Archive for September, 2009

Parmesan-Tarragon Crusted Tofu

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This recipe is one of my favourites for simple, healthy comfort food. It’s based on my mom’s recipe for “breadcrumb chicken,” which my whole family loves. When I asked her for the recipe so that I could make a vegetarian version, I couldn’t believe how simple it was!

The tofu comes out a little bit drier than chicken, so I like to marinate it before breading and I usually serve this dish with some kind of sauce. In fact, one of the things I like best about the recipe is that it can be made really sophisticated with one sauce (say, a romesco sauce or even a good-quality pasta sauce) or really low-key and fun with a something else (we use honey mustard dressing to bring out the potential “vegetarian chicken fingers” flavour of the dish). If you are serving this to kids (or fun-loving adults), you can cut the tofu with cookie cutters before breading to make it into fun shapes – like stars or hearts or even dinosaurs.

Parmesan-Tarragon Crusted Tofu
Serves 4 – 6

1 lb. firm or extra-firm tofu
2 cups vegetable broth or water
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon dried tarragon, crumbled
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  1. Cut tofu into 16  pieces. (I usually cut the whole block lengthwise to make the slices thinner. Then I cut each of those blocks in half, and use diagonal cuts to make each of the halves into 4 triangles. If you use cookie cutters, you may not get as many pieces out of a single block of tofu, but the fun is still worth it).
  2. Mix broth (or water) and soy sauce in a resealable container and add tofu. Add more water to cover if necessary. Marinate for 2 hours, or overnight (whatever you have time for).
  3. After the tofu has marinated, preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly oil a cookie sheet and set it aside.
  4. Mix the breadcrumbs, parmesan, tarragon, and pepper in a shallow bowl.
  5. Drain the tofu. Drag each piece through the breadcrumb mixture, making sure it is well coated on all sides.
  6. Place breaded tofu on the cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes on each side (or until it is golden-brown).
  7. Serve with desired sauce. (We usually eat this dish with a green salad and sweet potato fries or mashed potatoes).

September 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm 1 comment

Fiesta Macaroni Bean Salad

IMG_8341We had friends over for dinner last night, and we decided to mark the closing of summer with all of our favourite summer foods. Baked beans were there, along with corn on the cob, and rosemary roasted potatoes shared the oven (and our plates) with fabulously simple roasted asparagus – but this pasta salad was the star of the show.

I love it because it has the creaminess of a mayonnaise-based pasta salad, without either the flavour or the texture of the mayo taking over the dish. The whole wheat pasta, along with generous portions of beans and veggies, add texture and flavour that is sometimes lacking in pasta salads.

I should be up front with you, though: this recipe is not mine. It comes to you (only very slightly modified) from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer (who also co-wrote How it All Vegan and The Garden of Vegan, the books that taught me how to cook and how to be vegan. I still use a lot of those lessons, even as I’ve added some dairy and the occasional egg back into my diet). All three cookbooks are favourites of mine; worth checking out both for their basic recipes and for their more elaborate dishes (like this one). My only complaint is the portion estimation. Every recipe in La Dolce Vegan claims to make “2 large or 4 small servings.” While the recipes vary, I find that most make 6 – 8 servings, but maybe that’s just me.

Fiesta Macaroni Bean Salad

3 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta (macaroni or fusilli work well)
6 cups water
½ teaspoon olive oil
1 large carrot, grated or diced (about ½ cup)
1 small bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cups kidney beans or pinto beans (or 1 – 19oz. can, drained)
1 cup corn kernels
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup mayonnaise (I really like vegan Vegenaise)
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce, or to taste
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt

  1. In a large pot, bring the 6 cups of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender, 6 – 8 minutes. Drain pasta and toss with olive oil to avoid sticking. Set aside to cool.
  2. When the pasta is completely cool, toss it together with all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge for a few hours first. Keeps well for a few days in the fridge.

September 12, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Artichoke Heart and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

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Heading out on one last picnic before the weather turns cold? Or maybe you need something to munch on at work or school? Wherever you enjoy it, this easy spread makes a nice, healthy treat that works equally well as a sandwich spread or a dip.

The texture of the spread is similar to hummus, thanks to the white beans that provide its base, but the flavour is something else. The artichokes lend a creaminess that balance the rich flavour of the sundried tomatoes, while the garlic steps in with its own unique kick.

I especially liked this as a dip for veggies and pitas, and in veggie sandwiches (with cucumber, tomato, and spinach). I hope that you will enjoy it, too!

Artichoke Heart and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
Makes 1½ cups

1 cup white beans (such as cannellini beans or navy beans)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup artichoke hearts
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until creamy. (I like my Cuisinart immersion blender for things like this. It is a bit of an investment, but I got it as a gift a few years ago and I use it almost every day for blending dips, spreads, smoothies, and soups).
  2. Serve with veggies or crackers, or as a spread in sandwiches.

Adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

September 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment


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*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.