Matzo Mina – a great Passover dish – gluten-free, vegan, and healthy

Matzo Mina

Happy Passover!!

I grew up Jewish, but the first time I heard of a Matzo Mina was as an adult, surfing the Internet. This is a lot like a lasagna, but made with dampened matzo instead of the lasagna noodles. With the overlapping squares of matzo on the top, this comes out looking really pretty. It tastes great, too, so it is my favorite Passover food. To make it gluten-free, I use gluten-free matzo.

Matzo Mina

Assembled Matzo Mina before baking

My pick for gluten-free matzo is Yehuda brand. I find it at my local Whole Foods store, though it is also available on Amazon. Lately gluten-free matzo is the most popular food in my house — my kids gobble it down! Go figure!

To make a soy-free version of this recipe, replace the tofu with 2/3 cup of cashews, 2/3 cup of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, and 2/3 cup of water.

This recipe is originally based on Tori Avey’s Spinach, Feta and Artichoke Matzo Mina — though I have changed my version a lot.

If you are cooking for Passover, you may also want to check out my recipe for gluten-free matzo ball soup. Yum!

Sorry to have gone so long between postings — I can’t believe I last posted in July! I don’t have a good reason for having gone so long between postings — just juggling kids, work, and the paperwork from Jan’s estate. Anyway, I do have lots more recipes that I want to post, so I will continue posting recipes!!

our seder table

Here is my son Corbin, who is nine, at our Seder table.
The weather is so warm that this year we had our Seder outdoors on the back porch.

Matzo Mina - a great Passover dish - gluten-free, vegan, and healthy
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This matzo mina is a delicious and healthy vegan main dish to serve at Passover. It is a bit like a lasagna, but with dampened matzo instead of the noodles. I really love this recipe! You can make it gluten-free if you use gluten-free matzo.
Author:
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3-4 sheets of matzo; for gluten-free use a gluten-free matzo such as Yehuda brand
  • 1-2 jars of artichoke hearts (plain or marinated; about 8 ounces per jar)
  • 1 pound firm tofu (not silken)
  • 4+ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as basil or oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 5 ounces spinach or kale (frozen and defrosted is fine)
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, blend everything except the matzo and artichoke hearts. Add the artichoke hearts and pulse until mixed in.
  3. Oil a 9x9 inch square baking pan.
  4. Dampen a sheet of matzo in cold running water from the faucet. Place in baking pan.
  5. Add half of the tofu mixture, and spread it smooth with a spatula.
  6. Repeat with another piece of matzo and the rest of the tofu mixture.
  7. For the top, dampen a piece of matzo, then break it into squares that are 1 1/2 or 2 inches wide. Overlap the pieces of matzo on top of the casserole, like roof shingles, covering the entire surface. You will need about 1 1/2 sheets of matzo, broken up, to cover the top of the casserole.
  8. Gently brush the top of the matzo with olive oil.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top layer is browning. Serve warm.

 

Pasta, Beans and Greens – a lightning-fast, yummy, healthy, vegan dinner

Pasta, Beans, and Greens

My family is finishing two very busy weeks. My eighth grader, Kendra, was in a national Quiz Bowl tournament in Atlanta, and then she played the role of Audrey in the Shakespeare play “As You Like It” — so the last two weeks have had long, daily rehearsals, followed by a weekend of performances. But the final performance was this afternoon, and now Kendra is free! — Well, free except for assorted daily homework, two term papers, an amazing week-long field trip, and graduation — followed immediately by a week of gluten-free summer camp. Whew!!!

So, in celebration of our crazy-busy two weeks, I am posting a recipe for a dinner that takes about fifteen minutes to cook — depending on how fast your stove can boil a pot of water — and is nutritious and delicious: Pasta, Beans and Greens. This is my go-to recipe for anytime I need a healthy dinner to be on the table quickly.

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals — a family favorite cookbook of ours.

My kids range from “somewhat picky” to “world-class picky.” This recipe is unique because it is one of only two dinners that all of my kids will eat. (The other one is Potato Pancakes — yum!)

A variation: Consumer Reports found that there is arsenic in rice, so I am always looking for ways to reduce the amount of rice-based pasta in our diet. My kids won’t eat this variation, but I have found that I can replace the pasta in this recipe with tofu cut into long thin rectangles that are about 1/4 inch wide, 1/4 inch tall, and 3/4 inch long. Prepared this way, it is an even faster and healthier version of this recipe.

