Saturday, 28 March 2015

Chickenless Noodle Soup

Something that many meat-eaters ask when unfamiliar with a vegetarian diet is "but what do you eat if you can't have meat??" or another common comment being "I couldn't give up all my favourite things"…Like chicken noodle soup? Well, meaties, let me tell you that you can essentially replace meat in almost any dish. You're right, it's not the same, it's different… but the dish doesn't suffer for it. With the right seasonings and spices, any meatless dish can be just as fabulous as what you're used to, if not better in some cases! If you're already vegetarian or vegan, you know this. But if you are a hardcore meat-eater (and on my blog, which is doubtful), I challenge you to try and leave it out every now and then. You might surprise yourself! And your cooking skills will only improve with added challenges.

(Original recipe from Produce on Parade)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
3 large carrots, chopped
3 large celery stalks, chopped
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of tofu, pressed and cubed
1 cup of pasta noodles, your choice of what kind-- I used bow-ties 

+ salt and pepper
+chopped carrot greens for garnish (just the top of your carrots!)

1. Over medium heat in a large pot, sauté oil, onion and garlic with thyme, rosemary and bay leaf until onion begins to brown
2. Add chopped carrots and celery and stir-well, let sauté for another minute or two
3. Add vegetable broth and pasta and cook for an additional 10 minutes over high heat
4. Add tofu cubes and reduce heat, simmer for another 5 minutes
5. Serve soup hot and sprinkle carrot greens on top! 

Note: The tofu tastes better the longer it sits in the soup and absorbs more broth. It might be even better the next day.

Baked Mushroom + Kale Wontons

I have been meaning to experiment with some wonton wrappers for a while now. You can essentially choose your favourite combination of veggies, dice them all up and sauté them before folding them into these little cute bundles. The possibilities are nearly endless-- I was even suggesting to my roommate that you could do a very non-traditional dumpling with butternut squash, caramelized onions and goat cheese (wouldn't that be fab?) But these were also crazy delicious. Recipe below.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 pkg of white or cremini mushrooms-- I bought mine pre-cut, and diced them up even smaller
1/2 yellow onion
1 cup kale, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp of ginger, finely chopped or grated
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp white miso (not necessary, but adds a great flavour)
1 pkg of wonton wrappers (egg roll wrappers)

1 scallion for garnish
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp honey

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Saute all vegetables with oil on medium heat until nice and soft

3. Add soy sauce and miso (if using) and stir around to incorporate well (add salt & pepper if desired as well)

4. Turn off heat and remove pan. Working with one at a time, on a clean work surface lay down a single wonton wrapper (should be a square) and add a heaping spoonful of the mixture to the centre of the wrapper. To seal the wrapper, dip your fingers in water and add it along the edges, then fold any desired way.
*Note: because I wanted these to resemble dumplings, not egg-rolls, I used a large circular cookie-cutter to make my wrappers round, and then proceeded to fold them up… Click here for a tutorial from pinterest for different ways to fold them.

5. Once sealed, place the dumplings on a cookie sheet with parchment paper and brush lightly with oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

6. For the dipping sauce, I simply combined soy sauce with honey. Garnish with chopped scallion.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

White Miso Sriracha Soup

This soup is insane good. All morning I've been craving something salty and savoury, so I went out on a mission to gather some ingredients to formulate something that was just that. Behold, this beautiful soup. It hit the spot and will be another recipe I make again and again. Additionally, it's vegan! If you're not vegan and feel like adding an extra je-ne-sais-quoi to it, a poached egg on top would do the trick.

This is my first time making anything with miso. If you don't know what miso is, it is a fermented soy bean paste that is used as a traditional seasoning in Japan. It's very salty and packed with flavour, so a tiny amount goes a long way. There are various kinds, but I bought a more mild version; white miso. You can also used it in stir-frys, marinades and (surprisingly) salad dressings.

2 tbsp olive oil (or sesame if you have it)
2 tbsp sriracha
1/2 white onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 inch ginger, grated or diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp diced lemongrass
1 tsp garlic powder
2 cups water
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp white miso
3 pkgs ramen noodles (I literally used 3 packs of mr. noodles- just discard the soup mix)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup cilantro

1. Heat oil and sriracha in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onions and tomato and sauté for 4 min.
2. Add the ginger, garlic, lemongrass and garlic powder, stir well and cook until fragrant; about 2 min.
3. Add the water and transfer the mixture to a blender and pulse until smooth. Transfer back to the pot.
4. Add the broth and miso, then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the noodles and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the noodles are soft. Stir in the green onions.
6. Serve hot and sprinkle cilantro atop each bowl. :) Add more sriracha if you like it on the spicier side.

*Note: if you are adding a poached egg, place it on top of the finished bowl and slice open to incorporate the yolk into the soup.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Lemongrass Tofu

ANOTHER amazing recipe out of my recently purchased Salad Samurai cookbook. Something awesome about this vegan recipe book is that it gives a ton of recipes in the beginning for different vegan protein salad toppers, such as bacon tempeh, maple sriracha roasted nuts, and lemongrass tofu!

This was the first time I baked tofu, and I expected it to come out of the oven much tougher and chewy than it did. I was pleasantly surprised by how tender the tofu still was, while also retaining so much flavour. This tofu is great to make to top on salads, add to sandwiches, or even a noodle or rice dish. It's the perfect combination of zesty and sweet.

Below is the (slightly) adapted recipe:

+ 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed
+ 1 heaping tbsp of finely chopped lemongrass
+ 2 tbsp maple syrup
+ 3 tsp soya sauce
+ 2 tbsp lime juice
+ 2 tsp olive oil

1. Grease a large baking dish with oil and set aside.
2. Cut the pressed tofu into thin 1/4 inch slices.
3. Add lemongrass, maple syrup, soya sauce, lime juice and olive oil to the baking dish and whisk together.
4. Add the tofu to the dish and let it sit as you preheat the oven to 400*F (about 15 min)
5. Bake the tofu for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven to flip the tofu, and then return the dish to the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

Voila :)