Tag Archives: tofu

Day 13 – Experimentation is Key! (Featuring Sloppy Joes)

18 Jan


Song of the Post – Informer by Snow

Oh, what’s up buckets upon buckets of snow?


Yeah, looks like it’s getting pretty chilly out there.  Walking places is no bueno these days with all the giant snowflakes coming at my eyeballs.  Driving is not an option, since A. my car won’t start and B. its slick as heck!  Guess my only option is to stay at home and try to warm up.  But I wonder… however could I achieve such warmth in this snowy wonderland?

I have a great idea!  Curry!

Here’s a painfully simple recipe I found for curry chickpeas.  It comes from an extremely helpful website called Budget Bytes.  So far, I’m in love with this blog!  It informs you just how inexpensive her recipes are, down to each serving.  Nice!

So, midway through cooking this delicious dish I decided that quick curried chickpea soup sounded better.  To make this happen, I added the same amount of water called for but didn’t simmer it as long.  With that discovery fueling my ingenuity, I threw in two tomatoes (chopped up), one cup of frozen corn and a few handfuls of spinach.  I’m very happy with how this chickpea chili curry turned out!  Scrumptious, spicy and filling; baby that’s my kind of meal.

Quick Curried Chickpeas

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 half medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 heaping cup spinach
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (optional)
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)

Cook the onion and garlic in a large pot with olive oil over medium heat until softed.

Add chickpeas to the pot, as well as the tomato sauce, tomatoes, corn, water and curry powder. Stir until everything is evenly mixed. Bring the mixture up to a simmer over medium heat.

While the chick peas are simmering, rinse the spinach. Roughly chop the leaves and add them to the pot. Give everything a stir and continue to simmer until the sauce has reduced to a soupy or thick consistency (about 20 minutes total). Stir the pot every few minutes to prevent the sauce from burning and sticking to the bottom.



This next recipe is my treasure, my knight in shining armor of meals.  The very first moment I saw this online, I knew I had to make it.  There are about 1 million ingredients, but dedication and patience have finally brought me to this delightful meal.

Experimentation also had a huge role in creating this meal.  The first ingredient on the list is TVP, or for those who don’t speak veganese, textured vegetable protein.  I opted out of buying an eight dollar bag of TVP, since I haven’t seen any other recipes that call for it, and chose to use the remaining half of a firm block of tofu.  Wary as I was, I figured tofu was a low-maintenance ingredient that would pick up the overall flavor of the mix.  This assumption turned out to be true, and the tofu was a crumbly, almost ground-beef like texture alongside the variety of veggies.

But wait – there’s more!  You see, I went to the store with one mission – obtain sweet potatoes to use for sloppy joes.  I rushed home, peeled and boiled my sweet potato, grinning at how prepared I was.  Then, I checked the recipe.  Alas, there was no sweet potato to be found.  This did not stop me!  I added half of a large SP to the sloppy joe mix near the end of its sautéing.  Let me assure you, the results were stellar.  Moral of the story: feel free to add whatever sounds good!  Next time I’m chucking in some eggplant, or maybe zucchini if I’m feeling wild.

With a swipe of stone ground mustard (I don’t have veganiase yet) and handful of crisp spinach, this hot sandwich is ready for you to chow down on.  Enjoy!



Garden Veggie Sloppy Nellys 

(as adapted from Healthy Happy Life)
makes 6 burgers

  • burger buns, warmed in oven

Sloppy Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups TVP or 1 firm block tofu, crumbled
  • 1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
  • 14 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes, crushed
  • 14 ounces water
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 1/4 cups green bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced (use seeds for spicier flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp vegan buttery spread
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled, diced, boiled and mashed a bit (optional)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional – adds smokiness)
  • 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional – adds savory flavor) *I highly recommend it
  • salt/pepper to taste (I like a heavy hand of fine pepper)

Add the vegan butter and oil to a med-high x-large nonstick skillet.  Add onions, bell pepper, mushrooms to pan. Sauté until onions turn translucent.

