Monday, March 30, 2009

Thai Curry

This is my quick week-night dinner, a Thai curry. And it's gluten free!! :)


1 packet extra firm Tofu
1/2 cup prepared Seitan - optional
2 bunches green onions
3 celery ribs
2 carrots
1 packet mushrooms
1 green pepper
1 can (15 oz) light coconut milk
3 T Taste of Thai Red curry paste
2 T peanut butter (natural style is better)
1 T sugar
Chilli powder - optional, to taste
2 cloves Garlic, chopped finely
1 t ginger
Basil - optional
3 T cashews/peanuts
1 T olive oil, divided

Press Tofu between 2 plates and a weight to remove water. You can also freeze the tofu and then thaw it for a different texture.
Heat some oil in a wok and add chopped Tofu and pieces of Seitan (if using) till they brown.
Set aside Tofu and Seitan.
In a separate heat coconut milk with the red curry paste till combined.
Heat oil in the wok, add ginger and garlic till you smell the flavors of garlic and ginger.
Add green onions, celery, carrots, peppers. Cook till slightly cooked.
Add mushrooms. Cook for 2 more minutes.
Put Tofu and Seitan back into the mix.
Add the pre-prepared sauce. Add sugar, chilli powder (if using), cashews, peanut butter. Cook till flavors meld together.
Add basil and serve over hot rice!

I also made the doughnuts that Emily posted a few days ago - I used a mini-muffin pan instead of the doughnut one. It tasted great, but not sure if it was the taste of doughnut or a cupcake! I am not sure why I keep trying these sweet treats - not that I need to gain any weight at all!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spinach Lasagna

I based this on Cheesy Lasagna which I have made before. I made the tofu ricotta ahead of time so I could just throw the lasagna together when it was time for dinner. Since I was making a small version for just the two of us, I adjusted a bit. I mixed the following in the food processor:
  • 1/2 package of lite firm tofu
  • 4 ounces tofutti cream cheese
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 2TB vegetable broth
  • few TB nutritional yeast
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
I used 8 Tinkyada Rice Pasta Lasagna Noodles which I cooked for about 10 minutes. These are fabulous gluten free noodles by the way. In a square cake pan (maybe 8X8), I layered marinara, pasta, "ricotta," and baby spinach leaves, repeated and then topped it off with some soy cheese. I think it ended up baking for about 10 minutes covered with foil and then 15 minutes uncovered.

We both enjoyed it!

Indian-style Burgers

I am still stuck on trying different burgers! The weather was more suited for a soup, but I still ended up making burgers!
I also made some seitan (linked to the recipe) again and I'm still not loving it :(
Last night, we went to dinner to a friend's and Nadine used the 'Vegan Planet' cookbook to make a Tofu Cheesecake. I know I will not have the patience to attempt it, but it was SO YUMMY!!
Here is the recipe for Indian-Style Burgers.


1 potato - boiled and mashed
2 carrots - diced/grated
2t ginger - grated
1.5 C beans (I used pinto that I had)
.5 C salsa
.5 C oatmeal
3T cilantro
2t lemon/lime squeezed
Salt - to taste
Garam Masala (or any other form of Indian spices) - to taste
Chilli powder - to taste
2 T Tomato ketchup

Mash the beans and potatoes separately.
Mix all the ingredients and you can even puree them together a little - I like some texture in my food, so I left a lot of the pieces.
Bake patties in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, flip the burgers to the other side and bake for 15-20 more minutes.

I made these into wraps using tortillas, tahini sauce, bhel puri sauce, Indian pickle and some more salsa.
Ideally, this would have been great with a yogurt-based dressing. But, vegan-ism did not permit me to do that. Or it would have been good with a tamarind-based, cilantro, tomato or peanut chutney!!

Gluten Free Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Despite my previous difficulties while gluten free baking, these muffins seem to have come out great! They have JUST come out of the oven so we will see how they taste over time- that is the test in my book! I used the recipe for Allergy (Gluten, Nut, Soy) Free Banana Muffins from but used vegan chocolate chips (Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips ) instead of raisins. For the liquid sweetener, I used a mix of agave nectar, maple syrup and plain applesauce. D asked if she could have two!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chile Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu and Tex-Mex Brown Rice

