Veggie and Tofu Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowls were one of my first obsessions after discovering vegan Instagram. I loved looking at the fancy and beautifully plated bowls, with yummy ingredients placed in circles over and over again. There were endless combos and variations. Some of my favorite vegan Instagrammers feature only buddha bowls and they are the epitome of vegan eye candy. I doubt I’ll ever be on their level, but this is my first attempt at creating a filling, healthy and beautiful buddha bowl!

Veggie and Tofu Buddha Bowl

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/3 of a block of medium-firm organic tofu, cubed
  • 1/2 of one small head of green cabbage, chopped*
  • 2 cups of fresh green beans (you can also use frozen but for certain recipes I prefer to use fresh– this is one of those recipes!)*
  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen broccoli florets
  • 4 full leaves of kale, chopped
  • 1/8 cup of red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/8 cup of yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3-4 tablespoons of sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of Trader Joe’s EBTB seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • About 10 tablespoons of olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Heat a skillet on low-medium heat with 2 tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Add cabbage and saute for about 5-7 minutes. Add about 1/4 cup of water and continue to saute until desired tenderness is reached. Set aside.
  3. Repeat this veggie saute method by adding 2 tablespoons of oil and sauteing each of the other veggies until all four veggies have been sauteed. For the green beans, add the peppers to the skillet first and saute those for about 2-3 minutes before adding the green beans.
  4. Use the last 2 tablespoons of oil to saute the cubes of tofu. Saute the tofu for approximately 7-10 minutes or until all pieces are golden brown, adding the EBTB seasoning to the tofu about 5 minutes into the saute. Remove from heat.
  5. Transfer tofu to the center of a serving bowl.
  6. Transfer each sauteed veggie to the serving bowl in a circular fashion around tofu (as in the picture).
  7. Sprinkle everything in the bowl with sesame seeds. Bon appetit!

 

 

* Although I make 100% of the majority of my recipes, I have to shout out my amazing mother; 2 of the veggies in this buddha bowl– the green beans with peppers and the cabbage, were actually made by her and I made the bowl with those leftover veggies! Upcoming bowls will likely be made by me, but I will undoubtedly use her veggies whenever she blesses me with more!

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 5/5/18

Charred Brussel Sprout and Carrot Salad with Raspberry Dressing

This was the last salad I made (and second to last that I posted) using seasonal winter veggies — specifically brussel sprouts and carrots. I wanted to make a salad that had a hearty feel and flavor to it but also still felt light in feel and flavor. My solution? Char some hearty veggies, but use a sweetly flavored, light dressing. Mission accomplished.

Charred Brussel Sprout Salad

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup spring mix greens
  • 1 cup of brussel sprouts, quartered
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, sliced
  • 1 medium avocado, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar (link below to see the type I used!*)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Heat a skillet on medium heat with 2 tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Once oil is hot, add brussel sprouts and carrots (be careful of oil splatter!) and pan-fry for approximately 8-9 minutes or until the sprouts  and carrots are mostly tender and get a crispy, charred coating on the outer layer. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add spinach and spring mix.
  4. Add charred brussel sprouts and carrots to salad mix.
  5. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and raspberry vinegar and toss salad to cover in oil and vinegar dressing.
  6. Transfer salad to serving bowl and top with avocado cubes. Bon appetit!

 

 

* Alessi white balsamic vinegar, raspberry blush:

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 4/11/18

Seared Tofu “chicken” with Daikon Purée and Radish Variation

Here’s another dish I recreated as part of my restaurant menu challenge — this is the a recreation of the chicken breast dish that was being served this past winter.

As a reminder, while working there, I’ve challenged myself to try to “veganize” some of the dishes on the menu — this is my second attempt. You can follow the challenge on my Instagram page — it’s under the hashtag #veganclocktowerchallenge!

Clocktower Winter Chicken Breast Dish

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/3 of a a block of firm organic tofu (do not cut the slice up, leave it as one whole rectangular slice, as in the picture)
  • I small daikon
  • Approximately 1 cup of small cherry belle radishes
  • 3 tablespoons essential seasoning blend*
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • container with airtight lid (to marinate the tofu in)
  • Cast-iron skillet**

 

What to Do:

Prep Work:

  1. Place tofu block in container and sprinkle with seasoning blend. Make sure all of the block is fully covered on both sides. Put lid on and place container in fridge to marinate, approximately 1 hour.
  2. Slice whole daikon in half lengthwise. Utilize the upper part (that has the stem      and leaves) for the radish variation in the next step. Set aside the lower part.
  3. Slice the daikon into pieces lengthwise and width-wise — include some pieces that have the stem in it to add variation to the dish (as in the picture). Include some other variations of slices as well, such as whole discs and hollowed discs (as in the picture, or be creative and create your own unique variation!)
  4. Slice cherry belle radishes in half.
  5. While tofu is marinating, you can begin to prepare the puree.

 

Daikon Puree:

  1. Slice the remaining half of the daikon into pieces.
  2. Boil approximately 2 cups of water in a saucepan.
  3. Add daikon pieces to boiling water and boil for about 7-8 minutes or until all pieces are fork tender.
  4. Once daikon is soft, drain pieces and place in food processor or blender.
  5. Heat vegetable broth in the microwave or on the stovetop until warm (but not          scolding hot because you will be adding it to the blender/food processor).
  6. Add 2-3 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 cup of coconut milk to blender/ food processor.
  7. Pulse blend the daikon until smooth.
  8. If necessary, add the warmed vegetable broth to the puree in small amounts to thin it out, and pulse blend again after each addition of broth, until the entire 1/4 cup is used. You want the puree to be the consistency of smooth baby food.*** Set puree aside.

