Recipe: Creamy Low Fat Broccoli Soup [Vegan, HCLF]

12-07-15 028

Calling all soup lovers! If you like broccoli and cheese soup but don’t want the dairy or processed fake cheeses, this recipe is for you. (Especially my fellow high carb, low fat vegans!)

Although we don’t get to experience much of a real winter where I am in California, I still can’t help but love soup season. I’ve been experimenting with spicy lentil, roasted tomato, and sweet potato soups over the last few weeks, but I keep coming back to this broccoli one. Yukon gold potato lends the soup its creaminess, and the cheesy flavor comes from nutritional yeast, along with onions, garlic, and a few cashews. It’s also flexible and fun to customize: you can add whatever veggies you have on hand, and vary amounts as you please and it’ll still turn out great.

It’s packed with nutrients (and even quite high in protein!), it’s quick and easy to make, and it’s especially delicious when paired with toasted sourdough!

12-07-15 037

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yukon gold potato (about 200g)
  • 2-3 cups broccoli pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 4-5 large mushrooms
  • 2-3 handfuls of kale or spinach
  • 1 tsp vegetable broth powder (or a vegetable bouillon cube, or veggie broth)
  • 2 tbsp cashews (omit for lower fat)
  • 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted bread (especially sourdough) for serving

Instructions:

  1. Boil or microwave potato until soft.
  2. Roughly chop the garlic, onion, celery, and mushrooms. They’ll all be blended later, so just chop them enough so they have some surface area for cooking.
  3. Dry-sauté garlic and onion over medium heat until the garlic toasts slightly, then add the water, broccoli, celery, mushrooms, potato, and kale or spinach. Simmer until soft.
  4. Remove from heat, and add to blender along with cashews, nutritional yeast, and almond milk. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add more water and/or almond milk as necessary to get soup to the consistency you prefer.

Serve with freshly toasted bread, and enjoy!

12-07-15 009

Nutrition information (for half the recipe):

Calories: 250 | Fat: 6g | Carbs: 35g (5.5g fiber) | Protein: 14.5g

 

Side note: I've been in LOVE with this broth powder. Finally, a broth-maker that is both oil free and lasts indefinitely!

Side note: I’ve been in love with this broth powder since I discovered it a month ago… finally a way to make broth that is both oil free and lasts indefinitely!

Advertisements

Recipe: Chocolate Caramel Turtle Bars (Vegan)

5-09-15 736b

Today, I had a bit of a milestone in my development as a food blogger: I successfully veganized the first recipe I ever posted here. I have cast off my shackles of dairy and eggs once and for all!

Dramatic descriptions aside, I’m pretty excited. I thought that my vegan baking would always be sub par compared to the creations I used to whip up; creations that had everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing and begging for more. I thought that my family, boyfriend, and friends would never be excited for my vegan food, always destined to elicit a resounding “well, they’re good for vegan food, I guess…” Not that I’d ever actually received that type of feedback, but I always feared it. I’m a perfectionist, you see.

However, after some wildly successful doughnuts, chocolate chip oat cookies, brownies, thin mints, cinnamon rolls, and now these turtle bars, I’ve finally found my vegan baking confidence. My fears of lukewarm responses are a thing of the past. I can now veganize recipes spontaneously and feel confident that they’ll turn out just as good as the dairy-filled versions!

I hope you guys will enjoy these bars as much as I did. Their familiar taste brought back happy memories of starting this blog–not to mention, they taste even better now because no animals were harmed to make them. (Okay, so the taste is pretty much exactly the same, but with the added psychological warm glow of not hurting cows.)

How ironic that my first post started with a silly disclaimer about not hurting turtles!

5-09-15 7315-09-15 743

Ingredients:

Dough and toppings:

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1.75 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup earth balance butter, melted
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips

Caramel ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup earth balance butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the chopped pecans on a tray and toast in the oven for 4-5 minutes until fragrant. Remove from oven and place in a heat-safe bowl with the chocolate chips when done (they’ll start to melt).

2. Prepare the crust: In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, brown sugar, and oats. Add in the melted earth balance and stir until combined. Press 2/3 of the mixture evenly along the bottom of a 13×9″ pan, and bake for 10 minutes.

3. Prepare the caramel: combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup earth balance in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and let it bubble for about 5 minutes–it should turn darker brown. Then, pour it into the bowl with the pecans and chocolate chips and stir until combined.

