Thai Basil Noodles
I garden in the summer and I grow lots and lots of basil. Last summer I got sick of Italian pesto and wanted other options to use up lots of basil at once. I found this recipe for a Thai style pesto. I made this recipe often throughout summer, then at the end of the year I harvested all my remaining basil and made batches to freeze. I’m still enjoying the pesto in April of the next year!
Easy Basil Noodles
My tweaks: I omit the fish sauce. I always lightly stir-fry some veggies to add more crunch. I use my julienne peeler to make strips of carrot, zucchini, celery, sweet peppers, etc. Sometimes I add tofu, this time I added edamame. I also switch up the pasta. Sometimes it’s rice noodles, this time I used quinoa noodles.
Oxo Good Grips Julienne Peeler
This is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets – the Oxo Good Grips Julienne Peeler. I have terrible knife skills and lack the patience to properly julienne. This peeler is easy to use and creates uniform small strips that are perfect for stir fry, salads, etc.
Enchirito (Black Bean Enchiladas)
I have a confession. I love the Taco Bell Enchirito. Before I had to go dairy and gluten free, I used to order it with beans instead of meat. I’ve been missing it lately and when I saw this post with a photo that looks a lot like an enchirito, I knew that I could make a version that I can eat. (I also bought that wonderful cookbook, which is a fundraiser for Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.)
Here’s my recipe for Vegan, Gluten-Free, Corn-Free Enchiritos.
Brown Rice Tortillas
Refried Black Beans
Enchilada Sauce (I use the Frontera Red Enchilada Sauce)
Vegan Cheese (like Daiya or Ste Martaen – this is St Martaen in the photo above)
Chopped Sweet Onion
Sliced Black Olives
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Heat refried beans on the stovetop. Add a few tablespoons of the enchilada sauce to the beans.
- Pour half of remaining enchilada sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.
- Steam the brown rice tortillas (either stovetop with boiling water or wrap in a damp dishtowel and microwave for 15 seconds).
- Place the steamed tortilla in the baking dish so the back side is dipped in enchilada sauce. Fill with black beans and some chopped onion. Roll up like an enchilada, the outside will be coated with sauce.
- Repeat until the pan is filled or you have as many enchiladas as you’d like.
- Spoon and spread most of the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Reserve a couple of tablespoons for sauce.
- Cover with vegan cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until cheese is melted (if Daiya) or sauce is bubbling. Don’t let it burn or brown.
- Top with a drizzle of the reserved sauce, chopped sweet onions and sliced black olives.
Gluten Free Halwa
I spent a lot of time at my friend Hemal’s house when I was growing up and her mom taught me how to cook Indian food. Because of that, I feel like Indian is my native cuisine. Halwa is a sweet dessert, but I like to make it a little less sweet and use it for special breakfasts. It’s typically made with semolina, but I found this gluten free version that uses Cream of Rice.
Gluten Free Halwa
My tweaks: I use Earth Balance instead of ghee, palm sugar instead of jaggery and use under 1/4 cup of the palm sugar. It will still be sweet. I added chopped dates AND golden raisins.
Shamrock Shakes have always been a special signal that my birthday is coming. Not a big deal at my advanced age, but when I was young, I would get so excited. I haven’t had a “real” one in years because I can’t tolerate dairy, but I understand that McD’s has changed the recipe to something that tastes more like disinfectant. Here’s a real mint version that tastes like the old kind!
Start with a Mint Simple Syrup. It’s worth the extra effort to make it with fresh mint, although you could use some mint extract instead.
Then make a basic milkshake recipe with 1 cup milk- less if you like it thicker (I use So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk) and 2 cups Ice Cream (I use Purely Decadent Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream), add a few tablespoons of the mint syrup and a few drops of green food coloring!
Corned Tofu and Cabbage
My birthday is St. Patrick’s Day and corned beef was one of the only meats that I liked when I was a kid. Since becoming a vegetarian I have missed it, especially at this time of year. A few years ago, I found this recipe for corned beef-esque tofu that does the trick to quell my cravings.
Corned Beef-esque Tofu
I serve it with this Ethiopian style cabbage dish. I know, not traditional Irish, but it’s a great cabbage dish.
My Tweaks: I always press the tofu and dry fry it for the Corned Tofu. I only use HALF the amount of the Seasoned Salt. Otherwise it comes out too salty for me. I add a teensy bit of agave to the spice mixture to add a little sweet to balance the savory. I omit the potatoes from the Ethiopian Cabbage dish. This time I used napa cabbage with a few chopped brussels sprouts because that’s what I had and threw in a couple of serrano peppers.
I’ve also used this tofu to make a great Reuben Sandwich with gluten free pita, vegan thousand island dressing and sauerkraut. Serve with a home-made Shamrock Shake (stay tuned for that recipe later this week).
Tofu Reuben and Shamrock Shake
Tom Yum Soup
I love Thai food. If I had to pick one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would be Thai. My massage therapist said that lemongrass is good for joints and since I’m nursing a knee sprain, I thought I should have a big dose of lemongrass. I found this recipe and technically I think if the soup has coconut milk in it, then it’s a Tom Kha instead of a Tom Yum. I don’t care, though. It was delicious!
