Burmese Chickpea Tofu – Two Ways

IMG_4069Wow!!  Just wow!!  This recipe will be changing so much in my kitchen!  I would never have imagined that I’d be making my own tofu, but chickpea tofu is incredibly easy to make, incredibly healthy, and truly and incredibly delicious!  My whole family loves tofu and while I do not give any validity to the rumor mill regarding the alleged health risks of soy (please click here for information about the soy myth), I do believe in everything in moderation.  So when I came across this recipe, I couldn’t wait to try it, and it exceeded all of my expectations!

The basic recipe is all over the internet so I can’t tell where it originated.  Therefore, sadly, I can’t give proper credit.  I will say, however, that I am very grateful to whomever created this dish!

Most recipes online say that chickpea tofu is not good stir-fried or sautéed like soy tofu, but I have not found this to be the case.  It does have a different texture than soy tofu, sort of like a cross between soy tofu and polenta, but so far, for me, it has worked well in every recipe I have used it in.  I have not tried grilling it yet, but don’t see why that wouldn’t be great as well.

So – here is the recipe, followed by my two favorite ways to prepare it.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  • 2 c chickpea flour
  • 2 t salt
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 5 3/4 c water, divided

Lightly grease a 9×13” pan.

Combine chickpea flour, 2 cups of water, salt and turmeric in a large bowl.  Whisk until smooth.

In a large pan, bring 3 3/4 c of water to a boil.  Once boiling, decrease heat to medium high.  Give the chickpea mix another stir in case it has separated a bit, and then, while stirring the water with a wooden spoon, slowly add it to the simmering water.  Decrease heat again to medium low and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour into prepared pan.  Cool to room temperature (if you don’t cool it to room temp first, it won’t get very firm) and then place in fridge for at least one hour.  The longer it sits in the fridge, the more water will come out, making it firmer.

Will keep in fridge for 5-7 days.

IMG_4062

IMG_4066

Chickpea tofu is perfect for mock egg salad.  The texture is so close to what I remember egg salad being and I actually prefer it to soy tofu in this dish.

Just cut pieces of the tofu from the dish – however much you would like to use, and mash with a fork until it’s the consistency of egg salad.  Don’t make it too smooth – there should be some larger pieces.  Next, add whatever ingredients you like.  You can’t go wrong.  I like to add a bit of vegannaise, chopped onion, chopped celery, 1/8 t turmeric, salt and pepper for the basic dish.  But you can get creative and add capers, pickles, olives, baco bits, sun dried tomatoes (maybe not all together)…  You will be astounded how much like egg salad it is!

photo

My second favorite way to enjoy chickpea tofu is sautéed in a 3 ingredient sauce.  How easy is that?  And there is no oil in this recipe at all!

The recipe is for one serving – so make sure to adjust it depending on how many people you would like to serve.

Cut a piece of tofu from the pan that measures approximately 1.5″ x 3″.

In a small bowl, combine 1 T soy sauce, 1 T maple syrup and 1/8 t garlic powder.

Heat a pan over medium high heat.  Add the tofu and you should hear it sizzle.  After 1 minute, pour the sauce in the pan with the tofu.  Let cook for 1 minute, then flip the tofu over and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side, just to heat through.  The sauce will be very bubbly and will begin to evaporate.  Make sure that it doesn’t burn.  If it starts to burn, or evaporates to almost nothing, just lower the heat.

IMG_4067

IMG_4068

IMG_4069

 

 

Advertisements

Zucchini Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce

DSC_0623I don’t think I have ever met anyone that didn’t love pasta.   I love all pasta!  I love the refined carb pasta that I rarely eat anymore because there are so many delicious, healthier alternatives, I love brown rice pasta, I love kelp noodles, and I love raw zucchini noodles, just to name a few.

Getting a spiralizer was the best addition I have made to my kitchen since getting my Vitamix four years ago.  I went through a number of different spiralizers until finding this one – which is incredible!!  So, for anyone wondering about spiralizers, get the paderno.  It is SO easy to use and to clean and works perfectly every time!  In fact, it is so simple and fast to use that this dish took me maybe 5 minutes.  Imagine that!  A yummy, creamy pasta dish in five minutes.

DSC_0628

If you have not delved into the world of raw food yet, this is the perfect recipe to try.  I love raw food because it tastes so clean and speaking of taste – you can actually taste all the ingredients in the food because everything is so fresh and there was no heating or processed ingredients to alter the taste.