4. Spread the caramel-chocolate-pecan mixture evenly over the crust you just baked–be careful not to dislodge any of the crust. Then sprinkle the rest of the flour-oat mixture evenly across the top, and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.

5. Let cool, cut, and enjoy!

5-09-15 7355-09-15 723

 

 Recipe: Creamy Tofu Tikka Masala (Vegan)

4-06-15 670

Ever since I came to Berkeley three years ago, the biggest obstacle to being 100% vegan was an Indian restaurant called Biryani house. Berkeley is teeming with vegan options, but this place had the absolute best food I’d ever tasted in my life. And that’s a big deal for me, because I’ve had the good fortune of eating at a lot of great restaurants.

I used to go there with friends a couple of times a month to gorge myself on their freshly baked aloo naan, perfectly spiced vegetable biryani, and most importantly, their decadent paneer tikka masala. Unfortunately, my vegan aspirations were dashed due to the fact that their tikka masala not only sported paneer (cubes of Indian cottage cheese), but was also likely drowned in heavy cream.

(Fun fact: my weight seemed to fluctuate along with how often I went there.)

When I finally got more serious about being 100% vegan last year, I had to stop going there. And as if to enforce my self-discipline, it actually closed just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons. A bittersweet moment.

Anyways, getting to the point: I’ve been trying to recreate that tikka masala for quite awhile now. After a few tries–all of which were delicious, but not decadent like theirs–I finally came up with a recipe that tasted almost the same. It’s creamy, spicy, much healthier than its restaurant counterpart, and most importantly, vegan. And I’m pretty darn excited about it.

Now to work on aloo naan recipes!

4-06-15 655

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 400-500g super firm tofu (the kind that is vacuum sealed instead of water packed, and has the density of a block of cheese–I use Tofu Yu. If you can’t find that, try freezing an extra firm block then thawing it out and using it as you would super firm.)
  • 80g cashews (a little less than 3/4 cup), soaked overnight or for a few hours
  • 15oz can of plain tomato sauce
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1-2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 + cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk (as needed)
  • Handful cilantro
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (more as desired)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika (more as desired)
  • 2 pinches of amchur powder

Directions:

1. Cut up the onion and garlic, and combine them with the tomato sauce in a large pan over medium heat. Add in the cumin, cardamom, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, cayenne, paprika, and amchur powder, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

2. While the sauce is simmering, cut your tofu into cubes, and fry until golden (I used a teaspoon of coconut oil, but you could also do it dry). Remove from heat once golden.

3. After 15 minutes, remove the sauce from heat. Allow to cool (if necessary; I didn’t have to for my vitamix) and blend with the drained cashews until smooth and creamy. Add unsweetened almond or cashew milk as needed to get it to your desired consistency.

4. Combine tofu with sauce in a serving bowl, and serve it with jasmine rice, naan, your preferred grain, or enjoy it solo!

Nutrition info: 

  • Calories per 1/5 of recipe: 230 calories
  • Carbs: 17g (3g fiber)| Protein: 15g | Fat: 13g

4-06-15 677 4-06-15 605

Thanks for reading!

Michelle

 

Recipe: Piñata Burrito Bowl [Vegan]

4-02-15 085

I’m starting to fall in love with bulk cooking. Not only am I free from prepping food and dish-washing each and every night, but it leaves me more time and energy for the gym. Talk about a win-win!

For my second bulk dish, I went with a burrito bowl since I’d had burrito cravings for days. The reason I’m calling this particular recipe a piñata bowl is because it’s a bit of an explosion of color–with lots of green, red, and yellow–and is rather pretty to look at. And more importantly, it tasted AMAZING. It lasted me five nights, and I found myself looking forward to it every night. I was sure I’d get bored of eating the same thing even three nights in a row, let alone 5, but this bowl has proven me wrong!

Not only is it delicious, but it’s got plenty of protein and fiber and can be made nearly fat free if you omit the avocado. Perfect for those on a high carb lifestyle, and for those looking to eat a giant burrito equivalent for way fewer calories!

It’s also versatile, since you can substitute veggies as you’d like, as well as brown rice for the quinoa, or other types of bean/protein for the black beans.

