Tofu Scramble

This is the basic foundation for all scrambles. You can add any other spices, veggies, etc. to make it your desired style. My favorites are Mexican and Greek.

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 large (really big) block of super firm tofu (Wildwood brand is great)
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast (looks like fish flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons smoked salt (this helps add more egg flavor)

Hardware

  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring tools

Method

  1. Squeeze out the extra moisture from the tofu. You can also wrap it in a dish towel and squeeze or push on it gently and the moisture will be absorbed by the towel. I recommend Wildwood because there’s not a lot of water in it, so you don’t have to go through so much squeezing and draining.
  2. Break up the big ol’ block of tofu into the mixing bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast and salt over the top and mix thoroughly.
  4. Let the mixture sit as long as you’re able. Overnight is best.
  5. If you’d like your scramble plain, you can go ahead and drizzle some olive oil in a large saute pan, put it over medium heat and basically heat your scramble through. Serve and enjoy.
  6. If you want to add fun stuff, now’s the time.
  7. Saute your other ingredients and then add in the tofu mixture. Once everything is nicely heated through, serve and enjoy.

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of chopped garlic
  • 1 skinny bottle of capers (or two short fat bottles)
  • 1 skinny jar of pitted Kalamata olives (whole or halved, you choose)
  • 1 cup red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel)
  • 2-4 tablespoons Italian seasoning or Herbs d’Provence (it’s Italian season plus lavender)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • Chili flakes (optional if you want to spice it up)
  • Olive oil

Hardware

  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Hot pads or cotton kitchen towels (don’t pick up hot things wiht microfiber towels. They will melt)
  • Large stainless steel or enamle cast iron pot
  • Can opener
  • Wooden spoon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss in whole squash once oven is heated.
  2. In a large pot, over medium heat, ad a generous drizzle of olive oil and saute the onions, garlic and Italian Seasoning/Herb d’Provence.
  3. Once that fills your kitchen with heavenly aromas and the onions are translucent (about 2 minutes), add the capers, olives and wine.
  4. Stir that whole combo together and let it simmer for a few minutes to get the alcohol flavor out of the wine and reduce a tad.
  5. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Add 2 pinches of salt and 6 cracks of pepper. Toss in your chili flakes now if you desire. Stir to combine.
  6. Let that sauce hang out over medium-low heat to let everything marry happily together.
  7. Adjust the seasoning on the sauce as needed and then turn the burner to low, just to keep it warm.
  8. Poke the squash with a sharp knife. If it goes into the flesh easily, it’s done. If there’s firm resistance, let it go longer.
  9. Once the squash is done, take it out (be careful that sucker is hot!) and put it in your cutting board. Use a hot pad, folder towel, or pair of tongs to keep the squash in placed as you cut it in half, through the equator, not the axis (sideways not up and down).
  10. Open the halves and use a large spoon to scrape out the guts and seeds. Toss that in the trash or your compost bin.
  11. Using a large dinner fork, scrape the flesh out onto your cutting board, or into a separate bowl. This is will be your noodles.
  12. After you get all the “noodles” out, add them to your sauce and mix it all up.
  13. Serve hot!

Pro Tips

  • As with any pasta dish, you can sprinkle some “Parmesan” on top. Go Veggie brand is really good and totally reminds me of the Kraft version you can buy in the pasta aisle.
  • Make your sauce a day in advance to really bring out the flavors. Sauces, soups and chilies are usually even better the second day.

Ramen Noodle Bowls

This is the product of a family dinner where the theme was ramen. Competing next to my meat-eating family, I knew the trick would be in the broth.

