Spicy Asian Slaw

I’ve never been a fan of coleslaw. Before I was vegan, I hated coleslaw. After I became vegan, I hated coleslaw. There’s never really been any version of coleslaw that I’ve liked. Then, one day I realized that the main reason I didn’t like coleslaw was because every time I had it, it was always mushy. And I have texture issues with mushy food. As I dug deeper into my disdain for for this BBQ side dish staple, I realized another reason I didn’t like it was because I wasn’t crazy about the combo of veggies that was often found in it. So, I set out to make my own slaw, because that’s what food is all about. Creating new flavors; taking the old and breathing new life into it, reinventing dishes and creating entirely new flavors altogether. It’s taken some time, but I’m finally starting to break away from the limitations I put on myself with food. I’m making sweet tofu scrams, experimenting with the flavor of veggies and just doing whatever I want because that’s usually how the best dishes are created. A little bit of creativity, a little bit of science, and in my case, a whole lotta crazy.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup beets, spiralized (you can buy them pre-spiralized or spiralize them yourself)
  • 1/2 cup Bosc pear, diced
  • 3-4 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
  • Additional cilantro for garnish
  • 1/4 cup wasabi mayo*

What to Do:

  1. on a cutting board, slice the spiralized beets roughly to create smaller shreds and spirals. Leave some different lengths but try not to have any pieces that are more than 2-3 inches in length.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beet spirals, red cabbage, scallion and pear.
  3. Mix until well blended.
  4. Add the wasabi mayo and mix again until mayo is well blended into the slaw.
  5. Add cilantro and mix into the slaw.
  6. Transfer slaw to a serving dish and garnish with more fresh cilantro; you can enjoy alone or as a side with another meal. I also used this slaw as a filling for some delicious summer rolls!**

* To make the wasabi mayo, combine 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used Trader Joe’s vegan spread and dressing) and 1 heaping tbsp. of wasabi paste. Mix the two items together vigorously until well blended. You can find wasabi paste in the Asian or international foods section of your local grocery, or go to an Asian market.

** This recipe is for a small batch of slaw that will yield about 2-3 servings. The dressing measurements also allow for the slaw to remain crunchy and not become soggy, even after sitting overnight. To make a larger batch, simply double the amounts of everything, but try to keep the ratios of dry and wet ingredients the same so you do not make the slaw too wet.

 

Date posted on Instagram: 12/16/18

Charred Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are another food I’ve actually been a fan of since way before going vegan. They were a staple in any salad I ever made; in fact, they were my preferred salad tomato– way more so than actual salad tomatoes, which ironically are now my favorite salad tomatoes. But I never really sought out variety in the tiny little orbs of juicy tomato goodness, and it wasn’t until after I was vegan that I became aware of all the beautiful variations cherry tomatoes had to offer. I used to be embarrassed to talk about how limited my food knowledge was pre-vegan, until I realized two things: 1) I wasn’t alone. There are plenty of people who don’t have a vast knowledge of these things, plenty of people who grew up eating like crap and living in a bubble when it came to fresh food awareness and knowledge. 2) I didn’t want to feel like a poser, pretending to know about all the varieties of fruits and veggies that exist out there, as if I was some great food God gifted with all the knowledge of plant-foods, never needing to learn and grow like everyone else. So why not be honest about everything I learn about along the way, hopefully inspiring others to grow their fresh, whole-foods knowledge as well? Wow, who knew cherry tomatoes could be so powerful?

charred cherry tomatoes closeup

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of rainbow cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh parsley to garnish
  • 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fire source such as a stove burner, torch, or other safe source that can provide a flame*

 

What to Do:

  1.  Turn stove-top burner on medium to high heat.
  2. Poke a very small hole at one end of the tomato with a fork. This hole is for ventilation.
  3. Remove fork and puncture the tomato again with another tiny hole, this time leaving the fork inside to hold the tomato.
  4. Place tomato directly over flame, holding it in position for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Rotate tomato around flame to char the other sides of the tomato. The skin will pop and peel due to the heat. It may also make some noise, but this is normal — make sure you have the vent hole in each tomato!
  6. Repeat this process with each tomato. This may feel a bit time consuming but it shouldn’t take longer than 15-20 minutes, depending on how many tomatoes you are charring. If you have a metal skewer stick, you can place multiple tomatoes on it at once to make the process quicker. Make sure you are using metal and not a wooden skewer, as the wood will burn.
  7. Transfer charred tomatoes to a serving dish. Add olive oil and gently mix into tomatoes.
  8. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

 

 

 

* I used a stove-top burner for this recipe. I believe most chefs use a torch to char food, so it may be easier to use that method. If you have a torch on hand, by all means use it! If you have another fire source that can achieve the same affect, use that!. I think a stove-top is the most economical way to make this recipe. It also feels like making tomato s’mores, so that’s always fun.

