I saw a recipe pop up for slow cooker Thai chicken the other day and I realized that I had all the ingredients on hand to make a vegetarian (actually vegan!) version. YAY! It looked easy, tasty and I thought I’d give it a go. The results did not disappoint. It truly was easy and it tasted amazing. Final icing on the cake? I was able to put my leftovers to good use by making them into lettuce wraps the next night at dinner!
A couple of things of note… I ate it before I took a picture of it. So, just take my word for it that it looks good too. Also, the 1 Tbsp of saracha in the recipe makes it pretty hot. If you don’t like spicy foods, I’d drop it down to just 1/2 Tbsp. If you’re not a tofu fan, you can also adapt this same recipe to use a Faux Chicken product such as Quorn Chik’n Cutlets or Gardein Chick’n Scallopini.
1 package extra firm Tofu, sliced in 1/2 inch slabs
1/3 cup chopped peanuts, for topping
4 Tbsp chopped cilantro, for topping
1/2 cup bean sprouts, for topping
8oz Whole wheat pasta
1 cup shredded carrots
Combine PB2 or peanut butter with coconut milk in a medium bowl.
Add in Sriracha (or less), lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, and ginger. Stir well to combine.
Coat the tofu with the mixture and place in a slow cooker. Pour half of the remaining mixture into the slow cooker. Retain the other half in the refrigerator for use later.
Cook on high for 2 1/2 – 3 hours or low for 4 – 5ish hours.
Cook and drain the pasta. Heat remaining peanut sauce and carrots in the pasta pot, cooking over medium heat until well combined and carrots are slightly limp. Add the pasta back to the pot and stir well to combine.
Serve tofu over the top of the pasta. Top with chopped peanuts and cilantro.
Thai Tofu Lettuce Wraps from the leftovers
Leftover Thai Tofu (recipe above)
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 can water chestnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onions, for topping
Leftover bean sprouts, for topping
Leftover cilantro, for topping
Lettuce leaves (iceburg, romaine or green leaf), washed and dried
Cut the leftover tofu into cubes. Heat over medium heat along with carrots and water chestnuts.
When it’s heated through, add green onions and serve with lettuce leaves, bean sprouts and cilantro.
Eat by placing a bit of the tofu mixture into the lettuce leaf, roll it into a wrap and devour!
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Last summer, a lovely food cart – A La Cart – appeared downtown Benicia at the Farmer’s Market every Thursday night. I was delighted to find out they had a completely homemade veggie burger served on delicious whole grain bread with caramelized onions and mixed baby greens. I got one and was in heaven! After talking to the owner for a little while, I decided to go home and attempt my own version.
Excuse the somewhat ugly cell phone camera picture. It was too delicious and I couldn’t wait long enough to take pretty pictures.
Tofu Quinoa Veggie Burgers
Makes 6-8 patties.
10 oz extra firm tofu, sliced and patted dry (I recommend WildWood)
10 oz cooked quinoa (You can use any color, but I used white)
8 oz raw sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is almost smooth. Scrape down sides occasionally.
Divide into 6-8 equal portions and use your hands to press and form round, slightly flat patties.
Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Arrange patties on the skillet, cover and cook. Once they are browned, turn it over and continue to cook until browned on both sides, approximately 5 minutes each side. Make sure it is completely done inside as well, so be sure to not have your temperatures too high on the pan.
Serve with your favorite burger toppings and buns. (I served mine with toasted multi-grain bread by Alvarado St Bakery, caramelized onions, quick homemade pickles, a little ketchup, mustard, tomato and lettuce.)
Nutrition for 1 patty (1/8th of the recipe) (approx): 330 cal, 18g fat, 29 carb, 5 fiber, 15g protein
Since the weather is cool, I tend to gravitate toward warm, cozy soups.The warmth of this soup is intensified with the deep flavors of the curried brown butter and spicy kick from the curry and red pepper flakes. It’s amazingly delicious and I could not recommend it more. Even people who aren’t big lentil or curry fans found this soup tasty.
My slight modifications and recommendations:
I used whatever lentils I had on hand (brownish). You don’t need to go out of your way to get green lentils unless you just want to.
I didn’t use the coconut milk. I didn’t think it needed it, so I subbed a bit more broth in it’s place.
Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 45 min. Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cups good-tasting vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups green (or any color) lentils
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Indian curry powder
Fine-grain sea salt
1 bunch fresh chives, minced (optional)
Combine the 2 tablespoons butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, but can take as long as 50 minutes.
In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauté until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute. When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth.
Stir in the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of a salted broth. Serve drizzled sprinkled with chives and crusty bread or naan.
I call this my “power meal”! It’s an all-in-one meal and a power house of healthy ingredients, quinoa, kale, avocado. It’s high in protein, low in bad fats, high in good fats and straight up FILLING and DELICIOUS. Oh, and to make it even better… It’s super quick and easy!
I usually keep all the ingredients on hand and make more than I need and eat this for dinners and lunches for a few days. It’s my new favorite meal!
Here’s how I do it:
Quick (15 min) Quinoa Kale Bowl
2 cups kale, cleaned & coarsely chopped
2/3 cup cooked black beans, rinsed & drained
2/3 cup quinoa, cooked according to directions on the package (any color will work, I usually use red)
2/3 cup pre-made fresh pico de gallo
1/2 cup lowfat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 avocado, cut into cubes
Sea or kosher salt to taste
Make the quinoa according to packaged directions. Heat your beans (on the stove or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes). Steam the quinoa (in a steamer or 2 minutes in the microwave, covered)
Divide all ingredients except avocado and salt into two bowls and stir until just combined. Season to taste, top with fresh avocado, and serve.
This is one of the richest, warmest, most satisfying vegetarian hearty meals I’ve had in a long time. And with the randomly weird, cold and rainy weather we’re having today here in the SF Bay Area, there’s no better time than now to pass this recipe along to you, my fabulous readers. It’s satisfying, homey, comfort food at it’s best!
I put mine with fresh, whole wheat noodles (from Whole Foods by Marin Pasta Works) and I used half portobello mushrooms and half “chef’s mix”. I really liked the variety. I think I wouldn’t have liked it as much with just all portobellos, so having the variety of texture, flavor and sizes of mushrooms really worked for me.
Yup. That’s a Tofu Turkey. Complete with drumsticks and all. I didn’t want to spend the $40 at Whole Foods for a Vegetarian Plus Vegan Whole Turkey that is indeed shaped like a turkey versus the more reasonable Tofurky brand vegetarian turkeys that are loaf-like. If I had a had a whole family of vegetarians, I would have, but it’s just not worth it for just me.
Instead, I make-shifted (is that a word?) my own. I got the cheapest on the shelf – a $5 Quorn Turk’y Roast and two vegetarian chicken drumsticks from a Chinese vegetarian store in Oakland (I don’t know the name. My sister picked them up for me). A few toothpicks later and – voi la! A tofurky!
My husband looked at me like I had grown a second head when I showed him. Then we proceeded to laugh our heads off a how ridiculous it looked. It tasted good, though. Don’t be jealous. You know you want one for yourself.
Edit to Add: My sister gave me the info for the Chinese or Vietnamese market in Oakland that sells the faux products – Layonna Vegetarian Health Food Market. Check it out if you’re in the area. Lots of great faux meat products. The drumsticks are fabulous. The faux salmon… Well, it’s ‘ok’, but it’s still fun for a very random change of pace.