Tofu Broccoli “Zoodles” in Peanut Sauce

tofu peanut zoodlesedited

I LOVE peanut sauce. One of my favorite dishes is spring rolls with peanut sauce. I’ve made dishes with peanut sauce over soba noodles, but I wanted to see how it would taste with spiralized zucchini “noodles.” After trying, I was even more glad that I got a vegetable spiraler (Thanks, sister!) It’s flavorful and refreshing. The tofu gives it something meaty, while the broccoli adds more freshness, variety, and a little crunch.

One important note about cooking with zucchini noodles: Unlike grain noodle, which absorb water, these tend to release water as they cook. I make the sauce a little thicker than usual to offset the extra liquid. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your taste.

Ingredients:
12-16 oz firm or extra firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 cup peanut
4 zucchini, spiraled into noodles
2 Tbsp sesame or canola oil

Sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp grated ginger
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tsp red curry paste or curry powder
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper ( optional)
3 Tbsp brown sugar

Instructions:
1. On low heat, stir together all sauce Ingredients, except coconut milk. When the ingredients are completely mixed and warm, slowly add the coconut milk. Sauce should be thick. Set aside.

2. In a wok or skillet, heat oil at a medium heat and add tofu. Cook until browned.

3. Add broccoli until it is bright green and warmed.

4. Turn heat down to low and add zucchini noodles.

5. Add sauce and stir together gently.

Brandi’s Veggie Chili

Ladies and gentlemen…. my chili. The ol’ standby when a potluck pops up, but I don’t feel bad, because I never get sick of it, and I don’t think others do either. EASY to make, once I made the perfect meatless blend that I found satisfying and tasty.

Potluck style pot:
2-3 cups freshly cooked or large (23oz) can each:
black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans
(Adjust recipe to taste, I like more black beans than pinto)
2 medium onions
3-5 cloves garlic
3 medium zucchini
2 bell peppers (one green and one red or two of one)
large can diced tomatoes or pureed (I give room for preference)
1 small can tomato paste
1 Tbs red chili flakes
3 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs. black pepper
1-2 Tbs. Chipotle sauce
2 Tbs. canola oil

Optional: Sour cream or plain yogurt, vegan or cheddar cheese, onions, etc.

  1. Sautee the onions, zucchini, and bell peppers in the oil until tender.
  2. Add the beans and stir together.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and cook at a medium hear
  4. Add the garlic and spices  and lower to a simmer.
  5. Taste test and, if needed, add more salt, pepper, or other spice to preference.

Serve warm to hot with toppings and  corn bread, tortilla chips, or by itself!

For a smaller pot, use a 14 oz. can of each bean, one zucchini, one onion, one bell pepper, one 28 oz. can of pureed tomatos, half or more of a can of tomato paste, 2 cloves of garlic, and spice to taste.

Hybrid Baked Potatoes

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I admit. When I eat a baked potato, in the past I’d usually have to smother it in butter, cheese, and/or sour cream, which is so not healthy. Lack of healthiness didn’t really stop me. Trying to eat vegan slowed me down. Then I got white potatoes and after my usual concoction, I kinda felt gross and decided to try olive oil with spices instead of butter the next time around. What? It was really good! WAY healthier and vegan!

So here’s the deal:
1-3 white, red, or yellow potatoes, depending on their size and how hungry you are
salt
pepper
cayenne pepper

-Take your potatoes and poke the little suckers with a knife and place in the microwave for 4 mins (or place in toaster oven or conventional oven, according to preference)
-Cut the potatoes in half or quarters, depending on size.
-Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, cayenne, and/or whatever herbs/spices/light toppings you wish.
-Eat by itself or as a side.

Delicious Nectarine and Queso Fresco Salad

Sarah LOVES this salad!

Sarah LOVES this salad!

Last week, my friend Sarah came over and hadn’t had lunch. There already was leftover barbecue, so I decided to make a salad. I took out tomato, cucumber, and salad greens… but I just wasn’t feeling it. It seemed so boring and obvious. I glanced around and noticed the nectarines. Hmmm, I have come to love fruit in salads, but I’ve never tried that. I found some queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese) as a substitute for feta or blue. The result? Delicious, flavorful, and yet delicate. Very refreshing on a hot June day. I HIGHLY recommend this!

Ingredients:
Tender salad greens. (I used spinach and red leaf lettuce, because it was there.)
Queso fresco
1-2 semi firm nectarines cut into thin slices (sure, peaches would work, too)
Raspberry vinagrette
Optional: almond slivers

1.  Add nectarine slices to the salad greens.

2. Crumble queso fresco onto greens, big or small chunks according to preference.

3. Drizzle with vinagrette,  toss together, and serve immediately or chill.

Simple Lima Bean Hummus

Have fun with your veggie hummus!

Have fun with your veggie hummus!

