Roasted Broccoli and Fennel Gluten Free Pasta with Zesty Tempeh Bacon and Shallot Thyme vinaigrette


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For Pasta

2 cups uncooked Brown Rice or Quinoa Farfalle Pasta

2 Heads Organic Broccoli, florets only

3 Scallions, chopped

1 Bulb of Fennel, thinly sliced

4 Basil Leaves, chopped

1 Lemon

1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Peppers

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil

Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees. Fill a Medium Sauce pan with water and put on high heat until boiling. In the meantime, chop florets of broccoli, place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, drizzle with olive olive, juice of 1/2 a lemon, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Massage the seasoning and oil into the broccoli with your hands. Pop in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the point just before it gets super crispy.IMG_0098IMG_0101IMG_0117

Wash and Chop Scallions, fennel, and basil.IMG_0109 Put pasta in boiling water and cook according to package. I use quinoa and brown rice noodles. Be sure to cook them al dente. Save a cup of pasta water before draining.

IMG_0107IMG_0108Place pasta in a large bowl, drizzle with Shallot Thyme Vinaigrette, add chopped scallions, fennel, basil and broccoli.IMG_0114

Add lemon juice, splash of pasta water. Toss. Add more Dressing, salt and pepper for flavor. Serve into bowls and top with Tempeh Bacon, Enjoy!!!

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Tempeh Bacon

1 Pack Organic Tempeh, Thinly Sliced

Chimichurri, homemade or store bought

Olive Oil

Make before broccoli. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with Olive Oil. Place tempeh strips on pan and smother in chimichurri sauce. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until brown and crunchy, but not burnt. Chop into small squares, place in bowl and toss with extra chimichurri sauce. This gives the pasta a delicious, salty crunch!

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Shallot Thyme Vinaigrette

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

1/4 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Honey

1 Tablespoon Thyme, Finely Chopped

1 Large Shallot, Finely Chopped

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Mix all ingredients into a mason jar, place top on jar and shake it up. Give it a taste and add more honey, olive oil or vinegar needed to balance out the flavors.IMG_0118

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Fresh Spring Rolls with Tofu and Peanut Sauce

In the heart of this mildly cold winter in LA, it is nice to be able to hunker down and make a nice home cooked meal. There are always delicious take out or delivery options for Thai food or Chinese food, but I prefer to recreate my favorite dishes using healthy, fresh ingredients. Restaurant food always uses an excess of salt, sugar and oil in their food. I try to cook with healthy oils like Coconut Oil, Organic Sesame Oil or Organic Olive oil and I use Tamari instead of sodium ladened Soy Sauce. Tonight I am making Paul’s favorite, Fresh Spring Rolls with Tofu and Peanut sauce, to go along with my standard stir fry vegetables and quinoa. You can find the recipes for the Stir Fried(Steamed) Vegetables and Peanut Sauce on my most recent post.
You will need to go to the grocery Store to pick up a few special ingredients for this including Spring Roll Skins(found in a clear plastic, frisbee like container), Rice Stick noodles (I used Maifun brand), and some kind of marinated pressed tofu (I used Wildwood Teriyaki flavor). Other than these three, the rest of the ingredients are pretty straight forward.

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You will need:

1 Pack Spring Roll Skins- Use however many you desire
1 Package Rice Stick Noodles
1 Package Pressed, Marinated Tofu- Cut in long slender rectangles.
1/2 Cup Cilantro
2 Carrots Carrots (Grated)
3 Scallions- Cut in strips the long way
Handful of Mint Leaves
Handful of Basil(preferably Thai Basil, can be found at Asian grocery stores)
1 Cup Mung Bean Sprouts
1 Cup Butter Lettuce or Romaine- Washed and Dried
Optional- Serrano Pepper sliced thinly without seeds (I didn’t use peppers, because my Peanut Sauce was extra spicy)

Measurements are dependent on how many rolls you are making and how thick you want them. Prepare all your fixings and place in individual bowls, easy for grabbing and placing on your spring roll.

