Breaded White Bean Cutlets

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Let’s face it, just about anything breaded and fried is pretty tasty.  So this is my meat-free version of a the traditional chicken cutlet.  I do a quick pan-sear to get that golden crust and then I finish in the oven which helps get the chewy texture inside.

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Spicy Tofu and Avocado Maki Rolls

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April is National Soy Foods Month and I thought I’d share one of my favorite ways to enjoy tofu.  This recipe even calls for the pre-cooked kind, not the kind in water that you have to drain.  Super easy to slice and already seasoned.  Rolling them can be a little bit of  a challenge but I found that video was really helpful. Continue reading “Spicy Tofu and Avocado Maki Rolls”

Sundried Tomato Cream Pasta

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Another delicious “I can’t believe it’s vegan” cream sauce.  I’m officially obsessed with cashews now that I’ve discovered just how rich and creamy they can make sauces, soups or anything.  With this the fresh basil really adds a lot of flavor that compliments the sundried tomato very nicely.  Another great addition to stir in at the end, kalamata olives or pine nuts.

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Serves 2

Ingredients

1/3 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/3 cup sundried tomatoes from a jar (drained of oil)

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 – 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy)

1/2 – 3/4 cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups cooked pasta, cooking water reserved

Fresh basil (optional but really amazing in this)

Method

Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onion and garlic with a pinch of salt over medium heat until onion is translucent; about 3-5 minutes.  Add to food processor or blender with cashews, sundried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.  Puree adding more broth as needed.

Heat skillet over low-medium heat and add enough reserved pasta water to just cover the bottom.  Add in sauce and pasta, stir and cook 1-2 minutes or until heated through.  Add a tablespoon of pasta water at time to thin out if needed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat, stir in basil, drizzle with a little oil from sundried tomatoes or just plain olive oil if desired and serve.

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Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce

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I’ve used my got-to cashew cream in lieu of heave cream to make a rich, creamy pasta sauce that no one would ever know was dairy-free.  The sage makes this super savory but it can be strong so if you want to lighten up the intensity just simmer a couple whole leaves in the sauce, then remove.  Add in more pumpkin if you you like or even sub with mashed butternut squash.

Makes enough sauce for 2 good-sized portions of pasta

Ingredients

1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked 4-8 hours (go with 8 if you don’t have a high powered blender)

2/3 cup water

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small shallot finely chopped

1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 Tbsp vegan butter

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Add soaked cashews and 2/3 cup water to a blender.  Puree until smooth.  Should be the consistency of heavy cream and should yield about 1 cup of cashew cream.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add shallot and sage.  Saute a 3-4 minutes.

Stir in vegan butter, then pumpkin and add the cashew cream.  Simmer about 5 minutes or until it thickens slightly.

Add in nutmeg, salt and pepper and serve over pasta.

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Tofu Lettuce Wraps

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I discovered tofu lettuce wraps years ago at PF Changs and boy were they tasty!  Most recently for the past two years I’ve been visiting the True Food Kitchen near me in Virginia and they have the most amazing tofu lettuce wraps.   I finally just got around to creating my own and I’m in love.

TIP – make sure to use the tofu that comes vacuum sealed like the Wildwood brand or Trader Joes also has this and has new sriracha flavor.  This tofu is not in water and is very firm, so easy to chop into small pieces.

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Makes 6

Ingredients

Vegetable oil

6oz package of vacuum sealed tofu (not the kind in water), diced very small

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

1/2 cup whole cashews, roughly chopped

1/3 cup chopped water chestnuts (from a can)

1/3 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 a fresh lime

6 small ice berg or butter lettuce leaves

Toppings

Avocado Slices

Sriracha

 

Method

In a small bowl mix soy sauce and vinegar and set aside.

Lightly coat a skillet with the oil and warm over medium heat, then add tofu. Saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned all around.

Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in soy sauce and vinegar mixture.

Add water chestnuts, cashews, and scallions and cook 3-4 minutes.

Add cilantro and squeeze lime juice over the mixture.  Stir to combine and remove from heat.

Spoon mixture into lettuce cups and garnish with avocado slices and sriracha and serve.

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Simple Fresh Tomato & Basil Pasta

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Another one of my vegan recipes you can make from ingredients at Trader Joe’s! I love me some pasta. All kinds but one of my favorites is a tomato basil with simple but delicious favorites!  I’ve whipped this up with grape tomatoes , a new favorite are these Villagio Marzano tomatoes from Trader Joe’s but if you can’t get those, any grape tomatoes will do.  One items i forgot in the photo was the pine nuts, you don’t have to have them but i sure do love them!

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Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredients

8oz linguine (1/2 package), reserving 1/2 cup cooking water

2 Tbsp good olive oil

1/2 small onion, peeled and diced

2-3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 package Trader Joes Villagio Marzano Tomatoes (or 2 cups grape tomatoes), halved

Fresh basil leaves, torn or chiffonade

1/4 cup pine nuts

Crushed red pepper (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Cook linguine according to package to al dente and make sure to add lots of salt to the water!

Add olive oil to skillet and warm over medium heat, add onion and salt and pepper.  Saute 3 minutes until soft and translucent.

Add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes – do not burn or let it get brown.

Add wine and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until reduced by half.

Add in tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until soft.

Reduce heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the pasta water, along with linguine and let simmer on low for 1-2 minutes, add remaining if water if needed.

Remove from heat, stir in as much basil as desired, season with salt and pepper to taste, crushed red pepper (if using), top with pine nuts, drizzle with olive oil and serve!

