Categories
Sides Vegan Vegetarian

Shiitake Sesame Bok Choy

Shiitake sesame bok choy is a quick and easy side dish that is versatile and can be paired with anything from grilled fish to ramen. This particular version brings together two vegetables, bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, that are truly a match made in heaven. The very simple sauce of sesame oil, green onions, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce meshes perfectly with the vegetables and sesame seeds to create a delicious umami side dish that is both healthy and lip-smacking. 

Ingredients:

4 small baby bok choy, halved

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced

5 green onions, sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 inch knob ginger, minced

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. sesame seeds

Salt and pepper

Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Place the bok choy in the skillet and cook until brown on one side (about 2 minutes). Turn over gently and cook until the other side is browned (2 more minutes). Turn the heat down to medium low, cover and cook for 2-3 more minutes until the bok choy is tender. Set the bok choy aside on a plate.

Add the shiitake mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and green onions to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Add soy sauce and cook for 30 more seconds. Place the mushroom mixture on top of the bok choy. Season with salt and pepper and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Categories
Breakfast Uncategorized Vegetarian

Breakfast Superfood Power Bowl

If you’re sick of eating the same ol’ breakfast every morning, try this breakfast superfood power bowl. Not only is it savory and super-tasty, it will make you feel like you can do anything. This little bowl of superpower-inducing foods is packed with protein, healthy fats, and healthy greens. It tastes like yummy brunch food, but instead of weighing you down and making you wish for a nap, it gives you power! 

This breakfast bowl would be perfect for a pre-climbing, hiking, or skiing meal because it is warm and comforting, and will keep you full and energized for many hours. If you eat this before you head to the hills, you can just keep adventuring right through lunch. 

Ingredients:

1 c. cooked quinoa, seasoned with salt and pepper

1 avocado, sliced

2 green onions, sliced

4 c. fresh baby spinach

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Lemon juice

2 eggs

1 Tbsp. butter

½ c. feta cheese crumbles

½ c. microgreens

Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook spinach and garlic until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. 

In another skillet, heat butter over medium high heat and cook eggs until they are done to your liking. I like mine sunny-side up! Season with salt and pepper. 

Divide the quinoa equally among two bowls. Squeeze lemon juice over the top of the quinoa. Top with spinach, egg, avocado slices, green onions, feta cheese, and microgreens. Season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy immediately!

Categories
Sandwiches Uncategorized Vegan Vegetarian

Vegan Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich

This meatless version of the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich is blow-your-socks-off good. The banh mi sandwich is nearly the perfect food because it marries together foods from two very different culinary empires: Vietnam and France. Rumor has it that the French introduced Vietnam to the baguette long ago when Vietnam was part of French colonial territories. Over the years, the Vietnamese embraced the baguette and eventually, these sandwiches were created and became very popular street food. This amazing sandwich later landed here, where we now know and love them. 

While traditional banh mi sandwiches are packed with pork, this version showcases marinated tofu. And it’s delicious. It might even be better than the original version. Try it for yourself, and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

Tofu:

½ block extra firm tofu

1 inch knob of ginger, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 tsp lemongrass paste

Pickled veggies:

2 carrots, julienned or thinly sliced

1 cucumber, julienned or thinly sliced

½ c. apple cider vinegar

½ c. rice wine vinegar

½ c. water

1 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. sesame seeds

Salt and pepper

Sandwich:

2 demi baguettes

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 green onions, sliced

Vegan mayo (or regular if you’re not vegan)

Sriracha (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients for the pickled veggies together and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes (or even for several days). 

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. 

Slice the tofu into ½ thin inch pieces that are long and flat. Mix together all of the other ingredients for the tofu in a bowl. Add the tofu carefully and let it marinate for 15 minutes. Place it on a foil-lined baking sheet. 

Turn the oven to broil (low) and broil for 8-10 minutes. Flip over and broil the other side for 8-10 minutes, or until browned and crispy on both sides. Set the tofu aside to cool. 

To assemble the sandwich, split the baguettes lengthwise. Spread one half with vegan mayo and the other half with sriracha (if you like it). Add the tofu, topped by the pickled veggies. Place the jalapenos, cilantro, and green onions on top. Close the sandwich and tear into it!

Categories
Sides Uncategorized Vegetarian

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Most people don’t associate mashed potatoes with a Japanese meal, but let me tell you . . . it works. It really, really works when the potatoes include wasabi. 

