Now that fall’s here, it’s time to embrace root vegetables once again! How about some Curried Sweet Potato & Fig Soup, Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread, or Vegetarian Borscht with Kale? However, when it comes to root vegetables, we rarely think of cold salads or slaws. That’s why I was intrigue by my friend, Robyn Webb’s recipe for Celery Root Salad at Diabetes Forecast, the magazine put out the American Diabetes Association. It seemed like a root vegetable version of a coleslaw type salad using celeriac (celery root), fennel (anise), and a little bit of carrot. Plus the photo by Kyle Dreier and food styling by Whitney Kemp (the online thumbnail shot doesn’t do it justice) was gorgeous and inspiring.
Unfortunately, going over the recipe, I found a few things I needed to change. First, I couldn’t eat it due to my food sensitivity to sour cream. Second, a lot of people don’t like the taste of fennel/anise, so I’d have to disguise it or play it down somehow. (Fennel has a black licorice taste, which I love but many people hate.)
Third, when you buy celeriac, it’s usually a huge bulb, so either you have to make a double batch or throw half of it into the compost. So, I had to increase the ratios so you wouldn’t have to waste food. Fourth, I wanted more of a “bite” to the sauce and felt adding some NAKANO rice vinegar and ground chipotle chile pepper instead of cayenne would do the trick. Fifth, I wanted to add more carrot to it for sweetness and color.
In addition to all my changes, I wanted to make this as allergen friendly as possible – gluten free, egg free, milk free, etc. To do this I used a dairy and egg free no fat mayonnaise from Trader Joe’s and a Tofutti Sour Cream. In addition, I used NAKANO rice vinegar since all their vinegars are gluten free. It's naturally nut free, too. However, this vegetarian slaw salad is not soy free. That was one allergen I couldn't avoid.
While Spicy Celery Root & Carrot Slaw Salad is a great on it’s own, I liked serving it up in a brown rice tortilla wrap. But the best way was with grilled fish tacos with some avocados and salsa – delicious. This would make a great tailgate party or potluck slaw salad, too!
Finally, celery root is rather tough to grate – too tough for a box grater in my opinion unless you’re a lineman for the Denver Broncos with big, strong hands. I highly recommend using a food processor to shred it. Using a good processor for the fennel and carrots will make things much easier, too.
Spicy Celery Root & Carrot Slaw Salad
- 2 3/4 cups peeled and shredded celery root (celeriac)
- 1 cup shredded fennel bulb
- 5 large carrots peeled and shredded
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Tofutti sour cream
- 1/4 cup no eggs, no dairy, no fat mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced green onions (white bulb ends only)
- 1 teaspoon minced chives
- whole chives for garnish (optional)
- In a large serving bowl, combine the shredded celery root , fennel, and carrots.
- Toss well, then add the lemon juice and toss again. While tossing, pick out any large pieces of root vegetables that weren’t shredded by your food processor.
- In a small bowl, gently whisk together Tofutti, mayonnaise, spicy mustard, olive oil, NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and ground chipotle chile pepper.
- Fold the minced green onions and chives into the Tofutti dressing.
- Add the Tofutti dressing to the celery root slaw salad and toss well. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Garnish slaw salad with whole chives, if desired.
- Serving size: 1/2 cup
My husband likes to go mushroom hunting in the forest behind our home. A couple of weeks ago he came home with a Berkeley's Polypore. If you find a young one (the older ones are too tough) you can eat them as long as marinate them overnight. I used a vegetable marinade recipe from The Wild Vegan Cookbook: A Forager's Culinary Guide (in the Field or in the Supermarket) to Preparing and Savoring Wild (and Not So Wild) Natural Foods, which I found on the author’s website.
Since the mushrooms reminded me of cooked marinated tofu, I thought I’d try doing something similar with store bought vegetable and tofu, and would improve the marinade using Holland House’s new Champagne Vinegar and a few additional ingredients like soybean paste and lemon grass.
I tried cooking the vegetables three different ways – sautéing on the stove top, roasting in the oven, and grilling in a grill basket. Grilling gave the vegetables a smoky, grilled flavor and the tofu tasted like hamburgers done on the grill. This would be a perfect party recipe for your vegan or vegetarian guests! However, I preferred roasting them in the oven, since that method brought out the flavors of the vegetables and the marinade. Sautéing had a similar effect, but required a bit more effort.
