Saturday, August 1, 2015

Zoodles of Noodles with Spicy Coconut-Lime Dressing – AKA: the Better Than Citrus Club Anyway Bowl

Soooo, I should probably explain the name for those who haven't heard the story. For four years, at least weekly, Jeff and I ate at Citrus Club on Haight and ordered the Spicy Coconut Soba Noodle Salad every.single.time. after making sure it was vegan, of course. By making sure, I mean asking the waitress if there was any dairy or fish or fish sauce in it and her assuring us there was not. Fast forward four years...FOUR when I took a client of mine to try the dish. She was opening a veggie restaurant and I was constantly going on about how great this dish was (that sauce!) so she wanted to taste it. If it really was that good, she may have fiddled with it and perhaps some twisted version of it would have ended up on the new menu. Who knows? Alas, that did not happen.

Within two bites she told me very matter-of-factly that there was most definitely fish sauce in the dish. NO WAY! I said. I've asked on multiple occasions and they have always told me there wasn't, I said. She was adamant. I of course flagged the waitress down and asked again, is this sauce vegan? Yes! the waitress said. I told her my client tasted fish sauce so could she please ask the chef? She was freaked out since she's vegetarian and ate the same dish all the time. She went and asked the chef and low and behold, there WAS fish sauce in it!!!!! DUDE. I was pissed! Our waitress wasn't too thrilled either. She apologized and comped our meal and needless to say, I didn't finish my food and have only been back a handful of times in the last two years, always asking since the manager said they were going to "work on" making the sauce vegan. NOPE.

I was so disappointed, not to mention absolutely grossed out that I'D BEEN EATING FUCKING FISH FOR FOUR YEARS!!! Now, why in a lot of Asian restaurants do they consider fish or fish sauce vegetarian? I have no clue and that's a whole other blog post. Since my posts are very few and very far between these days, I'm not going there. What I am going to concentrate on is how I spent a damn year trying to recreate that stupid sauce, only to have good-but-not-great at best results. Certainly nothing blog-worthy, CLEARLY.

Anyway, fast forward to last week when I stumbled upon a recipe on One Green Planet's Facebook page for zucchini noodles tossed in a coconut-lime sauce. Immediately I thought of that damn dish at Citrus Club and began to build on this extremely simple recipe on OGP in my head. I got excited and scrapped my dinner plans and went to the store and got some zucchini. It was ON.

Well, I'm very pleased to tell you that it came out really well! It's not the same dish as the one I still kinda pine for, but that's OK because it's BETTER! Take that, Citrus Club! So now, without further adieu, the Zoodles of Noodles with Spicy Coconut-Lime Dressing, AKA: Better than Citrus Club Anyway Bowl!

Serves 2 plus dressing for 3-4. It's really good for dipping veggies in if it doesn't make it to your next salad! ;)

Ingredients for the Bowl:

Zucchini – one large or two smedium (yes, smedium), spiralized
2-4 oz extra-wide rice noodles (soba noodles would be great here too)
1 small carrot, shredded, reserving 1 TBSP for garnish
1-2 green onions, sliced diagonally, reserving 1 TBSP for garnish
6 oz organic, extra-firm tofu, sliced into 1/4"strips 
2 TBSP raw cashews (or peanuts), roasted and chopped 
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)
1 tsp sesame oil
Dash cayenne
Dash Himalayan sea salt
Sriracha (optional, but recommended)

Ingredients for the Dressing:

1/2 C raw cashews soaked at least two hours*
1/2 C coconut milk
2 TBSP water at a time (optional)
Juice from 4 limes + zest from one
1 big clove garlic or 2 small
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
2 big pinches cayenne, or to taste


Pre-heat oven to 400° F

Cook noodles according to packaging, making sure not to overcook! On my stove that runs hot, the extra-wide rice noodles take 7 minutes, max. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Set aside.

While the noodles are cooking, combine all the dressing ingredients in your high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and process until very smooth. To thin out the dressing to desired consistency, add water 2TBSP at a time 'til it's just the right consistency. *Also, if you spaced on soaking your cashews, just use raw ones. You may have to blend a bit longer, but that's no biggie. Refrigerate until you're ready to use.

Spread out the tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush each piece with sesame oil. Sprinkle a little salt and cayenne over all of it and bake for 15 minutes. If need be, flip and bake another 5 minutes. My oven also runs hot so 15 minutes is perfect. Remove and wrap in tin foil to keep warm.

