Browse Tag by Low Fat Dinners
Breakfast, Brunch, Main Dishes

Tofu Rancheros with Quinoa Tortillas

I took all photos with my phone instead of a proper camera, out of eagerness to post this recipe.
tofu rancheros with quinoa tortillas

Quinoa Tortillas – Step 1

To make the quinoa tortillas you have two options: With a tortilla press, or without. I will describe each method to give you an idea of what you have or plan to buy before we start rolling (the dough).

Option A

Use a tortilla press. I’m not talking some sort of “as seen on TV” appliance i.e. “The Perfect Pancake” (someone in my family purchased one when I was a child, and now I associate all informercial purchases with smoke alarms and messes). I’m referring to the “traditional” tortilla press, made of cast-iron or cast-aluminum. I was lucky enough to find another one at Goodwill (after my college roommate took the first one, which was also from Goodwill), so chances are you might find one if you’re willing to sort through bins of kitchen appliances at your local thrift store. If you live near one of the so-called Goodwill “Bins” (where everything is dirt-cheap), you have a roughly 75% chance of finding one–if you are eager for a treasure hunt and have 5 hours to spare. On the other hand, if you are not eager or willing to search for a needle in a haystack, you can buy one on Amazon for under $10 (at the lower end, usually cast-alluminum and could be flimsy but works well) or if you have the cash I recommend the cast-iron version which is around $30 and works like a charm. Tip: Don’t buy a fancy CucinaPro 1443 Flatbread and Tortilla Maker. At $70 I think it’s overpriced and it is “Not recommended for use with non-gluten flours”. This makes no sense, since corn (masa) flour is gluten-free.

Option B

When developing recipes I brainstorm all the possible ways a dish could be prepared in absence of a certain utensil or appliance, because not everyone has a food processor on hand (or in this case, a tortilla press). These methods can take longer, but I like to think that most of my recipes can be done with just a knife, fork, spoon, bowl, an oven or stove and a little creativity. So yes, you can make quinoa tortillas without a tortilla press.

Quinoa Tortillas: Step 2

To make the dough you will need:

Ingredients

2 cups toasted quinoa flour
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (because it’s rich in B vitamins and otherwise good for vegans, and it gives the tortillas the appearance of yellow corn)
3/4 cup water + a bit more if the dough is too dry
1 teaspoon coconut oil or your cooking oil of choice (I used coconut because it’s paleo and the flavor complements the quinoa)
Salt to taste. Optional

Method

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, adding water to form the dough. Divide into 12 equal parts and roll each one in your hand to form a ball.

Place each ball between two pieces of parchment paper. Place into a tortilla press if you have one or roll out with a rolling pin, using a small bowl with a circumference similar to that of a standard corn tortilla.

Once each ball of dough is formed into a tortilla, remove one side of the parchment paper and place that side on a skillet over medium heat. Immediately remove the parchment paper from the top side and cook until the edges turn brown and small bubbles begin to form (approximately 2 minutes). Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Repeat until you have a plate of warm and delicious quinoa tortillas. Set aside.

tortilla press
Image courtesy of Chefscatalog.com, featuring the tortilla-making process in a cast-iron press. I am in no way affiliated with them, but you can purchase this item and other types of tortilla press directly from their website or on Amazon.com

Now for the filling.