Pasta, Beans and Greens - a lightning-fast yummy healthy vegan dinner
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This dinner recipe is quick, fast, yummy, gluten-free, and vegan! And, all of my kids will eat it!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: serves 5
Ingredients
  • 1 pound short chunky pasta, such as elbows, tubes, or fusilli - gluten-free if you like
  • 2 15-ounce cans of cooked beans, such as kidney and pinto beans
  • either 1 bunch of fresh kale or other greens -- or 2-3 cups of frozen, chopped kale, defrosted
  • 1 lemon
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
  • salt and/or gluten-free soy sauce to taste
Instructions
  1. Start boiling water for the pasta. When the water boils, cook the pasta in it.
  2. Get out a big mixing bowl for serving the food in.
  3. While the pasta cooks, if you are using fresh greens, shred the greens into small pieces (a bread-slicing knife works well for this), then add them to the pot where the pasta is cooking for the last couple of minutes of cooking. Or, if you are using frozen greens, defrost them by microwaving them in the big mixing bowl. This takes 5 minutes in my microwave, but microwaves vary so be alert.
  4. Rinse the beans (I like to put them in a strainer and run cold water through), then add them to the big mixing bowl.
  5. Juice the lemon, and add the lemon juice to the bowl.
  6. Add the oil and basil to the bowl.
  7. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl.
  8. Stir everything together thoroughly.
  9. Serve, with salt and soy sauce available for each person to stir in to their food. If you are using soy sauce, about 2 teaspoons per serving is a good amount to start with.
  10. Yum! Warm and quick!

 

Salad Dressing – gluten-free, vegan, made from tofu, rather addictive!

Creamy White Salad Dressing

Creamy White Salad DressingThis recipe is very loosely based on the Moosewood Restaurant house salad dressing — though I have changed it so much that the people at Moosewood might not recognize it.

It is creamy and high in protein and all-around delicious!

The texture is very thick, more like a pudding than like a salad dressing — though it tastes like a salad dressing or like sour cream. It is not sweet like a pudding. I think that pudding-thick salad dressing works really well — it sticks well to salad, even if the leaves are damp. But if pudding-y salad dressing is not your thing, you can add water or oil to thin it to a consistency that works for you.

Creamy White Salad DressingI like this dressing on salad, as a topping on on Golden Crispy Tofu, as an ingredient in Southwestern Twice Baked Potato casserole, as a topping mixed with roasted winter veggies, tossed with roasted eggplant from Riz Bi Har, and as a much healthier replacer for sour cream in other recipes. I find it so addictive that every time I make a batch, once it is out of the blender, I find myself going after every last dab that I can get out of the blender to eat it straight. It is that good!

The high protein content of this dressing means that you can put some on some fresh leafy greens and have a complete meal in minutes, especially if you buy prewashed salad that doesn’t need any rinsing or washing. Or you can dress up a salad by adding any of the following: beans, cubed cooked Creamy White Salad Dressingeggplant, protein items, other veggies, artichoke hearts, nuts, seeds, dried cherries — or whatever else you have handy that could be tossed into a salad.

Yum!

Salad Dressing - gluten-free, vegan, made from tofu, rather addictive!
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A creamy, thick, white, vegan, protein-rich, highly addictive salad dressing that goes well with practically everything! Tossed with some leafy greens it makes an awesomely quick meal. Also great in recipes, or as a replacer for sour cream.
Author:
Recipe type: salad dressing
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 block (14.3 ounces) silken tofu (I like Mori-Nu organic)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons canola and/or olive oil
  • optional: a handful of fresh spinach or lettuce or other greens (makes dressing a gorgeous green!)
Instructions
  1. No need to measure ingredients -- guessing at quantities is fine. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. As written, the recipe makes a thick, creamy, pudding-like dressing. If you prefer a thinner dressing, add some water or oil and blend again.
  3. Serve over anything.
  4. Yum!


This recipe has been shared at Gluten-Free Fridays.

Golden Crispy Tofu – gluten-free, vegan, and yummy!

Golden Crispy Tofu

 

tofu, sliced for this recipe

tofu, sliced for this recipe

I love this recipe! It’s a delicious way to serve tofu.

