Cauliflower Rice Stir-fry

The first time I tried cauliflower rice was this summer during the week I ate a raw food diet. There, I said it. I am usually late to the party with trying things. I am also literally usually late to parties because I’m kind of a loser that way (but I digress, and anyway, the cool kids never show up early to parties). I am now a fan of this amazing rice substitute, and I am actually quite surprised that I haven’t had it more often. It’s filling because its a veg, and since most of eating is psychological, you can definitely feel as though you’re eating actual rice when you’re not. I’m not a big fan of substitute foods unless absolutely necessary or called for. I like real foods, with whole stuff and full everything — full -fat, whole grains and whole foods, and actual rice– no substituting anything. But, sometimes you feel like having cauliflower instead, or sometimes you wanna cut a few calories. Whatever the reason may be, this delicious stir-fry should satisfy your taste buds. And although this meal is absolutely #dumpskillet worthy, everything I used was fresh so I didn’t want to put it that category. However, this would of course still taste great with some older produce.

cauliflower rice stir fry

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups cauliflower rice (you can purchase it at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, or make your own)
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets (fresh or frozen is fine)
  • 1-2 cups edamame
  • 2 medium-sized carrot sticks, diced
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, removed from stems
  • 1 small lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the carrots and mushroom to the skillet and saute for approximately 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add broccoli florets to skillet and continue to saute an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring the veggie mixture frequently.
  4. Add cauliflower rice to skillet and stir rice into veggies until well mixed.
  5. Let sit over heat for approximately 1-2 minutes, then add soy sauce, salt and garlic powder.
  6. Stir all seasoning thoroughly into the stir-fry, mixing rice and veggies together and stirring frequently so the veggies do not burn.
  7. Add edamame to stir-fry and reduce heat to low.
  8. Mix edamame and about half of the 1/4 cup of cilantro into stir-fry and continue to stir the mixture occasionally. Leave on low heat for approximately another 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  9. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of the lime into the stir-fry and mix well. Slice the remaining half into lime wedges.
  10. Transfer stir-fry to serving plate and garnish with remaining cilantro and lime wedges.

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 11/4/18

Lemon Ginger Dressing

As you may all know by now, I love salads. Because of that, you may have also figured out that I love salad dressings. Well, I guess one doesn’t automatically equal the other, but in this case, it’s true. I love salad dressings and all dressings and sauces in general. I feel like they can really make a meal if used correctly (or break a meal if used incorrectly!). During my week on a raw diet, I created a sauce for the first time and it was really fun and exciting knowing I made it entirely from scratch — dressings are actually one of my favorite things to experiment with in the kitchen now. It’s kinda fun putting a bunch of stuff in a blender and seeing how it all turns out, especially when you have certain flavors in mind that you want to achieve. The flavors in this dressing are are inspired by Trader Joe’s Almond Butter Turmeric Salad Dressing. I’ve never tasted the TJ’s version, so the only thing that is spot-on about this recipe is the color, but whether or not it tastes as good as the TJ’s version, it definitely holds its own flavor-wise. Making dressings has also taught me a certain level of discipline– I know it sounds weird, but let me explain. I can be impatient and don’t usually like to wait for things, even when I’m making it– so I had to learn patience when blending ingredients together because creating the flavors forced me to add ingredients in small increments to see if the flavor was there yet and not overdo it; I also had to learn to wait for dressings to settle for a few minutes so the ingredients could “mesh” together–sometimes even waiting overnight for the full flavor profile to develop. So yes, making dressing has taught me patience and understanding. Who needs therapy when you can just cook?

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What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (almond butter can be used instead)

What to Do:

  1. Place about half the lemon juice, turmeric, peanut butter, ginger and black pepper in a blender.
  2. Blend until ingredients are smooth, adding the remainder of the liquid in small increments until all the lemon juice has been added.
  3. If the dressing does not blend fully, stop blending and remove the dressing from the sides of the blender, placing it back in the center using a spatula or similar thin kitchen utensil. Continue to blend until dressing has reached a smooth, creamy consistency.

* The dressing will have a tart lemon flavor with this recipe. I loved it but if you want less of a tart flavor, you can substitute the 1/2 cup lemon juice for 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1/4 cup room temperature water. Or play around with the measurements to reach the desired flavor, but be careful of adding too much liquid or the dressing will be very runny.

