Category Archives: Main Dish

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup and Vegan Red Lobster Biscuits

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This soup from the Post Punk Kitchen is an old favorite and easily one of my favorite soups of all time. I’ve posted it here before, but it’s been a long time so I thought I would revisit. I’ve also changed my instructions slightly to cut out a couple of steps, making the prep time about 10 minutes.

biscuitsBut first. BUT FIRST. Let’s get to these biscuits. It’s been probably close to two decades since I’ve been to a Red Lobster. Something recently made me think of those biscuits they give you — salty, cheesy, flaky, bottomless baskets of delicious cheddar bay biscuits. PROBABLY not the healthiest thing on the planet, but making them at home helps. I found this recipe on the blog Amazeballs Eats.

claire biscuits Our resident tween, a self-appointed cheddar bay biscuit connoisseur, even said, “If you gave me a Red Lobster biscuit and gave me one of these biscuits, I wouldn’t know the difference. They are soooooo good.”

She always seems to like things she helped make more, but I can’t disagree. She was a great sous chef.

Do cheddar biscuits go with Thai flavors? I don’t know. But they were both good and nobody complained. Good enough for me.

Even the toddler ate some of the soup, which does have a bit of a kick in the background. She would eat a spoonful, say “hot,” push it away, then ask for more.

I’ve tried to add different vegetables over the years — it’s perfect as is. Sometimes I have to learn the hard way just to leave it alone. Also, don’t skip the cilantro and sesame oil garnish on this one. You might think it wouldn’t make that big of a difference, but you would be wrong. It completes the soup and is so much better than without. Now to the recipes!

Vegan Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Biscuit Ingredients
• 2 c. all-purpose flour — I’ve been using spelt flour a lot lately for a little extra health 🙂
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 3/4 tsp. salt (I put less in the biscuits and added to the buttery glaze that goes on top)
• 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
• 1 c. cheddar style shreds (I use and recommend Daiya)
• 1 c. plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (I went with almond)
• 1/2 c. vegan butter (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks), melted

Butter Topping Ingredients
• 2 Tbsp. vegan butter, melted
• 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
• 1/4 tsp. dried parsley (I used 1 tsp. fresh, minced parsley)

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, garlic powder and cayenne. Stir in the cheddar style shreds; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the almond milk and melted vegan butter until the butter forms small clumps. (Ours never formed clumps, so we just went for it. It was fine. They were flaky and wonderful!)
  4. Add the almond milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix gently with a rubber spatula just until a dough forms and no dry ingredients remain. Use a greased ¼-cup measuring cup to scoop out portions of dough. Place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a little more than an inch between biscuits.
  5. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, about 12 minutes. While the biscuits are in the oven, stir together the 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter, garlic powder and parsley. Remove the biscuits from the oven and immediately brush with the topping mixture. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

 

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup

• 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
• 1/2 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 1-2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
• 1 tablespoon red curry paste (or more for extra spice! I probably added closer to 2)
• 1 15 oz. coconut milk unsweetened
• 3 cup(s) vegetable broth
• 3 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon(s) sea salt
• 1 tablespoon(s) sesame oil
• 1/2 cup(s) cilantro, fresh

1. In a stock pot, saute onion and ginger in oil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add curry paste and cook for another minute or so.

2. Add sweet potato, diced small, and stir for about a minute.

3. Add coconut milk and veggie stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through.

4. Add lemon juice and salt. You’re ready to serve!

5. Once in bowls, drizzle with a little sesame oil and sprinkle with chopped cilantro (as much as you like).

 

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Peanutty Red Curry Sauce

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Doing some Googling while trying to come up with some new ideas for a Thai-loving client, I came across this quick curry sauce from Pinch of Yum. Ho. Ly. Crap. So good. So easy. And you could put it on anything  — not just the obvious stir-fries, but any type of veggies (ooh, like the cauliflower cakes I have yet to post), even some kind of breakfast Benedict. It would be great on chicken and mild fish too, for the meat-eaters of the world.

I made some brown rice and topped it with sautéed tofu and veggies — a little bit of whatever I had in the fridge. In this case, mushrooms, broccoli, red pepper, asparagus, button mushrooms, kale and the leftover zucchini noodles from my daughter’s dinner (which you saw earlier tonight if you follow VegOut on Instagram).

It’s like a perfect marriage between peanut sauce and a classic red curry. I like to eat things pretty saucy, and I would say this recipe made about 4 servings. I’m not a person who likes a lot of repeats with my food, so it’s kind of a big deal for me to say: I feel like I could eat this every day. This one will definitely be going in the rotation. I may just have to keep a jar of it in the refrigerator so I can whip up quick stir-fries throughout the week. The baby loved it too!

OK, here it is. I have to go finish stuffing my face now.