You can serve the vegetables hot as a side dish or cold as a roasted or grilled vegetable salad.
If you cannot find soybean paste, you can use 1 tablespoon of soy or tamari sauce instead. Instead of sorghum, you can use honey or agave nectar.
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh lemon grass
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup Holland House Champagne Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soybean paste
- 1 tablespoon sorghum
- 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2” thick cubes
- 1 pound fresh vegetables (peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, etc.) cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 to 1 cup water (optional)
- Combine ginger, lemon grass, oil, wine, Worcestershire sauces, Holland House vinegar, soybean paste and sorghum in a large, non-reactive glass or plastic bowl. Stir with a whisk until sorghum has combined with other ingredients.
- Cut up tofu and place into bowl.
- Cut up vegetables and place into bowl.
- Put the cloves and black peppercorns in a stainless steel mesh tea and cooking infuser, a hop bag , or tie into a piece of cheesecloth. Place into center of marinating vegetables.
- If needed, add water to bowl so marinade covers vegetables and tofu.
- Cover and marinate overnight, stirring once or twice if possible.
- Drain in a colander and cook as follows.
- Place vegetables and tofu and grill over a low flame until done.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place vegetables and tofu in a large roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes. Stir vegetables and cook for another 15-20 minutes until done.
- Place in a hot skillet and cook until done, stirring occasionally.
- Serving size: 1 to 2 cups
So much for Cookbook Week being only one week. Between Spring Break and more cookbooks arriving at my door, I didn’t have a chance to get to more than last week’s Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking and Homemade with Love reviews. My apologies!
Let’s start this week off with a cookbook that was sent for me to review that’s perfect for all of you with vegetarian teens or kids who want the family to participate more in Meatless Monday. It’s Teen Cuisine: New Vegetarian, a finalist for the 2013 International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award in the Children’s, Youth and Family category.
Teen Cuisine: New Vegetarian features 50 delicious recipes arranged into chapters such as “Smart Starts,” “Party Hearty,” “Bowl Me Over” and “Just Desserts.” There’s even a special sushi section along with an “And On the Side” chapter on pickles, relish and other homemade condiments. The recipe format is perfect for those new to the kitchen, since each recipe features step-by-step instructions in a On Your Mark, Get Set, and Cook! format. Each recipe also features helpful tips and gorgeous photographs. This would be a wonderful cookbook to give someone as a high school graduation gift or as a way to keep them busy in the kitchen during summer break.
Vegetarian or Vegan
A bowl of chili is a thing of beauty. So what’s wrong with a triple dose of heat in your chili? This recipe combines three types of chilies into one big bite of zippy flavor and satisfying chili goodness. Read the chef’s tip below to find out how to adjust the heat level.
- 1 pound tempeh, any flavor
- 1 medium-size white onion
- 5 to 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 5 to 6 sprigs cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 to 2 jalapeno or Serrano chilies
- 1 to 3 dried Ancho, negro, or Pasilla chilies, depending on taste
- 1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted or regular chopped tomatoes
- 1 10-ounce can Ro*Tel brand diced
- tomatoes and green chilies
- 1 15.5-ounce can red pinto, great Northern, or black beans
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive or safflower oil
- 1 4-ounce can chopped mild, medium, or hot green chilies
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 cup water, plus more as needed
- Chopped scallions
- Chopped white or red onions
- Cheddar cheese or vegan cheddar, grated
- Monterey Jack or vegan Jack cheese, grated
- Sour cream or vegan sour cream
- Plain whole-milk yogurt or soy yogurt
On your mark . . .
- Cut the tempeh into medium-size pieces and put into a 2-quart saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Peel the onion, chop into medium dice, measure out 1 cup, and set aside.
- Wash the parsley and cilantro, shake off any excess water, and dry by rolling in paper towels. Remove the leaves and discard the stems. Coarsely chop the parsley and cilantro together and set aside.
- Slightly crush the garlic by laying the flat side of a chef’s knife on the clove and pressing firmly to break open the skin. Remove the skin, cut off the root end, and discard. Coarsely chop the garlic and set aside.
- Slip on a pair of latex kitchen gloves. Remove the stem from the fresh chilies and cut in half lengthwise. Rinse under cold water and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a spoon. If you like the chili a bit hotter, leave in the seeds. Chop into small pieces and set aside. Rinse, dry, and remove the gloves.
Get set . . .