Very often, my family cooks or buys something based on a craving, but end up with a lot leftover. This week, it was a pot of lima beans. My mom is one of the few people who can cook limas in a way that is palatable. But then she makes more than we are wiling to eat. I hate wasted veggies. So I thought, “What would a Chopped chef do?… Puree it, of course!” )I saw then do it with peas and their both green. But then what? I googled pureed lima beans and discovered something amazing: Lima bean hummus!
This is my take, taken from this page

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cooked lima beans
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
Juice from 1 medium lemon
Pepper to taste

1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
2. Sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with olive oil, if desired.

Enjoy with cut veggies, pita bread, or other dipping snack item; perhaps arranged whimsically. 😉

Two Uses For Coconut Milk

Coconut milk, I’m discovering, is a great alternative to both dairy and soy for a lot of treats! Of course, you have to like the taste of coconut, because unlike tasteless ingredients like soy, the coconut taste is definitely there.
I thank my friends dairy avoiding friends for this.

Use #1: Whipped cream!
Use a can of coconut cream or use a can of coconut milk, carefully open and remove the cream settled at the top.
Add to the coconut cream a teaspoon of sugar or Stevia or to the level of sweetness desired.

Beat on high with a hand mixer until peaks start forming.
Chill in the fridge before using. Yum!
*Thanks Jessica for the idea!

Use #2: Coffee Creamer!
Omigoodness!
My friend Steph, who is veering away from both dairy and soy, uses coconut milk in her tea and coffee. She also favors coconut flavored coffee drinks at coffee shops. I try to avoid dairy, but sometimes soy makes drinks taste funny, so one day, I decided to try coconut milk. Wow. Note that you can also top fancy drinks with coconut whipped cream.

More coconut recipes to come!

Quick Tip: Frozen Ginger!

So, I don’t know where I saw or heard it, but I was to that to keep leftover ginger, stick it in the freezer. So I did. Why didn’t I figure this out earlier? It actually grates SO MUCH better frozen than fresh and I get to use it all before it shrivels into uselessness. Try it!
I’m also seeing what happens when I freeze my fresh spinach, because I hate it when it becomes all dried or slimy. Verdict?…..
Well, it’s no longer good for salad, but it is great slightly heated (steamed or sauteed), compared to store bought frozen spinach, as it is not so squished and soggy. So, maybe after buying a bag for salad, if I’m not planning to eat it again, I’ll just toss the rest in the freezer.

Easy Veggie Bowl

Sometimes a person just needs something simple and satisfying, or, in my case, I may just get too lazy to cook. Speaking of lazy, I have a bag of brown rice that I bought, knowing it was healthier, but any time I think of rice, it’s just too late to use it and I don’t want to wait. I’ve learned that if a person soaks the brown rice for awhile, it will cook up quicker, but this take forethought. I finally got around to doing just that, but then I needed something to eat with my brown rice, which actually came out fluffy and sticky, like white rice, but more substantial.
I happened to have also cooked up some black beans. I heated this up. I then diced up some zucchini and sauteed it in a little olive oil and garlic salt. Then I poured the zucchini and the black beans with a little of its juice…and it was very tasty!

Recap: Cook or heat up brown rice, black beans, and sauteed zucchini and put together in a bowl.

Simple but good! Add anything else you’d like, but I felt anything else took away from the flavor combo.

Barbecue Tuna Salad

This is a quick “office lunch room” trick to vamp up tuna fish sandwiches. No cooking required, unless you want to try this with freshly cooked tuna, which sounds delicious, but I haven’t tried yet.
It reminds me a little of pulled pork with barbecue, because of the texture, meatiness, and lack of fishiness, but it is also not so heavy.

1 can or pouch or 6 oz cooked tuna
Barbecue sauce of your choice (or make your own!)
Optional: diced onions, pickles, etc.
bread of your choice, wrap, or other, according to preference.

1. Pretty simple, just mix the barbecue sauce, fish, and any other ingredients to the tuna salad and eat in a sandwich, wrap, lettuce leaf, or on a rice cake, big pile of fluffy rice, quinoa, or other grain.

Easy-er Mushroom Ravioli

I couldn’t find a cheeseless mushroom recipe for a friend who couldn’t have cheese, so I made this up. Pretty good =)

8 oz mushrooms (Portbella is best, but any is fine)
3 cloves garlic
8 oz spinach
1 egg
half of an onion
small won ton wrappers, round or square
Salt and pepper
olive oil

1. Mince the mushroom and the spinach.
2. Sautee the mushrooms, spinach, onion, and crushed garlic. with salt and pepper to taste, in a pan with a little oil until any liquid is cooked away.
3. Brush the edges of the won ton wrapper with egg.
4. Place a teaspoon of the mushroom/ spinach mixture in the center of the won ton.
5. Gently fold in half.
6. Use the blunt end of a kitchen knife to press down and seal the edges, then press down gently with a fork to create ridges.
7. Repeat with remaining ravioli
8. place in boiling water until the raviolis float.
9. Remove and toss with a little olive oil and serve with marinara sauce.