Tag Archives: basil

Spicy Peanut Chili Pizza!

This was our first in a line of experiments involving some of our favorite ingredients: PB2, Sriracha and tofu. We wanted pizza but didn’t have any of he traditional ingredients so we decided to wing it and make something Thai-inspired. We used a pre-made gluten-free pizza crust from the ZenCat bakery but you can use a storebought variety or make our home-made crust.
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For the sauce, I combined the following in our blender:
1 block of silken tofu
3 tablespoons of Sriracha or suitable substitute (or to taste)
2 Thai chilis, I used one red and one green (I also buy them in bulk and freeze them)
2 tbsp PB2 or regular peanut butter
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I blended it until it looked smooth while Brent prepared some soy curls.

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We topped it with some sliced tomato and Thai basil (cilantro would work well too) and then baked it until it had started to brown around the edges.

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A sprinkling of chopped peanuts (or cashews) really made this pizza interesting but it won’t suffer if you leave it off. It was creamy, spicy and decadent. It felt a lot naughtier than it was in terms of nutrition. The next time we do this, I’ll probably add some fresh cilantro or Thai basil after baking. I just love the cinnamon flavors it adds.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Chopstick Kebabs

If you’re like me and Brent, you’ve got a drawer filled with chopsticks from your favorite Asian takeout or delivery. We decided to try and get rid of some by making kebabs. Along with those we used the following:
1 block of tofu, pressed and cut into 1 inch cubes (omit or replace with seitan if you’re got a soy allergy)
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, cut into 1 inch squares
1 bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 carton baby bella mushrooms
1 carton of cherry tomatoes
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Other things that can make kebabs awesome include basil leaves, sliced jalapeƱos and other hot peppers, and any other veggies that can withstand being skewered. We assembled the kebabs and then placed them into a dish filled with marinade (tamari seasoned to taste with ginger extract and garlic works well, but store bought varieties work well too) until we were ready to cook them (at least an hour). Bake at 350F/175C for 45 minutes or grill until the veggies are tender if you’re so inclined.

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Wait for them to cool and EAT THEM! Now there’s space in our drawer for more chopsticks.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Stock!

This post is about making stock for soup, mashed potatoes, French Onion soup, gravy, risotto or whatever you would normally use soup stock for and it’s crazy simple. Even if you like to compost (or have bunnies to ‘process’ your leftover veggies) this is a great way to get more out of your veggies before you throw them in your bin. Get yourself a big old freezer safe storage container. Every time you peel the skins off onions or garlic, cut the ends of carrots or celery, stems from parsley and other herbs, stumps from mushrooms or broccoli… really anything. I add lemon peel from time to time for certain recipes like pho and orange peel for zesty soy curls. Dump it into the container (I like to use a freezer bag) and store in your freezer.

When your container is full of veggie scraps, dump the contents into a pan, cover with water and simmer for at least 2 hours. Strain the liquid into a container and freeze for whenever. Now the veggies are extra mushy for composting or your sink disposal.

The stock will have no added fat or sodium and full of flavor. I like to store the stock in zippered freezer baggies too. If the bag is full enough for about 1/2 inch thickness when lying on its side, then you’ll be able to thaw it quickly.

This is Christie, signing off.

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Pasta a la Fauxlognese

As a kid, spaghetti bolognese was a favorite. It’s a rich meaty sauce wth lots of tomato and onion served with whatever pasta you tend to fancy. In this case, we’re using shirataki noodles and no meat. Shirataki noodles are great for those who are concerned about gluten and calories. If you use regular noodles, your fauxlognese will be more attractive than ours but just as tasty. You’ll want the following

1 onion, diced

3.4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano

1 16oz tin of diced tomato

1 cup of TVP (reconstituted with water) or soy crumbles (Marion tofu crumbles work well here), chopped mushrooms can be substituted for those sensitive to soy

1 cube of “beef bouillon”

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

salt and flake red pepper to taste

olive oil

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Add a dash of olive oil and the onion and garlic to your pan and saute until the onion starts to carmelize, stirring occasionally. Add the tofu crumbles or TVP and the dry spices.

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When everything is hot and fragrant, add the tomato. Mix it all up, stirring occasionally until hot and adjust the seasonings to your taste.

