A delicious way to use an Asian eggplant, and it’s a nice change from the various Thai curries that we usually make for dinner. Makes 4 servings.
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce 1-2 tablespoons agave nectar 1-2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
4 cups cooked brown rice 1 tablespoon oil 4 Kaffir lime leaves – thinly sliced into threads 3 cloves garlic 1 shallot 1 large or 2 small sliced Asian eggplants (long and thin) 1 recipe Baked Soy Marinated Tofu 1 sliced red bell pepper 1 cup broccoli florets 1 cup baby corn 10 sprigs of Thai basil with stems on (tear any very large sprigs in a couple pieces)
Combine sauce ingredients and set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or large pan over medium heat. Sauté shallots for 2 to 4 minutes or until they turn translucent.
Increase heat to high and add veggies, garlic and kaffir lime leaves. Stir-fry veggies for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add basil, tofu and sauce. Stir-fry another 2 to 4 minutes until done.
Serve with cooked brown rice.
If you can’t find Thai Basil, use 10 sprigs of regular basil, but remove the stems and use the whole leaves.
Experiment with some other vegetables, like cauliflower and zucchini.
Can be easily made gluten-free.
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This is a lighter, less saucy, baked version of something similar to Aloo Gobi, but without the potatoes. I think it’s a nice compliment to the Chana Masala and Creamy Red Lentil Dal when served together in a big Indian meal with rice or naan.Makes 4 servings.
1 medium head cauliflower 3 cloves minced garlic 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander 1 tablespoon freshly ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon garam masala 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro red pepper flakes to taste salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the cauliflower into medium sized florets and place in a large mixing bowl.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together olive oil and all of the spices except for the cilantro. Drizzle the oil and spice mixture over the cauliflower. Add the cilantro and stir to combine. Add a little more oil if it seems too dry for your taste.
Transfer spiced cauliflower mixture to a glass baking dish. Cook covered for about 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Stir once or twice during baking.
For the saucy version, add some chopped or pureed tomatoes.
Substitute potatoes for some of the cauliflower. You might need to cut the potatoes into smaller chunks or plan to cook it a little longer with the potatoes.
Can be easily made low-sodium and gluten-free.
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A relatively simple Indian dish for when you don’t have a lot of time to spend making dinner. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
4 cups cooked brown basmati rice 2 15 ounce cans of rinsed and drained chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 1 28 ounce can tomato puree 1 cup vegetable broth or water 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 cup chopped onion 3 cloves minced garlic 1/8 teaspoon turmeric 1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon cloves 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon vegan margarine salt and cayenne pepper to taste
Sauté onions for 3 to 5 minutes or until translucent over medium heat. Add garlic and spices. Stir and cook 30 seconds stirring constantly.
Add tomato puree, vegetable broth, chickpeas, lemon juice, and margarine. Mix well. Cover and cook for at least 15 minutes stirring occasionally. You can also cook it a little longer to get better blending of flavors.
This is a creamy variation of a more traditional red lentil dal that is great comfort food on a cold evening. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
4 cups cooked brown basmati rice 1 cup red lentils 2 cups water or vegetable broth 1 can coconut milk 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes 1 tablespoon oil 1 cup chopped onion 3 cloves minced garlic 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger 2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander 2 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon cardamom freshly ground pepper and salt to taste cayenne pepper or chopped hot peppers to taste
Pick through the lentils to make sure that there aren’t any lentil shaped stones that crept in during harvesting. Rinse the lentils in cold water and set aside in a strainer.
Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent to golden and soft. Add garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin. Sauté for about a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the lentils and remaining ingredients, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
This is one of my favorite potluck foods to bring when I know I won’t have many vegan choices, since it seems more like a real meal than a salad. Makes 8-10 servings.
1 cup quinoa (uncooked) 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup finely chopped sun dried tomato 1/3 cup kalamata olives, sliced 3/4 cup pine nuts (toasted) 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed 1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon agave nectar or sugar 1 – 2 cloves minced garlic freshly ground black pepper, to taste freshly ground coriander, to taste 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaf 1/3 of a minced medium red onion
Rinse the quinoa, then dry roast until you smell a nutty aroma while you boil the water in another pot. Add the boiling water to the quinoa, turn the flame down to a low simmer and place the lid on the pot. Cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for an additional 5 minutes with the lid on. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
Combine ingredients for the marinade, pour over cooled quinoa and stir to mix. Add sun dried tomatoes, olives and pine nuts. Stir again. Cover and refrigerate 2-6 hours or more.