Vegetarian Tom Yum Goong
My Tweaks: I didn’t have Kaffir Lime leaves, so I used lime zest, bay leaf and lemon thyme as suggested here. I added some tamarind to the stock and used palm sugar instead of brown sugar. I omitted the basil and tofu and added one large sliced onion, peas, yellow bell pepper and napa cabbage. I also added lots of spice: Sriracha, crushed red pepper, fresh serrano pepper and togarashi. I like rice in my soup, so I served it with some left over steamed rice in the bottom of the bowl.
I got this recipe in a Weight Watchers email several years ago and have made it many times since. Very easy, healthy and delicious! It reheats well, so it’s great to pack for work lunches. And I love anything you can make in the slow cooker!
Moroccan Slow Cooker Stew
My tweaks: This time I added some sweet potatoes and golden raisins. Also extra crushed red pepper because I like it spicy!
I got one of these little lunch Crock-Pots recently. I always bring my lunch to work and this makes it so much easier to enjoy what I brought without having to wait in line for the (often dirty) microwave at work. (Ew! I know!)
I am so glad that I have it. Plug it in when you get to work and by lunchtime your meal will be nicely reheated. It’s great for soups and stews, but I’ve also used it for pasta and stir fry with rice.
No Pie Apple Pie
I make this recipe when I have a lot of extra apples. It fills the craving for Apple Pie. Has anyone come up with a good gluten-free pie crust yet? I eat this pie filling alone, with vanilla coconut ice cream or over cinnamon raisin toast. It would probably be good on waffles, too. Maybe I’ll try that this weekend.
Here’s the recipe: No Pie Apple Pie
My Tweaks: I use Earth Balance instead of butter and I add some golden raisins.
- Orange Chick’n, Tofu and Broccoli
I was craving Chinese Orange Tofu, but still haven’t found a good Chinese place that delivers to my house. I had a bunch of ingredients on hand that I thought I could put together to make something similar, so I went looking and found this recipe for Sweet & Sour Quorn & Vegetable Stir Fry. OMG. So good! Who needs a Chinese restaurant?
My Tweaks: I used the juice of 2 organic oranges and 1 clementine and added the zest of the clementine to the marinade to bump up the orange flavor. Also substituted Sake for the sherry. I added a block of tofu to make the recipe enough to stretch out as leftovers. I used the dry fry method for the tofu and marinated it with the quorn. I substituted celery, carrots, scallions and broccoli for the vegetables (bell pepper, baby corn, zucchini) in the recipe. Also used tapioca starch instead of cornstarch to thicken the sauce and served over steamed brown rice.
The trick to really great tofu is pressing out all of the water before cooking and marinating. I used to stack a pan and a big can of tomatoes on my block of tofu, but it required constant supervision to make sure that the pan and can didn’t start sliding off the block of tofu and have the whole thing end up on the floor. Then someone told me about the Tofu Xpress. It’s a great contraption that allows you to put your tofu in the press in the morning, then store it in the refrigerator until you get home in the evening. The tofu will become a dense, firm block throughout the day and be fully ready for you to use.
I use the dry fry method to cook my tofu for most stir-fry type dishes. It comes out crispy and chewy, just like deep-fried but with no oil. Here are the instructions. How to Cook Tofu Like the Pros. The marinades are also very good.
Onions in the Slow Cooker
I love French Onion Soup, but it’s rarely vegetarian so I have to make my own. This is by far the easiest and best tasting recipe I have found. The slow cooker is my favorite way to develop complex flavors just by throwing stuff in a pot and cooking for a long time. This recipe is from one of favorite cookbooks, Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson.
Oh, and don’t forget to use your Onion Goggles!
French Onion Soup with Cheesy Bruschetta
My Tweaks: I usually only put 1/8 cup olive oil in the bottom of the cooker to reduce the fat. I often use yellow onions and add a little bit of sugar instead of sweet onion, just because yellow onions are cheaper and I have them on hand in larger quantities. Instead of vegetable stock, I use Edward & Sons Not-Beef bullion because FO soup is usually made with beef stock. I use daiya vegan cheese and gluten free bread for the Cheesy Bruschetta and I float them on top of the soup.
French Onion Soup
Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Penuche Frosting
I had a bunch of small organic bananas that turned brown quickly, so I went on the hunt for a banana bread recipe and found two good recipes, one for banana bread and one for cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. I ended up combining these recipes because I didn’t have the right GF cake mix to make the second one. These are really good!
Here are the two recipes:
Best-Ever Banana Bread
Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Penuche Frosting
My Tweaks: I stopped at the “regular” grocery store and they only had the Betty Crocker GF cake mix, not the Bob’s Red Mill, so I used the Banana Bread recipe, but added the spices from the cupcake recipe and also added a snack size unsweetened natural applesauce for more moisture and a small dash of almond extract. I baked the cupcakes according to the directions of the second recipe and made the peanut butter penuche frosting (1/2 of the recipe) to put on some of the cupcakes. (Honestly, they were so good that they didn’t need the PB frosting, but it was extra-decadent with frosting.)
Red Lentils with Zucchini
I get a box of organic produce delivered to my house every 2 weeks. In the last delivery there were three beautiful zucchini. Instead of turning to the internet, I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks, Extending the Table. This recipe is a new favorite! I loved the earthiness of the red lentils combined with the texture and firm freshness of the zucchini.
Laoo Dahl (Red Lentils with Zucchini)
My Tweaks: I used coconut oil and added some garlic paste and ginger paste, just because those are common flavor profiles for Indian food. I didn’t have a hot pepper, so I used aleppo pepper. I served it over brown rice couscous.