My favorite way to serve this is with some broccoli on the side. It makes a complete meal that way. Alternatively, it is also good with a salad on the side and a creamy white dressing on top of the tofu. I’ve posted my favorite recipe for a creamy white dressing — it goes great on this recipe!

tofu, frying

tofu, frying

This is based on a recipe posted by Vegan Dad. I have adapted it to be gluten-free, and a little simpler than the way he does it.

Yum!

tofu, frying

tofu, frying

Golden Crispy Tofu - gluten-free, vegan, and yummy!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This gluten-free, vegan breaded tofu dish is delicious!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
Tofu
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • canola or olive oil for frying
Bread Crumbs
  • 2 1/2 cups of gluten-free cereal, such as Erewhon's Crispy Brown Rice cereal -- check that the package says it is gluten-free
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 teaspoon sage
  • 1/3 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 to 1 1/3 teaspoons smoked paprika
Dry Mix
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour or quinoa flour (or use regular flour if you are not gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour (ditto)
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (ditto)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Wet Mix
  • EITHER 1 1/4 cups dairy-free milk OR 1/8 cup cashews blenderized with 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard (I use Annie's Organic Dijon mustard)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Cut the tofu crosswise into 12 slices, each one about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Put a frying pan -- or two frying pans, so you can cook all the tofu at one time -- on the stove with some oil on low heat to preheat. There should be enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, but it does not need to be deep.
  3. Put the gluten-free cereal and other ingredients listed under bread crumbs into the blender and blend until you have a powder.
  4. Put the ground cereal mix into a soup bowl.
  5. Next, put the ingredients for the Dry Mix into another soup bowl, and stir until mixed.
  6. Next, put all ingredients for the Wet Mix into the blender (no need to clean it after the cereal), and blend until smooth.
  7. Put the Wet Mix ingredients into a third soup bowl.
  8. Add an ordinary dinnertable fork to each soup bowl.
  9. Using the fork in each bowl to touch the tofu (this keeps your fingers clean and dry), one at a time dip each piece of tofu into (1) the Wet Mix, (2) the Dry Mix, (3) the Wet Mix again, (4) the ground-up cereal. Use the fork to pat each coating all over all sides of each piece of tofu. After each time you dip it into the Wet Mix, use the fork to hold it above the cereal bowl for a few moments, to let the extra liquid drip back into the bowl.
  10. Each time you finish dipping a piece of tofu, put it into a frying pan. If the frying pan has a puddle of oil on one side, I like to put each piece of tofu into the oil and then slide it to the side.
  11. When all of the tofu is coated and in the frying pans, turn up the heat to medium-high.
  12. Fry for a few minutes on each side, adding more oil if needed, until the coating is turning golden brown and crispy.
  13. The tofu tastes great served with my super-quick creamy white dressing on top, so this is a good time to make a batch.
  14. While the tofu cooks, consider cooking broccoli as a side dish. I have linked to the instructions for my favorite way of cooking broccoli.
  15. Serve!

This recipe has been shared at Gluten-Free Fridays.

Southwestern Twice Baked Potato Casserole – gluten-free, vegan, warm, soothing, and delicious

Southwestern Twice Baked Potato Casserole

 

Potatoes and frozen veggies

Whole potatoes and frozen veggies

Oh my goodness it’s been a long time since I last posted here!!! I always have good intentions of posting twice a week — and then life gets in the way.

My daughter Kendra and I adore this recipe. It is my adaptation of a recipe for Southwestern Twice Baked Potatoes from the very yummy cookbook Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe.

a diced potato

The easiest way to chop most veggies is to cut them in half first (from top to bottom, not sideways like in this picture!), so that you have a flat surface to put on the bottom.

I have changed the recipe enough that it barely resembles the original. Actually I feel a little weird about the changes that I made, because Forks Over Knives is an oil-free cookbook, and I have added some oil to this recipe. It feels disrespectful to fundamentally change a recipe like that. It’s like taking a vegan recipe and posting that you think that you made it better by adding meat — that feels wrong to me. But I do think that it’s important to have some fat in our diet. Fat is needed for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. Plus, research shows that unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as canola and olive oils are associated with healthier outcomes. So I think it is important to include them in one’s diet.

Toasted potatoes

The bottom layer of toasted potatoes, before spreading them out evenly.

The original version of this recipe involved baking whole potatoes in the oven, then topping them with a variety of veggies and beans, and adding a creamy white sauce on top, made from blended tofu — a bit like sour cream but much healthier. I have speeded up this recipe by dicing the potatoes into little cubes before baking them. In addition to being much faster to cook, I think this dish is easier to eat that way, too.

