Monthly Archives: July 2012

Coconut Curry Rice with Tofu

This is a great way to spice up your rice with a creamy, dairy-free sauce.

The creaminess comes from one can of coconut milk, non-dairy soy or almond milk, cumin, coriander, cardamom, tumeric, mustard, and salt. Get the full recipe at this link.

Add cashews for a crunch. The shredded coconut is totally optional.

Serve with a side of Chinese Green Beans and Cauliflower.

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Chinese Green Beans with Cauliflower

In our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shipment we got these looooong green beans. Like, 1 foot long. I had never seen those before. Matt chopped them up and made this delicious green bean saute dish:

You can get the full recipe online at this link. The sauce is made of the following:

  • chili paste
  • garlic, crushed
  • fresh ginger, chopped
  • red chili
  • soy sauce
  • PLUS sweet chili sauce — Matt’s addition because otherwise it was very spicy!

We served it with Curried Coconut Rice with Tofu .

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Eating a vegan, plant-based diet means that I don’t consume dairy products — or at least I do the best I can to avoid consuming dairy products. My reasons for avoiding consumption of dairy products are because of personal ethics and compassion for cows as well as the health concerns about dairy products.

From the health perspective, here are three articles that explain why we do not need to drink or consume animal-based milk or dairy. Check them out:

1. Mark Bitman, a mainstream journalist from the New York Times, wrote this article, Got Milk? You Don’t Need It, and his follow-up piece: More on Milk .

2.  Health Concerns about Dairy Products by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which is a non-profit that advocates for preventive medicine, especially good nutrition.

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Sauteed Kale with Yellow Pepper, Avocado and Rice

I made up tonight’s kale dish using leftovers in our fridge and served it next to marinaded, grilled tempeh.

I made it up as I went along, so these ingredient measurements are approximates.


  • oil or water for sauteing
  • a few shakes of cumin, garam masala, and turmeric
  • 1 small or medium red onion, sliced in half moons
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves, slices
  • 1/2 large yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/2 bag chopped kale, rinsed (approx 1 bunch, de-stemmed and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
  • about 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • balsamic vinegar (a few shakes)
  • lemon juice (a few drops, maybe 1 tsp)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/2 avocado


  1. Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add spices and stir into oil for about 30 seconds. Add onion and garlic and saute for 5-7 minutes, until tender
  2. Add yellow pepper and saute a few more minutes
  3. Add kale and water, stir and cover. Steam for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the cover, add the rice, and cook for a few more minutes until most of the water is gone, stirring occasionally.
  5. Turn off heat, add the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
  6. Stir in the 1/2 avocado and serve

Yield: Side dish of 2-4 servings

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

Red Beans and Rice

This recipe is from the first vegetarian cookbook I ever got. It was a gift from my Aunt Julie when I was about 14 years old. It’s called Quick Vegetarian Pleasures.

Beans and rice is an easy, filling and inexpensive meal. The method for cooking brown rice in this recipe is my favorite way to cook it:

  • 1.5 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Put in a pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes.

The ingredients for making the beans is only 5 ingredients: 3 cups red beans (aka 2 cans), 2 onions, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 cup salsa and water.

There are not many vegetables in this dish, so I like to serve it with sauteed kale or some other hearty vegetable. Season with salt and pepper if necessary, top with avocado and eat!

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Zucchini-as-Pasta Salad with Peanut Sauce

When the blogger Sarah Matheny posted this recipe, Thai Zucchini Impasta Salad, on her blog, Peas and Thank You, last week, I wanted to make it right away. With 5 servings of vegetables per serving topped in a delicious peanut butter-based sauce, it is an amazing way to fill up on an assortment of colorful, summer vegetables.

If you use a spiralizer, which I don’t have, you can get small zucchini strips that have a similar texture to pasta. I don’t have a spiralizer, so I sliced the zucchini into very small strips. It was a little time intensive, and I didn’t get them all small enough, but it was still very good. My only potential problem with this recipe is that it is pretty high in fat. I think I could play around with the sauce so that it is still tasty but is less fattening.


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Sun-dried Tomato Minestrone Soup

This is one of my favorite all-time recipes, and definitely one of my favorite soup recipes. It is a great soup recipe for anytime of year. The best thing about it is the broth. The combination of the rich flavors from sauteed celery, carrot, garlic and onion with Italian herbs plus the tanginess of sun-dried tomatoes are an amazing combination.

You can get the full recipe online from Vegetarian Times. Ingredients include:

  • onion
  • carrot
  • celery
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • white beans
  • frozen peas
  • white wine vinegar

I make it more stew-like by using less water and adding cooked pasta. Sometimes I also add in a few hand-fulls of baby spinach 5 minutes before it is done cooking.