I am trying a gluten free menu with my daughter this week since she has some eczema and various other skin issues (as well as her chronic intestinal problems). I want to see if we can reduce the amount of wheat that she ingests and see if, perhaps, it makes any difference. I thought this would be easier while my husband is on a business trip since now I only have to please one picky eater. I had some tofu left over from another recipe so I found Chile Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu in the Veganomicon cookbook (I even found a link for this exact recipe posted by another blogger here) soI thought I would make me some crusted tofu and D some crusted chicken (unless she decided to share my tofu but I am not holding my breath!). Now, I have never had any type of breaded tofu that I can remember although I am definitely a fan of fried tofu. It was a little bit different since you bite in thinking it tastes like chicken and then-SURPRISE-it is tofu inside. Obviously I had put it there so I was expecting it but it took me a few bites to decide that I did, in fact, like it quite a bit. By the way, the crust makes a great chicken coating and, I expect, it would be fabulous on seitan too. I did not add all of the chili since I thought it would be too spicy but I was wrong-add it all! I also did not have any lime zest which would have been good too. I made a dip with tofutti sour cream and salsa and it was yummy. On the side it a little dish I whipped up what I have named Tex-Mex Brown Rice. I feel like all I do is find ways to combine these few ingredients (corn, black beans, tomatoes, rice) in different ways since my whole family generally likes them together. D keeps asking for Puerto Rican style rice and beans but I don't know how to make it and, I think, the recipe usually contains ham or pork which I am not willing to use.

Tex-Mex Brown Rice

  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • one garlic clove minced
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 cup cooked black beans (1/2 a can works well)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce (like Hunt's)
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • 1 TB minced chipotle chilis in adobo
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Goya adobo seasoning
  • pinch of onion powder
  • 2 cups hot, cooked brown rice
  • 3 TB chopped cilantro (optional)

Cook onion and garlic briefly in oil. Add beans, sauce, corn and spices and cook until warmed. Add rice and stir to mix. Top with cilantro. This thickens over time and I think it will make a good burrito/quesadilla filling for tomorrow.

**** I think when I usually make this type of rice I tend to use salsa and just a bit of tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce or tomato paste to thicken it up but I must have forgotten tonight and grabbed the can of tomato sauce. It really does not matter.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


As I mentioned, I made a Shepherd's Pie last night that was not all that post-worthy so I have decided to write about one of our old favorites-Rich and Creamy Low-Fat Vegan Alfredo which we affectionately refer to as "Tofredo." I know I have told you about this before but it is definitely on our regular menu so I thought it deserved some recognition. I always add black pepper and 1-2 cloves of minced garlic. I generally use Galaxy Foods Vegan Grated Topping-Parmesan Flavor or just Nutritional Yeast for the Soy Parmesan. I am not crazy about this grated topping and if you have a better idea, let me know. I have heard about Parma which is made out of walnuts but have not tried it yet. Looking at its ingredients, I could probably make my own in the food processor since I have all the ingredients.

I was thinking that I liked having a loose "theme" (like Burgers) to help steer me toward new recipes. Any ideas for a new one? I have a bunch of burgers in the freezer now and lots of ideas too! I want to eat less pasta but that is what my family likes so they will always be part of our menus. Of course, sweets are ALWAYS on my list also since I want to fatten M up!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Srilankan Eggplant dish, Enchillada Casserole and my bagel discovery

So many thoughts and all in one blog!!
I made this Sri Lankan Eggplant Curry for dinner tonight, but I won't go on and on about it because I know Em can't make Indian-spiced food. Can I just say, though, it was YUM! It was very close to Indian food, but still different. I will dice the eggplants smaller next time. V wanted to know when I would make it again!
So instead I am posting the recipe for Enchilada Casserole that I made last week.
An old colleague/friend, Kristie gave me this recipe when I was vegetarian. She brought it often to work parties too. I have modified it over the years (made it healthier, I think) and now have vegan-ized it too. This recipe is open to many interpretations and changes. You can change the vegetables, beans - everything according to your taste and interest. I experiment with it everytime. I assume that the filling will work for burritos too! Here it is...

Vegan Enchillada Casserole

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 Chipotle chillis in Adobo sauce, chopped (change based on your tolerance for the spice)
1 Green Pepper, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped spinach
2 cups cooked pinto beans (can use black beans, kidn
ey beans or any other beans)
1 1/2 cups Salsa
1/2 package silken Tofu
2 T vegan cream cheese
2-3 T nutritional yeast
2 T Oil
2 Tortillas, warmed and torn into pieces
Salt - to taste
1t cumin powder

3 T Adobo seasoning (or to taste) or any other spice
1t nutmeg
Cilantro - optional

reheat oven to 350
Blend together the Tofu, cream cheese, nutmeg.
Heat oil in a pan, add garlic and onion. Cook till browned
Add carrots and peppers. Cook 5-7 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
Add beans, salsa, chipotle chillis, salt, cumin powder, Adobo seasoning and cook till the flavors are all mixed.
Add the blended tofu mix, nutritional yeast and spinach and cook for 5-8 more minutes
Layer pieces of one tortilla in an oven-safe bowl (9x11 will work well) - you may need to spray with oil.. I don't!
Layer half the mix on top of the tortilla.
Layer the pieces of tortilla and the rest of the filling on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.

