Tag Archives: vegetarian

Warm and Nourishing Vegan Pot Pie

In our home, pie is a point of contention. For me, pies are a lot of work with relatively little payoff. Ryan entirely disagrees, but of course, he’s not the one making the pies.

Vegan-Pot-Pie-Final-4It’s usually the pie crust that pushes me over the edge from “maybe I’ll make that” to “hell no.” I’m too stubborn to buy the pre-made crust, which frequently contains lard. And the idea of cutting butter into flour, rolling out dough, cleaning flour off the counter because, of course, I get flour everywhere…it’s just exhausting.

Pot pie, in particular, is something that took Ryan a long time to sell me on. It was a while before he convinced me that a pot pie can be more than the frozen, pea-filled, slightly fishy tasting, microwaveable flour brick of my childhood. But he asked nicely, if not repetitively, for a vegetable pot pie and how can I deny his cute face?

Vegan-Pot-Pie-Final-2If you aren’t intimidated by a little hard work, this vegan pot pie might just be for you. Or, in my case, your loved ones.

With the holidays just around the corner, this pot pie would be a perfect centerpiece to your vegan Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Or, if you’re like us, it can be one of many centerpieces. The thick and buttery crust holds together a warm and nourishing center that leaves you feeling heavy, contented, and warm.

Vegan-Pot-Pie-Final-3I searched the web for a vegan pot pie recipe, but couldn’t find one that satisfied me. A lot of the recipes seemed to cut corners in some way. Hell, I did too by adding a frozen veggie medley. Part of the reward in cooking such a labor-intensive pie is the process of making it.  It’s clearly a pie for special occasions. One that is made slowly and consumed even slower over a glass of wine and a candlelit dining room table.

Vegan-Pot-Pie-Final-5If you’re concerned about the time it will take to make this during the holidays, don’t worry. You can freeze the assembled pie uncooked and place it in the oven when you’re ready to eat. I doubled the batch and froze an entire pie for later. Definitely worth it.

Nouishing and Warm Vegan Pot Pie
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Vegan
Cuisine: Vegan
Yields: 8 Slices
Ingredients
Double Pie Crust (adapted from Easy as Vegan Pie)
  • 2 ½ cups of flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cups cold non-dairy margarine, cut into chunks (I used earth balance)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp (or more) ice water
Vegan Pot Pie Filling
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small red potato, chopped
  • 1 ½ - 2 cups cup frozen vegetable medley (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Foursome)
  • 6 oz tofu, cut into chunks, (seasoned and pre-cooked optional, but recommended)
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup non-dairy creamer
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 fresh sage leaf, chopped
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
Make the Pie Crust
  1. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl
  2. Using a food processor or a pastry blender cut in the margarine until the mixture has a grainy, wet sand-like texture. Be sure not to over-work the dough. Tip: You want the margarine very cold. I put the chunks of margarine in the freezer while I’m getting everything ready. You don’t want it to freeze, but it works much better.
  3. Sir in the lemon juice.
  4. Then add the ice water into the mixture, one tablespoon at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the texture is smooth and the dough is combined well enough that it sticks together.
  5. Split the dough into two equal-sized round balls. Cover each ball with saran wrap and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare the Filling
  1. In a small dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil. Sauté the onion and chopped red potato until the onions are clear and the potato becomes slightly tender. The potato doesn’t have to be completely cooked at this point.
  2. Add in the tofu and the vegetable medley and cook for an additional five minutes.
  3. Pour the vegetable broth and the non dairy creamer into the pot and wait for it to simmer.
  4. In a separate bowl, create a roux by whisking together the flour with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, the nutritional yeast, and soy sauce.
  5. Add the roux into the pot with the filling, whisking constantly until the flour is well combined.
  6. Throw in a few sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped fresh sage, white pepper, and salt and let the mixture cook for five more minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and let the filling cool slightly. It will thicken as it cools.
Assembly
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. While you’re waiting for your filling to cool, roll out the pie crusts with a rolling pin.
  3. Line the bottom of a pie dish with one of the rolled out crusts.
  4. Pour the filling into the lined pie pan, smoothing the filling out so it appears flat on top.
  5. Complete the pie by adding the second rolled out pie crust on top, pushing the edges together to seal the pie.
  6. Using a sharp knife, add a few slits in the top to vent.
  7. Cover the edges of your pie crust in aluminum foil to prevent them from burning.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes (or 60 minutes if it’s a particularly deep dish pie) removing the aluminum foil after 30 minutes.
  9. Let the pie cool slightly before digging in!

