Category Archives: tofu

Vegan Manicotti

With my plate pretty full from working during the week & getting used to my daughters school routine, I’m on the hunt for some fast & easy dinners… So are you, right?!  Most days I work until 5:30-6pm, so I love a good homemade meal that I know the kids will eat AND that I can whip up fairly quickly. Kids or no kids, one can never have enough recipes like that in their possession!

In my experience, most kids – and some adults – are finicky eaters (one time they love something and the next time they wont touch it!) so I get really excited when I make something that my kids really love EVERY time. It is so comforting to know when they are going to bed with a nice full belly! Here’s a few links to some of our favorite family meals that are fairly quick to make: fettucini no-fredo, biscuits and gravy, soysage casserole (prepared ahead), homemade vegan mac, pancakes/waffles (sorry no direct link, theres too many to choose from!), pot pie, homemade pizza… &  spaghetti with meatballs!

My family loves this tofu ricotta! I love it for a few reasons – it is fast, it is versatile (it makes several meals – lasagna, manicotti, ziti), the dishes can be made ahead or frozen, & its  healthy- the ricotta is full of protein (tofu) & vitamin B-12 (nutritional yeast), two things that are especially great for vegans. In fact, I think this ricotta just so good that I keep putting off trying vegan ricotta using cashews, a recipe I’ve been meaning to try FOREVER! I’ll get around to it soon, it’s just that Vegan Gourmet Soy cheese is very accessible to me and I personally think its delicious. I have never tried to make this ricotta recipe with Diaya, but I’m sure it would be yummy too. Let me know if you try that!

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Vegan Manicotti

Manicotti is super easy and simple. The hard part is stuffing the noodles without splitting them! (Be sure to cook up lots of noodles cause they split fairly easily.) I think the best, fastest & most attractive way to achieve this is to use a pastry frosting piping bag or making your own by cutting the tip off the corner of a large freezer-ziplock bag. You can also just stuff jumbo shells if you prefer… They are easier to fill, but I find them messier overall. (TIP: Another quick meal to make with this ricotta is making baked ziti – cook & drain ziti noodles and just stir it all together (ziti noodles, ricotta, and sauce), shred some more cheese on top and bake it up!)

You will need :

  • 9×13″ baking pan
  • 1 jar of sauce
  • 1 batch of Tofu Ricotta (recipe below)
  • 1 box of Manicotti Noodles (Ferrara is what I usually use)

1) Make this tofu ricotta in a food processor. Blend all ingredients but pulse the basil in last, if you are using fresh basil.

  • 1 block tofu (I like to use extra firm)
  • 1 cup shredded vegan gourmet mozzarella, packed
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil – pulse in last! (2 tsp – 3 tsp if using dry basil)

2) Cook noodles according to box. (Mine cooked about 8-9 min.) Take the noodles out of the boiling water when they are done and lay them on paper towels to wait until they are cool enough to handle.

3) Spread a little sauce in the bottom of your 9 x 12 baking dish. Now fill the noodles carefully with the tofu ricotta by spoon or piping bag (I recommend the piping/ziplock bag method).

4) Arrange the stuffed noodles side by side in the pan. Cover with sauce and bake 25 minutes at 350 F. That’s all there is to it!

Serve with fresh garlic toast or bread. Mmmmmm! So easy and satisfying!

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The proof is on the plate… or in this case, an almost empty plate!!

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Arlo in action! Chomp! Chomp!

I cant even tell you how happy I am now that I found my camera!  Blogging recipes isn’t as much fun when you can’t share the visual of the finished product! More to come very soon! 🙂

Sesame Sweet Marinated Tofu

(First  A Quick Note from Your Vegan Neighbor:  Hi everyone! Please forgive me for being away so long – unfortunately during the move I misplaced my camera! I know its around here somewhere & I am one box away from coming across it & I will fill this post with pictures asap! I’m glad t0 be back! As always, feel free to send me suggestions for future posts or Dinner & a Movie ideas!)

I wish I could’ve shared this gem earlier in the summer! I was gonna call this recipe “sweet sesame marinated tofu”, but my kids love this recipe so much, we decided that flipping the words to sesame-sweet made a better name – because now they tend to call it “sesame stweet tofu” 🙂

My daughter just started kindergarden… I really can’t believe it. The time I part-dreaded/part looked-forward-to has finally arrived! Sending off my girl into the big world… It’s a big step for her and a dose of reality for me. My baby is growing up and a new chapter in her life – and mine – is beginning. I’m getting the hang of waking up at 6 am and making her lunch, getting her dressed, fed, ready… Some mornings I feel like I am in school too!!

