Put down that takeout menu! This Sweet and Sticky Sesame Tofu will blow the doors off anything your local Chinese place makes. (And it's healthier too!)
Now I need to figure out a way not to eat this all before dinnertime...
Sweet and Sticky Sesame Tofu
For the dish:
2 packages extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package cremini mushrooms, sliced (you can use any mushroom really. We prefer cremini)
1 sweet onion, diced
1 each, red, orange and yellow pepper, chopped
1.5 cups diced fresh or canned pineapple
Sautéing liquid of choice (we use vegetable broth, but oil or water or vegan butter are acceptable too)
2 sliced green onions (optional: for garnish)
For the sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine or apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp tomato paste
1-2 tsp sriracha (to taste)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 cup water
1 tbsp maple syrup (or agave/brown rice syurp if you prefer)
¼ cup mirin (or white wine)
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 4 tbsp cold water
1. Lay tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes until tofu is lightly golden. Set aside.
2. In a large sauté pan on medium high, cook onions and mushrooms until onions are translucent and mushrooms begin to darken, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and continue to sauté until mushrooms are dark and peppers soften.
3. In a medium size bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, tomato paste, sriracha, garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, water, maple syrup and mirin.
4. Add tofu, pineapple and sesame seeds to sauté pan. Pour in sauce and stir to combine. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Pour in cornstarch slurry, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Simmer for 2-3 more minutes.
6. Remove from heat and serve on rice. Garnish with sliced green onions and more sesame seeds.
I'm eating this soup for breakfast today. I'm not kidding.
It's Monday, and it's raining. (Welcome to November in Toronto), and I spent my early morning running the kids to school, grocery shopping, and hauling out garbage bins under a blustery mist of rain, and I'm chilled to the bone.
While I waited for my tea to steep (and organized the fridge), I remembered I had bought chopped butternut squash and some leeks the other day, and I needed to use them up. I've been working on a perfect butternut squash soup for my cookbook for a while now, and wanted to test drive what (I hoped) would be the final version. I think it hit the spot, but I'll let you decide.
I meant to eat "breakfast food" while I was cooking it, but a flurry of activity (and lack of counter space) kept me from my morning bagel, and suddenly I was starving. Fortunately for me, this steaming pot of golden soup, with it's warm smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and chili flakes wafting into the air, was ready. Lucky me!
What I love about this soup is that it's super-easy to make (because the squash roasts in the time it takes to prep and saute the remaining ingredients), and because it's a pureed soup - so there's no need to worry about fancy knife skills and perfectly diced veggies. Rough, large chops are totally fine here. It's ready in less than an hour and is a great fall/winter staple.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Leek Soup
8 cups of butternut squash, cubed
1 leek, root and top discarded, and sliced into rounds
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil, divided in half
1 vegan chicken bouillon cube
1 cup water
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp each: ground cinnamon, paprika, crushed chili flakes*
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
*you can adjust the chili based on your preference for heat. This amount gives it a warm heat without being too spicy - but enough to know it's there.
Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
Toss butternut squash with 2 tbsp olive oil and salt/pepper in a large bowl. Arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until tender but not mushy.
Soak leeks in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to loosen sand or dirt. Strain by removing leeks with a slotted spoon, leaving the water in the original bowl. (Don't strain leeks the way you drain pasta, otherwise you'll just pour all the dirt and sand back on to them.)
In a large pot, heat remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add leeks and garlic and cook for an additional 10 minutes until leeks are soft and wilted.
Add bouillon cube, water, vegetable broth, roasted squash and spices. Stir well to combine, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add 1 cup of coconut milk and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender in small amounts). Adjust salt and pepper and serve.
Seriously, you could order a lean corned beef sandwich AND sweet and sour chicken balls at the same time. To six-year-old me, this was brilliant. In some way, it probably led to my current love of taking everyday favourite foods and giving them an international twist.
Ginsburg and Wong hasn’t been around for a very long time, and even if it were there now, grown up, vegan me wouldn’t have much interest in it, but tonight’s dinner reminded me how much fun it is to mix cuisines and create something wonderful. Like my Asian-inspired “chicken” noodle soup.