Date posted on Instagram: 10/24/18

Spanish Tofu Salad

I’ve almost come full circle in the year that I’ve been vegan. I started making big and delicious salads again, but the difference is I slightly refined the flavors and ingredients just a bit, or at least it feels that way. In all of my cooking and experimenting over this past year, I like to tell myself that the recipe for this salad uses seasoned tofu in a much cooler way than I would have used it when I first became vegan and when I first started making big salads as main meals. But the goal isn’t to be cooler, it’s to be a more informed amateur chef that makes delicious and nutritious food that people will want to eat. With maybe just a little bit of cool factor thrown in 😉

Spanish tofu salad

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/3 block firm organic tofu, drained and cubed
  • 1 can pinto beans, water drained with about 1/4-1/2 a can of liquid*
  • Approximately 3 cups of mustard greens, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large salad tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 medium avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (removed from stems)
  • 2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp adobo seasoning
  • 1 pack Goya sazon seasoning
  • 2-3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium-sized non-stick skillet over low heat.
  2. Add water-drained beans to skillet and heat for approximately 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add entire pack of sazon seasoning and stir into beans thoroughly. Continue to heat beans, stirring frequently, until the beans are heated through.
  4. Once beans are warm, remove skillet from heat and transfer beans to a bowl, spooning them into the dish and draining as much liquid as possible with each spoonful to keep inside the skillet. Set beans aside and keep the skillet with the liquid in it.
  5. Return the skillet to heat and raise heat to medium. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet and let heat for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add cubed tofu to skillet and stir into olive oil and left over liquid, mixing the sazon seasoned liquid thoroughly into the tofu so it absorbs the color and flavor (carefully so you don’t tear the tofu pieces!).
  7. Add red chili pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley and adobo seasonings to tofu. Mix well and continue to pan-fry tofu, pressing the pieces down with a spatula every so often to create a little bit of a golden brown layer on the pieces. Remove from heat.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, add mustard greens, red bell pepper, tomato, cilantro, 2 tbsp olive oil and vinegar. Mix together well and transfer to your serving bowl.
  9. Spoon about half the beans around the salad mix.
  10. Top with seasoned tofu and garnish with avocado slices and serve.

Here is my water-draining technique, which is basically a way to mix water with the thicker water in the can so that you have a slightly thick liquid to work with that is somewhere in the middle of water and the juice in the can. In my opinion it’s better to use when you want to add water to beans when heating them on the stove top.

Date Posted on Instagram: 10/22/18

Spaghetti Bolognese with Pan-Fried Zucchini

This is another classic Italian dish that has been veganized. I was also going to take credit for veggitizing the sauce, until I found out that traditional bolognese sauce already has veggies in it. However, I might be able to take credit for “re-veggitizing” the sauce, because I added my own mix of veggies other than the traditional variety. By veggitizing something, my goal is to add veggies to every meal, even meals that don’t usually have veggies associated with them. This dish may not fall into that category, but give me a meal and I’ll find a way to add veggies to it. Tofu scram? Add veggies. Lasagna? Veggie lasagna. Strawberry shortcake? Strawberry shortcake with broccoli! Okay, this system may not be perfected just yet.

spaghetti bolognese closeup

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 1/2 cups Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles (1 bag)
  • 1 box of spaghetti, use about 1/2 the box of noodles (I used Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Spaghetti)
  • 1 large zucchini squash (I mixed half yellow and half green)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 2-3 tsp salt
  • about 1/2 tsp of additional salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Slice a little more than 1/2 of the zucchini into thin slices. Set aside. Cut the remaining squash into small cubed pieces. This will be used in the sauce. Set aside.
  2. Bring approximately 2-3 cups water to a boil in a medium-sized pot.
  3. Add spaghetti to pot and let boil for several minutes, according to the instructions of the type of pasta you’re using (less time for al dente, more time for softer noodles). Remove noodles from heat, drain and set aside.
  4. In a medium to large-sized skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat.
  5. Once hot, add chopped onion and saute for approximately 1-2 minutes. Add chopped garlic, stir to mix with onion, and continue to saute for another minute or so.
  6. Add entire bag of beefy crumbles and stir into onion and garlic mixture. Heat crumbles for about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Lower heat to a simmer and add sauce to skillet.
  8. Let sauce simmer over low heat for approximately 5-7 minutes, until sauce and beefy crumbles are fully heated through.
  9. Add cubed zucchini, fresh basil and salt to sauce and stir. Let simmer for another minute, then remove from heat.
  10. In a separate skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  11. Once hot, place zucchini slice in oil in one even layer, and pan-fry the slices until they are golden brown on each side (as pictured); approximately 2-4 minutes per side.
  12. Remove the zucchini slices from the oil and place them on a paper towel or cloth to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
  13. Transfer a serving of pasta to a serving dish and place a serving of the bolognese sauce on top of the pasta.
  14. Add side of zucchini on dish and serve.