Tofu Rancheros – Filling for the Quinoa Tortillas

Ingredients

1 package extra firm tofu, drained
1 cup onion, minced
1 can fire roasted tomatoes. You will find these in tiendas (‘Mexican markets’) in the states, or in the ‘Hispanic foods’ section of corporate grocery stores i.e. Safeway, Lucky, Fred Meyer, H.E.B but if you can’t find them use ‘Mexican-style’ stewed tomatoes instead
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or 1 can black beans
1 cup fresh corn (or frozen. You can use a can, but it tends not to work well with recipes like this).
1 4oz can fired roasted green chiles – FYI the Hatch brand and the Trader Joe’s brand (which is probably Hatch anyway, since TJ’s tends to rebrand things according to the relationships it forms with independent brands) sell these diced/chopped. If you can’t find them diced or chopped in a can, buy them whole and chop/dice post-purchase. Or, if you have the skills to do so, fire-roast raw green chiles on your own and then slice/dice them like a pro.
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
chopped cilantro, according to taste or number of people you are serving
fresh sliced lime
1 Tbsp agave nectar
(omit the agave nectar if using Mexican-style stewed tomatoes instead of fire roasted tomatoes, as stewed tomatoes contain sugar so with the agave the result would be too sweet and overseasoned)

Method

1. Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, and oregano. Sauté 5 minutes. Stir in smoked tomatoes, tofu, and corn; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the black beans and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Plate the tortillas (warm them if you made them in advance). Top with tofu rancheros filling and fresh tomatoes, and garnish with cilantro and fresh lime.

¡Buen provecho!
tofu rancheros and quinoa tortillas

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Dessert, Main Dishes, Salads, Sides, Uncategorized

Anti-Valentine’s Day: Let’s Celebrate

I’m not stoked about Valentine’s Day this year. Not because I’m single and bitter, but because it’s one of those Hallmark holidays that creates unnecessary anxiety. Plus, there’s usually way too much sugar involved…so it can’t be healthy on a physical level either. The solution? A festive Anti-Valentine’s Day party with a healthy menu that contains no added sugar, celebrated with friends or family, or a significant other if you have one. So let’s get started.

The Basics, aka Necessary Components for an Anti-Valentine’s Menu:

1. Bitter

Think bitter lettuce i.e. radicchio, endive, escarole, and chicory. Also, lettuces/greens that are considered weeds i.e. dandelion and other wild greens. If serving cocktails, you can’t go wrong with the stiff and bitter Old Fashioned– further reading: this article by Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark of the Cooking Channel food-travel series Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia.

2. Sour

Lemon is a must to accompany at least one dish.

3. Broken Heart

Artichoke hearts or heart of palm (broken or chopped, slivered, sliced, crushed, etc).

4. Skewered

This component is versatile; it can work in a dessert, entree or appetizer. For dessert, try strawberries or other red fruits that look like hearts, skewered on a stick… or with chocolate fondue. For an appetizer or entrée, vegan cheese fondue or veggie kabobs.

5. Blackened or Charred

For an entrée, try portabella mushroom steaks or blackened jerk seitan. I know seitan isn’t paleo, but it’s low carb…and in the context of hating on consumerism and stereotypical ideas about love– I couldn’t resist mentioning a word that bears such a close resemblance to “Satan”.

6. Bleeding

Blood oranges. Sangria (from the Spanish word sangre, which literally means blood). Blood-red heirloom tomatoes.

Having envisioned what would be the necessary components of a anti-valentine’s menu, I searched the web for stand-out vegan recipes that fit the criteria.

Anti-Valentine’s Day Menu

Starter

Burnt Sage and Blackberry Sangria (with bourbon) by Elana of Stir and Strain
burnt-sage-blackberry-sangria Continue Reading

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Main Dishes, Sides, Snacks, Vegan Cheese

5 Ingredient Tofu Ricotta

pizza101
Lately I’ve tried to avoid soy products entirely. However, sometimes faux-cheese cravings are hard to avoid– especially when wheat and other forms of gluten, corn, oil, and nuts are out of the question (I’m trying an elimination diet, and soy has always been the lesser of dietary evils throughout my life). Next week I will experiment with eliminating seeds if soy proves to be a problem. Whatever your situation in terms of dietary preferences or allergies, I want to share this recipe for a low fat, low carb, oil-free vegan alternative for ricotta cheese… because it is so close to the “real thing” it made me pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

I used Westsoy Organic Tofu because it was on sale for $.59 at Grocery Outlet. I usually use Surata brand because it’s more local (made in Eugene OR), though apparently the on-sale impulse buy was a score because I found Westsoy to be the superior choice for this recipe.

