Tag Archives: zucchini

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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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 jalapeños 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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Vegan Pasta Bake

This was an uncharacteristically un-lazy dish for me to make. It turned out pretty good considering that I was winging it from start to finish.

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You may not be able to easily make out the veggies in the bake from the photo above, but I assure you that they’re there. The veggies used can vary, depending on what you have in your fridge or what you’re simply in the mood to eat. I went with zucchini and carrots. Everything from the pasta to the sauce to the ‘cheese’ that you use can be varied. Below are the ingredients that I used.

Vegan Pasta Bake

8oz penne pasta
2 cans tomato sauce (you can use 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce)
1 block firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
1 pack Teese mozzarella vegan cheese
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1 medium onion, minced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian herbs
salt and pepper

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While the water for the pasta was boiling and the oven was preheating to 350 degrees, I mixed my tofu crumbles with the spices and olive oil, and cut up the veggies, onion, and garlic.

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After the pasta was cooked and drained, I started placing the ingredients in a casserole dish. I tried to do it in layers: pasta, onions and garlic, tofu, veggies, teese. After all the veggies and pasta were in the dish, I poured the sauce over everything. I should have layered in the sauce as well. Duh. But it still turned out okay, so, yay!

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I was only about 95% happy with how this turned out, but I learned a lot of lessons making it. I hope to try it again with other veggies like spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, squash… and I’ll plan to have more veggies than pasta in it next time. –Melissa

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Vegan Lasagna

I make a lot of vegan lasagnas because it’s what happens when I’ve got too many vegetables in the fridge that aren’t suitable for juicing, like mushrooms, zucchini and eggplant. It’s something I suspect a lot of vegans do and just don’t talk about… correct me if I’m wrong. (this is the eggplant version after baking, below)

We slice the zucchini or eggplant thin to use instead of noodles and go from there. Usually we line the baking dish with zucchini or eggplant, cover that with a layer of spinach and cover it in soaked lentils flavored with tomato and garlic and other spices plus whatever veggies we’ve got mixed in. (pre-baking, below)

I usually sneak in another layer of spinach if I’ve got it.Then we make tofu ricotta (tofu blended with a little arrowroot starch, onion and garlic powder, Italian seasoning, etc), pour that over the lentil veggie layer and make another layer of ‘noodles’ cover with some more tomato sauce, sprinkle with nut parmesan, Daiya, and/or nutritional yeast and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350F/180C until it’s bubbly and the ‘noodles’ are tender. It’ll depend on the size as to how long it’ll need to cook. Usually when it’s bubbling up the sides, you’re set! (zucchini version below, after baking)

I’m not writing a recipe for this because I don’t want to box anyone in with specifics. I’d also love to hear your favorite vegan lasagna recipes or little tips and tricks you’d offer to others.

What’s great about vegan lasagna is that it affords the opportunity to eat the nutrients vegans sometimes have trouble getting without a lot of effort. B vitamins, iron and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids are among the nutrients that vegans sometimes miss out on due to eating a compassionate diet. Spinach (for iron), nutritional yeast (B-vitamins) and nuts (omega fatty acids) are my favorite sources of these nutrients.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

These make great leftovers but don’t normally make it to that stage.

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Dining Out: Portillo’s

It is surprisingly possibly to enjoy a vegan* meal at Portillo’s without having to resort to a salad. Portillo’s is an awesome spot when you’re in the mood to pig out on hot dogs, burgers, Italian beef, Italian sausage, chili… goodness, I just had gross meat flashbacks.

For dinner tonight, it was either eat something from Portillo’s or eat a rotting tomato. (Okay, it wasn’t that dramatic, but still.) So I tried the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich for the first time ever. Please pardon the poor photo: I ate half the sandwich before I remembered to take a pic!

The grilled veggies in the sandwich include yellow squash, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, red peppers, and red onion, along with fresh tomato. It all comes on a multi-grain focaccia and served with a pickle. I asked them to hold the cheese.

This sandwich was very satisfying! I could barely finish it. I will definitely order it with hot peppers next time. Some fresh basil added to the mix would do wonders for it as well. The veggies and the bread were fresh. It’s definitely a great vegan or vegetarian option.

Thank you for having this on your menu, Portillo’s! –Melissa

*Yeah, the bread probably isn’t vegan. And I had some fries which probably weren’t totally vegan.

Hey, don’t forget about our giveaway! Read this post for all the details and thanks for visiting Turning Veganese. You are awesome!