The other day I was planning on making some miso salmon and cucumber salad. I wanted some kind of carby yumminess in the meal, but I wasn’t feeling rice. I had some potatoes and I thought, “I could make these, but they don’t feel like they fit the Japanese theme of the meal.” I decided I didn’t care and that I wanted mashed potatoes anyway. Then the lightbulb went off in my head – I could add wasabi to regular ol’ mashed potatoes. 

And guess what? They were some of the best mashed potatoes I have ever eaten. As a result, I now know that Japanese food and mashed potatoes are a match made in heaven. 

Inregidents: 

2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

½ c. milk

½ c. sour cream

3 Tbsp. butter

1-2 Tbsp. wasabi (powdered or from the tube)

3-4 green onions, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil water in a large pot. Add the potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. 

Add butter, milk, and sour cream and mash them until smooth with a potato masher or a ricer. Add wasabi, tasting as you go for desired strength of zip. Top with green onions. Season with salt and pepper.

Categories
Sides Uncategorized Vegan Vegetarian

Sunomomo (Japanese Cucumber Salad)

Aren’t the cucumbers served at sushi restaurants magical? Don’t get me wrong, I love sushi. It’s one of my favorite things on earth. But the cucumber salad that is served with sushi is nearly as exciting as the main event. I’ll probably get some backlash for that statement, but I stand by my word. 

I absolutely love the fresh, clean taste of Japanese cucumber salad. The flavor is delicate, but also tangy. Cucumber salad is not overpowering, and it showcases the authentic, unadulterated taste of cucumbers but with a little extra zip. It’s delicious alongside just about anything, easy to make, and healthy as can be. 

Ingredients:

2 cucumbers, very thinly sliced

Pinch of salt (to dry out cucumbers)

3 Tbsp. rice vinegar

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. soy sauce

Pinch of salt (for dressing)

2 tsp. sesame seeds

Slice the cucumbers very thin. A mandonline works best if you have one, but hand-cut works too. 

Place the sliced cucumbers in a strainer and mix with a pinch of salt. Let the cucumbers drain for about 10 minutes and then gently squeeze out excess water with clean hands. Place in a large bowl.

Mix together rice vinegar, sugar, pinch of salt, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Pour on top of the cucumbers and mix together. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. 

Categories
Uncategorized Vegetarian

Greek Omelette with Feta, Spinach and Olives

Here it is: the ideal super fast, insanely easy, extremely low-cost and ultra healthy meal.  This greek omelette is savory, just the right amount of salty, and super yummy because it includes all of the best things: green veggies, eggs, cheese, and my personal favorite, olives. 

Many people often go to fast food places because they are in a hurry and the food is reasonably cheap. It’s true that cooking takes time and fresh food costs money, but this meal is ready in less than 5 minutes and definitely costs much less than a quick meal out. It will also leave you feeling satisfied, healthy, and a few bucks richer. 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil

3 eggs

Handful of fresh spinach leaves

1 Tbsp. chopped kalamata olives

1 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese

1 tsp. oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parsley, for garnish

Crack the eggs in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly with oregano, salt, and pepper. Then, heat a skillet over medium high heat and cook spinach for about 1 minute, or until wilted. Set aside and wipe the skillet clean.

Heat the skillet over medium high heat. Melt the butter, making sure to spread it all over the pan so the omelette won’t stick. Pour in the eggs and tilt the pan so that the eggs start to settle evenly around the pan. When the eggs begin to show small bubbles, add the spinach, olives and feta cheese on top of one side of the omelette. Fold the empty side over so that it is on top of the filled side of the omelette. Cook for about one minute, or until the full side is cooked through. Carefully flip the omelette over and cook for another minute, or until cooked through. Garnish with parsley and serve hot!

Categories
Pasta Uncategorized Vegan Vegetarian

Vegan Kale and Lentil Pasta with Caramelized Onions

Do you have a special meal in your rotation that you love so much that you obsess about it all day when you know you’re going to eat it for dinner? This is my obsession meal. And I’m fairly certain my kids would second that and declare it their obsession meal too. This healthy, vegan pasta meal is off-the-charts good. 

Most of the amazingness can be attributed to the caramelized onions. They are, without a doubt, the star of this show. But when you combine these heavenly onions with garlic, tender kale, and earthy lentils, you’ve got a meal you’ll be obsessing about long after you’ve eaten it. Top it with Parmesan (or vegan Parm), and you may eat multiple servings . .  which is actually ok because this is such a clean meal.

Ingredients:

One bunch of organic kale, curly or lacinato

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ c. uncooked lentils

1 Tbsp. olive oil

¼ c. red wine

½ c. vegetable broth

1 16 oz. package of pasta

Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Vegan Parmesan cheese or regular Parmesan cheese, for topping

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat high, drop in onions and then reduce to medium low heat. Cook onions very slowly stirring often until they are light brown and very soft. This will take 30-45 minutes.  You can cook the lentils and pasta while the onions caramelize.