Ingredients
• 1 15 oz. can coconut milk (Original recipe calls for light, but I only had regular at home and it was great).
• 2 Tbsp. peanut butter (I’m sure you could sub almond butter if you need to)
• 2 Tbsp. red curry paste (I did rounded Tbsp. for sure. I can’t leave well enough alone).
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (In the interest of vegetarianism. Original recipe calls for fish sauce).
• 2 Tbsp. lime juice
• 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
• 1 large garlic clove, minced
• water or broth to taste, optional
• 1/3 c. crushed peanuts, plus more for serving if you like
• green onion, sliced, for serving, optional

Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan over high heat. When it reaches a gentle simmer, add peanut butter, curry paste, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and garlic. Whisk and keep on high heat for 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened a bit.

Add the peanuts and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. When the sauce coats the back of a spoon you can add a bit of water or broth (I added about 1/2 c.) to adjust consistency depending on how thick you like it. I went ahead and made mine pretty thin since I knew I would ultimately be sopping it up with some rice. If I were serving it as more of a sauce on a piece of tofu or aforementioned cauliflower cake, I would let it reduce a bit and get a little thicker.

If the sauce separates, never fear. Give it a good whisk before serving. Enjoy!

Fast and Easy Vegan Sloppy Joes

FullSizeRender-4We have an a bunch of extra hamburger buns at the house post-Memorial Day gathering. We already had veggie burgers one night, so I had to think up something else for the rest.  I decided to try a new sloppy joe recipe, did a quick Google search and came up with one on jamieoliver.com. I had everything on hand already — even better.

You can get these on the table in less than an hour —  you can’t beat that. These are actually very similar to the crockpot lentil sloppy joes I made on Fox 2 Detroit a few years back, but are even easier with fewer ingredients. One difference is the balsamic vinegar. At first thought it seemed strange, but you know what the difference is between, say, ketchup and tangy barbecue sauce? Vinegar. It really gives it a nice sweet and tangy flavor at the end.

FullSizeRender-5These will be in the family rotation for sure. I thought they could use a little more flavor. Though the garlic was my own addition, I think next time I’ll add more seasoning — more cumin, more chili powder and go from there. They were, indeed, sloppy. I don’t think I could have cooked them down anymore to be less sloppy, but next time I might try. Really, I think that’s just how it goes. Be sure and have a good solid bun — you’ll probably still need a fork in the end.  If you’re eating open-faced, you’re all set I guess.

The whole family took these down — baby included (sans bun of course). We ate them with a common side dish around here — pan roasted lemon green beans.

Ingredients
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• 1 small red or yellow bell pepper, diced (I did 3/4 red and 1/4 green because it’s what I had)
• 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp. cumin
• 1 tsp. chili powder
1 c. French lentils (I did a mix of green and brown)
• 3 c. water
• 28 oz. tomato sauce
• 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
• 1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce (optional… I omitted this for the kids. The baby actually does alright with spice. The older babe, not a fan.)
• 1 tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. balsamic  vinegar
• buns
• optional toppings: onions, pickles, avocado, coleslaw, etc.

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion, pepper and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until softened.

2. Sprinkle in cumin and chili powder and cook an additional minute. Then add tomato paste and stir to incorporate.

3. Add lentils, water, tomato sauce and hot sauce, if using. Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Lower heat so it’s just bubbling and cook uncovered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. (I accidentally left covered, so my cook time was longer.) Add more water if it cooks out before 30 minutes is up.

4. Taste and if they are tender (they should be a little ‘al dente’ — have just a little bit of bite left), add salt and vinegar. Serve on buns or open-faced on toast.

Simple Stir Fry Sauce

It seems I never get sick of Asian food (of any kind) so when I either A) have no plan for dinnertime and/or B) need to clear out a lot of veggies that will soon turn, stir-fry it is. I always have brown rice in the cupboard  — tonight I used up a little white basmati I had leftover from a recent job.

As I was pulling veggies out of the fridge, I remembered recently seeing a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables in the freezer. Frozen vegetables, especially when I go to Trader Joe’s, are my weakness. I always think they’re going to come in handy in a pinch, but then I never use them. I always have fresh. I thought tonight was the night! I cooked them as I was throwing my fresh vegetables in the pan…turns out I had plenty. Once they were cooked it was a pathetic little pile of vegetables, so I added them anyway — you can’t have too many vegetables in stir-fry.

This is a really basic stir-fry sauce you could doctor up — add red pepper flakes, more ginger or garlic, more sesame oil, more or less sweetness. It’s a starting point. Or you can use it exactly. This makes a lot — about 3 cups — so you can store it for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator and it will be ready when you need dinner in a pinch again.