I struggled with the idea of homeschooling, which I find wonderful for many reasons, though I think my daughter is one who will thrive in the social environment of which modern day public school is… Plus she’ll have access to some things that aren’t as accessible to me daily (computer lab, science equiptment, my undivided attention for 8 hours).  Now that I’m working outside the home anyway, I’m not home as regularly to teach her as public school can!

(By the way, making a packed lunch that is healthy & exciting to eat is an art that I am trying to master! I’m intrigued by these bento boxed lunches, but haven’t ventured there yet. When I do, you’ll be the first to know! Right now, I’m just packing her favorites and keeping it healthy!)

I wanted to make this recipe because my daughter LOVES snacking on these straight from the fridge. They are an excellent quick go-to healthy snack for anytime, such as right after school or while dinner is cooking! They are also an excellent topping for salads… a great way to incorporate a little extra protein (and hey, maybe get your kid to try a salad)!  I strongly recommend using the firmest tofu you can find. I like to use bulk tofu, which is usually super firm!

Sesame Sweet Marinated Tofu

makes 16 squares

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 Tbsp tamari
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (add last * see directions)

Turn the tofu on its side and slice the tofu in three slices lengthwise. (I cut down the middle first then cut each side in half carefully). Then lay the tofu flat and cut vertically and horizontally, turning it into 16 squares.

1) Using a large nonstick pan, lay out all 16 squares of tofu.

2) Add all of the other ingredients (except the sesame oil) right on top, drizzling the brown rice syrup and sprinking the ginger over the squares, then cook on med-high heat, jiggling your pan occasionally. Once you see the liquids cooking down some, flip your squares over carefully, then continue cooking until most liquid is gone.

3) Lower heat to low-medium and drizzle the 1 Tbsp sesame oil over the top. Cook until only slightly wet. Let cool on pan for several minutes after cooking, then refrigerate until ready to use. Store with any extra “sauce” and refrigerate.  Eat right from the fridge or on top of a salad! Before serving on salad, cut each square diagonally (making two triangles).

This tofu accompanies this Nori Sesame Dressing like a dream come true! Keep refrigerated & eat frequently!

Golden Tofu

This recipe is one of my favorite ways to eat tofu EVER.  This happens to be how they cook the tofu at my favorite vegetarian restaurant, The Grit. (You can order their awesome cookbook here if you want to.  I highly recommend it! Please note it is not 100% vegan, though many recipes can be veganized.  You have GOT to try the yeast gravy!! Sometimes I just want to order a side of that with a spoon!)   We eat this tofu by itself, as a side, stir fried with veggies & rice, or sometimes we even toss it into a pot roast. It is really easy and oh so yummy!!  This fried tofu is one of those foods that you just gotta spoil yourself with and indulge in from time to time… It definitely makes it into my list of comfort foods.

All you need to make this is a non-stick skillet, a block of tofu, olive oil, soy sauce and nutritional yeast.  Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but we often find ourselves fighting like vultures over the last pieces! Hahahaha… seriously.

Golden Tofu

Gather ye ingredients: olive oil, a block of tofu, soy sauce, nutritional yeast. Vegetable oil also works just as well.

1) Cut tofu into cubes, about the size of dice. Lightly oil a non-stick skillet over high heat.  Add a small amount of oil and allow it to heat slightly then add tofu. Saute, tossing until evenly lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with soy sauce, saute briefly again to further brown the tofu. Remove from skillet.

step 1 – before cooking

step 1- cooked tofu before adding soy sauce

2) Rinse and wipe skillet dry. Lightly oil skillet again and place over high heat. Allow the oil to become very hot then add the tofu. Saute, tossing constantly until very well browned. Sprinkle with soy sauce to taste, then sprinkle with nutritional yeast to coat the cubes. Saute several more seconds then remove from heat and serve!

step 2 – tofu being sauteed in soy sauce

The finished product. Fried tofu, served alongside veggies of choice (in this case, homemade cornbread, sauteed sesame-collards and mashed sweet potatoes).

Vegan Macaroni Salad

We started out our day this morning in the garden.  Our garden is currently producing cucumbers at warp speed , so I’ve been trying to think of recipes that use cucumbers.  Ironically, this recipe doesn’t contain any cucumbers, but bear with me! There will be some coming! I am not a HUGE cucumber person… I’m not sure why I planted 6 (yes, six!) cucumber plants in our garden this year.  But, on the bright side, it’s been forcing me to eat cucumbers with a vengeance.  So far, with our first ones, we’ve been making salads… eating cucumber & cream cheese sandwiches… we have had hummus with slices of cucumber on the side… falafel patties topped with cucumber and tomato.  I think I may try to make my own pickles this year with some of them.  What is your favorite thing to do with cucumbers?