Vegan-Pot-Pie-Final-1I’ve adapted this a couple of different ways. I’ve added Follow Your Heart mozzarella style cheese and  vegan sausage crumbles. Both were very good, but I’d avoid doing both at the same time because it gets a little too salty.

Pin it here!

This warm and nourishing pot pie is perfect for a cool fall day.
This warm and nourishing pot pie is perfect for a cool fall day.

Basic Tofu Scramble

I spent many, many years as a vegetarian before ever trying tofu scramble. I don’t know what I was thinking, because it’s so good. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, you should definitely give it a try because YOLO, right?

Tofu-Scram-7

I’m sure when that acronym was coined, they didn’t have eating tofu in mind.

I was so tempted to write that making tofu scramble is quick and fun, but thought that it sounded gimicky and generic. The truth is, while it doesn’t take long to cook (think scrambled eggs), it is fun. Well, if you think smashing tofu with a fork is fun, which I do.

And here’s where you all tell me to get out more…

I thought I’d hare a really basic tofu scramble, because the beauty of a tofu scram is you can add all sorts of vegetables in it to create something totally unique each time.

I recommend these combinations:

  • Southwest style with black beans, avocado, and seitan
  • Zucchini, yellow squash, or mushrooms
  • Spinach, pesto, feta
  • Top with tomato

I’m not of those people who think tofu is bland, I really enjoy the taste and am absolutely fine with eating it unseasoned. But if you’re feeling apprehensive about it, adding spices and mix-ins are key to getting a good flavor.

Basic Tofu Scramble
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Breakfast
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small yellow onion, chopped
  • ¼ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 16 oz container of extra-firm tofu, pressed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp tumeric
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Drain the tofu of excess water by pressing for 30 minutes.
  2. Using a fork, smash the tofu until it reaches a scrambled texture.
  3. Heat your olive oil in a In a skillet over medium-low heat.
  4. Once it’s warm, toss in your onions, red peppers, tomato paste, and spices, mixing them together. Saute for about 5 minutes until they start to soften and the onions turn clear.
  5. Add the tofu and gently saute it for five minutes, making sure to cover it in the olive oil and spices.

 

You have to press the tofu before you cook it to get a really solid tofu scramble. I place the tofu between two plates, and put a heavy book on top of it. Then press it for about 30 min.

I’ve also noticed if you slice the tofu lengthwise into thinner pieces, you can drain more water from them.

Then comes the fun part of smashing the tofu with a fork until it’s reached a “scrambled” texture.

Chop the onions and red pepper.

Heat your olive oil in a In a skillet over medium-low heat. Once it’s warm, toss in your onions, red peppers, and spices, mixing them together. Sautee for about 5 minutes until they start to soften and the onions turn clear.

Then add the tofu and gently saute it for five minutes, making sure to cover it in the olive oil and spices. Eat warm and serve with cheese or your favorite hot sauce. This dish can last up to three days refrigerated. Let me know what you think! What are your favorite additions to tofu scramble?

Creamy kale and grapefruit salad with garlic tahini dressing

Since many of us are making resolutions to commit to a healthier lifestyle, I thought I’d share a tasty way to put a little more kick in your kale salad.

Kale-Salad-2

Last year, something clicked and I determined that I absolutely loved kale. Prior to that, it was only a fibrous and bitter leaf and the butt of my jokes. “No one actually likes kale. They just eat it out of a sense of responsibility to their body or the clean eating culture or whatever cause it may possibly represent.” I was one of them. I even blogged about kale chips! I still stand by them, but let’s face it, it’s not the same as a carb-loaded potato chip.

