Category Archives: Main Dishes

Vegan Paella, for real this time

I made paella once before and a Latina colleague informed me that unless it contains meat, paella is merely veggie rice. I don’t think she’d be able to argue with this vegan paella, though.

We used Vigo yellow rice instead of making our own. Brent and I have become big fans of this vegan rice mix because it’s tasty, easy and costs less than $2. If you get to try it, it gets a little toasty on the bottom of the pan and don’t worry because this improves the flavor significantly.
IMG_2441I started by sauteeing some onion with a little olive oil and some flake red pepper. While that was cooking, Brent was cutting some Brussel’s sprouts and thaw the Ocean’s Best vegan shrimp.We also threw in some black olives that I cut in half.

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These all went into the pan until everything was steamy and hot and the onion was soft and the sprouts had begun to soften. I turned off the heat and added the red pepper. I put a lid over it and allowed it to steam until the pepper was just barely hot. I find bell peppers get bitter when cooked so I avoid cooking them completely unless the skin has been removed.
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We scooped some rice onto our plates and arranged the veggies to make the paella look delicious and that didn’t take much effort. It was really good and the shrimp definitely added what was missing from my last paella effort. Next time I might add daikon as an answer to sea scallops. Savory olives (instead of mussels), sweet bell pepper, herbal Brussel’s sprouts all brought out the light flavors in the saffron rice and sweet shrimp. YUM!

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Tempeh Fajita Wraps

So we’re still on a wrap kick and so Brent decided to marinate some tempeh in some tamari, garlic and flake red pepper.
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I sauteed up with some purple onion, jalapeƱo, poblano pepper and a bit of corn oil.I like poblanos because they’re lightly spicy and don’t get bitter when cooked like bell peppers do.

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As the onion and pepper began to soften I added in the tempeh and stirred it all up until it was steamy and hot. I added the rest of the marinade too: it helped season the onion and pepper as well as providing some liquid to steam the veggies and keep them from scorching.

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Brent was busy making some saffron rice while I was doing this. We used a store bought baggie of Vigo saffron rice that cost us $1.89. It’s delicious all by itself.

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We chopped up some cilantro, red bell pepper and avocado to decorate our delicious fajitas with and ended up with a highly nutritious meal that was packed with flavor.

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Brent added some Daiya to his and I included some flake red pepper.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Italian Wraps!

We had some awesome looking sausage from Pure Market Express and we decided to make something simple with it so we could really appreciate the flavor.
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This was crazy easy, all we did was pile up some Muir Glen fire-roasted tomato, black olives, and sausage on a lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet and topped it with some oregano and some Follow Your Heart mozzarella. I toasted it under our broiler until the cheese was melty and bubbly and then we scooped it onto a spinach lined wrap. I added some extra oregano and some flake red pepper. Brent added some vegan parmesan.

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It was as tasty as it looks. The sausage was a little sweet but I think I can balance it in the future with some garlic salt. This might make a better sub sandwich if you’re not sensitive to gluten or have easy access to gluten-free rolls but we’re using wraps since it’s what we’ve got.

This is 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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Spinach Pesto!

Brent and I have been pretty lazy lately and that’s mostly burrito kick since we found gluten-free wraps made from teff. This wasn’t one of those nights.

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All you need is the following in your blender.

1 cube of veggie bouillon

juice from a lemon

1/4 cup of hemp hearts (pine nuts work too but hemp is cheaper and more sustainable)

5-6 cloves of garlic (more if you like it spicy)

1 large bunch of spinach (frozen is fine)

1 tsp flake red pepper

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 block of silken tofu (use a cup of dry cashews, soaked overnight if you’ve got a soy allergy)

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BLEND! We served ours with pasta that we tossed with chickpeas, sun dried tomato and porcini mushrooms.

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It was definitely a worth while experiment because it was tasty and loaded with nutrients.

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This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Simple Black Bean Chipotle Burritos!

