Tag Archives: peas

Leftover rescue: Veggie Fried Rice!

We ordered some Thai food and were left with huge quantities of leftover rice. I’m not one to waste food so we decided to make it into a delicious meal. Usually we throw all of our leftover veggies into a lasagna but rice gave us a good reason for change.
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I combined some carrots that we shredded in our food processor with some flake red pepper, chopped onion and a couple of teaspoons of corn oil. I stirred it in our wok (thanks to my big sister for the awesome gift!) until the onion became translucent.
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Then I added some soy curls (use seitan if you’re sensitive to soy) and shitake mushrooms that Brent had reconstituted in our microwave with some bouillon and some frozen peas and julienne zucchini. When that had all gotten hot and steamy and the zucchini was soft.

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Then I dumped in our rice and seasoned it to taste with teryaki and tamari sauce.

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It made a great dinner, leftovers and might benefit from some pseudo-shrimp and sesame seeds when we make it again. It was so easy, I don’t think we’ll be able to resist the urge.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Revisiting an Old Favorite: Soy Curl-dereta

For me, one of the joys of turning veganese is that I’ve become better in the kitchen. Cooking isn’t a chore or a crazy thing to do every once in awhile. It’s something that I wish I had time to do everyday. One of the most important lessons that has been learned out of cooking a lot more often is this: it’s okay to change things up, to experiment, to try new ingredients, and to get creative in the kitchen. Make cooking and eating work for you! Sure, it sounds simple, but I used to be one of those people who followed recipes faithfully and wondered if I was eating something the “right” way. For example, is it “right” to stick a whole piece of sushi in my mouth or is it OK to bite it? Sushi purists will tell you that there is definitely a right way to eat sushi, but I don’t quite feel good (or attractive) when trying to eat a whole piece of sushi. Drool and choking become potential side effects. But, I digress.

I recently made some soy curl-dereta (click for my original recipe):

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It’s only the 2nd time I’m making this, which is kind of crazy. I used to worry a lot about missing Filipino food! I can’t be missing it that much if it’s only the 2nd time I’ve made this. The main reason I wanted to talk about this is because I did things a little differently this time around.

  1. I didn’t follow a recipe.
  2. I didn’t have potatoes or bell pepper, so I was missing ingredients (and I forgot some ingredients). Therefore, one can make the argument that this dish is NOT caldereta, but they’re wrong.
  3. I didn’t use the store-bought Caldereta spice packet.
  4. The first time I made this, it was a HUGE production. It was also the first time I ever had soy curls. This time, it was second nature and I wasn’t terrified of the soy curls.

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You guys, I just have to say it: I’m so proud of myself! Look at me, being all casual chef let-me-get-this-stuff-cooked-so-I-can-eat-already! The one major difference is that I browned the soy curls with the garlic and onions and some Butler Chick Style Seasoning before adding the tomato sauce and veggies this time. Since I didn’t have a caldereta spice packet, I seasoned it with salt, pepper, and cumin. I debated whether or not to add nutritional yeast, but opted out. Thinking back, I totally should have done that: some people do add cheese to traditional caldereta.

You might notice that I was working with smaller soy curl bits from the bottom of the bag. It worked out really nicely. The carrots and peas ended up being the star with the soy curls being a nice accompaniment.

Cooking this got me really excited because I couldn’t help but wonder how my 3rd iteration of soy curl-dereta will turn out. I’ll be sure to let you guys know. –Melissa

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The Other Lazy Vegans: TV Dinner 3

Amy’s has been doing well so far with their tamales so we’re branching out to try some of their Indian dishes.

This is their Mattar Tofu. It’s vegan and gluten-free.

It looked good right out of the box and went into the oven for a quick easy meal. So check this out: after heating it looked appetizing and smelled even better. We didn’t do much to it as we were eating.

This is an improvement on the tamales. I added some flake red pepper but no extra salt needed. The rice was a good texture (even if it hadn’t been previously frozen) and the veggies weren’t mooshy.

The ingredients and nutrition were pretty good. Like the other dishes in Amy’s vegan and gluten-free offerings, it contained a modest amount of oil and was salty but it was tasty, easy and not terribly expensive. I’ll probably make my own next time but I might buy this again.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Lazy Vegan: Bachelorette Chow!