4-02-15 0904-02-15 118

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dry (uncooked) quinoa
  • 1 cup dry black beans (or a can of black beans)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of one medium lime
  • 3 small summer squashes
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 2/3 white onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5 big kale leaves
  • 6 fire roasted red peppers (I used piquillo)
  • 1 – 15oz can corn
  • Cumin, salt and pepper
  • Chili powder/cayenne/paprika/chipotle powder (only need one)
  • Avocado, tomato, shredded romaine, and hot sauce/salsa for topping

Directions:

1. Prepare the lime-cilantro quinoa: cook the quinoa according to instructions on the package. It should take less than 15 minutes. Also, rinsing before cooking is recommended to wash off the saponin, which can cause reactions in sensitive people. As it cooks, chop up the cilantro. Once the quinoa is done, combine it with the cilantro and half of the lime juice and salt to taste. Set aside.

2. Prepare the black beans according to instructions on the package. For dried beans, this generally calls for soaking them overnight, draining them an hour before dinnertime, covering them with an inch of water and bringing them to a boil, and gently simmering for one hour. You can also try quick-soaking or just cooking without soaking, but it will take longer. Season with salt.

3. Prepare the veggies: chop up the squash, zucchinis, onion, kale, and peppers. Mince the garlic, and sautee it in a medium-large pot with onion until it begins to turn translucent, over medium heat. Then add the squash, zucchini, and kale. Sautee until tender. Add the peppers and corn, and remove from heat. Add the juice from the other half of the lime, along with 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2-1 tsp of either chili powder, cayenne, paprika, or chipotle powder. (Or mix and match as you like!) Season with salt and pepper.

4. Prepare toppings: slice up 1/2 avocado and 1 small roma tomato per serving; if serving all at once, use 2.5 avocados and 5 roma tomatoes. Chopped/shredded romaine is also a nice addition, about 1/4-1/3 cup per bowl. Add hot sauce or salsa as desired.

5. Combine the the quinoa, black beans, veggies, and add the toppings. Eat them separately or mix them all up–it tastes great either way!

Nutrition info: 

  • Calories per 1/5 of recipe: 350 calories (450 with 1/2 avocado)
  • Carbs: 65g (14g fiber)| Protein: 16g | Fat: 3g (13g with avocado)

4-02-15 1224-02-15 102

 

 

Recipe: Vegan Pasta Bolognese (with lots of veggies)

3-03-15 040

Lately, I’ve been on a mission to simplify my life in the food department. As much as I’ve loved coming up with new recipes every day, it can get exhausting and takes up a lot of time. So a few weeks ago, I decided to do something drastic: make a dinner that would last me for more than one night, rather than making some whole other new dish the next night like I usually would.

And it was a success! Instead of spending an hour cooking an entirely new dinner the next day, I spent that time reading a book and relaxing after a day of midterms. I could get used to this.

The pilot meal was a pasta bolognese, and it was delicious! It’s a super simple weeknight dinner, with leftovers that seem to keep getting better and better. I stored the pasta and veggies separately, and each night just had to combine them with the marinara and “beef” crumbles.

3-03-15 055

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4oz dry pasta (I used ancient grain penne)
  • Mushrooms, garlic, kale, broccoli, and any other veggies you’d like
  • 1.5 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup Beyond Meat beef crumbles

Directions:

1. Prepare pasta according to directions on the package–will vary by type.

2. Prepare your veggies as you’d like: I roasted brussels sprouts and broccoli in the oven at 400 degrees for ~10-15 mins, and sauteed mushrooms and kale together with garlic.

3. Combine cooked pasta and veggies, marinara sauce, and Beyond meat beef crumbles, and serve hot.

Nutrition info: (using 2 cups of broccoli and kale)

  • Calories per 1/2 of recipe: 420 calories
  • Carbs: 67g (9g fiber)| Protein: 25g | Fat: 7g

3-03-15 057

Enjoy your quick and easy weeknight dinner!

Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Chip Sweet Potato Muffins [Low Cal]

2-22-15 008

Hello friends! During the last year, I had moved my blogging efforts over to a different fitness blog due to a bit of a lifestyle overhaul, but realized that people are still looking at recipes here every day. I can’t even believe it–I never thought that during such a long period of inactivity, my recipes would warrant so many daily views. I’m floored!

But more importantly, I’m inspired: inspired to come back and share some of my favorite recipes I’ve come up with over the last year, in the hopes that they might prove useful to any of you.

Some changes: I’m now fully vegan, and found a passion for lifting and fitness. And, more relevant to this blog, I’ve been dabbling in high carb, low fat veganism! (Also known as HCLF.) However, I still have tons of fun avocado and nut-filled recipes to share, so there will be all types of vegan food here. But it’ll mostly be healthy and low cal, now. 🙂

So to kick things off, I wanted to share one of my favorite new recipes, from last week: chocolate chip sweet potato muffins. They’re a tad addictive, and my omni friends were shocked that they were vegan (always my test of good vegan food). They were even more surprised when I told them they’re incredibly low cal, too! They’re my new favorite snack when I’m out and about: I’ve been bringing them to class straight from the freezer and they’re perfectly moist and thawed an hour later.