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Pattypan Squash

For the past few years I’ve walked by this funny-looking squash in my local farmer’s market.

But I didn’t know what it was, nor how to cook with it. Then this year I got two of these squash – aka pattypan squash – through our Community/Urban Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, Farm to Family. That same week, I got my edition of Vegetarian Times, which had a feature on pattypan squash. The stars had aligned; it was time for me to test it out.

I sliced it in rounds. Then I sauted it with garlic scapes, toasted pine nuts, raisins, lemon and fresh parsley. Garlic scapes were also a new discovery for me as a result of our CSA. Garlic scapes are the green, curling top of the garlic bulb, and are edible.

Later in the month, Matt used pattypan squash to make a squash and potato summer soup from the cookbook, Color Me Vegan.

You can essentially use it like you would use other squash or zucchini, so put it raw in a salad, cook it in a stew with other vegetables for ratatouille, or grill it. You can eat the entire squash, minus the stem. You do not need to peel it.

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What We Eat on Vacation: Part 3 – Restaurants

We made and prepared a lot of our food while on vacation, but of course we still enjoyed great food at restaurants too. Here are some of the good vegan meals we found, or worked with the chefs to create using minor substitutions.

  • Cheeseless pizza. This sounds weird, I know. But I’ve found that I enjoy the tastes of roasted vegetables and delicious pizza sauces if you leave off the cheese. It takes some practice figuring out which flavored complement each other and not all restaurants do this well. But, I enjoyed mushroom pizza with tomato sauce, onion, basil and garlic at the Snake River Brewery in Jackson, WY. They did it VERY well. I was pleasantly surprised.
  • Chuck Wagon in Cooke City, MT had a great sandwich wrap with homemade black bean spread and vegetables.
  • Lotus Cafe in Jackson, WY has excellent vegan and organic cuisine. I had lentil tacos and mango cabbage spring rolls and both were delicious.
  • The Beartooth Cafe in Cooke City had a portobello mushroom salad with vegetables, pine nuts and pineapple. The dressing was not vegan, so instead I substituted olive oil and vinegar. They also have great beer and great T-shirts.
  • We only ate at one restaurant in Yellowstone Park, which was at the Old Faithful Inn. They had red lentil cakes with tzatziki sauce, which has yogurt in it. I asked for the cakes without the sauce, and they weren’t very good. The spinach salad with candied pecans was tasty though!
  • The Jackson Whole Grocer is kind of like a local Whole Foods or Yes! Organic Market; it has a deli with excellent custom sandwich options. We went there twice and both my sandwiches were delicious.
  • Finally, The Granary, a fine dining restaurant in Jackson with an amazing view – and also happens to be the employer of the best bartender ever, my brother – put together a special vegan dish for us that was not on the menu. Bow-tie pasta with sauteed vegetables in a delicious garlic and olive oil sauce. We appreciated their flexibility for us! The Granary also features Pam, a wonderful singer and pianist who also happens to sing feminist versions of songs, such as: Sing us a song, your the piano-person. 🙂

Overall I ate some great vegan food while on vacation!

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What we eat on vacation: Part 2 – Making your own meals

It is important to bring the right snacks and basic kitchen tools to make your own healthy and cheap meals while on vacation. We brought a whole suitcase of snacks, prepping tools, and other odds and ends for eating on the go.

Here are a few key staples:

Food Prep & Storage
– Small but sharp travel knife with knife cover
– Small cutting board
– Cloth bags like these
– A few lightweight storage containers that can act as bowls and storage (check out these BPA-free ones that we use)
– Ziplock bags
– Extra rubber bands and twistie-ties for securing open bags of trail mix and other snacks
– Bamboo utensils like these
– Camping sponge (that’s quick-dry) with camping dishwashing soap and a towel for drying
– Spices or seasoning for pre-planned meals
– Plastic plates
– Water bottles and travel coffee mugs

Snack Foods
– Trail mixes and nuts from Trader Joe’s (They are the cheapest and have great varieties. We brought six packs for our 10 day trip.)
– Individual oatmeal packets
– Dried berries for oatmeal (eg raisins, cranberries and blueberries, also from Trader Joe’s)
– Dried fruits for snacking (We brought pineapple and mango, also from Trader Joe’s)
– Crispy snacks to get your salt fix like crackers, salad snap pea chips, and banana chips
– Power bars like Luna and Cliff

We also got groceries and carried perishables in a cooler (big thanks to my mom and dad for organizing that.) With all of those items we made the following breakfasts and lunches:

– Oatmeal with berries and nondairy milk
– Granola with berries and nondairy milk
– Tofu scramble (an easy version using Matt’s camping stove)

– Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches
– Power bars with trail mix
– Baked tofu and vegetable sandwiches
– Carrots and hummus on the side


Categories: Breakfast, Lunches | 2 Comments

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