What changed? I’m not sure. It’s likely I was eating it wrong many years. Being stubborn without cause, I kept chewing through it and eventually found a few ways to make kale a lot more enjoyable.

  • Massage it – Before I tried massaging the leaves, I didn’t think it would really make that much of a difference, but it does! If your kale is too tough, throw a few drops of olive oil into the leaves and massage it for a few minutes with your hands.
  • Dress it – With kale, you can’t dip your fork into a side of dressing before eating the leaf. This kind of goes along with massaging it, but the kale leaf needs to be sufficiently covered with a dressing, even if it’s just balsamic vinegar. It helps soften and moisturize the leaves while making it more palatable.
  • Dry it – My salads improved immensely when I bought a salad spinner. It’s hard to get all of the water out of the curly kale leaves, but the spinner leaves them crisp and dry.
  • Top it – I’ve found that the toppings make all the difference. First, add fruit. Fruit isn’t too common in the traditional iceberg and romaine salads, which are usually filled with cheeses and vegetables. But I think fruit is definitely a “must” when it comes to kale. It’s soft and adds a bit of juice. Additionally, it adds sweetness to offset some of kale’s bitterness. I also like to add nuts in my salads to give it a crunch. Adding anything to change the way the salad feels in your mouth will enhance its flavor.
  • Go for something different – Don’t be afraid to try something that you wouldn’t ordinarily add in a salad. I hesitantly added a raw egg yolk in this recipe (my favorite!) and it was amazing! I experienced reluctance with the grapefruit and fennel in this recipe and was pleasantly surprised.

Kale-Salad-3

I first tried this salad over the Thanksgiving holiday. Ryan’s sister prepared it for us and I have to say, I was reluctant. While I’m usually pretty enthusiastic about kale, I’m definitely less so about grapefruit and fennel. You know how I said I used to joke that no one likes kale? Well, I strongly believe that no one can possibly like grapefruit.

But the flavors really come together in this salad. The grapefruit bursts with juice as you bite down, but it’s mellowed out by the creamy tahini. There’s definitely a lot of bitterness in this salad, but it’s not overwhelming and very pleasant to eat.

Kale-Salad-1

Creamy Kale and Grapefruit Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing
 
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Makes enough dressing for one bunch of kale and serves 4 – 6
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Yields: 4 - 6
Ingredients
For the Dressing
  • 1 – 2 Cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp of water
For the Salad
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • 1 bulb of fennel or small red onion
  • 1 bunch of kale (lactino or curly)
  • Toasted pine nuts (optional)
Instructions
For the Dressing
  1. Create the dressing by whisking together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt and pepper.
  2. Add the oil by slowly drizzling it into your tahini mixture as you continue to whisk.
  3. Whisk in a tablespoon or two of water to thin out your mixture. You can do this as needed, if you find the mixture is too thick to cover completely cover the salad.
For the Salad
  1. Wash the kale and remove the ribs. Tear the kale into bite-size pieces. If you’re using lactino kale, consider slicing them a little thinner.
  2. Peel and slice the grapefruit into chunks removing any seeds or pith.
  3. Thinly slice the fennel bulb or red onion.
  4. Combine all of these ingredients into a large salad bowl
  5. Pour the dressing over the kale salad, making sure to cover all of the leaves.
  6. Serve with toasted pine nuts.

 

Kale-Salad-4

I had to use a red onion because I didn’t have any fennel on hand, but they are both delicious. I promise this will not disappoint!

So what about you? Do you like kale? What’s one food that you can’t believe people eat?

Happy Thanksgiving + Vegetarian Foods to Keep You Warm

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Are you ready to eat? I sure am.  Ryan and I are heading to Portland to spend some time with his family. But before I head out, I’m sharing some tasty  vegetarian recipes for Thanksgiving. Really, you could eat these any time during the fall and winter, whenever it’s cold and you need something warm and satisfying.

