Monday, July 21, 2008

Lazy Pasta Tofredo

So, I am a big pasta dish fan, particularly of Alfredo dishes. And last night, for the first time, I tried the Alfredo sauce from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. This is hands down, by far, the BEST Alfredo recipe I've ever had (including from my pre-vegan days). This corrects the problem I've had with most Alfredo recipe where the nutritional yeast is a little too present, all of the "cheesy" flavor depending on it (and sometimes mustard). The Uncheese version, instead, relies on unique flavor combinations that produce a "cheesy" flavor, without any single element standing out.

However, it's not a fast fix recipe (unless you have blanched almonds on hand), so although not the gourmet phenomenon of the Uncheese variation, I give you my Lazy Pasta Tofreda! The lovely thing about this recipe is that the sauce takes less time to prepare than the noodles take to boil. It tastes great too (but you can taste the nutritional yeast in mine, so beware).

1 block soft tofu (drained)

3/4 C rice milk

1/4 C nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/2 tsp. rosemary

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. mustard powder

sea salt


Blend tofu and rice milk until smooth. Heat on stove over medium, stirring often. Add other ingredients, stir, heat until heated through. Serve on top of pasta, salt and pepper to taste, add some vegan parmesan.

For extra fun, add in a can of sliced beets (drained). It turns the sauce a fun pink color!

Here's a picture from where I originally posted it on Path of the Vegan.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Blackberry dressing

During the summer, we often eat salad. It's fast, it's easy, and (most importantly) it doesn't require heating up our entire apartment by turning on the oven.

This salad features spinach, tomatoes, grapefruit, and leftover black rice. It was very good, but if I make it again, I think I will use a mellower citrus; the grapefruit was a bit overpowering for me. I topped it with a home made blackberry dressing.

Blackberry dressing

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (If you would prefer the berry flavor to be more prominent than the sesame, go for plain sesame oil instead of toasted.)

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Vegan Tofu Parmesan

Through baked tofu, my chains are broken. The curd shall free me.

The variations on baked tofu are endless: marinades, spice rubs, or breading. Just do what you will to the tofu, arrange on a baking sheet or glass pan, and cook for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. I haven't found a variation of this basic recipe that doesn't work yet, so it would seem the sky's the limit!

This variation of baked tofu is the one I make the most often. The pine nuts give it an Italian edge, but replacing the pine nuts with an equal measure of breadcrumbs would be a less expensive, and less time consuming variation.

This recipe, I might note, is omnivore approved (by my brother and sister).


1/3 C sherry

2/3 C olive oil

juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 T minced onion

1 T minced garlic

1 T dried basil


1/2 C raw pine nuts

1/2 C bread crumbs

1 T dried basil

1 t garlic powder

Press extra firm tofu, and cut into 8 slices. Combine marinade ingredients in shallow dish, and marinade tofu for 1 hour, flipping half way through.

Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in just a little bit of olive oil until they just begin to darken. Grind nuts in a coffee grinder or food processor until nuts reach the consistency of parmesan cheese. Combine breading ingredients with a fork, breaking up clumps. Pack breading onto both sides of each tofu slice, and place on a cookie sheet. Cook for 20 min at 400 degrees F. Taddaaa!

We had ours on top of pasta and tomato sauce with Zucchini and spinach.

Asian tofu Salad

I adapted this recipe from one of my (non-vegan) childhood favorites, so this is really a collaborative effort between me and my mom. The dressing is hers but the tofu and seasoning are mine (plus, I use about twice the peanuts to replace the crispy noodles she would use). It's a hit when I bring it to potlucks, or for lunch or dinner on a hot summer day.

Asian tofu salad

  • ~2 tablespoons margarine/oil
  • 1 brick tofu, drained and diced
  • ~1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • ~1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • wok oil for cooking
  • ~2 tablespoons sesame seed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ~1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • ~1 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes
  • ~1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 3-4 medium green onions, sliced
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) coleslaw mix

Combine melted margarine, ginger and garlic powder. coat tofu with mixture and sesame seeds. Heat a small amount of wok oil, add tofu mixture and cook on high until golden brown, stirring often.

Mix sugar, vinegar, oil, and pepper in large bowl. Add tofu mixture and remaining ingredients; toss.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Black Bean Margarita hummus

I threw this together for a snack today, to hold us over until the late dinner we have planned with a friend. My hubby gave it his highest praise possible ("this is f***ing awesome," said with mouth full).

  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • ~1 Tablespoon oil (we used olive)
  • ~2 Tablespoons margarita mix (or lime juice with a pinch of sugar dissolved in in it)
  • 3 shakes of cumin
  • 2 shakes of chili powder
  • ~1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • A bunch of fresh ground black pepper
  • A fair amount of salt

Mash it all up with a fork or potato masher until smooth or whirl it in a food processor. We had ours with tortilla chips. And I'm betting that some diced hot peppers and cilantro would make a nice addition.

