Tag Archives: tofu

Quick “fish-ish” tacos with two-minute slaw

Let’s talk about let-downs.

Jarrod and I have been following our New Years Resolution to cook more at home and we are loving it. Every day I tease him about being a “salad guy” at work because he’s always so proud of bringing in a big, colourful salad full of tomatoes and zucchini and carrots and greens. Then at night we come home and usually have a nice big grain and veggie bowl, or some soup for our souls.

But the past couple weekends have been a bit stressful — Jarrod’s train club had its winter open-house two weekends in a row which meant that I didn’t really get to see him all weekend, including on the long weekend.

Missing Jarrod on weekends is hard. We are both so busy during the week that our weeknights together end up being pretty quiet, but we love taking walks, making food and going on dates during the weekend. So on the third day of Family Day weekend, we decided that Jarrod would leave his train show early and we’d go to Bloomer’s for a limited-time special they were hosting — eggplant “fish” and chips.

Jar’s British, so as you can imagine, he was pretty excited for the idea.

So excited, in fact, that we forgot to check the time that Bloomer’s was open until. After about a half-hour subway ride, we emerged from the underground to find Bloomer’s in darkness, having closed before we even left our place. With no one to blame but ourselves, all we could do was laugh all the way back home.

Fortunately, when you have a well-stocked fridge and a good imagination, there’s no telling what you can and can’t do. Could we make a facsimile for breaded fish and chips? Well, not quite yet. But we did manage to pull together an easy, slightly “fishy” flavoured tofu filet and a classic purple ‘slaw to make what I’m calling “fish-ish” tacos without the heavy breading. I’ll leave that to Bloomer’s!

Fish-ish tacos with two-minute slaw

Prep time: 20 minutes passive (tofu pressing), 10 minutes active
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: Four tacos
Allergen info: Nut-free, gluten-free (depending on choice of taco wraps)
Alternate options: For a grain-free option, use lettuce wraps instead of wheat or corn tortillas
Kitchen tools required: Knives and cutting board, mixing bowl, frying pan and spatula

 

Ingredients

  • 2/3 of a block firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 7.5 ml (1/2 tbsp) onion powder
  • 0.62 ml (1/4 tbsp) kelp granules
  • Dash of Old Bay seasoning (optional)
  • One lemon, cut into wedges
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) shredded carrot
  • 250 ml (1 cup) finely sliced purple cabbage
  • One shallot, finely chopped
  • Scant 63 ml (1/4 cup) vegan mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Press the tofu (about 20 minutes) and slice into eight “nuggets” down the short side of the block.
  2. Rub the tofu lightly with a lemon wedge.
  3. Sprinkle on the onion powder, salt and pepper, kelp granules and Old Bay Seasoning if using.
  4. Cook in a frying pan over medium-high heat using only a bit of oil for five minutes per side or until golden and crispy.
  5. Make the slaw: thinly slice the cabbage and grate the carrots, toss with the chopped shallot and mix thoroughly with vegan mayonnaise and salt and pepper.
  6. Assemble the tacos — two tofu nuggets per taco, a generous heaping of slaw and whatever else you feel like. We added avocados and cilantro, but get creative!

You want my advice? Enjoy this on a patio if you’re one of the lucky Torontonians experiencing above-10-degree weather! Okay, bring a sweater, but still — don’t let these sunny days pass you by!


Slow-cooker tofu bulgogi

I never thought I’d see the day when I’d find those irritating one-minute cooking videos (you know, the kind people share on Facebook that usually feature an entire brick of cream cheese?) useful to me. But lo and behold, one of my foodie cousins shared a video that must have started autoplaying before I was playing attention (when the first frame says “2 lbs of flank steak” I’m likely to feel ill before I even consider moving forward in the video) because I actually found myself thinking, “Hmm, I could veganize this.”

We don’t use our slow-cooker very much (Jarrod has pointed out that it’s older than me), but after getting a ton of shit done on Saturday, I decided I’d earned a less “involved” dinner. To the slow-cooker!

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Lemon pepper tofu salad (plus, where have I been?)