This morning we made a big “Green Juice” in the juicer, containing (surprise!) cucumber, apple, kale, spinach and celery.  It was really refreshing! My kids didn’t care for it though -not sweet enough I guess!  Maybe I will add more apples for them next time.

It’s finally starting to really feel like summer here in good old Georgia, with pleasant morning temperatures climbing high late in the afternoon… but it’s not late enough in the year to be deathly hot yet!  Ahhh… it’s totally one of those days that makes me want to make sweet tea (if you’re from the south you will know what I mean) and grill out vegan hot dogs with macaroni salad and potato chips on the side… which brings me to today’s recipe – Macaroni Salad!

This macaroni salad is delicious, easy AND healthy… it is tofu based instead of mayo based… You could use vegan mayo if you wanted to, but trust me and try this first – everything I have ever made from scratch always turns out better!  Make this ahead of time and keep cold until ready to serve.  Even though it’s not made with mayonnaise, I personally don’t like to leave anything that should be cold sitting out in the hot sun for long!  This is a great salad to have around on the Fourth of July or at any picnic or cookout!

I changed very little from the original recipe, which is from Vegan Planet, one of my first and very favorite cookbooks! Robin Robertson never lets me down.  She makes vegan cooking seem so easy!

Vegan Macaroni Salad

  • 8 oz elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1/2 cup minced celery (I only used 1/4 cup)
  • > 1/2 block silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cayenne pepper (optional)

1 – Cook the noodles in some boiling salted water until al dente, 8-10 minutes.  Drain and rinse well under cold water.  You want to rinse off the starch and stop them from cooking any furthur and turning into mush! Put them in a large bowl and continue on.  (You could even shock the noodles in a little ice bath to stop them from cooking and chill them really quick if you wanted to.)

2- In a blender or food processor, combine the tofu, soy milk and process until smooth.  Scrape down the sides and process again. Stir in by hand the onion, celery, relish, lemon juice, mustard, salt and cayenne to taste (or save the cayenne for last and sprinkle on top as serving).  Add the cold (drained) pasta noodles and mix well.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving cold. Devour… alongside your other favorite summer dishes!

This easy macaroni salad is a great addition to any BBQ, cookout or picnic!

A Mess of Mama’s Vegan BBQ

Check out this weeks Dinner and a Movie  🙂  We watched one of our favorites -Emmet Otter’s Jug-band Christmas and made… what other than… BARBECUE!! A mess of mama’s barbecue to be exact… with baked beans.

Check it out by clicking here!

And if you missed it, check out the pictures I added of my Dr. Seuss Omelet

Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Who says you can’t make a delicious vegan spinach and artichoke dip?  Not me!  I love this dip because it is actually pretty healthy, considering it’s a chip dip… This is one of those recipes that my husband and I usually make by throwing things into the food processor until it tastes just right, without following an actual recipe. Well, I have to say, there is definitely something comforting about finally having this recipe written down 🙂

Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Blend all in food processor, then pour into a large dish and cook for 25-30 min at 375.  You can shred additional cheese on top and broil to melt, if desired.  Eat with mexican style chips (we like the Xochityl brand white chips, available at Publix)

  • 1 small onion, chopped & sautéed in oil
  • 10 oz box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup grated soy cheese ( I recommend Vegan Gourmet Monterey Jack)
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp Tofutti cream cheese (many recipes online contain 1/2 a tub of this stuff AND Veganaise… I tried to tone it down on the processed ingredients.)
  • 1 block extra-firm silken LITE tofu* (I recommend Mori Nu)
  • 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained
  • salt and pepper

* I honestly cannot taste the difference between lite silken and regular silken tofu. This kind of tofu won’t be found in the cold section at the store… It will be on a shelf in the natural foods section, or maybe with asian foods. I really like the Mori Nu brand.  I happened to have a LITE silken tofu in the cabinet (which I usually use in my homemade quiche) and decided to use it for the dip.  What can I say?… Scrumptious!