My littlest one has been sick all week, and hasn’t has much of an appetite, but bow-tie pasta and clear soup are two things she will almost never turn down. And with the weather being what it is (hello Fall in Canada), soup is pretty much on everyone’s mind lately. When I was sick as a kid, Lipton’s chicken noodle soup was my go-to comfort food. That bright yellow broth and slurpy noodles...it was like a hug in a bowl.
An acquaintance recently introduced me to the vegetarian chicken soup base at Bulk Barn (which is 100% accidentally vegan!) and it’s been my number one soup and flavour base ever since. So off I went to make her some vegan ‘chicken’ soup. But I also had some mushrooms, green onions, smoked tofu and ginger lingering in the fridge that needed to be used up. So I grabbed a little soy sauce, hoisin and sriracha and BOOM! Asian ‘chicken soup was born.
It’s like the hugs of my childhood, with a spicy, rich twist.
Quick and Easy
1 package of pasta/noodles, cooked according to package directions
6 cups water
⅓ cup vegetarian chicken soup base (or two cubes of vegan chicken bouillon)
2 tbsp olive oil
½ large onion, diced
1 thumb ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetarian hoisin sauce
Sriracha to taste
½ block of smoked tofu, sliced into strips
Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat oil on medium-high heat until shimmering. Add white onion and saute for 5-7 minutes until soft and slightly translucent. Add mushrooms and continue to saute until mushrooms are lightly browned and soft. Add green onion, garlic, ginger and simmer and additional 3 minutes.
Add water, veg soup base, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sriracha. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes. Add pasta and smoked tofu to pot. Adjust heat level (sriracha) and seasoning (soy or hoisin sauce) to taste. Serve immediately.
I’m going to start this post by saying no - I’m not producing these again. It was fun while it lasted, but our company has moved in another direction. That being said, a good friend of mine is slowly testing out plant-based food options and asked me if there way any way I would “pretty please” make him some of these patties.
It’s been about a year or so since I last made these - long enough for the “twitch” to wear off, so I actually gave it some thought. I mean, when a life-long meat eater comes to you and asks you to make a plant-based version of one of his staple snacks, how do you say no? Plus, I knew that my nine year old would be insanely thrilled to hear mommy made these again (and even more thrilled when she saw one in her school lunch the next day).
Combine all dough ingredients in a food processor and pulse until dough is formed. Turn out onto plastic wrap and roll into a disc. Wrap dough up and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
In a deep pan, heat oil on med-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and saute until golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add veggie crumble and cook for 5 minutes, allowing crumble to heat thoroughly and to blend with onions.
Add all remaining ingredients to pan, stir to combine and simmer for 5-7 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked out. Set aside to cool.
Break off ¼ of the dough and roll out between two sheets of wax paper. (Do not roll dough directly on counter as it will leave yellow stains from the curry powder.) Roll the dough until it’s ¼ inch thick. Using a large cereal bowl (or any other round shape), cut out rounds.
Let's be honest here, eggs are a hard thing to replace. And whenever I'm asked "what's the thing you miss most now that you're vegan?", my answer is almost always eggs.
They were always an easy go-to dish, and incredibly versatile. But, knowing what I do about them, I prefer to let them be chicks, and find plant-based ways to satisfy that craving.
It's taken me a really long time to find a tofu scramble recipe that I deemed worthy of sharing. Hubby and I are very particular about scrambles, and creating one that had all the elements of a traditional scramble took a lot of time and effort (and tasting!)
Most importantly, I wanted a scramble recipe that could be made using every day pantry ingredients. No searching for overpriced, egg substitutes or exotic spices. Just simple, clean ingredients that will create the perfect eggless-yet-eggy base for breakfast (or dinner...)
What I love best about this recipe is that it's so adaptable. The base is the same, but you can load it up with whatever fillings you prefer. And you can use the filling in a number of ways too (hello quiche!)
So, grab your choice of veggies, plant-based meats, and cheese alternatives and get scrambling!
this is our current fave, but you can swap out our veggies for your own faves, and/or add shredded vegan cheese or vegan meat substitutes too.)
1 block extra firm organic tofu, crumbled.