Brent and I wanted something simple and delicious as we were recovering from our flu and this was it. One of the bigger issues with our love of Texan and Mexican cuisine is the lack of a suitably large soft tortilla to wrap Tex-Mex delights in. Fortunately we recently discovered that gluten-free wraps exist!
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These babies are about the size of your typical wrap and are pliable, unlike their corn counterparts (which often must be fried in order to bend without breaking). You’ll need the following:
6 large soft tortillas
1 tin of black beans, drained
1 tin of diced tomatoes (seasoned with chilis and/or lime works well, I like Muir Glen)
1 package of crumbled tofu (Marjon is great) or 1 cup of reconstituted TVP
1 cup of your favorite chipotle, mole, ranchero or enchilada sauce
1 large onion, sliced
flake red pepper to taste
Daiya (optional)
corn oil
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I sauteed the onion until it was soft. Then I added the tofu crumbles (use seitan if you’ve got a soy allergy), beans tomato and sauce. I stirred it until it was a good burrito consistency, adjusted the seasonings and the let Brent at it.
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We plopped a generous amount of the burrito filling onto our new favorite wraps and then microwaved them (on top of a paper towel so they don’t get soggy) to melt some pepper jack Daiya we sprinkled on top. We added spinach after melting the cheese but we ate them before I could get a picture. Cilantro would have been good too!
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It was spicy, hearty and packed with good nutrients for recovering invalids need. I suspect that’s just an excuse and we’ll do it again soon. YAY!

This is Christie and Brent, 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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Chanterelles Sauteed in White Wine and Herbes de Provence

Sounds fancy, right? It tastes fancy…. and delicious! It’s also crazy simple and works with just about any mushroom including the button mushrooms and portobellos you’ll find at your supermarket. You’ll need the following:

1 tbsp vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)

1 tsp herbes de provence

1/2 cup of white wine (I like pinot gris for this)

and a pound or so of mushrooms

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I’m using chantarelles because I love their texture and flavor. You’ll be able to recognize them by their straw color, trumpet shape and frilly looking edge if you see them at your market.

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I added the butter to a pan and waited until it was melted over medium heat. I simmered these, stirring occasionally over alternating low heat and no heat until the volume of the liquid and the mushrooms was reduced by about 1/3. It took about 45 minutes. I saved the remaining reduction, salted my mushrooms to taste and munched away.

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They’re soft, lightly meaty and have a delicate umame flavor that’s complimented by the buttery herbs and crisp musky wine. I didn’t share with Brent. It was that good.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Tempeh ala King

It’s always nice when I can recreate a classic without the heart stopping cream and butter and even better when it tastes amazing. This is the story of my interpretation of chicken ala king. You’ll need the following:

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1 package of tempeh, I like LightLife (above)

1 small onion, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1 carton of mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced

1 carton of silken tofu or a cup of dry cashews soaked overnight, blended to a smooth creamy texture adding water as necessary

1 pinch nutmeg

1 pinch cayenne

1 pinch thyme

1 cube of veggie bouillon (chicken style works well here) dissolved in 1/2 cup of water

1/4 cup of sherry or red wine

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Add some olive oil to a fry pan, sprinkle it with salt and pepper and put the tempeh in it and rub it around to coat the tempeh on both sides. Now apply heat, turn the tempeh to lightly brown each side.

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Set the tempeh aside on a plate. Let the pan cool for 2-3 minutes and then add the wine or sherry and mushrooms.

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The mushrooms will start to turn purple. Reduce them and then add the onion and mix well until the onion starts to soften.

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Add the bouillon and creamy tofu or cashews and mix well. Stir in the spices and adjust them to your taste. Reduce over low heat, stirring frequently. When you’re getting ready to call in your hungry self, friends or family put the tempeh and bell pepper and let it heat thoroughly.

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Brent made some rice pasta while I was cooking up the tempeh and sauce so we served this dish over linguini. Rice or mashed potatoes would be good too.

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Some chopped parsley or green onion would make an awesome garnish but it’s pretty all by itself and packed with flavor and good nutrition. Let me know if you get to try it and hopefully you’ll like it as much as we did.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off.

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Pasta with a side of protein, please…

I like pasta. It’s easy to make and easy to request with no meat or cheese at restaurants. The problem with veganizing pasta (other than the obvious, which is doing your best to ensure that the actual pasta is vegan) is that it very often will lack a good amount of protein. I like having some Italian sausage or ground turkey or meatballs or chicken or fish with some pasta. I love hot dogs in my spaghetti! But I’m vegan now. I had a pressed block of tofu and some vegan spaghetti waiting for me in the fridge, so I had to get creative.

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I “ground” up the tofu with a fork and mixed it together with the following:

1/2 tsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
minced garlic
Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

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I took my leftover spaghetti out of the fridge, put some on a plate, topped it with some of the tofu and heated it up in the microwave.

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Mix it up a little and it just looks like there’s some cheese in there! It was delicious on the pasta and also on its own. I’ll be making this tofu mix again. –Melissa

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