Before serving, cover the top with sliced cherry tomatoes.
Add other chopped vegetables for variety.
Use half white and half red quinoa for a more colorful salad.
Can be easily made gluten-free.
Omit the olives for a low-sodium version.
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This is a great summer meal when the fresh veggies are plentiful and the tomatoes are ripe and delicious. The only caveat is that this really isn’t a traditional “sauce”, but more of a vegetable topping for pasta, so you might want to encourage people add a little olive oil to taste at the table. Makes 2 to 4 servings.
1/2 pound cooked pasta (any variety) 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 cloves minced garlic 8 sliced mushrooms 1 tablespoon wine 1 small sliced zucchini 1 sliced summer squash 1 chopped roma tomato 1 cup fresh spinach 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil salt, freshly ground black pepper or other spices to taste
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, mushrooms and wine. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until mushrooms start to soften.
Add zucchini and summer squash. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until vegetables have softened.
Add tomato, spinach, basil, salt and pepper. Add water, vegetable broth or a little more oil if it seems too dry. Cook for at least 3 to 4 minutes, but you can cook a little longer if needed.
Add sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, pine nuts and / or artichoke hearts.
Experiment with other vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower and bell pepper.
Make a smoky version with grilled zucchini and summer squash, but reduce the sautéing step to 1 minute, since they are already cooked
Add 1 8 ounce can tomato paste for more tomato flavor.
Can be easily made low-sodium.
Make a gluten-free version by serving over another grain.
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Nacho salads make a great and flexible quick meal that you can make based on what you have lying around unused in the refrigerator. This is one of our standby meals for when we have an extra avocado and not much time to spend on dinner. Makes 2 servings.
1 can vegan chili
2 -3 cups lettuce (not spinach*)
20 tortilla chips
10 cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
1/2 cup Mango Guacamole recipe
2 tablespoons vegan sour cream
2 tablespoons salsa
Heat the chili in a pan on the stove or in the microwave.
Get 2 salad bowls. Split the lettuce between the two bowls. Layer 10 tortilla chips on top of the lettuce in each bowl. Pour half of the chili (more or less to taste) over the chips. Add cherry tomatoes. Top with a dollop of salsa, guacamole and sour cream.
Add a handful of grilled vegetables or grilled tofu.
Add some hominy.
Replace the chili with refried beans or black beans
Use sliced avocado, instead of guacamole.
For a low-sodium version, you could use black beans instead of chili and go light on the salsa and sour cream.
Can be easily made gluten-free.
* Note: I avoid using spinach in this recipe. When you pour the chili on the salad, the spinach starts to cook and you end up with slightly slimy spinach instead of a crisp salad. Romaine is a good choice, but most lettuce will work just fine.
Serve with tortilla chips and salsa or as a topping for many salads. I even use it in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches, and it’s great on BLTs. This makes a great side dish for parties or as an appetizer or snack. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped mango
1/2 lime (squeezed for lime juice)
cayenne pepper and salt to taste
4 sprigs of fresh cilantro (chopped)
Scoop the avocados out of the shells, but save the pits. Lightly mash with a fork in a small mixing bowl. Add onion, mango, salt, pepper and lime. Stir to combine. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.
If you are keeping the guacamole for a while, throw the pits on top of the guacamole to slow the browning process.
Omit the mango for a more traditional guacamole.
Add some extra cilantro just for fun.
Someone here in this house likes to replace the onion with garlic, but the garlic always seems a little overpowering to me.
This is a simple Chinese dinner inspired by a meal at Fujin, our local Portland Hawthorne neighborhood Chinese restaurant. Serves 4 people.
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 recipe Soy Marinated Tofu sliced into cubes
4 cups green beans
2 cups sliced carrots
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup cold water
6 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon chili paste
1 teaspoon dark mushroom soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a glass measuring cup or small mixing bowl. Stir to combine and set aside. Note that the cornstarch will tend to settle in the bottom, so you’ll want to stir again before you add to the stir-fry.
Heat oil over high heat in a wok or large pan. Add green beans and carrots with about half of the sauce. Stir-fry for 4 to 7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, but still crisp. Add the remaining sauce and tofu. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Serve over rice.
Experiment with other vegetables. Onions or red bell pepper would be good additions in place of or in addition to the carrots.
Can be easily made gluten-free.
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