Stir-Fried Sichuan String Beans

Posted by: Cidell

I love spicy Asian foods. When we do go out for lunch, I find myself choosing the sichuan string beans from our local spot. I decided it was high time to try it at home. Cooks Illustrated to the rescue again!

I made this for my friend’s Passover seder on Friday night and originally for lunch co-op months ago. By quadrupling the original recipe to four pounds of string beans and stir frying on my outdoor grill’s wok, I was able to make enough for 16 in one go. It received rave reviews from everyone with some being syphoned off for leftovers. Cook’s also has a variation with broccoli that sounds just as good.

The original calls for ground pork and suggests shitake mushrooms to make it veggie. Since this was going to be my main course, I added large chunk TVP (so hard to find locally I finally bought a box from Amazon). Oh, and I got the fresh French green beans from Sam’s Club for all of $4. By far the least expensive meal I’ve put together!

Sichuan String Beans


  • tablespoons soy sauce
  • tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4teaspoon dry mustard
  • tablespoons water
  • tablespoons vegetable oil
  • pound green beans , ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ounces shitake mushrooms or two cups of moist TVP
  • medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • scallions , white and light green parts sliced thin
  • teaspoon toasted sesame oil


  1. In small bowl, stir together soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch, white pepper, pepper flakes, mustard, and water until sugar dissolves; set aside.

  2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet (I used a 22 inch wok) over high heat until just smoking. Add beans and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and skins are shriveled and blackened in spots, 5 to 8 minutes (reduce heat to medium-high if beans darken too quickly). Transfer beans to large plate.

  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add pork to now-empty skillet. Cook, breaking pork into small pieces, until no pink remains, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Stir sauce to recombine and return beans to pan with sauce. Toss and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 seconds. Remove pan from heat and stir in scallions and sesame oil. Serve immediately.

  4. Per Serving:

    Cal 200; Fat 14 g; Sat fat 3 g; Chol 20 mg; Carb 12 g; Protein 8 g; Fiber 4 g; Sodium 680 mg

Broccoli-Seitan Stir Fry

Posted by: Catalina-de-Cuenca
Continuing with my obsession with Seitan :D This week I decided to twist a Tofu recipe around by replacing it with Seitan AND adding other goodies.
The original recipe “Broccoli-Tofu Stir Fry” comes from the book “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home”. I really like this book even though it is not a vegan book.  As said before I switched the recipe around to add other flavors and accommodate what I had and did not have at home

• 2/3 cup of water
• 3 tablespoon of rice vinegar
• 3 tablespoon of soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
• 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

• 3-4 tablespoon of olive oil
•  2 garlic cloves
• 14 oz of seitan
• 1 large head of broccoli cut into 1 inch florets
• 1/3 cup of water
• 1 white onion
• 1 cup of peas
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Before beginning to stir fry prepare the vegetables and have all the ingredients at hand.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and half of sliced white onion for 1 minute before adding the seitan. Continue to stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes until seitan is lightly brown. Remove the seitan and set it aside. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet, heat for a few seconds and add the broccoli. Stir for a minutes and pour the water. Stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the sliced onion and peas continue to stir fry for another minute and then add the seitan and the sauce. Stir carefully and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3 or 4 minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve with brown rice.

Crispy Sweet and Sour Seitan

Posted by: Catalina-de-Cuenca
About three weeks ago I decided to cook with Seitan and I was hooked! I loved its texture and how tasty my dish turned out.
Similar to many of my recipes, I decided to look at a series of sweet and sour seitan recipes and came up with my own. This dish can be a little too sweet, so I suggest tasting it as you cook.
• 14 oz of Seitan cut into small pieces
• 1 cup of flour
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• ¼ cup of cornstarch
•  1 tablespoon of soy sauce
• 1 cup of rice vinegar
• 3/4 cup brown sugar
• ¼ of ginger powder
• ¼ cup of water
Instructions :
Combine flour, salt, and ¼ cup of water. Add seitan and stir until coated. Fry coated seitan in 2 inches of hot oil  for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain Seitan, keep it hot. Combine brown sugar, vinegar, black pepper, ginger, soy sauce and 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Combine cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water. Cook until thickened, stirring consistently. Add seitan and let simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with brown rice.
PS: please excuse the messy dish :(

Veggie Burger with Mushrooms and BBQ


By: Catalina-de-Cuenca

I’ve been craving a hamburger for the last two months. I usually eat one every two or three months to alleviate the cravings; however, I typically feel awfully guilty and extremely bloated after eating them (I guess the large side of French fries along with the burger will do it too —- but I am not ready to give up French fries yet!). So, I decided to make a burger on the healthy side

I looked up a series of recipes with chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans (you name it). The most appealing recipe came from the Food Network (Vegetarian section). I really liked the fact that the veggie burger mix included onions, scallions, and walnuts!!

