Tag Archives: sesame seeds

Sesame Citrus Salad Starring KALE!

This was an afternoon salad for me and Brent when we were both home and wanted a snack that was more significant than a pickle. Brent peeled 3 mandarin oranges and prepared some soy curls.


I tore up some red and green kale and washed it.


I tossed it together with sesame seeds and a tangy citrus dressing and threw in the orange slices and soy curls for an easy tasty treat.


It was much more filling than either of us had anticipated. I think just about any citrus dressing would do but we used a local specialty: tangerine vinaigrette.


The orange, green and purple were also visually stunning and I love when food nourishes your mind AND your body so I’m a fan. Let me know what your variation on this theme is.

This is Christie, signing off!

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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.

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.
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.


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


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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Raw Tofu & Avocado Salad

It’s 2013 and time for me to get excited about food again — in a healthy, vegan way. This easy-to-make raw salad is a good start!


My food preparation philosophy is pretty solid. As much as I aspire to be a more creative and fancy cook, I want things to be simple, to use as few ingredients as possible, and find several ways to prepare meals using items that I always have in my kitchen and pantry. I also don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing food. Thus, this recipe is a classic “Melissa” recipe. I didn’t even come up with it myself. It’s based on this recipe.

Raw Tofu & Avocado Salad

1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and drained and then cubed
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos — my first time using this in my own cooking!
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
fresh cilantro
sesame seeds

I placed the cubed tofu in a bowl. I added the lemon, Bragg Liquid Aminos, and sesame oil, and then mixed it very gently to coat all the cubes. I set the bowl aside and then prepared the avocado. I added the avocado to the bowl with the tofu but I didn’t mix it in. I topped everything with scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds. I also sprinkled some freshly ground black pepper onto everything.

I was a little skeptical, but everything melded together really well! There was the tartness of the lemony tofu mixed with the creamy avocado, and then final fresh kick from the scallions and cilantro. I experimented a bit by eating it in a whole wheat pita:


The pita unfortunately muted the flavors too much for my taste, but the rest of the giant pita was great to munch on in between bites of the salad.



Easy, quick, versatile, and no cooking necessary: a classic Melissa recipe, indeed! –Melissa



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Tahini-Soy Chickpea Salad

Life is thus that I am basically a Lazy Vegan 24/7 and haven’t had a chance to sit and plan and be creative with my cooking. I really want to turn things around, so I decided to make a different sort of chickpea salad to eat with my Boca Chik’n Patty sandwich.

Tahini-Soy Chickpea Salad

1 15 oz canned chickpeas (I would have used dry beans if I had planned ahead)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of one lemon

I drained the chickpeas and set them aside. I then mixed all the other ingredients together in a bowl.

I mixed the beans with the dressing. Note: I only used about half of the dressing.

To make things a little more interesting, I added some grated carrot, sesame seeds, ground coriander, and dried parsley flakes. I’m sadly lacking fresh herbs at the moment and certainly would have added fresh cilantro or parsley instead.

I added some crushed red pepper after plating the salad. This ended up being a delightful and hearty meal! –Melissa

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No Need to Knead Gluten-free Vegan Bread

I’m going to start this post by thanking 2 bloggers who have inspired me to take a stab at vegan baking. Somer of Vedged Out and recently featured on Forks over Knives and an Unrefined Vegan who has organized Virtual Vegan Potlucks have tickled my eyes, nose, mind and mouth in the best kind of way. They are two bloggers who seem to bake effortlessly. Vegan baking is certainly a nuanced thing but if any of you are experienced with baking gluten-free know that these recipes require lots and lots of eggs. So what’s a girl to do when she wants bread without gluten or eggs?

For baking bread today I’m using ground flax seeds. Flax is full of omega fatty acids and other important nutrients but practically speaking they’re also loaded with long chain polysaccharides that make it a great binding agent. With chicken eggs, protein forms the binding agent along with lots of cholesterol and recent studies bolster the claim that eggs are worse for your body than smoking. I don’t want that in my body so flax it is! Combine your ground flax seeds with water half an hour before baking (mix well) and you’ll notice the gelatinous texture that will help hold your bread together forming in your container. To start, we assembled the following ingredients

1 3/4 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (I’m using Bob’s Red Mill)
1/8 cup oats
1/8 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp agar agar or suitable vegan gelling agent
1/4 cup lightly packed coconut sugar
5 tbsp flax meal in 1/2 cup of water (mix well and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes)
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons almond milk or other vegan alternative
1 tbsp active dry yeast (no need to put it in water first, seriously)

First, Brent combined all the dry ingredients in a large bowl including the yeast.
In another bowl, I combined the vegan milk, oil and flax “eggs”. It looked kind of gross.

I added the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Beat the batter until smooth. This can be done with a stand or hand mixer, but I like to use my Brent for this; his muscles are amazing. The batter should be thick but not doughy.