- Break the stem from the dried chilies and discard. Shake out any seeds, tear the chilies into small pieces, and place in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup hot water and set aside to soften. Wash your hands.
- Combine the tomatoes, including the liquid, and the tomato-and-green chili combination. Measure out 3 cups and set aside.
- Drain the canned beans in a hand strainer or colander. Rinse under cold water and set aside to drain.
- Coarsely chop the tempeh and set aside.
- Drain the dried chilies in a hand strainer or colander and pat dry.
- Heat the oil in a 4- to 6-quart pot (with lid) over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
- Add the onion and dried chilies and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic, tempeh, canned green chilies, chopped fresh chilies, chili powder, paprika, salt, cayenne pepper, if using, and the chopped parsley and cilantro. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until the tempeh has browned.
- Add the 3 cups tomato mixture, beans, and water. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to low, and simmer for 45 minutes with the lid slightly ajar.
- Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add water if the chili becomes too thick, but avoid making it soupy. Taste the chili and correct the seasoning.
- Serve hot, passing the scallions, onions, grated cheeses, sour cream, and yogurt on the side.
- If you like your chili very hot, use the full amount of cayenne pepper listed. You can reduce the heat to a less fiery level by omitting it altogether.
Pictures and recipes used with permission.
Between the finches visiting our bird feeders and the trees starting to blossom, spring is certainly in the air here in northeastern Georgia. We’ve even managed to eat a couple of dinners outside on the deck, though we had to wear light jackets and sweaters. Even though it’s warming up, there’s never a bad time for a hot bowl of chili, especially on Meatless Mondays when you can substitute healthy tofu and beans for ground turkey or beef.
This vegan chili recipe from the folks at House Foods is high in protein and low in fat. With the extra vitamin C from the chili pods and the capsaicin revving up your metabolism, House Foods’ Tofu Chili is packed with both flavor and health benefits. House Foods Premium Tofu is non-GMO verified, made from certified organic soybeans grown in the US, kosher-verified and gluten free.
While great on its own, try serving the tofu chili on brown rice or quinoa.
Recipe by House Foods
- 1 package House Foods Tofu Extra Firm, drained and cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (1 large clove)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 16-ounce can kidney beans
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 can low sodium tomato sauce
- dash paprika
- Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender.
- Add vegetable broth, bell pepper, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and kidney beans, stirring to combine.
- Add tomato sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes or until kidney beans and peppers are cooked through.
- Add cubed tofu and cook additional minute or two. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe and photo provided by House Foods and used with permission.
In its infinite wisdom, my daughter’s school scheduled the Daddy Daughter Dance on Valentine’s Day. So Paul and I won’t be going out on Thursday, but may take in a dinner and a movie at The National in Athens, Georgia if the movie at The Ciné is something I actually want to see. (All the movies I do want to see are done after the 14th, darn it!)
However for many of us, going out to eat for Valentine’s Day is a total pain. First of all, this year it’s on a Thursday and who can stay out late when you have to get kids ready for school and head out to work early in the morning? Second, depending on where you like to eat, you may have to make reservations weeks in advance. Third, between babysitters, drinks and a nice meal, and a Valentine's Day present for your sweetie, it’s expensive!
Why not stay home and fix a nice Valentine's Day meal instead? Afterwards, put the kids to bed – early if possible. Then start a romantic movie on Netflix, open a bottle of sparkling wine, and have a delicious but healthy snack that won’t spoil your diet too badly, like Peanut Butter Caramel Corn from Cooking Light's The New Way to Cook Light: Fresh Food & Bold Flavors for Today's Home Cook. Leftovers will make a nice after school snack the next day, too!
I bet this would be good with almond butter, as well. If you have nut allergies or sensitivities, try sunflower seed butter (Trader Joe's brand is awesome!) instead of peanut butter and pine nuts (which are seeds) for the sliced almonds. You could also substitute your favorite vegan buttery spread instead of using butter, too.
Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Popcorn
- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray.
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add popcorn; cover and cook 4 minutes, shaking pan frequently. When popping slows, remove pan from heat. Let stand until popping stops. Uncover; add almonds.
- Combine sugar, syrup, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Add peanut butter and vanilla, and stir until smooth. Drizzle over popcorn; toss well.
- Spread mixture into prepared pan.
- Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.
