A More Traditional-Style Pad Thai

One of my favorite dishes in the whole world is Pad Thai. I could eat it for days, weeks, months…. You get the point. It is disappointing when I go to a Thai restaurant that can’t make their Pad Thai without fish sauce. I decided I would start making this fairly simple dish at home. I used a combination and adaptation of a couple different recipes to come up with this one. They were: Post Punk Kitchen’s Everyday Pad Thai and this Traditional Pad Thai recipe. I knew that I definitely wanted to use tamarind for the sweet/sourness that makes Pad Thai so awesome, and I learned a couple of tricks along the way. :-)

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A More Traditional-Style Pad Thai (Vegan)

1 package of flat Asian rice noodles, soaked until pliable TIP: Many recipes suggest boiling rice noodles, but I have found that this makes them gummy. The best method is to soak them for about 30 minutes first then allow them to fully soften when you cook them with your other ingredients. It works MUCH better. :-)
1/2 lb. of tofu (or use a full pound if you’d like), pressed/drained, and julienned in 1-inch pieces
1 bunch of chives/green onions, julienned in 1-inch pieces
2 cups of bean sprouts (rinsed)
2 shallots, minced
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups of broccoli (chopped)/snap peas (optional) (I used a combo of both)
Any other veggies of choice
2 t. white pepper powder (optional if you don’t like spicy- this may give your dish a bit of a kick)
Ground black pepper, to taste
Roasted peanuts (optional – for garnish)
1 more lime, cut into slices (optional – for garnish)

For the sauce:
1/2 cup of water
6 T. tamarind sauce (see this page for info about tamarind and the different forms in which you can purchase it. I found it as a ball at my local Asian market)
Juice of one lime
1 T. peanut butter (I use fresh ground)
4 t. sweetener of choice (I actually used pure maple syrup)
4 t. miso (in place of fish sauce which is in traditional Pad Thai)
Pinch of kala malak (black salt) (optional- to replace the eggs in traditional Pad Thai)

Whisk all sauce ingredients together and set aside. Note: for some heat, add chili powder or sriracha to your sauce.

To cook, start with your julienned tofu slices. Add them to a pan on medium high to high heat. Sprinkle with white or ground pepper and/or garlic salt and stir until browned. *Note: I use a non-stick skillet. If you don’t have non-stick cookware, you may need to use a bit of coconut or olive oil to prevent sticking. Then add the minced shallots and garlic, half of the chives, and half of the bean sprouts (you will save the other half for garnish). Add the other veggies you are using, too. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with ground pepper if desired.

Once garlic/shallots are fragrant, and the veggies have cooked for a few minutes, add your noodles, then slowly add in your sauce, stirring well to make sure noodles and veggies are coated evenly (you can sprinkle and stir in some white pepper at this point if you are using it). I added a little more tamarind sauce to mine… Taste, and adjust any flavors as desired. The noodles will probably take about 15 minutes to cook through and become soft. Add a little more water if they are still chewy, and allow them to cook a little longer.

Plate your noodles/veggies, garnish with crushed or whole roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, chives (optional), and a lime wedge. I ALWAYS add extra lime to my Pad Thai. Always.

Another note: This makes A LOT of food (probably about 6 servings). I like to make big meals, so I can prepare lunches for the week. Plus, I love leftovers! If you don’t want to make this much, just cut the recipe in half. :-)

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Vegan Crepes with Sweet Maple Cashew Cream and Blackberry Compote

When I think up a recipe in my head, I usually have to test it out as soon as possible. I’m not much of a baker because the measurements must be exact, but I was craving crepes, so I figured I’d look up a recipe online. I found a simple one that is oil-free, so I tried it out. I wasn’t disappointed! (Note: I used a ceramic nonstick skillet.)

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Vegan Crepes with Sweet Maple Cashew Cream and Blackberry Compote

Use the above recipe to make your crepe batter. Follow the recipe’s cooking directions.

To make the sweet cashew cream:
1/2 cup of raw cashews
1 T coconut milk (you will use some for the crepe recipe anyway)
1 T maple syrup
2 T water

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use my smoothie maker) until smooth and creamy. Add a little water if it is too thick. Put it in the fridge to chill while you make your crepes.

