Category Archives: Vegan Recipes

Tofu Hot Wings + Vegan Ranch Dip

Tofu Hot Wings-4a

You should really try out this recipe for Tofu Hot wings. You really should. I know that in the past you’ve taken one look at tofu and thought that you’d rather jump off a building than submit yourself to that kind of torture. Okay, maybe you didn’t have such extreme feelings on the subject of tofu, but if you’re anything like me, tofu is the kind of thing that you wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. At least that used to be the case for me.

Until I tried some well-prepared Szechuan tofu at a restaurant in Seattle on a whim, I didn’t know about the potential that tofu has. But it was also extremely clear from eating that meal that tofu isn’t something that you can just throw in a pot with some seasonings and get a great result every time. There’s definitely much more care involved in the process, and I’ve wanted to get to the bottom of the tofu mystery ever since.

However, more than once I bought blocks of tofu with the best of intentions of vegan master-chefery, only to let them eventually spoil. Every time I’d open that fridge door, I’d see that tofu staring at me: reminding me that I had no clue what I was doing and that I’d probably do it wrong anyway.  After I repeated that cycle a few times, I figured that my heart wasn’t ready for this undertaking and I stopped wasting my money on tofu I wouldn’t use.

Flash forward a year later, and I’ve thrown caution to the wind. I made a successful Tofu Scramble and then loved its addition to Miso Soup.  Having had some preliminary success with just throwing my tofu in the pan and hoping for the best, I felt ready for more of a challenge. Of course at the end of it all, I really didn’t have anything to fear in the first place. It’s so weird how you can psych yourself out from something silly like trying to cook with tofu. Although I had to make a few little tweaks to the recipe and my techniques for it to turn out perfect, it tasted great on the first attempt as well.

I’m so happy that I found Stephanie Weaver’s Vegan Hot Wings Recipe at reciperenovator.com. The few changes I made to her recipe make it exactly to my satisfaction, but this chick obviously knew what she was talking about. Now, I don’t have to fantasize about reliving the old days when I used to love eating a whole order of hot wings to myself. I can make my delectable vegan swap instead.
Tofu Hot Wings-2a

Tofu Hot Wings

16 ounces of the firmest tofu you can find, pressed

Marinade:
1/2 cup tapatio (other thin hot sauces=OK)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin

Shake ‘n’ Bake:
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Ranch Dressing:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup almond milk
2 oz. vegan cream cheese
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried chives
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:
To save on a little time, you can buy tofu that has already been pressed. I tried this out for my first attempt and the pressed tofu that I purchased from the Asian market turned out great. I was able to make and eat everything on the same day. However, on my second attempt I pressed out the super-firm tofu wrapped in a towel under a 3-high stack of college textbooks overnight and I liked that result slightly better. The texture of the tofu was really about the same as the pre-pressed version, but my overnight pressed version had some really-cool-kinda-rough-looking-smashed edges that made for a more interesting shape.

For the best results, I’d definitely press the tofu myself the night before and I’d prepare the Ranch Dip the night before as well. Prepare the Ranch Dip by blending all the ingredients together. I found that allowing that extra day for those spices to really settle in the dressing transformed it into something that was much better than your average dairy ranch dip. Then in the morning, you can shape the tofu into the pieces you’ll want and get them marinating.

For shaping the individual pieces themselves,  I cut the length of the pressed tofu block in half and then each half into 6 pieces. For the less gnarly looking inside pieces, I took out my vegetable peeler and shaved off the corners for a smoother look. The end look was totally worth the extra effort by the way.

I pricked my tofu with a fork in multiple directions and coated it in the entire marinade. There’s no need to separate a portion of the marinade out for later; that will just create more of a mess to clean up. Just prepare the marinade directly into a Tupperware or whatever you’re going to use to marinate these little tofu guys and let them soak up that awesome flavor for at least 4 hours.

