Maple-Balsamic Tofu & Spinach with Saffron Quinoa Pilaf

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I have always valued a quick and delicious meal but now it is more important than ever! This was a great meal where I could cut and marinate the tofu in just a few minutes while the kiddos were playing and then whip this all up as soon as they went to sleep. Perfect! I was also able to use the marinade twice; cooking the spinach quickly after the tofu. I have always loved Saffron Rice Pilaf  and thought a quinoa twist on it would be fun!

Maple-Balsamic Tofu & Spinach with Saffron Quinoa

Tofu & Spinach

  • 1 block of tofu, pressed to remove water and cut in triangles
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • dash of salt
  • 6 ounces of baby spinach

Combine and marinate anywhere from 1 hour to overnight. Heat a frying pan and sear the tofu for a few minutes on both sides. Remove from pan and add spinach and any remaining marinade. Stir for just a few brief moments to wilt spinach and coat in the sauce. Remove and serve.

Quinoa Pilaf

  • 2 cups quinoa (4 cups water or stock)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • lemon juice to taste
  • sriracha, to taste (optional) (I love that extra kick!)

Combine water and quinoa in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat, add saffron, tumeric and salt, and cover to cook for 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Stir in other ingredients and serve.

Vegan Peanut Butter Mousse

Addictive does not even describe how good this is! You are lucky if it makes it out of the blender to serve. Have fun with this and change up the toppings or get super creative and make a pudding pie or cake with the mousse.

This one is so super easy to whip up but be careful, not sure we should have mousse EVERY day 🙂 ENJOY!

Vegan Peanut Butter Mousse

1 cup peanut butter
16 oz firm silken tofu (not the vacuum packed kind – I used Nasoya)
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Blend tofu and peanut butter in blender or food processor until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend more, scraping down the sides. Add agave and vanilla and blend again.

Assemble with toppings or just enjoy alone (maybe even straight out of the blender :))

Toppings Ideas

bananas
strawberries
other fruit
granola
banana bread crumbles
chocolate chips

Vegan Pizza with homemade dough

Who doesn’t appreciate a good slice, especially here in NYC where pizza is so very important and such a point of contention – even for vegans! Our favorite place to order from is Viva Herbal Pizzeria where we can get spelt or gluten-free crusts with daiya and even vegan sausage as toppings (our personal fave combo!) Pala Pizza also has great vegan options and that brick-fired pizza taste, yum!

Sometimes it is easy to buy dough and tomato sauce quickly whip up a pie at home, but if you are interested in making your own dough, here is a great recipe! My mom made the dough and I added the homemade sauce (thanks mom!!).  It was really very very good!

Check out here for some of my other fun pizza nights 🙂 Flatbread Pizza with hummus, green olives, cherry tomatoes and za’atar (this is a raw one and Well Worth the effort!), Raw Eggplant Pizzas and the quick at home whipped up kind with purchased dough.

Vegan Pizza with Homemade Dough & Daiya Cheese

Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast (1 packet of dry yeast)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  1. Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees (if using a pizza stone – place in the oven to get hot and heat for an hour)
  2. Mix together the warm water, sugar and yeast. Put aside to get foamy. If it does not foam then the yeast is not good – redo this step.
  3. In a separate bowl mix all of the other ingredients. Add in the yeast mixture and mix well until dough forms a ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough – Use the palm of your hand and keep pressing in and folding it over and repeating for about 5 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 – one pound balls. Place these dough balls into containers and cover the container with anything that will keep the air out. Set the dough to rise in a warm spot for at least 45 minutes. (you can freeze any unused dough after rising*)
  5. Prepare your topping. Stretch out the dough and aim for it to be even thickness all around. Top your pizza and place in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes. Let it rest. Add any herbs to your pizza afterwards.

*If using frozen dough – allow dough to defrost in fridge 12 hours

  • Either use a jar of Marinara Sauce or make your own

Basic Sauce Recipe

  • 28 ounce pureed tomatoes
  • sugar to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 3-6 finely grated fresh peeled garlic cloves

Mix all the ingredients together.