For great zing, you can add enchillada sauce to the mix too. I used to, but find that these flavors are enough.
The photo looks like a glob, but you get the idea! I just added pita chips for color and style!

Tomorrow and Friday, I spend all day at a conference (Indiana Speech Language Hearing Association, if you were interested) in Indy. We have to leave at 6.30am to get to the conference. Traveling as a vegan means spending some time researching and planning my food options/choices. And I love to plan (especially about food), so this is not really a problem.
I planned to stop by Einstein's Bros to grab some breakfast early in the morning. I was researching bagels to decide which one I should get - vegan or not etc.
I found, to my excitement, that most bagels there are vegan. I always thought bagels had eggs.
In the process of reading the ingredient list, I discovered that their Ceasar dressing has anchovies in them.
My colleague was surprised that I was surprised. I have never been a huge fan of Ceasar dressing... not a big deal for me. But, it just goes to show how ignorant I am or how important it is to look at labels. You never know what's lurking there.. next to the high fructose corn syrup (They now have ads telling us it's corn and healthy!! That's what we need - ads telling us to eat stuff like that) and the fake sugars.
When did this turn from a recipe post to a rant??
Have a good few days, everyone. V bought a mini-muffin pan today - so I hope to get to the doughnuts sometime soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chili and Cornbread

On Sunday I was very busy so I decided to adapt a favorite chili recipe for my crock pot. It worked well with a few modifications. My husband noted that it would have only taken 40 minutes to cook on the stove yet I decided to let it cook for 5 hours instead. At least I did not have to babysit the chili and I was able to get my errands completed while it cooked. I found this chili recipe in one of the Hannaford's Fresh magazines that they give you free if you spend $25. I seem to find a lot of little gems in this little known publication-Thank you Hannaford's! Anyhow, I discovered in writing this blog today that they have the recipes on their website so I will no longer need to cut them out and save in my very messy Recipe Book.

Vegetarian Three-Bean Chipotle Chili is very yummy although I reduced the amount of chili powder and chipotle since last time I made it the family thought it was too hot. I disagree but I am not the only one eating it so I adjusted it this time and added my own Chipotle Tabasco to my portion. To cook in the Crockpot, you will need to reduce the broth to about 2 cups instead of three. I did not have enough bulgur which may have made the difference too. I added some cooked brown rice at the end to absorb the excess liquid. I bet you could simply add 1/2 cup or so of uncooked rice to the recipe instead of the bulgur which can be harder to find. This would also make it a gluten free recipe as far I can see.

I also made Grandma's Cornbread Made Vegan from I've made this several times and it always comes out great!

I am really enjoying writing this blog. Great Idea Anu!

I plan to make one last burger tonight if I have time. This is the one I am considering-Get Your Groove on Veggie Burgers

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cup cakes and Glaze

My brother and sister-in-law were in town for a long weekend (and we spent a day with them in Chicago too) - they requested a few dishes. None were vegan, though. So for a sweet treat, I decided to make vegan chocolate cup cakes with glaze.
The recipe for the cupcakes are from this recipe in the New York Times. I got the recipe for the glaze from a friend. I know she got it from 'the web', but I don't have the link... sorry to the original author!
Here is the recipe for the glaze-

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup water
1/4 t cider vinegar
1/8 t salt
1 T Kalhua (Optional)
2 t Vanilla

eat maple syrup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and whisk in cocoa powder, water, vinegar and salt. Cook for additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add Kalhua (the original recipe called for Coffee liquer, but I only had Kalhua) and vanilla. Cool for 5-10 minutes.

In the day that we had access to the cupcakes and glaze, half of them were eaten by the non-vegans around me - a testament to how good they tasted!!

Donut Success

We made some mini donuts as planned and my daughter decorated them for a "Twilight" DVD release party with her girlfriends. M and I saved the regular sized donuts for us although we did not decorate them quite so cheerily. The glaze that is recommended at The Mini Donut Test Kitchen worked well and, surprisingly, was much better this morning after drying out for the night. It absorbed nicely into the donuts and made a yummy little shell (for lack of a better word). MMMMMmmmmm. I will try not to eat another one today.

