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.

And if you’re not into rolling yourself with the bamboo mat, you can try this handy device call the Sushi Bazooka.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

(Quantities are up to you but I have listed what I used)

Sticky rice (I use Annie Chun’s Rice Express – 1/2 container or about 1/2-3/4 cups rice per roll)
Rice vinegar (about 1/2 tsp per 1/2 cup rice)
Soy paper or nori (I used these soy wraps that I got at Whole Foods)
Precooked teriyaki style tofu, cut into thin strips (I used the kind by Wildwood and 1/4 of 1 block for each roll)
Sriracha sauce (as much as you can handle)
Sliced avocado (roughly 1/4 of an avocado per roll)
Cilantro leaves
Toasted sesame seeds

Method

These are the instructions that I follow if you want to be all professional about it.  But Simply put here’s what I did:

Get a bowl of water for dipping your hands so the rice doesn’t stick to them. Get your bamboo mat out and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Then lay your soy paper sheet or nori on it.  (The soy paper is large so next time I’ll probably cut it in half.)

Add rice vinegar to rice and mix.

Dip hand in water, then take a handful of rice, roll into a ball and then press out all over your soy paper or nori.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Toss tofu sticks with a bit of sriracha sauce.  Lay across the center with avocado slices, then sprinkle with cilantro leaves. See pic below.

For rolling I literally just followed how it was done in the video.  I find that watching someone else do it a lot easier than reading step by step instructions.

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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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