First you will want to prepare your noodles, simply follow the instructions and let cool for a few minutes.

Next, make sure you have a good, clean area to work. Clear off counter space and place all your bowls filled with fixings close together.

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IMG_0051IMG_0055 IMG_0061 IMG_0058For the Spring Roll skins you will need a deep plate or serving dish, just deep enough for a small amount of water. Get a clean, dry dish towel and place it on the counter near your fixings. Warm some water, place on plate, take one skin and submerge it with your hands, make sure all the surface area is under water. Hold under for approximately 10-15 seconds. The skin will become extremely malleable and completely translucent. Pick it up with two hands and lay it flat on to the dry dish towel. Smooth out any wrinkles and voila you are ready to roll.

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There is no perfect way to fill a spring roll. If you are a big fan of basil, load it on, if you hate sprouts, leave them out, if you are an uber healthy no carb fiend, the leave the noodles off (although I don’t recommend that because they are delicious). Just start with a fixing and start piling it in, just remember that the skins are fragile so you can’t pack too much in.

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Once you have filled your roll, very gentle mash all the ingredients with your thumb and other fingers. Take one side of the skin and roll away, while pushing the filling in simultaneously, think rolling a burrito, enchilada or Bouche De Noel.

Slice in half, serve with Peanut Sauce or your favorite dipping sauce. I always put out the Sambal (Chili Sauce) just in case anyone wants an extra kick. This is an excellent appetizer or entree lunch. Enjoy!

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Our delicious Asian Feast, complete with Asian Bowls (Quinoa, stir fried vegetables and Spring Roll Fixings) and one of my favorite green teas, UCC! Such a delicious, satisfying and healthy Vegan meal.

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Sesame Citrus Tempeh with Peanut Sauce and Steamed Vegetables

Tempeh is a delicious soy product that can be marinated and grilled in place of meat or fake meat. It is a much cleaner form of protein than fake meat. It is simply cooked soy beans that form a white block during a fermentation process. I recently had a request for a tasty Tempeh recipe, here is what I concocted… It takes some time but is worth it to fully marinate the tempeh. It is amazing served with home made Peanut Sauce and Steamed Vegetables. The Peanut Sauce is my mom’s recipe, it is so tasty up will want to lick the pan!

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For the Tempeh you will need:

1 Pack of Organic Tempeh (found at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Sprouts, etc)

1 Teaspoon Cumin

1 Teaspoon Curry Powder

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos

2 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil

1 Tablespoon Diced Fresh Ginger

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

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Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cut tempeh into 1/4 Inch Slices and place in a glass baking dish preferably with a cover.

Add Cumin, Curry Powder, lemon juice, Braggs Liquid Aminos, Toasted Sesame Oil, diced fresh ginger. Mix ingredients with tempeh, make sure each piece of tempeh is being marinated. If it looks too dry, add more toasted sesame oil and Braggs.  Place in oven and cook on 250 for one hour. This will ensure that the tempeh will marry with the spices. While the Tempeh is cooking prepare the peanut sauce and vegetables. After one hour, put a sauté pan on medium heat, add olive oil. Fry each piece of tempeh until golden brown. If you are on a strict diet you can skip the frying party, but it won’t be quite as delicious. Place on paper towel and get ready to serve.

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For the Peanut Sauce you will need:

1 Can Lite Coconut Milk

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter

1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Tamari

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, chopped

Fresh Grated Ginger, to taste (1 Tablespoon)

1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Peppers

1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro

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Place all ingredients except cilantro and red peppers in a medium sauce pan, turn heat to medium low. Let simmer, stirring occasionally. after 20 minutes or so the sauce should thicken and begin to smell good. At this time add cilantro and desired amount of red chili flakes. If you can handle the heat, add more chili peppers. They go a long way, so don’t over spice. Continue to simmer until cilantro has blended in. Voila, you have delicious Peanut Sauce, great for all Asian inspired dinners. It is packed with protein and good fats!