Then you turn on the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with wax paper. Spray it with a thin layer of cooking spray to prevent sticking. Do a little shake ‘n’ bake to fully coat the tofu with the Shake ‘n’ Bake mixture and arrange them on the baking sheet. You’ll just want to put those suckers in the oven for 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake another 10. Once they’ve cooked a little on each side, dip these little tofu guys back into the marinade, getting them fully coated, and cook for another 5-10 minutes. They’ll come out as crispy hot little tofu tenders.

Serve immediately with that Ranch Dip you prepared last night. These Tofu Hot Wings do not mess around. They are HOT (in the best possible way in my professional opinion), so cooling down with come crisp celery and fresh strawberries is the perfect complement to this fantastic tofu concoction.

I hope you love them as much as I did!
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Taco Bell Veggie Cantina Bowl Copycat recipe

IMG_0667Since going vegan, I’ve definitely reduced my fast food trips by a good amount. But, let’s face it, I’m not always going to be up for preparing a ginoceros feast. Sometimes the laziness just wins out. That’s why God invented the drive thru, right? And because of my limited fast-food options, the Taco Bell Veggie Cantina Bowl has become a staple.

If you just order it how they typically prepare it though, it’s not actually Vegan. Thankfully, all you have to do is tell them to leave out the Cilantro Sauce, and you’re good. I’ve been working on a copycat recipe for a little while because I just eat this too much to not know how to make it myself. Don’t get me wrong, when the laziness wins out, I still drag my butt over to the nearest Taco Bell. But it’s pretty awesome that I can make a huge batch of the stuff and have it for days.

Disclaimer- Because I ask them to remove the Cilantro Sauce, I didn’t bother trying to copy that part of the recipe. It’s milk based and probably not too difficult to copy if you wanted to give it a try. For my dressing of choice, I default to the good ‘ol Taco Bell Hot Sauce. When I go through the drive thru, I have to embarrassingly ask the employees to make sure they give me 12-15 packets of that liquid gold. Very conveniently though, Taco Bell has started selling their hot sauce in bottles at Winco! And if I don’t have Taco Bell hot sauce on hand, I really like the flavor I get when I mix up some Tapatio and Cholula. In case you couldn’t pick up on it by now- I REALLY like hot sauce. At the end of the day, this is a salad. I bet it would be great with several different salad dressings!

Like many projects that I gravitate toward, this recipe has many components, but they’re all pretty easy! Plus, each individual component doubles as a side or an appetizer for other dishes. The best part about preparing this concoction- there are left overs for days!

Taco Bell Veggie Cantina Bowl Recipe Components:

1/2 Cup Cilantro Rice

1/4 Cup Seasoned Black Beans

2 Tbsp Corn-Pepper Salsa

2-3 Tbsp Pico de Gallo

1/2 Avocado, mashed (The official recipe has their signature Guacamole. Their recipe can be found at their Cantina Bell website)

3-4 leaves of Romaine Lettuce, chopped

Hot Sauce

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Fresh Pico De Gallo:

4 Roma Tomatos, diced

1/2 Onion, diced

1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped

1/2 Lime, squeezed

Salt

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Seasoned Black Beans:

2 cans of Black Beans

1 tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp paprika

2  tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

For best results with the beans, don’t rinse them, just empty the 2 whole cans into a medium pot. Add the seasonings and increase the heat to medium high. Cook the beans, stirring frequently until the liquid cooks off. You’ll want to leave enough liquid in the beans so they’re not dehydrated though. As soon as the desired thickness is achieved, remove from heat and cover with a lid to preserve the moisture.

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Corn and Pepper Salsa:

1 can of whole kernel corn

1 large green pepper, diced

1 large red pepper, diced

Pepper, to taste

Using a small amount of cooking oil or cooking spray, heat the pan and add all the veggies. Fry ’em up!