Continue Reading

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Italian, Main Dishes, Mediterranean, Skinny Pasta

Heirloom Tomato Fettuccine with Cilantro-Pesto Cheez

vegan heirloom tomato fettuccine

My relationship with pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, linguini, etc.) is interesting. My dad was obsessed with pasta. Pesto pasta, that is– always accompanied by sliced black olives. I remember feeling guilty for eating a few of them whole before slicing and bringing them to the table. My dad’s love for pasta was unwavering and unabashed. Whatever the circumstance– from a potluck or wedding reception to my birthday party or brown bag lunch in the summers for day camp– most every time it was a reused plastic yogurt container filled with pesto pasta, with a smaller reused plastic container of carrots and celery, and an apple from the tree in the backyard. While I got a lot of flack from my classmates for the lack of sugar… no “fruit by the foot”, Go-gurt, jello pudding or snack paks in there…the only packaged “sweet” I ever got was a Nutrigrain bar (remember those?). Anyway, both my parents were very committed to eating right…but it was never as if they decided to “go on a diet” or “cleanse” from years of bad eating or lack of exercise. Continue Reading

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Main Dishes, Snacks

Spicy carrot & orange soup

Carrot and orange Orange Soup

This recipe is adapted from the “dinner on a dollar” Mexican White Bean Soup featured in the November 2012 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I substituted parsnips, eggplant, and extra carrots for the beans, and added 1/2 cup nutritional yeast for a bit of richness and extra dose of vitamins.

Combined with the citrus flavor, the slight sweetness of the carrots and heat from the salsa give this dish a complex flavor profile. If you or any of your guests are intolerant of spicy foods, it may be best to prepare a milder version of the salsa verde instead. In situations such as this I have prepared two different versions (one spicy, one mild) but if you’re short on time I would suggest making one (mild) version served with ground cayenne pepper on the side. If a milder salsa is desired, modifications are offered in the recipe as follows.

While I prefer hot soups this time of year, especially considering how cold it has been lately, this Spicy Carrot and Orange Soup is also delicious served chilled.

Spicy Carrot & Orange Soup

Ingredients

4 medium carrots (2 cups, sliced)
2 parsnips (cups, sliced)
1 medium eggplant
2 large onions (2 cups, chopped)
4 stalks celery, (2 cups) chopped
1 tsp olive oil (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt. I likeCeltic Sea Salt®and Himalayan salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
1 orange
Fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup fresh salsa verde (recipe follows)

Method

Sauté onion, celery, carrots and garlic in a small amount of water or 1 tbsp olive oil until tender.  Add 6 cups water and stir in cumin, salt and cayenne pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are boiled.

Transfer vegetables and broth to to a blender or food processor in increments, depending on the size of your appliance.  Blend until soup is a rough puree. Shred 1 teaspoon peel from orange; then juice the orange.  Remove from heat.  Stir in orange juice, orange peel and salsa verde. Simmer for 2 minutes or until soup is hot. Top with cilantro and sprinkle with cayenne to taste.

Salsa Verde

This salsa verde utilizes many fresh ingredients in addition to canned salsa verde and jalepeno peppers. If fresh tomatillos are not available, canned tomatillos can be used instead with a slightly different yet equally satisfying result.

For a mild version, the jalepenos can be replaced with mild green chiles. Fresh green bell peppers can be used in place of the fresh serrano peppers.

Tomatilos

Ingredients

8 tomatillos
1 medium onion
4 serrano peppers
1 4oz can diced jalapenos

1 4 oz can prepared salsa verde
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 lime

Method

Chop all fresh ingredients by hand or in a food processor. Add canned ingredients, squeeze in lime juice, and mix thoroughly.  Serve atop Spicy Carrot and Orange Soup and a sprig of cilantro for garnish.

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