Vegetarian-Winter-Foods

A lot of these recipes are from my blog’s beginning. They’re still some of my favorite go-to dishes, but the photos aren’t the best quality. It’s fun to see how I’ve improved my photography throughout my blog’s life. Also, it’s very clear I have a problem with butternut squash.

Vegetarian Dishes for Fall and Winter (from top left left to bottom right)

  1. Vegetarian Pineapple Chili
  2. Warm Butternut Squash Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
  3. Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Pecans and Raisins
  4. Pumpkin Pecan Bread
  5. Butternut Squash Soup
  6. Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
  7. Pumpkin Chiffon Cake
  8. Vegan Carrot Cake Pie

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ll be back next week.

warm butternut squash salad with lemon tahini dressing

It’s clear I have a small obsession with butternut squash. But how can you not? It’s just so delicious and versatile. And this recipe is the best one yet! I promise. I’ve made it at least four times this winter. That’s how good it is. When the weather is cold and it’s nice to comfort myself with the warm, sweet, buttery taste of squash, chickpeas, and tahini.

warm-butternut-squash-salad-2

 

I discovered this recipe from my friend Jamie. She got it from Smitten Kitchen and there are tons of adaptions in between. My variation includes roasting the onions, garlic and chickpeas instead of eating them cold and raw. I did want to show you how I make it a one-pot (sort of) dish. The hardest part is peeling and dicing the squash. After that, it’s easy street.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Start with peeling and dicing your squash into bite-sized cubes. Remove all seeds and innards.

Warm Butternut Squash Salad

Then dice an onion into medium pieces.

Dice Onion

Place the squash and the onion in an aluminium-lined baking dish or baking sheet. You’ll want the walls of the baking dish later, when you stir everything together.

Top  with some salt and pepper and coat the squash and onion with oil. I used coconut, which is pictured below in its non-liquid state. You can use olive oil though. I had to wait until my coconut oil melted before I could stir it in.

Warm Butternut Squash Salad

Roast your butternut squash for 25 – 35 minutes. 25 minutes should work fine for a small squash, but if you had a larger squash and a more crowded baking sheet, you’ll want to keep it in the oven for a bit longer.

In the meantime, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, and water in a large mixing cup.

Here’s a tip. Don’t have tahini? I’ve used store-bought hummus and it turned out great. Other variations of this recipe suggest using peanut butter or almond butter.

Lemon Tahini Dressing

Dice up a clove of garlic and rinse the canned chickpeas. Wait until you have about five minutes left on your roast and stir in the chickpeas and garlic. Place the mixture back in the oven for an additional five minutes. This warms up the chickpeas and cuts the intensity of the garlic.

Add Chickpeas

When the butternut squash is soft and tender, pull it out of the oven. Pour on the lemon tahini dressing (or you can leave it on the side).

Add Lemon Tahini Dressing

And mix it together.

Mix

Plate and enjoy! This keeps wonderfully in the refrigerator. I make a big pot of it on Sunday and eat it for the week.

Warm Butternut Squash Salad

warm butternut squash salad with lemon tahini dressing
 
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Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: vegan/vegetarian
Yields: 4
Ingredients
Squash Salad
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut or olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 15 oz. can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove of garlic
Lemon Tahini Dressing
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. tahini (or store-bought hummus)
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
Instructions
Prepare the Warm Salad
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Peel and dice a small butternut squash. Discard all seeds and guts.
  3. Chop a medium yellow onion.
  4. Place the onion and butternut squash in a roasting pan.
  5. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, to taste
  6. Cover all the pieces with 2 Tbsp. of oil.
  7. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 25 minutes. Allow more cooking time if you have a larger squash.
Add Chickpeas
  1. Rinse and drain your can of chickpeas.
  2. Mince the garlic clove.
  3. Wait until there is five minutes left on the roast and stir in the chickpeas and garlic.
Prepare the Lemon Tahini Dressing
  1. While you're waiting on the roast, whisk together the lemon juice, tahini, water, and olive oil until it's completely mixed together.
Assembly
  1. Top the squash salad with the lemon tahini dressing while it is still warm. Mix together with a wooden spoon until all pieces are nicely covered. Serve hot.

