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Vegan Comfort Food: Peppers & Onions & Tofu with Curry Gravy over Quinoa

I wrote this post up last week – right before my computer’s hard drive crashed. It felt great to see us working on it and knowing I would have it back soon…more to come on that!

OK, that was a long title. A really long one.

This dinner was an odd one, I had seen a recipe that inspired me to go a direction we hadn’t been down before. Being the usual Sarah-thing, by the time it was done, it bore little resemblance to my inspiration recipe and that worked out perfectly in this case. It had been awhile since we had tofu (months, if not longer) and in town I can now get good brands of organic and Non-GMO in stock. Before it wasn’t so easy, which was why we had quit eating it. Will this be a meal that makes everyone happy? Probably not. My taste in food can run to the odd side. I actually served the toddler something else because frankly I didn’t feel like trying to remove yellow curry stains out of his clothing. Bad Mom, I know. But gah, curry stains so easily!

And who wants this cute outfit to get wrecked??

I served it over quinoa, basmati or jasmine rice would also have been nice. There is plenty of gravy for the quinoa or rice to soak up. Add in a cold glass of ice tea and a cozy couch to nosh on…and I am happy on a cold fall evening.

On Sunday Walker and I went shopping at PCC, a local co-op chain of natural foods, and found this lovely yellow/orange head of cauliflower, which was grown in Oregon. Yum. It so didn’t match dinner but yum, it was GOOD. Just steamed a bit and tossed with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

Sigh…and here it was Sunday evening. And realizing that with Daylight Saving Time having changed I was facing my least favorite part of blogging. The one where I cannot go outside and take photos in natural light. Stuck inside with awful kitchen lighting. I need to get out the lights and learn how to use them properly this winter. And not shoot photos in blue glass casseroles…lol. I did grab one shot of the casserole before I smothered it in gravy. No finished dinner photos, ah well!

Peppers, Onions and Tofu with Curry Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 14 to 16 ounce block extra firm tofu, well-drained, preferably organic/non-GMO
  • 16 ounce bag frozen bell pepper strips, thawed
  • 2 small or 1 large sweet onion
  • 2 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil, divided

Curry Gravy –

  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp dried basil

Directions:

Prepare grain of choice (for quinoa I used 1 cup well rinsed quinoa and 2 cups water, brought boil, cooked covered on medium-low for 20 minutes).

Preheat oven to 350°, lightly spritz a 9×13″ glass baking dish with vegetable oil.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add 1 tablespoon oil, peppers and onions. Saute until golden. Stash in a bowl and keep warm. Slice the tofu in half (like splitting a roll), then cut into 24 total pieces. Heat the remaining oil, turn to medium and add the tofu. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on and sauté until golden, then gently flip over until all sides are golden.

Spread the peppers and onions on the bottom of the dish. Nestle the tofu on top. Spread the curry gravy on top, bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve over grain of choice.

Curry Gravy –

Add the flour and water to a small mason jar, seal and shake till mixed. Scrape into a small saucepan, whisk in remaining ingredients  whisking smooth. Heat over medium until simmering and thickened. Let simmer gently over low until ready to use in recipe.

Serves 4.

~Sarah

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Maple Rice Pudding

An interesting take on rice pudding that is dairy and egg free (yep, it is vegan friendly), using tofu for where cream or milk is normally called for. The pudding thickens up considerably as you let it chill in the refrigerator, especially of overnight.

Maple Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cups cooked long grain rice (warm or cold)
  • 1 lb silken tofu, drained
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Add the tofu, maple syrup and spices to a food processor, process until smooth. Add in the cranberries and pulse to blend in a bit.

Scrape the pudding into a large mixing bowl, add in the rice (if using cold be sure to break up the grains), stir in well.

Divide between 4 bowls, cover tightly and let chill for a couple of hours.

Serves 4.

~Sarah

Alfredo Pasta (Vegan Friendly)

I was craving a thick and creamy sauce but of course one without the heavy cholesterol that would normally go with a traditional alfredo sauce. Mine is vegan, you can easily make it vegetarian if you like – I call for vegan cream cheese but please avoid the hydrogenated crap that is normally sold, healthier stuff is out there. If not, just use lower fat cream cheese if you are fine with it being vegetarian and not vegan.

On using silken tofu – 12 ounce blocks of shelf stable tofu are commonly sold (Mori-Nu), look though for the 1 lb fresh pack silken tofu in the produce department. Besides being a larger container (more sauce!) I prefer the taste. I wait for it to go on sale and stock up. It often has a 1-2 month fresh period so I have plenty of time to use it up. It doesn’t need to be pressed, just til the package and drain of the bit of water.

Alfredo Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 lb silken tofu, drained
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ tsp granulated garlic
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 Tbsp dry parsley
  • 3 Tbsp cream cheese (vegan non-hydrogenated or low-fat real for non-vegan)
  • 1 lb pasta (used tiny bow ties)

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for time on package. Drain and transfer to a large heat safe mixing bowl.

Meanwhile heat the oil over medium in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook until translucent and turning golden. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes.

In a blender purée the tofu, milk, garlic, pepper and nutmeg. Add to the saucepan and whisk till smooth.