Heat a small, un-greased pan over med-high/high. Add 2 TBSP raw cashews or peanuts (not soaked) and toss until some nice brown bits start to appear. About 3-5 minutes. Careful not to burn them nuts! *snicker* Remove from heat and allow to cool before chopping them.

Now, spiralize your zucchini. I use a new Paderno 4-blade jobber that's a little intimidating. If you don't have a spiralizer, you could always use a mandolin or even a potato peeler to make your zoodles.

Combine the zoodles, cold rice noodles, all but 1 TBSP green onions, all but 1 TBSP carrots and half to 2/3 the dressing in a large bowl and toss to coat.

Divide between two bowls and top with the remaining shredded carrots and onions, baked tofu, cilantro, chopped cashews some sesame seeds and a drizzle of sriracha if using and serve!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one. I'm straight-up obsessed. I could eat it every day! I hope you like it that much too! :D

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Creamy Beyond Chicken Tortilla Soup

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled across an omni recipe for Lime-Chicken Soup from on Instagram. One of the gazillion fitness people I follow posted it and it looked amazing! Well, except for the chicken, obviously. With just a couple of tweaks, I was able to turn it into a delicious vegan dish that I couldn't wait to blog! Mac took a dump. It's been in the shop ever since. In fact, I'm on Jeff's laptop as we speak...grrrrrr.

ANY-HOO, in the meantime I veganized another recipe from the same source and since it's fresh in my head, I'm posting that one first! It was SO. GOOD. And considering how meaty and dairy-y it was, it was remarkably easy to veganize. Hooray!

This recipe serves 4 really hungry folks or 6 people not quite at the hangry phase of hunger.

Total Time: 30-35 minutes.

Ingredients for the soup:

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
4 C no-chicken or vegetable broth (I use Better Than Bullion No-Chicken base and highly recommend it!)
1 tsp of each chili powder, cumin, and paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 package grilled Beyond Chicken, Mojo style (recipe below)
2-10 oz cans organic diced tomatoes with green chilies
1-1/3 cups non-dairy milk (I used soy, but almond, cashew, rice or hemp milk would be just fine too)
1/3 C masa harina* (corn flour)
1-15 oz can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1-15 oz can organic pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 C frozen organic corn
2/3 C cashew cream (recipe below)

For the Mojo Beyond Chicken:
1 package Beyond Chicken grilled strips, shredded
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 C orange or tangerine juice, either fresh or out of the fridge – just make sure it's not from concentrate
1/4 C fresh lime juice, or juice of 2 limes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper

For the Cashew Cream:
1/2 C raw cashews, preferably soaked
1/2 C hot water

For serving:
Vegan sour cream, diced avocados, cilantro, lime wedges and organic corn tortilla chips. You could melt some vegan shredded cheese on top too, but I don't think it needs it.


Directions for the Mojo "Chicken" (do this first):
Pre-heat your oven at 400°F. Shred all pieces of "chicken" into 1-2" shreds, place into a medium-sized baking dish. In a small bowl mix all marinade ingredients together, then pour over the top of the shredded Beyond Chicken. Toss so that all pieces are coated. Set aside for a few minutes while you make your cashew cream and prep the veggies for the soup.

Marinated Beyond Chicken

Cashew Cream:
Ideally, your cashews will have been soaked for at least two hours. If not, no worries. Just place in high-speed blender (like Vitamix) and add 1/2 C hot water and turn on high until completely smooth. Set aside and go back to your "chicken."

Put the marinated chicken into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, tossing once or twice to make sure all sides get nice and crispy. Not burnt though! Once finished, remove from oven and set aside.

Mojo Beyond Chicken, YUM!

Now, for the soup:
Heat canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add onion, jalapeño and and a pinch of salt and sautée 3-4 minutes, adding garlic during last 30 seconds of cooking. Add no-chicken or veggie broth, chili powder, cumin, paprika and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot with lid and gently boil for about 10 minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes with green chilies to pot.
Then, in a large measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together non-dairy milk and masa harina until well blended. Pour mixture into pot and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture boils and thickens slightly (it won't thicken much). Add black beans, pinto beans and corn. Then stir in cashew cream and cook until heated through.
Serve warm topped with mojo Beyond Chicken, a dollop of sour cream, avocados, cilantro, limes and tortilla chips and get ready to have your mind blown! 

*If looking to make this gluten free, be sure the masa harina you're using is labeled as gluten-free, same with the tortilla chips. Masa harina can be found in the bulk section or Latin section of the grocery store.

