Category Archives: Meals in a Hurry

Grilled Vegetable and Tofu Dagwood

These can be made fresh for dinner as a variation on the Grilled Vegetables and Tofu meal, or you can make the sandwich the next day using leftover grilled vegetables and tofu. Be prepared for a huge sandwich that will barely fit in your mouth! Makes 1 sandwich.

1 hearty sandwich sized ciabatta roll sliced in half (or any other thick, hearty bread)
1 slice grilled tofu (about the size of the roll or 2 small slices)
1 slice grilled eggplant
2 slices grilled zucchini
1 slice grilled bell pepper
3 – 4 sun-dried tomato slices (reconstituted)
4 – 5 whole basil leaves
olive oil for brushing the bread
salt and pepper to taste

Brush the cut side of the bread with olive oil and briefly grill or place it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to lightly toast the bread.

If you aren’t making this with freshly grilled vegetables, heat the grilled tofu, eggplant, bell pepper and sun-dried tomato in the microwave or oven until warm.

Pile all of the ingredients in layers in between the roll for a huge Dagwood sandwich.

Buy the What Dawn Eats: Vegan food that isn’t weird cookbook for more recipes like this one.


  • For a regular sandwich that can be consumed by mere mortals without unhinging your jaw to bite into it, limit the sandwich to tofu, 1 grilled vegetable, sun-dried tomato and basil.
  • Experiment with any variety of grilled vegetables or tempeh instead of tofu.
  • If your grilled vegetables seem a little dry, you might want to brush the bread with a little extra olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Make a low-sodium or gluten-free version by choosing an appropriate type of bread.

More information for Grilled Vegetable and Tofu Dagwood recipe (reduce total time to 5 minutes if using leftover grilled vegetables):

  • Prep time: 30 min
  • Cook time: 15 min
  • Total time: 45 min

Tofu Rancheros

This is one of those all day meals that you can serve as easily for breakfast as you can for dinner. It also gets bonus points for being quick and easy to make. Makes 4 servings.

1 pound tofu (pre-packaged baked tofu or baked firm tofu)
1 15-ounce can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 15-ounce can vegetarian chili
1 cup salsa
2 cups lettuce
1 cup tomato
1/4 cup vegan sour cream
1/4 cup Mango Guacamole recipe
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Chop the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Put the chili in a pan on the stove. Add tofu and cook for about 5 minutes or until heated through.

Warm the beans and salsa in separate containers in the microwave or on the stove.

On each plate, spoon the beans into a small pile on one half of the plate and top with chili and salsa. On the other side, add lettuce, tomato, sour cream and guacamole.

Sprinkle the whole thing with chopped cilantro. Serve with tortilla shells or tortilla chips.

Pictured with Cilantro Lime Black Beans and avocado.

Buy the What Dawn Eats: Vegan food that isn’t weird cookbook for more recipes like this one.


  • Use a can of refried beans or the Cilantro Lime Black Beans in place of the black beans.
  • Add grilled vegetables.
  • Replace the guacamole with sliced avocado.
  • Serve over a bed of Spanish rice.
  • Use 1 recipe of Baked Mexican Marinated Tofu and serve separately, instead of cooking in the chili.
  • You could make a low-sodium version with low salt chili and beans and going light on the sour cream.
  • Can be easily made gluten-free.

More information for Tofu Rancheros recipe:

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 5 min
  • Total time: 15 min

Bacon Avocado Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich

This is another one of my favorite summer sandwiches, and it is really just a tomato sandwich on steroids. Makes 1 sandwich.

2 slices toasted whole-wheat bread
2 slices tempeh bacon
sliced tomato
sliced avocado
vegan mayonnaise to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Spray a non-stick frying pan with a little oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh bacon slices and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.

Spread each slice of toast with mayonnaise. Add tempeh bacon, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce and pepper.

Pictured with yellow tomatoes and multi-colored leaf lettuce.

Buy the What Dawn Eats: Vegan food that isn’t weird cookbook for more recipes like this one.


  • Replace the mayonnaise with Mango Guacamole or use guacamole, instead of avocado.
  • Use spicy mustard, hummus or other spreads instead of mayonnaise.
  • Add a few slices of pickles.

More information for Bacon Avocado Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich recipe:

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 5 min
  • Total time: 5 min

Tempeh Salad

This is my standard summer salad when I want a light, quick lunch with vegetables and some protein. I usually make a batch of Italian Marinated Tempeh in advance and then have it available for a few salads throughout the week. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

4 cups of lettuce or spinach
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 sliced tomato or cherry tomatoes
1/2 sliced avocado
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup Italian Marinated Tempeh
Annie’s Naturals Goddess Dressing to taste.

Toss the lettuce, carrots, tomato, pumpkin seeds and tempeh together. Top with sliced avocado and serve with Goddess Dressing.


  • Use packaged tempeh bacon if you don’t want to make marinated tempeh.
  • Avocado and tomatoes are great in the summer, but during the winter, you’ll want to experiment with other vegetables.
  • Top with balsamic vinegar and olive oil or another favorite salad dressing, instead of Goddess Dressing.
  • For a low-sodium version, use the low-sodium variation of the Italian Marinade and serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to replace the Goddess Dressing.
  • Can be easily made gluten-free by choosing an appropriate salad dressing and brand of tempeh.

More information for Tempeh Salad recipe:

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Total time: 5 min

Nacho Salad

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.

More information for Nacho Salad recipe:

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 5 min
  • Total time: 10 min

Portland Fig and Hazelnut Salad

This is a great late summer salad in Portland when the many fig trees spread throughout the city are covered in figs. Serves 2 as a main salad or 4 as a small side salad.

4 cups baby lettuce mix
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup hazelnuts
6 figs
balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste.

Toss the lettuce and carrots to combine.

Slice the figs and arrange on the salad.

Lightly crush or chop the hazelnuts and sprinkle on top of the salad.

Serve with a good quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar that people can drizzle on their salad to taste.


  • Use black figs if you can find them to add a nice color contrast.
  • Experiment with different vegetables in place of or with the carrots.
  • Portland is known for our abundant fig and hazelnut trees, but you can use almost any other fruit and nut combinations. Apple or pear and walnut, would be a good choice, too.
  • Naturally low-sodium and gluten-free.

More information for Portland Fig and Hazelnut Salad recipe:

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Total time: 10 min