Tag Archives: bell pepper

Vegan Buffalo Tacos: not an oxymoron

Brent and I wanted a quick easy meal so we did what any reasonable vegans would do: we made Buffalo tacos. Now, you might be thinking, “buffalo isn’t vegan.” Of course buffalo isn’t vegan, but Buffalo sauce is. This particular marinade hails from Buffalo, New York and typically includes some sort of chili, vinegar and butter or margarine mixed to creamy spicy perfection. In my college days we referred to the sauce’s namesake as “B-lo”, TMI? We’re using Moore’s because it’s made with margarine.

We decided to bake up some soy curls the same way we did for our quesadillas but chickpeas, beans or tofu prepared with a light dusting of chili pepper and soy sauce would be a perfect substitute. While they were cooking, Brent sliced up some bell pepper and onion. When they were done I heated up some corn tortillas in a fry pan; you don’t have to but they taste better. We used corn tortillas but wheat is fine if that’s what you’re into.

Then we dressed up the tortillas with greens, onion, bell pepper, soy curls and a generous dose of Buffalo sauce. This was definitely worth the 20 minutes of prep time; look how happy the guy is!

Next time we might add some sliced tomato and cilantro but it’s totally not a big deal if you don’t have them.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off.

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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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Pad Thai, oh my!

Pad Thai is something that I routinely order at Thai restaurants because if you ask them to omit the egg it’s vegan and gluten-free. Tofu or tempeh also makes a nice addition to the meal. If you’re on a budget or want to make this classic a little healthier you should make it at home. Brent and I took some tips from Vegan Black Metal Chef and made this our own with some substitutions. To prepare this dish we assembled the following ingredients.
1 package of brown rice noodles (use 8oz for 3 people)
1 bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1/3 head of cabbage cut into ribbons (we couldn’t find mung bean sprouts)
1 tomato, diced
1 package of Chinese style water packed tofu
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
6 cloves of garlic, minced
ginger, we used a piece about the size of half a big toe
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1-2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste)
3-4oz. tamarind (frozen, soup base, or powdered)
2-4 tbsp molasses
1 lime, sliced for a garnish
olive oil
water
salt to taste

Before you do anything, break the noodles in half and place them in a large bowl of warm water to soak.

Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces. Place the tofu on a paper towel and stack 2 paper towels on top and put a pan or a bowl on top to help drain the moisture from the tofu. This will help keep it from falling apart when you cook it later.

Also cut your veggies into bite sized pieces and set them aside.

Put the peanuts, garlic, ginger, crushed pepper, peanut butter, and most of the cilantro (save some for a garnish) into a bowl and cover with 1-2 cups of water. This next part is tricky because it’s about your taste and type of ingredients. I add 3-4 ounces of frozen tamarind paste.

You can also use 1 tbsp tamarind paste or soup base. This is what gives the dish it’s tartness so add it slowly, tasting it until it’s ‘right’. I add about 2 tablespoons of molasses but I don’t like it particularly sweet. Stir it all together and just keep tasting it until you like the flavor of the sauce.

Put a little olive oil, maybe a teaspoon or two, in a large pan and add the tomato. Heat it for about a minute.

Then add the shredded cabbage or bean sprouts and stir the for 3-4 minutes. Drain the water from and add the noodles, they don’t have to be too dry. A little liquid is fine.

Add the tofu, broccoli, bell pepper and the sauce and stir it all together. Keep stirring on medium high heat for another 6-10 minutes or until the noodles are soft and have absorbed the sauce.

Serve sprinkled with fresh cilantro, crushed peanuts and a lime wedge.

Extra vegetables you can add: 1 bunch scallions cut into 1 inch pieces, broccoli florets, 1 small head of bok choy chopped into ribbons instead of or in addition to bean sprouts or cabbage. I hope you get to try this delicious dish.

Until then, this is Christie and Brent, signing off.

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Your Own WHAT!?

Something that’s easier to do than you think is to have your own garden. I may live in sunny Miami with a lengthy growing season but my apartment is high above the ground where the growing usually happens. This is an awesome project if you have kids or something that can improve your cooking just because you’ve got a fresh ingredient. I’ve got two 24 inch planters on my balcony each with basil (Thai and traditional) bell pepper, eggplant, and cherry tomato plants (cherry is an easier to manage size).

This is a good combo for spaces with lots of sun but there’s something for every kitchen window (plus there’s nothing wrong with a basil scented kitchen, am I right?). If you don’t have the dedication or sun to spend months growing whole plants, consider growing your own sprouts.

All you need is some screen or cheesecloth, a jar and some organic seeds. This is my adzuki beans 7 days ago (above). These babies (below) will end up on a salad I’ll eat tomorrow for lunch but they can also end up in a sandwich or in stir fry. You can’t have pad thai without mung bean sprouts as long as I’m around. This was 7 days of emptying the water from this jar (without removing the screen), rinsing 3 or 4 times with distilled water, and then devouring the freshest greens you’ll find without dirt! Be careful to keep them clean: if your hands are dirty you risk contaminating them with E. coli or worse. They should smell sweet and herbal (especially if you grow mustard greens or broccoli for spicy sprouts) as they sprout, not sour or musty.

Fun fact: you haven’t tasted a tomato until you’ve tasted one that has never been refrigerated. They lose a lot of flavor when they get cold. I hope this is an incentive for you who have never tried a really fresh tomato. Additional fun fact: sprouted seeds are rich in essential amino acids. These are the amino acids that your body can’t make itself and you have to get from your food. These are high nutrient, cholesterol free, low calorie and great to cook with or just as a snack. Good luck with that green thumb!

This is Christie, signing off!

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