Posts tagged ‘Sides’

Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Mayo

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Nothing is easier to make than a batch of oven fries. Cut up potatoes, put them in the oven, take them out of the oven. Voíla!

In this recipe, the sweet potatoes are tossed in a bit of oil and spice to add a subtle spice to the sweet flavour of the potato, and they are served (if you like) with a super-simple spicy mayo dip (because if you aren’t going to deep-fry your potatoes, you should at least serve them with mayo, right?).

We like to eat these as a side dish with all manner of entrees, from burgers to baked tofu to chili. It’s a fun and simple way to enjoy what is, in my humble opinion, one of the best winter vegetables out there.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Serves 4

1 large sweet potato, about 1 lb.
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Cut potatoes into long, thin strips. Try to make them as even as possible so that they will all finish cooking at the same time.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, oil, and chili powder.
  4. Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 – 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. (20 minutes should be long enough for them to cook through, 30 minutes should make them a bit crispy on the outside. Test a few with a fork to make sure they are done).

Sriracha Mayo
Makes ½ cup

½ cup mayo or vegan mayo (I really like vegenaise)
½ Tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
2 Tablespoons fresh chives (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients.
  2. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days.

October 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

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

Tacos: Rice, Beans, and Greens

Tacos

These tacos represent a coming together of some of our favorite side dish recipes. The flavours in each (garlic in the spinach, cumin in the rice, rich dark beer in the beans) come together for a satisfying, complex mouthful of taco goodness.

That being said, this recipe can look a little intimidating given all of its various elements. Each of the recipes are quite easy, and I’ve included instructions for timing everything so that it takes the least effort and all comes together at the same time. If you are short on time or energy, though, you can use store-bought prepared beans (I especially like Trader Joe’s canned “Cuban Black Beans” but any brand of baked beans should work if you can’t get those). You’ll need about 2 cans.

This recipe can be easily doubled and is great for a fun, laid-back dinner party. Have your guests make their own tacos from the ingredients you’ve prepared. The different elements keep well in the fridge for about a week. Just keep them in separate containers and put tacos together whenever you want them.

Tacos: Rice, Beans, and Greens

10 small flour tortilla shells or taco shells
1 recipe cumin garlic rice (below)
1 recipe beer-stewed beans (below)
1 recipe garlic greens (below)
1 cup salsa, store-bought or homemade
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)
1 cup cheddar or monterey jack cheese, shredded (optional)
1 avocado, sliced (optional)
hot sauce to taste (optional)

  1. Put the rice on first, because it takes the longest and doesn’t need supervision.
  2. Next, work on the beans. They are better the longer they simmer. When they are done (if you aren’t), just turn the heat off and put a lid on the pot.
  3. Do the spinach last, because it doesn’t take long and it shouldn’t be over-cooked.
  4. Gather the rest of the ingredients, and put together your tacos as you eat. Enjoy!

Cumin-Garlic Rice
1 cup uncooked brown rice
2¼ cup water (or follow instructions on your rice cooker)
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced

  1. Put all ingredients in rice cooker and cook according to manufacturer directions for 1 cup of brown rice. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can find instructions for cooking brown rice in a pot here.

Beer-Stewed Beans
(Adapted from Vegetarian 5 Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas)

4 cups pinto beans or black beans or kidney beans (cooked or canned)
1 cup tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup beer (preferably a dark beer)
½ cup vegetable broth
½ cup cilantro, minced

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Garlic Greens
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
10 oz. fresh spinach or other greens (collards, kale, chard, bok choy, etc.)
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar or red wine vinegar or white wine

  1. In a large pot or wok, heat oil and add garlic, sauteeing until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  2. Add spinach and vinegar or wine, and cook until spinach is bright green, and has reduced to about a quarter of its original size (about 5 minutes).

August 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

No-Fail Fruit Salad

No-Fail Fruit SaladThere’s nothing like fruit salad on a hot summer’s day. It’s refreshing yet filling, and it’s a great way to take advantage of all of the great fruits that come available at this time of year.