I sprayed a non-stick pan with olive oil. Then I poured the batter into the bread pan and sprinkled the top of the batter with sunflower seeds and buckwheat groats. You can also sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.

We set it aside to rise for about 50 minutes or until the batter was peeking above the rim of the pan.

We baked it in a 375°F pre-heated oven for 50 minutes; until a toothpick comes out clean. We let it cool for 15 minutes. Then we removed from the pan and cool thoroughly on a rack. A glass pan might be better for next time.

As a first effort to bake gluten-free and vegan in about a year and a half, I’m pleased. The texture of the bread was good, lightly crispy outside and fluffy inside. I have had problems in the past with vegan gluten-free breads being far too dense for my taste.

The taste was lightly sweet and nutty but nothing special. Next time I plan to add some nutritional yeast or carob and maca powder and Braag’s aminos to bring out more of the flavors in all those grains and seeds. Quinoa, flax, sunflower seeds, buckwheat groats, rice, sorghum, oats and almonds make for awesome bread.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Korean BBQ and Mom’s Eggplant Salad

My Mom made an eggplant salad of sorts and I thought it would go really well with some korean bbq.


I previously posted a recipe for vegan korean bbq or kalbi. The original recipe works fine, but I made a few modifications:

1/2 cup soy curls
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2-3 cloves garlic, coarsely minced (you can use garlic powder if you’re in a hurry)
sesame seeds
1 tbsp maple syrup

I set the soy curls in water to rehydrate. Then, I mixed the rest of the ingredients together. Once the soy curls were rehydrated and drained, I mixed everything together and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then, I cooked the soy curls in a frying pan.


To make the eggplant salad, Mom started with eggplant that was already roasted and cooked it with garlic, onion, chili paste, sesame oil, and salt.

Enjoy with white or brown rice! –Melissa

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Raw Vegan Crackers 2.0

Brent and I manage to juice more often and that’s fine with me. I’m writing this because our cracker recipe has gotten more complicated and more delicious! Our juice varies but usually involves some combination of spinach, kale, parsley, mint, basil, apples, oranges, lemon, ginger root, carrots, celery, mango, beets and cucumber. When we don’t have time to make crackers, we just throw the pulp into a baggie and freeze it.

The ratios don’t matter much, but you’ll find the stronger flavors will come out (celery in particular) in the crackers and will complement the spices well. If you’re not using any sweet fruits or vegetables, you might consider adding a little molasses. Typically we juice everything that we can make into crackers (which is just about everything except for cucumber) and then empty the pulp into our blender. If you’ve made enough juice for one person you’ll add the following (and this doubles nicely)
1/3 cup of flax meal
2-4 teaspoons of soy sauce or suitable substitute
2-3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp flake red pepper
water as needed
We blend this up until the consistency is uniform and somewhere between a batter and a dough. Taste it and adjust the seasonings. It took me a while to get used to the idea of eating this raw or dehydrated so I understand if you’re wary. We use a spatula to spread it into the non-stick trays that go with our dehydrator and let it go overnight.

Sometimes I sprinkle sesame seeds on top but this isn’t necessary. You’ll have to put some pressure on each seed to make sure they don’t fall off once the crackers are dry. It’ll take some time adjusting the thickness of the dough when you spread it out in your dehydrator but you’ll end up with light crispy crackers that are great for you and awesome with hummus, bean dip or spinach artichoke dip. We store them in a giant plastic bag to keep the Miami humidity from softening them.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Vegan Kalbi with Mustard Salad

I miss Korean BBQ. A lot. So I veganized it using soy curls.

Traditional Kalbi uses short ribs. The meat is thinly sliced, quite fatty, and can take a lot of work to get “right” because the meat will need to be tenderized quite a bit lest it end up tough. Soy curls are a lot easier to prepare. Soak them in some water for ten minutes, drain, and… well, that’s it. As a bonus, you don’t have to worry about icky stuff like e. coli. For this batch, I used about 3/4 cup of dried soy curls.

Kalbi marinade

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2-3 cloves garlic, coarsely minced
sesame seeds
1 tsp turbinado sugar (optional)

I mixed everything but the sesame seeds in a plastic container and then added the soy curls. I mixed it around so the soy curls were covered. After I mixed it around, I sprinkled some sesame seeds on top.

Here are before and after shots of the soy curls. The photo on the right was taken about an hour after I added the curls to the marinade. My advice: don’t let them marinade for much longer than that. I baked the soy curls for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Okay, I totally burned them, but they still turned out yummy!

I had planned to go to the store to pick up veggies and seaweed salad to accompany the kalbi, but the store was CRAZY. If you’re in the Chicago area, I’m talking about Jerry’s. Oh, Jerry’s. Prices and product are so good, but I feel like I die a little every time I go there because it’s so crowded. Anyway, I asked my Dad to pick some fresh mustasa (mustard greens) from the garden for me and made it into a little side salad with lemon, olive oil, salt, and freshly ground pepper. The mustasa was in prime form and gave a serious mustard kick to the kalbi. It was delicious.

