Categories
Vegan Vegetarian

Crispy Baked Gojuchang Tofu

It seems that all things Korean are ruling the planet right now, and gojuchang is no exception. This wonderful fermented chili paste condiment has crept into the popularity level that sriracha has long enjoyed, and for good reason. It’s spicy, sweet, savory, and spicy all at once, and seems to make everything it touches turn delicious.

This recipe for crispy baked gojuchang tofu combines two of my very favorite things: crispy tofu and a complex spicy, sweet, savory sauce that features gochujang as its base flavor. While tofu certainly tastes awesome fried, this baked version is significantly healthier. When the crispy baked tofu is mixed with the gojuchang sauce right before serving, it actually tastes like it has been fried. Isn’t it funny how you can trick yourself into believing something is much naughtier than it actually is, even if you cooked it? I love when that happens.

Ingredients:

Tofu:

1 block of extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. cornstarch 

Salt and pepper

Gochujang sauce:

¼ c. gojuchang

2 Tbsp. ketchup

2 Tbsp. honey or agave

2 Tbsp. mirin

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari

Serve with: Steamed broccoli, rice or brown rice, green onions, sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. About 30 minutes before cooking, drain the tofu, wrap it in a kitchen towel and press it. You can do this by placing a plate on top of the tofu, and then a heavy item, like a stock pot, on top of the plate for about 10 minutes. This will help remove excess water from the tofu. 

In a large bowl, mix the tofu with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add cornstarch. Mix together carefully, coating the tofu evenly with the cornstarch. Spread out the tofu on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flip over, and bake for 15 more minutes or until tofu is lightly browned and crispy. 

While the tofu is cooking, combine the ingredients for the gojuchang sauce in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Continue to allow the sauce to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.

When the tofu is finished cooking, place it in a large bowl. Add the gojuchang sauce and coat to your preference. I don’t use all of it, so pour and stir until the tofu is “sauced” the way you like it. 

Top with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve with rice and steamed broccoli.

Categories
Chicken/Turkey

Thai Red Curry Chicken Noodle Soup with Basil

Soup season is the best time of the year as far as cooking goes. Not only are soups super easy to make, they are (usually) healthy and make great leftovers. I love making big ol’ pots of soup on weekends so that I have super yummy lunches at work for the week. That way, I actually look forward to lunch instead of being sad about the boring sandwich or frozen meal I have to eat. Do yourself a favor and make a batch of this next Sunday and portion it out for your weekday lunches. Do the same for a family member, and they will love you forever.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. avocado oil

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces 

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced

2 Tbsp. red curry paste

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

2 c. cabbage, shredded

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 15 oz. can of coconut milk

4 oz. rice noodles

2 Tbsp. fish sauce 

2 tsp. brown sugar

1 bunch of Thai basil

Salt to taste

Toppings:

Green onions, sliced

Lime juice

Sriracha sauce

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse them, and set aside. 

Heat the avocado oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook through. Add the curry paste, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the sweet potato cubes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to cook for another 2 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Stir to combine and heat through. Add salt. Add the basil in at the last minute. Stir to combine until the basil is wilted. 

Top with green onions, additional basil, lime juice, and sriracha sauce.

Categories
Pasta Vegetarian

Half-and-Half Pasta Zucchini Noodle Mozzarella Bake

Do you ever want a huge serving of pasta, but not the whole serving of guilt that comes with it? Yeah, me too. While I like zucchini noodles, they just don’t have the same charisma that pasta does. That’s why sometimes I make a compromise and make a bit of both, thus tricking my brain into believing that I’m eating all straight-up pasta. And you know what? It actually works! 

This half-and-half pasta zucchini noodle mozzarella bake tastes so great because it showcases the wonderful saucy, cheesy pasta that makes pasta bakes so craveable, but it also has the added color and texture of veggies. Perfect combo, and way less guilt.  

Ingredients:

8 oz. pasta

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2-3 zucchini, spiralized

1 ½ c. marinara sauce

1 ½ c. mozzarella, shredded

¼ c. Parmesan, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Heat the zucchini noodles quickly in a skillet over medium high heat with a little olive oil. Allow the noodles to cook until tender, but not soggy. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the pasta and zucchini noodles in a large baking dish. Add the marinara sauce and ½ cup mozzarella and stir to combine completely. Top with the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. 

Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden.

Categories
Beef

Beefy Slow-Cooker Meatballs with Wilted Arugula

Ahhh, the magical slow cooker. It’s one of my favorite ways to cook during the winter. Usually on the weekends in the middle of winter, I’m pretty unmotivated to do anything but watch movies under blankets. And what’s better than spending just a few minutes making a meal and then smelling the wonderful scents of it cooking all day while you’re watching said movies? It really makes you look forward to dinner. 

These beefy slow cooker meatballs not only smell divine while they’re cooking, they taste divine when you finally get to eat them. The addition of arugula takes these traditional meatballs to a new level and is enhanced by the extra peppery taste only arugula can offer. These are a perfect winter meal when paired with pasta, served on a baguette as a meatball sandwich, or all alone. 

