Jackfruit Tuna

DSCN1348On a recent family trip to California, we had the pleasure of eating at lots of amazing vegan restaurants.  One of our favorite places was Sage Organic Vegan Bistro in Los Angeles.  While everything we ordered was incredible, the mock tuna really made an impression.  It was the best mock tuna we have ever had.  I had always enjoyed my chickpea mock tuna, but Sage’s had something extra; it had something that made it even more like the “real” thing.  Their secret ingredient?  Jackfruit.  I had never even heard of jackfruit,  but I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some as soon as I got home.  It turns out jackfruit is rich in potassium, calcium, and iron.  It is available in most Asian markets, and also online.   Click here to order it from Amazon.

I was so excited to open the can and create my own version of tuna salad.  I think it came out great!  Maybe not quite as perfect as Sage’s, but darn close!  Hope you like it!

 

  • 1 can young jackfruit in brine or water, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 t olive oil
  • 1/2 c diced onion, divided
  • 1 t kelp ganules
  • 1 t dulce flakes
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 c cooked chickpeas, mashed
  • 1/4 c vegan mayo
  • 2 T diced pickles
  • 2 stalks celery, diced

With a fork, shred the jackfruit (some pieces have a hard part that you can just cut off and discard).  Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat.  Add 1/4 c of the onion and cook for a minute.  Add the jackfruit and cook, stirring occasionally, until there is no liquid in the pan, about 5 minutes.  Add the kelp, dulce and salt and cook one minute more.  Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, mash the chickpeas.  Add mayo, pickles, celery and remaining onion.  Mix well.  Add jackfruit mixture and combine well.

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Vegan Lunch #5 – Friday – Tofu Eggless Salad

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Ahh – the weekend is almost here!  Another week’s worth of lunches are done!  Tonight I made the quickest of the lunches.  It takes literally 2 minutes to make and it tastes really great!  It has protein and it even has an extra bonus – turmeric.  Turmeric is the spice which the NY Times has recently called the “superstar of spices,” known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.  So you can see why I love making this for my family!

ingredients for tofu eggless salad

ingredients for tofu eggless salad

  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 3 T vegan mayo
  • 1/4 t paprika
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 t turmeric

Place the tofu in a bowl and mash with a fork.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  This dish tastes much better after being in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

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Oops!  I forgot to take a photo of the whole lunch this time – which was the sandwich, an apple and a piece of gooey chocolate marshmallow cake (yes there are great vegan marshmallows).  I guess the weekend has already gotten to me!!

Vegan Lunch #4 – Thursday – The Many Hues of Hummus

DSC_0721Oh hummus – you are perhaps the perfect food!  You are healthy, easy to make and so much fun to flavor and embellish in many different ways!  You are often there at restaurants for vegans when there is nothing else to order.  You are loaded with protein and all good things and you are great on your own, in sandwiches, in salads or used as dip for crudite or crackers.  I just can’t get enough of you!

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Now that I have paid homage to hummus – I can continue and post my basic hummus recipe and all the different variations that I love.  It is so much fun to give it to my kids for lunch because they never know what color or flavor to expect!  And actually, hummus is without a doubt my son’s favorite food – so this post is dedicated to him!

Basic Hummus

ingredients for basic hummus recipe

ingredients for basic hummus recipe

  • 2 15 oz boxes or cans chickpeas, drained – but reserve liquid
  • 3 T tahini
  • 1/2 t salt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 c of the reserved liquid

Place all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and process/blend until creamy.  (I love my vitamix for making hummus).  You may need to add a bit more of the reserved liquid, 1 T at a time, to get the consistency you want.  Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

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For this lunch, I added kale, tomato and avocado to the sandwich and served it with a banana and some brownies.

I love this basic hummus just as it is.  It really doesn’t need anything more at all!  However, it’s always fun to spice it up!  So, here are some ideas for unique and really tasty additions.

DSC_0750To make these hummus varieties, add the following to 1/2 c of basic hummus (I use an immersion blender to do this, but you can use a food processor.  The blender, however, will not work for this because the amount is too small, unless you are flavoring more than one 1/2 c serving at a time.

Herbal Hummus

Herbal Hummus

Herbal Hummus – add a handful of greens – basil, cilantro, parsley, spinach, kale (I used kale and parsley tonight) – or any combination of them – you can’t go wrong.

Black Truffle Hummus

Black Truffle Hummus

Black Truffle Hummus – add 1/4 t black salt (available at specialty stores) and 1/4 t truffle oil.  For this variation, you can omit the salt in the basic recipe.

Dill Pickle Hummus

Dill Pickle Hummus

Dill Pickle Hummus – add about 5 pickle slices and 1 t fresh dill or 1/4 t dried dill

Beet and Sage Hummus

Beet and Sage Hummus

Beet and Sage Hummus – add 1 1/2 t beet juice and 1/8 t ground sage

Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Hummus

Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Hummus

Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Hummus – add 4 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, and about 1/2 bulb of roasted garlic – note: my family loves garlic – if you want it milder, add less. To roast garlic, cut the top off a bulb of garlic to expose the cloves.  Rub it with a little olive oil and salt and wrap in aluminum foil.  Bake in oven on 400 for 40 minutes.