All layers except for the sauce

All layers except for the sauce

The casserole after baking

The whole casserole after baking

Also, I have replaced the creamy topping with a salty version of my adaptation of the house dressing from the awesome vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant, located in Ithaca, New York. Like the main recipe here, my version of this dressing has diverged very far from the original version, but it is awesomely yummy. I have also given my salad dressing recipe its own page on this website, because it is so yummy that it is really worth talking about. But I am also including it as an ingredient here.

Southwestern Twice Baked Potato Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
My daughter and I totally adore this casserole, made of toasted potatoes, red bell peppers, corn kernels, black beans, and a creamy vegan sauce on top that is made from blended silken tofu that tastes like sour cream but is much healthier.
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Potatoes
  • 6 cups of potatoes -- about 2 pounds
  • olive or canola oil
  • salt
Toppings
  • 1 red bell pepper, or about 1 cup of frozen, chopped bell peppers
  • 10 ounces of frozen corn kernels -- "supersweet" corn is good in this, though any kind should work
  • 1 15-ounce can or bag of black beans, drained and rinsed
Sauce
  • 1 12.3 ounce package of silken tofu (I like Mori-Nu organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive and/or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Dice the potatoes into cubes that are 1/2 inch or smaller.
  3. Place the diced potatoes onto a non-stick cookie sheet.
  4. Sprinkle on some salt (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) and some oil (maybe 2 tablespoons).
  5. Stir the potatoes, oil, and salt until they are evenly mixed.
  6. Bake the potatoes in the oven, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown on most sides. When I did not preheat my oven ahead of time, I clocked this step at 30 minutes. If your oven is fully pre-heated, figure maybe 20 minutes. When the potatoes are done, they should look like gorgeous cube-shaped nicely-browned french fries. If you are in a hurry, you can bake them less, just until they are soft when pierced with a fork. That will work fine too, though I think they are yummier when they are browned.
  7. Meanwhile, while the potatoes cook, defrost the corn in a bowl in the microwave. Microwaves vary, but in my microwave this takes about 4 minutes.
  8. If you are using fresh bell pepper, chop it. If you are using frozen, defrost it in the microwave.
  9. Rinse the black beans -- I like to put them into a strainer and run cold water through it to do this.
  10. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  11. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and lower the temperature to 350 degrees.
  12. Carefully pour the hot potatoes and any oil that is with them into a 9x13 inch pan. Distribute the potatoes evenly throughout the pan.
  13. On top of the potatoes, add layers of beans, corn, and bell pepper, spreading out each one evenly.
  14. Pour the sauce on top. Use a spatula to spread it out to almost reach the edges of the pan, but not quite touching. (By not quite touching the edges, this keeps the sauce from sticking to the sides of the pan, which makes cleanup easier.) Keeping the sauce at about 1/4 inch of distance from the edges works well.
  15. Put the 9x13 inch pan in the oven, uncovered.
  16. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  17. Serve!

 

Riz Bi Har – an addictive recipe with eggplant, vegan Tzatziki sauce, and rice

Riz Bi Har
cutting eggplant

To cube an eggplant, cut off the stem end, then cut it in half to make a flat surface. Then cut parallel lines the long way, half an inch apart. Turn the cut strips of eggplant on their sides, flat side down, and cut the long way again, so that you have long thin pieces of eggplant. Then cut crosswise to get cubes.

Once upon a time, there was a local Ann Arbor restaurant called Sharayar. Whenever I ate there, I always ordered a dish called Riz Bi Har. They had lots of other good food on the menu too, but I really especially adored the Riz Bi Har, so I started to order it every time I went there.

The restaurant Sharayar was a favorite for many years of happy eating. It was a sad day when they closed.

After years without Riz Bi Har, I decided to undertake making my own.

eggplant ready to cookI started by asking people on the Ann Arbor Parenting e-mail list, Arborparents, if they remembered the Riz Bi Har from Sharayar, and what they thought was in it.

People remembered eggplant, rice, cauliflower, other veggies, vermicelli noodles, and a tantalizing white garlicky sauce, wrapped in a cylinder of flatbread.

cooked eggplant

This is the same tray of eggplant after cooking. The volume decreases a lot as it cooks.

