Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mystery lunch

Mystery lunch - Tofu with parsley pesto and avocado on a bed of Jasmine rice

The kids surprised us with a mystery lunch!  A fun and healthy alternative to going out to eat. I took pictures while they cooked. The photos are from a doubled recipe. The write up is for a regular recipe of 4 servings. The parsley pesto sauce packs a lot of flavor and brings it all together, so it's a good recipe to serve to people who think tofu is boring.

1 block of firm tofu
1-2 cloves garlic (or to taste)
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 ripe avocado
oil for frying (I used grape seed oil, but any light oil would do)
1-2 T. olive oil
Jasmine rice
Seeds - about 1 t. each - sunflower, sesame, flax

Rinse and cook rice according to package directions - about 18 minutes. While rice is cooking, blot tofu dry with paper towel. Cut into 1/2 inch strips.


Heat oil and fry tofu until golden on all sides, turning with spatula

Rinse parsley and remove thick stems. Peel garlic.

Pulse parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic in food processor to combine it into a sauce.

Transfer mixture to bowl and add flax and sesame seeds and salt to taste.

Cut wedges of avocado

To assemble you may sprinkle sunflower seeds on the bed of rice, top with tofu with sauce drizzled on top. Add avocado on side.

This is a recreated version with all the seeds mixed into the sauce. Both are delicious. Enjoy!


Avocado and Roasted Beet Crostini (adapted from Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen)

I wanted an elegant and simple appetizer different from the usual hummus.
This was a hit and makes a great presentation. The photo didn't save, but I will add it the next time I make this.

Avocado and Roasted Beet Crostini

2 beets (about 1 lb.), peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 T. olive oil
2 T. maple syrup
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 baguette cut into 1/4 inch pieces or small toasts (I used packaged crostini to save time).
1 avocado
1/2 lemon

Line a baking sheet with foil, drizzle olive oil over beets, and salt.

Bake beets at 425 for 30 min.

Remove from oven, drizzle with maple syrup and vinegar and roast until caramelized (about 5 to 8 min.)

If you are toasting the bread, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 5 to 8 minutes.

Mash avocado and mix with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread a think layer of avocado on each crostini, top with roasted beets, season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with lemon juice.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A refreshing solution - apple cider vinegar and lemon drink

Apple cider vinegar and lemon drink

Raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar - 1 T.
wedge of lemon
glass of water

If you aren't used to eating a plant-based diet, you may have concerns with gas. I'd like to offer a couple suggestions. Your body does adapt, but there are a few things you might also try.

Before breakfast, I have a refreshing glass of water with lemon and about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. It should be raw, organic, and unfiltered. If it has a blob in it that is good. Just shake it before you use it. It will help your body's enzymes with digestion and also boost your immune system. You can have this a couple times a day about 15 minutes before meals. I just have it before breakfast - an added benefit is that I start my day hydrated. I like the tanginess of the drink, but if it's too sour for you, adding honey is an option.

Another way to combat gas in eating beans is to cook them yourself. The key is rinsing the soaking water before you cook.

Tip: I keep lemon wedges on hand for the week.



Monday, April 4, 2016

Noodles with tofu and peanut sauce

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes, and is always a big hit. It only has a few essential ingredients but is packed with flavor and texture, and can easily be dressed up with extra toppings if desired.

Noodles with tofu and peanut sauce

- 1 package of tofu, patted dry and cut into cubes
- 2 servings of soba noodles (any asian noodle works, or even whole wheat spaghetti)
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- soy sauce
- oil (anything neutral, I generally use olive oil)
- sesame oil *
- 1 lime *
- peanuts *
- scallions *
- sesame seeds *

* optional - if you are missing one or more of these ingredients, it's not the end of the world!

Heat up your regular oil in the pan on medium heat. If you are using sesame oil, mix a little of that in as well. (Sesame oil has a very strong flavor, so a little bit goes a long way!) Add the tofu, making sure to stir frequently so all sides get cooked.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the package instructions.

Make the sauce while the tofu is cooking. In a small bowl stir together peanut butter and soy sauce. Keep adding soy sauce and mixing until you have a thick liquid consistency. Add a little bit of sesame oil if using. Squeeze half of the lime into the sauce, mix well. Adjust to taste.

If desired, put the peanuts in a ziploc bag and crush with any hard object.

Chop the scallions.

Once the tofu has started to brown, pour HALF of the peanut sauce on top, and continue cooking. Add the sesame seeds and crushed peanuts at any time. Cook for a few minutes, making sure to stir so that the sauce covers all sides.

When the noodles are done, rinse them under cold water, drain well, and put in a bowl. Pour the remaining half of the peanut sauce on top and toss to coat the noodles evenly.

Serve the hot tofu on top of the cold noodles, top with scallions and serve with the remaining lime wedges.

- Molly

Red lentil soup

Red lentils are tasty and easy to make, which makes them a good legume to have on hand. Here is a lentil soup I made the other day. I added a lot of "extra" veggies and spices, but you can make it as simple or as complex as you want. Just see what looks good in your kitchen!

Lentil soup

- 2 small potatoes, cleaned and chopped
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- a few cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 2+ cups of water
- olive oil
- spices

Heat up oil in pan over medium-high heat, add all the veggies and cook until the potatoes start feeling slightly soft, about 5-10 min.

Add water and bring to a boil. Adjust the water as necessary so that everything is submerged (will depend on how many vegetables you include).

Add the lentils, return to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. The lentils take about 20-25 min to fully cook. As they cook, keep an eye on the water level and add more if necessary so that it maintains a "soupy" consistency.

Add any spices you like, and taste as you go. Definitely add at least salt and pepper. I was inspired by an Egyptian lentil soup recipe I found, so I added cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and paprika as well.

Mix everything together. Soup is ready when all the lentils and vegetables are cooked and soft.

Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh ground pepper. Yum!

- Molly

Linguine with cannellini pesto

Linguini with cannellini pesto adapted from quick-fix vegan

We were just hit with an April snowstorm, so this was the absolute perfect comfort meal I whipped up in the 7 minutes it took to cook the pasta. I already had cooked cannellini beans on hand, but canned beans are fine too. This is a low fat but equally delicious version of regular pesto, and it will become a staple in the summer with a good supply of fresh basil. Note that the combination of the cannellini beans and the whole grain pasta makes this dish a complete protein.

12 oz. box of whole wheat linguini (or pasta of your choice)
1. cup cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed (more to taste)
1/2 t. salt or to taste
1 T. white miso paste or nutritional yeast
1 large bunch of basil (about 1 1/2 c.), rinsed with stems removed
2 T. olive oil
about 1/2 c. water from pasta pot

  • Cook linguine according to directions on package. Scoop up about 1/2 c. cooking water and set aside.
  • Combine all other ingredients in food processor, add cooking water to desired creaminess (I used the 1/2 c. as recommended in recipe and it was perfect.)
  • When pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot. Toss with sauce and serve immediately.