Categories
Vegan Vegetarian

Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Zucchini

In today’s episode of the overly-scheduled teacher/mom/friend show, our heroine (me, of course) needs to whip up a delicious, healthy, and lightning-fast dinner. Something that can be eaten between school pickups, volleyball games, high-school football games, homework, and all of the other craziness that goes on when school is in full swing. Enter this amazing vegan coconut curry with chickpeas and zucchini. It’s scrumptious and ready to eat in under 30 minutes. 

Not only is this meal incredibly easy to prepare, it’s healthy, warm, and is even more delicious the next day when you get to eat it for lunch. Who says leftovers aren’t the best thing ever? Not me! Just don’t tell my kids or they’ll start taking my secret stash of amazing leftovers. 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 inch piece of ginger, minced

2 tomatoes, pureed 

1 Tbsp. garam masala

1 tsp. turmeric

½  tsp. cayenne pepper

½ tsp. ground black pepper

1 15 oz. can of coconut milk

1 15 oz. can of chickpeas

1 small zucchini, cut into small pieces

Salt to taste

Serve with:

Lime wedges

Chopped cilantro

Steamed basmati rice

Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook, being sure to stir frequently, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the garam masala, turmeric, cayenne, and black pepper and cook for 30 seconds. 

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the tomatoes and stir until combined. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft. Stir in the coconut milk and combine. Add the chickpeas and zucchini, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10-15 minutes so that the flavors and meld together. Season with salt to taste. 

Serve with steamed rice, lime wedges, and cilantro. Enjoy!

Categories
Vegan Vegetarian

Sesame Tofu with Steamed Broccoli

This healthy, baked version of sesame tofu is perfect for those hectic weeknights when you need to come up with a dinner that is both simple-to-make and tasty. In this version of sesame tofu, no animal-based products are included in the recipe, making it an all-vegan meal that is substantial, flavor-packed, and super satisfying.

Ingredients:

Baked tofu:

2 blocks of extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into cubes

2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. corn starch

Sesame Sauce:

½. soy sauce or tamari

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ c. maple syrup 

¼ c. rice vinegar

¼ c. water

1 Tbsp. sriracha sauce

2 Tbsp. corn starch

2 tsp. sesame oil 

Serve with:

Steamed rice 

Steamed broccoli

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. 

Cut the tofu into cubes and place them in a large glass bowl. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, corn starch, and mix together carefully with your hands. Spread the tofu cubes evenly on a lined baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until browned and crispy. 

Combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, rice vinegar and sriracha in a large skillet and allow it to simmer. Combine the water and corn starch in a small bowl and combine to make a slurry. Add the mixture to the sauce in the skillet and simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the sesame oil and remove from heat. 

Toss the baked tofu in the sesame sauce until it is coated. Serve with rice, steamed broccoli, green onions, and sesame seeds. 

Categories
Sides Vegan Vegetarian

Classic Provençal Ratatouille

Ratatouille is an old-school French dish that is made of stewed late-summer vegetables and served with crusty, country bread. It’s comforting, rich, and harkens back to a time when slow-cooked food was the norm. Ratatouille is what your French grandma would have made especially for you as a child because she knew you loved it, even though it took a very long time and lots of labor to make. 

The traditional method of cooking ratatouille requires the slow cooking of each ingredient in separate pans in order to cook each ingredient perfectly. Those ingredients are then combined and stewed together to meld the flavors. You can imagine that this process is extremely time-consuming and requires constant babysitting. Ain’t nobody got time for that in today’s world.

My version of ratatouille deviates a bit from the traditional method because I roast the veggies and then allow them to stew together. The result is a balanced and delicious ratatouille that takes much less time and attention to prepare, which is always a good thing. I think grandma would actually approve. 

Ingredients:

5 large heirloom tomatoes

1 medium eggplant, or two small, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 medium zucchini, diced

1 large yellow squash, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ c. olive oil

2 bay leaves

2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped

1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped

Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.

Remove the cores from the tomatoes and pulse them in a food processor until they are saucy, but still a bit chunky (think the consistency of a chunky salsa). 

Place the eggplant on one baking sheet. Coat with olive oil, mix with your hands, and place the pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the red pepper, zucchini, and yellow squash on the other baking sheet. Coat with olive oil, mix with your hands, and place the pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. 

Place both baking sheets in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. 

While the vegetables are roasting, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the onions for about 10 minutes, or until they are soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, organo, rosemary and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Turn the heat down to low, and allow the sauce to simmer. 

Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir. Place them back into the oven, and cook the eggplant for 10-15 minutes, or until soft. Remove the eggplant and add to the tomato sauce. Stir to combine. 

Roast the red pepper, zucchini, and yellow squash for another 10 minutes while the sauce simmers. Remove from the oven and add to the sauce. Allow the ratatouille to simmer for 10 more minutes so that all of the flavors can meld together nicely. 

Remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Top with a little olive oil. 

Serve in a bowl topped with Parmesan with a baguette, on top of polenta, or mixed into pasta.  

Categories
Vegan Vegetarian

Crispy Harissa Tofu with Almond-Mint Quinoa and Feta

While tofu has gained a lot of popularity in the last decade or so, many people still shy away from making it on a regular basis. I’m guessing that some people just can’t get over the fact (yes, fact) that the white, jiggly cube of wet stuff that is tofu can actually be one of the best-tasting foods ever if it’s prepared well. 

Enter this crispy harissa-coated tofu with almond-mint quinoa and feta. If I was going to write a song about tofu, this would definitely be my muse. This perfectly crisp on the outside, tender on the inside tofu is so flavorful, full of exotic spices, and FUN. Yes, fun! The depth and spiciness of the harissa tofu is balanced by the fresh-tasting, mint-essenced quinoa, fresh cucumbers, and feta cheese; and what results is one of the best meals you can even imagine. So go buy yourself a jiggly white block of tofu and make some magic with it!

Ingredients:

Tofu:

1 package of extra-firm tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

¼ c. harissa sauce (store-bought or homemade)

Quinoa:

1 c. quinoa, uncooked

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 clove of garlic, minced

Juice from ½ lemon

3 green onions, sliced

¼ c. fresh mint leaves, torn

¼ c. almonds, chopped or whole (your preference)

Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Toppings:

Feta cheese (or vegan feta)

Sliced cucumbers

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. 

Combine the cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. Combine the coconut oil and tofu in another bowl and mix together until the oil coats the tofu. Then, add the oil-coated tofu to the bowl with the cornstarch and salt and coat the tofu cubes evenly. 

Spread out the tofu on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until the tofu is crispy and golden. Remove the tofu from the oven, place in a large mixing bowl and toss with harissa (you control the amount of harissa, it’s a taste preference thing). Place the tofu back onto the baking sheet and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until they are nice and crispy. 

Cook the quinoa according to directions, but add the olive oil and garlic when you begin cooking the quinoa. When the quinoa is finished cooking, remove from the heat and place in a serving bowl. Add the lemon juice, green onions, mint, salt and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. 

Divide the quinoa among two bowls. Top with the tofu, and serve with cucumbers and feta cheese. Enjoy!

Categories
Sandwiches Vegan Vegetarian

Chickpea Summer Wraps with Hummus Dressing

If you’re craving a super-fresh veggie wrap that is satisfying, flavorful, healthy, and takes basically no time to make, skip the trip to the expensive sandwich shop and make this instead. The warm, soft tortilla and the crisp, clean veggies are perfectly married thanks to the meaty, hummus-flavored chickpeas and tangy cheese that tie all of the flavors and textures together. 

This vegetarian wrap is perfect for a work-ready lunch or a quick and easy dinner that would be great with a side salad or some hot, salty french fries. If you prefer a vegan version, just omit the cheese. With or without cheese, these hummus-coated, garlicky chickpeas are divine and make this wrap very special indeed.

Ingredients:

2 large tortillas or wraps

1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 small tomatoes, diced

2 green onions, sliced

1 avocado, sliced into thin strips

½ cucumber, chopped

Handful of spinach 

¼ c. hummus dressing

2 slices of baby swiss cheese or vegan cheese

Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, combine the chickpeas with the hummus dressing. Season with salt and pepper as needed. 

Heat the tortillas or wraps until they are warm and pliable. 

Cut each cheese slice in half and spread out over the middle of the tortilla. Place the chickpeas lengthwise in the center of each tortilla. Top with tomatoes, onions, avocado, and spinach. 

Add more hummus dressing and season with salt and pepper, if desired. 

Fold the sides in and then roll like a burrito. Cut in half and enjoy!

Categories
Sandwiches Vegan Vegetarian

Greek Marinated Tofu Pita Sandwiches

Pita sandwiches are one of my favorite things to make for dinner because they’re always full of delicious toppings and flavorful fillings. I happen to be a fan of using baked tofu in them because it’s yummy, full of protein, vegan, and very inexpensive. This Greek marinated tofu is full of all of the same flavors you would recognize from chicken gyros or Greek marinated chicken: garlic, lemon, olive oil, and spices – but it’s vegan. No yumminess is sacrificed by the vegan-ness of this sandwich, I swear. 

I like to serve this tofu on a warm pita with all of my favorites: hummus, tzatziki sauce, fresh veggies, and feta cheese. If you follow a vegan diet, you can eliminate the dairy or use vegan dairy alternatives to create your masterpiece.  

Ingredients:

1 package of extra firm tofu, drained

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Juice from one lemon

3 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. dill

Salt and pepper

Serve with:

Warm pita bread

Tzatziki sauce

Hummus 

Feta cheese

Cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, onions

About 30 minutes before marinating, 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. 