Working with the batter was complicated. It is a thick, sticky batter (similar to instant oatmeal that has been sitting in a bowl for a bit). My pans are very shallow so you can only put a tiny bit in or they overflow while cooking. The larger donuts pan was much easier to use. I just cooked them 2-3 minutes longer than the mini donuts. I think I will make these again-definitely for Anu's visit!

They tasted great and I bet you could make these into mini muffins easily or donut holes (not sure how) so you do not need the special pan. As you can see, they were not beautifully shaped. Fun and delicious must count for something, right?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fake sugar - yuck!

Ok, this is not necessarily a vegan issue but it is on my mind. I have been trying to help my family eat better-more whole foods, fewer packaged foods, no hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup, etc. and I recently have noticed aspartame and sucralose infiltrating many of the foods I buy! Now, I am a Diet Pepsi addict so I obviously ingest the stuff but I really don't want to find it in my cereal. As I poured a bowl of Fiber One the other day I noticed that there was aspartame in the list on ingredients. Similarly, I found several "Whole Grain" breads that contained sucralose while food shopping the other day. I was just trying to avoid honey and HFCS but now I have to look for artificial sweeteners too! When did it become acceptable to add these to products? Many of the kids yogurts have Splenda now to reduce the sugar content. I wish people could open their eyes and realize that milk and fruit have natural sugars in them! The final straw for me was soy milk. I generally buy Silk Light Vanilla Soy Milk but they were all out at Hannaford so I bought 8th continent assuming it was comparable. Well, I poured a bit in my coffee and it was so sickenly sweet that I nearly gagged. There was an overwhelming medicine-y aftertaste. Flipped it over and guess what it contained- sucralose and artificial flavors. Since when does "vanilla" need to be improved upon? Look at all the different sweeteners... Uggh!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I made Oatmeal for breakfast and realized that as a vegan, when I have gone out to brunch, I tend to eat oatmeal. So, oatmeal deserves its own post.

Here's a Cinnamon - Nutty Quinoa recipe from 101cookbooks. I have made it before and really like it.

Here's what I add to my oatmeal - maple syrup, raisins, bananas, peanut butter (I know I have some weird combinations - see my previous post using Tofu Cream cheese with ketchup!) and slivered almonds. I use Trader Joe's hot multigrain cereal or Steel Cut Oats.Velu's oatmeal (the darker one to the right) is a dessert dish, really. It contains maple syrup, brown sugar, raisins and bananas!


Vegan Donuts?

Just a quick note to say that I am VERY excited that I found a donut pan set yesterday! As you see, we enjoy junk food over here, at least occasionally. I have found a link for a vegan donut recipe (Mini Donut Test Kitchen on Vegan Yum Yum) that I will try this weekend. My pan makes mini donuts, full sized donuts and also can make the cream filled type. So very excited! Hope they work.....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Black Bean Burgers and Cole Slaw

Ok, so it is not REALLY a cook-off but it makes me feel all domestic-like I should be wearing an apron or holding a giant grill spatula or something. Please don't lose any sleep over it! Tonight I made the Bush's Backyard Black Bean Burgers which just happen to be vegan. We cooked them in a pan but I think these may actually hold together on the grill. The recipe, as I made it, made 7 burgers and they were large in my opinion. Maybe you could even stretch 8 burgers out of the recipe. They were delicious as directed but I think I will stir in 1/4 cup of corn kernels, some chopped cilantro, and a tsp or two of chili powder next time to make them even better. The recipe says to refrigerate for 1-4 hours before cooking but we put them in the fridge for maybe 10 minutes while we started some fries in the oven and it worked just fine. M pan fried the burgers and I put a few into the over at 425 degrees for 15 minutes to see how that works. I did not eat the baked burgers yet, but they look great. I will try freezing and see how they fare also.

I also made some Vegan Cole Slaw. I guess the only differences from the traditional recipe were that I used Vegenaise instead of mayo and decided on Agave Nectar instead of table sugar.

Cole Slaw

  • 1/2 bag of pre-shredded cole slaw mix
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots (unless this is in your cole slaw mix, mine was just cabbage)
  • 1/4 cup Vegenaise
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar (this was a little too much for us, adjust based on your tastes)
  • 3 TB agave nectar
  • 1 tsp celery seed
Whisk together vinegar, agave, vegenaise, and celery seed. Pour over slaw mix and carrots and stir. Refrigerate for an hour (if possible, we ate it immediately).

