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kitchen catch up

I seriously can’t believe how backed up I’ve gotten on posting recipes, it’s really been driving me crazy. So today I’m playing catch up, which means you get six recipes in one post. I mean, what kind of food blogger am I? I wish I had some good reason for blog neglect… traveling? sick dog? busy schedule? Hmm, all possible causes in fact… maybe just laziness? I really hate to think that… Nah, I’m going to blame it on my other love, running. Actually, I’m happy to report that within the past few weeks, I’ve completed a marathon and two half marathons. There, that sounds better. Not only has all the training, planning, preparing, and 4:30am long runs been time consuming, it’s been all consuming. I’ve had to focus a lot of energy, but race season has come to an end, and I’m definitely ready to relax a little. (And stay posted for race reports).

While I may not have been sharing recipes, I have been eating, like a lot. I’ve been making very basic, quick meals full of healthy carbs, fats, and plant-based proteins. I’ve felt strong and energized for activity, experienced quick muscle recovery after workouts, and remained completely injury free despite logging hundreds and hundreds of miles in running this year. All of which I whole-heartedly believe are strongly linked to eating a plant-based, mostly whole foods diet. So, let’s get to it…

#1: roasted red pepper crusted tofu

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package extra firm organic tofu, drained and moisture pressed out
  • roasted red pepper dressing (I used Annie’s Naturals – so, so good)
  • nutritional yeast flakes
  • organic green leaf lettuce, chopped
  • any and every raw vegetable you desire! I used green onion, mushroom, bell pepper, avocado… and pickles ;)… I like so many veggie toppings you can barely see any lettuce, obviously.

Steps:

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. slice tofu in 1″ cubes, in batches coat tofu in dressing, then roll cubes around in nutritional yeast to coat
  3. spread evenly on baking sheet and bake tofu for 20-25 minutes or until browned, flip about half way through
  4. chop salad ingredients and add tofu when done!

 

#2: quinoa veggie super bowl

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Ingredients

  • 1 bunch organic kale, removed from stem, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted butternut squash cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos all-purpose seasoning
  • pineapple salsa

Steps

  1. heat olive oil in non stick skillet over medium heat
  2. add mushroom, onion and kale, let cook about 5 minutes
  3. add garlic and remaining vegetables, season with Bragg’s, cook another 5-7 minutes
  4. remove from heat, stir in quinoa, top with salsa and enjoy

 

#3: spicy curry butternut hummus sandwich with pan-seared tofu

This sandwich was inspired by the most amazing hummus I’ve ever had, made by an independent local vegan family – owner’s of Rabbit Food and featured weekly at the Athens, GA Farmer’s Market

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 package extra firm tofu, drained and moisture pressed out, sliced into 2 large rectangles
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • your favorite bread and sandwich toppings. I went with steamed kale, sautéed zucchini, orange tomatoes, sliced red bell pepper
  • spicy curry butternut hummus

Steps

  1. heat oil over medium high heat, add tofu and let cook on each side about 5-7 minutes, try not to disturb tofu so it browns well
  2. I won’t insult your intelligence… just assemble your sandwich 😉

 

#4: creamy avocado angel hair with sun-dried tomato, kale, mushroom and brussels sprouts

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Ingredients

  • angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 package mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 10- 12 brussels sprouts, chop off ends and slice in half
  • 2 Tb balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tb olive oil

Sauce: adapted from this recipe on my favorite vegan food blog

  • 1 large avocado (halved and pitted)
  • juice from 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup Veganaise
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps

  1. cook desired amount of pasta and drain
  2. sauté onion, mushroom, sundried tomato and garlic about 5-7 minutes, then add kale and stir
  3. sauté brussels sprouts in separate skillet with 2 Tb balsamic vinegar, cook until sprouts are slightly browned, about 15 minutes
  4. meanwhile add all avocado sauce ingredients to high powered blender and blend on high until well combined
  5. stir sauce into mushroom, kale sauté, add to pasta and top with brussels sprouts

 

#5: roasted baby butternut squash

This is great for a quick healthy snack! I picked these up at the farmer’s market and just sliced them in half, scooped out the seeds, drizzled on olive oil, salt and pepper and baked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I never knew squash could be finger food… but it shall be from now on. 😉

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#6: crispy quinoa spinach cakes

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Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tb flour (I used gluten-free, worked great)
  • 2 Tb almond butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 package frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out, pat dry
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomato
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped

Steps

  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees, line baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. mix together in large bowl: egg, flour, almond butter, white wine vinegar
  3. add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well into flour mixture
  4. scoop out desired amount for patties and pat into shape, place on to baking sheet, makes about 8 patties
  5. Cook for 15 minutes. Flip over, then cook another 10 minutes.