SO GOOD!! For reals! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

You say Matzah, I Say Matzo. Matzah. Matzo. Matzah. Matzo...

Let's NOT call the whole thing off because this soup is the sheeeeiiiit! Especially for someone living in San Francisco, or really anywhere on the west coast, because we ALL know it's nearly impossible to find good Jewish deli food in these parts, and good vegan Jewish deli food? Bubkes! Not gonna happen...or is it?

Ok, I'll be the first to admit that I cannot stand The Big Bang Theory, I mean, it makes me literally angry when I hear the theme song. It's bad. That said, I am of a certain age where I know Mayim Bialik from another popular show called Blossom and Blossom was kinda cool back then. Kinda...

ANYHOO! She published a cookbook called Mayim's Vegan Table: More Than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours, and though I've yet to pick it up, I did spy her recipe for Matzah Ball Soup in Vegetarians Times' April/May 2014 issue last spring and couldn't wait to try it! It was crazy good but too damn salty (that's sayin' something coming from me) so I shelved it for a bit.

Fast-forward to yesterday. It was long and exhausting and all I wanted was a hot bowl of comforting matzo ball soup! After a brief freak out when I couldn't remember which issue the recipe was in, I found it! Hooray! After looking it over and swapping out a few things for others, I got to it. The results were perfect! It was exactly what I wanted and exactly how I remember it tasting all those years ago.

I'm posting my version of her recipe  with notes of the changes I've made, making it slightly healthier by reducing the "butter by half and replacing the oil with a few spritzes of o.o. spray, as well as using organic...well...nearly everything. Some things you can get by with using conventional, but never tofu, celery or carrots. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and I'm super excited I'll always know where to find the recipe from now on!

For the balls:

1 10-14 oz. block Organic firm sprouted tofu (I use Wildwood)
1/4 C Canola oil
Egg replacer, equivalent to 2 eggs + 2 TBSP water
1-1/2 C Matzo meal (She calls for 1 box/2 packets matzo ball mix which is WAY too salty for me)
1 heaping tsp dried dill (like, heaping)
1-2 tsp fresh chopped parsley or 1 big pinch dried
1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
Chopped fresh dill (optional, but delicious...even with the dried already in there)

For the soup:

1 TBSP Organic Earth Balance or another vegan butter
1 Large carrot, sliced thinly and divided (My mandoline came in handy here)
2-3 Stalks celery, sliced thinly, but not too thin, divided
1/2 Medium white or yellow onion, chopped and divided
2 TBSP Low-sodium tamari or soy sauce (I use San-J organic)
2 TBSP Onion powder
1 TBSP Garlic powder
2 TBSP Nooch (nutritional yeast)
1 TBSP Coconut sugar or palm sugar (something dark)
1 TBSP Seasoned salt (I use Lawry's)
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (I omitted poultry seasoning here)
Olive oil spray for sautéing
Pinch of salt

Chopped flat-leaf parsley and/or fresh dill for garnish

To make the matzo balls:

Pulse the tofu and canola oil in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth. Add egg replacer and water and mix well. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the matzo meal, dill and parsley and blend well. Put it in the fridge for at least an hour. 6 hours to overnight is recommended, but if you don't have that kind of time, an hour is totally enough.

Once the dough is ready, wet hands and roll mixture into 12 golf ball-sized balls. Place back in the bowl and stick 'em back in the fridge while the broth is cooking.

To make the soup:

Heat your vegan butter in medium-to-large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 of each: carrots, celery, onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté 4-6 minutes. Add 8 cups water, tamari, onion powder, garlic powder, seasoned salt, nooch, coconut sugar and Old Bay. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it though. My stove runs hot, so I end up turning it way down after 10 minutes.

Strain broth into another stockpot or large saucepan and discard/compost the solids. Keep warm.

Over medium heat, spray your large stockpot with a bit of olive oil and add the remaining carrots, celery and onions along with another dash of salt. Sauté 4-6 minutes. Add the broth back to the pot and bring to a boil. Carefully drop the balls into the pot and turn down the heat to medium-low or low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Garnish with fresh cut parsley and be prepared to be transported to back east as you savor your steaming bowl of cruelty-free Matzo Ball soup!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Quick and Easy Vegan Breakfast Biscuits 'N' Gravy, AKA: Hangover Helper

Dang! I didn't realize it's been so long since I posted here. Lots to do getting my website up and running (more info on that to come) so I've been slacking with my posts. Definitely haven't been slacking in the kitchen though, so I'll try to be better!

