Vegan Ramen Soup With Tofu

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Plated Ramen soupIMG_2211

The teenagers in our family are obsessed with ramen soup. We think part of the attraction has to do with how easy it is to make—that is, the instant kind—particularly for the ones who are in college and want a meal on the go! Add hot water and your soup is ready. Of course the packaged version is filled with salt and lots of preservatives with names we’ve never even heard of before– precisely why we set out to make our own healthy version. Ours is vegan—we wanted to satisfy everyone in our family including the vegetarians!

Most ramen recipes are made with pork or chicken broth. Instead, we use vegetable broth along with dried mushrooms, miso paste, and tamari sauce which gives this soup that savory umami flavor. Filled with tons of vegetables—baby bok choy, carrots, mushrooms, baby spinach, and scallions—and bite-size pieces of tofu along with those delicious ramen noodles makes this soup so flavorful and satisfying.

Separated scallions Ramen soupIMG_2193Separate the green and white parts of the scallions.

Cooked tofu Ramen soupIMG_2178We roast the tofu on parchment paper for 20 minutes.

Soup cooking goodWe add all the vegetables and then simmer for 15 minutes.

Ramen noodles for Ramen soupIMG_2188The ramen noodles are cooked separately, then divided into bowls, and topped with the broth, vegetables, and green scallions.

Vegan Ramen Soup With Tofu
4 to 6 servings

One 12-to 14- ounce package extra firm organic tofu, patted dry and cut into 3/4 – 1-inch cubes
10 ounces ramen noodles
2 tablespoons white miso paste
2 tablespoons tamari sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons organic sesame oil
1/2 cup chopped Spanish onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, drained, then roughly chopped
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (green and white parts separated)
3 carrots, cut into slices on the diagonal
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound baby bok choy, trimmed, leaves separated
2 ounces baby spinach
Sriracha sauce (optional)

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange the tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside.

Wisk together the miso paste and tamari sauce and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the olive and sesame oils over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of vegetable broth and stir for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, white scallion slices, and carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 5 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups of water. Add 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, the miso and tamari mixture, and stir to incorporate.

Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Add the bok choy, spinach, and tofu and simmer for 15 minutes.

Divide the noodles into individual serving bowls, top with the soup and vegetables and garnish with the green scallion slices. Pass the sriracha separately.

Second finished ramen platedIMG_2212

 

5 Tasty Crunches for Your Salad That Aren’t Croutons: Nutritious and Gluten Free

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All the toppings

We all love salads—big salads for dinner, smaller servings as sides. And we love interesting ingredients; different leafy greens, assorted vegetables, slices of fruit. But there is something about having some crunch in your salad that takes the culinary sensation to a whole different level.

We admit it––croutons on salad are delicious. But we don’t always want the empty calories of white bread, or perhaps we are serving some of our gluten free friends, or don’t eat gluten ourselves.

Not only do these 5 delicious crunchy salad toppings add great taste and texture to your salad, they provide an extra-super nutritious boost. You won’t miss the croutons at all.

 

Crispy Quinoa
Roasted Chickpeas
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Parmesan Crisp Bits
Caramelized Walnuts

Teriyaki Tempeh with Broccolini and Carrots

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tempeh stirfry

Super healthy, super quick to get on the table, and super delicious—three great reasons to try our Teriyaki Tempeh with Broccolini and Carrots. Tempeh is a wonderful substitute for meat because it has a firm, dense texture and a wonderful, slightly nutty flavor. And tempeh is so good for you with loads of protein, fiber, and B vitamins, plus all the health benefits of being a fermented food. Our Teriyaki Tempeh is a great weeknight dinner that everyone will love.

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tempeh cropSear the tempeh.

veg no sauceAdd the steamed vegetables.

Terrific Teriyaki                                                 Photo John Kernick
Make our teriyaki sauce or use your favorite store-bought.