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Sigh. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? To be honest, when I wrote my last post I kind of knew I wasn’t really back and gung-ho for sure. I didn’t even bother promoting it on Reddit, Facebook, anything, and I just kinda let it die.

December and January were hard times for me, to be honest. I was going through some personal issues and it made it hard for me to focus on anything but work. Writing blogs felt weird — I’m not a fan of discussing specific personal matters on my blog, but putting on this cheery front seemed dishonest. The blog became more of a headache than a fun hobby, and the recipe writing process was starting to get really intense and overwhelming for me.

Most of my personal issues are aside (and everyone around me has even noticed that I seem a lot happier, which is a bonus). But even then, the truth is I’m a little unsure about Urban Garlic’s future — at least in the short term.

I am still working on the e-book, and in fact have written out a transcript for the actual text. I’m now working on doing a few test runs with the recipe before planning a few photo “party” days (when it gets a little warmer I want to do a trip out to my parents’ place to have a patio party with my vegan food).

Aside from that, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been treating UG like something it isn’t: a “professional” blog. I’ve given in to a lot of blogger rhetoric about how blogs are supposed to treat this blog like a business if I want it to grow like a business. The fact is, I don’t want to get rich off my blog. I want people to read it, yes, but I have a good job and am only at the bottom of a fairly tall ladder to climb.

When I started UG, I was at a full-time job that made me feel unfulfilled and didn’t challenge me. I used my brain so little during the day, and blogging made me feel productive. I was subbing for every dance class at my studio that I could just to latch onto some happiness. Now, my job is not only exciting and fun and exactly what I wanted to do when I got into journalism, it’s tough work. Writing a blog post during business hours isn’t exactly something I can (or should) pull off.

But I know I don’t want to give up the blog. So I’m just re-thinking how I approach this. Sticking to a regular schedule would be nice, but I think I need to give myself time to think of what what schedule is. Lately we’ve been in a real habit of being super productive on Sundays, so I think allowing myself some time to write blogs on Sundays — carve out a chunk of time when I’m super-energetic and motivated and the food is still fresh in my mind.

As for what will be on this blog besides just recipes, I’m thinking it’s time to start letting Urban Garlic be a “regular blog” on top of being a recipe blog. I’d like to be able to share a little bit about what I’ve done with my day/week on top of the super-structured pieces. Frankly, when I write “how to” and advice posts, I feel like I’m pretending to be someone else (read: someone with her shit together). I’d really love to just talk about things that are on my mind, which mostly still revolve around work, exercise, health and beauty, my cat (!!!!) and, duh, food.

Anyway, I wanted to thank anyone who actually got through that wall of text. I told myself I wouldn’t over-explain, but, well… it’s me.

So you know how I mentioned we’re really productive on Sundays? This salad was the result of those productive Sundays. We “slept in” (8:20 is sleeping in for us), had a nice quick breakfast and then suddenly I got an urge to get rid of a bunch of clothes, clean my room, re-organize, well… everything. In between, we made ourselves a quick but hearty salad. Proof that those “clean out the fridge” salads can still have a great theme and flavour.

This salad admittedly was quick because we already had the quinoa in the fridge we wanted to use up, but you can also let that boil while prepping everything else.

Since it’s getting sunnier and milder, I was really in the mood for lemon pepper — my favourite summer flavour (I don’t really like vinegar-heavy dressings, I’m more into lemon). This salad is definitely heavy on the lemon, so bear that in mind. You could also replace the lemon and pepper with equal parts cumin and lime for an interesting taste!