 

Date posted on Instagram: 9/3/2018

Cracked Black Pepper and Mushroom Alfredo Sauce (Raw)

I LOVE alfredo sauce. Unfortunately, the classic and traditional style of this sauce is filled with dairy. However, one of the most beautiful things about my vegan journey has been discovering all the foods I can still eat without dairy or meat in them. This is another recipe I created during my raw vegan week challenge. If I’m being 100% honest, I was kind of surprised at how good it turned out! If you’ve had a chance to read my blog post on my week of eating raw, it was so good that it literally gave me the energy boost I needed to continue with the challenge during mid-week when I was getting a little tired of eating uncooked food and missed all my hot goodies. It truly reminded me of the alfredo sauces I used to eat– rich, creamy, and flavorful. So try it out and don’t say I didn’t warn you — it may very well be addictive!

raw cracked black pepper and mushroom alfredo

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of your favorite plant-milk (I used almond milk)*
  • 3-4 tablespoons of tahini
  • 3/4 cup unsalted cashews (can be raw but not required)
  • 1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms (cremini)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped thickly
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

 

What to Do:

  1.  Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Pulse sauce in intervals until well blended.
  3. You want the sauce to be smooth and creamy; add more milk if necessary.
  4. Serve over noodles or veggies. Taste great as a raw recipe but can be heated up as well.

 

* I think almond or soy may be the best for this recipe because they are both a little thicker. Oat milk for example, is slightly thinner and the goal is to have a rich sauce. But experiment and see what works best for you and your taste buds!

** this recipe can also be made nut-free by omitting the cashews and replacing them with an additional 1 tbsp. of tahini (so, about 5 tbsp. total) and an additional 1/2 tbsp. of nutritional yeast. Combine all ingredients and blend, as in the original instructions.

 

Date posted on Instagram: 7/17/18

**Updated: June 14, 2019**

Tangy Aioli

Sauces are great. I love fries with ketchup. I love nuggets with BBQ or sweet and sour sauce. I love tofu scram or breakfast potatoes with salsa. The list goes on. I also love a good multi-purpose, tangy sauce. And this aioli is just that. Fun fact: traditionally, an aioli was a mixture of a whole bunch of pounded garlic, mixed into an egg, lemon juice and olive oil concoction. Today, an aioli is pretty much interchangeable with mayo, but, I usually here “aioli” used when referring to more flavorful sauces than your typical, plain mayonnaise. Not only is this aioli just as sandwich-friendly as mayo, it’s anything but plain.

IMG_6472

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used Trader Joe’s Vegan Spread and Dressing)
  • 3-4 tablespoons Thai chili sauce (I used a garlic chili pepper sauce by a brand called A Taste of Thai)*
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley
  • the juice of 1/2 large lemon or 1 small lemon
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to Do:

  1.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix all ingredients together well and adjust seasoning amounts if necessary to suit your taste.

* This sauce is amazing! Since finding it at Whole Foods, I put it on almost everything! It has a very low heat index and focuses more on flavor. It’s SO good! It’s perfect for this aioli, but if you can’t find it at your local Whole Foods Market or are not located near a Whole Foods, simply look for a Thai chili sauce or a chili sauce at any ethnic (Asian or Indian) market, at any big-box store, Target, and of course, check your local supermarkets!

Date posted on Instagram: 8/25/18

(not posted on it’s own but as a drizzled sauce over crab cakes!)

Sautéed Swiss Chard

This was my first time using swiss chard. The leaves were a little bitter to taste (which I later found out is a common occurrence, ha), and I thought adding vinegar would counter that — I also served them with something sweeter to balance it out. I got a few differing opinions on these greens, one saying that the bitterness came from the stems and that I should de-stem them. However, I also asked a chef who works in a kitchen that is currently serving a dish that uses swiss chard, stems and all. They told me that younger leaves may be better. Still not entirely sure, but I liked the way these turned out, so I’m happy either way.

img_4996-e1531289217856.jpg

 

What You’ll Need:

  • Approximately 5-6 full leaves of swiss chard, chopped, with stems cut off and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Heat a skillet on low to medium heat with olive oil.
  2. Once hot, place swiss chard in skillet and stir to mix with olive oil.
  3. Add salt and pepper and stir.
  4. Saute swiss chard for approximately 3-4 minutes, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
  5. dd vinegar to skillet and mix well with chard.
  6. Simmer chard in vinegar for approximately 2-3 minutes.
  7. Return heat to low to medium and stir chard occasionally until most of vinegar has absorbed into chard.
  8. Add more salt and pepper to taste is necessary. Bon appetit!

 

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 6/28/18

Balsamic Ginger Glazed Carrots

These carrots were insane. Although glazed carrots scream autumn, I needed something to counter the taste of the swiss chard I was making for a dish. I thought sweet would counter bitter. That’s the only reason I decided to make glazed carrots — but this was the embodiment of necessity being the mother of invention! Okay, so I know I didn’t invent glazed carrots, but these were seriously good. And I would have never thought to make them if it weren’t for the swiss chard. Well, maybe I would have thought to make them for like, Thanksgiving or something — but that’s a really long time away. Okay, just make these carrots because they taste amazing.