Teriyaki Tempeh with Broccolini and Carrots
4 servings

1 cup rice or quinoa
2 bunches broccolini, ends trimmed, sliced in half lengthwise
2 carrots, sliced diagonally in 1/2-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon peanut, grapeseed, or extra virgin olive oil
Two 8-ounce packages plain tempeh, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup Terrific Teriyaki Sauce*, or more to taste (see recipe below), or your favorite store-bought

Cook the rice or quinoa according to the directions on the package and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan steam the broccolini and carrots until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain them in a colander and set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Place the tempeh cubes in the pan and cook undisturbed until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip (we like using tongs for this) and cook on the other side, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Add the steamed vegetables to the skillet and, using a wooden spoon, gently mix with the tempeh cubes. Add three tablespoons of the teriyaki sauce and stir well to coat. Add additional teriyaki sauce as desired. Continue to cook and stir until hot, 3 to 4 minutes.

Put 1/2 cup of the cooked grains in the bottom of each of 4 serving bowls. Top each bowl with tempeh and vegetables and serve hot.

*Terrific Teriyaki Sauce
makes 3/4 cup
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil

 If using sesame seeds, cook them in a small dry skillet over medium heat. Shaking the pan occasionally, until they begin to darken and give off a toasty aroma, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of warm water. Set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and 1/3 cup of water. Place over medium-high heat and stir occasionally until it comes to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the dissolved cornstarch. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the sesame oil and the sesame seeds (if desired).

close up tempeh

Tofu Scramble

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This tofu scramble is our new go to recipe. It is delicious for breakfast or brunch, but we have loved this for dinner because it is so quick and easy to whip up. Here we prepare the scramble with spinach and onions, but it is equally delicious with mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, cheese, and avocado. Basically you can use your favorite omelet combination. The nutritional yeast we use in the seasoning mix adds that “meaty” umami taste that makes this a very satisfying vegetarian dish. The yeast also has enormous health benefits. It is a complete protein, providing all 18 amino acids and contains B complex vitamins. It’s also very low in sodium. The vegetarians (and vegans) in your life will love this dish, but we have found that it also satisfies meat eaters as well.

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Tofu Scramble
4 to 6 servings

For the Spice Mix
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water

For the Tofu Scramble
Two 14-ounce packages extra firm organic tofu
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups roughly chopped spinach

Place the tofu in a single layer on a clean dishtowel on either a plate or cutting board. Cover with another clean dishtowel. Place a plate or another cutting board on top, and rest a weight, such as a small skillet, on top. This will press the excess liquid from the tofu. Let the tofu drain for at least 10 minutes. Crumble the tofu with clean hands and set aside.

In a small bowl add the nutritional yeast, turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, cayenne pepper, and cumin, and stir. Pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of water and stir to combine.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion, and the garlic, and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the crumbled tofu. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring often, until the tofu is hot and cooked through. Add the spice mix, stir, and cook for an additional minute. Reduce the heat to medium, add the spinach, and stir until the spinach is soft and cooked through. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

We love to serve this scramble with warm tortillas. Include guacamole, hot sauce and refried beans and it becomes a delicious Mexican night.

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White Bean Fritters With Yogurt Cucumber Dip

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White Bean Fritters

So much has been written about the wonders of the Mediterranean diet, one of the primary elements of which—is beans. Beans have tremendous health benefits—they are packed with fiber, vitamins, protein, and phytochemicals. We wanted to incorporate even more of these nutritional powerhouses into our diets, so using cannelloni beans we made fritters that are both light and flavorful.

Our white bean fritters are so quick and easy to prepare. Mash up the beans and add the Parmesan, shallots, and parsley, form into small patties, and cook. They are crisp on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside. They go especially well with our Yogurt Cucumber Dip—also easy to make. Greek yogurt mixed with cucumber, lemon juice, and garlic is a refreshing complement. These fritters are perfect served as an appetizer or as a side—ideal for entertaining, or paired with a salad for lunch.

Yogurt Cucumber DipBe sure to mix the Yogurt Cucumber Dip well before serving.

Mashed ingredients frittersMash the beans with a fork making sure to leave a few chunks.The shallots, parsley, and Parmesan cheese are then added.

Uncooked frittersUsing your hands, form the mixture into 2 1/2 inch round patties.

White Bean Fritters With Yogurt Cucumber Dip
4 servings

For the Dip
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber, finely grated and drained
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Fritters
One 15-ounce can organic cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra if needed

For the Dip
In a medium mixing bowl mix together the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator while you make the fritters.

For the Fritters
Place the flour in a wide, shallow dish and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl mash the beans with a fork making sure to leave a few chunks. Add the shallots, parsley, Parmesan cheese, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and mix well.