- Serving size: About 3/4 cup
- Calories: 155
- Total Fat: 7.4 g
- Saturated fat: 1.8 g
- Unsaturated fat: mono 3.5 g, poly 1.6 g
- Sodium: 108 mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 21.3 g
- Fiber: 1.4 g
- Protein: 2.6 g
- Cholesterol: 4 mg
Recipe and photo used with permission of Cooking Light.
Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.
This week’s Meatless Monday post comes to you courtesy of San-J and Carol Kicinski, renowned chef, food writer and gluten free blogger at Simply…Gluten Free. Carol created a quick and easy weeknight dish that only uses six nutritious ingredients, which you can use as either a main or a side dish.
I always have a bottle of San-J Gluten-Free Tamari in my cupboard, which I substitute for regular soy sauce. San-J also sells an organic version, which I like even better. Both versions have a low sodium variety as well – love how San-J gives us lots of choices!
Tofu and Green Bean Stir Fry
- 1/4 cup San-J Gluten-Free Tamari
- 2 tablespoons gluten free sweet chili garlic sauce
- 1 pound extra firm tofu
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons oil, use divided
- 1 pound green beans, cleaned trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- Combine the San-J Gluten-Free Tamari with the chili garlic sauce, set aside.
- Cut tofu into 1/2 inch cubes, pat dry with paper towels and put into a mixing bowl with the cornstarch, toss to coat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat until it starts to shimmer, add half the tofu in an even layer in the pan. Cook the tofu undisturbed for 2 minutes. Gently flip and stir the tofu. Continue to cook and stir until the tofu is lightly golden brown on all sides, 3 - 4 minutes. Remove the tofu to a plate and set aside. Heat 1 more tablespoon of oil in the pan and cook the remaining tofu the same way. Remove from pan.
- Reduce heat to medium; add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the green beans. Cook the green beans, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup of water and continue to cook the beans for 3 minutes or until they are bright green and crisp tender. Increase the heat back up to high, add the reserved sauce mixture and boil for 1 minute or until it reduces slightly.
- Add the tofu and cook for 1 minute. Serve immediately.
- Serving size: 1/r4 to 1/6 of recipe
Recipe and photo used with permission.
Disclosure: San-J recently sent me samples of their gluten free products to try out. All experiences and opinions are my own.
Here’s how I usually make roasted vegetables – combine root veggies, olive oil, salt and pepper and some seasonings and cook until done. Since we were having company last week, I wanted to try something new and this recipe from Mizkan caught my eye. I’ve had much experience marinating meats, but have never tried it with vegetables. The original recipe has you grill the vegetables, but I thought roasting them in the marinade would be even better. However, during grilling season, I bet this recipe would work well as a shish kabob marinade for both vegetables, beef, pork and chicken.
I served this for some of my husband’s friends from his bowling team along with my family. I never know how a vegetable dish will go over with people since some folks don’t like veggies. Needless to say, this dish disappeared and one of our guest asked for the recipe. It was such a success that I’ll be marinated my roast vegetables from here on out.
Note: The recipe originally used Holland House Red Wine Vinegar, but since I had none in the house, I used NAKANO® Italian Herb Seasoned Red Wine Vinegar instead knowing that the seasoning would only add more flavor to the dish.
- 1/3 cup NAKANO® Italian Herb Seasoned Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 medium red bell peppers
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 medium yellow crookneck squash
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 large eggplant
- For marinade, combine all ingredients except vegetables in a small bowl; set aside.
- Cut all vegetables into bite sized pieces – about 1 inch x 1 inch or so.
- Place in a large bowl or rimmed platter. Drizzle marinade over vegetables, toss to coat, and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place vegetables in a large oven safe pan, place in oven and cook for 20 minutes.
- Stir vegetables and cook until soft and slightly brown around the edges – about 10 to 15 minutes more.
- Stir vegetables and cook until soft and slightly brown around the edges – about 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve and enjoy!
- Serving size: 1 to 2 cups
Save money with NAKANO
You can download a coupon for 50 cents off your next purchase of NAKANO rice vinegar here. Also, for more recipes using NAKANO rice vinegars, sign up for Mizkan’s Splash for Cash e-newsletter for a chance to win up to $600. (Mizkan is NAKANO’s parent company.)
Disclosure: Mizkan, the parent company of NAKANO, provided compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
As an Udi’s Gluten Free Community Leader, I know that the Thanksgiving holiday is especially hard for anyone who’s gluten free, has food sensitivities or allergies, or are just trying to eat healthy since everything seems to have wheat flour, cream, sugar, butter and nuts. That’s why we’ll be having a chat at Udi’s Gluten Free Community next week on Wednesday, November 7 at 8 pm EST to discuss the challenges Thanksgiving brings. You can find the chat here. Hope you can join us!
