Posts tagged vegetarian.

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

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.

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. 

Chickpea Tomato Soup With Fresh Rosemary

Posted by Cidell:

This is my second soup from Once Upon a Tart and my third or fourth recipe from this book. They are also the creators of the awesome Chickpea and Lentil Salad with Sun Dried Tomato. In addition, I’ve made their Lentil Soup with Indian Spices in both vegan and vegetarian versions. But, seem to have neglected to blog them. 

Have I mentioned I love soup? I made this soup so I wouldn’t have to scavenge for dinner when I get home. I brought a little in to the office just to tease the girls. 

Chickpea Tomato Soup With Fresh Rosemary


  • 1 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • fresh rosemary, needles removed from stem and finely chopped
  • 1 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable stock


  1. Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat, and add the garlic and rosemary.
  2. Cook for a minute or two, and then add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, a few grinds of pepper, roughly half of the chickpeas, and the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the soup from the heat to purée. If using an immersion blender, purée the soup directly in the pot. Otherwise, wait a few minutes, until the soup cools; then purée it in batches in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot.
  4. Add the remaining chickpeas, and warm the soup over medium heat. Serve warm.
Easy Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chick Peas

Posted By: DearestLizzie 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Salt & Vinegar potato chips…. like it makes me salivate when the bag pops open and I get a whiff. If you don’t live in a part of the country where UTZ are available I am truly sorry, They are hands down the best potato chips on the planet. With that being said I love the flavors together and when I came across this recipe I was excited. Also…no girl can just eat chip all day everyday :(

I saw this perusing Pinterest- which is how I find many things these days. The recipe can be found here on the blog Oh She Glows and I must say a great find of a blog. 

I did take the little shells off my chick peas -slightly tedious but totally easy sitting in front of the TV doing it. These turned out really well and they are slightly addictive for me at least. I had to stop because I wanted to take it in to see what the girls think!


  • 2 cups canned chickpeas*
  • 3-4 cups white vinegar
  • 1 tsp Coarse sea salt
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper. Take chickpeas and vinegar and place in a medium sized pot. Add a dash of sea salt. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Let sit in pot for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425F. Carefully drain chickpeas. Place on lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Massage with fingers until fully coated. Roast for 45 minutes, flipping once half way through. Keep a careful eye on them after 35 minutes of cooking to ensure they don’t burn. The goal here is crispy and golden chickpeas, not black…lol. Enjoy as a high protein snack or as a side to a lunch or dinner.

Roasted Vegetable & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Posted By: DearestLizzie

This is another holiday back post. This recipe was inspired by the trip to Sam’s Club to pick up my Christmas tree. Cidell was gracious enough to take me, let me use her membership and stuff the christmas tree into her mini cooper :) At Sam’s was a beautiful bag of 6 colored peppered. So off I went to find a stuffed pepper recipe.

What I found is from Hungy Girl and it turned out to be very good. I topped these with a soy based yogurt mixed with a clove of garlic minced and mixed in. AND in my quest to be filled I can say this worked!

Recipe and pictures follow - I was on my hipstamatic bing for fun…


2 zucchini, stem ends removed, halved lengthwise

1 red onion, sliced into rounds with rings intact

1/2 eggplant, stem end removed, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (I used Red)

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 tsp. chopped garlic

1/2 package of extra firm tofu - finely cubed

1 cup crumbled reduced-fat/light feta cheese

6 large red bell peppers (look for peppers that sit flat when stem sides are up)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray. Place zucchini, onion, and eggplant on sheets in a single layer. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Using your fingers or a brush, evenly spread half of the mixture on top of the veggies on the sheets. Flip veggies, and spread with the remaining mixture.

Bake in the oven until veggies are tender, 20 - 25 minutes. Set aside to cool, but leave oven on.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package instructions. (Typically, as follows for 1/2 cup: Combine quinoa with 1 cup water in a small pot on the stove. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until water has evaporated and quinoa is fully cooked.

Transfer quinoa to a large bowl. Once baked veggies are cool enough to handle, roughly chop and add to the large bowl. Add basil, garlic, and feta cheese, and stir thoroughly. Set aside.

Carefully slice off the top (stem side) of each bell pepper, about a half-inch slice from each. Remove and discard seeds. Place peppers cut-side up in a deep 9” X 13” baking pan. If peppers do not sit flat, gently lean them against the pan sides for support.

Evenly distribute the quinoa-veggie mixture among the bell peppers, about 1 cup each. Bake until peppers are soft and filling is hot, 20 - 25 minutes.

Makes 6 servings - PER SERVING (1/6th of recipe, 1 stuffed pepper): 180 calories, 5g fat, 405mg sodium, 27g carbs, 7g fiber, 10g sugars, 9g protein — PointsPlus® value 4* 

Mediterranean Crusted Tofu with Saffron Quinoa Pilaf

Posted by: Catalina-de-Cuenca

This week I decided to get out of my comfort zone and expand my palate with Middle Eastern ingredients and flavors. This recipe came from and received the “ best recipe of the year for 2011”

Cooking Latin American dishes comes easy to me, so this week’s recipe was a challenge since I was working with ingredients I have never cooked before

Ingredients such as tahini and saffron really caught my attention: Tahini because I have never seen it and I literally had to Google a photo to see what it looked like AND saffron because it was sooooo expensive ($12 for a ½ tablespoon). I am surprised stores don’t have it behind the counter  :D


I decided to substitute pistachios with walnuts and used cilantro as my preferred herb. I must say this dish has MANY components and when you are cooking them individually they don’t seem as special. It is when you bring them together that the flavors become incredible.

I was extremely surprised at how tasty and crunchy the tofu turned out. I am not a big fan of Tofu and had thought of replacing it with zucchini, but luckily I could not find any. The fact that I liked it so much is making me look at Tofu under a totally different light ….maybe it was NOT the Tofu, maybe it was ME… maybe….

Anyway this dish not only tastes amazing but it’s also beautiful and colorful

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did … yum…yum