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Lighter Thai Yellow Curry

Brent and I are still trying to find lighter versions of our favorites and yellow curry is on that list. We recently became acquainted with PB2 thanks to co-author Melissa and have found it to be everything it’s advertised to be: a low-fat full-flavor version of the comfort food I know and love. This made this dish possible along with 2 bags of generic frozen vegetables. As a biochemist I’ve learned that the best ways to preserve labile (that’s how biochemists say ‘unstable’) compounds is by storing them frozen or dried and preferably both. Dried and frozen veggies, nuts and fruits are something I often choose over canned or ‘fresh’ (i.e. not from our farmers’ market). While tinned and fresh produce is often useful and tasty, you never know how long it’s been sitting on a shelf or in the back of a refrigerated truck while the nutrients have been breaking down due to natural processes that can be slowed or stopped by freezing or drying. There is still a lot we don’t know about how our bodies work and scientists discover new compounds that are important to health and nutrition more often than you might think. Variety and well preserved or fresh foods are the best ways to make the most of compounds we don’t know about just yet, as far as I’m concerned.  I digress… lets talk curry. We used the following

1 lb. bag of generic frozen seasoning mix (pepper, onion, celery)

1 lb. bag of generic frozen mixed vegetables (zucchini. carrot, lima beans, cauliflower)

1 13.5 ounce tin of chickpeas, drained OR 1 cup of dried garbanzos, soaked overnight and parboiled

2 generous pinches of cumin seeds

2 tbsp minced ginger

3 Thai chilis, sliced

1 pinch of cayenne (optional)

1 pinch of cinnamon

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp PB2 dissolved in 1/2 cup water

1 tsp coconut or turbinado sugar (more if you like sweeter curry)

salt to taste

We combined the cumin seeds with minced ginger in a deep skillet with the olive oil. We stirred it over medium high heat until it was fragrant. We started the rice at this point because we used brown rice with took about 45 minutes. The curry was ready about 15 minutes before the rice.

To this we added the seasoning mix of vegetables, peppers, cinnamon, PB2 in water and chickpeas. I stirred it until the vegetables were thawed and heated thoroughly.

Then we added the rest of the veggies and sugar and stirred until the vegetables were hot and tender.

This was a lighter curry and tasted divine. Thanks to PB2 we had something light and nutritious and good enough to share though I’ll probably make some tweaks in the future. Let me know if you get to try this and what you’d do to improve on it.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Tropical Spring Rolls!

It’s raw night again in the Alldestroyers’ household and tonight we’ll be preparing vegan spring rolls. You’ll need the following:

2 medium zucchini, shredded
5 average sized carrots, shredded
1/2 cup toasted shredded coconut (sweetened is fine)
1 tbsp ponzu sauce
1/2 tsp lime juice (optional)
1/2 tsp flaked red pepper
a pinch of salt
8-10 rice paper sheets (mine are bahn-trang)
greens or spinach, washed and dried

Start by combining all the vegetables (except for the greens), liquids and seasonings in a bowl. Substitute shredded parsnips if you have a coconut allergy. Mix well and set aside.

Add 1 to 2 cups warm water in a deep plate or shallow bowl. Place a rice paper sheet into the water making sure to dampen both sides thoroughly and remove before it loses it’s stiffness.

Take it out and place it on a clean plate. Don’t worry if it’s still stiff; it’ll soften as it absorbs the water.

Place a handful of greens on one end of the paper closest to you. Add 3-4 heaping spoonfulls of filling onto the greens (if it’s particularly wet, let it drain, squeezing it out between your hands – your kids might like this job).

Dry your hands and start rolling the filled end of the sheet away from you using the greens to control the filling, folding in the sides. Rest it on that edge after closing it until you’re ready to eat it.Try not to place them so close that they’re touching because they’ll stick together and might tear when handled.

This takes some practice but it doesn’t really matter what they look like, right? You should end up with some lovely light, nutritions, filling and delicious spring rolls.

We made a dipping sauce out of basically the same ingredients as in our pakora with some minor changes which complemented the coconut in the spring rolls brilliantly. The proportions were about like this:
1/4 cup of tamarind (we used frozen)
2 tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp cinnamon
chili paste to taste

When mango comes into season, we’ll probably make this sauce with pureed mango. I’m monitoring the little baby mango growing on the trees between my train stop and apartment closely. Soon, my friends… very soon.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Pakora: chickpea fritters… basically.

Brent and I decided to try and recreate another of our favorite take-out dishes last night. This one was not quite as successful as our <a href=”http://turningveganese.com/2012/03/20/tofu-mahkani-quick-and-easy/”>previous endeavors</a> but we learned a lot so it’s okay. We were interested in making pakora so with some inspiration from <a href=”http://ellesite.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/guilt-free-pakora-vegan-indian-food-made-healthy/>Elle’s Diary</a> we decided to craft our own and bake them instead of traditional frying.