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Cilantro Rice:

3 cups cooked rice

1 Tbsp oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 limes, juiced

1 cup Cilantro

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Pepper

For this recipe, I just used the regular long-grain white rice. I liked the rice best when it was prepared according to the directions on the bag, with 1 Tbsp of vegan margarine and 1 tsp. of salt per cup of uncooked rice. However, it’s still pretty good without it. While your rice is cooking, blend the remaining ingredients into a sauce. Once the rice is done cooking, add the cilantro-lime sauce and mix it in.

IMG_0654Chop up some Romaine lettuce.

IMG_0657Mash up 1/2 Avocado, squeeze in a little lime for taste.

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Cantina Bowl, Assemble!!!

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Salsa Juice

Salsa Juice

I’m such a fan of fresh salsa, but I also have an addiction to chips. Whenever I have a bag of tortilla chips and delicious homemade salsa right in front of me, I’m rarely able to stop at a reasonable portion size. I should probably join a support group or something…. Do they have a Chips-Addicts Anonymous?

Although I’ll always love fresh salsa, this juice definitely helps satisfy that craving for me in a way that doesn’t make me eat my weight in chips. It’s so healthy and freaking delicious. 🙂

Salsa Juice

Makes 2 quarts

  • 10 tomatoes
  • 1/2 jalapeno (cut lengthwise, keep seeds)
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1 lime
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt

Salsa Juice 2

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Freshly Juiced Green Lemonade

Green Lemonade 2

Man! It’s been so long since I’ve done any serious juicing that I guess I’ve forgotten how great it feels.

It’s fantastic. It’s an amazing reminder of the potential impact that juice can have on my life. I definitely want to be feeling this great all the time. 🙂

Today’s juice is my favorite green juice.

Green Lemonade

Makes a little less than 3 quarts.

  • 1 cucumber
  • 5 stalks of celery
  • 1 large lemon
  • 10 granny smith apples

Green Lemonade

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Sweet & Tart Grape Juice

Sweet & Tart Grape Juice

I loaned my juicer to my sister for a few months so she could try it out before investing in her own. As much as I was truly happy to do this, as soon as summer hit, I started missing my juicer… a lot.

As you could probably imagine, I was incredibly happy this week when it was returned to me! It’s time for some amazing fresh juice. So without further adieu…..Let the juicing begin!

Today’s juice is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. When I discovered fresh grape juice, it blew my socks off. Add in some lemon, ginger, and apple and we’ve got a truly decadent treat. This juice is a go-to drink for me when I’m craving something rich, sweet, and tart. Enjoy!

Sweet & Tart Grape Juice

Makes about 2 quarts

2 1/2 lbs red seedless grapes
6 golden delicious apples
1/2 large lemon
1″ ginger

Sweet & Tart Grape Juice

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Creamy Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Salad

I’ve always been a lover of potato salad. Despite this, I was originally a little scared of making a dairy-free version because I hadn’t ever tried vegan mayonnaise before. What a silly girl I am… there was absolutely nothing to be afraid of. You wouldn’t know the difference.

Since conquering my ludicrous fears I’ve made some delicious potato salads and I just had to share my recipe. It’s so appropriate for this time of year as well! But summer or not, I’m sure this Creamy Potato Salad recipe will be used many times over in my house. 🙂

Creamy Potato Salad

Ingredients:

2 pounds baby red potatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup diced dill pickles
2/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
3 tbsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt and
1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

Add whole potatoes with skins to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and gently boil until soft, about 12-18 minutes. Strain potatoes when they are tender enough for a wooden skewer or toothpick to slide through easily.

In a large bowl, add the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice and dill, and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain and rinse the potatoes and set aside to cool. Once they’ve cooled enough to touch, peel potatoes by pinching skin and pulling it off the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into quarters and add to the dressing, along with the green onions, red peppers and pickles, gently tossing to coat.

This can be served immediately for a warmer potato salad, or cover and chill for an hour before serving for cold potato salad.