Lemon pepper tofu salad

    • Prep time: 20 minutes
    • Cook time: 20 minutes
    • Yield: Two servings
    • Allergen info: Gluten-free, nut-free depending on vegan parm recipe

Ingredients

Lemon pepper tofu

  • Four 1cm thick slices of extra-firm tofu (pressed, sliced down the shorter side)
  • 1/2 lemon+some zest
  • 1 tsp cornstarch, arrowroot starch or potato starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Cracked peppercorns (optional, if you’re feeling extra fancy — use instead of ground pepper)

Lemon tahini dressing

  • Juice from one whole lemon (about 3 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • Small drizzle extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 small garlic cloves, minced

Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2-3 fistfuls of spinach or mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • Vegan parm, optional (I used the nut-and-seed parm recipe from Oh She Glows’ Caesar salad recipe)

Method

  1. Prepare the quinoa first, as this will take longest. We didn’t add any extra herbs or spices to the quinoa, we just salt the water. Prepare according to your own preferred method (we use a rice cooker so we can leave it be).
  2. For the tofu: after pressing (about 10-20 minutes) and slicing, mix the spices together with the starch in a bowl. Rub the tofu with the juice from a lemon (about 1/2 of the lemon will coat both sides) and then dust both sides with the spice mix, as well as the zest and pepper flakes if using.
  3. Cook on a countertop grill for about 10 minutes, or a well-oiled, treated cast-iron pan or BBQ for five minutes per side.
  4. Mix the dressing in a small bowl while tofu is grilling.
  5. Assemble the salads (as you can see, we sliced the tofu into little triangles of grilled deliciousness).

Enjoy this salad — it really was the perfect way to welcome this warm weather and fill me up and fuel the rest of my productive day (which included hand-washing some clothes, re-organizing my entire room, and yes, writing this blog post). What recipes make you think of spring and summer? What productive thing are you avoiding doing right now? Let me know in the comments!


Fluffy chickpea “eggs” (soy free!)

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Tofu scramble is and always will be my favourite vegan breakfast. Aside from pancakes. And French toast. And smoothies. And toast with berries and PB and cacao nibs.

Okay, much like parents and their children, I can’t actually pick a favourite (except every parent secretly does have a favourite, the favourite is ME in the case of my parents, and in the case of my favourite vegan breakfast it’s PROBABLY still tofu scramble).

But for those who aren’t a big fan of tofu or eating a ton of soy, or just those who want to try something different, chickpea flour is a great, easy and even CHEAP way to get yourself fluffy, yellow eggieweggs in the morning.

No soy tofu scramble – “I am not tofu scramble.” GET IT?! IT’S A JOKE EN ESPANOL.

Ugh, I need to stop using this blog as a platform for my amateur comedy hour.

Anyway, chickpea flour will result in a slightly different texture than tofu. There are a few pros and cons here, so I’ll outline the both of them:

  • PRO: You can actually cook your veggies right IN to the “eggs” instead of having them just kinda THERE.
  • PRO: The “pancake” texture of the chickpea eggs makes them way easier to work with in the pan.
  • CON: It will probably end up tasting a little cake-like no matter how well you cook it.
  • CON: It can have a pretty plain taste if you don’t add in some good spices.

Nevertheless, I think I’ve successfully cracked the code re: chickpea flour eggs. Here’s my recipe for a nice scramble to share with a loved one or just yourself, because you love yourself enough to eat two servings of chickpea eggs today.

Chickpea scramble, serves two

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cups chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk
  • 1 tbsp EVOO, plus more for frying
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos (coconut aminos will make this recipe 100% soy free, and you can also easily find a gluten-free tamari or soy sauce to suit any dietary restrictions)
  • Two small handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tbsp packed sundried tomatoes in oil (about 2-3 tomatoes), julienned
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Pinch of tumeric
  • Pinch of nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (use Indian black salt* if you can find it)

*Black salt, or kala namak, is not actually black but a pinkish grey, fine (almost powdery) salt. It’s difficult to find and is probably best found in Indian or south Asian marketplaces. While it’s not essential to the recipe it will lend a very unique, sulfur-like taste to the eggs and make them truly taste more “eggy.”

Instructions

  1. Heat a small amount of EVOO in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Prep your veggies — chop your garlic and tomaotes, and slice your green onions. Save a few of the ends of your onions for garnish.
  3. Combine the chickpea flour, water, milk, oil and tamari, whisking thoroughly to get rid of any lumps.
  4. Add in your spices and veggies, reserving one handful of the spinach.
  5. Pour the mixture into the warm pan. Let the mixture cook like a pancake until it is semi-hard, then begin to scramble it.
  6. Once you’ve broken up the mixture, add in the rest of your spinach and any extra oil if the skillet is too dry. Reduce the heat to 1-2, cover the pan and let cook until the spinach is wilted.
  7. I served this yummy delicious meal with some avocado toast. You can add in some potatoes if you REALLY want to make this a big, filling breakfast. It might also be nice to add in some TVP bits to act like bacon bits, or some sliced mushrooms for protein.