Balsamic Glaze carrots close up

What You’ll Need:

  • Approximately 1/2 pound of organic baby carrots, stems removed (I got mine from the farmer’s market)
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • glass container with lid (big enough to fit carrots)
organic baby carrots
Organic baby carrots.

What to Do:

  1. Wash carrots thoroughly.
  2. Place baby carrots in container and add vinegar and ginger; mix carrots into vinegar mixture well until all carrots are covered.
  3. Cover container with lid and place in fridge. Let carrots marinate for an hour, minimum 30 minutes.
  4. Remove carrots from fridge and set aside to become room temperature.
  5. Heat a skillet on low to medium heat with olive oil in it.
  6. Once hot, remove carrots from container and add to skillet. Add salt to carrots and stir into olive oil; let saute for approximately 3 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to a simmer and add remaining balsamic marinade to skillet. Stir marinade into carrots.
  8. Let carrots simmer for approximately 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  9. Add agave to skillet, and stir into carrots well.
  10. Turn up heat to low and let carrots saute, stirring frequently to avoid agave from burning and sticking on the pan.
  11. Saute carrots for approximately 4 more minutes or until carrots are tender and have started to gain a caramelized glaze. Remove from heat. Bon appetit!

Date posted on Instagram: 6/28/18

Garden Blossom Buddha Bowl

I have become obsessed with buddha bowls for many reasons:

  1. They are usually super filling meals if you put the right stuff in ’em.
  2. They look so cute with everything arranged all pretty and tidy next to each other.
  3. They’re called buddha bowls. Buddha. Bowls. I mean, come on.

I’ve made several of them recently, and this one was inspired by the change of seasons. It’s finally summer and what’s better than relishing in all of the beauty of nature that spring has been working so hard to bring us? We now have 3 months to sniff flowers, run through forests, and lay in lush gardens full of greenery to our hearts content. Thanks Mother Nature; you da bomb.

garden blossom buddha bowl

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 block of medium-firm organic tofu
  • 2 strips vegan bacon (I used Lightlife smart bacon)
  • 1/4 cup vegan shredded cheese (I used So Delicious shredded cheddar jack)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • Approximately 5-6 baby bella mushroom caps, stems removed and sliced
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 large orange, cut into segments (I left the skin on)
  • Approximately 5-6 sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon Trader Joe’s chili-lime seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Cast iron skillet (to cook bacon and peppers in)

What to Do:

  1.  Heat cast iron skillet on low to medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.*
  2. Once hot, add bacon slices and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on what brand of bacon you’re using (this is how I prepare the Lightlife bacon!).
  3. Once bacon is done, remove from skillet and set aside on a dry cloth to drain.
  4. Return the cast iron skillet to heat and add in the sliced green peppers.
  5. Saute the peppers for approximately 2 minutes.
  6. Add chili-lime seasoning and stir into peppers. Continue to saute for approximately 5-6 minutes until peppers are tender and the seasoning is browning a little bit. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. Heat a skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  8. Once hot, add the block of tofu to the skillet and crumble it into pieces with a spatula.**
  9. After tofu has been cooking for about 3-4 minutes, add turmeric and stir into tofu until all tofu is yellow in color.
  10. Cook tofu for another 3-4 minutes, or until you achieve the desired level of light to crispy tofu you would like.***
  11. Transfer scram to the center of a serving dish and sprinkle with cheese.
  12. In a separate skillet (or rinse out the turmeric and use the same skillet as the tofu scram), heat over low to medium heat with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
  13. Once hot, add baby bella caps and sliced stems. Saute mushrooms for approximately 5 minutes, until they have browned. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
  14. Transfer chili-lime peppers to serving dish around the outside of the tofu scramble.
  15. Place sautéed mushrooms next to peppers. (I placed the stems on the bottom and the caps on top so it looked more garden-y.
  16. Place sun-dried tomatoes next to mushrooms.
  17. Place a few orange segments next to the tomatoes.
  18. Crumble bacon into pieces and garnish the top of the tofu scram.
  19. Remove cilantro herb from a few stems and garnish tofu scram with cilantro; place remaining cilantro attached to stem around the dish to create the “garden”. Bon appetit!

PRO TIP: After you’re done plating, take one or two pics for the gram and then drizzle sriracha and ketchup over everythinggg!

* A cast iron skillet isn’t necessary but cast iron skillets create better flavor so I prefer to use them for some things. The flavor of the chili-lime seasoning is so amazing and I think the cast iron brings it out more in the peppers and also enhances the flavor of the bacon. However, if you don’t have a cast iron or you want to use a regular skillet you can do that as well.

** This is one method you can use to crumble the tofu. Personally, I like to crumble it with my hands: I crumble the block of tofu into pieces with my hand as I add it to the skillet. If there are any large chunks that I want to make smaller after crumbling, that is when I will use a spatula to crumble any additional pieces.

*** If you like a more fluffy tofu scram, you can add vegetable broth to the scram as the tofu is cooking. Add about 1 tablespoon of veggie broth halfway through cooking (about 4-5 minutes) and let the the broth fully absorb into the scram!

Date posted on Instagram: 6/17/18