Vegetarian Recipes

Asian Tofu for Stir-frys:

Tofu can definitely be intense to prepare but it is an excellent source of lean protein and you can buy extra firm tofu to make the process less laborious.  Throw the tofu into your favorite stir-fry or salad.  The recipe below has yielded the firmest/crispiest tofu for me.  This recipe has been modified from: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12651-spicy-tofu-marinade.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 container of extra firm tofu (available at Jewel, Mariano’s, and Trader Joe’s has a wonderful extra-firm sprout tofu).
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar.
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar.
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) or rice vinegar if you’re on a budget (just add 2 more tbsp to the one already listed here).
  • 2 garlic cloves, to taste, minced.
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger.
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili oil.
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil.
  • Pan Frying Ingredients:
    • 2 tbsp of olive oil
    • 2 tbsp of corn starch
  • Directions:
  • Wrap the tofu in a paper towel and drain the tofu in a colander with two cans on top of it for at least 30 minutes, though this is on the low end – ideally it should be an hour but who has time to plan meals out?  I certainly don’t.
  • Once the tofu is drained – cut it into 1/2 inch chunks – this is completely up to you though with respect to how you prefer your tofu to be.
  • Whisk all of the ingredients together and add the tofu to the marinade.  It should at least marinate for 30 minutes but ideally for an hour.  As I previously said though, if you’re in a rush, then 30 minutes is fine.
  • Once you are done marinating the tofu – you can bake it or pan fry it.  If you are in a rush, I would pan fry it – I am usually pressed for time so I tend to pan fry it.
  • In a pan on medium heat – add 2 tbsp of olive oil and pan fry for about 10-15 minutes turning it over once halfway through.  I would add 2 tbsp of corn starch to give the tofu a crispy texture.
  • If you’re adding this to a dish (I like to add this to my Vegetarian Red Thai curry) add it at the very end when the sauce is ready and done simmering so the tofu can maintain its crispiness.
  • If you do bake it:
    • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and when it’s ready, put the tofu on a baking sheet that was sprayed with canola oil, and bake for 40 minutes (see if the tofu is golden brown).  Flip over half way.
    • When it’s ready, throw it into your favorite stir-fry or salad!

Chickpea Couscous Salad:

Vegan and Vegetarian

This recipe emerged from necessity.  I was 19, broke, a vegan, and in college.  I needed something cheap, quick, healthy, and abundant.  This recipe has become a staple of mine and I still eat it throughout the week many times.  It has staying power.  It’s easy to make and yields a lot of food.  I usually like to make this on Sunday night in preparation for the week.

Servings: 4

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of Couscous (I like to get my couscous from the Skokie Pita Inn Store because it’s sold in bulk and much cheaper than getting it from Jewel)
  • 1 can of Garbanzo Beans – drained
  • 1/2 c of Olive Oil for the dressing
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil or soy butter for the couscous
  • 2 tbsp of soy or Tamari sauce
  • 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp of dijon mustard (I prefer Grey Poupon)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped depending on how much you like garlic (I am a big garlic lover so the more the merrier)
  • 1 chopped green onion
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Dill is optional, I just happened to have dill when I made this.
  • 8 green olives or kalamata olives chopped up in half
  • Spices: I like to eyeball these and add in some more throughout the cooking process but here is an estimate of the spices I use:
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    Necessary spices: I usually like to add more than the amounts below, but it’s easiest to add more throughout the cooking process.  
    • 1 tsp of sea salt
    • 1.5 tsp of smoked paprika
    • t tsp of regular paprika
    • 1 tsp of red pepper
    • 1 tsp of cumin
    • 1 tsp of black pepper
    • 1.5 tsp of Italian seasoning
    • 1 tsp of rosemary
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Basic dressing

Directions: 

  • Follow the couscous recipe directions – typically it’s one cup of water with a little salt and 2 tbsp of olive oil or soy butter.  Then boil the water, add in a cup of couscous, stir it in, put a lid on it, and take it off the stove.  Keep it standing for 5 minutes, then stir it and fluff it up.
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Moroccan couscous is the best kind
  • While the couscous is being made, drain the garbanzo beans in a strainer.
  • In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, spices, green onions, and garlic.  Mix until it is smooth and everything is distributed evenly.
  • Pour the garbanzo beans in the bowl and stir it in with the dressing mixture.

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  • Add in the couscous slowly, gradually stir it in making sure it gets stirred into the dressing.  The couscous should be somewhat moistened by the dressing.  If it’s dry, then add in more olive oil and dijon.
  • Add in the kalamata olives and sprinkle a little paprika on top.
  • You can serve it immediately or chill it in the fridge.  Bon appetit!