2-22-15 023

Makes one dozen small muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour (for gluten free, try buckwheat flour)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 250g sweet potato, baked
  • 1 cup non dairy milk (I used unsweetened soymilk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp splenda, or sweetener of choice
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 -1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Directions

Ingredient prep: Use pre-baked sweet potato, or bake your own in the oven at 375 degrees F for around 45 minutes, or until soft. If you don’t have oat flour, make your own by grinding 1 cup of oats in a food processor–I like mine slightly course. Remove from food processor to a bowl, and set aside.

1. Combine baked sweet potato with banana, soymilk, and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Add maple syrup and sweetener, and set aside.

2. Combine the flours, baking soda and powder, salt, and spices in a medium sized bowl. Stir in chocolate chips, then add in wet ingredients and stir. If the batter is too dry, add non dairy milk until it’s at muffin-batter consistency.

3. Spoon batter into a standard sized muffin pan–it should fill one dozen cups about 2/3 full.

4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove muffins to a cooling rack.

Nutrition info: 

  • Calories per muffin: 90
  • Carbs: 16.5g (2g fiber)| Protein: 2.5g | Fat: 1.8g
2-22-15 039

If you’re not into the low fat thing, they’re great topped with cashew butter and coconut butter! (And every other nut butter, I’m sure)

2-22-15 011

Enjoy!

Michelle

Vegan Chipotle Twice Baked Sweet Potato

4-26-14 202

In case you couldn’t already tell, I’m a huge fan of sweet potatoes. Not only are they delicious in their own right, but they’re incredibly packed with vitamin A, which always seems to help out my skin. I used to have them almost every morning in my favorite maple mashed form. I’ve fallen in love with breakfast smoothies, however, so I started looking for more quick, savory recipes to put my beloved sweet potatoes in.

That’s when I came across the “twice baked sweet potato” concept, and now I’ve come up with a new favorite lunch that only takes 15 minutes or less to make. And it tastes amazingly gourmet! The beauty of the recipe is that what you add in can be varied a lot to your preferences or what you have on hand; the amounts below are just my favorite version. You could make it sweet, italian style, asian style, or tex-mex style like I did. You can add in protein sources like beans, or throw in all sorts of veggies. The options are endless!

Eating them open face sandwich style also makes it a fun meal; I personally love the skins, and they’re really good for you!

4-26-14 193

Makes 1 serving. Calories: ~250

Ingredients

  • 1 medium (~5″ length, 2″ diameter) or 1/2 large sweet potato with skin
  • 1/3 medium white onion
  • 1 big leaf of kale (optional)
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheddar, chopped or shredded
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1. Remove the eyes and blemishes from the skin, and bake it. You can bake it in the oven, but I prefer to use the microwave method for speed: pierce the potato on all sides with a fork or knife, set on a paper towel, and microwave for about 4 minutes, or until tender. (Giant potatoes like the one in my photo may take up to 8 minutes.) You may want to flip midway.

2. While it’s baking, saute the onions and kale over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the kale is tender. Remove from heat, and add in the cheese, chipotle powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.

3. Once the sweet potato is tender, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out enough of the flesh to leave a “rind” of ~1/2 inch. (See third picture below.) Mash the scooped out flesh, and mix it with the onion-cheese mixture until fully combined.

4. Scoop the entire mixture back into the potato-skin shells, and microwave until the cheese is melted and everything is fully heated.

5. Eat it open-face sandwich style, or with a fork and knife.

And enjoy your vitamin A packed meal!

4-26-14 210

Method photos (Note that I cut my potato in half first because it was giant.)

4-26-14 164  4-26-14 171 4-26-14 175 4-26-14 1794-26-14 1834-26-14 212

 

Thanks for reading!

Michelle

 

One-hour Cinnamon Rolls

3-15-14 3693-08-14 205

As someone who eats almost entirely vegan but indulges in dairy on rare occasion, my strategy for coming up with particularly tricky veganized versions of classic dishes often involves attempting to make the original versions first. In order to try to make a vegan version as similar as possible, I’ll taste some of the original to get an idea of what I’m aiming for, and give the rest away to friends. I try to avoid making non-vegan food whenever possible, but with cinnamon rolls, I knew I needed a reference point; I’d never made them before, and had no idea what homemade ones should taste like!