It’s also why I’d like to share a recipe I got from Simply Soy, a wonderful cookbook put together by the Soyfoods Council. It was given to me earlier this year when they invited me to Iowa to learn about soybean production and the benefits of soy in your diet.
Planning a Southern Thanksgiving
I’m making a southern-style Thanksgiving this year as it’s our first year living in Georgia. To me, nothing is more southern than cornbread dressing with the turkey, so I’ll be making Bon Appetit’s Cornbread, Sausage, and Pecan Dressing, but using pine nuts instead of pecans since my daughter’s allergic to nuts.
Unfortunately, most cornbread mixes contain wheat flour or “from scratch recipes” contain milk or eggs. Instead, this recipe from Didi Emmons, author of Entertaining for a Veggie Planet, uses tofu to make a dense, moist bread, and I’ve substituted an all-purpose gluten free baking mix for the flour. You can make it in any size pan, including an 8-inch square or round cake pan. It’s also a great cornbread for vegans as it contains no butter, dairy or eggs.
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 3/4 cup all-purpose gluten free baking mix
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten free)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh or dried rosemary, optional
- 8 ounces firm water-packed tofu, drained
- 5 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or oil a 9×5–inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, all-purpose gluten free baking mix, baking powder, salt, and rosemary. Mix well.
- In another bowl, squeeze the tofu through your hands until it is the consistency of scrambled eggs. Stir in the oil and 1 cup water. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. (The batter will be very dry.)
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a knife inserted comes out clean, about 45 – 50 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then rap the pan sharply to remove the bread, and cool the bread on a rack for at least another 20 minutes before slicing.
- Serving size: 1 slice
Disclosure: As a Udi's Gluten Free Community Leader I'm compensated for my time and efforts on their behalf. In addition, I was invited to an all expenses paid editor’s trip by the Soyfoods Council. All experiences and opinions are my own.
As promised in my Healthier Lemon Pasta post for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, here’s my version of Tofu Sour Cream is based on a recipe from the Vegan Epicurean. I made the following changes to her recipe:
Vinegar: I used NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. I find that NAKANO’s rice vinegars have a milder flavor and are less acidic, which I like. You could have a little fun with this recipe and use some of NAKANO’s flavored vinegars, too, like Roasted Garlic or Red Pepper, for a fun flavor twist.
Tofu: I was confused over the type of tofu the Vegan Epicurean used, since I’m not familiar with Mori Nu lite silken tofu (firm). Is it firm or silken? After doing a little research, I found out that all of Mori Nu’s tofus are silken and come in soft, firm or extra firm. However, other brands’ silken tofus are actually soft tofus, which are good for soups, dips and smoothies.
I ended up using Nasoya’s Silken Tofu, so the consistency of my sour cream was very runny. This was fine for my Healthier Lemon Pasta, but next time I want to make something the consistency of sour cream, I’ll use a firm tofu. I also changed the amount of tofu used since I like using the full tub. Having a few ounces left over of tofu means I have to remember it’s in the refrigerator and use it in a recipe before it goes bad. Usually, I forget and find a science experiment waiting for me in the far reaches of the fridge. Hate that!
Lemon zest and lemon juice: I cut back on both ingredients and still could taste the lemon. That was fine since I was using it in a lemon flavored dish. However, next time I may cut back even further. I love lemon, but it doesn’t go with everything.
- 1 (14-16 ounce) package firm tofu, preferably organic
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon agave, stevia or other sugar substitute
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process several minutes, until very creamy and smooth.
- Firms up when chilled. Refrigerate sour cream until it is ready to be used.
- Serving size: varies
Connect with NAKANO
Sign up for Mizkan’s “Splash Recipe Club!” When you join the club you get exclusive recipes, access to special features and more! Each month one new member could win a $150 leading up to a grand prize of $600 in March 2013. You can also connect with NAKANO on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.
Disclosure: Mizkan, the parent company of NAKANO, provided compensation for this post. All opinions and experiences are my own.
It’s not often that I try a new recipe and have my husband, Paul, tell me, “Hun, this is one of my favorite things you make.” So needless to stay, this month’s Secret Recipe Club dish from Jen at Jen’s Journey will be a dinner time staple at our house from now on. He loved. I loved it. The kids thought it was OK, but it disappeared off their plates. So I bet they loved it, too.