 

I recommend making extra quinoa, adding a couple Tb of olive oil, white wine vinegar and a little salt… this goes great with the leftover quinoa cakes!

 

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tofu pizza stuffed portobellos

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This recipe was inspired by my brother, Alex. He suggested we make stuffed Portobello mushrooms… I had tofu, veggies, and marinara sauce on hand… and voila! These were some of the best stuffed mushrooms I’ve ever had, I think Alex agreed. And just to note, I have the coolest little brother ever. Well, he’s not little… I have to reach up to hug him, and I can basically fit both of my feet in one of his shoes. He’s seven years younger than me, which should mean he still seems like a baby, but he doesn’t. He’s a full grown dude, sings bass, and is kicking butt in his second year of veterinary school at UGA, where he also serves as president of the vet school fraternity. He’s about the most genuine, fun to be around, laid-back person you could ever hope to meet. I pretty much adore him, if you can’t tell. And for the first time in our adult lives, we actually live in the same town and make time to hang out on a regular basis.

So, you can imagine my sheer delight when he suggested a weekly sibling dinner party night… he even requested vegetarian meals. We’ve cooked dinner every Tuesday since I moved back. It’s been a blast testing my recipes on him. I mean, I know I love to eat plant-based, but seeing my brother, with his man appetite, feel full and satisfied on veggie dishes gives me a huge feeling of accomplishment. Each week it seems like the recipes get better and better, this week was no exception. These were so good (and easy) it actually blew my mind.

Ingredients:

6 medium sized Portobello mushrooms (remove and chop stems to use in sauté)

2 Tb balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 package extra-firm tofu, crumbled

1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced

4-5 green onions, chopped

1/4 red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 jar marinara sauce (My favorite is Newman’s Own Sockarooni)

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes to taste

Steps:

1. Drain tofu, slice into smaller pieces and press with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Repeat several times with dry paper towels, the more water removed the better tofu cooks. (I usually let it sit wrapped in paper towels with heavy book on top for an hour before cooking it).

2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Rinse mushrooms and pat dry, spread evenly on baking sheet cap side down, and drizzle balsamic vinegar on each.

4. Bake mushrooms for 5 minutes and remove from oven.

5. Meanwhile spray non-stick skillet with cooking spray and turn to medium-high heat.

6. Sauté onions, garlic, bell pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes about 5 minutes.

7. Crumble tofu and stir in, let cook until tofu slightly browned, about 5-10 minutes, add Italian seasoning and red pepper to taste.

8. Stir in jar of marinara sauce and let simmer on low a few more minutes.

9. Spoon tofu mixture into mushroom caps, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 5-10 minutes or until cheese slightly browned.

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Recipes from previous veggie cooking nights:

week 1: homestyle quinoa veggie burgers on pita with hummus, and sautéed zucchini and sweet potato fries

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week 2: paella primavera, similar to this paella recipe but with different vegetables and without the tempeh

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week 3: creamy cauliflower alfredo

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week 4: spaghetti squash spaghetti

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buffalo tofu bites

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It’s raining in Texas today, pouring rain in fact. And everyone says the same thing, “Good, we need it!” Our lakes are only one-third full, according to the news. We had the drought from hell a couple years ago, as in 90 straight days of 100+ degree heat… Austin turned into a desert and is still recovering I guess. I didn’t live here then, but the people who did are still obviously scarred. What does this have to do with tofu, you ask? Nothing! So allow me to attempt a segue…

Something about this wet, soggy day made me want something warm, satisfying, and well… fried. There, I said it. But, I try very hard to avoid sacrificing feeling clean and healthy for a momentary taste craving… like when I had a recent craving for cookies and cream ice cream and overdid it by downing almost a whole pint (ok the whole pint)… and ended up feeling dis-gus-ting. Never worth it, is it? Nope.