Using your hands, form the mixture into 2 1/2 inch round individual patties (about ¼ inch thick) and dredge each one in the flour, shaking off any excess. Place the formed patties on a platter. You should have ten to eleven patties.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and heat until shimmering. Add half the patties to the pan and cook undisturbed until golden brown, five to six minutes. Flip the patties carefully with a spatula and cook until the second side is golden, about five minutes more. Add a little more oil if the pan looks dry (the fritters can absorb the oil).

Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels, add 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and cook the remaining patties. Add more oil if necessary.

Transfer to a platter or individual plates and serve with the Yogurt Cucumber Dip.

White Bean Fritters crop1

Coconut Red Curry With Tofu And Vegetables

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Vegetable curry and tofu

Sometimes we have a craving for a particular dish—and this is how our Coconut Red Curry With Tofu And Vegetables came about! This is a healthy, vegan recipe featuring fresh vegetables and tofu. We love curry—all different kinds—and we were in the mood for a curry with coconut milk. Having eaten a lot of curry in restaurants all over the city, we felt the consistency of the tofu was important and noted that the best tofu curry had just the right texture. We like the tofu to be firm on the outside yet still moist and chewy. We pan-fried it first before we added it to our vegetables and curry sauce and we couldn’t have been more pleased! We chose spring and summer vegetables like asparagus and snow peas, along with broccoli and bell pepper—they seem to go so well with the curry flavor. If these are not available you can easily make substitutions.

We were amazed at how many different brands of red curry paste there are. We settled on Thai Kitchen brand for two reasons—we like its deep, rich flavor, and it is widely available in most supermarkets.

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We panfry the tofu first for a chewy and moist texture.

 peppers and peapods in curry

We add the peapods and red peppers and then cover the skillet. This way the vegetables are crisp yet tender.

Lime and basil

The lime juice and basil are added right before serving.

 Coconut Red Curry With Tofu And Vegetables
4 servings

One 14-ounce package extra firm organic tofu, drained
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice, rinsed
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup chopped asparagus, 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
3/4 tablespoon red curry paste (we like Thai Kitchen brand)
One 13.5-ounce can organic, unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
3 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 cup sliced red bell pepper, 1/4-inch wide strips
1 cup peapods, trimmed
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chiffonade fresh basil
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Place the tofu on several layers of paper towels on either a plate or cutting board. Cover with more paper towels, place a plate or another cutting board on top, and rest a weight, such as a small skillet, on top of that. This will press the excess liquid from the tofu. Let the tofu drain for at least 30 minutes. Cut into 1-inch cubes.

Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the directions on the package and set aside.

Line a plate with paper towels and set aside (this is for draining the cooked tofu).

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Place the tofu in the pan. Cook undisturbed until golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip (we like using tongs for this) and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 6 minutes more. Drain on the paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet with paper towels and heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the broccoli and asparagus and sauté until lightly brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

Wipe the pan clean with paper towels and let it cool. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir frequently, taking care not to burn. Add the ginger and the red curry paste and cook another minute stirring frequently.
Add the coconut milk, 1/4 cup of water, soy sauce, sugar and stir. Add the bell pepper strips, peapods, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook, covered, until the pea pods are slightly tender but still crisp, 7-8 minutes.

Add the broccoli and asparagus, and tofu to the skillet with the peapods and peppers and mix. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lime juice and basil. Season with salt to taste and crushed red pepper flakes if desired. Divide the rice and curry into bowls, and serve hot.

 

Vegeatble and tofu curry

Buddha Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Spiced Chickpeas, and Swiss Chard

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Buddha Bowl 1

Lori went to college in Northern California and we often went to visit. The food scene there had a big influence on all of us. Even those many years ago we were into fresh, locally grown vegetables, and whole grains. Our dog-eared cookbooks were The Moosewood Cookbook, The Vegetarian Epicure, and Laurel’s Kitchen. One of our favorite things to make in those days is what is now commonly referred to as Buddha Bowls. We didn’t call them that then. At the time, we now recall, we just liked eating meals out of a bowl and it was a great way to use up any of the leftover vegetables and grains we had bought over the course of the week.