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For Steamed Vegetables

1 Head of Broccoli

1/2 Red or Yellow Onion

1/2 Cup Sliced Mushrooms

1-2 Carrots, peeled and chopped

Dark Leafy Greens such as Kale or Spinach, washed, and chopped.

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Chop all vegetables. Place in Large Saute pan or wok. add 1/4-1/2 cup of water. Cover for 10 minutes or until water is evaporated. Depending on how you like your vegetables, pour more water and steam for longer. I personally like my vegetables to have a little crunch to them. Serve with the delicious Tempeh Slices and Peanut Sauce.  ENJOY!

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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Roasted Broccoli

One of my favorite dinners to make is stuffed peppers; they are so fun to make, because you can get creative and add whatever vegetable, grain, or delicious morsel you desire to the filling. If you are a meat eater, you can add chopped up sausage for an extra protein punch. Vegetarians will get their full dose of protein when using Quinoa, because it is a complete protein! Stuffed peppers are very filling and are great served with a small salad or delicious crispy Roasted Broccoli. Enjoy this delectable plant based recipe; get creative and have fun in the process.

Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

4 Bell Peppers(Mixed colors)

2 Cups Chopped Spinach

1/2 Cup Chopped Calamata Olives

1/2 Cup Chopped Tomatoes

1 Cup Mushrooms

1 Onion-Chopped

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

1 Cup Quinoa

2 Cups Vegetable Stock

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Cumin

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees.

To make Quinoa, follow instructions on the package, substitute water for vegetable stock to add flavor. Add coconut oil, salt and cumin to boiling liquid. Make sure all moisture is absorbed into the quinoa. Fluff and set aside.

QuinoaWash peppers and cut off the tops and cut a little bit off the bottoms so the peppers can sit upright. Remove seeds and pepper innards. Set Peppers aside.

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Sauté mushrooms,spinach and onion in olive until slightly soft, chop tomatoes and olives. With a wooden spoon, fold everything into quinoa mixture. Add lemon, salt, pepper and olive to taste. Feel free to substitute or add different vegetables/beans into quinoa mixture. Also, if for some weird reason you are not a fan of quinoa, this recipe will work with brown rice or couscous.

Place peppers in a glass baking dish. Fill with 1 inch of warm water. With a large spoon, stuff peppers with quinoa mixture. Be liberal with the quinoa, make sure the peppers are fully stuffed.

Bake for 1 hour or until the pepper is soft and the quinoa is browned.

Let cool for 15 minutes and enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli

1 Head of Broccoli

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

2-3 Shakes of Red Chili Flakes

Preheat oven to 425. Wash and Dry broccoli. Chop Broccoli florets off the stems and into smaller bite sized pieces. In a medium bowl toss broccoli with a olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes. With your hands, massage olive oil into the heads of the florets ensuring a crispy finish.

Place Broccoli on a baking sheet covered with tin foil or parchment paper.

Roast for 15-20 minutes until broccoli is slightly browned and crispy.

Remember to share as this dish can be quite addicting!

Celebrating the Summer Solstice with a Fresh, Plant based Feast

On Saturday, the farmer’s market was full of so many fragrant, colorful fruits and vegetables. I chose to get bright yellow summer squash, basil, juicy tomatoes, fresh avocados, peaches, bloomsdale spinach and some tangy lemons. I had no idea what I was going to do with them….. but to me half the fun of being in the kitchen is creating unique and custom recipes. Letting the ingredients I have determine what make. Last night, I made a brief plan and improvised along the way.  I served:

Grilled Summer Squash with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese Drizzled with Balsamic Glaze

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Slice the Squash into thirds, the long way.

Grill on low for about 8 minutes per side. You want the squash to still be a little firm, to hold it’s shape.

While grilling, thinly slice Humboldt Fog Goat cheese.

While the squash is hot, place a healthy amount of cheese on the squash.

Let sit for 5 minutes. Drizzle balsamic glaze or reduction over the top and enjoy!