Chinese Eggplant Garlic Stir-fry with Kimchi Fried Rice

Vegan and Vegetarian

I love Chinese food but unfortunately the more fast/convenient Chinese food places tend to be high in sodium without fresh vegetables.  This recipe is also based off of my mom’s Chinese food recipes.  What I love about this dish is that it is hearty, delicious, and affordable!  I am all about the sauces and I love this garlic sauce!

Servings: 4

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Ingredients: 

Eggplant stir-fry

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  • 1 eggplant chopped however you prefer but I like to chop them up in 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 bag of dried shiitake mushrooms (you can find these in the international aisle of Jewel or Mariano’s/Asian grocery stores) – soak the mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes, drain the mushrooms, then chop them
  • 1 can of baby corn (optional)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 green onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp of chopped ginger
  • 1 package of seitan (you can use tofu as well but it will be more laborious)- drain and then fry in a pan with a little olive oil, once it’s brown, add a little Tamari sauce to it (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 poblano pepper chopped – I think these are the crunchiest type of pepper
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/4 c of Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 c of Mushroom oyster sauce (vegan version of oyster sauce)
  • 1 tbsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of red pepper paste (optional if you like spicy food)
  • 2 c of veggie stock
  • 1/2 c of water
  • 2 tbsp of corn starch
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Necessary for the pan frying/sauce

Kimchi Fried Rice: Fried rice typically is made with eggs but you can just subtract the eggs.

 

  • 1 c of Jasmine rice (can be found at Jewel/Mariano’s, but can be bought in bulk at an Asian grocery store or Garden Fresh)
  • 2 c of water
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp of ginger chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 c of kimchi
  • 1/2 c of Tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of sesame oil

Directions: 

  • Chop up all of your vegetables.
  • In a wok or large frying pan, pour the olive oil into the pan on medium heat – add in one piece of eggplant and when it starts sizzling, add in the rest of the eggplant. It should sauté for about 5 minutes, be sure to turn it over halfway through cooking.
  • In a separate frying pan while the eggplant is sautéing, sauté the seitan and once it’s brown you can add in a little Tamari or soy sauce.
  • Add in the mushrooms and pepper to the frying pan.  It should sauté for about 3 minutes till tender.
  • Add in the ginger, garlic, and about half of the green onion. After a minute of sautéing, stir in the tamari/soy sauce, the rice vinegar, and the mushroom oyster sauce.
  • Everything should be sizzling loudly at this point, keep stirring the veggies, then add in 2 cups of veggie broth.  On the side,  put water in a little mug and stir in the corn starch till it forms a consistent paste – shouldn’t be too thick or too watery.
  • Wait till vegetables and veggies broth come to a boil, then put the vegetables to one side of the pan, then stir in the cornstarch mix with a whisk at a lower heat.
  • Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes on extremely low heat and cover.  Stir occasionally and add in the red pepper paste, if needed.
  • Once a nice thick brown sauce has formed, add in the seitan and the leftover green onions.
  • While the eggplant stir-fry is simmering, start making the rice.  Boil 2 c of water with a little salt.  Once the water is boiling, add in the Jasmine rice, let it simmer for 20 minutes on low with a lid.
  • In a separate frying pan, add in the olive oil – on medium heat.
  • Once the oil is warm, add in the ginger, garlic, and kimchi, sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add in the soy sauce, then add in the rice.
  • Once the rice is sautéed and stirred in, add the sesame oil and stir in.  Serve with the eggplant stir-fry and enjoy!

Holiday Tofu Stuffing Casserole

Vegan and Vegetarian

Thanksgiving can be a very meat-centric holiday, but it doesn’t have to be!  I have been making this Tofu Stuffing Casserole since graduate school and I bring it to every Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving.  It is always well-received and devoured by family and friends.  It’s a great source of protein and has soooo much flavor!

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Servings: 6

Buffalo Tofu:

  • 1 pound of extra firm tofu – drained
  • Box of stuffing – Trader Joe’s has a decent vegetarian one
  • 1/4 cup of buffalo sauce
  • 2 tbsp of hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

Sauce:

  • 1 golden onion: chopped
  • 3 large cloves of garlic: minced
  • 1 yellow or red pepper: chopped
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 container of Baby Bella mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp of fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp of paprika – smoked is preferable
  • 2 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp of rosemary
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of red pepper
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 container of vegetarian broth
  • 1/2 c of Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of dijon mustard – Grey Poupon
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 2 tbsp of unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 3/4 c – 1 c of smoked gouda or vegan cheese option
  • 1/4 c of goat cheese (optional)

Prepare the stuffing per the directions on the box.  Drain the tofu for at least 1 hour before.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  While the tofu is draining, chop the vegetables so they are ready to be sautéed later!

Once the tofu is properly drained, turn the stove on and use medium heat.  Pour the olive oil in the pan, heat up the oil, and add in a small piece of tofu.  When the tofu is sizzling, add in the tofu, pan fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side, at the end of the sautéing process, sprinkle the hot sauce, then stir, then add in the buffalo sauce, and stir.  Sauté until the tofu is crispy and golden brown.