 

tofu spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce

Hey everyone, I’m participating in the Virtual Vegan Potluck. It’s a fun opportunity to connect with blogs from all over the world and share our favorite vegan recipes.

If you’re stopping by for the potluck, welcome!

For this potluck, I’m bringing these fresh tofu spring rolls and some peanut dipping sauce.

Tofu Spring Rolls

These spring rolls use rice paper, and I don’t fry the whole spring roll, although I did fry the tofu. You can find the rice paper, rice noodles, tofu, and Thai basil at your Asian grocery store.

Prepare the Tofu

First, press the tofu for about 15 minutes to prepare it. To press tofu, drain it, wrap it in a few layers of paper towels, place it on a plate and put something heavy on it. In my case, I use my cast iron.

Once you’re done pressing the tofu, pat it dry and place it on a cutting board to slice it. I sliced mine on the thin side, a little bit bigger than your finger.

Pour your flour into a bowl. The flour helps give the tofu its golden color when frying. Place each piece of tofu into the flour and cover it well on each side.

In a skillet, heat about a half-inch of oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Place the tofu in the skillet and cook until golden-brown, or about five minutes on each side.

When it’s done, drain the oil on a paper towel.

Prepare the Rice Noodles

Rice noodles take very little prep. You’ll be amazed. Pull apart about a cup of dry rice noodles. Place them in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Cover the noodles completely with hot water. I heated up some water in a tea kettle, but don’t bring it to a boiling. Let them set for about five minutes, and they’ll be perfectly soft.

Prepare the Rice Paper Wrapping

Ok, so rice paper is a tricky thing. You’ll need patience and delicate fingers. Be prepared to lose a few wrappers in the process. I lost two. You’ll need something that’s large, round, and flat. I used my skillet (do not heat up the skillet). Fill it with about a half-inch of warm water and place the rice paper in it. Let the rice paper rest in the water until it’s completely soft and you can no longer see the textured pattern. This only takes a few seconds. It may try to curl up on you, simply push it down.

Once the rice paper is soft, gently pull it out of the water and give it a shake. Try your best to prevent it from folding up on itself. If it does, you can probably still rescue it, once you put it on a plate. Only soak one rice paper at a time.

The plate can be your best friend. I found using a plate that’s smaller than the paper, and one that has a dip in it can be very useful for helping you straighten out your rice paper. I also let my rice paper dangle on the edge of the place, so I could smooth it out.

Assembly

The trick to assembling these is to avoid over stuffing them. Just remember, less is more. The delicate rice paper can’t handle a lot of stretching, so they’ll either tear, or you won’t be able to completely wrap them. The amount of filling depends on the size of your rice paper, but I try to keep my fillings about the size of my palm.

You can assemble however you’d like, but I put the lettuce first, since it helps keep everything contained. Place your fillings about 1/3 of the way down on the plate.

Rolling it up

Lightly fold the top 1/3 over the fillings, and then fold over the right and left sides one at a time. Once you have three sides folded, you can begin to roll it.

These are severed with the peanut dipping sauce, which can be found at the recipe below.