And this slightly modified version of a recipe from Averiecooks turned out amazingly. In fact, I was shocked at their resemblance to Cinnabon, especially considering that these only took an hour. The insides were tender and buttery, and the sweetness was perfectly offset by the tartness of the cream cheese frosting; my friends devoured them within minutes. I even added a splash of Bailey’s to the frosting for some St. Patrick’s weekend spirit!

As for the vegan version coming up: hopefully, curdling some soymilk will have a similar effect to the buttermilk called for, Earth balance should easily replace the butter, and I’ll be substituting Daiya cream cheese in for the frosting. If you try these (or other) substitutions, let me know how it goes!

3-08-14 182

Makes about eight 3″ cinnamon rolls

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk, warmed
  • 2 & 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Inside filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), very soft
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon

Glaze:

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, very soft
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (Or more if you like it sweeter)
  • ~1 tbs half and half, milk, or Bailey’s, to your desired consistency
  • Dash of vanilla

3-08-14 172

Directions

(See photos of the whole process below!)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9″ round or square pan.

2. Combine flour, buttermilk, yeast, oil, salt, and sugar in a bowl, and mix until it begins to form a ball. Turn onto a large cutting board or other clean surface, and knead for about 5 minutes either by hand or with a stand mixer. The ball should be smooth, no longer sticky, and getting difficult to knead.

3. Using a rolling pin or similar shaped object (since my rolling pin is back home, I had to use a jar!), roll out the dough until it is about 9″13 inches–you can use your 9″ pan for reference.

4. Spread the butter across the dough leaving a small margin at the edges. In a bowl, combine the sugars and cinnamon; sprinkle the mixture across the top of the butter in an even layer.

5. Starting with the longer side, roll the dough relatively tightly into a log. Depending on how large you want your cinnamon rolls, cut the log at 1-2″ intervals using a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss.

6. Arrange your rolls in the pan leaving at least 1/2″ between them, and reshape them a bit if they got squished during the cutting process. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the exposed parts of the dough aren’t squishy when tapped. (Warning: if you don’t leave a bit of space between the rolls when you first put them in the pan, the dough between them could end up raw, and they will be hard to separate! They’ll spread out into each other as they bake, so leave them a little room to do that.)

7. While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze by whisking together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla, and add liquid(s) of your choice until it reaches your desired consistency.

8. Remove the rolls from the oven, top with glaze, and serve immediately! Some of the cinnamon-sugar-butter sauce will be at the bottom of the pan; we found scooping it back on top of the rolls was a fun sort of second glaze!

3-08-14 1523-15-14 3393-15-14 3453-08-14 1603-15-14 3473-15-14 3563-15-14 362

Recipe: Hazelnut Butter [Vegan]

3-24-14 040 warm

Something about being home from college makes me want to spend all my time experimenting in the kitchen. Perhaps it’s the free time, perhaps it’s the availability of actual cooking equipment like food processors and stand mixers; either way, I keep coming up with all sorts of concoctions.

One of my favorites from this spring break was homemade hazelnut butter–I’m a huge nut butter fanatic. I usually stick to almond and peanut butters, but saw a packet of hazelnut butter at the store and had to go home and try it for myself. A few toasted hazelnuts later and I was in nut butter heaven: it was rich, creamy, bursting with flavor, and like nothing I’ve had before. It’s also a great base for your own homemade vegan nutella: just add cocoa and sweetener!

I then proceeded to come up with a hazelnut-butter cinnamon roll recipe, but I’ll save that one for another post.

3-24-14 002

 

Makes about a cup of butter.

Ingredients

  • 2 cup hazelnuts
  • 2/3 cup soy, almond, or coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • Optional: cinnamon, cocoa powder, maple, or other flavorings

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes.

2. Place nuts between 2 paper towels and rub together to remove the shells. You may have to take off a few stragglers by hand.

3. Put de-shelled nuts (leaving a few on is fine, but the shells are bitter) into a food processor, and process for about 10 minutes, until it becomes smooth and liquid. You’ll need to scrape down the sides of the processor every minute or so. If you’re having trouble getting it to go from fine powder to liquid, add the milk and continue processing until smooth.

4. Add the coconut sugar, flavorings, and milk if you haven’t already, and process until combined.

5. Optional: Add 1 part milk to 1 part almond butter, and blend until combined. You’ll essentially be halving the calories if you use a low-cal milk!