Ingredients
• 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
• 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
• 1/2 c. soy sauce, low sodium
• 2 c. vegetable broth (or substitute any or all of it with water)
• 1/4 c. cider or red wine vinegar
• 1 tsp. sesame oil (optional)
• 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
• 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced (or can use 1 Tbsp. powdered ginger)

1. Whisk sauce ingredients and set aside.

2. Sautee vegetables, tofu, meat if that’s your thing, etc. to your desired doneness. I did this in coconut oil and a little sesame oil.

3. Whisk sauce and add desired amount of sauce and cook/boil for about 1 min. I recommend about 1/2 c. per serving. It will thicken slightly upon cooking so keep that in mind.

4. Serve over brown or white rice or quinoa and enjoy.

Miso Vegetable Soup

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As luck would have it, a little spring head cold found its way to me over the weekend. Or maybe it’s allergies. Either way, by Monday morning I was a stuffy, sinus-y mess. I decided a quick miso soup was in order.

When I don’t feel well, whether it’s a cold or a hangover or just feeling blah, my goal is to get as many vegetables into my body as possible. Miso also has many nutritional benefits so it was a no-brainer to throw this together.

FullSizeRender-2In addition to feeling pretty crummy, my 1-year-old, normally a happy baby with an amazing appetite, decided she didn’t want anything I put in front of her. All of which she normally eats up with no hesitation. It all went on the floor and she kept reaching toward the area where I was chopping vegetables and making soup. What should have taken 20 minutes, took close to an hour and by the end of it I threw a little bit of the soup in a bowl to attempt to make her happy. And it did! Obviously, it was a mess, but she loved it. Including the vegetables that were identical to the ones she just finished throwing on the floor. 🙂

I have every intention of feeding her what we eat, but many nights it’s hard to have dinner ready for all of us before she’s ready for dinner, so I often sauté some vegetables and do whatever’s easiest in the moment. Healthy at the end of FullSizeRender-3the day, but not what I’m making for myself. This is a little reminder to try to do that more often so I don’t eventually slip into the bad habit of feeding her only what’s easy or only her favorites.

When we got down the bottom of her bowl, I tipped it up to show her how to drink the rest of the soup. I may regret this later…

This could include just about any veggie you have on hand. Just chop and throw it in the pot together. I was attempting to hurry, so I didn’t even sauté anything first. I was sure to include a couple of cloves of garlic since it’s super good for you when you’re under the weather too. I tossed it in at the end, since raw garlic is more beneficial. Here’s what I did.

Ingredients
• 4 c. low sodium vegetable broth
• 4 c. mushroom broth
•  5 asparagus spears, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 small zucchini, diced
• 5-6 large baby bella mushrooms, sliced
• 1 large carrot, cut in quarters and thinly sliced
• 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
• 1 cup leafy kale, washed and chopped, stems removed
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• sea salt and pepper
• 1/2 pkg. of firm tofu, drained in a tofu press and cubed (optional)
• 1/3 c. white miso paste

1. Pour broth into a soup pot and bring to a low rolling boil.
2. Remove 1 c. of the broth to a small bowl and whisk in miso paste. Once dissolved, add back to pot.
3. Chop your veggies whatever size you like and add to pot.
4. Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
5. Cook until veggies are of desired doneness.
6. Add cubed tofu if using and continue to simmer until heated through.
7. Chow down!

General Tso’s Tofu

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I had enough energy before falling asleep one night just long enough to crack open the latest Vegetarian Times magazine that arrived that day, show a picture of this dish to my husband and say “I think I have everything I need to make this.” I say stuff like that all the time. This time, I actually made it happen.

His review? “Officially put this on the list of the ‘hits’ ” — his favorite things that I’ve made over the years. It’s on my list of hits too. Nobody loves fried tofu more than me, but this recipe was a nice reminder that there are other ways to get tofu crispy and delicious without all of that frying. We both devoured this — I came awfully close to licking my plate. (Note: the original recipe says it serves 4. The two of us polished off the whole thing!)

I only did two things differently than the original VT recipe. I like things saucy, so I did 1 1/2 times the recipe for the sauce. I’ll post the original recipe here and you can decide. I also steamed purple cabbage with the broccoli simply because I had some I needed to use up. Looking forward to making General Tso’s Tofu again this week!