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
4 tbsp veg broth for sauteeing (or 2 tbsp olive oil if you prefer)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp tumeric
salt and pepper to taste
In a deep pan, heat veg broth or oil on med high heat. Add onions and mushrooms and saute for 5 min until translucent. Add garlic and saute an additional 2 min. Add in spinach and tomatoes (or whichever veg you prefer) and saute until soft or wilted. Add soy sauce and stir to combine.
Add tofu to the pan, along with nutritional yeast and tumeric. Mix well to combine and cook for approx 5 min to warm through. (If the scramble is a bit dry, add more veg broth or water - 2 tbsp at a time - to make it more egg like.)
Season with salt and pepper. Add vegan shredded cheese if using and stir until melted.
Serve immediately, or use as a filling for wraps, quiche, etc
With back to school just around the corner, extra curricular activities starting up again, and the general easy-breezy-lazy days of summer fading away, I'm starting to prepare myself for the busy days ahead. Which, if you're like me, means a whole lot of running (ok, driving) around shuffling little people to and fro, and constant trips to the grocery store, Walmart, etc., all while still trying to manage a career.
Morning breakfast rush, school lunches, after-school-on-the-way-to <insert activity here> snack - all perfect examples of times where quick, make-ahead, healthy snacks (like these no-bake, low sugar chocolate chip energy bites) are a lifesaver.
These delicious little bites pack a bunch of protein and energy in a cute little package that stores well, travels well, and is just sweet enough to let the kids think they're getting a treat. (Hint: they have the same effect on moms too!)
Best of all, they require no baking; take less than 15 min to make and travel well. They are a staple in our house/lunch box/diaper bag/snack pack.
We keep ours nut-free so that our entire house can enjoy them, and so we can send them to school, but you can easily swap out the NON-nut butter for peanut or almond butter too.
(makes about 20 bites)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup wow butter (or natural unsweetened nut butter of choice)
1/3 cup sticky sweetener of choice (we use Mama Vegan #NoBees vegan honey but maple syrup or agave works well too)
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate chips
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all the ingredients together.
Refrigerate mix for 10-15 min to make it more firm.
Scoop out mix a tbsp at a time and roll into bite size balls.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
We are in the dog days of August, where the air is so thick and humid you can cut it with a knife, and the mere thought of turning on kitchen appliances makes you break out into even more of a sweat, but yet somehow, that wasn't enough of a deterrent for this carb-loving mama yesterday.
I've had garlic bread (and all things garlicky and buttery) on the brain lately - ever since my Dad and Stepmom were visiting us from Florida and my hubby made his signature homemade garlic bread rolls with dinner one night. But it's been a crazy week and I needed something quick to put on the dinner table.
One-pot pastas are a great way to serve a full meal without slaving over (and washing) a million dishes. I'll be honest and admit I haven't found too many that I love and that my kids would eat. So I was a little skeptical about testing out this one. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. The kids devoured it. Like there-aren't-enough-for-leftover-camp-lunch devoured it. (I may have had a hand in that too...)
What I love about this dish is how creamy the sauce is - without the use of any plant-based dairy alternatives. It's garlicky and rich and buttery...and there's just the perfect amount leftover in the bowl for sopping up with a crusty baguette.
Best of all, it's on the table in less than 30 minutes, which makes it a perfect weeknight dish.
1 500 gram package dry pasta of choice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp + 2 tbsp (divided) vegan margarine
½ medium onion, diced
4-6 cloves of garlic (depending on your tolerance), minced
½ lemon, juiced
2 tbsp vegan chicken soup base (or 1 bouillon cube)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
Black pepper to taste
Dried parsley to finish
In a large pot with a tight fitting lid, heat oil and 2 tbsp of vegan margarine on medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute - stirring frequently - until onions are golden coloured and garlic is cooked (about 7-8 minutes).
Add lemon juice and saute an additional 1 minute. Pour in veggie broth, water, veg chicken soup base (or bouillon cube) and nutritional yeast and stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting. Stir in pasta, then cover and cook on lowest setting for 15-20 min depending on your choice of pasta (I used shells and cooked for 18 min). Stir occasionally to keep pasta from sticking. Pasta should be softer than al dente and most of the liquid should be absorbed when done.
Stir in remaining 2 tbsp margarine, and season with black pepper to taste. Garnish with dried parsley before serving.