ANY-HOO! We went to see Echo and the Bunnymen last night – which was awesome! What's not awesome? My hangover today! What cures, or at least helps hangovers feel less horrible? Delicious southern comfort food! After posting a pic of the biscuits 'n' gravy I made this morning on Instagram, I got a ton of feedback. Mostly along the lines of, "I want that RIGHT NOW!" soooo, ask and you shall receive!

Biscuit ingredients:

Makes 7

2 C organic all-purpose flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 TBSP vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
3/4 C plain, non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 450º F

Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Blend the butter in with a fork until mixed well. Add milk and combine until a dough forms. With clean hands, knead on a floured countertop for a minute or two, adding more flour as needed so it's not sticky.
Roll out to about a 1/2 inch thickness and cut out your biscuits with a drinking glass rim. You can also just hand-form them if you don't have a rolling pin.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. DONE!

While your biscuits are baking, get to steppin on that gravy!

Gravy ingredients:

Serves 2

1/2 C raw cashews (preferably soaked for at least 2 hours, but raw is ok too)
1/2 C all-purpose flour (chickpea flour works well if you're not into gluten...or biscuits)
3/4-1 C water
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
black pepper to taste

Breakfast sausage of choice ( I use 2 Gardein breakfast patties)
Coconut or olive oil spray

Combine all gravy ingredients except the sausage in a high speed blender or Vitamix and blend until super duper smooth. Time depends on blender speed. In the Vitamix, I let it go for about a minute.

Heat a skillet over med-high heat and give a spritz of coconut or olive oil spray. Add your sausage and let it get good and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. then, while it's still cooking, break up the patties into little crumbles. When it all looks brown, remove from heat and put aside.

Pour your gravy into a small saucepan and heat through on med-high until it starts bubbling. Add sausage crumbles and stir. If it seems too thick, add water a TBSP at a time until you like the consistency.

At this point, your biscuits should be done. Once they're out of the oven put two on each plate, smother in gravy and DIG. IN.

You're welcome! :D

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Coco-Peanutty Noodles with Panko-Crusted Tofu, Wilted Kale and Enokis

After several mediocre attempts at making and liking Pad Thai, I was in search of an easy, peanutty noodle dish that wasn't Pad Thai. Turns out, I don't really like it! Never really have, in fact. It's too sweet for me. I gravitate toward the spicy whether my insides want me to or not!

I started experimenting in the kitchen when Jeff was out of town last week, and usually when I do that, it takes several tries before I'm satisfied with the outcome. Not this time though! It was super easy, spicy, satisfying, delicious and, did I say this already? EASY! I made it for Jeff when he got back into town and he loved it too. Halleluja! He's actually pretty easy to please, but don't let that fool you, I'm not. Like, at all. It's GOOD. Trust me.

So, when I made them the first time, I used organic brown rice Pad Thai noodles and it was really tasty. That said, I used organic udon noodles the second time I made it and actually liked it a way better. It held up wonderfully the next day too. Rice noodles get all weird as leftovers, but if you want to keep it gluten-free, go ahead and use those.

So, lets get cookin, shall we? First things first, let's marinate that tofu...

Ingredients for the marinated tofu:
6-8 oz. Organic extra-firm tofu, cut into rectangle- or triangle-shaped slabs
1 TBSP Rice vinegar
1 TBSP Tamari or soy sauce (I always use San-J organic gluten-free reduced-sodium tamari)
1 TBSP Water
1 Garlic clove, minced or grated on a micro-plane grater
3 big pinches Crushed red pepper, or to taste (I like it hot)

Mix all the ingredients, minus the tofu, well in a bowl. Add the tofu and carefully toss to coat. You don't want it to break! Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so all sides get the flavor. You can even do this the night before so it gets all good and soaked in.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF

In a sandwich-sized ziplock bag, combine:
1/2 C Panko breadcrumbs
1 TBSP Sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. Black pepper, or to taste

Add 2-3 pieces of the marinated tofu at a time to the baggie and toss well so that all sides are coated.
Place one a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes. Note: all ovens are different. Mine runs really hot, but if yours doesn't, you may need to add another 10 minutes or so.

Set the remaining marinade aside for sautéing the veggies.

Now for the sauce. FYI, every time I say "sauce" out loud, I say it in a thick Brooklyn accent like Jeff's Ma. Not sure why, I just do. "Sauwse!"