For the sauce, add the olive oil to a separate pan on medium heat.  Add in a small piece of the onion, once the onion piece is sizzling, you can add in the rest of the onions on medium heat and when they’re golden brown you can add in the peppers and mushrooms.  Stir fry the vegetables for about 3-4 minutes making sure that everything is golden brown.  Add in the garlic and dill, sauté for about 1 minute, then add all of the spices.  Pour in the Tamari/soy sauce, white wine vinegar, and dijon mustard, stir till it creates a paste.  Then add in the vegetable stock, once everything is boiling, whisk the almond milk and flour to thicken the sauce.  Stir the almond milk and flour and turn the heat on very low for about 15-20 minutes to simmer.

Taste the sauce, make sure it is flavorful, add in the green onions, and turn off the heat.  In an oven-proof casserole dish, pour in the tofu, spread it around the casserole dish so it covers the entire bottom of the dish.  Then add the sauce and stir it with the tofu so it is evenly distributed.  Then add the stuffing on top of the sauce and tofu, distribute evenly so it is covering the sauce and tofu.  Sprinkle the cheese on top evenly distributing it and sprinkle some smoked paprika on top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is golden and sizzling.

Red Thai Curry with Vegetables and Tofu:

Vegan and Vegetarian

I love Thai food so much but I don’t live close to good Thai places.  If I want to eat high quality, authentic Thai cuisine, I have to venture out to the Northeast part of the city, which I am happy to do in warmer temperatures, but in the winter, I just want to eat delicious Thai food in the comfort of my own home.  The delivery options around here have been disappointing me with a watery, bland dish that they call Red Thai Curry.  This is why I make my own Red Thai Curry – it is much more flavorful, cheaper, and healthier than ordering it out!  I prefer a thicker Thai curry sauce and I think this recipe has given me the best results.  It has been modified from: https://carlsbadcravings.com/thai-red-curry-chicken-recipe/.

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Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • Jasmine Rice to be served on the side.  I would follow the directions on the bag, but it’s typically 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice with a little salt for taste.
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil for frying.
  • Half of a diced yellow onion.
  • 1 lb of fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms.
  • 1 medium zucchini chopped.
  • 1 pepper – red or poblano are the most flavorful in my opinion.
  • 2 carrots chopped – optional.
  • 1 can of coconut milk – low fat is fine but it’ll be harder to get desired that thickness.
  • 2 tbsp of red curry paste.
  • 3 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 tbsp of ginger.
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch.
  • 1 tbsp of Thai sweet chili sauce or Chili oil – I was out of chili sauce but had Chili oil and loved it.
  • 2 tbsp of Tamari or low-sodium soy sauce.
  • 2 tbsp of vegan mushroom sauce or Thai Garlic Sauce.
  • 1-2 tbsp of lime juice depending on how much you like lime.
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar – adding this really helps decrease the acidity.
  • 1 bayleaf – optional because it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have it.
  • 1 tsp of fresh or dried basil.
  • 1 tsp of sea salt.
  • 1 tsp of pepper.
  • 2 green onions for garnish.
  • 1/4 of a cilantro bunch for garnish.

Directions:

  • In a large saucepan on medium heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  • Add a piece of the chopped onion and when it sizzles, add the rest of the onions.  Fry for 2 minutes until they are translucent.
  • Add the mushrooms, zucchini, and optional carrots.  Fry for about 3-4 minutes until they look sautéed. Then add the curry paste and stir until the veggies are coated in it.
  • Then add the garlic and ginger, sauté and stir for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add half of the coconut milk to the pan and stir.  Add the rest of the sauces/ingredients, add the rest of the coconut milk, cornstarch, and stir.  Once everything comes to a boil, simmer on very low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Once it’s done simmering, add the green onions, basil, and cilantro for the garnish and tofu (see the recipe below) if you made that separately.
  • Serve over rice with lime on the side and enjoy your delicious vegan, cruelty free meal!

Tofu Paprikash

Being half Hungarian, I grew up eating delicious and flavorful Hungarian food.  My Hungarian upbringing has influenced me to the extent of using Paprika in most of my dishes because I can’t live without the flavor.  Hungarian cuisine is not the most vegetarian-friendly cuisine though, nor is it very healthy.  When I became a vegetarian, I had a difficult time eating Hungarian food since I barely had any options.  For example, chicken paprikash is a staple of the Hungarian diet and it is a very remarkable, comforting dish but it has a lot of meat and dairy in it.  Just because you are vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean you have to stop eating your Hungarian favorites.  Why not make this Hungarian staple vegetarian friendly with all the scrumptious tomato/paprika flavor?