Basil Chimichurri and Avocado Quinoa

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  Add  1 Cup of rinsed Quinoa and 2 Cups of liquid into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. I use 1 Cup of water and 1 Cup of  Vegetable stock to add flavor. I also add Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Once the water is boiling, turn to low and cover for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

In a small bowl, add 3-4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, 1 Teaspoon of Pepper and 1/2 Teaspoon of salt. Rinse 1 1/2 Cups of Basil Leaves, chop finely and mix into sauce. Creating a fresh and delicious pestoey/chimichurri sauce.

Once Quinoa is cooked, put it in a large glass bowl and toss it with the Chimichurri Sauce. Finely chop 2 Scallions, peel and cube 2 ripe avocados. Toss together and enjoy this delicious and nutritious dish! Quinoa is a complete protein, so this can act as your main dish as well as your grain.

 Bloomsdale Spinach salad with Truffle Parmesan and Tomato

Spinach!

Wash, Slice and Half 1 large flavorful tomato. The tomato juices double as a component to the salad dressing. Rinse and rough chop about 4 Cups of Spinach. Finely slice 1/4 of a red onion. Add the juice of 1 Lemon. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the spinach. Grind about 1/2-1 teaspoon of pepper into the salad.  Give the salad a drizzle of about 2 Tablespoons of High quality olive. Toss with your hands. Add a handful of sunflower seeds and voila, your salad is ready!

Enjoy The Taste of Summer!!

The full Meal

Vegetarian Friendly Sushi Spots and Oishii Vegetable Miso Soup

As a vegetarian, good sushi is hard to come by. There are always the staple vegetarian rolls; Vegetable Roll, Avocado Roll and Cucumber Roll, but after awhile they are rather boring, so when I go to a sushi spot that puts more thought into the vegetarian dishes, I’m always overjoyed!  Many non vegetarians think that Sushi restaurants have nothing to offer vegetarians, however Japanese is one of my favorite cuisines. My go to items at Sushi restaurants are the side salad, usually coming with delicious gingery dressing, an avocado roll and Shishito Peppers (hold the Bonito aka fish flakes). The following are three of my favorite vegetarian friendly Sushi Spots in Los Angeles:

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Wabi-Sabi on Venice’s Abbot Kinney has amazing side dishes such as pan fried sweet miso eggplant, chili garlic edamame, and kale salad. Of course they offer the  signature vegetarian sushi: vegetable and cucumber rolls. In my eyes the star Wabi-Sabi dish is the huge Vegan Mushroom Miso soup with Tofu, vegetables sautéed in spicy garlic black bean paste and last but not least delicious cubes of crispy rice. This dish is enough to feed a small family, but you’ll find it hard to share. It is so delicious, rich and versatile that it is hard to stop eating. It is a must for vegetarians and vegans alike.  If you’re hungry for something sweet- the green tea creme brûlée is to die for.

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The Izaka-ya in Manhattan Beach or on Third Street in West Hollywood have such high quality sushi rice that their simple Avocado Roll is absolutely delightful. They have a tapas menu, full of ornate and delicious small plates; such as the kinpira lotus root, agedashi tofu, shishito peppers, sauteed pumpkin, cucumber salad, etc.  The best vegetarian item on the Menu is the Tofu Chample; perfectly cooked vegetables with delicious soft tofu. I thoroughly recommend this spot! Not to mention my boyfriend claims it has the best (fish) sushi in LA!

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Last but not least is Shikibu, a restaurant practicing macrobiotic rules by solely using Brown Rice for sushi. Shikibu has simple sushi for vegetarians, including Carrot Kimpira, mixed vegetable and avocado rolls. They have a delicious carrot ginger dressing which can be found on the Tofu Salad, a crisp simple salad with delicious slabs of fresh tofu. The shining star at Shikibu is the Crispy Rice with Carrot Kimpira, it is crunchy, spicy, and has a tiny homemade pickle on top…. Perfection… OISHII DESU!!!