Loaded breakfast burrito with tempeh

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I am probably the last vegan in the world to come around to tempeh. I have always been a huge tofu fan and have never really seen much of a need for tempeh, I guess. Couple that in with a few bad experiences with poorly-prepared tempeh, not to mention the hard-to-take smell when you pull it out of the package (hey, does anyone actually enjoy the smell of something that’s been fermented?) and I’d all but sworn off tempeh.

Then, like pretty much any food, all I had to do was taste it prepared the right way, and I was hooked. My partner and I travelled to Hamilton for lunch a few weekends ago and were recommended a little place called Democracy*. And I had just a bite (I’d have had more if it didn’t have apples on it) of my partner’s tempeh, apple, maple and Daiya sandwich and suddenly all I could think about for days was tempeh. It was sliced so thin and done up so crispy and savoury in a way that completely complimented the sandwich.

Mmmm.

So lately, I’ve been thinking about ways to incorporate tempeh into my life. And actually, in a weird way, it’s quite the phenomenal feeling. I was worried a few weeks ago that I’d “run out” of ideas to keep up with my current posting schedule. All it takes is one little moment of inspiration and suddenly you’re full of new ideas. So I say, bring it on, life. I’ve got recipes galore.

I love a good breakfast burrito. And this is one that switched it up from the usual. Because, you know, tempeh! Of course, you don’t have to eat it for breakfast. Remember how Andy Dwyer said “Anything is a toy if you play with it?” Anything is breakfast if it’s your first meal of the day.

This burrito is also a big step for me because it’s the first time I’ve ever voluntarily made and eaten red peppers. Okay, there weren’t a lot in there,  but it was still a major step for me. My least favourite vegetable is slowly growing on me.

Loaded breakfast burrito with tempeh, makes three burritos

Ingredients

  • Half of a package of tempeh
  • One medium Yukon gold potato
  • One large tomato, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 – 1/3 of a red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped red or white onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh packed cilantro
  • A handfull of kale or spinach leaves
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper or cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp dried cilantro
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Three large tortilla wraps, use gluten-free if necessary
  • For garnish: salsa, avocado, Herbamare or anything else you may enjoy

Instructions

  1. In a medium to large-sized pot, bring some water to a boil and boil your potato for about 20 minutes
  2. While that’s goin’ on, crumble your tempeh (just use hands, but wash them, because who knows where they’ve been?!) into a bowl. Add your paprika, chipotle, cumin, parsley, cilantro, red pepper flakes, sea salt, black pepper, and shake around.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat some canola oil over medium-high heat. Add your garlic, tomato, bell pepper and onions. Sautee until the pepper softens and the onions become clear (about 5-10 minutes)
  4. Remove the potato from the boiling water and, wearing a glove (preferably silicone), dice it into small chunks. Add to the skillet, along with the fresh cilantro.
  5. Keep everything moving until you feel the potatoes start to become tender. When you can almost mash them with your flipper, add in the tempeh and the kale/spinach, squeeze in your lemon juice for some nice steam/aroma, reduce heat to medium low, and cover for about 5-10 minutes (until the leaves start to wilt).
  6. Prep your burritos with whatever you like. Personally, I find the meaty texture of tempeh contrasts well with ripe avocado, and some salsa to add a nice kick.

Enjoy your new favourite breakfast!


Coco-Kiwi breakfast parfait

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It feels like smoothies have ruled my life for the past few months. Becoming a part-time “food blogger” has made me live my life almost to a parody degree, including homemade, colourful, veggie-based dishes, a wonderfully minimalist beauty routine and smoothies, smoothies, smoothies!

