Showing posts with label spicy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spicy. Show all posts

Jan 15, 2017

firecracker chickpeas and vegetables

Meal 2 of Week 4 Prep Ahead menu is Firecracker Chickpeas and Vegetables.  This delicious dish is full of vegetables and beans and is cooked in a spicy chili sauce.

This fiery dish is very versatile because you can adjust the heat level to suit your taste. You can use the called-for jalapeno or not. Or you can use 3 jalapenos. You can increase the garlic chili sauce or reduce it - the choice is yours.

This is a very easy and quick dish to make - made even faster as a Prep Ahead meal, but can still be ready in around 30 minutes, if you make the rice using my Fast and Easy Brown Rice recipe.

The dish is served with steamed broccoli but you can serve it with mustard greens, bok choy or even cauliflower.

Firecracker Chickpeas and Vegetables
Serves 4 to 6 

Firecracker sauce ingredients:
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sweetener

12 ounces broccoli, cut into florets
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (use gloves if needed)
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (2 cups cooked)
3 cups cooked rice

1. Combine the ketchup, vegetable broth, garlic chili sauce, garlic, tamari, cornstarch and sweetener in a small bowl. Stir very well and set aside. 
2. Steam the broccoli until tender. 
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced peppers and onions. Stir-fry (cook, stirring constantly) until lightly charred. Add the chickpeas, cook to heat. Mix the sauce and add to the vegetables. Cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Serve the stir-fry with the broccoli and rice.

© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Aug 24, 2016

arrabiata mostaccioli

The other day I came upon a picture of a non-vegan baked mostaccioli recipe, complete with ooey, gooey cheese. Wanting to make a kinder version of that was my impetus for this recipe. 

It is almost Pantry+ friendly, but not quite, but I was very pleased with the dish, in spite of that. It has 11 ingredients and does take a bit to make, going from stove to oven to bake, but it is well worth it. If you just want to make the sauce and not bake it, then you are still in for a treat.

It's actually pretty simple, cooking plenty of garlic and ground seitan (or mushrooms) in some olive oil, along with a good helping of chili flakes, oregano and basil. Adding the tomato products and letting the sauce reduce and thicken is the key to this quick sauce - ready after only 30 minutes. I was surprised at the depth after relatively such short time. I've heard of sauces that need to cook for hours.

Check out the color and textural difference! It is thick, rich, dark red and extremely flavorful.

Toss the sauce with the pasta and end it right there, taking it to the dinner table, garnished with fresh basil.

Or you can add it to an oven safe skillet, add plenty of melt-able vegan cheese ....

and bake it until bubbly and golden brown. Admittedly, I failed on the cheese part. I used a cashew-based cheese and if the cashew cheese has too much cashews in it, the cheese just simply will not melt because it has too much unmelt-able components - the cashews!

Nonetheless, we enjoyed the dish thoroughly! You, however, can learn from my mistake and bake this with a combination of Follow Your Heart Mozzarella (use the block that you shred at home) and Daiya. Together the two will melt incredibly well for you, just like on a pizza. Or, better, yet, use Somer's Moxarella cheese, which is already melted and only needs to be browned. Should have, would have, could have....didn't!

And if you haven't seen my new YouTube channel, check it out. And subscribe to get up to date new content.

Baked Arrabiata Mostaccioli
Makes 4 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 cups ground seitan (or 1 pound ground mushrooms)
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 to 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (6-ounce) jarred tomato paste (or 7-ounces of tomato concentrate)
2 (15-ounces) jarred diced tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Sugar, if needed
1 pound penne or mostaccioli
2 to 4 cups shredded vegan cheese (preferably a combination of meltable cheeses)
Fresh basil, for garnish

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the seitan, garlic, chili flakes, oregano and basil. Cook, stirring often, until the seitan is golden brown. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 more minute, stirring to incorporate the paste. Add the diced tomatoes and salt. Stir well, bring to boil and reduce to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened and reduced, about 30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain and reserve. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F.
3. Taste and adjust seasoning of the sauce. Add salt and sugar as needed. Add the pasta and toss well to combine. Transfer to an oven-safe skillet and add the cheese. Bake in the pre-heated oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden, about 20 minutes. Once melted, broil the cheese for 5 minutes if it refuses to brown. Serve garnished with fresh basil. 

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Sep 21, 2015

veganmofo - island trip

Here is a twist - vegans are putting vegans on a deserted island! #vgnmf15 has stranded us on this proverbial island most vegans have already been relegated to at one time or another in their veganism. Have I mentioned how much vegans love irony?

The prompt indicates that while we are indeed abandoned on this island (mine is a paradise, thank you very much, with hardly any bugs, a nice mosquito net and other sundry luxuries), all of our nutritional needs are met and therefore we won't need to bring such items as legumes, fruits, grains or veggies.

Now they beg the question, what three food supplies would you bring? I am ubber pleased that we will be well fed, however, the prompt does not say that the food will be tasty.