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I was inspired by Wabi-Sabi’s vegan Miso soup. So I created my own:

Oishii Vegetable Miso Soup

2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil

4 cloves garlic- sliced

2 cubes marinated tofu-chopped into small squares

1 inch piece of ginger minced

1/2 yellow onion- chopped

1 cob corn- chopped of cob

1/2 zucchini- quartered rounds

3/4 Cup Miso

12 Cups Water

2 dozen green beans- chopped in thirds

Handfull of mixed mushrooms- sliced

1/2 Head of green Cabbage- chopped

3 carrots- peeled and cut in small rounds

Splash of Soy Sauce

1.Heat Big Soup pot, add Toasted Sesame Oil

2. Sautee Onions, Ginger, Garlic, Tofu until onion is soft (about 5 minutes)

3. Add water, miso, and chopped vegetables

4. Taste for flavor– add splash of soy sauce if necessary.

5. Let Soup come to a boil, turn down to simmer for 35-50 minutes (until carrots are soft)

6. Enjoy!!

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Kale Sweet Kale

Fresh, delicious, filling, versatile. Kale.

Tender Greens is a great Mini Chain Restaurant in Southern California. They serve organic gourmet food in a production line style.

My Personal Favorite dishes at Tender Greens are the Simple Kale Salad w/ Roasted Vegetables with a side of Mashed Potatoes or the Tomato Soup.  The Kale is tossed with a Parmesan and Lemon Garlic dressing, emulating a caesar dressing. The Roasted Vegetables are a medley of seasonal vegetable. The mashed potatoes are something special, so delicious, unforgettable.

This week I played with Vegan Recipes, focusing on fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market and lean vegan proteins.  Last night for a dinner party, I prepared the vegetables and Tofu and let my friends bring their own Chicken to grill.  That way everyone is happy, the Vegetarian doesn’t have to touch or attempt to cook meat and the meat eaters are able to properly cook their meat!! (I’m learning to expand me knowledge of cooking meat, but not quite there yet!) Please enjoy recipes for last night’s Flexitarian Meal!!

Chopped Kale Salad, Zesty Roasted Brocoli, and Grilled Tofu

Chopped Kale Salad, Zesty Roasted Brocoli, and Grilled Tofu

           Chopped Kale Salad

            Ingredients

           1 large bunch of Curly Kale or Dino Kale

           1 Ripe Avocado-Cubed

           8-10 Baby Tomatoes (Make sure they are sweet and delicious)- Quartered

          1/4 of a Red Onion- Finally Diced

          1/4 Cup Hazelnuts- Diced

          1/4 Parmesan (Optional for non-vegans)

          1 Lemon-Juiced

          1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

          2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

          Salt and Pepper

Rinse and Dry Kale. Cut the Stalk out of each leaf. Julienne cut the Kale (the finer the pieces the more it’s able to moisten and break down).

Place Kale in Large bowl, add lemon, Soy Sauce, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper.  Massage liquids into to Kale using your hands.  Massaging the kale will make it more tender and flavorful. At this point you can store kale in the refrigerator  for up to 5 days, adding vegetables for a salad or mixing w Eggs, adding to stir fries, there are endless uses for Kale, especially when it is pre-prepped.

For this salad, the next step is to add all the chopped vegetables and nuts and toss. Enjoy!

Zesty Roasted Brocoli

Ingredients

1-2 Heads of Broccoli

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Pinch of Chili Flakes

1 Lemon- Juiced

Pinch of Chili Flakes

2 Tablespoons Roasted Pine nuts

Salt and Pepper

Preheat Oven to 425.

Chop florets off the stem, cut the large florets in half.

Toss with Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, Pinch of Chili Flakes

Even Place on Baking/Roasting sheet

Roast for Approximately 20 Minutes-or until Broccoli is Crispy on the outside

Grilled Tofu or Chicken

1 Cube Marinated Tofu (preferably Trader Joes Savory)

Your Favorite Marinade

Marinate and Grill it up!!!

Hope you enjoy this Delicious Flexitarian Menu!