In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of salted water and lentils to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are fork tender. Drain and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. 

When the onions are nice and brown, add garlic and cook for one minute. Then, add the kale, broth, and wine and cook until the kale is wilted and soft. Add the lentils and mix together. Finally, add in the drained pasta and toss everything together in the skillet. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. 

Serve immediately and top liberally with vegan Parmesan (or Parmesan)!

Categories
Sandwiches Uncategorized Vegetarian

Warm Baguette Sandwich with Pesto, Mozzarella, Tomato and Avocado

Warm avocado is a hotly debated topic. Some people find it repulsive. Recently, I read an opinion piece on how disgusting and unacceptable it is to ever serve an avocado warm. Well, you know something? Those people are wrong. Dead wrong. There’s no denying that a warm pesto, mozzarella, and tomato sandwich is great. It’s a standard favorite. But if you add a warm avocado to the mix, it’s straight up heavenly. Sorry, haters. Warm avocado is here to stay.

Ingredients:

2 demi baguettes

2 Tbsp. pesto (recipe below)

2 roma tomatoes, sliced

1 avocado, sliced

½ c. shredded mozzarella

Salt and pepper

Pesto: 

1 bunch of basil, about 3 cups

2 cloves of garlic

½ c. pine nuts

½ c. Parmesan cheese

⅔ c. olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

To make the pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 

Cut the baguettes in half lengthwise. Spread pesto evenly onto one side of the baguette and sprinkle mozzarella evenly along the other side. Place the tomato slices on top of the mozzarella and the avocado slices on top of the tomato. Season with salt and pepper. 

Carefully place the pesto side on top of each baguette. Roll the sandwiches tightly in foil. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Categories
Uncategorized Vegetarian

Ramen Eggs (Atijsuke Tamago)

Let’s get this right out in the open. I am an egg fanatic. I love fried eggs, boiled eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, sunny side-up eggs. I think nearly everything tastes better topped with an egg. But there’s one kind of egg in a class of its own: ramen eggs. Holy moly. 

Ramen eggs are firm and umami on the outside, and the yolk is jammy and flavorful on the inside. They are savory, but sweet, and make a bowl of ramen next-level delicious. They’re easy to make and great to have around for a quick snack. 

Ingredients:

6 eggs

1 c. water

½  c. mirin

½ c. soy sauce

½ c. sake

¼ c. sugar

Splash of vinegar

Heat the water, soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar over medium heat in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Mix and set aside to cool.

Put enough water in a saucepan so that the eggs will be covered. Add a little vinegar to the water. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to medium. Add the eggs carefully into the water. Place a lid on the pot and simmer for 6 minutes. 

When the time is up, remove the eggs from the heat and immediately place them in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes. Crack the eggs and peel carefully. They will not be easy to peel, so go slowly.

Place the eggs in an airtight container and cover in marinade. Refrigerate overnight. Slice in half and warm in hot ramen broth to warm.

Categories
Soups Uncategorized Vegetarian

Chunky Tomato Soup with Basil and Marsala

Does tomato soup remind you of rainy days back in elementary school? Old fashioned (and usually canned) tomato soup has always been a classic wintertime school lunch option, and many of us still remember the cozy feeling we got when we ate it with the sub-par grilled cheese sandwich served on the side. Sub-par sandwich aside, that meal was comforting and we still remember it fondly. 

Now that we’re grown ups, our palates have evolved and we still want that nostalgic feeling, but we also want food with more intense and complex flavors. This tomato soup offers the comfort of the elementary school version, but the maturity of a hearty, delicious, and flavor-filled meal. The chunky tomatoes, fresh basil, and milk create a balanced flavor. The addition of marsala takes the flavor to another level and gives it an extra pop of sass and boldness. 

Try this soup with a fresh baguette, mozzarella panini, or a fresh salad. It won’t make you forget the tomato soup from your elementary days. The feeling will be the same, but it will taste much better!

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 Tbsp. butter

2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes

1 46 oz. bottle of tomato juice

3 Tbsp. sugar

1 c. marsala wine

1 ½ c. whole milk or cream

¼ c. Parmesan cheese

½ c. basil, chopped

Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. 

Next, add the diced tomatoes and tomato juice. Stir to combine. Add the 3 Tbsp. of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, and then turn off the heat. 

Add the marsala, milk, Parmesan, and basil. Stir to combine. Serve hot!