Posted in Asian Food, Bowls, Grains, International vegan cuisine, Plant Based, Sauces & Creams, Vegan

Sweet & Spicy Apricot Mushrooms & Tofu Vegan Dinner

I don’t know about you guys, but I love to cook. I don’t have a problem with blasting some music or listening to a true crime podcast while I get busy in the kitchen. Whether it’s making my favorite dessert from scratch–brownies–or any other thing that’s asked of me, I’ll do it.

But that doesn’t mean I’m all that creative in the kitchen. I will mix and match with the best of’em. For example, I recently made Jerk Cabbage Ramen and it was delicious, if I do say so myself. But vegan cooking isn’t my main job, or even my second job. It’s more of a passion so when it comes to creativity, I have no problem looking to others for inspiration.

One of my favorite vegan food blogs is Rabbit & Wolves because they have tons of unique vegan recipes and they’re just complicated enough to be challenging without pissing me off. So a few weeks back I was scrolling through recipes in search of something delicious and made with mushrooms, and most importantly, something I hadn’t eaten in the past, oh I don’t know, six months.

And that’s when I spotted it. Sticky. Apricot. Mushrooms.

Yep, you heard me right. I was like, “what?” And then I immediately knew what I wanted my partner to make on our next Midnight Tokyo Diner night. But when that night rolled around, there were no apricots and no apricot jam anywhere in the house, because who the heck keeps apricot jam on hand?

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Posted in Asian Food, Bowls, Grains, International vegan cuisine, Plant Based, Vegan

Vegan Mushroom Mapo Tofu

If you’ve never heard of Mapo Tofu, then you are in for a real treat. I came across video by Wil Yeung on YouTube and you know what happened next? That’s right, it ended up on my plate a few days later!

For those of you not in the know, Mapo Tofu is a Chinese dish from the Sichuan province . It is delicious and spicy and pretty easy to make. And best of all? Easy to make completely vegan.

The key to this vegan version of mapo tofu is perfectly cooked crimini mushrooms. I like to start the mushrooms in the oven and finish’em off on top of the stove so you get that nice crispy earthy flavor on the outside and a nice bit of moisture on the inside.

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Posted in Asian Food, Grains, International vegan cuisine, Plant Based, Vegan

Easy Vegan Meals: Crispy Korean Spiced Tofu & Rice

Even on days like this one, stuck in the house, sometimes this vegan just doesn’t feel like gettin’ down in the kitchen. But I have to eat because I love to eat and because, ya know, we all need it to survive and all that, it means one of us still has to cook.

That’s when easy vegan meals come in super handy.

These vegan meals are ALWAYS delicious (but that part is up to you) and flavorful and most of all simple. So simple that no amount of glossy photos will make it look any different, but since we’re all friends here and everyone knows that my photography skills could use some help, it’s cool. Right?

This particular easy vegan meal was one of our now classic Midnight Tokyo Diner meals. I asked for crispy Korean tofu and this is what he made.

What’s your favorite easy vegan meal when you don’t want takeout? I often choose something Asian inspired because there’s always rice or noodles so…carbs!

Posted in Asian Food, International vegan cuisine, Pasta, Plant Based, Potatoes, Sauces & Creams, Sides, Vegan

Spicy Braised Tofu & Gnocchi

Things are a little crazy around here because first of all, my book is done! Yay! But that means promo and all the rest and things have been busy and crazy and crazy-busy! You might have noticed by the sporadic posts and the emphasis on quick and easy vegan meals, which has been our specialty lately.

But I chose braised tofu as my meal this night and it was my only request, which meant the Hubs could do whatever he wanted. Just gimme my spicy tofu was my mindset and when this weird-ball dish landed in front of me, I was more than pleasantly surprised.

I was expecting regular plain natural tofu when I made the request because that’s usually how I make it, but using smoked tofu added a nice depth of flavor that I found surprising. It paired really nicely with thee spicy Korean chili flakes. Very nicely.

And this is a pretty easy recipe that we originally got from Maangchi and tweaked to veganize it and adjust it to a spice level we both agreed upon. Crisp up the tofu in a deep skillet with a little bit of oil until it’s nice and crispy. Whip up the sauce on the side and pour it over the tofu, using the old boil then simmer method to thicken.

Then, move on to the gnocchi while your tofu is ‘braising’.