So, I set out to make that.  My experiments led to something really good, even on the first try. But over time this dish has evolved into something less like Sharayar’s version and more truly my own.

The magic in this is the combination of eggplant with a creamy, tangy, garlicky, vegan Tzatziki sauce. All of the other ingredients in this recipe can be swapped around and the results will still taste good. As a variation, you can serve it in a bowl

assembled riz bi har

Here is a filled tortilla, ready for folding or rolling. This one is really full, so I folded it in half rather than trying to roll it up.

instead of wrapped in a tortilla. You can swap around which vegetables you choose. If you are not a fan of eggplant, you can swap it out and replace it with some additional grilled or roasted veggies instead.

I am so glad that I tried making my own Riz Bi Har. If it was gone forever I would have missed it — it is very yummy and one of my favorite recipes.

riz bi har after folding

Folded, the yummy stuff inside gets covered up, which is harder to photograph. But it is still yummy. :)

 

Riz Bi Har - an addictive recipe with eggplant, vegan Tzatziki sauce, and rice
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A mix of rice, grilled veggies, and an addictive, garlicky, vegan tzatziki sauce, rolled up in a tortilla, makes a really delicious meal!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: Middle Eastern-ish
Serves: serves 5
Ingredients
  • 11 tortillas (or a double batch of my homemade tortilla recipe, made with a little salt added to the batter)
  • tzatziki sauce or creamy white salad dressing (click to see my recipe for it)
  • 1 small to medium sized eggplant
  • 4 cups of assorted veggies (can be red bell peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.)
  • optional: a 15-ounce can of beans, eg. pinto beans
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • brown rice
Instructions
  1. Start cooking the rice, according to package directions.
  2. Cut the eggplant and other veggies (but not broccoli or cauliflower) into bite-sized pieces or half-inch cubes. Place on a nonstick cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and some salt. Bake at 400 to 450 degrees, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are getting well-browned and the eggplant looks toasted.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the broccoli and/or cauliflower in the microwave.
To assemble:
  1. If the tortillas are not warm, warm them up.
  2. Inside each tortilla, place a few tablespoons of rice, a few tablespoons of veggies, a few tablespoons of tzatziki sauce, and optionally the beans, if you are including beans.
  3. Roll up the tortilla and serve! Or, if it is too full to roll, then fold it in half -- that works nicely too. Mine are always too full to roll! :)

 

Scrambled Tofu

scrambled tofu with potatoes, broccoli, and red bell peppers

A quick and addictive recipe for scrambled tofu — with cubes of soft browned potatoes, broccoli, and pieces of red bell peppers. Yum!

potato ringThis recipe is based on a recipe called Tofu Skillet Scramble, from the cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.

The secret to this recipe is to let the tofu brown on the side that is on the bottom of the frying pan. It picks up the other flavors in the recipe and tastes great that way.

The other secret is smoked paprika — smoked paprika adds some magic to practically anything.

Note that the recipe makes 2-3 servings, so you may want to multiply it if you are feeding more people. This recipe is somewhat addictive, so make lots!

mash the edge firstThe second picture in this post shows the ring of potatoes for microwaving.

The third picture shows mashing just the edge of the block of tofu first, which is much easier than trying to push the whole masher through a solid block of tofu.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

The final picture shows what the tofu looks like after mashing.

The tofu picks up the flavors of the salt and other ingredients and ends up tasting scrambled and not tofu-y at all. Even if you are hesitant about tofu, I encourage you to try this recipe, because the tofu comes out delicious — all salty and flavorful. It combines with the potatoes to be very satisfying.

tofu after mashing

 

Scrambled Tofu
 
Prep time
20 mins
Cook time
10 mins
Total time
30 mins
 
A quick and addictive recipe for scrambled tofu -- with cubes of soft browned potatoes, broccoli, and pieces of red bell peppers. Yum!
Author: Valerie Mates
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (make sure it is gluten-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 small potatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, either ground or whole is okay
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • optional: shredded lettuce
Instructions
  1. Cut the potatoes into half-inch cubes. Shape them into a big O on a microwave-safe dinnerplate. Microwave for five minutes. (The O-shape of the ring lets the potato cubes cook more evenly.)
  2. In a big bowl, mash the tofu. You can mash it with a potato masher or with your hands. Tip: If you use a potato masher, it is easiest if you start by mashing just the edge of the block of tofu and work your way inward gradually. Stir in the soy sauce, paprika, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large (12 inch) nonstick frying pan. Add the potatoes and tofu. Heat until the potatoes are soft and everything is starting to turn a gorgeous golden shade of brown.
  4. While the potatoes cook, put the frozen broccoli into a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of water on top, then some salt, and drizzle on a tablespoon of oil. Microwave for 8 minutes. Stir well, so that the salt gets well distributed. Drain. Add the broccoli to the potato-tofu mixture.
  5. While the broccoli cooks, chop the red bell pepper and add it to the potato-tofu mixture.
  6. Stir in the fennel seed.
  7. Serve either on lettuce or solo.
3.2.2807

