My husband and I have recently experimented with new vegan cheez/cheese substitutions in recipes. When our blender broke and we started using tahini frequently as a base for sauces and dips, etc., John created this Italian-inspired dish and it was such a success that I jumped at the opportunity to photograph and feature it here. Continue reading
I took all photos with my phone instead of a proper camera, out of eagerness to post this recipe.
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).
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.
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:
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
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.
Now for the filling.
Tofu Rancheros – Filling for the Quinoa Tortillas
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)
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.
1 pkg toasted sushi nori sheets
1/2 pkg firm tofu (the kind packed in water)
1/2 ripe avocado
1/2 red bell pepper
1 large carrot
unhulled toasted sesame seeds, aka Gomashi
food processor or high-powered blender i.e. Vitamix or NutriBullet
Tamari or soy sauce
Many airlines offer special meals to accommodate passengers of varying lifestyles and dietary preferences. American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and Continental Airlines, to name a few, provide a number of alternative meal types on long-distance flights including Western vegetarian/vegan, vegetarian Jain (pure vegetarian/vegan meal adhering to the principles of the Jain belief system), and raw vegetable and/or fruit plates. These alternative meals must be confirmed in advance at the time of ticket purchase or at least 72 hours prior to check-in. These options might vary according to seasonal availability and changes in budget.
Choosing a Vegan In-Flight Meal
When booking your flight, keep an eye out for a “special dietary preferences” checkbox or button. This will take you to a new page or menu where the following options should be listed: Continue reading
This Thai Corn Soup with Kale is low fat. Low Sodium. Sugar Free. Gluten Free. Nonetheless it is flavorful and satisfying, and reminiscent of traditional Thai soups. While canned coconut milk is a “key ingredient” in soups and curries served at Thai restaurants in the USA, I just can’t stomach the 30+ grams of fat per serving or 40 grams of sugar. I am excited about this recipe because it manages to emulate the “traditional” quality I would expect at a Thai restaurant– without the fat / sugar / sodium overload. The tofu makes this a hearty, substantial meal despite the absence of animal protein. Continue reading
Photo from my Instagram, username: Vivaluminosa
This tofu scramble is inspired by vegan cookbook legend Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Scrambled Tofu Revisited on the Post Punk Kitchen (PPK) website. As implied by Isa, scrambled tofu is one of the most common vegan option out there. Not only can you expect to find it in vegan cookbooks, it’s quite possibly the most widely-offered at breakfast restaurants with vegan menu options (i.e. substitute tofu scramble for the egg in an omelet). Personally, I almost always pass on it because it seems too much like “lunch”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to advocate straying from conventions about what foods/dishes should be eaten at particular meals or times of day. That said, when I go out to breakfast / brunch I almost always want “breakfast food”, and thus not really in the mood for tofu cut in perfectly square cubes. But while visiting my friend Melissa in Portland, we decided to make brunch. Naturally, scrambled tofu was the first to come to mind. While brainstorming recipe ideas and/or ways to dress up or enliven the basic standard version, I came across the PPK website and Isa Chandra’s guidelines for scrambled tofu and tips for making it awesome. Continue reading