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Your sauce should look deceptively meaty. Top with some vegan parmesan, shredded basil or Daiya or just serve as is.

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This is a very kid friendly preparation of vegan fare, tasty and healthy to boot. I hope you get to try it!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Tempeh Cacciatore

Not long ago I got a request for cacciatore from fellow blogger, VeganMonologue. How can I resist!? I took a slab of tempeh and cut it in half. I did it at an angle to satisfy my love of the rhombus. Add that to the list of things nobody needs to know about me. You’ll need the following:

1 package of tempeh
1 pinch salt, plus more to taste
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
olive oil
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup dry red wine or 1 cup of dry white wine
1 28oz can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup veggie bouillon
3 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
1 pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

I added it to a pan with some rosemary infused olive oil (regular olive oil is fine) and a pinch each of salt and cracked black pepper. I sauteed until it was lightly browned on each side. I transferred the tempeh to a plate with some fabulous wooden tongs that my sister got me.

Then I added a chopped onion, 1/4 of a chopped green bell pepper and 1/4 of a chopped red bell pepper. I sprinkled in some chopped parsley and slivers of garlic and sauteed until the onion became translucent.

I added the white wine (I used a pinot gris and kind of wished I’d used a merlot. If you try that let me know how it goes.), 1/2 tsp of dried oregano leaves, 1/2 tsp of cumin and a pinch of nutmeg and simmered until the wine was reduced by half.

Then I added a half cup of vegetable bouillon, a tin of tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of capers and a pinch of cracked black pepper. I stirred it a few times to mix and then added the tempeh back to the pan, covered it with tomatoes and allowed it to simmer for another 20 minutes.

Brent made some guinoa while we waited because it was what we had but I think this would be better with pasta or mashed potatoes.

After 20 minutes, the tempeh should have taken on some of the characteristics of the broth. Put the tempeh on your quinoa, potatoes, pasta, whatever and spoon generous helpings of the remaining deglazing/reduction. I sprinkled mine with some fresh basil leaves. This is a hearty meal, full of savory and herbal flavors all brought out by the acid and sweetness of the tomatoes. This would also work with chickpeas or seitan instead of tempeh for those with a soy allergy. It’s a surprisingly healthy crowd pleaser.

A note for the health conscious: don’t be afraid of soy. There’s a lot of propaganda out there that says soy isn’t good for you for one reason or another. A word from your vegan scientist: the data suggest that soy is better for you than meat, dairy and eggs by a long shot, particularly if you’re worried about cancer (particularly colon cancer) or cardiovascular disease.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Lasagna; Comfort Food and Crowd Pleaser

It’s the day after thanksgiving and you probably can’t eat anymore of those greasy garlic smashed potatoes and decadent Tofurkey roast and are wishing for something light and easy. Well, here it is.

I posted about lasagna a while ago and didn’t give instructions because I consider it a self-explanatory free-form dish. Now that the concept is out there I figure I should give you an idea of what I do so you can weigh in and offer your improvements.

You’ll need the following for the layers:

2-3 zucchini, sliced into long thin strips or 1 large eggplant sliced thin and sauteed

1/2 lb spinach, fresh or frozen

For the tofu ricotta:

1 package of tofu, any kind will do (use a cup of dry cashews, soaked if you’ve got a soy allergy)

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tbsp onion powder

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1 pinch salt

For the filling:

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, dried or fresh

1/2 cup of textured vegetable protein or TVP (use lentils if you’ve got a soy allergy)

1 cube of bouillon, I like “beef” for this recipe

1 tbsp cumin powder

1/2 tbsp coriander powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1 pinch nutmeg

1 pinch chili powder

1/2 onion, chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced

Topping:

pasta sauce (a href=”http://theveganshusband.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/the-worlds-best-pasta-sauce/”>I like this one

Daiya or other vegan cheese

Miscellaneous:

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil as needed

Below is my first layer.

I sprayed my pan lightly with olive oil and then arranged my eggplant on top and then covered it with spinach. I buy fresh spinach for salads and freeze whatever is leftover at the end of the week so we usually have some in the freezer.

I put a little olive oil, the onion and garlic into a pan and sauteed them until the onion started to soften. Meanwhile I prepared the bouillon in a cup of water by heating it in the microwave. I added it to the pan along with the mushrooms, TVP and spices for the filling. I heated it on low until the mixture had absorbed most of the moisture.