 

Oriental Salad – My kids’ favorite pasta dish. May create tofu lovers!

Oriental Salad

This is an Asian-style noodle salad — with tofu so good that it has been known to convert a non-tofu-eater into a tofu lover.

This recipe is based on a recipe from The Horn of the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan. It has some of the most addictively delicious tofu I’ve ever eaten. The tofu from this recipe is excellent used as an ingredient in other recipes too.

Two of my kids specially ask for this recipe as their very favorite dinner.

I usually double this recipe when I cook it, for leftovers.

Oriental Salad - A pasta dish that may convert a tofu-hater into a tofu lover
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This is an Asian-style noodle salad -- with tofu so good that it has been known to convert a non-tofu-eater into a tofu lover.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Vaguely Asian
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
Marinade
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tamari (good soy sauce San-J has gluten-free options)
Salad
  • 1 pound of extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 12 ounces pasta (I like Field Day Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (the brown “toasted” kind) (do not substitute any other oil)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (approximately 1/2 lemon)
  • 6 scallions, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup snow peas, sliced in half on an angle, or two stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, or 1/8 to 1/4 cup of dried parsley
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Cut the tofu into half-inch cubes. Place it in a watertight container with a lid that fits well. Add the marinade ingredients. Put the lid on the container. Gently turn it over, to mix the marinade with the tofu, then turn it right-side up again. Let it sit for a few minutes while you start the pasta, occasionally turning the container over to mix the marinade with the tofu (but leave the container standing right-side-up to prevent leaks).
  2. Start heating water to boil for the pasta.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the tofu from the container and put it into a nonstick frying pan on the stove. Heat the tofu along with the ginger, stirring regularly to brown the different sides of the tofu. When the tofu is brown and crispy, pour 1 tablespoon of tamari over it and stir for 1 minute more.
  4. Cook the noodles in boiling water as directed on the package.
  5. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables and put them into a big serving bowl. Juice the lemon and set aside the lemon juice.
  6. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl. Immediately stir in the sesame oil and lemon juice. Toss well and serve.
  7. Everything else tends to burrow beneath the noodles, so when you serve this you should dig down in the bowl to get some of everything.

 

Umeboshi Calling – a quick vegan pasta dinner with a slightly addictive creamy cashew sauce

umeboshi calling

little umeboshiThis quick vegan recipe has creamy cashew sauce (or choose the nut-free variation that replaces the cashews with tofu), with spinach and red bell peppers. It uses an unusual ingredient called umeboshi paste, which adds a delicious salty sweetness to the recipe.

Umeboshi paste is made of pickled umeboshi plums — though it does not taste at all like pickles. It is salty and sweet and creamy, making the recipe’s sauce a little addictive.

If you can’t find umeboshi paste, you can replace it with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. That works okay and comes out tasting lovely, but if you can possibly use umeboshi paste, this recipe is much yummier for it.

I originally made this recipe with the kind of pasta that looks a little bit like a telephone cord. That’s how the recipe got the name Umeboshi Calling.

Nut-free version: Replace the cashews with 10 ounces of tofu, and reduce the water to 1/2 cup.

Variation: You can add 1-2 cups of your favorite protein source, such as Butler soy curls (rehydrated before adding!), seitan (note that seitan is not gluten-free), baked tofu, etc.

Tip: If you anticipate leftovers, you may wish to keep the sauce and the pasta separate, so that you can store them separately, so that the pasta doesn’t absorb all the liquid from the sauce in the refrigerator.

