Sincerest apologizes for the delayed absence, but we tied the knot last week and have been busy with wedding bliss (and reality–newlyweds still have to do laundry, much to my dismay!) Our wedding featured a completely vegetarian menu that we were quite proud of, and which had many friends and attendees exclaiming that “I could be vegetarian if it means eating like this!” This is what it’s all about–spreading awareness and sharing the tasty delights of vegetarian cooking, and reminding people that it’s about savoring what you CAN eat and why it is delicious and better for you, instead of harping on what you cannot have. A full write-up of our vegetarian menu is in the works, but until then, here’s what has been keeping us full in the VegetarianForTwo kitchen the past few weeks:
We added roasted squash and pumpkin seeds to the top for some texture and as a fun garnish– wash seeds well after removing from your squash of choice. Let sit on a towel for at least an hour, or in a colander for 3-4 hours, to remove the water. Spray a baking sheet with oil, spread seeds evenly, then top with salt and curry powder. Top with a light coat of oil, then bake at 200-250 degrees for about an hour until light brown and crisp. Makes a great snack!
Palak Tofu (also called Saag Tofu)
There are a million recipes out there for Palak Tofu (a seasoned Indian dish of slow cooked spinach with either tofu or paneer cheese), but regardless of your favorite, we just HAVE to share this new favorite technique for cooking tofu in dishes where you want it to hold its texture but don’t want to deep fry it!
Cut a piece of PRESSED tofu into the desired shape and size for the recipe at hand. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a cookie sheet with oil or PAM. While its preheating, add a few tablespoons of cornstarch to a medium bowl. Add seasonings that reflect the recipe you’re making (for Palak Tofu, we used curry powder and garam masala) and stir throughout–you should have about a 4:1 ratio of cornstarch to spices. Dredge the tofu pieces in the cornstarch and shake off the excess before laying on the baking sheet. Spray with a final mist of oil to ensure browning. Cook for about 25-35 minutes (depending on the size of the tofu) or until the edges of the tofu are crispy and brown– the tofu should LOOK deep fried. When tasting, it should range from mushy in the middle to crunchy like a crouton, depending on your preference. Voila– “Deep Fried” tofu without any of the oil, calories, or mess! We served our Palak Tofu atop a bed of quinoa and with some naan on the side to sop up the extra sauce!
Zucchini Peanut Noodles with Tofu and Mushrooms
We wanted a pre-wedding dinner that was light on the carbohydrates, so we made ‘noodles’ out of a zucchini (we used a mandolin, but by hand is fine as long as they’re thinly sliced) and let them sit for about 30 minutes over a towel to release some of their natural water. We then marinated tofu and mushrooms in a mixture of soy/hoisin/rice wine vinegar and a little bit of vegan Worcestershire (seasonings to taste). We mixed up a sauce of peanut butter, soy sauce, and other favorite Asian flavors, then tossed the ‘noodles’ in the sauce to let sit while quickly stirfrying the tofu and mushrooms. Mixed all together, it was a great hot meal and we definitely didn’t miss the pasta!
We got a pizza stone and wooden pizza peel for the wedding and were very excited to try out pizza at home with the proper equipment! With summer weather coming to an end, we wanted to savor one of our favorite summer flavors–basil! This tri-pesto pizza has a pesto base, pesto marinated tofu, and a deconstructed pesto topping–pine nuts and parmesean cheese! Topped with some goat cheese and fresh basil, this was perfect for an indulgent carb-fest after the wedding! Next time, we would recommend cooking the tofu separately from the pizza, then adding the pre-cooked tofu atop the pizza to ensure sufficient crunch. Yummmmmmmm basil!
Vegetarian Chili over Spaghetti Squash
One of the best go-to meals in the cooler months is a hearty vegetarian chili– you can make it with your favorite combinations of beans, protein sources (we like crumbled tempeh and soy crumbles to act as ground beef), and whatever veggies you fancy. Stick it in a CrockPot or in a large soup pot for a few hours and freeze for easy weeknight dining when you don’t have time to cook! To cut the carbs, wash a spaghetti squash, cut lengthwise and scoop out the seeds, then bake (cut side down) for about 30-40 minutes. Pull apart the flesh with a fork-it will look like long strands of spaghetti (thus the name!) and top with chili and your favorite toppings. A quick weeknight dinner that’s hearty, healthy, and carb-conscious without missing any of the meat!