Vegan and Vegetarian

Servings: 4

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of Earthly Balance soy butter
  • 2 Hungarian peppers sliced thinly
  • 1 onion sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 container of Baby Bella mushrooms sliced thinly
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp of Hungarian Hot Paprika
  • 1 tbsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of Herbes de Provence seasoning (basically rosemary, thyme, and sage combined)
  • 1 tbsp of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of red pepper
  • 1/2 c of freshly chopped dill
  • 2 tsp of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of Almond Milk
  • 2 tbsp of Tamari
  • 1 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • 2 c of veggie broth
  • Half a bag of egg noodles (I think egg noodles absorb the sauce very well and they are very fun to eat) but you can use Basmati Rice instead (which I do when I’m out of egg noodles and it’s my Indian heritage meeting my Hungarian heritage).
  • 1 container of extra firm tofu (see the tofu preparation in the Tofu Recipe, add in more paprika and red pepper to the marinade than you would for the Asian style tofu)
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • A handful of panko sprinkled on top of the tofu for baking
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Marinate that tofu!

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Directions: 

  • Follow the directions for the egg noodles – boil the water first, add some salt, then add in the egg noodles.  When they are ready, strain the and add some cold water to them. Stir in some soy butter while you’re waiting.
  • In a large frying pan, add in 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of soy butter, when it’s warm, add in the onions.  Sauté the onions for a couple of minutes till they are more translucent.
  • Add the peppers to the frying pan and sauté for 5 minutes till they are browned.  Then add in the mushrooms for sautéing.
  • Add in the garlic and half of the chopped dill.
  • Add in all of the spices and stir them into the vegetable mixture.
  • Stir in Tamari, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, tomato paste, then stir in the tomato sauce, and vegetable broth.
  • Once the mixture is boiling, add in the almond milk and flour to thicken the sauce.  Simmer for 20 minutes while occasionally stirring the sauce.  Stir in the rest of the soy butter while it is simmering.
  • Prepare the tofu as described in my Tofu Recipe.  Once the tofu has been baked, throw some panko bread crumbs on top and bake for an extra five minutes.
  • Taste and add in more paprika if needed to the paprikash.  Stir in the rest of the dill and throw in the tofu.
  • Enjoy Hungarian cuisine without the unnecessary animal fat!

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Vegetarian Egg Scramble

Vegetarian

I love making this on busy weekends when I have a bit more time to cook than on a weekday but not quite enough time to make a frittata or something more elaborate.  This is also great for a busy weeknight because all you really have to do is chop some vegetables, season them, and add in the eggs.  It’s probably one of the fastest dishes I make.  Depending on what I have, I love to mix up the vegetables, dill is quite inspirational for me as dill and eggs go together perfectly.

Serves: 4

 

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Egg mixture:

  • 6 eggs (I like to get cage free brown eggs)
  • 2 tbsp of unsweetened almond milk for the eggs – it makes them creamier
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of red pepper
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper

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Egg Scramble:

  •  1 tbsp of olive oil (might add more if it gets dry throughout cooking)
  • 1 onion (medium-sized)
  • 1 package of Bella mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of pesto (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of giardiniera
  • Handful of kale or spinach
  • Sprinkle of cheese of your choice (feta, brie – saltier cheeses tend to complement these flavors very well) – optional
  • Handful of freshly chopped dill

nokyud3hr2yq3lufkank2w.jpg264dxnrjquy49tthd5lia.jpgSpices for veggie scramble: I like to add a bit more than this since I love my spices.

  • 1.5 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of rosemary

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  • In a larger bowl, whisk 6 eggs, once they are whisked add in the almond milk and spices, whisk rigorously to make sure that it is all blended in and that nothing is chunky.  Let it sit as you’re chopping the vegetables.
  • Chop the onion, pepper, mushrooms garlic, and green onion.
  • Chop the cheese into small slices if you’re using cheese.
  • In a medium frying pan on medium heat, pour the olive oil and warm up for a few seconds, test with a small piece of onion, once it starts sizzling, add the rest of the onions and sauté for a few minutes until it starts to get golden brown.  Then add the peppers and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes until the red pepper starts to brown.
  • Add in the garlic, half of the green onions, kale, and spices and sauté for about 3 more minutes.
  • Then on low heat, start to whisk in the eggs to make sure  that they are being cooked but they aren’t drying up and sticking to the pan.  Whisk in the eggs for a few minutes making sure that it does not become an omelet.
  • Add in the giardiniera, dill and the optional cheese and pesto at the very end.  I like to have it warmed up and slightly melted but not hot.
  • Serve with your favorite sides (hashbrowns are my favorite as they absorb the eggs really well) and bon appetit!

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Alternative: You could add seitan and/or green olives
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Served with veggie bacon and hash browns for a filling, homemade weekend brunch