Meatballs:

⅓ c. seasoned breadcrumbs

⅓ c. Parmesan cheese, grated

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbsp. basil

1 egg 

1 lb ground beef

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

Sauce:

1 Tbsp. olive oil 

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp. basil

1 Tbsp. oregano

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

2 c. arugula

Combine all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly with clean hands. Form meatballs in your hands and set aside on a tray.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Pour the garlic, onions, and oil into the slow cooker. Then, add crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano and red pepper sauce into the slow cooker. Finally, gently place the meatballs into the sauce.

Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 4-5 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drop arugula into the slow cooker and allow the leaves to wilt for 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite type of pasta, on a sandwich, or alone as an appetizer. 

Categories
Chicken/Turkey

Mexican Protein Power Bowl

Sometimes I just really need to feel really strong for a workout, but I don’t want to eat chicken breasts and steamed veggies. I want something craveable, flavorful, and exciting, and I definitely do NOT want to feel hungry. You feel me?

This Mexican protein power bowl fools my brain into thinking I’m enjoying a big ol’ bowl of naughty food, but in reality my body is being nourished and fueled by a super-healthy, protein-packed meal that is sure to give me superpower strength in the gym, hiking trail, or ski slope. There is such thing as a win, win – and this meal is a prime example!

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces or strips

1 15 oz. can of black beans

1 large onion, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. oregano

Squeeze of lime 

Salt and pepper to taste

½ c. cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, sliced

Guacamole

Sour cream or dairy-free sour cream

Green onions, sliced

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 5-7, or until browned and cooked through. Add the onions and red bell peppers and cook until they are soft and lightly browned, or about another 5 minutes or so. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and cook until fragrant and spices are well mixed. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the black beans and season with a squeeze of lime, salt and pepper. 

To assemble the bowls, divide the chicken and veggies and black beans among two bowls. Top with cilantro, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, and green onions. Enjoy!

Categories
Vegetarian

Chow Mein Noodles with Baked Tofu

Saucy, slurpy chow mein noodles are always a hit with noodle-lovers of all ages, which is why it’s such a popular choice for takeout. Kids (and other pasta lovers)  tend to really love chow mein because the noodles are the star of the show. The healthy veggies are there, but they’re a bit disguised and hidden amongst the tender noodles and savory sauce. 

Chow mein often includes chicken as the “star” protein of the dish, but this vegetarian version diverts from the norm a bit and features crispy, umami tofu as the protein. Most of us agree that crispy tofu is king, so the trick is to top the noodles with the tofu when serving so that it stays perfectly crispy and yummy. Perfect! 

Ingredients:

Sauce:

⅓ c. oyster sauce or vegetarian oyster sauce

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. sugar 

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

⅓ c. water

Noodles:

1 Tbsp. avocado oil

12 oz. package of chow mein noodles

2 c. cabbage

1 c. shredded carrots

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced 

Asian-baked tofu

Topping:

Green onions

Prepare the tofu and allow it to cool. 

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. 

To make the sauce, combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk to make a slurry. In another bowl, mix together the sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Add the slurry to the bowl and whisk to combine. Set the sauce aside. 

Heat the avocado oil over medium high heat in a large wok. Add the carrots and cabbage and cook for 3 minutes, or until they are a bit soft and tender. Add the cooked noodles and sauce to the wok and heat through, tossing and mixing until all ingredients are evenly combined. 

Serve hot and top with tofu and green onions. 

Categories
Soups Vegan Vegetarian

Body-Warming Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup with Veggies

Over the past few weeks, everyone in Colorado has been complaining about how unseasonably warm it has been this winter. All we have wished and hoped for is snow – lots of it. We have longed to ski, and sit under a blanket to watch TV, and eat warm soup. And obviously, we really want to break out our heavy sweaters, hats, and mittens. This week, our winter weather wishes were finally granted. It’s finally cold and snowy, and it’s pretty wonderful – mostly because I get to cook winter meals. 

Is there anything better than a hot meal after coming home from a snowy drive home from work? I think not. It doesn’t get much more soothing than this body-warming Thai red curry noodle soup with veggies. It’s jam-packed with tender noodles and immune-boosting veggies in a fragrant curry broth, making it ideal for blustery days like today that have, thankfully,  finally arrived for winter.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. avocado oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced

2 Tbsp. red curry paste

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

2 c. cabbage, shredded

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 15 oz. can of coconut milk

7 oz. rice noodles

2 Tbsp. fish sauce or vegan fish sauce

2 tsp. brown sugar

Salt to taste

Toppings:

Green onions, sliced

Cilantro, chopped

Lime juice

Sriracha sauce

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse them, and set aside. 

Heat the avocado oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the curry paste, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the sweet potato cubes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to cook for another 2 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Stir to combine and heat through. Add salt.