Garlic Ginger Hummus

Garlic Ginger Hummus

Garlic Ginger Hummus – add 1/4 t ginger powder, 1/4 t garlic powder, 1/4 t sesame oil and 1/2 t soy sauce

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Vegan Lunch #3 – Wednesday – Bean and Cheez Quesadillas

DSC_0708A few days ago I saw a post on facebook about a newly vegan mom who was seeking advice on transitioning her husband and stepdaughter to a vegan diet.  I was trying to think of the best way I could help her and that inspired me to post these vegan lunches.  When I first became vegan I remember sifting through tons of new recipes to make for dinner every night.  There were so many out there and I was never at a loss for something new to try.  From seitan, to bean casseroles, to tempeh and tofu dishes, variety was no problem.  Lunches for my kids to bring to school, however, were more of a challenge for me.  I was so used to making tuna salad, egg salad, chicken salad, and even, I hate to admit it, deli meats.  Now that it has been 4 years, I have recipes that they enjoy even more than all those lunches I used to make.  I have already posted my recipes for mock tuna salad and faux chicken salad.  Tonight I made a nutritious and cruelty-free bean and cheez quesadilla.  It has plenty of protein, is simple to make, and tastes great!  Thanks to Daiya cheddar style shreds, the texture is just perfect!  Daiya is now available in many supermarket chains such as Shoprite, as well as specialty stores like Whole Foods.  It is actually possible that I have tried every vegan cheese on the market, and I can assure you that Daiya melts the best, just like dairy cheese.  Really!  If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?

Bean and Cheez Quesadillas

ingredients for bean and cheese quesadillas

ingredients for bean and cheese quesadillas

  • 1 15 oz box or can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 c mock sour cream
  • 2/3 c shredded cheddar style vegan cheese, preferably Daiya
  • 2 t chopped chives
  • 2 T chopped onion
  • 1/4 t onion powder
  • 1/8 t garlic powder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 t chili powder
  • 4 tortillas

DSC_0696Preheat oven to 425.  In a small bowl, combine the mock sour cream with the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and chives.  Place two tortillas on a very lightly oiled baking sheet. 

DSC_0702Spoon half of the sour cream mix over each tortilla.  Top each one with half of the beans.  Sprinkle half the onion on each and then the cheese.  Place another tortilla on top of each one and place in the oven for 8 minutes.  Turn the oven to broil and watch carefully so they don’t burn but get golden brown – about 3 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes before cutting each into 4 wedges.

Makes 8 wedges, which is good for 4 lunches.

DSC_0707With the quesadilla, I gave them some pineapple and a piece of vegan chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  If you want the recipe for the cake, just let me know and I will post it soon! 🙂

Vegan Lunch #2 – Tuesday – Faux Chicken Salad

faux chicken salad sandwich with tomato and kale

faux chicken salad sandwich with tomato and kale

So it’s time for lunch number 2 – faux chicken salad.  I used to love chicken salad.  In my pre-vegan days, it’s what I always ordered whenever I went out to lunch.  However, I was often sorry that I did because not that infrequently, I would bite into a piece of fat from the chicken and I would lose my appetite.  I have to wonder why I kept ordering it, but for some reason I did.  I guess I just liked the taste, even though the occasional pieces of fat grossed me out.  This brings to mind one of my favorite things about being vegan – NO animal fat in my food!!  Now when I eat, I love savoring every single bite, knowing that nothing gross is in it!

It’s not just me that loves this faux chicken salad.  My kids love it so much they eat it as I’m making it, probably because it is just as delicious warm as it cold in their sandwiches the next day.  Tempeh has both a satisfying texture and flavor.  Lots of recipes call for steaming the tempeh first to remove any bitterness, but I never taste any bitterness at all.  I don’t know who could want real chicken after eating this.

Faux Chicken Salad ingredients

Faux Chicken Salad ingredients

Faux Chicken Salad

  • 2 8 oz. packages tempeh
  • 1 t safflower or canola oil
  • 1/2 c vegan mayo
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • 1 t bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/8 t poultry seasoning
  • 1 t fresh dill, chopped, or 1/4 t dried
  • 1/4 t onion powder
  • 1 t fresh parsley, chopped, or 1/4 t dried


Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.  Cook the tempeh for 5 minutes per side until golden brown.  Remove from pan.

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After the tempeh cools for a few minutes, cube it into  1/4” pieces.  Place the cubes in a bowl and add the vegan mayo, dijon and braggs.  Stir to combine.

cubing the tempeh

cubing the tempeh

DSC_0665Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Makes enough for about 5 sandwiches.

DSC_0672With the sandwich in this lunch my family is also getting sliced organic strawberries and my favorite chocolate chip cookies from the Skinny Bitch in the Kitch cookbook.   For the recipe, click here.  Yum!