Here’s my niece, granting peace to all of you and posing with the food. She didn’t try the kalbi and opted to have cereal for dinner. I was glad I didn’t have to share.

It’s Memorial Day weekend and I’m spending it hanging out with family. I’ll be away from home most of the weekend, so I cooked the rest of my soy curls this morning so I would have something vegan to eat. I opted to cook them in a pan this time, mostly because I didn’t want to burn them again. It ended up looking more like bulgogi than kalbi, but regardless — this wins out over meat versions because look at the lack of fat and oil on the plate! Soy curls have the perfect texture for this. This is also where I learned that marinading soy curls overnight in soy sauce is probably not the best idea. It’s still good, though, and I am still amazed by the soy curl.

I am so happy that I can still have Korean BBQ! All that’s missing is one of those little grills that I can put in the middle of my kitchen table… Have a lovely Saturday! –Melissa

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A Little Soy on Soy Action

I have made a soy sauce/tofu dish before, the delicious Tofustek! which is a veganized version of a Filipino comfort food. I considered making Tofustek! tonight but wanted something a little more interesting. I contemplated how I could season the tofu differently and came up with something surprisingly sexy. And by ‘sexy,’ I mean ‘pretty damn tasty.’

Melissa’s Sesame Tofu

1 block extra firm tofu, sliced into thin ‘steaks’
2 tablespoons soy sauce or your preferred alternative
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
red pepper flakes (optional)
sesame seeds
green onion, chopped

First, I sliced the tofu and set the slices up to dry. While they were drying, I took my empty and rinsed out tofu container, threw in the soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice and red pepper flakes, and mixed them all together. I fired up a frying pan and started heating some safflower oil, just enough to coat the pan. While it was warming up, I sprinkled some sesame seeds onto a plate. I dipped my tofu steaks in the sauce and then dipped them in the sesame seed plate. I only wanted a light sprinkling of sesame seeds, but you can crust it on there if you want (you may then also want to dip your tofu in some flour so the sesame seeds stick better).

As I finished coating each steak, I placed them in the pan. I fried the steaks for awhile — I wanted the tofu to have a sturdy texture. I flipped them every few minutes. When they looked nearly done, I tossed some green onion into the pan and flipped the tofu a couple more times.

I took some leftover rice and fried it up in the pan. It soaked up whatever sauce was still lingering. I still had some sauce and ginger bits left so I threw that in the rice along with some more green onion. I had a side of raw carrots which really complimented the dish. My dessert of fresh papaya made this a dinner to remember.

So easy. So few ingredients. Very flavorful and filling.

Stay sexy, friends! –Melissa

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Fantastic Falafel

I talk to myself when I’m driving. Here’s what I said to myself on my drive home from work: What will I have for dinner? Hmm. There’s eggplant in the fridge. And there’s tahini. I can make baba ghanouj. But then I have to pick up pita bread. Oooh! Falafel! I’ll make falafel!

And so I did.

I tried making falafel once before, and I was also recently very intrigued by Christie and Brent’s Pakora. I really wanted something simple and fried — been craving fried stuff lately — so I decided to try improving on the recipe I used before, which was straight from the good folks at Bob’s Red Mill.

Melissa’s Fantastic Falafel (that’s not too braggy, right?)

1 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin (I added a hefty 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp fresh cilantro, minced
2  garlic cloves, minced
1/3 to 1/2 cup hot water
oil for frying

I put all my dry and fresh ingredients into a bowl.

I added the water, mixed it all together, and this lovely ball of dough formed. After my traumatizing baking experience over the weekend, I was cautious with adding the water, and found that 1/3 cup was the perfect amount I needed (probably due to how I measured the flour).

I wanted the dough to sit for awhile so the flavors could meld together, so while it was chillin’ like a villain, I made my baba ghanouj.

Melissa’s Baba Ghanouj for People Who Live Alone

1 eggplant, roasted and skinned, but keep the skins on if you want
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp tahini
1tsp lemon juice
fresh parsely leaves from 3 sprigs or so

Stick all that stuff in a food processor. Tip – you might want to mince the garlic. I didn’t. You may also want to cut down on the garlic. Let me just say that I have kickass breath right now. Hhhaaahhhhh. See?! That, along with the fact that this only serves one, is why I named the recipe the way I did.

Going back to my falafel dough, I formed some falafel balls, rolled them in some sesame seeds, and then fried them until they were golden brown — about 2 -3 minutes on each side turning 3 times for luck. These look fine but were kind of a fail: my intention was to make falafel ‘bites’ so I should have formed smaller balls. *pause for laughter* Tip: You can bake instead of fry if you wish.

Oh hi! It’s my face! If you had been here after I took this first bite, you would have heard me exclaim a bunch of “OH MY GOD”s. Finally: falafel that I can be proud of! It is 300% better than my last attempt. If my favorite falafel place ever closes, I won’t cry because I know I can make some that are just as tasty.

Happy happy happy! –Melissa

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