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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.


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


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.


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!


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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Mushroom and Tofu Tacos, Jr.

I got this eerie sense of deja vu as I was cooking this dish and then realized that it was because I had made something like it before. I panicked at first, thinking to myself that I was mentally challenged for not being able to come up with something new. But then I realized how much had changed since I last made mushroom and tofu tacos, and I suddenly felt this sense of pride.

Allow me to explain. I went from barely cooking to suddenly learning how to cook vegan meals for myself. Every time I would prepare something, I had to do “research,” figuring out how to prepare and cook things, what ingredients to use, even simply making sure that what I was making was actually vegan. When making this dish, I didn’t think much about it. I just got my ingredients and dove right in. I am not the same Melissa that I was a year ago!

This is a good variation on my original recipe since it’s “ground” tofu and mushrooms. You will need the following:

1 block extra firm tofu, liquid squeezed out, and then mashed with a fork for a ground meat-like texture
1/3 cup of mushrooms, minced – I used some dried mushrooms that friends from Thailand brought for us
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp chipotle chili powder (or ancho chili powder)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cumin
salt, to taste
olive oil for frying
ground annatto (optional)

Mix all but the olive oil and annatto together in a bowl. Fire up a frying pan and heat up the olive oil. Then, toss in the tofu/mushroom mix. Cook until heated through. I add some annatto halfway through to give the tofu some color.

Stick that stuff on a warm tortilla, put your favorite taco toppings on it, and stuff your face! –Melissa

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When I first thought about starting a vegan-centric blog, I was going to focus on veganizing Filipino dishes. Filipino food isn’t necessarily heavy on meat: my mom can give you a lecture on how she rarely ate meat as a girl growing up in the Philippines. I should ask her to write it down and post it here. Oh, I digress. One of the Filipino dishes that I knew I would really miss is bistek or beef steak. It’s basically meat and onions so how can you possibly veganize it and make it similar to the real thing?

Duh. Tofu is the solution to my bistek problem. However, I still have issues with tofu texture and taste. There is just no getting away from that tofu taste. Anyway, I had leftover tofu in the fridge and decided to try making it into Tofustek! (exclamation point is required). I am 99% happy with the result. It still needs something, but here is the basic recipe with which we can tinker.

1 block extra firm tofu
1/4 c soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice or calamansi juice if you’ve got it
1 medium onion, sweet vidalia recommended but any onion will do
ground black pepper
olive oil or safflower oil (my new favorite cooking oil, will post about it soon!)

Double up on the soy sauce and lemon juice if you like your dishes to be more soupy, and use more or less onion if you wish.

1. Slice the tofu into mini-steaks or into chunks — whatever you like! Put the tofu in a shallow bowl or dish so that you only have one layer of it, if possible.

2. In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce and lemon. Taste a drop of it to make sure it’s a flavor you like. If it’s too sour, add a bit more soy sauce. If you can’t taste the lemon or calamansi, add a bit more. Once it’s mixed, sprinkle in some black pepper.

3. Pour the sauce over the tofu, taking care to coat each piece. Let it sit for awhile to marinade. Five minutes or so should be plenty of time.

4. While the tofu is marinading, slice your onion into rings and set aside.

5. Heat up your pan and add oil. Brown the tofu. IMPORTANT: Do NOT add any of the sauce! Some will obviously find its way into the pan, but try to make it as dry as possible.

6. After the tofu is browned, remove it from the pan and place it in a bowl or container, preferably the container in which you plan to serve or store the dish.

7. Add a bit more oil to the pan and then throw in your onions. Brown until they are wilted, or earlier if you like your onions a bit more crisp. Then, add the sauce and remove from heat. Careful: it’s gonna sizzle.

9. Top the tofu with the onions and sauce.

Serve Tofustek! with white rice or your favorite grain. Goes well with steamed or broiled Chinese eggplant, or with salted fresh tomatoes. Tofustek! is not quite as delicious as bistek, but it’s a great vegan alternative and super easy to make.

Enjoy! And may you have a Happy New Year! – Melissa

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