I am very full now. I hope you like them too!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Burger Cook Off - Trying Emily's

What kind of 'cook off' is it if we make different burgers? That's the thought that kept me up all night. Okay, that's not true - I slept well and did not have an alarm clock wake me up. Although our cats jumping on and off the bed and purring did! I had to find a quick meal to make for dinner tonight, before we take the dogs for their first 'agility class' (I am a little nervous!).
And I had most of the ingredients in the recipe that Emily made.
My substitutions - pinto beans instead of the kidney beans (I cooked a batch of pinto beans and froze them), white rice for brown rice (again - precooked in the fridge). I also added pecans and cilantro.
V complained about the pecans in the recipe (he does not like nuts in his food - he does not understand the need for texture and crunch). But, we both really loved the burgers. Yummy!!
Here is a photo of my open-faced burger sandwich!!

Noodle Stoup

Sorry I have been negligent in adding my recipes lately. Sometimes it gets a little crazy around here. Anyhow, I made this soup the other day and it ended up thickening more than I had planned so my daughter called it "Stoup" which I think is cute.

I based it on "Golden Vegetable Noodle Soup" from Vegan Bites (Beverly Lynn Bennett). This is a good cookbook since it is designed for "singles" and, therefore, makes manageable portions instead of giant vats of food. It is basically your all purpose carrots, celery onions mixed with broth (seasoned with bay leaf, garlic, thyme, parsley, turmeric, pepper, salt) and noodles. The secret ingredient in the stock is 2 TB nutritional yeast which you need as a vegan for your B12! I used whole wheat pasta which I usually hate but it was tolerable with all the other flavors.

It is basically a chicken soup without the chicken. I added some chick peas for some protein and I added a little spinach to mine just for nutrition's sake. My daughter said it tasted liked Mac N Cheese soup which perplexed me, but if she will eat it, I try not to argue!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The verdict

Yummy!! We did not have burger buns or any of the fixings - lettuce, tomatoes, pickles etc. So I had mine with soy cream cheese, ketchup and hot sauce. V had his with cheese, ketchup and mustard on toast. It tasted great, but was a little too crumbly!! Definitely will make it again, but have to figure out the issue with the crumbliness (is that a word?)

Burger Cook Off part 1 (Anu)

I have not yet tasted the burgers that I made - that will not happen till after I go for a run this afternoon. I plan on running outside. The weather is beautiful - blue skies dotted with white clouds, in the 50's (I would prefer it to be slightly warmer, but it's good for a run!). V is taking a practice MCAT exam, so he won't eat for a while either. It's about 12.45pm - time for lunch, but we are thinking of eating the burgers at 4pm! Weird!
But, I am excited about how good the 'raw' burgers tasted that I wanted to post the recipe. Before the internet was full of recipes, I discovered (Thanks to V's aunt and cousin V) 'Moosewood' cookbooks. It was always a dream of mine to drive to Ithaca to eat in the restaurant, but it never happened. I have not looked at a recipe in the book in a while, but remembered making a 'Tofu burger' from the book years ago that I really liked. So I took out my 'Moosewood Restaurant New Classics' and made the "Falafel Burgers". The most exciting part of cooking from a Moosewood recipe is that, usually, I make no substitutions. The recipes are perfect as they are described in the book. But, today, I adapted my burger recipe to match what I had at home and our changing tastes.
Here is the recipe I used (with a 'before' photo). I will add the 'after' photo later tonight or with my next post (which I hope will be vegan enchilladas that I am going to try to make!).

Falafel Burgers (Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics)

1 cup diced onions

3 garlic cloves - chopped finely or minced
Olive Oil (1 T)
2 grated carrots
1/2 cup diced peppers (Mix of left over green, red and yellow!)
1t turmeric

1t cumin
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 cake firm tofu (15 oz) pressed and crumbled
2 cups cooked chickpeas
Juice from 1 lemon
1 T soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
1/4 cup Tahini
Herbs (I used dried oregano)- 1/4 cup

Salt, to taste
Breadcrumbs, as needed

aute the garlic and onions in Olive Oil. When onions are golden, add pepper and grated carrot with cumin, cayenne and turmeric (The original recipe calls for coriander in place of cumin. I am sure you can change the spice mix around to your taste). Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally to prevent vegetables from sticking.

As vegetables cook, add tofu, chickpeas, sesame oil, lemon juice and soy sauce into a food processor and pulse. I started with a hand blender, but used my hands to mash the ingredients together (the chick peas were freshly looked and were very soft). A potato masher will also work well. The mix should be combined, but not a paste.