For the compote:
1/2 cup berries of choice
1 T sweetener (I used sucanat)
1 to 2 T water
1 t tapioca starch

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until berries break down and mixture begins to thicken. Turn heat to low, stirring occasionally. When compote reaches a thickness you like, turn the heat off.

Fill your crepes with the cashew cream, roll them, and top with the berry compote and some maple syrup. YUM!! Serve with a side of breakfast potatoes, if you’d like. Recipe below. :-)

For the breakfast potatoes:
3 medium sized russet potatoes, washed and sliced thinly in round circles (I like to leave the skin on mine)
1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
Garlic salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add water as you cook the potatoes if you prefer to cook without oil. When potatoes are browned and cooked through, they’re done. I cooked mine while I cooked my crepes (about 20-25 minutes). You can cover the potatoes about halfway through the cooking time to help them cook faster. Adjust or add seasonings as desired.

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Vegan Hawaiian Pizza!

I had a craving for Hawaiian pizza, so I decided to use Fettle Vegan’s coconut bacon recipe, pineapple, and this cashew moxarella cheese recipe that’s been floating around. It was delicious!

Coconut bacon recipe (I used smoke seasoning instead of liquid smoke.)

Dough and moxarella recipes

Before the oven:

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After!

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The moxarella cheese bubbles and stretches, and the coconut bacon adds a nice crunch! Nom nom nom ;-)

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Vegan Shepherds Pie (or Cruelty-free Pie or Animals Have Feelings Too Pie)

I had been dying to make my own vegan version of Shepherds pie and decided to give it a go the other night. It turned out even better than I thought it would! I posted it on Facebook, and one of my meat-eater friends commented that calling it Shepherds pie is offensive. (He was mostly kidding… I think.) So, I came up with some appropriate alternative names. Anyway, on to the food…

I started with the filling:

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And I topped it with creamy cauliflower mash:

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Baked it until brown and golden on top:

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And, voila! YUM! Recipe below! :-)

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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Filling: “Meaty” Crumbles

1 block (1 pound) of firm or extra firm tofu that has been frozen (for at least 2 hours) and thawed
1 to 2 T. tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 to 2 T. Balsamic vinegar
1 T. steak seasonings to start (you may add more as you cook)
1 or 2 cloves of fresh garlic, or 1 T. garlic powder
1 T. olive oil (optional)
2 carrots, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 small yellow onion, diced

Squeeze the water out of your thawed tofu. (This is the fun part!) Once you have squeezed out most of the water, break your tofu up into crumbles, by hand, right into your heated pan. Add the tamari or soy sauce, the balsamic vinegar, and the steak seasonings and let brown over the heat, stirring occasionally. Add more soy sauce/balsamic and seasonings as you cook, if desired. I like to taste as I cook, so I will usually adjust the flavors as I go along. Add the diced onion and let it cook with the tofu.

Add diced carrots and allow to cook with the crumbles until soft. Add the peas and allow to cook for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Mashed Cauliflower:

1 head of cauliflower, destemmed and cut into pieces (about 3 cups)
half a cup of veg stock
2 T almond milk
1/3 cup raw cashews
1 clove of garlic
2 T. Bragg’s 24 spice seasoning blend or Italian seasoning

Steam your cauliflower until soft then combine it with the veg stock, almond milk, raw cashews, garlic clove, and Bragg’s 24 spice seasoning blend (I swear by that stuff… It’s amazing) in a blender or food processor and blend on high until smooth.

Put filling in a baking dish, smooth out the layer of cauliflower mash on top, and bake at 375 for 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown. (You can broil it for 5 to 10 minute towards the end to make it brown more, if desired.)

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Spinach and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Food should taste good, but it should also be beautiful. A colorful, vibrant dish means you are getting lots of vitamins and nutrients. Taste the rainbow! ;-)

I think this might be my favorite salad creation… It is seriously like a party in your mouth. Wow!

spinch and butternut squash salad

Spinach and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

3 cups fresh spinach
1 cup of roasted butternut squash, cut into chunks [to roast, rub some maple syrup and cinnamon on the squash's flesh (after you have scooped out the seeds and fibers) - I use my fingers - then roast it, flesh side down on parchment paper, in the oven at 350 for 45 min to 1 hr]
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup crushed raw walnuts

Assemble your salad, starting with the spinach. Top with balsamic sautéed tempeh (recipe below) and dress with Oil-free Balsamic Vinaigrette.


