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

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

 

 

Taco Salad

Who doesn’t love tacos? After I thought about it, I realized that since going vegan, I hadn’t actually had any tacos or burritos — seriously! I’ve had variations of taco salads (this one included), but I haven’t made or bought any true, delicious, Mexican tacos or burritos. I haven’t even had any fast-food goodies from Taco Bell (hello bean burrito!) or Chipotle (mas sofritas por favor!). This made me both elated and concerned. I was elated when I realized I hadn’t eaten Chipotle or Taco Bell in a year. But I was concerned because what kind of normal, functioning human being goes one full year without having any tacos or burritos??

Taco salad

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/4 cup of Beyond Meat beefy crumbles
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 can of corn, drained (frozen corn can also be used)
  • About 2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded or chopped
  • 1/2 large avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 large salad tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup So Delicious cheddar jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti‘s better than sour cream)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • **OPTIONAL**: 1 tablespoon white vinegar

 

What to Do:

  1.  Heat a skillet over medium heat with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add onion and let saute for approximately 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add black beans and corn to skillet and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add in beefy crumbles, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir seasoning and crumbles into beans and corn thoroughly and continue to saute all ingredients until crumbles are heated and cooked through and onion becomes completely translucent. Remove from heat.
  5. If using vinegar, place romaine in a medium sized mixing bowl and add vinegar. Mix vinegar into lettuce until coated. Transfer lettuce to serving bowl.
  6. Spread cubed avocado and chopped tomato on top of the bed of lettuce.
  7. Spoon some of the taco mixture into the center of the salad, and sprinkle with the cheddar jack.
  8. Serve with salsa and sour cream as the dressing or add your own dressing.

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 7/20/2018