Lazy Avocado Wrap

This is a simple concoction my husband, sister-in-law, and I dreamed up during our long car trip while we were fantasizing about whole grains, fresh produce, and Vegenaise. It is ridiculous how delicious this is!

  • Take one whole wheat tortilla and zap it in the microwave for about thirty seconds to soften it.
  • Take a handful or two of spinach, splash some lemon juice on it, and microwave for about thirty seconds (or leave the spinach raw).
  • Slice one avocado into wedges.
  • Spread veganaise (grape-seed oil variety) liberally on tortilla.
  • Pack avocado slices into middle of tortilla, sprinkle with sea salt, a little garlic powder, and pepper.
  • Top off with spinach.
  • Fold and enjoy!

(Lazy) Ode to my steam cooker

Okay, so it's not a full ode, but it is in iambic pentameter, baby!

Your pearly surface smooth and cool to touch,

But inner chamber stained by purple rice.

Preparing n'er too little nor too much,

Be sure your comp'ny was well worth the price,

For lazy rice you bring and veg'bles too,

Cooked fresh and crisp with nutrients in tack'd.

I find my lazy savior works through you.

Save me, my friend, from days so densely pack'd.

For only need you: water, sparks, and time,

No interference, stirring, eyes of mine.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lazy layered dip

The meal that my husband and I have the most often (especially in the hot summer when we don't really want to turn on the oven) consists of organic tortilla chips with some sort of combination of the following (although never all of them), organized into a layered dip:

  • Beans (black, pinto, kidney, or leftover lentils if we have them)- just open the can, rinse and dump into your bowl.
  • Guacamole- buy Wholey Guacamole or other non-dip guacamoles (otherwise there will likely be sour cream mixed in) in the deli section of most grocery stores.
  • Salsa- buy in deli section (usually right next to the guac) for fresher (and much tastier) salsa.
  • Rice- brown or black, cooked in a steamer for added lazy bonus points.
  • Taco filling (TVP) mix- fantastic foods has a pretty great mix that can be found in many conventional grocery stores, usually in the natural foods section.
  • Sour soy-cream- Either bought ready made, or mixed in a flash by adding a splash of apple cider vinegar to soy yogurt.
  • Spinach or Lettuce- shredded and sprinkled on top

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Road Trip (how to travel amongst animal-eaters)

Over the holiday weekend, my husband and I traveled to Pine, Arizona for his mother's family reunion. Of the six passengers in the car, three of us are vegan, and with a 14 hour drive ahead of us, we could assume that we would have to eat on the road at least twice in both directions. And we knew, of coarse, that we would have to eat a few meals in Arizona (meals that would have to be prepared in a small kitchen which the three of us were sharing with 15 other [corpse-eating] people).

Our lazy vegan plan was to:

  1. Bring healthy edibles incase of emergency.
  2. Know the vegan selections of a few fast-food places we would likely encounter in all most any city along the road.
  3. Be sure of the food options we would have once we arrived.

In Boulder, Colorado, we are very lucky that our local stores provide us with many delicious, healthy, vegan snack foods. We took advantage of this by purchasing lots of nuts and dried fruit as well as mini peanut butter cookies made by Fabe's all natural bakery All these treats were great not only as snacks for on the road, but also as additions to round out various nutritionally deficient meals on the road and at the reunion. Next time, however, I'm going to add whole grain crackers or cereal to the mix; my holiday was sadly lacking in whole grains, leaving me with a horrid craving for brown rice and whole wheat bread.

For fast food places we consulted the internet, and selected Wendy's, Taco Bell, and Subway as three places we assumed we could find in almost any city. Thankfully, this worked out. We ate at Subway three times (being the most preferable of the three choices, and the most common), and at Taco Bell once (disgusting!). But when our co-travelers got sick of Subway, we ventured into a diner in Las Vegas, New Mexico for Breakfast. This ended up being the best meal experience of the entire trip. The chef was nice enough to cook all three of us a side of hash-browns in vegetable oil (instead of the usual butter), and the bowl of seasonal fruit we each ordered consisted of the best honeydew melon and cantaloupe I've had all year! The only on-road let down was coffee creamer. There wasn't any soy creamer at any gas station or restaurant we stopped at, and unfortunately non-dairy creamer (despite it's name) always contains some kind of milk derived substance. Is there such a thing as an actual non-dairy creamer that doesn't have to be refrigerated? Because if there is, it would definitely be helpful on future road trips, and would probably help make me less grumpy while watching my in-laws consuming pigs'-parts and cows' secretions for breakfast.

For our stay in Pine, we simply checked online for nearby grocery stores and found a Safeway in Payson. We called to verify they had Amy's frozen meals and some Boca or Garden burgers (we knew cooking in the kitchen would be a pain for the reasons mentioned previously, so we opted for microwaveable meals). It was pretty simple. While our family ate hotdogs, we ate chick'n patties, while they ate sloppy Joes, we ate burritos. The drama factor was low, and we came out of the weekend alive (if a little less healthy from too much processed foods).