Topping Suggestions:

  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Fresh or Roasted Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Corn
  • Peppers
  • Olives
  • Fresh Tomatoes
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Grilled/Fried/Baked Eggplant
  • Grilled Zucchini
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Capers
  • Saute Spinach
  • Pesto Sauce
  • Artichokes
  • Soy Pepperoni or Soy Sausage or Tofu/tempeh
  • Daiya Vegan Cheese or other vegan cheese
  • Herbs

Unbaked Pizza

Sesame Ginger Maple Baked Tofu

OMG! So Simple and So Amazing! This was one of the best dinners. So healthy (paired with steamed Kale! YUM!) deeeeeeelish and simple! These were amazing to keep in the fridge and soooo good cold even! I doubled the recipe and wish I had quadrupled it!!! So good!

Sesame Ginger Maple Baked Tofu

adapted from Averie’s recipe from Love Veggies and Yoga Thanks!

1 Tbsp Ground Ginger

1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

1/4 Tsp Black Pepper

1/8 cup Sesame Oil

1/8 cup Maple syrup

2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Optional: Garlic, Onions, Salt, Nama Shoyu/Bragg’s Liquid Aminos/Soy Sauce, to Taste

Optional: bake and/or garnish with sesame seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Blot the tofu with paper towels & cut into uniform slices
  3. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stir and pour over tofu slices.
  4. Bake for 35 Minutes, flipping over halfway through baking.

Carmelized Onions and Pesto Quinoa Pasta

We had such a super lovely week of vacation! We spent most of the week out in Sag Harbor relaxing, cooking, practicing yoga with the amazing Colleen Saidman at Yoga Shanti, hanging out with my wonderful sister & brother in law and their adorable twin girls and just generally taking it super easy. (I’ll post some of our other super quick vacation recipes soon!)

We then headed out to Northport to stay with our friend Lisa Dawn. She has a beautiful studio there, Project Yoga, that I was honored to be teaching at this weekend. Such a sweet and blessed space. We spent the rest of the time there at the beach and of course cooking a little more 🙂

As many of you know, I love onions! We bought the most beautiful onions at the Farmers Market in Northport and I wanted to use them right away. Lisa had this amazing Vegan Pesto from Delpozzo at the farmers market so it was just a perfect quick and easy beach meal to throw both these together with quinoa pasta. Easy Peasy!

The pesto was Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Basil, Garlic, Pinenuts, Tofu, Salt and Pepper. Super easy! I have never tried tofu in the my pesto and this was out of control amazing! I usually make my pestos with olive oil, pinenuts (or sometimes other nuts), salt and pepper -occasionally I will add some nutritional yeast. I always like to try new things of course, so I am excited to experiment with this one soon myself.

Caramelized onions are one of my favorite things ever. They come out so sweet and deelish!! All you have to do is cook them down and the sugar in the onions make them super sweet. Yum!

Carmelized Onions and Pesto Quinoa Pasta

 

 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-6 onions (depending on how much you love onions and if you want some for leftovers)
  • 4 ounces of quinoa pasta
  • 2-3 ounces vegan pesto
serves 2

To caramelize the onions, just peel and chop the onions. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and add the onions, stirring. Continue to let the onions cook for a while, stirring occasionally to make sure the onions don’t burn. You can either cover the onions with a lid and let their liquid cook themselves down or for a browner more caramelized version, keep the lid off and the liquid begins to evaporate as the onions begin to brown, just make sure you are stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. You can cook both versions for about 10-20 minutes till you reach your desired color and texture.

After you get the onions in the pan, boil the pasta water. Add the pasta and cook according to instructions.

Then simply combine the onions, pesto and pasta with a bit of salt and pepper and Enjoy 🙂

I kept the cover on for the onions, so they are not as brown, but they are soft and super sweet!

I LOVE it when it says Vegan on it!! So Special!!!