I think this is an easy recipe that doesn’t require a ton of prep.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • vegetable broth (2 boxes)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (cut in half)
  • 2 tablespoons crushed/chopped ginger
  • 1 jalapeno (sliced, remove seeds if you want to limit heat level)
  • 2 lime leaves (if you can’t find that, squeeze in lime juice to taste)
  • healthy dash of soy sauce, or salt to taste
  • sesame oil
  • 4 baby bok choy (sliced)
  • 2 boxes shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 bag bean sprouts
  • 2 generous handfuls snow peas (trimmed of the stringy spine)
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced white onion OR chopped scallions/green onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup cubed tofu (you can leave plain or marinate and saute)

Hardware

  • Large stainless steel or enamel cast iron soup pot
  • Slotted spoon
  • Wooden spoon
  • Pasta spoon/fork
  • Large bowl
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Small bowls for soup toppers

Method

  1. In your pot drizzle the sesame oil to coat the bottom. Put over medium-high heat and saute the bok choy and mushrooms.
  2. Once bok choy and mushrooms are cooked through, turn off heat and remove the veggies with your slotted spoon and set aside in the large bowl.
  3. Drizzle a touch more oil in your pot and return to medium-high heat.
  4. Bash the lemongrass pieces with the back of your knife to break it up a bit. This will help all the yummy smells and flavors some out.
  5. Saute the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves until your kitchen smells like heaven.
  6. Crank up the heat to high and add all the liquid (broth plus water) and a few slices of jalapeno. The more you add the spicier your broth will be so feel free to go crazy or be wimpy like me. You can dash in a bit of soy sauce or salt at this point. Don’t go crazy since the flavors will intensify as the broth reduces while simmering.
  7. Bring this puppy to a boil (feel free to cover to expedite this process). Once you hit a boil, turn the heat down to medium low and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. If you can go longer, please do, it’ll help bring out flavors and make your brother super tasty.
  8. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, get your toppings prepped in little serving bowls to create a toppings buffet. If you didn’t use much, or any, jalapeno, this is a good time to have it available for those who want to “kick it up a notch”. Shout-out Emeril. If you want to fry or saute your tofu, now’s the time.
  9. After the simmer is done, toss back in the bok choy and mushrooms and add your ramen noodles.
  10. Once noodles are done, serve up in bowls and go down your toppings line and add all the yummy crunchy things you want.

Pro Tips

  • Use bottled or tubed garlic and ginger – huge time saver
  • Use the noodles from store-bought ramen packets in the soup aisle. You know, that stuff you lived on in college. Toss the flavor packet in the trash (that sh*t is full of nastiness). Bonus – they are stupid cheap.
  • Use pre-shredded carrots. Seriously, who has time to shred carrots?

Special Brownies, not that kind of special

This surprisingly decadent recipes is courtesy of So Vegan

Makes 12 delicious gluten-free brownies.

Ingredients

1 can black beans (240g drained weight)
1/2 avocado
1 cup brown sugar (suitable for vegans)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp coconut oil (plus more for greasing)
Large pinch of salt
150g dark chocolate (suitable for vegans) – that’s about half a bag of chocolate chips

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350 degrees Fahrenheit) and grease a 12-slot muffin tray with coconut oil.

2. Drain and rinse beans, then add beans, avocado, sugar, cocoa powder, half the walnuts (1/4 cup), baking powder, vanilla extract, coconut oil and the salt to a food processor.

3. Melt 120g of the dark chocolate in a double boiler, then transfer to the food processor.

4. Combine ingredients in the food processor for 1-2 minutes.

5. Evenly distribute the mixture into the muffin tray (roughly one heaped tablespoon per slot).

6. Cut remaining chocolate into 12 pieces and put one piece on top of each brownie, pushing down gently on each piece of chocolate so they become partly submerged in the mixture.

7. Finely chop the remaining walnuts and sprinkle over brownies. I think walnuts are the devil, so I skipped this garnish steps but kept them in the mix.

8. Place muffin tray in oven for 20-25 minutes (we take them out after 22 minutes). Yo, baking time greatly varies depending on altitude. I’m at about 5,000 feet and these took a solid 50 minutes to bake in my gas oven.

9. Leave to cool completely before gently removing each brownie. The longer you leave them to cool, the easier they will be to remove them from the tin. Gently loosen the brownies out of the tin with the thin end of a fork.

This is where a food processor (or food professor as my BFF calls it) comes in WAY handy. You could surely try this in a blender but you better have something beefy, like a Vitamix or Blendtec to get the job done.