggers appeals to you, get the details at Automattic Worldwide 5k WP.  After you run, blog about it.

Onward.  Day three.  Pasta salad.  But not PASTA salad, because there’s a nice balance of vegetables to go along with the carbs.  I love having a salad that I can mix up early in the day for dinner that night; the flavors just get better.

Orzo Salad with Black-Eyed Peas, Olive & Cucumber
Serves 4

1 15 oz. can black-eyed peas
3/4 cup whole wheat orzo
1 tomato, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 English cucumber, cored and diced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. vegetable broth
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup pepperoncini, chopped

First, cook the orzo according to package instructions; drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the black-eyed peas, tomato, parsley, garlic and the red wine vinegar and orange juice.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper, stir and let marinate for about 15 minutes.

In another bowl, combine the orzo, cucumber, olives, red onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, broth, oregano and pepperoncini.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Now you’re ready to combine the black-eyed peas mixture with the orzo mixture.

If desired, layer plates with fresh greens and then top with the orzo salad.

Whole Wheat Orzo, Dry

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Tofu Salad Sandwiches with Roasted Bell Pepper & Olive Salad

Tofu Salad SangiesSomewhere and at some time I vowed never to include a tofu salad recipe on my blog.  I lied.  Actually, it’s more accurate to say that at the time that I said that, I couldn’t foresee wanting to include a tofu salad recipe.  Tofu salad.  Blah.  After all, one of my favorite all-time sandwiches was egg salad.  Specifically my mom’s egg salad which had the exact right ration of creaminess to tanginess (and, incidentally, we were a Hellman’s household as opposed to a Miracle Whip household).  How could I expect to replicate that with tofu?  But, times have changed.  After conquering scrambled tofu, it seemed right to explore tofu salad.  Mom’s recipe was the inspiration.

Tofu Salad Sandwiches
Serves 4

Tofu Salad IngredientsTofu Salad:
14 oz. package firm or extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/2 cup Vegenaise
1/4 tsp. dried dill
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. red onion, chopped
1 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup green olives, chopped
2 tbsp. pepperoncini, chopped
pinch turmeric
pinch garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste

4 Whole Wheat Pita Breads
lettuce, tomato, sprouts, avocado…the works

Slice the tofu block in half.  For one half cut into 1/4″ slices lengthwise, then into 1/4″ pieces width-wise – so you have small cubes.  Put the cubes in a large mixing bowl.  Now, crumble the other half of the tofu block into the bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine.

When ready to serve, slice the pitas in half and lay in with the tofu salad and toppings.  Serve alongside a big scoop of Roasted Bell Pepper & Olive Salad.

Roasted Bell Pepper & Olive Salad
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1-2 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
1-2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425F.  In a medium-sized baking dish, combine the vegetable broth, pepper and Liquid Aminos.  Add the bell peppers, onion and garlic and stir.  Bake in the oven, stirring frequently, until peppers and onions are tender.  Add more vegetable broth and Liquid Aminos as needed – you want this to be a little bit juicy.

Remove pan from the oven and stir in the olives and parsley.  I like to serve this at room temperature.

Bell Pepper & Olive Salad

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