This recipe can be used with any fruits you like. The dressing is versatile enough to tackle anything from berries to apples to tropical fruits. Unfortunately, even with the touch of balsamic vinegar in the recipe, the fruits start to brown within about 30 minutes – so make this salad just before you intend to eat it. I find that a half batch a nice meal for two people, and a full batch is great for dinner parties and potlucks.

For potlucks, you can assemble the dressing at home and then bring the fruits with you and toss it all up just before eating time. If you want to eat the salad all week at home, you can mix up the dressing and then toss a bit of it with freshly chopped fruits just before eating. The dressing will keep for about a week in the fridge.

No Fail Fruit Salad
Makes 4 – 6 large servings, or 8 – 10 small ones

6 – 10 cups fruit (depending on how saucy you want your salad to be)
(I used: 2 cups banana, 2 cups pineapple, 2 cups strawberries)

¾ cup vanilla yogurt (or ¾ cup plain yogurt and ⅛ teaspoon vanilla)
1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
¼ tsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tablespoons poppyseeds

  1. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, vanilla (if using), syrup, vinegar, cinnamon, and poppyseeds.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chopped fruit.
  3. Toss fruit with dressing and serve.

June 27, 2009 at 11:29 am 2 comments

Healthier Falafel

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Sorry I’ve been away so long. It’s been a crazy few months around here, but I’m back now and I have a delicious falafel recipe ready and waiting for you.

So, I’ve been making falafel at home for years – or rather attempting it. Until now, the texture had never been quite right and I couldn’t figure out how to make a satisfyingly crispy falafel without deep frying. Those days are over. Today, I managed baked falafel that was perfectly crispy, soft on the inside and bursting with flavor, and I knew that I had to share my newly discovered tricks with you.

The first trick is to use a food processor, not a blender. Blenders tend to require a lot of liquid in order to blend the falafel, and this can lead to falafel that lacks texture and falls apart when you try to shape it. A food processor, on the other hand, chops the dry ingredients finely with very little liquid, leaving you with nicely textured falafel that is easy to work with.

The second trick is heat. The falafel is baked at a moderate heat for 10 minutes, to make sure it’s cooked through. Then, the heat is turned up to make the outsides crispy and brown. Just make sure you watch the oven closely while you’re cooking or you may end up with charred falafel instead.

We like to eat falafel stuffed into a pita with some combination of lettuce, red onion, tomato, cucumber and maybe even hummus or tahini, just like the falafel that’s served by street vendors everywhere. It’s also great as a side dish, with a grain salad (like this or this) and a green vegetable, as pictured below. However you serve it, it’s a delicious meal rich in protein and fibre, and it makes great leftovers. Enjoy!

Healthier Falafel
Makes 24 small falafels

2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (or a 19oz. can of chickpeas, drained)
½ cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. cumin
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. water
1½ tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup flour (for a gluten free version, use chickpea flour)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a food processor, blend the chickpeas, onion, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and parsley until the chickpeas are finely chopped, the texture of coarse bread crumbs.
  3. Add the water, lemon juice and oil and pulse a few more seconds, until well mixed.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and mix with flour, adding 1 Tbsp. at a time until the mixture sticks together.
  5. Form mixture into small balls, wetting your hands periodically to keep it from sticking to you. Press the balls  into patties and place on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 10 minutes, and then turn the oven up to 450F. Bake 10 more minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

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May 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm 1 comment

Thai Curry Mashed Potatoes

Sean and I were craving a classic meat(tofu)-and-potatoes dinner, but inspired by the Marinated Asian Tofu Recipe in Veganomicon, we gave it a twist. The tofu was delicious, and we sauteed bok choy in the marinade from that recipe (and then mixed them into the potatoes, which you can do or not). The Thai Curry Mashed Potatoes that we made up to top it all off were spicy, creamy, quick and easy. Enjoy!

Thai Curry Mashed Potatoes
Makes 4-6 Servings

4 lbs. potatoes, chopped (about 6 cups)
½ cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon Thai green curry paste
½ teaspoon sesame oil (optional)

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the potatoes until very tender. Drain.
  2. Using a potato masher or electric beaters, mash the potatoes and mix them together with coconut milk, curry paste and sesame oil (if using).

October 9, 2008 at 11:05 am 1 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.