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Baked Falafel

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Falafel, pita and hummus… three of my favorite things on a plate.  Of course traditional deep fried falafel is great but definitely not healthy.  Luckily I’ve finally created my own recipe for baked falafel which also happens to be vegan as well.  These will freeze well too so you can always have some ready to go!  Also see below for my favorite healthy store-bought falafel.

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Makes 10 patties

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/4 cup of diced onion

1/3 cup flat leaf parsley

1 Tbsp tahini

2 Tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

1-2 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp whole wheat flour

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mash chickpeas in a bowl with fork until it’s a crumbly mixture. Set aside.

Add garlic, onion and parsley to food processor and process until finely chopped and combined.

Next add the mashed chickpeas to food processor along with tahini, bread crumbs, coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper. Process until combined, adding the water 1-2 Tbsp of water as needed. You may need to scrape down the sides with a spatula in between processing.

Once combined, empty into large bowl. Add the flour and mix, you should be able to form into large ball. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add a Tbsp of water. If it’s too wet, add an additional Tbsp of flour.

Form into 10 small patties (approximately 2 inches). Place on baking sheet lightly greased with olive oil or cooking spray. Bake for 5-6 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.

PS – This a was the photo from my original post in 2011.  Gasp!  This is awful!

Lemon Basil Cashew Cream Pasta

Behold the power of the cashew.  When soaked and pureed, it morphs into a cream that is vegan’s blank canvas to work from.  In this dish you really wouldn’t know there wasn’t any actual cream.  Refreshing lemony, basil sauce smothered all over pasta and topped with pine nuts.  Yes, pine nuts are expensive but they are well worth it here as they complement the other flavors very nicely.

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Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

Olive oil

1/4 cup diced onion

3 garlic cloves, chopped garlic

1/3 cup cashews soaked overnight

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 – 1/3 cup vegetable broth, water from cashews or plain water

1 handful of basil leaves (or more to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Toasted pine nuts for garnish

Cooked pasta, cooking water reserved

Method

Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onion and garlic with a pinch of salt over medium heat for about 3 minutes.  Add to blender with cashews, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of broth and basil.  Blend until pureed, adding additional broth as needed.

Heat skillet over low-medium heat and add enough pasta water to just cover the bottom.  Add in sauce and pasta and stir for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.  Add a tablespoon of pasta water at a time if needed to thin out. Add salt and pepper to tasted and drizzle with olive oil if desired.  Serve topped with pine nuts.

Veggie Lasagna with Tofu Cashew Ricotta

Yep, this lightened up, healthy lasagna is vegan but you really won’t miss the cheese, I swear.  I know because I always loved cheesy baked pasta dishes so I if I was going to create a cheeseless lasagna, it had to be good.  I skip using any type of packaged vegan cheese on this because I’m really picky about how I use those and I wanted to preserve the other flavors going on here.  Of course you can always switch up the veggies based on what you like or have on hand.  One important tip, do pick a good quality pasta sauce if you don’t make your own.  I love Rao’s, Marinelli’s, and Paesana sauces.

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Serves 6

Ingredients

Basil Ricotta

¾ cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked in water 3-4 hrs

½ block of firm tofu, drained and pressed

1 cup fresh basil leaves

3 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

¼ cup lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Low-sodium broth for sautéing

2 portobello caps, gills removed, diced

1 small bell pepper, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 heaping cup chopped broccoli

2 cloves garlic, minced

10 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package

2 cups pasta sauce

Method

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Add all the basil ricotta ingredients to a food processor and process until it all comes together.  Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a few  tablespoons of broth, just enough to barely coat bottom of the pan.  You don’t want too much liquid because you want the veggies to brown a bit.  Add portobello, bell pepper, and onion.  Cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Stir in broccoli and garlic and, adding a little more broth as needed. Cook 3-4 minutes longer or until liquid has cooked off.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Assemble lasagna: (note: you will have to trim noodles to fit and you may not use them all).  Coat bottom of a 8 or 9 inch square baking dish with some of the tomato sauce.  Add a layer of lasagna noodles, spread 1/3 of the ricotta on the noodles, top with half the veggies.  Spread 1/3 of remaining sauce on top.  Repeat with another layer of noodles, ricotta, veggies and sauce.  Now top with the last layer of noodles, ricotta and sauce. Cover with foil and bake 35-40 minutes.

 

Vegan Frijoles Charros

One day I’ll get around to soaking dried beans overnight and cooking them for hours, but that’s not today.  There’s never enough time.  So I figured out a way to cheat use canned pinto beans while still developing a sauce for them to bathe in.  Very flavorful and so easy!  

Bonus: you can puree them or mash with a fork and you’ve got healthier refried beans or add a little extra broth or some salsa, puree and you’ve got yourself a dip.  I just love taking one recipe and morphing it into several different dishes.

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Makes about 2 – 1 cup servings


Ingredients

Cooking spray or oil

1/4 cup diced onion

1/4 cup green pepper

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp chopped jalapeno (optional)

1/2 cup diced tomato

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp chipotle powder (spicy) or smoked paprika (mild)

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Method

Heat a lightly oiled, high-sided skillet over low-medium then add onion, pepper, garlic, and jalapeno with dash of salt.  Cook 5 minutes being careful not to let the garlic get brown.  Stir in tomato, cumin, chipotle or paprika, vinegar and let it cook for a minute, then stir in broth.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

Transfer mixture from the pan to a blender or food processor and puree.  Add back to the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the beans.  Let them cook over low heat for 5 minutes, then serve.