 

Radish Variation:

  1.  In a skillet, heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil on low heat.
  2. Once hot, add daikon and cherry belle radish slices.
  3. Saute, stirring often so that daikon and radish do not burn or brown. (The additional oil, the low heat and the stirring are all for the purpose of helping the radishes to not burn or brown—you want them to become tender but not browned or charred like in other recipes.)
  4. Continue to saute for approximately 10 minutes (continuing to stir frequently) or until radish and daikon are tender. Remove from heat.

 

Tofu “chicken”:

  1. After an hour, remove marinated tofu from fridge and let it become room temperature.
  2. Heat cast-iron skillet on high heat with oil 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Let the cast-iron skillet get hot– to test the skillet, place a drop of water with your finger into the oil after a few minutes. If the oil sizzles and pops a little (be careful of oil splatter!), the skillet is ready.
  4. Place the tofu “chicken” piece flat in the center of the skillet (again, be careful of splatter!) and let it sear for approximately 5-6 minutes. Do not turn, move or flip the tofu as it sears– let it get a nice, crispy coating and caramelize.
  5. Move the pan a bit and if the tofu piece slides then it is ready to be flipped.
  6. If all of the oil has soaked up, lift the tofu with a spatula and add about 1/2 a tablespoon of oil to the pan (leave it on high heat. Wait about 45 second to a minute after adding the additional oil before placing the tofu back in the pan) and place tofu back in skillet on the opposite side that has not been seared yet.
  7. Sear for another 5-6 minutes.
  8. Once again, test readiness by sliding the pan– if tofu piece slides, then the sear is complete.
  9. The tofu should have a golden brown crispness to it and the seasoning should have caramelized a bit (as in the picture).

 

  • Spoon some of the puree onto serving dish.
  • Place seared tofu next to puree.
  • Place sautéed radish variation on top of puree. Bon appetit!**

 

* Essential seasoning blend can be found on the recipes page.

** A cast-iron skillet is best for searing. You can definitely use a non-stick skillet, especially since this recipe is using tofu and not beef, but cast-iron still gives the best flavor and will probably help seal the flavor of the spices in better.

*** My puree came out a little grainy; if you look closely, you can see.  To avoid this, make sure that you pulse blend the daikon and stop the blending a few times to spoon any chunky pieces off the sides and bottom. Keep blending until completely smooth. This was my first attempt at a puree so that’s my excuse, lol.

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 3/26/18

Avocado Toast!

One of the best and most classic meals for vegans and non-vegans alike, this is one of many variations of avo toast I have enjoyed and will be making!

Avocado Toast - Sourdough

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 slices of bread of your choice — for this recipe I used sourdough**
  • 1 medium sized avocado (that is a little past ripe and getting just a little soft — this makes it easier to mash up)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 lime for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)

 

What to Do:

  1. Lightly toast sourdough bread, either in a toaster or in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil. Slice pieces in half.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, empty whole avocado inside. Mash with a fork until almost smooth, with no more chunks of avocado (If you prefer chunkier avocado mash, then don’t mash as much).
  3. Add salt to avocado mash and mix.
  4. Evenly spread avo mash onto all four segments of toast.
  5. Sprinkle smoked paprika on top.
  6. Slice lime in half — use as garnish or sprinkle lime juice on top of toast for an acidic kick.

** I normally prefer any bread that has lots of grains and/or seeds, and is bare minimum wheat based — so anything that isn’t plain white bread, which is the most processed…however, I did use sourdough bread in this recipe because due to the way the dough is made it is one of the healthier “white breads” because it aids in lessening bloat and eases digestion — something to do with the fermentation process of the yeast; look it up!

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 1/22/18

Butcher Block Veggies and Fries

The perfect mix of healthy and indulgent! You won’t feel guilty when you balance out french fries with veggies!

Butcher block Veggies and Fries

What You’ll Need:

  • About 2 full leaves of kale, chopped
  • 1 cup of canned string beans (can also use fresh; either way, organic is preferred)
  • About 1 cup fresh (or frozen) broccoli florets
  • About 4-5 white button mushrooms, sliced (cremini mushrooms can be used also)
  • 1 bag of frozen crinkle-cut french fries (or make your own fresh fries!)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of essential seasoning blend**
  • Sriracha hot sauce (optional)

 

What to Do:

  1. Heat oven to required temperature and prepare french fries according to instructions on a large baking sheet.
  2. While french fries are baking, heat a medium-sized pan on low-medium heat with olive oil in it.
  3. Once hot, add broccoli to pan first (especially if using frozen; also, be careful of oil splatter!), then add in other veggies in 1 minute intervals, adding the kale last.
  4. Stir in essential seasoning blend.
  5.  Saute the veggies until kale is tender and onions are translucent and some of them have browned/caramelized a bit, approximately 5-7 minutes . You can stop the saute before the veggies begin to caramelize, but I love the caramelized flavor so I suggest trying it this way at least once! Remove from heat.***
  6. Transfer veggie saute to serving dish.
  7. Once french fries have cooked, serve on the side of veggies.
  8. If desired, add sriracha to veggies for extra flavor kick! Bon appetit!

 

** Essential seasoning blend can be found on the recipes page.

*** This veggie saute can be changed to incorporate veggies that you like! The ones I used are some of my favorite vegetables, but add in different ones to create your own butcher block veggie saute!

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 1/16/18