Today we love Buddha bowls and our kids do too––so simple and healthy and very pretty to serve. Basically ours have four elements and you can design one just as you like. Here are some suggestions:

Grain––quinoa, rice, millet, farro, whole-wheat couscous, barley
Vegetables––sautéed greens, roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots
Protein––beans, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, chicken, fish, nuts, seeds
Sauce––tahini, peanut, ginger-soy, chili-garlic

Roasted Chickpeas

 

Oarange zest

Sweet potato not cooked

Sweet potato cooked

 

 

Poblano Tahini

 

Swiss Chard Raw

Buddha Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Spiced Chickpeas, and Swiss Chard

4 servings

Ingredients

For the Buddha Bowl
2 sweet potatoes (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon orange zest
Sea salt
One 15-ounce can organic chickpeas, drained, rinsed well, and patted dry (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, whole
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch Swiss chard, rough stems discarded, leaves cut into 1-inch strips
2 cups cooked quinoa, rice, farro (or any grain of your choice)

For the Poblano-Tahini Dressing
1/3 cup roughly chopped poblano pepper
1 clove garlic, quartered
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 Preheat the oven to 425° F.

 In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, coconut oil, maple syrup, orange zest, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix well until the potatoes are evenly coated.

 Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Flip them with a spatula and continue to cook until the potatoes are beginning to brown and are tender, about 15 minutes more.

 Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl combine the chickpeas, 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, the paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well until the chickpeas are thoroughly coated.

 Spread the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes (stirring them once halfway through.)

 Make the poblano-tahini dressing: Place all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or the bowl of a food processor, and blend until smooth. Add additional water to attain your desired consistency. Set aside.

 Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the 4 cloves of whole garlic, and the red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chard, cover the skillet and cook until the chard begins to wilt, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and continue to cook, stirring frequently until the chard is completely wilted and cooked through.

 Put 1/2 cup of the cooked grains in the bottom of each of 4 serving bowls. Top each bowl with some of the roasted sweet potatoes, roasted chickpeas, and sautéed chard. Drizzle with the poblano-tahini dressing as desired, and serve.

Close up Buddha Bowl

Spicy Chicken Tostadas with Avocado Crema

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For more then the first half of my life I was told that avocados were bad for me. They were full of unhealthy fat and were to be avoided at all costs. I was overjoyed to learn in the last ten years that avocados are only fine to eat; they are in fact filled with many health benefits!

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I have always been obsessed with any foods Mexican. Tacos, enchiladas, huevos Rancheros, the list goes on. I don’t know if it is the cheese, the excuse to slather guacamole over something, or just the combination of all of those yummy Latin flavors together, but if I were placing an order for my last meal, Mexican food is definitely high up the list.

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My new obsession is these Spicy Chicken Tostadas. I fall into the category of people genetically inclined to like cilantro but for those who aren’t, the Crema is just as delicious with basil.

tostadas

Spicy Chicken Tostadas with Avocado Crema

Avocado Crema
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Chicken Tostadas
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 3/4 pounds total)
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup tomato puree
1 finely chopped chipotle chili pepper (canned in adobo sauce), plus 1 tablespoon of the sauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
One 15-ounce can organic refried beans
6 corn tortillas
1/2 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 lime cut into wedges

Place the chicken breasts in a large skillet. Add the chicken stock and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer partially covered for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the liquid and allow to cool. Shred the chicken with a fork or your hands and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering add the onions and garlic. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, the tomato puree, the chipotle pepper with juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and raise the heat to high. Sauté the chicken, stirring frequently until the sauce has evaporated, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Place 1 tablespoon of oil in another skillet. When the oil is shimmering add the refried beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated.

Line a large plate or baking sheet with paper towels.

Heat 1/2 cup of oil over medium heat in a saucepan large enough to hold a tortilla. When the oil is hot, fry the tortillas one at a time, turning once or twice with tongs until golden brown and crispy, about 1 1/2 minutes per tortilla.

Drain the tortillas on the paper towel lined plate or baking sheet.

To assemble the tostadas: Spread a layer of beans on each tortilla, spoon on a mound of the shredded chicken mixture, put the lettuce and cabbage on top, sprinkle with the shredded cheese, and finally, end with a generous dollop of the avocado crema on top. Serve with lime wedges.