As a cook, I can immediately see the need for flavorings. Therefore, my three unlimited supply of ingredients are:


I hate to be so basic about it, but let's be real. If I bring chocolate or soda or something luxurious like that, then I'll have yummy snacks but bland food.

I'll risk trying to find a cocoa tree and harvesting my own chocolate or searching for sugar cane or a maple tree; yes, on my island, there will be all these plants just growing naturally - haven't you read Swiss Family Robinson - they had everything on that island!

That would, of course, mean that I can also harvest salt from the ocean, grow hot peppers and distill my own vinegar, but let's just say I'm a lazy vegan and will be stuck without chocolate or sugar! Wah! My scenario is falling apart at the logical seams!

In any case, given that my optimal island scenario won't pan out, all three of my ingredients will help make bland food taste great and unique.

Salt enhances the flavor of the food, spice complements flavors (even if it just a little bit) and vinegar brings a brightness to dishes or balances rich tasting dishes. All three provide a variety of uses and therefore, they are my Island Choices.

I did have a pleasant photo bomb courtesy of Jiji. She wouldn't sit still log enough for a better pic, but she managed to inch just a bit into the shot.

Mar 26, 2014

grilled buffalo tofu po' boy

Ever since Buffalo, New York, introduced Buffalo Wings to the world, buffalo sauce has inserted itself into almost every genre of food. Now you can find all sorts of recipes with buffalo sauce, which is a mixture of butter and hot sauce, from Buffalo Cauliflower, Buffalo Seitan Wings, Buffalo Sandwiches, Buffalo Pizza, Buffalo Shrimp, to Buffalo Chicken Salad, and list goes on.

Traditionally, the item to be sauced is battered and deep fried until crispy and then tossed in the butter and hot sauce mixture. It is then served immediately, to keep the texture crisp, with bleu cheese dressing, which has a cooling effect, thus balancing the heat of the spice.

While I, too, love a great vegan buffalo-ed anything, most of the time the ingredient is deep fried. I wanted to have a buffalo sandwich without all the unnecessary side of fat that usually comes served with the spicy and tangy flavor.

I’ve lightened up the typical buffalo sandwich by eliminating the breading and the need for deep frying the protein. Instead, this sandwich features a grilled tofu and is made into a po’ boy by adding a creamy slaw. The cabbage and apples in the slaw add crunch, the vegan mayo adds creaminess and the vinegar gives it some needed acidity.

The tofu is marinated in the buffalo sauce and then grilled. Once you have the tofu pressed overnight, using a Tofu Xpress or my towel method, this sandwich will come together in about 30 minutes, including marinating. Use a gluten free bread or a gluten-free wrap to make this sandwich completely gluten free.  


Cookbook Update: While my upcoming cookbook, Everyday Vegan Eats, has been available for pre-order for a few weeks, Amazon has updated the information on the book. Look-inside is not available, yet, but a few recipes have been published. Check it out! 

And here is another picture from the book, Fried Vegan Omelet.

I am also linking to these recipe parties! The blogs hosting Healthy Vegan Fridays are Suzanne at Hello Veggie, Anna at Herbivore Triathlete, and Kimmy at Rock My Vegan Socks.  

The blog hosting Gluten-Free Fridays is Vegetarian Mamma.

I’ve also decided to submit this dish to What I Ate Wednesday hosted by Peas and Crayons since, well, it will be Wednesday soon enough!

Oct 9, 2012

bennigan's make over

Bennigan's is sort of close to my heart, as much as any casual dining restaurant can be, because I worked there. As a vegan. Not much fun, as I am sure many other vegans who have to serve body parts feel. This is another time around the Irish-wanna-be  establishment. In the first go-around I promised you a Monte Cristo recipe. I lied. I'm not going to take the time to type it up, because, frankly, it is a pretty gross sandwich. Sorry, if I have offended anyone.

The Broccoli Bites over there, however, are pretty good and I recommend them.

What is a MoFo Make over without something buffalo? I've done Buffalo Wild Wings for MoFo V and Pub Grub for MoFo IV, to satisfy the insatiable need for the buffalo spice. For MoFo VI I am recreating Bennigan's Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. Apparently they no longer have the sandwich on the menu, although they are offering it as a salad. Go figure.  

While this is basically the same thing as the other buffalo recipes, this one is just the sauce, nothing but the hot sauce, coating the seitan. No butter, no garlic, nothing else.

I tried making this with tofu, but it wasn't quite as good as with the seitan. Squeezing out the excess moisture of the seitan before frying is necessary because the crust can get soggy. Also, you can fry all the cutlets first and then bake them to re-crunchy-fy them. This used to be served with Bleu Cheese or Ranch Dressing. I went with the Ranch because that is what my kids like. Below is a quick Ranch dressing that I am finally happy with.

Cost Breakdown

breading: $1
buns: $3
sauce, Ranch: $1.50
condiments: $1
fries: $3
Total to make 4 sandwiches:

Their charge per sandwich (guessing) ~ $10.00
Make Over cost per sandwich: $2.86

Oct 8, 2012

T.G.I. Friday's make over

T.G.I. Friday's is, you guessed it, another casual dining experience, which offers up a bunch of animal-based menu items, with not a vegan meal in sight. Last time I gussied up Friday's, I covered Potato Skins, fried Mac and Cheese, and Jack Daniel's Sesame Chicken. It went well. Now I decided to make over their Dragonfire Chicken. I'm a sucker for cool-sounding menu names, and this one had me all fired up. 