A while back, Brent posted about what he calls bachelor chow. It turns out I have a lady version of this dish. Mine is fairly straightforward and has a nutritional profile that my needs and just happens to compliment Brent’s version well. Before I was vegan this included tilapia but that was quickly and easily replaced with less expensive, cholesterol-free chickpeas. That’s most of what you’ll need:
1 tin of chickpeas, drained OR 1 cup of chickpeas, soaked and pressure cooked
1 10 ounce or 1 lb. bag of frozen vegetables (I prefer mixes with broccoli, carrots and peas or beans)
whatever combination of hot sauce, tamari or soy sauce and teryaki sauce or mushroom sauce does it for you
1 tsp olive oil

I put the chickpeas into a pan with the olive oil and often some flake red pepper or cayenne and fry the chickpeas until they get all steamy! I add the frozen veggies and stir-fry until they’re hot and then add sauces to taste. This is a versatile budget friendly meal that’s pretty family friendly. When I make this for me and Brent, I’ll use 2 10 ounce bags of vegetables or a 1 pound bag. It usually comes out to less than $5 for dinner for 2, less if you start with dried chickpeas. Fresh, frozen or dried black-eyed peas (sometimes called cow peas), lima beans, edamame or green peas are great for when you want a change.

What’s your super quick and easy meal for days when you don’t really want to cook?

This is Christie, signing off!

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Bacon, Peas and Mac & Cheese!

Bacon in macaroni and cheese is something that would never have happened in my house growing up… now that I think about it, mac and cheese wasn’t something that happened in my house growing up… so this was a treat. All we did was grab a bag of Leahey Gardens gluten-free Mac and Cheese (a personal favorite because it’s easy, delicious and low calorie) and prepare the pasta as instructed.

Once that was done we mixed in a diced tomato to keep the pasta from sticking. Meanwhile I started the sauce with some unsweetened plain almond milk, a generous sprinkle of cayenne, a dash of flake red pepper and a cup of frozen peas.

Brent browned some tempeh bacon to perfection!

The peas and mac looked perfectly appetizing to me but we had to take it one step further and add bacon.

I did find it to be a remarkably pleasant adddition: the smoke of the bacon with the salty cheesy sauce and sweet peas was exactly the kind of comfort food we needed that particular evening. Enjoy!

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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The other Lazy Vegans: Macaroni and “Cheese”… and PEAS!

This is a post about a product that I really love:Leahey Gardens Mac&Cheese. I love this product because it’s quick, easy and delicious.

They make gluten-free and regular and it’s the answer for your friend who “can’t live without” macaroni and cheese in a box. Brent and I have a twist on this recipe because even though it’s pretty good for you right out of the box, we like vegetables.

I add peas… about 1 and a half cups. I also add a generous dash of flake red pepper and Italian seasoning when preparing the cheese sauce. This recipe is also very good prepared with water, for the record. This means it’s great for travel anywhere with a microwave.

This is the finished product, ready to be enjoyed. It’s already rich in B vitamins thanks for nutritional yeast in the sauce and the peas add a whollop of protein. Enjoy!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Soy Curl-dereta

I decided to add a new item to my Veganized Filipino Dishes collection: Caldereta. I think of caldereta as a Filipino pot roast or beef stew of sorts. The traditional dish is made with goat meat, however, beef is usually used. In general, the meat is cooked in a tomato sauce with potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, peas, and green olives. A lot of people add liver or liver paste, or raisins; my family doesn’t. (Side note: raisins in my food? *gag*)

I was originally going to make the caldereta the usual way but with no meat, but then I remembered that I had a bag of soy curls. This is my first time making anything with (or eating) soy curls, so there was a bit of an unknown here. I’ll admit that I worried that the soy curls would ruin the whole thing, but I decided to take the risk.

Soy Curl Caldereta

1 cup soy curls
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, cut into chunks (or 1 cup whole baby carrots)
1 cup potatoes cut into chunks
1/2 to 1 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup peas
handful green olives (add as little or as many as you’d like)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 packet Mama Sita’s Caldereta Spice Mix (yeah, yeah… I’m lazy)

First, I prepped all my veggies. Then I threw some olive oil into a medium pot, browned the garlic, and then added the water over medium heat. When the water started to boil, I added the potatoes, carrots, and the seasoning and covered until it started to simmer.

I uncovered the pot and added the tomato sauce. I mixed it around a bit and then lowered the heat and covered the pot. While that was simmering, I took my cup of soy curls and rehydrated them in a bowl of water.

By the time the dish was simmering nicely, the soy curls were ready. I don’t know what I was expecting when it came to the soy curls. I knew they would be soft, but I wasn’t prepared for the smell. It was as if I had been instantly transported to a grocery store in Argyle.

After the soy curls were heated, I topped off the pot with the rest of the ingredients, covered the pot, and let it sit over low heat for about 5 minutes. You can leave over the heat for longer; I like wanted my peppers to retain some of their crunch.