tofu spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce
 
Prep time
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Author:
Yields: 11
Ingredients
Spring Rolls
  • 1 16 oz. package extra-firm tofu
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dried rice noodles
  • 11 pieces of rice paper
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 5 leaves lettuce
  • Thai basil and/or mint
Peanut Dipping Sauce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 heaping tbsp peanut butter
  • ¼ c hot water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sugar
Instructions
Prepare the Tofu
  1. Press the tofu for 15 minutes, until well drained.
  2. Slice the tofu into ¼ inch thick pieces.
  3. Pour flour into a small mixing bowl.
  4. Place tofu in flour until well coated.
  5. Pour vegetable oil in a skillet. Warm over medium-high heat.
  6. Fry tofu in oil until golden brown, or 5 minutes on each side.
  7. When it has a nice golden brown color, place on a plate with a few napkins, to drain.
Prepare rice noodles
  1. Place rice noodles in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. Immerse the noodles in hot water. Let set for 5 minutes, or until tender.
  3. When the noodles are tender, drain the water.
Prepare the rice paper
  1. Place the rice paper in a shallow pool of warm water for about 20 seconds, or until soft.
Assembly
  1. Place the lettuce, tofu, noodles, carrots, and herbs in the middle of the rice paper, about ⅓ of the way down. The spring roll filling should not be larger than your palm. Do not over stuff. Carefully fold the rice paper around the fillings and roll it up.
Peanut Dipping Sauce
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the garlic, peanut butter, hot water, soy sauce, peanuts and sugar, until smooth.

 Thanks again for joining me for this potluck. Please check out the rest of the blogs participating today.

butternut squash mac and cheese

butternut squash mac and cheese

You have to make this for Thanksgiving. Or, you know, for dinner. Ryan and I ate two bowls each last night for dinner. Because we’re adults. and that’s totally an acceptable dinner, right?

Don’t be afraid to mix up an old favorite with some vegetables. The flavor of the squash is delicate and adds a nice level of creaminess to the dish.

butternut-squash-mac-and-cheese

Can a food be too good to be true? We also used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which gave this a touch of sweetness to cut the sharp cheddar taste. You can use any type of milk you like, though.

butternut squash mac and cheese
 
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Creamy mac and cheese with a subtle hint of butternut squash. Perfect for Thanksgiving.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Yields: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ small butternut squash
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter plus 1 teaspoon
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (you can use any kind)
  • 1 lb. rotini pasta or macaroni
  • 3 cups aged white cheddar, shredded
Instructions
Roasting the Squash
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut the squash in half, keeping the other half for another time.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
  4. Add a teaspoon of butter to the inside
  5. Place in roasting dish, flat-side up
  6. Roast for 45 minutes, or until soft and easily punctured with a fork
Pureeing the Squash
  1. Once the squash is done roasting,cut it into manageable chunks
  2. Place the chunks in a food processor and process until smooth
Prepare the macaroni
  1. Boil water in a stove top pot
  2. Add 1 lb. of rotini or pasta
  3. Boil until soft, or about 7-8 minutes.
Prepare the cheese mixture
  1. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat in a small pot on the stove top, whisking often
  2. Wait until the butter begins to brown
  3. Slowly whisk in the flour
  4. Whisk until you get a thicker mixture
  5. Whisk in your butternut squash puree until combined
  6. Whisk in the milk
  7. Whisk most of your shredded cheese (about 2½ cups), save some to top off the casserole
  8. Whisk until the mixture is thick and well combined
Assembly
  1. Turn the stove down to 375 degrees
  2. Drain the water from the pasta and place in a large casserole dish
  3. Stir in the cheese mixture, coating well
  4. Top the dish off with the leftover shredded cheese
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.

Also, if you don’t puree your squash until smooth, it will leave some nice chunks of butternut squash that you can bite into. You can see them in the photo below.

This post is linked up here, here and here.

Fantastic Baked Tofu

This is the best tofu you’ll ever have. I’ve had a lot of tofu in my life, this tops. And it’s baked(!), not fried. And let’s face it, all of the other “best tofu” is usually fried. I sort of can’t believe I don’t eat this every day.

best tofu

I was inspired by this recipe, which used fried tofu.

The trick to this recipe is to spray the breaded tofu with a light layer of cooking spray. It gives the panko an extra crisp and helps brown it.