Making Lemon Pasta dairy free and gluten free
Jen’s recipe for Lemon Pasta is based on a Baked Lemon Pasta recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I’ve further modified it by substituting a tofu sour cream for the regular sour cream since I can’t eat dairy products, with the exception of cheese, because of my whey food sensitivity. (My recipe Tofu Sour Cream is based on this recipe from the Vegan Epicurean. Here's my version of the Tofu Sour Cream recipe.) If you need to avoid cheese, you can use vegan Parmesan sprinkles or skip the Parmesan altogether.
If you can have dairy, you can health up the Lemon Pasta by using a low fat sour cream or non-fat Greek yogurt. I also cooked this with a buttery spread to further lower the saturated fat. I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light, but Earth’s Balance spreads are very good and vegan to boot. I like both brands and go back and forth depending on where I’m shopping and what’s on sale. (Note: ICBINB is not vegan as it contains a little bit of milk.)
As for pasta, I used whole wheat, but gluten free brown rice pasta would work well, too. Variation wise, I’m wondering if capers would be good in this, since capers and lemon work well together in dishes like Chicken Piccata. Or maybe some sliced black olives. Hmmmm, maybe next time!
Healthier Lemon Pasta
- 1 box spaghetti
- 4 tablespoons buttery spread
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 2 cups sour cream, vegan sour cream or non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- Flat-leaf parsley, chopped – to taste for garnish, plus extra for serving
- Cook spaghetti al dente in salted water. Drain, rinse, and place spaghetti back in pot. Place lid on pot to keep spaghetti warm and set aside.
- Juice one lemon into a bowl. Strain to remove pulp and seeds.
- In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium low heat. When butter is melted, add minced garlic and lemon juice. Turn off heat.
- Add your sour cream (or sour cream substitute) to the butter and oil mixture. Add lemon zest and salt. Stir everything together and taste. Add more salt if necessary.
- Pour sour cream mixture over drained spaghetti and toss. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water or milk.
- Place spaghetti in a large serving bowl and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
- Serve with extra grated cheese and parsley on the side.
- Serving size: 1/4 of recipe
More from the Secret Recipe Club!
There’s nothing more refreshing – and healthy – than gazpacho soup. This gazpacho recipe goes “South of the Border” with the addition of Wholly Guacamole dip.
Wholly Guacamole Gazpacho
Makes 5 one cup servings
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro (extra for garnish)
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 17 ounces (1 box) Wholly Guacamole dip (Classic or Spicy)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Place tomato, cucumber, cilantro and vegetable broth into a blender or food processor. Blend into smooth.
- Pour pureed vegetables into a large bowl. Add Wholly Guacamole dip, lime juice, salt and ground cumin to bowl and stir until all ingredients are combined. Chill until serving time.
- Pour Wholly Guacamole Gazpacho into bowls and garnish with a sprig or two of cilantro. Serve and enjoy!
Wholly Guacamole: it’s a whole lot more than dip. Vote for my Wholly Guacamole Recipe below and I could win one of three fantastic prizes! Click here for more fun and easy Wholly Guacamole recipes!
One of the ways I love saving time in the kitchen, especially in the summer months when it’s too hot to cook, is by grilling and making a salad as a side dish. One of my new favorites is this Quinoa Tabbouleh recipe I found in the June 2012 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Quinoa is a favorite grain (it’s actually a seed) with folks who are gluten free, vegetarian or vegan because it’s a complete protein and contains no gluten. Due to its protein content, you could serve this as a main dish, too.
My family loved this salad, especially my son and husband. I made a few substitutes like using mini heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joe’s instead of cherry tomatoes and zucchini instead of cucumbers due to my food sensitivities. Play around with the recipe on your own. For example, try cilantro instead of parsley, summer squash instead of cucumbers, and dill instead of mint. Make a double batch so you have leftovers for lunch, too.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Ground black pepper
- 1 large zucchini cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 (16 ounce) container mini heirloom tomatoes
- 2/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Follow the directions on your box or bag of quinoa to cook up 1 cup. I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Grain Quinoa, which has you bring quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Then you reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes to let cool. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add zucchini, tomatoes, herbs, and scallions to bowl with quinoa. Add dressing and toss to coat.