This is my go to raw pasta dish.  It really satisfies any pasta craving, but your body will be thanking you after, instead of wanting a nap!

  • 1 large zucchini, peeled
  • 1 avocado, divided
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 2 – 3 T pine nuts
  • 1 scallion chopped, green part only
  • 2 T chopped parsley
  • 1 t cider vinegar
  • 1 t coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 3 pinches salt
  • 2 pinches garlic powder

Spiralize the zucchini.  I used the medium blade.

DSC_0615_2

DSC_0617

Place zucchini pasta in a bowl and set aside.

DSC_0618

In a small bowl, mash half the avocado.  Stir in 1 T water, salt, garlic powder, vinegar, and aminos.  Combine well.

DSC_0619

Pour over pasta and combine well with your hands.  You can use a spoon, but it really works best with hands!

Add the scallion, parsley, tomato and the other half of the avocado, chopped.

DSC_0632

Serve immediately.

Serves 2 for dinner or 3-4 as an appetizer.

DSC_0637DSC_0625

Popcorn Tofu with Mint “Honey” Mustard Sauce

DSC_0399

Who needs popcorn shrimp or popcorn chicken?  This popcorn tofu is so delicious it instantly became a new family favorite!  It’s hard to understand why anyone would  need to eat any other kind, especially since this is not only amazingly yummy, but also cruelty-free!  It just shows how vegans can eat better, healthier versions of just about everything non-vegans eat!

DSC_0397

  • 1 14 oz package extra firm tofu, drained
  • 3 T safflower oil
  • 4 T ener-G egg replacer
  • 1/2 cup + 4 T water
  • 2 t vegan stock powder, such as vegebase
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 2 t onion powder
  • 2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 2 T agave
  • 2 T dijon mustard
  • 1 t chopped fresh mint
DSC_0354

A baby watermelon works perfectly to press tofu!

popcorn

Cut tofu in half widthwise and then into 12 cubes, so you have 24 cubes total.

Combine the egg replacer, water, vegebase and soy sauce in a bowl.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, yeast, thyme, onion powder, salt, pepper, and oregano in another bowl.

Dip the tofu cubes one at a time into the “egg” mixture and then into the flour mixture, and repeat so each piece is dipped into both twice.

Heat 2 T of the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and when hot, add the tofu.  Cook about 4 minutes per side, until golden.  You may need to add the remaining T of oil when you flip the tofu.

Drain on paper towel and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

DSC_0357

For the sauce, combine the agave, mustard and mint.

Serves 4-6

DSC_0364

Polenta with Spinach, Truffled Mushrooms and “Cream” Sauce

DSC_0498

Lately I have been receiving comments from people telling me that they cannot go vegan because it is too expensive.  I have a hard time understanding this and I hope to explain in this post why that it is simply untrue.  However, even if it were more costly (which it is not), the health benefits would surely outweigh any additional expense.  Being on a whole-foods plant-based diet would greatly reduce the amount of money people spend on their medical care.  For example, it would eliminate most of the medicines people take every day for their blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and many other diseases.  It would also eliminate all of the money so many people spend on weight loss products and plans.  I just don’t see how anyone can find that beans, lentils, and whole grains are more expensive than the processed animal products they are currently eating.

So my recipe for today is polenta.  Polenta is made from cornmeal, which is a gluten-free whole grain that is a good source of niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate and vitamins B-6, E and K.   A 100 gram serving of cornmeal contains 18 amino acids and valuable minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. It also offers approximately 3 grams of protein per serving.  Make sure the cornmeal you use is whole and not degermed. Degermed cornmeal loses important nutrients once it is milled, because milling takes away nutritious parts of the grain.

Not only is polenta healthy, but it is also very easy to make.  You can simply cook it with some water and once it’s creamy, it is ready.  Or,  you can then bake it, as in this recipe, or chill it in the fridge into firm pieces that can then be grilled or topped with just about anything.  I love to serve it creamy topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions with a few drops of truffle oil on top and then I put the leftovers in the fridge to firm up so I can enjoy it a whole new way the next day.

The taste of polenta is really delicious!  I loved eating it in Italy, where the preferred method is the creamy polenta.  In Tuscany, I had the most amazing polenta dishes.  One was topped with the freshest and yummiest garlic, olives and tomatoes, and another was a tribute to all that is green, with chopped spinach, basil and arugula.  Just thinking about them makes me hungry!