Add vegetables, herbs, tahini and salt (to taste) and mix together with your hands or a masher. Don't use the blender/food processor. If the paste is too sticky, add breadcrumbs. I added about 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs at this stage.

Make into 8 burger patties and place on an oiled baking pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Verdict - in a few hours. These are the uncooked patties. I think it would be more colorful with all red bell peppers in the recipe (which is what the original recipe included).
Can you tell my spring break has started - a long post!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cupcake recipe!!

Emily, you were right about the cupcakes - they were from a website and based on 'Vegan cupcakes take over the world' by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
Here are the links -

Basic Vegan Cupcake

Vegan Buttercream Frosting

Thanks for the deliciousness, Claudia and Kadie!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I don't have a recipe with this post - I will add it in a couple of days.
But, I wanted to share this photo with everyone - here is a picture of the vegan cupcakes that my colleague's sister baked for my birthday. Who knew that Oreos were vegan!!
I also had a cake that another friend baked (vegan, again) yesterday. But, we ate it all at work yesterday and I have no pictures to share. But, hopefully, I will have both recipes soon and I can post them!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Burger Cook-Off Episode 1

Well, it looks like I am having a cook off against myself since Anu is too busy (or too popular!) to cook this week. This burger competition may go on indefinitely as we try to find the best homemade vegan burgers. I have a few that I have wanted to try so this has given me the incentive. I assume that the ones I make will have a bit of a Southwestern flair since that is what we seem to enjoy. This weekend, I made Red Bean Chipotle Burgers from This is a fabulous blog by the way-check it out! I have picked up quite a few tips from this blog. This time, I learned to toss the entire can of chipotles in adobo into the food processor and then just scoop out what you need for recipes or freeze the extra. I often chop up one chipotle and then forget about the rest of the can as it rots in my fridge.

(By the way, my husband is home now and taught me how to create a link rather than writing out the entire address for some of the recipes I have tried. I realize that it is pathetic that I am just learning these things at my age. I went back and tried to fix some of my older posts. Hopefully they work!)

The Red Bean Chipotle Burgers were great. They remind me of the Amy's burgers a bit in terms of the texture. I like my burgers to have some texture and not be too soft. These really fit the bill! I used regular red kidney bean since I don't think we have light red kidney beans around here unless I have just never noticed them. They use oatmeal as a binder which I thought would be odd but it was great. There is also some brown rice mixed in. I forgot to add the rice while processing so I just stirred it in after and I think I prefer it this way. I froze a few and threw them in the micromave for 1 minute today. They made a great lunch.

The picture really does not do them justice. I took it very quickly so I could eat my burger. We had them with a caesar salad (I used a vegan dressing made from tofu that was in this month's Clean Living Magazine. I had to doctor it a bit for our tastes, but it was good enough) and some roasted baby russet potatoes with a little sprinkle of rosemary, garlic powder and olive oil.

I give these a thumbs up and plan to make them again. M thought they were good but a little gritty.

On a different not, I realize I will need to get some more attractive plates if I am going to be taking so many pictures of food! My dull brown ones look so boring on here!)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Stir Fry Noodles

I made a generic stir fry for dinner tonight. Not going to be eating at home much during the week, so won't be too many posts. It is inspired by the whole wheat linguini stir fry that Em mentioned in her last post (on the Vegetarian Times cover).

1/2 package of cooked noodles
(I used Thai Rice noodles)
Extra firm Tofu
2 Eggs
Garlic - 2 cloves
Ginger - to taste
Green Onions - 5
Carrots - 3

Red Pepper -1
Green Pepper -1
Mushrooms -8 oz
Celery - 2 stalks
Peanuts - handful
Soy Sauce - 5 T
Brown Sugar - 2 T
Sriracha sauce - 3 T
(or you can use any chili powder)
Sesame sticks

I added eggs to Velu's portion. Scrambled eggs (whites only) and set aside.
Saute tofu in warm oil till light brown and set aside.

Add 1 tsp oil in a warm wok.
Add ginger and garlic pieces and let cook for less than 1 minute.
Add all the vegetables and saute till the vegetables are cooked, but still crunchy.

Add soy sauce, sriracha sauce, brown sugar.
(At this point, you can also add some tomato paste and/or 1T of coconut milk)
Add Tofu and cooked noodles.
Let all the flavors mix together.
Add peanuts.
Serve with Sesame sticks on top..

Variations: Use a variety of noodles
Can use any vegetables (broccoli, peas, snow peas, onion)
Add hoisin sauce or black bean sauce instead of soy sauce and srirach sauce.
Play with the flavors and enjoy!!