Serve the dish over rice. Some things to note:

  • The Mama Sita mix contains garlic powder, onion powder, and other spices; it’s vegan.
  • This turned out very sweet. I”m not sure if it’s because of the tomato sauce, the amount of carrots I used, or what. It’s sweet.
  • Red peppers are usually used. I happened to have green in the fridge.
  • Because the traditional version uses meat, this tends to simmer for much longer with the meat, which I’m sure has a lot to do with the flavoring and the final texture of the dish. I might add some beef broth next time I make this.

This was a fun experiment! –Melissa

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Where do you get your protein?

I come from a family that loves meat and dairy. Sound familiar?

My dad doesn't really look like this.

My dad is an avid bow hunter. My mother is down with Paula Dean. My brother and I were certainly a product of them. That is, I freaking loved meat and cheese. Upon challenging myself to be vegan, I had to re-educate myself about what food was good for me. Being disgustingly close to a scientist/vegan makes for delicious amounts of good information.

Ultimately the question from my family is always — always — “How do you get your protein?” Without going into an anthropological diatribe reminding you and them how our LCA likely survived best on nuts and plants gathered rather than from the often rotten scavenged meats the males would kill themselves to get, I will throw down a quick list of vegan goodies that are high in protein.

Peas

Peas are the overlooked powerhouse of the western diet. Not only are they jam packed with vitamins and minerals your body craves, but they offer a generous dose of protein to keep you strong like young bull (5.9g/100g).  Protip : Stay away from canned peas… or canned anything for that matter.

Beans

They don’t just make you toot; they make you strong. A cup of cooked beans can yield 12g of protein. That’s pretty gangster if you ask me. I prefer black beans when I get the choice (read : when cooking). I like the flavor more than green beans, and I stay away from refried beans. While that seems limiting, the nutritional benefit is nothing to scoff at and there are loads of ways to prepare them.

Soy Beans

I had to put these separately as they provide such an insane amount of protein. 68g per cup, is what I’m reading. Unreal. I also had to put this separately as I know some folks who are allergic to soy. That really really really sucks.

Lentils

I love lentils. Lentil soup is amazing. Lentils with rice and quinoa is killer. What’s more is how they provide such an unreal amount of nutritional substance. 18g protein per cup? Yes please. Protip : If you sprout lentils before consumption (soak for more than 8 hours) you get all of the essential amino acids. By themselves.

Seeds

Here’s a fun one. Pumpkin seeds can provide 74g protein per cup. Eat them like sunflower seeds and crack the shell. Or eat them whole when cooking them in something. Better still, grind/blend up the seeds and make the pasty substance into something delicious!

Nuts

Nuts are awesome for protein, but the consequence for all that delicious flavor is a lot of extra fat and whatnot (20g protein per cup, but 48.11g fat too). That’s not to say that one should avoid nuts, but if looking for a lean way to get protein, nuts should be used sparingly. Almonds are a solid go-to and are now made into all sorts of goodies.

Asparagus

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have asparagus. Not a lot of fat, but not a whopping amount of protein either (2.95g protein per cup, .16g fat per cup /underwhelmed). But consider that the human body isn’t meant to get 200g protein a day, folks. Rather, the average should be somewhere around 50-60g for men, 40-50g for the ladies. Then again, I’m not a nutritionist, and these numbers vary on height and weight. This should give you a nice jumping off point, though.

Final Thoughts

By being vegan, you don’t have to sacrifice protein. In fact, you shouldn’t. Your body effing needs it. I hope this post helps point you to the threshold of the myriad of options you have as a vegan to get your protein. Protein doesn’t just come from milk, cheese, eggs, meat. Some of the best protein comes from anything but meat and dairy. That said, this is not a comprehensive list by any means. There are loads of other protein sources out there. What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below.

Peas out, my vegans.