Add in the tomato paste, water and TVP (or crumbled tofu).  Stir until TVP absorbs liquid and thins paste (if using tofu, stir for a few minutes). Now you may add in the remaining ingredients.

Turn heat to medium and sauté for about 5 minutes until the ingredients become flavorful and the mixture thickens well. Add nutritional yeast and liquid smoke as desired. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fill buns with sloppy mix – slather buns with vegenaise or other condiments – and maybe a few leaves of fresh spinach or romaine for extra green flavor. Serve hot.



[Not the cutest thing I’ve ever cooked – but DANG it is tasty.]



Day 8 – Surprising Successes (& Tofu!)

10 Jan


Song of the Post –  Cake by Keepaway 

Hey bloggies!

Are you ready for a whirlwind post full of unconventional ingredients and spectacular results?  I trust you are, and here we go!

Starting in the beginning – breakfast.  I subscribe to the weekly newsletter from PCC Natural Markets (my favorite grocery store in the world), and this last week’s edition featured delicious hot cereal options.  Quinoa, almond milk and a sprinkling of raisins come together to create a warm and cozy breakfast, perfect for frosty winter mornings.  Enjoy and be happy from the inside out!

Hot Quinoa Cereal

  • 1/3 cup whole quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk or nut milk
  • 1 /2 cup filtered water
  • Pinch of unrefined salt
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • Generous pinch of pumpkin pie spice (Trader Joe’s brand)

Place all ingredients in a small pot and soak overnight in the refrigerator.

To cook the cereal, place it on the stovetop, covered, on low heat.  Let it simmer slowly for about 20 minutes (up to 1 hour for the rice cereal), stirring occasionally.  Add extra water if the cereal is too thick.  Mix in raisins and pumpkin pie spice and enjoy warm.


Now that you’re full and happy from a piping hot breakfast, it’s time for a crisp, refreshing lunch.

Here’s a Lauren original – Cucumber Spinach and Guac Pita.  It was so good that I forgot to take a picture until I was halfway done!  The combination of cool cucumber slices, powerful red onion and creamy avocado makes for a perfect midday meal.  Also, I’m a sucker for onions… so I added extra red onion slices on top.  Yum!

Cucumber Spinach and Guac Pita

  • 3 avocados, mashed
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 whole wheat pita
Mix avocados, onion, tomato and salt to make the guacamole.  Spread guac on pita bread, add cucumbers and spinach.  Munch and enjoy!


And now, the main event.  Ladies and gentlemen, I conquered one of the most terrifying and misunderstood vegetarian ingredients of all time – TOFU!  After a few hours of research, I decided that there are two things necessary for creating exceptional tofu – it must be baked and it has to have a lot of flavor.  Peas and Thank You is a lovely cooking website, and I’m convinced they have the best tofu marinade recipe of all time!

My fear of tofu has vanished completely after trying this simple and fantastic dish.  Crisp, spicy and colorful – I am seriously shocked at how delicious it was!  The trick is maple syrup.  It gives the tofu an interesting taste mid-bite!  Anyways, I swear by this recipe and encourage everyone to try it out.  Tofu is my friend, and it wants to be your friend too!  Go for it.

Spicy Baked Tofu

  • 3 T. soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s Aminos
  • 1 T. maple syrup (or agave)
  • 3 T. water
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • 1 block of tofu, cut in 1/4 inch thick slices

Prepare your marinade in a large container with a sealable lid by whisking together all ingredients.  Carefully add your tofu. And even more carefully, place the lid on the container and give it a gentle toss.  After at least a couple hours, your tofu should be evenly coated and will have absorbed most of the liquid.

Preheat the broiler and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or a light mist of oil. Arrange tofu slices on the baking sheet and drizzle any remaining marinade over the top.  Broil the tofu on one side for 5-6 minutes, flip the tofu over and return it to the oven to broil for an additional 5-6 minutes on the opposite side.  Serve as taco filling, on top of salad, or as a meal of its own.