Cut the tofu into slices and place in a glass bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix together very carefully with your hands. Marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the tofu slices on a lined baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes. Carefully turn the slices over and cook for another 15 minutes or so, or until the tofu is lightly toasted and a bit crispy around the edges. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. 

Serve on a warm pita with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Categories
Sides Vegan

Marinated Grilled Zucchini

This recipe for marinated grilled zucchini is simple, but there’s a little trick that makes grilled zucchini tasty: marinating it. This super-fast, incredibly easy recipe just requires a few minutes of your time prior to grilling and trust me – the very small extra step makes all the difference. 

This marinated grilled zucchini is flavorful, firm but tender, and so much more delicious than you thought grilled zucchini could be. The specific herbs in this recipe are only a suggestion, so if these aren’t your favorites, swap them out for the ones you love. This preparation method might result in you actually enjoying the huge overload of garden zucchini that is likely at your fingertips right now instead of dreading having it AGAIN. Hey, we’ve all been there. Hope this helps!

Ingredients:

3-4 small zucchini, ends removed and quartered lengthwise

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Juice from ½ lemon

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tsp. oregano

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours prior to grilling.

When you’re ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium high heat. Place the zucchini onto the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

Categories
Salads Vegan Vegetarian

Moroccan Cucumber Salad with Olives

When you’re feeling like it’s just too hot outside to cook, this fresh and cool Moroccan cucumber salad is what you need. Not only does it only take a few minutes to throw together, it is also so crisp and invigorating served alongside just about any main dish. 

This refreshing salad is simple, but demonstrates a complexity of sweet, briny, and herby flavors. I like to serve this salad with Moroccan-spiced chicken or fish because the cucumbers really balance the heat. So tonight make this salad, sit outside, fire up the grill, pour a glass of wine, and have a lovely  evening. Ahhh, I love summer. 

Ingredients: 

2 cucumbers, sliced and quartered

¼ c. kalamata olives

2 tsp. white vinegar

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. agave

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. thyme

Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients except for the olives in a large serving bowl and stir to combine. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Add the olives before serving. Enjoy!

Categories
Salads Vegan Vegetarian

Lemony Hearts of Palm Salad

I remember the first time I had a hearts of palm salad. I was at a family friend’s house in the south of France and this uniquely gorgeous Meditternean salad was plunked down in front of me. It was full of so many lovely ingredients, but I was most impressed with the zesty little rings of hearts of palm that adorned the salad. It was there that I fell in love with this awe-inspiring vegetable. 

Hearts of palm, a vegetable harvested from the inner core of certain types of palm trees, taste like a cross between white asparagus and artichoke hearts. In other words, they are absolutely wonderful. For that reason, hearts of palm are a terrific addition to pizza, sandwiches, salads, and pasta.

In the summer, I like to serve hearts of palm in a vibrant, fun salad. In this version, the hearts of palm shine alongside fresh cucumber, tasty tomatoes, fresh avocados, tender green onions, and freshly-harvested parsley from the garden. A light lemony dressing is all you need to make this a truly memorable summer salad. 

Ingredients:

Salad:

1 cucumber, quartered

1 large tomato, diced

1 14 oz. jar of hearts of palm

1 avocado, cubed

¼ c. fresh parsley, chopped

2 green onions, sliced

Dressing:

¼  c. olive oil

Juice from one large lemon

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. 

Combine all salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Drizzle the dressing onto the salad, mix, and taste until it’s coated to your liking. Serve immediately.

Categories
Salads Vegan Vegetarian

Vegan Thai Cold Noodle Salad

Cold noodle salads are kind of magical, especially during the hot summer months, because you get all of the satisfaction and yumminess of the noodles without the heat. This beautiful vegetarian noodle salad really brings it in the flavor department. It’s a bit spicy, a bit sweet, and so refreshing, cool, and crisp. 

I like to serve this Thai cold noodle salad for a lunch entree or as a side at dinner. Last time I made it, I paired it with grilled Thai-spiced shrimp and scallops, but this salad would also be great with grilled meat or tofu. Next time a “too hot to cook in the kitchen” day happens, make this salad. I’m guessing it will become a permanent “hot day meal” at your house. 

Ingredients:

Noodle Salad:

1 8 oz. package of rice sticks or thin rice noodles

1 cucumber, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

¼ c. peanuts

½ c. cilantro, chopped

Dressing:

2 Tbsp. sambal oelek 

3 Tbsp. lime juice

1 Tbsp. honey or agave

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp. soy sauce 

1 tsp. sesame seeds

Salt and pepper

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. 

Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and set aside. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Place the cold noodles in a serving bowl. Add the cucumber, red bell pepper, onions, peanuts, and cilantro. Add dressing slowly, tasting and tossing frequently, until it tastes just right. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve cold.