I decided to tweak the recipe by adding minced garlic to the burger mix and by substituting mayonnaise with BBQ sauce  


The end product was a juicy garlicky veggie burger with sautéed mushrooms and onions and BBQ sauce. It was great!

Soy Chorizo and Chick Peas

Posted By: DearestLizzie

When I was out last week running some errands with Cidell we stopped by Trader Joes which is great for some Vegan finds and staples. We both bought a couple of packs of Soy Chorizo, Catalina-de-Quenca used it once and it is very hard to tell its not actually sausage AND its only $1.99 per pack!!!

I had no idea what to make with this so I searched for Chorizo recipes and found this little gem - Chorizo and Chick Peas. My very slightly altered version appears below, I just used soy chorizo obviously, a little less broth, and I didn’t have allspice.


1 Tbsp olive oil

½ lb soy chorizo, crumbled

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

½ tsp allspice (I didn’t have any)

¼ tsp chili powder

5 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 c. water or veggie stock

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained

1 c. Israeli couscous

¼ c. freshly chopped parsley


Heat oil in large skillet, over medium heat. Add chorizo and brown, approx. 5 minutes. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent and aromatic. Add cumin, coriander, allspice and chili powder; stir to combine. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Cook couscous. Bring 1 ¼ c. salted water to a boil. Add couscous to boiling water and cover. Simmer 8-10 minutes or until tender. Remove and set aside.

Add tomatoes, chickpeas,and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chorizo mixture and couscous to skillet and season to taste with salt. Simmer 5-10 more minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

I am going to go to the Au Bon Pain by work and get some french bread as the original recipe suggests but upon tasting I really liked the flavors, it seems like it is going to be hearty and filling.

Tofu Sloppy Joe

Posted by: DearestLizzie

Lately I’ve been trying to use what I have in the house. I had a block of extra firm tofu burning a hole in my fridge so I searched Tofu Recipes… I found this Sloppy Joe recipe and I was kind of excited about it, also I was happy to find a new website to try recipes from. Not to mention the fact all that I had to buy at the store was a red pepper and a jalapeno!

I made a few changed from the original recipe. I make meat sloppy joe fairly often and I like a little extra mustard and lots of Ketchup :) I also don’t like green pepper so much so I used red. The original called for a cup of water towards the end, I omitted that entirely and still had to actually strain the dish. I mashed the tofu with a large serving fork in the beginning and that worked really well.


1 lb firm tofu

2 Tbsp oil

2 Tbsp minced red or green pepper

1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic

2 Tbsp minced onion

1 Tbsp minced jalapeño pepper

Pinch chipotle pepper

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp minced cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste


Mash tofu and mince the veggies

Heat oil on medium in a large frying pan, fry onion & garlic 5 min

Add tofu, jalapeno & green pepper, fry 5 minutes, on high

Add dry spices and fry for 2 minutes

Add ketchup, soy sauce, br sugar, parsley and simmer 10 minutes

Tofu moisture content varies, so add more catsup and water as needed if the mixture seems too dry

Serve over buns with fixins - tomato, lettuce, avocado slices & mayo are good choices 

Overall I liked it, it was very summer picnic to me which is refreshing. Catalina-de-Quenca really liked it too! I may put this one back in rotation over the summer and actually add “fixins” the next time around.

Massaged Kale Salad With Pomegranate Seeds

Posted by Cidell

This salad is an easy way to add more greens (color) to your diet. A friend told me about the ANDI index and Whole Foods adoption of it. Essentially, using nutrients, calories, fiber, etc a numerical index between 0 and 1000 is assigned to food. Kale, is at the top with 1,000. French Fries, my personal favorite is a sad sad 7. Catalina appropriately pointed out that kale is likely high because it has almost no calories, lots of vitamins and nutrients and tons of fiber. It’s high impact for little cost on the waistline. I realize it’s the epitome of ‘rabbit food’. But, it’s delicious and nutritious.

The same friend who told me about the ANDI index (Aggregate Nutrient Index) also told me about a kale salad he’d had recently that was delicious. So…. kale salad was born. I found this one on Food Network and made it for my bookclub. I loved it and feasted on it for a week. Really easy way to add more greens to my lunch and bulk up my vegetable intake with a little kale salad on the side two meals a day.

I subbed out sliced almonds for the pepitas and and pomegranate seeds for the mango. It adds a great burst of fruit flavor and is another ‘super food’.

Massaged Kale Salad


  • 1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup) 
  • 1 cup of diced fruit
  • Small handful toasted nuts or seeds  pepitas (pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons
  • Dusting of cayenne, red pepper flakes or chili powder


In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas. Toss and serve.