This chicken dish is Friday's low-calorie item, although it still comes in at around 750 calories. I'm not here to fix calorie content, however, so that is not the issue. It's the dead animal on the plate that I'm gearing to replace. Back to the dish. It is marinated in a sweet, parsley-jalapeno sauce, grilled, topped with their spicy kung pao sauce and served with pineapple pico de gallo, mandarin oranges and rice. What? No cheese? Don't all casual dinning restaurants smother everything in cheese? Not this one; which probably accounts for the lower calorie content.

Since the chicken is marinated, I looked to tofu as the replacement. I pressed the tofu (with a Tofu Xpress) for a little amount of time before marinating it in the first of two sauces. The tofu soaked up enough of the marinade to make it matter. I grilled the tofu, spread some of the second sauce over the top and served it up with the pico de gallo

This sounds like a simple dish, and it is, but it is packed with flavor. From the marinade all the way to the pico de gallo, this dish packs a punch. The marinade is sweet, the sauce is deliciously spicy and the tartness of the pico makes for one harmonious plate. This is a great dish. The rice is an appropriate choice to balance all the loud flavors, and it is even served with some broccoli.

Cost Breakdown

tofu: $2
rice: $1
pineapple, tomato, lime, cilantro, onion: $3
oranges, parsley, jalapeno: $.75
oil, sugar, vinegar, tamari, garlic, ginger: $2
broccoli: $3
Total for 4 servings:

Their cost per serving: $7.99
Make Over cost per serving: $2.95

Feb 5, 2012

vine and dine + lentil and rapini stew

This selection of Vine and Dine, courtesy of Tami Noyes, is straight out of Bryanna Clark Grogan's new World Vegan Feast cookbook. The selection, Lentil and Rapini Stew with Vegan Sausage, was excellent! David and I both love rapini and this was no exception. This is a simple recipe with really great flavors. I found it needed more broth than just the 2 cups called for in the recipe, but that might have been because my lentils were a little old (I had to use both French and brown varieties) and  they needed a bit longer to cook.

Also, since I love my rapini with tons of garlic, I added a few more cloves to the onions when they were cooking than the four that Bryanna calls for. Since David is not averse to garlic, this works out just fine. 

This is the third recipe I've made from this cookbook and it continues to impress. Great choice, Tami.

Here is David with the wine:

Tonight’s Lentil and Rapini Stew turned out to be hearty fare with bold flavors!  The fact that the wife added 20 cloves of garlic instead of the 4 that were called for may have capitalized Bold but we both love garlic.  We chose an organic La Rocca Vinyards, 2008 Chenin Blanc to pair with the earthy flavor of the lentils and the spiciness of the vegan sausage.  We were surprised by how well the complex structure of the wine, combined with it’s light hint of fruit (it made me think of pears as I savored the first glass) truly enhanced the bold and earthy flavors of the stew.  We don’t usually partake of white wines but, on this occasion, I’m glad we did because it turned out to be a delightful accompaniment for the evening’s meal.

Oct 4, 2011

buffalo wild wings (MoFo 22)

Buffalo, New York must have been too far for the founders of Buffalo Wild Wings in 1981, based out of Ohio, which must have been the impetus to open a restaurant built around chicken wings. The restaurant makes wings... and about a dozen or so different sauces to coat them. Not only are the chicken wings formerly those of..chickens... the sauces are 'thickened' and 'stabilized' using eggs. Neither is necessary.

Last MoFo I attempted to duplicate chicken wings since they have become such a huge staple in our culture; sort of a bonus for the meat-packers ... they get to sell the chicken meat/carcass and now, thanks to the popular Buffalo Wings, not lose money on the previously not-good-for-anything-but-to-make-stock chicken wings. Fantastic. Except for the chickens.

My last attempt to make wings was a little complicated and I wanted to have another go at it. This recipe uses both seitan and pressed tofu very successfully... and easily. The pieces are coated with a little flour and fried. That's it.

The sauces are pretty great. Buffalo Wild Wing's most popular sauce is the Spicy Garlic one, but if the teaspoon of garlic powder is not enough for you (as for me), add three cloves of minced garlic to the bowl you will be tossing the wings in. They will cook well enough with the residual heat from the frying of the pieces. 

The second sauce, Parmesan Garlic, makes use of roasted garlic and mayo. You can omit the parmesan if you can't find any good vegan ones (Hint: Tami and Celine's new sandwich cookbook will have a fantastic recipe for one in it! Yes!) just up the roasted garlic and add a teaspoon or two of nutritional yeast. 

Serve with fries, celery sticks, a brewskie and ranch dressing. Is it football season, yet?

Wings with Spicy Garlic Sauce

Wings with Parmesan Garlic Sauce