OK, so the tofu is baking. In a high-speed blender, combine then set aside:
1 C Light coconut milk
1 TBSP Peanut butter
2 TBSP Tahini
2 TBSP Tamari or soy sauce
1-1/2 TBSP Lime juice, approx. the juice from 1 lime
1 tsp. Sriracha
1 Garlic clove minced or grated
Another big pinch of crushed red pepper

You could totally combine this stuff in just a bowl and stir it up really well. It's just the pb and tahini take a while to dissolve. In a high-speed, or even not-so-high-speed blender, it'll just take a few seconds.

Check on that tofu and give it a flip!

Everything else:
8-10 oz. Organic udon noodles (or GF rice noodles)
1/2 bunch Dino or curly kale, chopped with the stems removed
1 Red and/or green pepper, de-seeded and and sliced thin
1/2 bunch Enoki mushrooms if you can find them. If you can't or don't want to find them, you could use any other mushroom you like, or skip the 'shrooms altogether.
Honestly, you could really add anything here. Some other veggies that would be yummy are: broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, whatever you like. Use your imagination!
For garnish: Cilantro, sliced jalapeños, crushed peanuts, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and lime wedges (all optional, but highly recommended)

Put the water on for the pasta and bring to a boil.

While the water is boiling, lightly steam the kale over med-high heat in a covered shallow cast iron pan or wok with just a little water like I do (it takes about 60 seconds) or in a steamer basket. Set aside.

Flip that tofu again!

In the same pan pour in the marinade and over med-high heat, sauté the peppers. Set aside then do the enokis. A little trick I've learned with enoki mushrooms is to sauté them while they are all still bunched together then cut off that stump thing after they're cooked. That way, they stay together and look way better. I'm a Libra, things must be pretty! Set aside when finished.

Tofu and pasta should be done at this point. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water then place into the pan or wok. Add your kale and peppers then pour in the sauce. Toss to coat. Once everything is good and coated, add the crusted tofu and carefully fold into the pasta/sauce/veggie mixture, again being careful not to break it. You can always just place the crusted tofu on top of the pasta too. See picture below:

Scoop into bowls, add enokis on top, cilantro, limes, sesame seeds or whatever garnish you're using and serve immediately. I always have a bottle of Sriracha on the side for extra heat too. Dig in and then let me know what you think!

Ooo! This dish is also really good cold, so you could totally make it all in advance. It'll keep in the fridge for at least a day.

To make it totally gluten-free, just skip the breading and use rice noodles. BAM!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sticky, Spicy and Gluten-Free "Mongolian Beef"

Mongolian Beef is a super popular dish at a lot of Asian restaurants in the U.S. but apparently it's not a traditional Mongolian recipe. According to the big brains at Wikipedia, it was created in Chinese-American restaurants and is only Mongolian in name. They thought it sounded "exotic". Whatevs, it's super tasty and I'm glad I found a good vegan recipe to work from!

I have made this dish three times and each time I've fiddled with it a bit more to make it more suited to my taste. It was delicious from the get-go, don't get me wrong, but there's always room for improvement, right? For instance, the original recipe, which you can find here, calls for a half-cup of Bragg's Liquid Aminos. I know I say it all the time, I LOVE salt, but that's just waaaay too much Bragg's for even me! I switched it out with the organic gluten-free low-sodium tamari I use in pretty much everything and it was so much better! 

One thing this recipe calls for that I had never done before, was adding miso paste to the rice while it cooks. What a great flavor that adds! Mmmm...didn't change that.

Any-hoo, I think it's finally ready to share! 

Serves 3 – enough for dinner and leftovers.


1-1/2 C Organic brown rice
1 TBSP Mellow white miso paste (dissolved in water first if using a rice cooker)
1 Block Organic extra firm tofu, cut in half width wise, then sliced thin
1/4 C + 1 TBSP Garbanzo bean (chickpea) or brown rice flour, divided
1 TBSP Coconut oil
2 C Mushrooms, sliced (I used crimini, but use whatever kind you like)
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp Ground ginger or 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated 
1/4 C Gluten-free tamari (I use San-J)
1 C Water
2 TBSP Coconut palm sugar (or any other dark sugar)
2 Scallions, chopped
Any other green stuff you've got in the fridge like kale, bok-choy, broccoli (optional)
1-2 Big pinches fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
Red pepper flakes (optional, but highly recommended)
Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Sriracha (optional, but come on, everything is better with sriracha)


In a medium bowl, add mushrooms, garlic, tamari, fresh or ground ginger, black pepper, 1 TBSP flour and water then stir well to combine and set aside.