Anyway, I felt a need for something different a few days ago. My current smoothie routine has seemingly run out of steam. I’m looking forward to when the sun creeps out full-time and I’m inspired by the flowers and the colours to create something new and cool.

But in the meantime? This proved to be a pretty sweet alternative.

It’s quite similar to my chocolate mousse parfait from Christmas. The differences? This one’s thicker, it’s coconutty, and, of course, KIWI.

This one actually requires to be made ahead if you really want it to get thick by sitting in the fridge overnight. I find the peanut butter in this helps to take the edge off the tofu taste, so if you’re one of those people who still wigs out at the idea of sweet tofu, you’re in luck. The flavours develop even more strongly overnight.

Coco-Kiwi breakfast parfait, serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 small brick silken tofu (my bricks were about 6-8 oz), cubed
  • 2 tbsp young coconut flesh — I got mine straight from the source, but if you don’t feel like struggling with chopping open a coconut, you can buy coconuts pre-sliced
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut nectar, maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 kiwi, skinned and sliced into small rounds
  • Shredded coconut
  • Granola of your choice (I used Jordan’s Morning Crisp chocolate granola)

Instructions

Like I said, prepare all this several hours ahead (or overnight, since this is totally a breakfast thing).

  1. First, if you’re chopping open a coconut, do so with a trusting loved one nearby and watch out for your fingers. Let’s just say I learned this the hard way. I’m okay though.
  2. Cube your silken tofu so it blends more easily and scrape the coconut flesh out, adding to the blender.
  3. Add in your liquid sweetener and blend to liquify.
  4. Once the mixture appears pureed, add in the cocoa, peanut butter and chia seeds.
  5. Now get ready to layer! I added in the coconut-tofu liquid, then a few slices of kiwi, a dusting of coconut, granola, and then repeated.
  6. Take your time eating this. Truly appreciate the beauty. OMG. And keep it away from your cat.

Easy crusted tofu nuggets

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My family’s go-to meal when we were children was chicken fingers. I was a really, really picky child, and we were usually pressed for time in some way or another. What is it about picky eaters and chicken fingers? We just love those things, man.

I’m proud to say I have moved on from chicken fingers (obviously) and don’t even really crave unchicken that often (and when I do, you know where to find me — at the Hogtown Vegan!) but sometimes I do love a good crunch.

Not the cool, fresh crunch of a cucumber or a carrot. Although those sound pretty great right now. Mmm.

But no! I’ll save those for the sides. This is a grown-up take on nuggets (or you could do them in fingers or sticks). They’re not overly battery, but they sure do provide a good crunch. The best thing is you can still serve this with a nice “grown-up” side dish like some steamed veggies, a bit of rice — holy crap, that’s one easy, classy meal you’ve got there! If you’re wondering what’s on top of them in that picture, that’s a bit of my cilantro pesto that I made this week.

But onto the recipe!

Easy crusted tofu nuggets, makes 3 medium servings

Ingredients

  • One brick extra firm tofu, drained and cut into small cubes or sticks
  • 1/3 cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried orregano
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Press the tofu using either a tofu press or some clean kitchen towels with a great deal of weight on it. Don’t press it quite as much as you normally would — only about 10 minutes. Some moisture will let the coating stick more.*
  2. Warm a cast iron pan on medium heat with a light-tasting oil with a high smoke point, such as coconut oil, almond or canola oil — if you don’t have a cast iron, a regular pan will do, but you won’t quite get that seered, charred texture.
  3. Prepare your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Cut your tofu into cubes or strips and toss into the bowl. Toss it around to coat.
  5. Add to the tofu to the pan and let cook for about 10 minutes. Keep tossing and agitating the tofu so that it doesn’t stick, especially crucial in a cast iron pan.

That’s your tofu nuggets for ya — give it a try! Cornmeal is a nice and cheap but versatile coating, it’s gluten-free and adds such a nice, neutral crunch. What’s your favourite comfort food? What do you like to enjoy your nuggets with? Let me know in the comments!


“Keep it simple” tofu scramble and rosemary root veggie home fries

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I love a good tofu scramble. And I really believe that with tofu scramble, there’s no way you can really go wrong. Add whatever you want and eat a dang rainbow.