Before:
Tofu BeforeAfter:
Tofu After

crispy baked tofu
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is the best baked tofu you'll ever eat.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: vegetarian
Yields: 2-3
Ingredients
  • One 14 oz. packages extra-firm tofu
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. course ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
Preparation
  1. Press the tofu under a book for ten minutes to drain any excess water.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Coat a baking sheet with a think layer of cooking spray.
  4. While you're waiting for your tofu to press, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in one bowl.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and water together.
  6. Pour the panko in a third bowl.
Making the Tofu
  1. Once the tofu has been pressed, slice the tofu in large triangles.
  2. Dip the triangles in the flour mixture, coating well.
  3. Then transfer the flour-covered mixture to the egg bowl. Coat well with egg.
  4. Finally, cover the coated tofu with panko.
  5. Move the coated tofu onto the baking sheet. Once all tofu triangles are on the baking sheet, give it another light spray with cooking oil. This helps turn the panko crispy.
  6. Place the tray in the oven, baking for ten minutes on each side.

Serve this with rice and your favorite sauces. This would make an excellent sweet and sour base.

Delicious Tofu

This is linked up here and here.

cheesy squash quinoa bites

For dinner tonight, I initially set out to make oh-my-god-so-good quinoa patties, but I thought, maybe, just maybe, I could sneak in that squash that is going bad in my fridge. You still have to trick me into eating my vegetables. So, I stuck the squash in my food processor until it was about the size of a grain of quinoa. Sauteed it with the rest of my seasonings, and made this dinner in my muffin tins. Yes, instead of  frying the quinoa patties (the preferred choice), I tried to bake them in my muffin tins. For health reasons. And because I feel sorry for them. It’s been months since I last made a cupcake or muffin.

cheesy squash quinoa bite

cheesy squash quinoa bites
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Yields: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 6-8 large basil leaves
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook your quinoa. Bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil, then turn the heat on low for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350.
  3. In your food processor, process your basil leaves, shallots, and squash. Or, you could chop all of this by hand.
  4. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Sautee the garlic until light brown. Then add everything in the food processor and sautee until the squash looks soft.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa and contents of the skillet with the green onion, eggs, and parmesan cheese.
  6. Scoop the mixture into a muffin tin. I sprayed mine with Pam, which was a good idea, because they tend to stick. You can fill the tin to the top with the mixture, it won't rise.
  7. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.

cheesy squash quinoa bite

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. And by that I mean ranch. Because I’m from the south ya’ll.

baingan bharta (eggplant curry)

I always feel like such a fraud when I cook any type of ethnic food. I love it all, but if I cook anything outside of American dishes, I almost always feel like I’m doing it wrong. We received five eggplants in our last CSA share, so you bet I made a curry. The recipe follows, but first, my confession.

things I am possibly doing wrong:
-I don’t use cilantro. Ever. I hate the stuff.
-I added half and half to this dish. I found variations that didn’t use any cream and others  that used yogurt or heavy cream.
-I used ginger from a tube. I’ve had this stuff forever and was happy to use it.
-I blended this recipe. I’ve seen others that leave it chunky.

eggplant curry

baingan bharta (eggplant curry)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: Indian
Yields: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 small eggplant
  • olive oil
  • red curry paste
  • yellow curry powder
  • 1 small onion
  • spices: garam masala, ginger, and coriander
  • 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. half and half
Instructions
roast the eggplant
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut your eggplant in half, lengthwise. Cover the eggplant in a hearty coating of olive oil.
  3. Place skin side up in a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.
  4. After 25 minutes, your eggplant should have a nice golden brown color. Once it's reached this stage, pull it out and flip it over and broil the eggplant for an additional five minutes.
once the eggplant is done roasting
  1. Chop your onion.
  2. Warm 1 tbsp. oil over medium heat in a skillet.
  3. Place the onion in the warm skillet. Add all spices, red and yellow curry and sauté for five minutes.
  4. Add the can of diced tomatoes.
  5. Once your eggplant is cool, scoop it out of the skin and cut it up into a few chunks.
  6. Add the chunks of eggplant into the skillet.
  7. Add the half and half and let it simmer for five minutes.
  8. Ladle the sauce into a blender or food processor and run until desired consistency. I like mine mostly smooth with a few chunks.
  9. Serve with naan or rice.

The best part, of course, is mixing the baingan bharta with rice so it looks like this:

Baingan Bharta Mush

This post is linked up here and here.