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Easy Veggie Paella

To an omnivore, this is vegetable rice. To a vegan, this is paella. I’m using olives in this recipe as my interpretation of mussels: they’re black (who really cares about mussels… I love the color contrast) and have to be pitted before you can eat them just like you have to shell a mussel… kind of. The Brussels sprouts are just there for fun and tofu makes a nice addition if you’re feeling like it. I would marinade it in lemon juice and cumin with a touch of syrup but we decided on skipping the tofu tonight. We started with the following.
6-10 Brussels sprouts (quartered)
1 cup of dry white wine
3 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 cup black olives
1/4 white onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 lbs of peas
Sweet paprika
1 1/2 cups of long grain
1/4 teaspoon of saffron
1 1/2 liters of vegetable stock (from bouillon cubes is fine)
2 tablespoons of minced parsley
I would start by mixing the saffron into the broth and bring it to a boil. In our kitchen, cooking rice and pasta is Brent’s job. He’s much more patient than I am and makes lovely rice and pasta. I stir it too much and end up with a mooshy sticky mess. Add the rice and stir once. Lower the heat and let it boil without stirring. While this was happening, there’s plenty of time for chopping up the veggies and cooking them. Now that the rice is cooking, on to the veggies!
Warm the wine and olive oil with the parsley, paprika, onion and garlic at low heat. Let them simmer until the onion starts to become translucent and then add the peas, olives and bell pepper. When that’s simmered for about 5-8 minutes and the bell peppers are starting to get soft, add the sprouts and toss lightly until they’re just past the bright green stage.
When the top of the rice starts to dry, plop the veggies onto the rice (except for a handful of Brussels sprouts if you want something really pretty). Let them cook for other 10 minutes. Stir the veggies under the rice, using a spatula. Arrange the sprouts on top.
Note on ingredients: the “peas” we added weren’t peas at all. I bought them at my farmer’s market and asked when I paid for them what they were. The guy told me “peas” but they are definitely broad beans. They’re a fine substitute for peas but next time I’ll use the real thing.
EAT IT! This is a fast delicious healthy meal that is sure to please. It’s also got a stunning mix of colors that’s sure to impress whether you fuss over it and arrange the veggies or not.
This is Christie and Brent, signing off.
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Tofu Makhani Quick and Easy

The man and I are always trying to reproduce take-out favorites at home. A few weeks ago I became obsessed with creating a truly vegan, gluten-free version of veggies makhani which we periodically order from a beloved Indian restaurant. “Makhani” means butter in Hindustani and though a lot of restaurants make it with olive oil as a cheap alternative to ghee, I still worry my special request for olive oil won’t be met. This version isn’t stereotypical Indian food but rather an Americanized version of the Indian classics but that shouldn’t stop you from giving this a try. We made ours with traditional herbs and spices, peas and tofu instead of paneer. Paneer is a traditional home-made Indian cheese often used in this dish. Tofu is a great vegan substitute. Other veggies that would be appropriate include bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and potatoes. I started with the following:
1 carton of firm Chinese style water packed tofu, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb bag of frozen peas

Before you do anything, set these aside to drain and thaw respectively. I like to marinade my tofu in lemon juice for 30 minutes or so with a dash of ground coriander. I finish it by heating the tofu lightly in the pan I’ll eventually add my sauce to and pouring off any excess liquid.
1 tsp oil
1 generous pinch of cinnamon
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional, but recommended)
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, sliced (more if you like spice)
1 small onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
6 oz. tomato paste
1/2 pinkie sized piece of turmeric, sliced OR 1/2 tsp dried turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp syrup (any kind will do)
2 cups vegetable stock (use water if you need more)
1/2 cup cashew nuts (soaked is good)
1 tbsp vegan “butter”
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and chili paste to taste
Fresh green coriander/cilantro for garnish

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the cumin and fenugreek seeds, and when they sputter add the cinnamon. Add the ginger and turmeric and stir for a minute or so over medium-high heat. Add the onions, “butter” and a little salt and saute until the onions start to brown, about five minutes. Add the tomatoes, cashew nuts and chilli powder. Saute the mixture until the tomatoes soften. If the mixture starts to get too dry before the tomatoes are done, add some water or vegetable stock and continue cooking. Once the tomatoes are really soft, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Pour into a blender along with the lemon, syrup, and tomato paste, using some broth to get all the paste out of the can. An extra tablespoon of cashew butter won’t hurt but we’re trying to keep this light. Blend to a smooth paste adding veggie stock, syrup, salt, and chili paste as necessary.

I don’t recommend blending the mixture while it’s still hot because it can be dangerous. If you have a hand blender, this is the time to use it. Pour the blended paste back into the saucepan with your tofu, turn on the heat, add the remaining vegetable stock if the mixture is particularly thick. Now add the peas and any other veggies you like and stir them in. Let the mixture heat until it’s steamy. Garnish with coriander leaves, and serve hot with some rice, or a suitable substitute.

We used quinoa that we prepared by microwaving at 2 minute intervals. We also added some cardamom pods because they bring out the nutty smells and flavors in quinoa with their lemony aroma.

I just wish I could take a picture of the flavor for you: this is comfort food, pure and simple. I hope you get to enjoy some!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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