PS: I put up a photo with the ingredients rather than the finished dish - this looks better!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Vegetarian Times,VegNews and Vegenaise. Try to say that three times quickly!

Yesterday I purchased a copy of Vegetarian Times (March 2009 edition) . I no longer have a subscription because I felt that the recipes were primarily high calorie, high fat and too exotic (for the most part) for my family. I enjoy exotic but I do not enjoy eating a portion everyday for a month by myself nor do I enjoy throwing out food that I have spent time and money on. This edition looked a little different to me. The foods listed were pizza, enchiladas, mac-n-cheese. On the cover was an Asian StirFry with Whole wheat Linguine. I thought "We can handle this" and bought it. Vegetarian Times is not a vegan magazine but they are now providing an index in the back listing all of the recipes in the edition according to the following categories : Vegan , dairy Free, Gluten free, low calorie, low saturated fat, 30 minutes or less. I found this extremely helpful and I think I may have made a mistake letting my subscription run out! I did recently order VegNews which is a vegan magazine but have not received a copy yet. We'll see if I like it!

Anyhow, in Vegetarian Times there is a segment on South Indian Cuisine that I thought Anu might like although I am sure her cooking is far better than theirs! On the back cover is a ad introducing new "Reduced Fat Vegenaise" which I am very excited about. If you have not had Vegenaise, it is a vegan mayo and it actually tastes good. Now, I do not use much mayo but some things really do need it-potato salad, macaroni salad, big fat veggie burgers, salad dressings, etc so having a lower fat option is great. What really caught my eye was a recipe for Grilled Vegetable Corn Cakes with Garlic and Lemon Infused Reduced fat Vegenaise.

I was interested because, first of all, it looked yummy (there is no picture I could upload, sadly) and also because it is gluten free and Anu and I have gluten free friend who just might like this! As I looked through the website, I noticed the other vegan products from this company. I have tried the cream cheese and I preferred the Tofutti kind to be honest. I have also used the cheddar and Mozzarella cheeses. There is definitely a learning curve when cooking with vegan cheese but, overall, I like them. I learned that I can shred and then freeze them which was great since I HATE throwing out expensive products that are hard to find. There is also a ChickenFree Chicken product that I have never seen anywhere around here. But, I am willing to try anything, so I will keep my eyes open.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tomato Florentine Inspired Leftover Soup

We got home from gymnastics class at 7:10 last night and I had nothing in mind for dinner so I took a look in the fridge and found some odds and ends that I thought would, perhaps, work as a soup. I will attempt to "create" a recipe but this one may never be the same. Obviously, you do not NEED to use leftovers to make this but that is how we roll over here. It was yummy and we had enough for lunches today.
Tomato Florentine Inspired Leftover Soup

  • 1/2 box of small to medium sized pasta (we used shells)
  • 1-2 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3-4 cups veggie broth
  • 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce or marinara
  • pinches of dried parsley, onion powder, dried basil
  • 1 TB veggie bouillion mix or 1/2 a bouillion cube (or just some salt, tamari, soy sauce, Braggs or something salty)
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 TB prepared pesto (I used my vegan basil pesto posted here)
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, but really good)
  • several cups of fresh baby spinach or 1 cup of thawed, previously frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 can of chick peas or white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Boil a pot of water for the pasta and cook according to directions on the box. While pasta cooks, saute garlic in oil until fragrant but not burned. Add broth, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, spices/seasonings and cook until it just begins to boil. Turn down to a simmer. I added boullion here but I realize now it was redundant, oh well. I also added tomato paste and stirred to dissolve it a bit. Add nutritional yeast flakes and stir. If you are using red pepper flakes, this would be an ideal time to add. Stir in chickpeas and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted, if fresh, or warmed, if cold. Once all ingredients are hot you can add your pasta and stir in the pesto. Adjust seasonings as needed.


Spinach Pesto Alfredo

Warning: If you thought vegan food is healthy, this dish can prove to you that vegan food can be rich and decadent - in taste and calories (I am sure!)!!

I adapted this recipe

Spinach Pesto Alfredo

Here is my version:


Olive Oil - 1/2 T
Onion - 1
Garlic - 2 cloves
Baby Spinach (coarsely chopped) - 1 pkt (8oz)
Vegan Sausage/meatballs - 1 sausage + 8 meatballs (or equivalent)
Tofutti Cream Cheese - 1 container

Vegan Pesto - 4 T
Soy milk - 1-2 cups
Salt - to taste
Black pepper, He
rbs (Italian seasoning), Red pepper flakes - all to taste
Cooked Pasta of your choice (I used Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Pasta)

Add chopped onions and chopped garlic in a pan with warm oil. Saute. (I tend to start boiling water to cook pasta as I start preparing the dinner)

Add Spinach, sausage and cook till spinach is wilted. The meatballs that I use would crumble if I add it too early, so I add it at the end.