First I shredded 5 medium carrots and a large zucchini in my food processor. I added the folloring:
2 cups chickpea flour
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp gram masala blended spices
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
soy milk

We mixed it together with the shredded veggies and added soy milk until the texture was like a thick batter. I spooned them onto a wax paper lined baking sheet. We baked them at 350C/180F until they began to brown at the edges and were firm to the touch, about 35 minutes.

While we were waiting, my handsome partner in criminally fun cooking prepared two sauces for dipping: mint chutney and tamarind. For the tamarind he combined:
maple syrup
thawed frozen tamarind
chili paste

For the mint chutney, he put the following in the food processor:

1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves
1 jalapeño pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water, or as needed
 
The dipping sauces were an enormous success. The pakora on the other hand, needed some work. I think the next time we make this dish we’ll add a shredded onion and maybe a potato or eggplant to the veggie mix. We’ll also add a little baking soda and use a cast iron skillet to bake them since sticking to the wax paper lined baking sheet was a problem. The flavors, however, were good and this high protein addition to a traditional Indian meal will be welcome even before we work out the kinks. We’ll be revisiting this particular awesome dish again and we’ll keep you posted.
This is Brent and Christie, signing off!
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GREEN Vegetables with Risotto!

I was planning to make more risotto ever since I saw VegHotPot’s risotto verde last week. I love risotto but can’t stomach the cheese so I gathered together some organic arborio rice and veggies in preparation for making my own vegan version. This is basically the same as the last time just with different veggies.

1/3 cup of arborio rice (this is more than enough for 2 servings)
1/2 liter of water
1 cube of veggie bouillon
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp olive oil salt to taste
herbes de provence
white wine
I put about half a liter of water into my sauce pan along with a bouillon cube. While I was waiting for the water to boil, I added the onion, garlic and olive oil to one of my fry pans and Brent heated them until they began to sputter.

I set aside the following veggies that Brent chopped as necessary for my risotto:
zucchini
asparagus
edamame
scallions

I added the veggies and turned the heat to medium-low while my extraordinarily good looking sous chef began cooking the rice. We put the rice in a fry pan with a cup of wine and a generous pinch of herbes de provence. I turned the heat to low.

We added the broth one ladle at a time until the rice began to get tender and the liquid was mostly absorbed. It should be translucent except for a little bit in the middle that should still be opaque white when it’s done. You might not use all the broth. I mixed in my veggies and added a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and another tablespoon of vegan parmesan. Both of these are optional but dramatically improve the dish. Omit the edamame if you want this to be soy-free and the vegan parmesan if you’re adverse to nuts.

It really ended up being vegetables with risotto instead of risotto with veggies… but it was delicious. Just look at my evidence of ravenousness.

This attractive dish was loaded with vegetables and good flavors. If that doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will. Let me know what you do with this idea!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off.

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Great big raw green dinner!

I am getting ready to go out of town and I wanted to make sure nothing in my kitchen spoiled. I had some weird foods: Spinach, kumquats, yellow zucchini and avocado. What am I supposed to do with that!? Because this was an experiment I didn’t take as many pictures as I would normally like but it was good I decided to share.

I decided to julienne the zucchini and mixed that with some sun dried tomato and mixed it with 1/3 of my avocado as a binding agent. I also added a pinch of sea salt and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast.

I mooshed it into a mold and put it into the freezer while I did the next part. I chopped up the kumquats, a big bunch of mint leaves, and again mixed that with 1/3 of my avocado.

Next I took the rest of the herbs in my fridge (parsley, basil, and dill) and put the stems and leaves into my blender with a generous tablespoon of tahini, the remaining 1/3 of the avocado, juice from 2 lemons and 1 lime, and a little bit of almond milk until the flavor was balanced as a dressing. I blended it until it came out nice and creamy.

I covered a plate in spinach, put my chilled zucchini mixture onto that and then spooned the kumquat mint relish onto the sides. I added a quick drizzle of my tahini herb dressing and sat down to a healthy raw vegan dinner.

The mellow flavors of the zucchini and sun dried tomato were a good base for the tangy, sweet mint kumquat relish. The herb tahini dressing was really good but I think it brought too many flavors into the dish. The avocado brought the whole thing together as a common element in all the parts and the spinach helped me get it into my mouth. I think if I do this again, I might try adding some raw garlic to the zucchini and save the herb tahini dressing for plain spinach salads.

Experimenting is probably my favorite part of being vegan. I hope you get to experiment a little. The more you do it, the more things will ‘work out’ instead of being composted. Good luck!

 

This is Christie, signing off.

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