- Serving size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 290
- Total Fat: 21g
- Saturated fat: 3g
- Unsaturated fat: 18g
- Sodium: 170mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 24g
- Sugar: 2g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 5g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Saving time in the kitchen
Having quality appliances is another way you can save time in the kitchen. Believe me, I’m suffering this now in our new home with a horrible 20-year-old stove top with only two burners.
Speaking of time saving, Electrolux induction cooktops and ranges combine the power of gas with the easy clean-up of electric, so you can boil water in just 90 seconds!1 An induction stove top is on my wish list when we do our kitchen remodel. Don’t know what they are? Then watch this video from Electrolux:
What other ways can having the right appliances help you save time in the kitchen?
110" induction burner with Power Boost, 6 qt./10" diameter pot, 1 qt. tepid water
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All the opinions expressed here are my own.
Also, even though Carol’s directions are to serve it hot, I bet it would make a terrific summer time cold pasta salad dish, too.
Gluten Free Spicy Ginger Tofu Noodle Salad
- 1/3 cup San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Dressing
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicier)
- 1 pound gluten free brown rice fettuccini style pasta
- Gluten free non-stick cooking spray
- 1 pound firm tofu
- 4 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- 1 English (hothouse) cucumber
- 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into small dice
- Salt & pepper
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Whisk together the San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Dressing with the garlic powder and red pepper flakes.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water. Add the dressing and toss to coat.
- While the pasta is cooking pat the tofu dry with paper towels and cut into 1 inch pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray the pay heavily with non-stick cooking spray and add the tofu pieces.
- Let cook for 1 – 2 minutes undisturbed or until they are golden brown. Flip the pieces over and continue cooking until browned on all sides. When the tofu is done, remove from the skillet, add to the pasta and add the mushroom slices to the hot skillet and cook until browned, stirring often, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pasta.
- Peel the cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, scrap out the seeds with a spoon, cut into thin slices and add to the pasta. Reserve some of the chopped cilantro for garnish and add the rest to the pasta along with the green onions and bell pepper. Toss everything together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the reserved cilantro leaves and the sesame seeds.
- Serving size: 1/4 to 1/6 of recipe
Recipe and photo used with permission. © 2012 San-J International. All rights reserved.
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment, I was partnered with Jayasri of Samayalarai – Cooking is Divine. Jayasri's Indian and lives in the UK, and likes to cook up traditional dishes as well as try out Western ones. I had a tough time choosing a recipe because I wanted to cook up an Indian dish but didn’t want to use ingredients that would be hard for my readers to find. I also wanted to make something that was healthy and her recipe for Mango - Quinoa Halwa in Microwave seemed to be a good choice on both counts.
Halwa is a sweet Indian dish. It’s usually made with lots of ghee (clarified butter) and can be made with carrots, banana, or semolina boiled with milk, almonds, sugar, and cardamom. Jayasri’s recipe used quinoa, which is full of healthy, vegetarian protein and is naturally gluten free.
However, I was puzzled by her microwave directions. Obviously, UK and US microwaves are very different! I decided to make my version on the stove top. I also wanted to health things up by using coconut oil for ghee and coconut milk for cow’s milk, which turned the recipe into a vegan dish. I eliminated calories by using stevia instead of sugar, and didn’t include almonds because of my daughter, Lucie’s nut allergies.
- 1 cup mango pulp (2 mangoes), pureed
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked
- 4 tablespoons light coconut milk
- 3/4 cup Stevia in the Raw
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 3-4 saffron threads (optional)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup raisins
- Cook quinoa according to package directions.
- Cut and peel the mangos and remove the pulp. Puree in a small food processor or blender.
- Place pureed mango, cooked quinoa, coconut milk, stevia, cardamom and saffron (if using) in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Stir to blend.
- Cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring, until mixture starts to bubble.
- Add the coconut oil. Stir to combine.
- Continue to cook over medium heat until mixture starts to thicken. This should take 10 to 12 minutes. The halwa should be thick like oatmeal and glossy from the coconut oil.
- Add raisins and stir until evenly distributed and heated through.
- Dish warm halwa into small bowls and serve immediately.
- Calories: 354
- Calories from Fat: 178
- Total Fat: 19.8g
- Saturated fat: 15.3g
- Unsaturated fat: 0g
- Sodium: 6mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 40.8g
- Sugar: 12.0g
- Fiber: 4.2g
- Protein: 6.5g
- Cholesterol: 0mg