Add salt, herbs, red pepper flakes - to taste.
Let flavors meld for less than 1 minute.

Reduce heat and add Tofutti cream cheese. Stir till the cheese melts and mixes with the vegetables.

Add pesto and stir. Add soy milk - decide how much you would like - till the sauce is the consistency that you like.

Add cooked pasta and black pepper if you would like. This is the time to add vegan meatballs if you are adding those.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Varthalkozhambu and Keerai Masiyal

Now try pronouncing those words!!
Here is my promised link to the South Indian food that I made last week.

My friend Malini and her husband Girish are particular about their food, especially Tamil (a state/language in South India) food. So, I asked her to write out how Varthalkozhambu is really made. I make it similarly, but each family has some variation to the theme! I use dried red chillis rather than the fresh green ones and I always finish it off with jaggery (Indian version of hardened molasses) - my mother's varthalkozhambu had a sweet tinge to it and that's how I like it!

Not that I am expecting you to try it, but here live varthakozhambu and Keerai Masiyal

Even if you don't have the special dish to make it, this is really simple to make and tastes really good.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Vegan Basil Pesto

Yes, I know a foot of snow is expected to drop from the sky tonight but I still crave some pesto from time to time. M really enjoys the stuff and the little one needs something to pair with her non-stop intake of pasta products. I adapted a recipe from the Whole Foods Market Cookbook to suit M's vegan eating habits and he enjoyed it so I decided to make some today and freeze the leftovers.

Vegan Basil Pesto
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or 1 TB dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 3-4 TB ground cashews (optional)
Place the first 7 ingredients (up to pine nuts) into the food processor and pulse for a few minutes until well blended. Scrape down sides as necessary. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the nutritional yeast flakes and, if desired, the ground cashews.

I am attempting to freeze this now so we shall see how it does. When I make it with parmesan cheese it freezes fine, so I am hopeful that it will make it until M gets home from his trip.

On another note, while looking for a photo to (steal) "share" from fellow bloggers, I found a recipe for "Chickpea Ravioli with Basil Pesto" compliments of Cooking Light. Yummy...I think I will see if I can make something similar and, NO, I did not "share" their picture.

Tortilla soup, trail mix and my conflict regarding Eggs!

That's a lot in the title. I made the trail mix cookies that Em blogged about - it turned out really good. I added chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, almonds, walnuts, chopped dates, craisins and raisins. I would have liked it with more nuts and fruits - my portion sizes may have been too small.

Tortilla Soup

3 T olive oil - divided
1 onion
2 carrots
2 celery
(is the plural celeries?)
1/2 green pepper
1 tomato
6 cups vegetable broth

2 cups pinto beans - I soaked and pre-cooked dried beans. You can use black beans too.
2 cloves garlic, chopped
cumin (to taste)
1 bay leaf
dried red chilli flakes (to taste)
2 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
- my favorite :)
sprinkle of cilantro
2 T lime juice
2 green onions, chopped
2 whole wheat tortillas

Preheat oven to 350. Brush tortillas with Olive Oil and cut into strips. Bake for 12-15 minutes or till brown and crispy.

Heat remaining oil. Add garlic and onions. Saute till transparent.
Add carrots, celery and pepper. Cook for a few minutes. Add broth, tomato, bay leaf, cumin, red pepper flakes, chipotle peppers, salt (to taste), beans.
Bring to boil.

Add lemon juice, green onions, cilantro.
Serve with tortilla chips.

Our soup was a little spicy - reduce the heat in yours if you would like. V is starting to feel a litlte sick, so he really liked this. I won't lie - I wish there was a little sprinkled cheese on top or sour cream, but I still liked it.

So here is my egg dilemma. Part of being vegan is 'no eggs'. One of the secretaries in our office has a lot of chickens that lay eggs. When I talked with her about her chickens , she said that they all have names, eats only grains, and are raised in open areas etc. So, as close to organic as can be without getting certified. Also, I don't think they sell their eggs in a market or anything, just people in the department buy it from her. In reading 'animal, vegetable miracle', the point was about eating local. If I ONLY eat eggs that we buy from her, is that still being responsible? Is that enough? I still will probably not eat it too much, but do you have any thoughts?

Have a great week and be safe in the snow...