Enjoy it on fruit, bread, in pastries, or by the spoonful!

3-24-14 0093-24-14 0183-24-14 025

 

Thanks for reading,

Michelle

Recipe: Vegan Garlic-Ginger Tofu Spring Rolls

3-21-14 408

Yesterday was my first day of spring break. Usually I’m pretty oblivious to the whole “seasons” concept–I live in San Diego, where the weather is essentially 70 degrees and sunny year round–but I couldn’t help but notice how much it really feels like springPerhaps it’s because I’ve been trapped in a somewhat grungy urban environment for so long, but something about the rustling leaves, the chorus of chirping birds, and the lizard couples darting around my backyard was oddly intoxicating.

I was originally planning to make a coconut butternut squash soup for dinner, but decided it had to be put off for another day because it simply wasn’t spring-y enough. I’d been craving spring rolls for awhile–I’d never before worked with rice paper–and the name made it a painfully obvious choice to end the day. I also decided I wanted to come up with my own recipe by winging it, and tweaking things until it tasted best! (It actually works a surprisingly large percentage of the time.)

It was also my first time using frozen tofu: when I left San Diego after winter break, I had an unopened package of tofu in the fridge. Instead of throwing it away, I just stuck the whole thing in the freezer so it’d be there for spring break. Thawing it out from the big cube of ice and tofu was an odd experience, however, so if you ever plan to freeze your tofu, I suggest preparing it first by squeezing out the water and storing it in a freezer bag!

Anyways, back to the rolls: they were even more suited to my tastes than the ones I’ve had at restaurants, largely because I marinated the tofu for a bit. They were like an insanely flavorful salad, but all nicely wrapped up in the delightfully chewy rice paper–if spring had a taste, I’d imagine it’d be similar to these!

Also, don’t let the ingredient list scare you away: the last 2 parts use most of the same ingredients! In fact, I just used the leftover marinade in the peanut sauce.

3-21-14 448

Makes ~4 rolls.

Time: about 30 minutes

Ingredients

These amounts are estimates, so change things up depending on your tastes/what you have on hand!

For the rolls:

  • 4 or 8 sheets of 8.5″ (22cm) rice paper, depending on how thin they are. (Mine were thin, so I had to double them up)
  • 1/2 cup cubed or about 4″x 1/2″ x 1/2″ extra firm tofu, with water pressed out
  • 1/2 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, julienned
  • 1/2 cup kale, steamed or boiled until tender
  • 2/3 cup bean threads or vermicelli noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup basil, sliced
  • 1/4 cup mint, sliced

For the marinade:

  • 2 tbs soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger (or sub ginger powder)
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic

For the peanut sauce:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/6 cup water
  • Splash rice vinegar
  • Splash soy sauce (For this and the vinegar, you can instead just use any marinade that the tofu didn’t soak up)
  • Dash powdered ginger (or sub finely minced fresh ginger)
  • Dash powdered garlic (or sub finely minced fresh garlic)

3-21-14 380

Directions

  1. Pan-fry the tofu, preferably without oil, until golden on both sides. While they’re frying, prepare the marinade in a medium sized bowl by mixing the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and ginger. Pour in the cooked tofu, and stir occasionally so it absorbs the marinade evenly.
  2. Fill a pan the size of your rice paper with about an inch of water. Set over low heat, until water is just barely steaming. Turn off the heat.
  3. Dip a sheet of rice paper into the water and hold it under for 5 seconds (depending on the directions on your package), then carefully set on a plate, ensuring it doesn’t fold over itself. If you’re doubling the rice paper (recommended), then prepare another sheet, and lay it directly on top of the first sheet, aligning the edges as well as you can.
  4. Lay 1/4 of each of the fillings in a line in the center, leaving at least 1.5″ margins at the ends of the rice paper. I recommend doing a single line/layer each of the basil, cilantro, and mint, as adding too much could be overpowering.
  5. Fold it together: first, fold an edge of the rice paper parallel to the filling line as tightly as you can over the filling. Then, fold in the short ends so they stick to the part you just folded over. Then, roll towards the last remaining edge (across from the side you started on). Unfortunately I have yet to get photos of the process, but here is a great guide to one method!
  6. Prepare the dipping sauce: combine peanut butter and water over low heat, or in the microwave for 20 second bursts. Heat until melted and combined, then add in ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar.
  7. Cut rolls in half and serve with dipping sauce.

3-21-14 4793-21-14 4443-21-14 435

And taste the spring!

Thanks for stopping by,

Michelle