But lately, I’ve been wanting to scale back and simplify my tofu scramble. Maybe that’s because I have never quite achieved that nice, sulfur-like taste that I admit I missed a bit from scrambled eggs and I wanted to scale back on the other veggies until I cracked (get it!) the code.

That is, until now.

This was what I fueled my Saturday morning with, which proceeded to ballet class, yoga class and an adventure to IKEA. I hope to show you the progress I’m making on our kitchen, my room, and our bathroom. Whee!

“Keep it Simple” Tofu Scramble, serves three (or two very hungry people!)

Ingredients

  • One brick extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • Three cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella Daiya or other shredded non-dairy cheese
  • 3 tbsp tumeric
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Black salt, to taste*

*This charcoal-infused salt is what gives the scramble that nice “eggy” taste. It’s tough to find (I found it at The Big Carrot) and is a tad pricey. Just sub with regular salt if you can’t find or don’t feel like the splurge.

Directions

  1. Drain and press the tofu
  2. While the tofu is pressing, chop your garlic
  3. Warm the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Let sautee for about four minutes or until fragrant
  4. While the garlic sautees, crumble the tofu (I shred it a bit with a fork before breaking it down with my fingers to give the chunks some nice variety in size). Mix in a large bowl with the tumeric and the nutritional yeast.
  5. Add the tofu to the pan and sprinkle on the black salt.
  6. Toss in the Daiya and spinach and mix around. When the spinach is wilted, the Daiya should be nicely melted.

Rosemary root veggie home fries

Did I ever love these! I’ve been increasingly obsessed with root vegetables outside of standard potatoes (and you guys know how I feel about potatoes!), and this was a great, colourful start to my day. It was ridiculously easy to do while working on the tofu!

Ingredients

  • One Yukon gold potato, cubed
  • One parsnip, cubed
  • One sweet potato, cubed
  • One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • One sprig rosemary
  • Four cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • One lemon, divided into quarters
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Celsius and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Cube the veggies and add to a plastic zip baggie or a bowl
  3. Add the rosemary stems to the bowl along with the oil, chopped garlic, and juice from 1/4 of the lemon. Mix around and add to the baking sheet. Add the remaining 3/4 of the lemon to the sheet to add an extra lemon-y aroma.
  4. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the veggies start to brown

I enjoyed this dish with some Julienned carrots and blueberries, and of course an herbal tea. It was a great breakfast for energizing me which surprisingly didn’t weigh me down. And seriously, it was so easy!

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a new vegan, gluten-free bread recipe — so make room in your stomachs!


Festive breakfast partfait with chocolate tofu mousse

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Y’all ready for this?

Are you?

I don’t think you’re ready for this, because in the next few days, I’m going to be posting a disgusting amount of food. Let’s just say my partner and I had an astoundingly fun weekend of kitchen experiments and all were successful. And what a better way to celebrate than to share on the ol’ blog?

So, there are three things in this world that, while not on the same level as air, water and food are pretty much essential to my survival. Those three things are:

  • Sweatpants
  • The music of Drake
  • Chocolate

My mother just texted me yesterday panicking because she was packing my stocking and had no idea what to give a vegan in the way of snackies. Oh, mother. If you only knew. If you only knew the possibilities that existed.

I don’t work a lot with silken tofu, but I was at an Asian supermarket on Friday and decided to pick some up. I thought, “There has to be a way to make a nice, sweet breakfast out of this.” My partner doesn’t really like “big” breakfasts, but he is a yogourt guy. So I thought, maybe I can meet him halfway. And then it came to me.

  • Chocolate
  • tofu
  • mousse.

I mean, come on, right?!

So here’s how you do it:

  • One brick silken tofu, drained but not pressed, cut into cubes for easy blending
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter (optional)

Blend together until mixture becomes smooth. I added the agave gradually, but it all depends on how fast your blender can go.

Let sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to thicken up.

To assemble this parfait, I layered mousse, berry granola, strawberries, goji berries, cacao nibs and an extra drizzle of agave.

Christmas, amirite?