Creamy Potato Salad

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Costa Vida’s Pico De Gallo

Pico De Gallo

I love that Costa Vida makes all their food from fresh ingredients. It’s so great that they’ll prepare the food right in front of you. Because of our Costa Vida habit, Jordan and I decided to perfect our own homemade tacos. At this point, I must say we’ve got it down to a science.

Even though our homemade Black Bean Tacos are better than the ones you can get at Costa Vida, our last trip there made it clear that ours were lacking in one crucial area, the Pico De Gallo. As soon as we incorporated this into our tacos, we were in heaven. This Pico De Gallo is so delicious, you can enjoy it by the spoonful. 🙂

The following recipe is inspired by Costa Vida’s Pico De Gallo recipe, with just a few slight modifications.

Pico De Gallo

4 Roma Tomatoes, Diced
1/2 Large Sweet Onion, Diced
1 Jalepeno Pepper, Diced
1 Avocado, Diced
1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
1 Lime (Juice and Zest)
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately. It’s great with tortilla chips, tacos, taco salads, you name it!

Pico De Gallo

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Mixed Berry Smoothie

Mixed Berry Smoothie

So, I’ve been trying out a bunch of different smoothies during the last week, and I have to say it… this one is my favorite.

Perhaps it’s the simplicity of it all. There are only three ingredients so it was easy-peasy to prepare.

What I love most about this recipe is the blueberry pomegranate juice. It sure does add some fantastic flavor. But keeping this basic formula in mind and using whatever juice you have on hand sounds like the formula for a hard-to-screw-up smoothie.

Mixed Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup blueberry pomegranate juice
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 banana, cut in slices and frozen

Blend all ingredients and serve immediately.

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Apple Cinnamon Dessert Smoothie

Apple Cinnamon Smoothie

I’ve never been much of a coffee person. I think that’s just what happens when you don’t grow up in a house full of coffee drinkers. I’ve tried multiple times to appreciate coffee, but to no avail. Instead, I’ve gotten very familiar with the non-coffee options at Starbucks.

My favorite dessert-style drink from Starbucks is the Vanilla Bean Frappuccino. This smoothie is very similar, except it’s Apple Cinnamon flavored. Because it’s so sweet, it definitely falls under the desserts category.

This smoothie is perfect for that time when you’re in the mood for a sweet treat. Mmmmm, it’ll hit the spot. 🙂

Apple-Cinnamon Dessert Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 apple (cored and peeled)
1/2 cup apple juice
3/4 cup almond milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups ice (crushed)

Blend all ingredients and serve immediately!

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Seasoned Tomato-Basil Bruschetta

Bruschetta 3

It’s weird to find out you’ve been pronouncing a word wrong. Bruschetta is commonly mispronounced. The correct Italian pronunciation is [bru-sket-ta]. Not that it’s such a huge deal to not know the correct pronunciation of Italian words for an English speaker, but bruschetta was one that I foolishly fought my Italian relatives on and I was definitely put in my proper place. 🙂

However, they absolutely LOVED this bruschetta when I made it for them. I made it again last night, and I was in heaven. In fact, just putting this post together, my mouth is watering for more…

Seasoned Tomato-Basil Bruschetta

Ingredients:

2 baguettes, cut in 1/2-inch-thick slices (Wait to cut and prepare the baguettes until after the topping has marinated.)
olive oil, for grilling the bread

Topping:
1 lb grape tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp finely minced fresh tarragon
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Allow for about 45 minutes to an hour for all the seeding, slicing, and dicing of the tomatoes and herbs. Combine all the topping ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and marinate for at least two hours before serving.
2. Heat a small amount (1-2 tbsp) of olive oil on medium-high heat in a medium frying pan. Grill the bread on both sides until they’ve turned a crispy golden brown.
3. Top with the marinated tomato mixture and serve immediately while the bread is still warm.
Bruschetta 1

Bruschetta 2

Bruschetta 3

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