Showing posts from August, 2018

A to Z Cake

I haven't baked in a while, so I had a desire to bake something delicious and easy for a special end-of-summer treat. I decided to use the zucchini in my fridge to make a really moist cake (with an added health bonus), and add body to the batter and sweetness using applesauce. This cake is like the perfect melding of seasons - summer squash with autumnal apples. Am I subconsciously accepting the quickly arriving fall? Maybe this cake was a symbolic gesture of acceptance 😉.

I call it A to Z cake for many reasons. Firstly, I named it that because its main ingredients are Applesauce and Zucchini, and secondly because it is an easy cake to make from A to Z. Last but not least, it has real nutritional value with zucchini and apples both having high levels of vitamin A and apples being good sources of Zinc. And not to mention, its moist, cinnamon-y, and super delicious.

You could choose to top this with a simple glaze or some vegan cream cheese icing, but to me, this baby is perfect a…

Polenta Fries

This one takes a little bit of prep work, but it is worth it. Polenta fries are a special alternative to potato fries: they are a bit fancier, a new texture and flavor, and a different way to eat polenta. Polenta firms up well when cooled, and it's fun watching the creamy corn meal turn into these crispy fries over the course of the recipe.

These polenta fries would be great with a pesto dipping sauce, with a Mediterranean veggie burger, or topped with some roasted vegetables. You could also change up the flavoring by adding lemon juice when the polenta is cooking or garlic powder and paprika before they go in the oven. I ate mine with some sauteed balsamic beets and red onion. It was delicious!

1 cup dry polenta
salt & pepper
olive oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
fresh parsley, chopped

Bring 3 cups water and a heavy pinch of salt to a boil. Add polenta and reduce heat. Let cook for five minutes and stir occasionally. Remove from heat and cover, letting sit…

Kale and White Beans

I don't think I utilize frozen vegetables enough. Too often, I forget about their ease and versatility. I know that eating fresh produce means getting the most nutrients, but frozen ain't a bad alternative. And, frozen vegetables are likely to be cheaper and obviously won't go bad for a very long time unlike fresh produce. For the end of the week when our produce drawer is looking sad, it's great to have a few different bags of frozen veggies available to whip up a quick, healthy meal.
In this case, I used a bag of frozen chopped kale. I really like the rough texture and high nutritional value of kale. It's a "super food" that has recently shot to stardom after being mostly used as a sandwich tray garnish not too long ago. But, sometimes buying an entire bunch of kale at the supermarket feels very intimidating... what if I don't want to eat kale for every meal this week? The bagged frozen option allows you to use a bit at a time without wasting food …

Asian Slaw

Cole slaw is such a summer staple, isn't it? Sometimes I miss the creamy and refreshing taste of cole slaw and am grateful for the availability of very good vegan versions. This recipe is a variation on tradition cole slaw for something new and different using Asian flavors. I decided to omit the vegannaise in the recipe, but I have also tried adding 1/4 cup of vegan mayo to it as well; that was very yummy if you're going for a more traditionally creamy texture. For this version I wanted to keep it low calorie, chunky and textured, and fresh and healthy. And it's just that!

This Asian slaw would make a great side dish to some barbecued tofu, delicious on top of a banh mi or a veggie dog, or a yummy light lunch or dinner on its own. You could substitute peanuts for cashews if you'd like, and/or whisk in a tablespoon or two of peanut butter into the sauce for a chili peanut sauce flavor. Just make sure to enjoy that gorgeous color of the red cabbage - it's one of na…

Summer Pasta Salad

I've been on a summer salad kick recently (see here, here, and here). Maybe it's the dwindling days of the season that are inspiring me to eat all of the delicious foods traditionally associated with summer. It's gotten a bit cooler in NYC this week and it feels like a bit of a relief, but it also makes me so sad! These salads have me feelin' like we still have some summer days left, and since they are so easy to make and delicious, who knows - maybe they will become staples all year long!