Crispy Tofu
• 1 16 oz. package of firm tofu, drained
• 2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce•
• 2 tsp. rice vinegar
• 1 tsp. mirin (rice wine)
• 1 tsp. vegetable oil
• 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
• 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
• 1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Sauce
• 1/2 c. low sodium vegetable broth
• 2 Tbsp. sugar
• 1 2/ Tbsp low sodium soy sauce•
• 4 tsp. mirin
• 2 tsp. rice vinegar
• 2 tsp. sesame oil
• 2 tsp. cornstarch
• 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
• 1/2 tsp. samal oelek chili paste, optional (I didn’t have this, so I put a few chili flakes in there)
• 2 tsp. vegetable oil
• 4 green onions, green parts chopped (about 1/3 of a cup — I used white parts too)
• 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
• 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

Accompaniments
• 2 c. steamed broccoli and/or other vegetables
• 2 c. brown rice

First, make the Crispy Tofu.
This is how I regularly make tofu, minus the marinade. I just drain, cut, sprinkle with cornstarch and bake. But here are the details:

1. I put entire block into my tofu press for 15 minutes or so. If you don’t have one, cut tofu block into two broad slabs. Wrap slabs in paper towels and place between two cutting boards. Weight top board with soup cans and press 30 minutes. Unwrap tofu and cut into 1-inch cubes.

2. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, mirin, oil, garlic, and ginger in a resealable container. Add tofu and toss to coat. Marinate 30 minutes or overnight. The tofu should absorb all of the liquid.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Sift cornstarch over tofu and turn to coat evenly. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until firm and crispy, turning regularly to brown all sides.

Next up, the sauce:
1. Whisk together broth, sugar, soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, sesame oil, cornstarch, tomato paste and chili paste (if using) or chili flakes in a small bowl (Again, I did 1 1/2 times the listed amounts. Next time I might double because it’s sooooooo good).

2. Heat vegetable oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions, garlic and ginger and stir-fry one minute, being careful not to burn. Add the sauce and cook one minute, or until thickened. Stir in tofu. Serve with vegetables and rice

* Use gluten-free Tamari instead and the whole dish becomes gluten-free!

Vegan Corn and Black Bean Cakes

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Every once in a while, the stars align — I get a recipe in my Inbox I think the whole family might enjoy and I happen to have all the ingredients. That happened recently with my weekly e-mail from Forks Over Knives. If you’ve never seen it, FOK is a documentary examining the belief that eliminating animal-based and processed foods from your diet can control or reverse most, if not all, degenerative diseases. Even if you don’t want to jump in 100 percent to a vegan diet, it’s a great film that might help you make better choices from time to time.

I have no idea if this recipe is in the FOK cookbook, which remains packed up in my garage, where it’s been since I moved to a new home four months ago. Yet another reason I’m glad I took the time to open this e-mail.  I’ve really enjoyed the recipes I’ve made from the book (including this Cheesy Baked Ziti I posted a year and a half ago) and will definitely make this one again.

Next time I think I’ll jazz it up a bit — more spices and maybe even a diced fresh jalapeño. The original recipe has zero spices in it. I try not to mess with other people’s recipes too much until I’ve tried them, but I saw the blandness coming. I put just a dash of a few spices in. Next time, I’ll start with 1/2 teaspoon of each and likely go up from there. I’ll include them in the ingredient list below. Also, I’m sure you could easily substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour in this and it would turn out just fine.

We topped ours with salsa and a little avocado. Next time I think I’ll definitely pick up some vegan sour cream. I served it with spiced roasted sweet and russet potatoes.

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
• 1/2 c. cornmeal (I used a finely ground cornmeal)
• 1 Tbsp. aluminum-free baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 c. unsweetened, unflavored plant milk (I used almond)
• 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce (next time I might add a little more to try to moisten it up a little)
• 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
• 1 10 oz. package frozen corn kernels, thawed
• 1 c. cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
• 6 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced (I only had two…)
• 1/2 tsp. each cumin, coriander, chili powder, garlic powder
• sour cream, salsa, guacamole or avocado for serving
• chopped cilantro for serving, optional

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. I was roasting the potatoes, so I didn’t do this. Since you can only fit 2-3 cakes on the griddle at once (they are large) it might have been nice to keep them warm in the oven until we all sat down to eat. Really, wasn’t a deal-breaker though.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and spices until well combined.

3. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the milk, applesauce, pepper, corn, beans and onions. Gently fold the ingredients together until just incorporated. Don’t over mix.

4. Heat a griddle or large nonstick pan over medium heat until a few droplets of water jump in the pan and sizzle. You can always use oil, etc., but it’s really unnecessary if you have a nonstick pan. The key is to not touch them once added for a few minutes and you’ll be fine!

5. Spoon 1/2 c. of batter for each cake onto the pan, making sure they don’t touch each other. Cook until the undersides are crisp and they can be flipped easily without falling apart — about 4 minutes.

6. Using a spatula, turn the cakes over and cook until the other side is lightly browned and crisp — about 4 more minutes. The cakes are quite thick — I patted mine down a little, though I don’t know if it was necessary.

7. Transfer to an oven-proof platter or pan and keep warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve. Top with whatever you like and enjoy!