Archive for December, 2008

Curry Tofu Sandwiches with Cilantro Bean Spread

img_64961A friend emailed me awhile ago asking for recipes that she could take to work. I’ve been on the lookout for such recipes myself and the result has generally been hearty salads (like this or this or this) and sandwiches. To make your searching easier, I’ve added “Lunchbox” as a tag on this site. This category includes hearty, one-dish meals that are easily transportable, (usually) don’t need to be reheated, and make enough to last at least most of the week.

For me, the perfect sandwich is one that tastes great, won’t get soggy, and packs a lot of make ahead ingredients that I can slap together in a hurry before heading out the door. This sandwich meets all criteria. Placing the tomatoes between the tofu and cheese will prevent them from making your bread soggy (and thickly spread beans and chutney help, too, even if you omit the cheese). Plus, the bean spread and tofu can be made ahead of time so that you have quick lunches all week.

This recipe pulls together a few recipes from elsewhere, including a bean spread modified from an old edition of Vegetarian Times. I also used the Curried Tofu recipe from Veganomicon but you can use any premade baked tofu if you prefer (Pete’s “Thai Tango” would be especially good), or just chase 16 slices of extra firm tofu around a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, a couple cloves of garlic and a few tablespoons of curry powder. I’d love to hear about your variations.

Curry Tofu Sandwiches with Cilantro Bean Spread
Makes 8 Sandwiches

1 recipe cilantro bean spread, below (3 Tbsp. per sandwich)
2 – 8oz. packages baked tofu, cut into 16 slices (2 slices per sandwich)
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced (½ tomato per sandwich)
1 cup mango chutney (2 Tbsp. per sandwich)
8 slices sharp cheddar cheese, optional
16 slices good quality, whole grain bread

  1. Spread one slice of bread with bean spread and one slice with chutney.
  2. Layer cheese (if using), tomatoes, and tofu on the beany side and then close the bread with the chutney side. (The bean spread offers the best sogginess protection if you are omitting the cheese).
  3. Enjoy!

img_64891Cilantro Bean Dip
Makes 1¾ cups

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 scallions (green onions), white, light green and dark green parts, chopped (about ½ cup)
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup white cannellini beans or other white beans
1½ Tbsp. lime juice
½ tsp. cumin

  1. In a small pan, heat 1 tsp. of olive oil and saute garlic and jalapeno until garlic is translucent. Add scallions and saute until bright green and browning on the edges, being careful not to burn them.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

P.S. This recipe produces a thick consistency best suited to a spread. If you want a dip instead, add 1 cup of plain yogurt (soy if you prefer) and eat it with crackers, chips and/or veggies.


December 15, 2008 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

Big Pot of Chili + Corn Tortillas = 2 Meals in One!


Time is getting tight around here, so when I looked into the fridge and discovered nothing for lunch and nothing for dinner, I knew I had to make something that I could eat all week for both meals without getting completely sick of whatever it was I was eating. In the end, I made a big pot of chili and then turned half of the chili into enchilada filling the next day. It worked perfectly, because I really only had to make one meal but the chili and enchiladas were different enough from each other that I didn’t feel like I was constantly eating the same thing. Of course, you can make just the chili or just the enchiladas if you would prefer. Either recipe would also freeze well for later.

This recipe works especially well if you let the chili sit in the fridge overnight before attempting enchiladas. That way, it has some time to thicken up. If you don’t want to, though, it will probably work out fine to do both recipes the same day.


This chili is another variation on my basic chili, this one designed to blend into a creamy, smooth filling for enchiladas. The addition of spinach and molasses also adds iron (and deliciousness) to the dish.

Makes 12 – 15 servings, or 6 – 8 if you use half in the enchiladas

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 bell peppers, seeded and roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
4 large potatoes, chopped with the skins on (about 3 cups)
1 – 28 oz. can tomatoes, with liquid
3 cups beans (you choose: pinto, black, kidney, chickpeas) (2 – 15 oz. cans, drained)
2 cups frozen spinach (or about 8 cups fresh, stemmed)
¾ cup cilantro, stemmed and chopped (optional)
1½ Tbsp. chili powder
1½ Tbsp. cumin
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses
1 cup vegetable broth

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and add garlic, onion and peppers, sauteeing until onions are translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. (Add broth gradually and only if needed. The chili should be thick like a stew, not thin like a soup).
  3. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Serve garnished with Monterey Jack cheese (or plain yogurt) and hot sauce, if desired.



Enchiladas are always a favorite for us, with their yummy, saucy, filling goodness. If rolling enchiladas seems like too much for you, you can take the easy way out and simply layer the ingredients. Put one third of the sauce on the bottom of a large greased casserole dish, then a layer of tortillas, layer of filling (all of it), ⅓ more sauce, half of the cheese, another layer of tortillas, the rest of the sauce, the rest of the cheese – done! Then you can pretend it’s extra fancy by calling it “Enchilada Lasagna”! (This sauce is adapted from The Joy of Cooking)

Chili Enchiladas
Makes 10 Enchiladas, Serves 4 – 6 people

10 small corn tortillas
4 cups chili (recipe above)
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (optional)

Enchilada Sauce
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 cup tomato puree (1 large or 2 small tomatoes, blended)
½ cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, and grease a 9×13 baking pan.
  2. Start by making the enchilada sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Combine onions with remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Remove from saucepan and simmer until heated through and slightly thickened. Set aside.
  3. Blend chili slightly so that the liquid is thickened but the chili is still chunky. A hand blender is especially good for this but you could use a conventional blender or food processor as well. Set aside.
  4. Spoon half of the sauce into the baking pan.
  5. Now assemble the enchiladas. Add about ¼ cup of chili filling and 2 Tbsp. of cheese to each tortilla and roll it, placing it seam side down in the pan. Repeat until all the tortillas are filled.
  6. Spoon remaining sauce on enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake 20 – 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Omit cheese for a vegan dinner.

December 5, 2008 at 4:41 pm 2 comments



*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.