So, no fried food today, no way! To the kitchen I went, and out came the tofu, nutritional yeast, and buffalo hot sauce. It just didn’t seem like enough though… too boring. What else could I add to make this extra crispy with golden brown flakes? What in my kitchen is yellow and will stick to tofu… and there it was, ahhh yellow corn grits! Sounded odd to me at first too (not really, I love grits). But in fact, we had a winner.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 block of organic, extra firm tofu, drained and *pressed for about 1 hour
  • 6 Tb nutritional yeast (feel free to use more as you go)
  • 6 Tb grits, uncooked
  • hot sauce, use liberally
  • 3 tsp. avocado oil (or your favorite cooking oil)
  • salt to taste, optional

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Steps:

1. *do ahead of time: cut tofu into smaller even blocks and place on layered paper towels, layer paper towels on top as well and cover with something heavy, such as a book, to press out moisture. Let sit this way in fridge the night before or for about an hour before using.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, line baking sheet with parchment paper or cooking spray.

3. Cut tofu into 1-2″ cubes. Combine nutritional yeast and uncooked grits in a bowl.

4. In batches (about 1/3 of cubes at a time), add to bowl and mix in 1 tsp. oil, hot sauce to taste, salt, 2 Tb nutritional yeast, 2 Tb grits and stir to coat tofu.

5. Spread evenly over baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes (turn tofu once after 15 minutes).

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I drizzled some extra hot sauce on top because I’m a junkie, but it doesn’t need it. You know how the wonderful fragrance of hot sauce tickles your nose and clears your head? My kitchen smells like this right now. In fact, I couldn’t help myself. I had to make roasted buffalo chick peas too… (just rinse and drain them, let dry on a paper towel, mix with a little oil and hot sauce and bake at 400 about 15 minutes).

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These are perfect to add to salads, or eat with your fingers like I’m doing right now. 🙂


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tangy tofu lettuce wraps

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First, a confession: I seriously over-cooked this poor tofu. It turned out more like tofu-jerky… hey, maybe I’m on to something? But rather than wait until I bought more at the store, thereby procrastinating this post even more, I decided to follow through in hopes you’ll let it slide. I mean, it sounded like little rocks hitting the plate…

008I tried to be cool and slice the tofu into a different shape, rather than the characteristic cube, but I see that helps it cook more evenly. But not to worry, coating these babies in my secret weapon (Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce) saved the day. This is my all time favorite BBQ sauce, from right here in Austin. It says it right on the label: “Made right. This is the real deal. And its tangy tomato, vinegar, molasses and black pepper are gonna treat you right.” Also, it contains all-natural, gluten free ingredients. As a BBQ snob from Georgia (from when I used to eat meat), I have to admit this sauce satisfies all the right requirements: thick, smooth, tangy-sweet, and good enough to make charred tofu appealing. Moving on.

The next save the day ingredient is something I’d never tried before, but is now a kitchen staple, Israeli Couscous.  It contains two ingredients: wheat flour and water, and has about the same nutritional profile as the regular smaller grain couscous but slightly less calories, protein and fiber by weight (due to the extra water I’m guessing). It’s not as nutritionally dense as quinoa, which has 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of fat per 1/3 cup uncooked. (Israeli Couscous has 6 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 0.5 grams of fat per 1/3 cup). I really enjoyed it’s nutty flavor and chewy bite. The little bit of stickiness makes it perfect for holding lettuce wraps together, and if you’re looking to shave a few calories, it’s a great option. Plus, it kind of looks like Dippin Dots.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package firm organic tofu
  • 1 Tbsp. oil (I’m on an avocado oil kick)
  • 1 cup Israeli Couscous
  • 1 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (insert favorite… mine is Stubbs)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup raw broccoli florets, chopped small
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced into chunks
  • 4-5 large organic green leaf lettuce stalks

Steps:

  1. Bring vegetable stock to a boil in a 2 qt. pot.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in Israeli Couscous, add tomatoes and broccoli, cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain any excess water and fluff with fork.010
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. avocado oil in non-stick skillet.
  4. Add tofu and sauté until lightly browned, flip pieces to cook evenly, remove from heat and coat in BBQ sauce.
  5. Lay lettuce beds flat on plate and spoon on couscous mixture.
  6. Top with tofu, and add avocado for garnish.
  7. Wrap em up and enjoy!

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You’ll have couscous left over, which I counted as a plus. This really makes for a great, healthy light meal, and it’s quick and easy. My suggestion? Now that football season is here (finally!!), make these as a perfect game-watching side to bring to get togethers and cook-outs! Sure to be a crowd pleaser. And on that note, Go Dirty Birds!! 🙂