Thai-Style Chik’N Soup (tom kha gai)

Posted by Cidell:

I am again dipping in to the Cooks Illustrated well with this Thai-Style soup. I’ve made the original version for friends with real chicken and for lunch club, this vegan version. I’ve served this to half-a-dozen different people and everyone RAVES over how good it is.

To make this vegan, I switched out the chicken for MorningStar Farms Meal Startes Chik’n Strips. And, instead of chicken broth, I used veggie broth with two cubes of chicken flavored bouillon. If you want a meatier texture and skip the faux meat, I highly recommend oyster mushrooms in addition to the button mushrooms.

I sautéed the Chik’n Strips lightly in a non-stick pan with no oil. I didn’t add them directly to the soup. Rather, I put them in the bowl and ladled the soup on top.

This soup is incredibly rich with the addition of two cans of coconut milk. I also like my food spicy, so I added a third teaspoon of red curry paste. I highly recommend the one from Trader Joe’s if you have access. If you’d like to add some of the fishy flavor back when you omit the fish sauce, I suggest adding Kombu or other seaweed to the soup.

Ah, one last change. I added bean sprouts to ours too. Anything to up the nutrient factor!


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 3 stalks lemon grass, tough outer leaves removed, bottom 5 inches halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
  • 3 large shallots, chopped (I used onions as I didn’t have shallots on hand)
  • 8 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves, chopped coarse
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce 
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken vegetable broth
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk, well-shaken
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ pound white mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and sliced on bias into ⅛-inch-thick pieces
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice from 2 to 3 limes
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste (Thai)

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 serrano chiles, sliced thin
2 scallions, sliced thin on bias
1 lime, cut into wedges


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until just shimmering. Add the lemon grass, shallots, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon soy fish sauce; cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are just softened, 2 to 5 minutes (vegetables should not brown). Stir in the chicken veggie broth and 1 can of the coconut milk; bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the flavors have blended, 10 minutes. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids in the strainer. Rinse the saucepan and return the broth mixture to the pan.

2. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Stir the remaining can of coconut milk and sugar into the broth mixture and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms, and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove soup from heat.

3. Combine lime juice, curry paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons soy fish sauce in small bowl; stir into soup. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, chiles, and scallions. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Tempeh and Mushrooms Fricassee with Brown rice and lentils

Post by: Catalina-de-Cuenca

This recipe is one of my favorites so far, the mushroom fricassee sauce is so tasty and rich. The wine really makes the tempeh and mushrooms stand out. I served this recipe with brown rice and lentils as a side dish. The fricassee sauce and the brown rice truly complemented each other.

The original recipe comes from as part of a series of tempeh recipes. The original recipe “Tempeh and Wild Mushrooms Fricassee” is a bit more elaborate with many types of mushrooms and fresh herbs. However, I made mine with regular mushrooms and spices to replace the fresh herbs and I had no complaints.


·         8 ounces tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

·         1/4 cup dry white wine

·         2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

·         3 cups sliced button mushrooms

·         1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

·         1 teaspoon of thyme

·         thinly sliced garlic (about 5 cloves)

·         14 ounce vegetable broth

·         1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

·         1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

·         1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add tempeh; sauté 8 minutes or until golden brown. Add wine and soy sauce; cook 15 seconds or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove tempeh from pan.

Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add thyme. Add garlic, and broth to pan; bring to a boil. Add tempeh, stirring well. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

Uncover and cook 3 minutes or until thick.  Stir in lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Serve with brown rice as a side dish


Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Indian Spices

Posted by Cidell: 

This was my second time making this Lentil Soup With Coconut Milk for the girls. But, somehow, my first time blogging it. 

The soup is not originally vegan. I’ve had both the vegan and vegetarian version and I think they taste equally good. Once Upon a Tart is a wealth of great recipes for everyone — ominovores, vegetarians and vegans.

Oh, I’d also like to add that I’m loathe to use anything low fat. For real. Coconut milk is chock full of yummy tasting calories. Live a little and don’t get the low fat version.

This soup tasted best the next day.

Green Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Warm Spices

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter 
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil or vegan margarine
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1½ tsp. turmeric
  • 6 c. vegetable or chicken broth 
  • 1½ c. French green lentils, picked over for stones and other debris
  • 4 whole cardamom pods
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • A pinch of grated nutmeg
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 1¼ c. coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp. fine salt, or more to taste

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent. Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic, thyme, and turmeric. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned and very soft.

Add the stock, spices and the lentils. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and tender.

Add the coconut milk and stir well. Cook for about 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste, and adjust the salt as necessary.