For this pasta salad I used a chimichurri marinade that I had leftover in my fridge from when I made cauliflower steaks. It's basically a mixture of olive oil, fresh parsley and cilantro, chopped garlic, and red wine vinegar processed in a food processor. If you can't find this chimichurri marinade in the store you can always improvise and make your own or use italian dressing. I add an extra drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice to my dressing to give it an extra zing of fla…

Chickpea Avocado Salad

A great vegan lunch option is this chickpea avocado salad. It's delicious on a sandwich or on top of mixed greens. It's got lots of healthy fats that will keep you feeling fuller longer. So for anyone like me that gets hungry every hour at work, it's a good packed lunch because it leaves me super satisfied all afternoon long.

Because it's only two ingredients that are easy to pick up during your weekly food shop, this salad is extra time and wallet friendly. And not to mention, the mashing is a good form of exercise - I worked up a sweat! As a replacement for a chicken salad or egg salad, Hubby likes this for lunch on multigrain bread with some fresh greens, with a handful of potato chips. Enjoy!

1 can chickpeas, drained
1 avocado, chopped
Salt and pepper

Add drained chickpeas and chopped avocado to a bowl. Use a fork to mash together until most of the chickpeas and all of the avocado are completely mashed. I like to leave a little texture in th…

Crunchwrap Supreme

Taco Bell used to be my favorite fast food restaurant, and it still is hubby's favorite. It's two blocks from our apartment so there are many late nights that he grabs something from "tacob" for dinner on his way home. It's always delicious (the bean burrito still satisfies me sometimes) and it's always affordable (hubby can get a filling dinner for $5). For a special treat, I thought I'd try to replicate a Taco Bell staple: the Crunchwrap Supreme. And while I was at it, I figured I'd make it a bit healthier and (obviously) plant-based. 

It was surprisingly simple to make. The hardest part was the folding part, but even that was pretty easy! And they took literally fifteen minutes from start to finish. We were so excited at how quick they were to make, we went back and whipped up a third one to split after we were both done our firsts! The crunch of the corn tostada in the center and the crispiness of the outer flour tortilla takes this up a notch fr…

Quinoa Edamame Salad

Don't you love when food tastes super fresh? A cold summer salad full of citrus flavors and fresh vegetables and herbs is the perfect meal for a hot night or an afternoon picnic. This salad is super filling from the quinoa and edamame, and bursting full of flavor from marinating in a simple olive oil and citrus dressing. 

This recipe is adapted from a 86 lemons recipe. I substituted flat leaf parsley for cilantro because I prefer the taste of parsley to cilantro and parsley was more readily available to me. I also nearly doubled the recipe because I wanted it to be an entree for hubby and me, and we are usually ravenous at dinner. We served it with some crusty bread and olive oil to round out the meal. It was hubby's favorite way he's ever eaten quinoa, so if that's not saying something I don't know what is 😄.

1 cup quinoa (I used red, but any will work!)
1 small can whole kernel corn
1 cup shelled edamame
1 small red bell pepper, diced
3 Tbsp chopped …

Cashew Crusted Tofu

This may as well be a Trader Joe's website recipe because it is based on two my favorite TJ products: super firm tofu and raw cashew pieces. I am such a fan of TJ's because they have so many great vegan products. Their super firm tofu is amazing because it saves time from the pressing of the tofu (and honestly is denser than I could ever get my tofu through pressing) and it is easier to work with as it is much less fragile than extra firm tofu. The texture comes out more chicken-like than the slimy, spongy reputation for which tofu is known.

The cashew and pretzel coating in this recipe adds a much-needed crunch to the tofu. And since it is baked rather than fried, and not to mention protein-packed, it a really healthy recipe. It is also a kid-friendly tofu dish that is fun to make! Have your kids do the crushing and dipping as a way to get them involved and learning about the food they eat.

1/2 package Trader Joe's super firm tofu (or extra firm of another bra…