 

Date Posted on Instagram: 9/28/18

Pesto Tofu and Sprouts Salad

I like meals that tell a story. Either they have a story behind them, or they tell a visual story when eating them. This dish is very visual. On my Instagram account, I mention in the caption that it reminds me of being underwater. It’s almost reminiscent of a clam shell that opened up to reveal all the pesto-y, tofu-y, sprout-y goodness inside. But ya know what? I may very well be the only person that sees this story, and that’s okay. But hopefully it tells a story– any sort of story, to you too. And maybe I should be less philosophical and dreamy about it. If my dishes say nothing to you other than “eat me”, that’s fine too. So long as they don’t say anything negative, I’m a happy girl. Actually, I take that back. Even if they do say something negative, that’s alright, because I’ve decided not to care what other people think abou– okay that’s a lie. I put a lot of thought and work into my food, so please don’t say anything negative about it, okay?

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What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 block of firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 full head of red leaf lettuce
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, slice in half with stems intact
  • 1/4 cup sprouts (broccoli, alfalfa, any kind!)
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s vegan kale, cashew and basil pesto
  • 7 full leaves of mint, finely minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add cubed tofu and pan-fry for approximately 5 minutes until very lightly golden brown.
  3. Add baby bellas and continue to saute for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Transfer tofu and mushrooms to a glass or metal bowl or container. Add pesto and mint and mix together until tofu and mushrooms are fully coated.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together rice vinegar, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper to create the dressing.
  6. Add dressing to coated tofu mixture and stir well.
  7. Open entire head of lettuce from the center and place on a serving dish. To make it easier to tear apart, gently slice the stem of the lettuce, but try to keep the entire head of lettuce intact.
  8. Spread tofu and mushroom mixture in the center of lettuce.
  9. Sprinkle the top with sprouts and serve.

 

Date Posted on Instagram: 9/25/2018

 

 

Indian Stir-fry

Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines. I love all food, but I don’t think I’d ever turn down Indian food. A stir-fry is typically associated with Asian culture — specifically Chinese cuisine. India is in Asia too, but technically, it’s South Asia. So, although this stir-fry has a title that indicates it is different from your typical Chinese stir-fry, it’s all the same good food, from people on the same continent but in different regions. Instead of considering this dish a mashup of East meets West, consider it a mashup of North meets South. And I’ll pat myself on the back for creating another multi-cultural masterpiece.

Indian Stir-fry

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, finely chopped (fresh or frozen is fine; I usually go fresh with broccoli)
  • 1 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped*  (baby bella or white mushrooms can also be used)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (removed from stems)
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2-3 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium-sized skillet (or wok!) over medium heat with olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add red and yellow onion to skillet and saute for approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Add entire can of chickpeas to skillet and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes, moving ingredients around pan sporadically to avoid burning.
  4. Add broccoli and mushrooms and continue to saute. Add in curry powder and salt and stir well into stir-fry. Continue to saute for another 3-4 minutes, stirring ingredients ever so often.
  5. Saute until onions are translucent and broccoli is slightly tender.
  6. Make sure that chickpeas do not burn or become too crispy, unless that is the desired texture you are trying to achieve. Avoid this by stirring the stir-fry frequently.
  7. Remove from heat and stir cilantro into stir-fry. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with additional cilantro.
  8. Serve as is, over basmati rice or with naan bread.

 

*  I used oyster mushrooms because they have a great, meaty texture and I thought it would go well with a stir-fry.

 

Date Posted on Instagram: 9/22/18

Lavender Smoothie

I’ve fallen in love with lavender. I use the oil to help calm me and get rid of headaches. I use the herbs and buds in recipes. It’s such a useful plant and it smells divine and looks beautiful — there really is no downside to using it! For this smoothie, I combined some unique flavors that actually go together very well. I put peanut butter in every smoothie as it is, but I second-guessed putting it in this one. Then I thought, why not? If I’m a recipe developer, how can I develop recipes without experimenting? It’s kind of an oxymoron, but I often second-guess myself when creating new things. Even in the experimental stage, which makes no sense to me, because I know it’s an experiment. Yet, I’ll still question myself. I also don’t like not getting things right on the first try. But before this intro turns into a personal roast of myself and of my amateur-chef shortcomings, I’ll leave it at that and say that this smoothie was an extremely positive result of my recipe experimentation. The end.

Iavender smoothie

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 – 1 1/3 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup of frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon whole lavender buds (I purchased mine at Whole Foods Market)

 

What to Do:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend together.
  2. If your blender has different speed settings, blend on a medium setting until everything is well blended. Otherwise, blend for approximately 20 seconds until everything is well-blended.
  3. Sprinkle additional lavender buds on top of smoothie to garnish.

 

Date posted on Instagram: 9/17/18