Whisk in the nutritional yeast and parsley and heat till thickened and bubbling, then whisk in the cream cheese till melted.

Season to taste with salt (I used ¼ tsp kosher salt).

Stir the sauce into the hot pasta and serve.

Serves 4 large servings.

~Sarah

Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding

Another variation on the silken tofu pudding – this time a bittersweet chocolate version. I added a bit of instant organic coffee powder to add depth to the chocolate, it can be left out.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounce block silken tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping tsp instant coffee granules

Directions:

Add everything to a food processor, process until smooth.

Divide between four dessert dishes and chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Serves 4.

~Sarah

Red and Yellow Pepper Tofu Scramble

Red and Yellow Pepper Tofu Scramble

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 14 ounce lite extra firm tofu
  • 1 Tbsp roasted garlic
  • 1 Tbsp lower sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Salsa for topping
  • Crunchy buttery toast to go with it

Directions:

Trim and seed the peppers, chop into bite size pieces. Peel and chop the onion.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet, add the peppers and onion, cook until crisp tender and turning golden.

Meanwhile drain and squeeze the tofu, crumbling up.

Add the garlic to the vegetables, cook for a minute. Add in the tofu and cook till hot and not wet anymore, stir in the seasonings.

Plate up and serve with salsa on top.

Serves 3.

~Sarah

Coconut Curried Tofu and Pineapple Lime Rice

What happens when one has too many cookbooks and actually uses them? Well sometimes one notices that two of their books are nearly similar. Both books are newer – one in 2010, one in 2011 and both by the same publisher. They are both vegan cookbooks but for different audiences. The book The Everything Vegan Cookbook is aimed at a more general audience and has things such as nutritional info, where as The Part-Time Vegan is aimed at a more youthful audience with menus added. In most cases who is going to notice it? I did … but then I cook and read a lot. To say the least The Everything book has a wider range of recipes and it had the Pineapple Lime Rice in it (page 138). The tofu as I mention below can be found in both books.

Still, double recipe-ing and all aside, the tofu is amazing tasting. Both recipes are winners to me!

Pineapple Lime Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch baked brown rice (see below)
  • 2 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery stick
  • 5 tsp lime juice (bottled is fine)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, finely diced
  • 20 ounce can pineapple tidbits, well-drained

Directions:

For the rice –

Heat the oven to 375°. Bring 2½ cups water to a boil, add it, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1½ cups long grain brown rice to 2 quart or 8×8″ glass baking pan, cover with foil tightly and bake for 1 hour.

(Makes about 4 cups baked.)

Scrape the hot rice into a large heat safe bowl, toss with the Earth Balance until melted. Add in the lime juice, cilantro and pineapple and toss to combine.

This recipe can be found on page 158 of The Part-Time Vegan and on page 235 of The Everything Vegan Cookbook.

Coconut Curried Tofu

Ingredients:

14 or 16 ounce block extra firm tofu, well-drained

1 Tbsp canola oil

3 Tbsp natural peanut butter

2 Tbsp lower sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp water

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp mild curry powder

¼ cup shredded coconut

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, finely diced

Directions:

Cube the tofu into bite size pieces.

Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high, add the oil and the tofu and panfry until crispy and golden brown.

Turn to medium-low and add in the sauce and gently stir to coat. Cook for 5 minutes shaking often.

Add in the coconut and cilantro, heat through.

Serve plated with the rice.

Serves 3.

~Sarah

Yummy Leftovers Scramble

I love making scrambles with leftovers – I used to use eggs, then Eggbeaters and today I tried out using tofu (since I love tofu scrambles I figured it would work just fine to do it this way!). The key to making it work is to get the leftovers finely chopped, for that I use my trusty mini food chopper. I get it down to a near paste.I used leftover burrito and veggie fajitas, along with a tortilla, tomatoes…everything that was on our plates last night that we didn’t eat. When Kirk and I go out to dinner we plan on eating about half of our meals and bringing the rest home – just for breakfast!

Leftovers Scramble

Ingredients:

  • Yummy leftovers (ground down to a near paste)
  • 14-16 ounce extra firm tofu block (I used Lite and crumbled it in a strainer)
  • Bit of canola oil

Directions:

Heat the oil over medium high in a large skillet, add the tofu and cook until most of the moisture is gone. Add in the leftovers and panfry until smelling awesome.

Plate up with salsa and toast and enjoy!

Serves 2-3 depending on how many leftovers you have…..

~Sarah

Curry Veggie Scramble

Curry Veggie Scramble
Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 small to medium zucchini, ends trimmed and grated
  • 16 ounce extra firm tofu, drained
  • nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • turmeric powder
  • 1 Tbsp lower sodium soy sauce

Directions:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add 1 Tbsp oil and the vegetables. Stir-fry until the vegetables are turning golden and done, add the last Tablespoon of oil if needed. Break up the tofu and add in, stirring often until it is dried out a bit and hot. Stir in the spices and the soy sauce, continue cooking until it turns yellow and is piping hot.
Plate up and serve with toast (preferably Dave’s Killer Bread!)
Serves 3.

~Sarah

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