Balsamic Sautéed Tempeh:

4 oz tempeh, sliced into thin strips
1-2 T. balsamic vinegar
1-2 t. garlic pepper
1 t. garlic salt

Whisk the liquid ingredients and the seasonings in a shallow dish. Taste, and adjust seasonings or liquids if desired. Lay your tempeh strips in the dish and make sure they are fully coated by the sauce. Allow them to sit or marinate; the longer they marinate, the more flavors they will absorb.

Heat your pan over medium-high heat. Use oil if you are not using a non-stick pan. Once the pan is hot, lay your tempeh strips and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes (or until browned), then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until browned. *Note: These are also a great topper for pasta dishes or additions to wraps and sandwiches.

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Mini-Thanksgiving!

I bought a beautiful cheddar cauliflower last weekend at the co-op’s farmers market. Oh, the possibilities! I couldn’t wait to whip up some yummy stuff…. Mashed cauliflower was on that list!

This is probably one of my most favorite creations EVER… It’s like Thanksgiving came early! (aka, I was in heaven!)

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Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Veggies, Baked Tofu, and Homemade Gravy

Preheat oven to 400.

Place 1 lb. extra firm or firm tofu (cubed and sprinkled with steak seasonings and garlic pepper or your seasonings of choice) on a baking sheet. If your baking sheet is not non-stick, you may want to use parchment paper.

Veggies: 4 large carrots, cut into about 3/4 inch chunks, half a pint of small potatoes (I used purple potatoes because they are in season, and I love them!), and half a bag of frozen peas.
Roast the veggies on a baking sheet according to their cook time. Carrots and potatoes take a little longer… I baked them on the bottom rack at 400 for 30 min, then turned the heat down to 375 and added the peas to cook during the last 5 minutes.

The tofu and veggies will take about the same time to cook. Tofu will be browned and crispy on the outside when it is ready.

Mashed cauliflower:
1/4 cup raw cashews (optional)
5 cups of steamed cauliflower
2 T. non-dairy milk
1 t. Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
Garlic pepper, Italian seasonings, and nutritional yeast to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Gravy (adapted from this recipe):
2 cups of veg stock or 2 cups of water + one veg bullion
2 to 3 T. flour of choice (reviewers of this recipe suggest mixing the flour with water to create a “slur” and slowly adding it to the rest of the ingredients once they come to a boil)
2 T. nutritional yeast
1 t. garlic powder or garlic pepper
salt and pepper to taste
a few dashes of Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, whisking continuously, until gravy thickens.

*Make the mashed cauliflower and the gravy while your veggies and tofu are baking, and your completed dish timing should be perfect. Assemble your dish with the mashed cauliflower on the bottom, then top with the roasted veggies and tofu, and smother in gravy. YUM! :-)

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Vegan Ranch Dressing

If you are looking for a delicious, creamy, vegan ranch dressing that is tastier than any of those store bought vegan ranch dressings…. Look no further! This stuff is so delicious! (This salad shown is spinach/butterhead lettuce, corn, carrots, baby tomatoes, sunflower seeds, “no-tuna” salad, and the vegan ranch… It’s incredibly tasty!)

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Vegan Ranch Dressing

1 12.3 ounce pkg Mori Nu firm tofu
1 t. dried dill
1 T. white or apple cider vinegar
¾ t. garlic powder
¾ t. onion powder
1 vegetable bullion (you can also try using 1/2 a cup of vegetable stock if you don’t have any bullions)
Lemon juice, to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Adjust lemon/herbs to taste. For a thinner dressing/dip, add water (you may not need to do this if you used veg stock).

PS – adding a little bit of almond or non-dairy milk makes it even creamier! Since it’s a dressing, it’s easy to adjust the ingredients and flavors… Have fun with it! :-)

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