As for the cost of polenta, this recipe uses 1 1/2 cups of cornmeal.  I use Bob’s Red Mill organic, nonGMO cornmeal which costs approximately $3.00 for a 24 oz bag.  So the cornmeal in this recipe, which serves at least 6 people, costs a mere $1.50, or 25 cents per person.  And that is for organic, nonGMO cornmeal.  Wow!!

I hope all those who think they cannot afford to go vegan will go buy a bag of cornmeal and check it out!

A note regarding oil.  I have omitted oil in the cooking of this recipe (aside from the small amount of truffle oil added for taste).  I have found that using vegetable stock or broth when sauteeing vegetables works wonderfully and no oil is needed.

And a note regarding GMOs – if you are not aware of the dangers of GMOs, please do some research.  Once you do, you will understand why it is so important to avoid using them.  I mention this here since corn is one of the top three GMO crops in the USA (along with soy and cotton), so be a smart consumer and protect yourself!!

  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 9 T vegetable stock, divided
  • 4 c spinach or baby kale
  • 1/2 T braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped (I used shitake and cremini, but any variety will be great)
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1/2 t truffle oil
  • 4 c water
  • 1 1/2 c corn meal
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t onion powder

For the creamy topping:

  • 3/4 c raw cashews, soaked in water overnight unless you have a powerful blender like a vitamix
  • 1/2 c minus 1 T water
  • 1/2 c reserved onions
  • 2 t truffle oil
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 T miso paste
  • 1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium pan, sautee the garlic in 3 T vegetable stock over medium high heat, until the liquid evaporates and then add another 3 T stock and the spinach or kale and cook until wilted.  Remove from heat and stir in braggs.  Put into a bowl and set aside.

DSC_0497

DSC_0499

In the same pan, now cook the onion in 3 T stock over medium high heat until translucent.  Remove 1/2 c of the onions and reserve.  Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes longer.  Remove from heat.  Drain.  Stir in 2 pinches of salt and 1/2 t truffle oil.  Set aside.

DSC_0500

DSC_0503

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 c water and cornmeal to a boil.  Lower heat to medium high and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until it thickens and stands on its own away from the edges of the pan.  Stir in the salt and onion powder.

DSC_0506

For the creamy topping – place all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy.

DSC_0504

DSC_0505

Spread half of the polenta mixture into a 9”x7”x2.5” pan.  Top with the spinach mixture.  Spread the remaining polenta on top.  Top with the mushroom mixture.  Pour the cream sauce over the mushroom mixture.

DSC_0507

DSC_0509

DSC_0510

DSC_0511

DSC_0512

DSC_0514

DSC_0515

DSC_0516

Bake for 30 minutes.

DSC_0558

Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Makes 6 large servings

DSC_0508

Gotta Love Scapes

Scapes Scapes Scapes – I love scapes!

DSC_0496

I love growing garlic!

DSC_0520

I think it is my favorite thing to grow because you get two wonderful harvests from one planting.  The scapes come first and then soon after, the garlic itself.  Garlic scapes are so delicious, and a bit milder than the garlic.  They are becoming quite popular and are easily found at farmers’ markets this time of year in the New York area.  I am always amazed by how beautiful they are and always have to eat a few raw, right off the plant.

Every year I have so many scapes and still wish I had more because I love cooking with them.  This year I made my favorite scape pesto first.  I have basil growing all summer and make pesto quite often, but this first pesto of the year, made with scapes, is always my favorite because it is the tastiest.  The subtlety of the scapes is exquisite.  If you do not have scapes, feel free to substitute scallions, but look for scapes in the future because they are amazing!

I also usually make a scape hummus, but this year I decided to switch it up a bit and make a dip with cannellini beans.  The bean dip is more original and definitely has more depth of flavor.  I am convinced you can’t go wrong with garlic scapes.  After a day of cooking with them, though, I am now excitedly awaiting the garlic itself!  Great garlicky recipes soon!

Scape Pesto

DSC_0637

  • 2 c scapes, chopped coarsley
  • 1/2 c walnuts
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/3 c fresh basil

Place all ingredients in food processor and process until well combined.

DSC_0562

Serve over your favorite pasta.  I love it on kelp noodles!

DSC_0618

Lemon Miso Scape Bean Dip

DSC_0545

  • 1/3 c scapes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 15 oz cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T miso paste
  • 1/2 t apple cider vinegar

DSC_0524

DSC_0527

Place all ingredients in food processor and process until well combined.

DSC_0528

I took the photos and left the dip with my family for a mere five minutes and came back to this – (I guess they liked it!!)

DSC_0638

DSC_0542