I loved this dish because it was so simple but it didn’t taste that way. There’s so much flavor with the garlic and ginger and scallions mixed with all the spicy stuff.

The gnocchi was a nice twist I didn’t expect and it only serves as a reminder that we shouldn’t ever get too comfortable with how things are supposed to be. It was delicious and satisfying and most of all, I didn’t have to wait too long to eat it!

Posted in Bowls, Grains, Herbs, International vegan cuisine, Plant Based, Sides, Vegan

Spicy Tofu & Red Quinoa Bowl

Been busy finishing up my latest book but I wanted to share another Buddha Bowl with you. The thing I love most about them, aside from all the healthy stuff, is that you get a little bit of a variety of foods. After a tough workout or just because I’m feeling really hungry, I crave them.

So when I found this organic red quinoa at the nearby Kaufland, I knew it would go nicely with the beautiful broccoli florets that were already in the shopping cart. Okay, the truth is that I had a vegan Buddha bowl on the menu but I wasn’t sure which grain I would use until I checked out what was in stock.

I’m pretty new to the quinoa bandwagon so I put them on first, adding  salt and turmeric to the water when it started to boil.

Next came the onions and bell peppers because I wanted to pop them into the oven to get a little char on’em. As you can see, I got a little more than I wanted but some of that was because of the spice rub I used. Same with the tofu.

Put together your favorite spice blend for the tofu, I used a tandoori spice blend with sumac and baharrat and some other stuff, with a few drops of oil and tomato paste. Rubbing it on both sides of the tofu and pan fry it or pop it in the oven when the onions & bell peppers start to cook.

Steam the broccoli and toss with your favorite seasonings. I used vegan butter and minced garlic. Easy peasy.

Feel free to make a sauce if you like. I thought about it but after tasting it all, I didn’t think it needed it.

This was a quick 30 minute vegan meal that you can use over and over again. Take your spice cabinet around the world and mix up the veggies for an endless supply of easy vegan recipes.

Posted in Herbs, Plant Based, Salads, Sandwiches, Sides, Vegan

Fried Tofu Sammies with Raw Vegan Slaw

Sometimes you have a need for something so specific that you just can’t let it go. It happens to all of us, I think, and at any rate it happened to me recently. I really felt like having a chicken sandwich which has proven to be pretty much an empty wish in Romania. In Germany there were plenty of vegan schnitzel options and even a Qorn brand vegan ‘chicken’ breast.

But here there was no such luck so I had to improvise.

At first I was feeling brave and inspired, thinking I would just mash-up a bunch of vegetables into a patty, bread it, fry and voila homemade vegan sandwiches. It was a nice dream while it lasted, anyway. But on a trip to Kaufland they actually had firm tofu and I remembered a recipe I’d recently saved to my Plant Based Plate Pinterest page. I grabbed American style hamburger buns with sesame seeds and because I was trying so hard to be a good little healthy woman, I skipped over the thought of potatoes and opted for vegetables.

Cole Slaw is my jam. Always has been going back to the days where me and KFC were on a first name basis and as soon as I discovered a plain vegan yogurt that I liked, it went back into the meal rotation. I used red and green cabbage, scallions (because I didn’t have shallots), red bell pepper, fresh dill and parsley, lime juice, cumin, paprika and fresh pressed garlic. Oh and mustard. Spicy mustard or whatever you prefer really because you have to eat it. Put the veggies in a bowl and in a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt, mustard, herbs and spices until blended and toss with vegetables. If you make a lot like I did, add the dressing in 3 separate batches until it is all coated.

Set aside or chill if you prefer.

The tofu is a little more time consuming but still pretty easy. You need two bowls one for the vegan egg and milk soak and another for the flour, cornstarch, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper coating. How you proceed from here is a matter of preference. You can dip it in the liquid, into the flour and then straight into 1 to 2 tbsp. of oil to fry up. OR you can double dip it for an extra bit of crispness. I added a few tablespoons of flaked coconut to the flour mixture for extra crunch.

I set out mustard, ketchup and leftover yogurt for condiments for the sandwiches and washed it down with an ice col Ciuc.

As you can see, they came out pretty crispy and the skin didn’t fall off until I was a little heavy handed with the spatula. You need a light touch when flipping over the patties or else you’ll peel that breading right off. Also don’t be afraid to turn down the heat if they’re cooking too fast. You want a golden brown crisp not a black too crunchy mess.