Nina’s Yukon gold potato pancakes with seaweed “caviar” and horseradish “creme fraiche”

I am so happy to present a Guest Blog entry from my fabulous and beautiful Friend, Yogi and Dancer, Nina Hayes. These look sooo amazing, everything Nina does is fabulous! She also makes these deelish looking Sugar Me Bon Bons! I can’t wait to try these too!!
About Nina’s decision to Go Vegan: I didn’t chose to become vegetarian, rather it chose me. At a young age I felt a deep sadness when a well intentioned adult “treated” me to chicken nuggets at McDonalds. All I could think about was the fuzzy little chicks I had seen at the farm and I became nauseated. But I was embarrassed to share my feelings so I ate the nuggets and attempted to push the thoughts away. After years of denying the distress that eating another being caused, I eventually became numb to the experience of cruelty. Then in my early teens the feelings resurfaced and I was compelled to stop eating flesh, though I still lacked the conviction to share my motivation for my decision and the journey continued. Several years later, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and it was at this time that I learned about the many negative health consequences of dairy, in particular the hormones that are passed on to humans when consuming animal products. I was alarmed and angered to learn that there were scientific studies directly linking animal products to cancer and a myriad of health problems. Why were health professionals, the federal government and my school offering this?! After, shunning dairy, largely for health reasons, my focus shifted when the connection between individual ill health and the suffering inflicted on dairy cows was revealed to me. This revelation came through the teachings of Jivamukti Yoga and the universal laws of Karma, causing suffering to another being would inevitably lead to individual and global suffering, was revealed. It was simple and astounding to remember that every cause has an effect. Often the effects do not come with immediacy, so we fail to see the relationship. When we do, we often deny it because the truth can be hard to bear. I chose to become a proud vegan because denying the truth is yet harder to bear. This is my story. I hope it inspires you to live your truth….our collective truth.
Nina’s Yukon gold potato pancakes with seaweed “caviar” and horseradish “creme fraiche”

My inspiration came from Ikea of all places. In the food market area they have a “caviar” made with seaweed and it sells for only $1.99. Impressively, unlike my small dresser requiring thirty plus steps to assemble, the caviar is ready to use 😉  A frugal and cruelty free find for everyday decadence. Inspired, I created a recipe for it that evening. It is boyfriend tested and approved. Before you lament that you don’t live near a Swedish furniture palace, search for “vegan caviar” online. There are countless options. I even came across a Divine sounding truffled vegan caviar.
Recipe:
  1. Prepare mashed potatoes (Yukon gold is far superior because of creamy texture and rich flavor). I trust you can prepare mashed potatoes, though here are a few tips: Salt potatoes after boiling. Use unsweetened soy milk and only the tiniest amount since you want a very stiff mash which you can handle to mold the pancake. For flavor add Earth Balance vegan margarine.
  2. Next prepare the “creme fraiche” by adding jarred/fresh horseradish and a pinch of salt to Tofutti brand sour cream. Set aside and allow flavors to meld.
  3. Meanwhile form mashies into 1/2″ rounds and dredge in flour. Pan fry over low heat for about 2 min. on each side.
  4. Final step is to plate. Carefully remove pancake from skillet and top with “creme fraiche”, a teaspoonful of “caviar”, a sprinkle of salt and a turn of fresh black pepper. For a special; occasion or extra decadence, serve with a flute of champagne. My apologize for the poor quality photo. We were so eager to sample that I didn’t take the time to take a proper photo. Bon Appetit!

Braised Asian Tofu

In the past I had cooked meat for Michael and I enjoyed the challenge of making new dishes with different techniques. I no longer cook meat at all, but still like the challenge of trying new techniques 🙂 This was a fun way to make tofu that we both really enjoyed. It was Super perfect with my Sweet Roasted Broccoli.


Braised Asian Tofu
1 block firm tofu (I used light), cut in half lengthwise, and then sliced into 1/2 inch slices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon sesame seed, crushed and toasted

  1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add tofu slices and be careful not to overcrowd. Brown each side, 2-3 minutes per side. When golden, remove to a plate. Continue cooking all tofu until done.
  2. After the tofu is cooked and removed, add tamari, water, sesame oil, scallions, garlic and chili powder. Stir and place tofu slices back into the pot. During the cooking process the liquid will eventually cover all of the tofu.
  3. Place the pot over medium heat. Cover. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Top with sesame seeds and enjoy 🙂

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