Boil rice in water with miso paste for the recommended time, or if you have a rice cooker, set it to brown rice and add water with miso dissolved into it to the cooker and turn it on. I almost always start my rice way before everything else since the cooker keeps it warm for several hours. If you're boiling it on the stovetop, factor in the cook time and start your "beef" about 15 minutes before it's finished.

When the rice is almost ready, add 1/4 cup flour to a Ziploc-type bag, then drop in a few pieces of tofu and shake to coat. Continue this process until all pieces of tofu are coated in the flour.

In a skillet on the stove over medium-high heat, add coconut oil and fry tofu until golden brown with some little burnt bits (4-6 minutes on each side).

Once tofu is done, pour the tamari mixture over tofu, add additional greens and red pepper flakes (if using) and allow to cook down until sauce thickens which takes about 5 minutes. Taste for flavor and add more red pepper flakes and black pepper if needed.

Remove from heat, scoop rice onto plates or into bowls, top with tofu mixture, add scallions, optional sesame seeds and sriracha if you like it HOT and devour!

While this isn't as "beef"-like as seitan would be, it is just as delicious and totally gluten-free! I'm really pleased I discovered this dish. Hope you like it too! :D

Friday, February 28, 2014

Tofu Scampi Makes the Cut!

I'm always trying new recipes. Some are amazing, some are not. I was hesitant to even try to make this tofu scampi recipe from The "V" Word because I have a serious "real" pasta weakness...always have. I try not to eat it too much, usually sticking with soba, quinoa or rice pastas, but eff that, even though this recipe called for rice noodles, I went with the real deal: organic semolina wheat linguini and, as suspected, it was AMAZING! And easy. I hate complicated dishes.

You could definitely make this a gluten-free dish by going the rice noodle route and I'm sure it's just as good, but I did not do that. You could also make this with vegan "shrimp" if you like them. Personally, I don't. They have the consistency of a pencil eraser (right, like you've never bitten into one) but hey, if you like that sort of thing, go for it! I'll stick to tofu for this one.

Be warned! This is addicting and has lots of calories, carbs and fat! All good fats, but yeah, still a lot. Every now and again won't hurt though!

Serves 3-4, depending on how hungry you are. Also, it holds up really well as leftovers.

For the marinade:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of one lemon (be sure to wash first!)
A pinch of red pepper flakes (I put 2-3)
Salt to taste and a couple of big pinches of fresh ground pepper to taste
1 block organic extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes

All the rest:
1 lb. organic linguini or whatever pasta you like
½ cup vegan white wine
½ cup reserved pasta water (don't space out and drain the pasta before reserving it like I've done!)
1 cup low-sodium vegetable or no-chicken broth (Better than Bullion is my fave)
Zest and juice of another lemon (again with the washing)
2 Tbs. vegan butter (optional)
½ cup fresh parsley plus 2 Tbs., chopped
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Vegan grated parmesan (optional, but good)
Lemon wedges for garnish (optional)

Marinating tofu 

In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade. Let the shrimp or tofu sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes, stirring up a couple of times.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve about ½ cup of pasta water. Drain and set aside.

Mmmm, crispy tofu skrimps! 

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the tofu cubes from the marinade, shake off any excess and place them in the skillet. Cook for about 4 – 6 minutes or until they have browned a bit on all sides. I like when they get little burned bits here and there. Remove tofu from the skillet and set aside.

Cooking the sauce.

Add ½ cup white wine to the skillet and let cook until most of it evaporates. Add the remaining marinade to the skillet. Let it cook for 2 minutes. Add the reserved pasta water and the broth to the skillet. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the zest and juice of the 2nd lemon to the sauce. Melt in the butter, if using and add the parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toss cooked pasta, sauce and tofu carefully. I'm using 
my nifty salad hands Jeff brought me from Hawaii.

Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to coat. Add the tofu back to the skillet to heat through quickly then add to pasta/sauce mixture, tossing gently, being careful not to break up the tofu. Top with remaining parsley and vegan grated Parmesan if you're using it. Serve with extra lemon wedges and crushed red peppers if desired then dig in!

If you too suffer from pasta addiction, don't say I didn't warn you! This stuff is GOOD!