The Dr Seuss Omelet… aka Green Eggs and Ham

Okay, so… obviously, being vegan, this isn’t gonna be your typical green eggs and ham recipe!  Today,  March 2,  is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, so I wanted to make some kind of tribute to this wonderful story-teller who practically lives on a shelf in every home in the entire world.  I thought about trying to make this whole blog rhyme, but I thought that’d be a waste of time, so it’s fine… now lets dine!

I have made both of these recipes before from my Vegan Brunch cookbook and I can vouch that they are truly outstanding examples of vegan breakfast food.  (Hmmm… I’m not quite sure what the rule is on sharing other people’s recipes straight up… but I hope Isa Chandra Moskowitz can forgive me this once, since I’m always giving links to her awesome cookbooks! Thanks, Isa! 🙂 )

I should mention, the eggs here are not scrambled (nor are they like fried eggs in the actual story)… this is actually the closest thing to a vegan omelet I have ever eaten.  And what makes it green is pureeing spinach into the omelet batter (this was my personal addition to the recipe!). Voila! Green “eggs”! You could also make a green tofu scramble by using food coloring, but I’m not a big fan of that stuff. (Another idea to make your omelet “green” is by stuffing the inside of the omelet with greens, like spinach, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus… or anything else green!)

The “ham” in this case is homemade tempeh bacon. (Hey, faux bacon is the same as faux ham in my book.  At least in this kind of recipe.) You can easily buy Fakin’ Bacon or SmartBacon, both of which I enjoy… a lot… but you will find this tempeh bacon to be delicious and there is something very satisfying on making your own tempeh bacon!

(In regards to that, I have decided that I’d like to try to make my own homemade versions of these things more often instead of buying them.  Of coarse, I will still continue to use the store-bought stuff sometimes, just for the ease of doing so, but I’d definitely like to strive to do as much natural cooking as possible!  Some days it just seems there isn’t enough time and dinner sneaks up on me!  Though I must say, all the soy products I use are non-GMO.)

One more thing, if you don’t want a green omelet, just omit the spinach to the puree – you can always fold it into the inside of your omelet instead if you’d like!

Tofu Omelet

 Puree together the following:

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 block silken tofu or soft tofu (I recommend Nasoya brand soft tofu for this. The vacuum packed mori-nu kind is not recommended for these)
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • > 1 tsp indian black salt (aka – kala namak… it is actually dirty pink in color – this particular salt has a sulfuric taste that is similar to what you find in an egg- I had to order this online, though you may be able to find it in a health food store or indian grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • spinach – as much as it takes to green up your omelet!  (1-2 cups, or two giant handfuls)
  • water if necessary – I added 1/2 cup
  • filling for omelet (whatever veggies & soy cheese that you please)

Chop the garlic and throw it into the food processor with the tofu, nutritional yeast, olive oil, turmeric, and salt.  Puree until smooth.  Add the chickpea flour and arrowroot and puree again for about 10 seconds until combined.  Make sure to scrape down the sides occasionally!  Pulse in the spinach until green color is as desired.  You may end up needing to add a bit more water to the batter because of the spinach addition.  (See tip** below.)

Preheat a LARGE non-stick skillet over med-high heat.  Lightly grease it and  pour 1/2 cup increments into the skillet.**  Spread the batter gently into about 6″ circles using the back of a spoon.

Let the batter cook about 3-5 minutes. The top of the omelet will become dry and matte looking when its ready to be flipped. If it starts to fall apart, give it a little more time. When its ready to be flipped, the underside will be speckled with light- dark brown spots.  Flip and cook about a minute on the other side.  Fill omelet with you choice of ingredients then fold it.  (This makes several omelets, so you can keep them warm on a plate covered with tinfoil as you make remaining omelets.)

**The right batter consistency depends on the tofu used. You can do a mini test omelet by pouring 2 Tbsp of batter in a pan.  If the batter spreads a bit on its own and firms up when cooking, you are good to go.  If it sits there like a mound, add up to 1/4 cup water to the batter and try again.

This is the tofu I use

Here we go….

There’s nothing traditional about a green omelet… this mushroom/onion/pepperjack omelet is served here with soysage and a homemade biscuit with jelly.

Tempeh Bacon

In a wide shallow bowl, mix the marinade and add the tempeh slices.  Let marinate at least an hour.  Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Pan fry the tempeh for 5-7 minutes, flipping occasionally and adding more marinade when you flip.  These will last several days in the fridge (if you don’t eat them all at once, that is!)

The marinade…

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves

And for cooking …

    • 8-12 oz tempeh, cut width-wise into 1/4″ slices
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Serve with toast and grits… while reading the book Green Eggs & Ham, if desired!