I added it to the baking dish, poured some sauce over it, put down another layer of spinach and prepared the tofu ricotta.

The tofu and spices went into a bowl and mooshed to conformity!


I didn’t make quite enough so maybe I’ll double the ricotta next time. It’s kind of important to the recipe to have copious ricotta or this will more closely resemble a vegetable casserole than veggie lasagna.

After adding the tofu, we added another layer of eggplant and spinach and then topped it with pasta sauce and Daiya.

I baked it at 350F/170C for an hour and then we accidentally the whole thing. Top with chopped black olives and shredded basil if you want something pretty AND delicious. Yay!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Pomegranate, Punk Rawk and Basil Sammiches!

Yeah, I’m still baking my own bread and each loaf is an experiment. Sometimes it doesn’t work out well but that’s cool; we’ve got the taste part down and now it’s about texture. Anyways… This post is about sammiches.

This sandwich didn’t quite make sense to Brent but he trusts me and tried it anyways. I slathered my bread with some Punk Rawk Labs plain cashew cheese, mooshed some pomegranate seeds into the cheese and topped it with basil from our garden. It was definitely a mouth adventure with savory cheese and spicy basil and then you get the tart fruit flavors and nutty bread as you start to chew it.

It was also as visually stunning as basil mozzarella and tomato salad with the bright red and verdant green against the sienna of the bread and creamy cheese. I won’t turn this combo down if it happens again but I’m also determined to find other great uses for my favorite fruit!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Piccata revisited

Melissa is the author of the best piccata vegan or not. We decided we wanted some so we changed up a couple of the elements and were pleasantly surprised. We started by preparing some tempeh according to Melissa’s recipe and setting it on low to simmer.

We sauteed some spinach with garlic and flake red pepper.

Next we sauteed some polenta.

I served it all up hot with extra lemon caper awesomeness poured over the top and a sprinkle of paprika.

It was delicious and did not last long. I ended up having to make another batch immediately after this one disappeared. What this really translates to is a recipe that’s robust and reproducible. A huge “THANKS!” goes out to co-author Melissa. She’s pretty rad.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Penne Puttanesca

Puttanesca is terribly underrated and we were cleaning out the fridge this particular day. I started simply and got some of my favorite pasta sauce and a bag of rice pasta. Brent is in charge of making pasta so I was saucy!

I diced an onion and sauteed it with some flake red pepper and basil olive oil. It smelled SO amazing I wish I could make a scratch-n-sniff post.

I added 2 cups of sauce and threw in

1 tin of olives that I drained

1 cup of TVP (omit if you’re sensitive to soy)

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp coriander

1 tin of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

I stirred it up until it was hot and fragrant and when Brent was done making the pasta we mixed it all together and devoured it.

I guess we do this kind of pasta a lot and don’t always post about it. Capers, mushrooms, garlic, basil leaves and just about everything else gets throw into this dish. I recommend it for families with kids who will find the hunt for all the different veggies and beans entertaining.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Hemp Cheese

I’ve been making cashew cheese for months now but wanted to try this with hemp seeds (nutrition data pictured at left). Hemp is a much more sustainable seed product than cashews or almonds mostly because they use less water to grow, ounce for ounce and has twice the protein for about the same amount of fat, Hemp is also rich in omega fatty acids and iron. This is also suitable for most people with nut allergies as well as soy-and dairy sensitivities. To make this cheesy spread I combined

1 cup of hemp seeds

juice from 1 lemon

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 generous pinch of salt

2-3 tbsp of water

I then blended the mixture until it was creamy. This took a while but the end product was worth it. We ended up with a lightly sweet cheesy spread. I suspect you could also bake it to make a harder cheese like I normally do with cashew cheese. I was feeling peckish and impatient so that didn’t happen.

You can also add your favorite vegan pesto spread for a pesto spread, some herbes de provence, dairy-free ranch seasoning or whatever your favorite dip is.

It’s great on our home-made gluten-free vegan bread or in combination with a sprinkle of fresh herbs on crackers. It also makes a great high protein pasta sauce. Let me know if you get to try it!

This is Christie signing off!

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