Monthly Archives: March 2012

Hoisin-Glazed Tempeh, Green Beans & Cashews

This recipe is from the Vegetarian Times, a magazine to which I’ve been subscribing for the past several years. They have free recipes online too, at I used to make it a lot because it was so easy to make and a delicious way to use frozen vegetables. I’m kind of a snob about my produce, so I usually don’t like the taste of the frozen stuff. But the delicious hoisin-based, Asian-style sauce makes the frozen green beans taste much better. Similarly, the sauce is strong enough that you don’t need to steam the tempeh.

I double it so that we have extra for lunch.

Start by mixing the hoisin-sauce with tamari, rice vinegar, cornstarch and water.

Then, grate the ginger and mince the garlic. I used the fresh kind, but you can use jarred minced garlic too.

Saute the ginger and onion in oil or water. Meanwhile cut the tempeh into cubes.

Then add the tempeh and the hoisin sauce mixture.

Mix so that the tempeh is covered in the sauce. Then cover and simmer for about 2 minutes. The sauce will thicken. Then add the green beans. I had less green beans in the freezer than I thought, so I did a mix of green beans and peas instead. Cover and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Top with cashews and serve.

Weeknight dinner done in 30 minutes.

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Chickpea Stew with Dumplings

This was a new dish for me. I remember when I was growing up, my mom made chicken and dumplings. It was one of my favorite meals. Even before I turned vegetarian at age 12, I wasn’t a huge fan of animal meat. So, I tended to pick around the chicken and eat a lot of dumplings. This recipe is a bit healthier I think, has more vegetables and less animal (okay, no animal).

And, it is surprisingly simple.

Go here for the full recipe: Peas and Thank You. I only made one modification.

First, make the stew (onion, celery, carrots, chickpeas, herbs, water, bullion and cornstarch to thicken it up):

On the side, make the dough for the dumplings. Here it is, before I added coconut oil and non-dairy milk. (Note, I used coconut oil instead of non-dairy butter, per the suggestion by my cousin. It worked great!)

Sorry, bad picture. Very bad.

Anyway, plop the dough (after you mix it with the oil and non-dairy milk) on top of the stew. Cover and bake for about 15 minutes.

Seriously, this was really good!

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Kale Chips

Kale chips are a fad right now. And there’s a good reason for that. They’re good! I haven’t bought them in the store before, but I’ve played around with different homemade recipes. My favorite is from Color Me Vegan. As the author says, it is surprising how little oil and salt you need to make these things taste good!

Admittedly it is annoying to clean the kale, although I noticed that Trader Joe’s now carries bagged kale, which would make that much easier. I don’t know if it would sacrifice taste though, I haven’t tried the TJ’s bagged kale.

Ingredients include only olive oil, salt, chili powder and nutritional yeast (and kale of course).

Bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes, and they shrink into crunchy chip-like bits:

(In case you noticed, there’s broccoli in there too. I had 1/4  of  a head that was about to go bad, so I threw it in with the kale).

Kale chips can be hit or miss, so don’t get discouraged if you the first few times you try it, they don’t come out right.

Here’s an up-close shot:


Categories: Sides | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Cashew Kale

Kale is a superfood.

Here are my 3 tips re: Kale:

1. It lasts many days (a week+) in the fridge, unlike many other greens (like spinach), which is great.

2. The biggest pain about kale is cleaning it. I rip the pieces of the stem, put the pieces in a bowl full of water, then pick up handfulls and put it in a strainer so that all the dirt is remaining in the water. Repeat until water is clean.

3. Very important: once you put kale in the saute pan, cover it and let it steam for at least 5 minutes. This gets rid of some of the bitterness.

(NOTE: there are sauteed onions, red bell peppers and chickpeas underneath all that kale).

This recipe from FatFree Vegan called for blending soaked cashews with water, garlic and bullion to make a sauce. That’s the white specks that you see in the picture below. It adds a different, creamy but light flavor.

This is a side dish by itself, or an entree if you eat 1/2 of it on top of a hearty grain like rice or quinoa.

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Trial and Error

I’m not going to pretend that we love every dish that we make. We have a few staple recipes, but both Matt and I enjoy trying out new recipes. Sometimes they aren’t that good, and other times we just mess them up. 

This one was a potato and spinach Indian-style recipe. To add protein and make it more filling, we added tofu. (For information on how to cook with tofu, go here. It’s really not that scary, I promise!) We probably didn’t balance out the spices right, so it ended up kind of bland. Here are the onions, potatoes and tofu sauteing in water with not-enough spice.


Quick solution to the blandness: add a sauce. We had some leftover (store-bought) raspberry and pepper marinade sauce in the fridge, and poured that on it instead. Top it with some pine nuts, salt and pepper, and voila, it’s… good enough. I don’t expect to indulge in deliciousness every night. Sometimes a healthy, filling meal is, frankly, good enough.




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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

I’ve always loved Mexican-style food, so this is a favorite of mine. As I have mentioned, we eat a lot of soups and stews in the winter. Enchiladas are a nice, savory break from that. I made this on a week night and got home late from work, so I was in such a hurry to make it that I forgot to take many pictures. It is based on this recipe from Fatfree Vegan blog. Despite the fact that I was running late that evening, I decided to be ambitious and saute some onion and corn with cumin, chili powder and a dash of cinnamon and include that in the stuffing, too.Image

One thing I love about this recipe is the instruction for making the enchilada sauce. Many store-bought sauces are highly processed and often not vegan. For this one, I combine hot water w/veg boullion powder, cornstarch, and green salsa. Works just as well as store-bought sauce, in my opinion!

The sweet potatoes, which I steam instead of boil, add the soft, creamy texture that you usually get from cheese. Occasionally I’ll add Daiya non-dairy (and soy-free) cheese on top, but not on a regular basis. That’s because it is a processed food (as are other dairy-based cheeses too) and I try to minimize those from my diet. Once I got used to not eating cheese at all, I don’t feel the need to regularly replace it with dairy cheese substitutes. I will, of course, make or buy and eat non-dairy cheeses and cheese sauces as a special treat.


Prep time took about 25 minutes (because I was ambitious with the onion and had to wait for the sweet potatoes to soften), and 20 minutes in the oven. Makes 3-4 servings.

Categories: Dinner, Easy | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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