Umeboshi Calling - a quick pasta dinner with creamy cashew sauce
 
Prep time
20 mins
Cook time
10 mins
Total time
30 mins
 
This quick vegan recipe has creamy cashew sauce (or choose the nut-free tofu variation), spinach, and red bell peppers. It uses an unusual ingredient called umeboshi paste, which adds a delicious salty sweetness to the recipe.
Author: Valerie Mates
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound pasta, preferably something curly such as Field Day Organic Brown Rice Fusilli
  • 1 package frozen spinach (anything from 10 to 16 ounces is OK)
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons umeboshi paste
  • 1-2 bell peppers (any color is OK; red is especially good in this)
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Defrost spinach, but don’t drain it.
  3. Blend cashews, water, and umeboshi paste in a blender or food processor for several minutes, until it thickens and starts to look about the consistency of sour cream. Make sure you blend the mixture for long enough that it is really smooth.
  4. Chop the bell pepper.
  5. Mix everything together.
  6. Stir, but don't worry if the spinach stays somewhat clumpy.
  7. Serve. Yum!
3.2.2807

 

International Enchiladas

International Enchiladas

international_enchiladasThis is a special occasion recipe. It takes time to prepare, but the results are very much worth it – it is a truly wonderful food, quite possibly the yummiest dinner recipe I’ve ever made.

I invented this recipe when I found a yummy-looking recipe for Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas on the Internet, back in the 1980s when nobody had heard of the Internet.  I converted the recipe to be vegetarian by replacing the chicken with an addictively delicious recipe for Fried Spiced Tofu, from the cookbook “Diet for a Small Planet“.  And I replaced the chili powder with curry powder, which blends harmoniously with the creamy white sauce for a fabulous taste combination.  This recipe was originally called Tofuladas.

I’ve been making this recipe for so long that it has a lot of variations included.  I usually make it corn-free, dairy-free, tomato-free, and it can be vegan.  Every one of these variations is delicious!

Serve this with a salad, or cooked broccoli.

Cooking time: 70 minutes + a few minutes of broiling — but worth the time it takes!

International Enchiladas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
My favorite special-occasion dinner! Salty, curried tofu, rolled up in tortillas, with a cheesey sauce that can be vegan, and a creamy curried white sauce on top. Yum!!!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: International
Serves: serves 4-6
Ingredients
Tofu:
  • 2 pounds tofu
Red Sauce:
  • 1 can Campbell's tomato soup OR 1/2 of a little box of Imagine Organic Creamy Tomato Soup OR (1-2 tablespoons of pesto + 1 cup baby carrots, rinsed, 3 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1/4 cup water -- blended until smooth)
  • 1-2 tablespoons curry powder
White Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch or flour
  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk, or cow's milk, or homemade cashew milk, or water
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt, or more nondairy milk
  • salt
  • pepper
Cheese:
  • 6 ounces of Monterey Jack cheese (about 2 cups), shredded OR 1 cup of "lasagna cheese"
Tortillas:
  • 20 corn tortillas OR two batches of crepes
Instructions
Tortillas:
  1. If you are making tortillas, start on that first.
Tofu:
  1. Cook 1 1/3 blocks of tofu according to the Golden Curried Tofu recipe. Do not wash out the pot; you'll be using it for the white sauce.
Cheese:
  1. While the other parts cook, grate the cheese, if you are using cheese, or use the remaining 2/3 of a pound of tofu in my vegan lasagna cheese recipe.
Red Sauce:
  1. If you are using tomato soup, mix the soup, curry powder, and about 1/4 soup can of water. If you are using the blended mixture with the pesto and carrots, also blend in the curry powder.
White Sauce:
  1. Put the oil in the pot you used for the fried spiced tofu. Add the potato starch or flour and stir to mix thoroughly.
  2. If you are using flour, stir and heat it until it is bubbly. (Potato starch does not need heating.)
  3. Stir in the milk and water.
  4. Simmer slowly until thickened.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir in either unsweetened yogurt or more milk.
  7. Simmer until heated through.
  8. Remove from heat.
To assemble:
  1. Set out a 9x13 inch baking pan and an 8x8 inch baking pan. Take a tortilla and spread a dinnertable tablespoon of red sauce on one side. Turn the tortilla over and repeat. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the tofu down the center of the tortilla. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the cheese over the tofu. Roll up the tortilla and place seam side down in the pan. Repeat for each tortilla.
  2. Pour the white sauce over the enchiladas, and sprinkle with any remaining cheese.
  3. Place under the broiler until hot and bubbly and the cheese is starting to brown. Serve immediately. This dish reheats nicely.
  4. Serves 4 to 6.