Anyway, the recipe for mousse yields about four parfaits worth, so go. nuts.


Breakfast tacos and a farewell to my floofy hair.

Let me start out with a confession: last night I drove what would normally be a 60 minute drive (closer to 140 minutes, thanks to Friday after-work traffic) to my parents’ place just to do laundry.

When my boss was my age, he owned his own company and had two children.

Okay, I’ll clarify a few things: 1) I did my laundry myself (my parents weren’t even home) and 2) The primary purpose of my venture to my parents’ place in Bowmanville wasn’t even to do laundry. It was to grab an old pair of climbing shoes I’m selling to someone. And I thought, hey, I have a little laundry in my hamper I’d like to get cleaned up, but it’s not enough to justify spending $4 on. So, I did it at my parents’ place. While I was there, I ended up spending some quality time with their pets, playing some piano, taking a dip in the hot tub and using my Mom’s good hairdressing scissors to give myself a much-needed trim.

Good-bye, floof!

Good-bye, floor! My ears, they can see the light of day once again!

But okay, enough of that. We’re here to talk about breakfast tacos.

That’s right. Breakfast. Tacos.

I’m an early riser, even on weekends. And what’s the point of rising with (or before) the sun if you’re not going to really give yourself a damn good breakfast?

I love me a good tofu scramble. And I love me a good burrito. You can see where this is a perfect combination. But yesterday at Whole Foods I found a package of mini corn tortillas on sale for less than $2. For a lot of corn tortillas. So yeah, breakfast tacos suddenly seemed like a funky new thing to start my day with. Tacos are such a nighttime thing. And, since last year’s tacqueria craze hit Toronto, I no longer associate tacos with out-of-the-box, busy-house dinners. No, tacos are actually a pretty fancy meal these days.

Let’s start from the beginning. I make a lot of variations on tofu scramble. But I always follow more or less the same formula in this order:

  1. Oil, onions and garlic on low heat until the onions soften and your kitchen smells amazing.
  2. Diced potatoes, sweet potatoes, or anything else that is very dense (like a bell
    pepper or celery if that’s your bag). I usually have to microwave my potatoes for a few minutes beforehand so they cook more quickly.
  3. Extra protein. Normally I use mushrooms (crimini or shiitake, or portobello if I want to go for a really meaty taste) but sometimes I use black beans or chickpeas.
  4. This is when I toss in my spices and, if I’m using, nutritional yeast. I toss these all around for awhile and let the flavours develop.
  5. Then I add in the softer stuff — anything I want soft but not too wilted in the end. Tomatoes, any greens, olives I guess if you’re into that (I’m NOT).
  6. Finally, the tofu! I make sure it’s nice and pressed, then crumble by hand. Let it soak up all the flavours, add any salt or pepper, and then even add in some Daiya if you want to get some melty cheese in there.

Today’s started with oil, onions and garlic.

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Look how pretty!

Then regular yellow potatoes. Nothing exciting here. Move along, people. But then came the black beans — which also happened to have some corn mixed in from another dish I made. Hey, I’m not complaining! Corn is good for you!

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From there I added some cilantro, parsley and thyme along with some nutritional yeast and let I added tomatoes and some kale I’d found in my freezer. As you can see, my first pan was a bit crowded, so I ended up transferring it over to another.

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And here comes the main event, tofu!

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I added it onto the corn tortillas with a half a slice of Toffuti cheese each and topped with the Whole Foods mango salsa. Mangos and tofu? Hear me out here — it’s a must-eat.

I will admit, four tacos was a bit ambitious. I was originally aiming for three but felt weird leaving a half slice of Toffuti in the fridge. Of course, a kind note for my roommate and the fourth taco sitting in the fridge under plastic wrap gave him a pretty pleasant morning.

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I also enjoyed breakfast with my Yoda mug and a big ol’ homemade vanilla almond latté. Seems like a slow morning? As a matter of fact, minutes later I was on the road and on route to ballet class. I love my ballet classes — I feel such a humbling sense of determination when I’m at the barre.

What’s your favourite variation on tofu scramble? How do you like it — on toast, in a burrito, or solo?