Top with green onions, cilantro, lime juice, and sriracha sauce.

Categories
Salads Vegan Vegetarian

Vegan Chickpea and Avocado Salad

If you’re anything like me, you ate full force over the holidays and now it’s time to make better eating choices. Eating clean and healthy food doesn’t have to equal suffering, thankfully. Sometimes it’s even a huge relief to begin a healthy eating regimen after gorging yourself for a month – am I right?

This vegan chickpea and avocado salad is delicious and filling, and is a perfect back-to-work packable lunch that will help to clear out those heavy holiday foods from your body. I enjoy eating this salad wrapped up in large collard green leaves, but it also tastes great alone, on top of a green salad, or on a sandwich. Eat like this and you’ll shed some of those holiday pounds. No suffering required. 

Ingredients:

1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ avocado, diced

2 green onions, sliced

2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

2 Tbsp. Mexican crema or vegan sour cream

½  jalapeno or serrano pepper, chopped

1 tsp. cumin 

1 tsp. red chili powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

Squeeze of lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place them in a bowl. Mash the chickpeas with a potato masher until they are mashed, but still a little chunky. Add the avocado and mash in with the chickpeas. Add the crema, green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, spices, and lime and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve on sandwich bread, inside of a collard green wrap, on a salad, or all alone!

Categories
Breakfast Vegetarian

French Onion Frittata

When I think about breakfast, the first thing that comes to mind definitely isn’t French onion soup. And while I find it more than acceptable to eat French onion soup for breakfast if that’s what your heart desires, this French onion frittata may fit the breakfast bill much better. 

This flavor-bomb breakfast frittata contains all of the best parts of French onion soup, from the gruyere to the caramelized onions to the bread, and makes for a savory, amazing meal that will surely allow you to start your day on a positive note. 

Best of all, this frittata is simple to make. Yes, I know, caramelized onions take time – but they can be made in advance and pulled out when you’re ready to enjoy your slow and lovely weekend brunch. Combine this with an arugula salad drizzled with shallot dressing, and everything will be perfect. 

Ingredients:

8 eggs 

⅓ c. heavy cream

1 tsp. herbes de Provence

2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. butter, unsalted

1 c. gruyere cheese, shredded

½ c. plain breadcrumbs

2 tsp. dried parsley

2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

First, you’ll need to make the caramelized onions (which is a bit time consuming, but worth it). Heat the butter over medium heat in a large, oven-safe skillet and add the onions. Cook them until they are starting to get soft. Lower the heat to low and continue cooking for 45-60 minutes, stirring periodically, until the onions are brown. Season with salt and herbes de Provence. Stir and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat another skillet over medium high heat and add the breadcrumbs, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Cook, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted. Set aside on a plate.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cream, and salt and pepper. Whisk thoroughly.

Place the skillet containing the onions on the burner again and turn on the heat to medium. Spread out the onions evenly on the bottom of the pan. Top with ¾ c. gruyere and then pour the egg mixture on top of the onions and cheese. Sprinkle the top of the frittata with breadcrumb mixture and additional gruyere. Leave the skillet on the burner for about 2-3 minutes, or until the sides of the frittata are set. 

Place the skillet into the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the egg is completely set throughout the frittata. Serve warm with a green salad.

Categories
Vegetarian

Weeknight Veggie Yaki Udon

On those crazy-busy weeknights, many of us are tempted to order takeout or stop by a fast-casual noodle restaurant on the way home to grab something that is reasonably healthy and delicious. No judgement here. We all give into the temptation of not cooking sometimes, but this weeknight veggie yaki udon recipe can be ready in less time than it would take to grab a pre-made meal from a fast-casual restaurant across the street. 

In just 15 minutes or so, you can have a healthy, veggie-packed meal that is satisfying, yummy, and warm. While this meal seriously couldn’t be easier to whip up, it is so intensely savory and lip-smackingly scrumptious. So good, in fact, that I’m guessing you will find yourself reaching into the freezer for noodles more often instead of reaching for the phone to order out. 

Ingredients:

Noodles:

17 oz. frozen udon noodles, thawed, rinsed and drained

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 small onion, sliced

1 c. cabbage, shredded

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ c. carrot, shredded

8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced

3 green onions, chopped

Sesame seeds, for topping

Fried eggs, if desired

Sauce: 

2 Tbsp. oyster sauce

1 Tbsp. mirin

2 Tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tsp. honey or agave

1 Tbsp. water

2 tsp. chili sauce

Prepare the noodles according to package directions. 

Heat the sesame oil in a large wok over medium high heat. Cook the onions, cabbage, and carrots for 4-5 minutes, or until soft and beginning to turn brown. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 1-2 more minutes. 

Add the noodles and toss. Add sauce, tossing and tasting, until the noodles are coated to your liking. Let the noodles cook for another minute so that the noodles can get a little firm and caramelized. Top with green onions, sesame seeds, and a fried egg, if desired.