Daily Vegan Lunch for 29 December, 2013: Mini Meatball Barley Italian Wedding Soup

vegan mini meatball soup vegan mini meatball soup
The fresh wheat bread with was made by my friend Yoshie from the natto post.  It was delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons oil
5 cloves garlic
2 cups onion, chopped
1.5 cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1/4 cup vegan baco bits
3/4 cup tomato paste OR 1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon basil
1 cup pearl barley
Up to 1 tablespoon of salt or to taste
1/2 package of Gimme Lean refrigerated vegan sausage, rolled into balls

DIRECTIONS:

In a very large stockpot on medium heat, fry garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons of oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add carrots, baco bits, sage, basil, and celery and allow it to stir-fry for about 5 minutes more.  Add ten cups of water.  Turn heat to high.  Bring the soup to a boil and then turn heat to medium-high, allowing it to simmer at a low boil for 20 – 30 minutes or until the largest piece of carrot is fork tender.

Stir in the cup of pearl barley.  It should take about 20 – 30 minutes to cook.

Meanwhile, roll Gimme Lean into balls and fry them at medium-high heat in a pan in a small amount of oil or in a tablespoon of water until they are brown.  You can also use purchased frozen veggie meatballs, cut up veggie sausage, or a can (do not fry) of rinsed, cooked beans such as navy beans or kidney beans.

Stir in the tomato paste or sauce.

You might have noticed at this point that this soup does not use broth.  When you consider that all vegetable broth is pretty much the strained water from boiling vegetables a long time, you can see why I didn’t worry about using actual broth.  Add salt, little by little, until the soup tastes good, up to a tablespoon.

Add the fried meatballs or unfried beans to the soup.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 23 December: Japanese Hot Pot

vegan sukiyaki japanese tofu hotpot vegan sukiyaki japanese tofu hotpot
I
NGREDIENTS:

1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (1.5 cups reconstituted)
2 carrots (approximately 2 cups) peeled and chopped roughly
1.5 cups leeks, chopped
3 kombu seaweed squares
3 cups water
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cups cooked noodles — I used soba
1 tablespoon oil
1.5 cups tofu

DIRECTIONS:

Cook soba noodles or any other kind of long, thin noodles according to package directions, set aside.  You can use anything from tofu shirataki to ramen noodles to thin spaghetti or no noodles at all, it just depends on what you like.

Drain the tofu and cut it into thick slices.  Blot the slices with a paper towel or a clean towel to absorb excess water.  Cut the tofu into cubes.  In a medium sized pan that can withstand high heat (I used a cast iron pan) heat one tablespoon oil until it smokes.  Add tofu to the pan.  Toss the tofu around until it browns on all sides, about two minutes.  Take the tofu off heat and set it aside.

Soak the whole dried shiitakes in enough water to cover them (they will float) for 15 minutes in a bowl.  Reserve the soaking water.  In a medium sized pot, combine carrots, kombu squares, mushrooms and their soaking water, and three cups of water.  Let it come to a boil and then reduce to medium.  Allow it to simmer until carrots are slightly tender, about 7 minutes.  Add leeks, soy sauce, and sake.  Heat through, about one minute, then take off the heat.

Serve sukiyaki by ladling all the separate ingredients into bowls — carrots, leeks, mushrooms, tofu cubes, noodles — and then spooning broth over the whole thing.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 4 December, 2013: Unchicken Udon

Udon is the fastest meal in the East or the West. It is a street food in Japan. I like udon because the noodles don’t need cooking — they only need to sit in hot water long enough to separate. Even the frozen or dry ones don’t take very long.

un-chicken udon vegan

IMG_3789

2 packages dry, frozen, or refrigerated udon (I used refrigerated)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (sweet cooking wine, alternately, use any dry white wine and add a couple teaspoons of sugar)
2 tablespoons sake
1.5 cups green onions, chopped
Salt to taste

4 – 5 Gardein chicken tenders or 2 cups any vegetable protein (seitan, tempeh, smoked tofu) cut into bite sized chunks

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare veggie chicken by baking at 400 for 20 minutes on a cookie sheet. Turn over and let them cook for 5 more minutes.

Finely chop green onions and set them aside.

Mix broth, soy sauce, mirin, and sake in a pot on the stove and heat until nearly boiling on medium-high heat.

Remove noodles from packaging and drop them directly into the broth. Frozen or dry noodles will take up to 4 minutes longer than refrigerated ones.

If using refrigerated noodles, turn off the heat immediately. For frozen or dry, wait until the noodles are al dente.

Add onions and mix.

Top the soup with pieces of unchicken or other veggie meat.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 3 November, 2013: Spicy Tomato Alfredo Penne with Chard

creamy tomato sauce penne

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups cooked penne, ziti, or farfalle pasta

4 cups chard, shredded

Sauce

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup soaked cashews OR if you do not have a great blender, 3/4 cup cashew butter
1 tomato or 1.5 cups chopped tomato
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce or to taste
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup of water

The sauce ingredients in the blender:

IMG_3634

DIRECTIONS:

Cook pasta to al dente, drain and set aside. Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. In a pan, stir-fry the chard on medium heat in a little oil or water until it wilts, about one to two minutes. Mix chard, cooked pasta, and creamy sauce. I used a lovely chard called “rainbow chard” that was deep, lush green with red stems.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 1 November: Cloud Ear Mushroom Fried Rice

vegan cloud ear mushroom fried rice

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon oil
2 cups rice, preferably long grain, cooked and then refrigerated or frozen
1.5 cups any kind of mushrooms, I used dried cloud ear mushrooms also known as Chinese black fungus
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup green onions

2 teaspoons mushroom vegetarian oyster sauce or soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Soak mushrooms for 2 hours to reconstitute if you are using dehydrated ones.  Drain them in a colander and set aside.  Prepare ingredients and place them stove side.  Be sure to use refrigerated or frozen rice as only then will it  be firm enough to stand up to heat.

In a large pan, heat the oil to the smoking point.  Add the mushrooms and the rice.  Stir fry about one minute.  Add the spinach, mushroom or soy sauce, and green onions.  Toss to combine until evenly distributed.  Finish with sesame seed oil and salt, mix through, and take off heat.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 22 October, 2013: Spicy Tomato Soup with Sticky Rice Cakes

vegan tomato soup with gochujang and tteok

INGREDIENTS:

1 teaspoon oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 medium sized ripe tomatoes or 2 cups stewed tomatoes from a can and their juice
1 tablespoon Gochujang (spicy Korean chili paste)
1 cup almond milk
1 cup tteok (Korean sticky rice cakes) soaked overnight or boiled in water for 30 seconds
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Soak 1 cup refrigerated tteok, either the flat or cylindrical ones, in water for 2 hours or overnight. Alternately, boil them in 2 cups of water for 30 seconds. Sauté onion and garlic in oil for 2 minutes in a small pan on medium heat. Roughly chop tomatoes and put them in the blender. Add the onion/garlic mixture, gochujang, almond milk, and salt.

Blend until smoothly pureed, about 2 minutes.

Heat the soup on the stovetop or microwave and stir in tteok before serving.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 21 October, 2013: Rustic Bread Soup

Many people don’t realize most bread, including sourdough, is vegan. It’s a combination of yeast, flour, sugar and salt. Unless there’s an egg wash or a butter top, bread is as vegan as it gets.

This dish reminds me of pre-made frozen white bread dumplings my mom used to make with gravy. Like most meat dishes, it was a heavy, greasy dish. This version brings me back to all of the good things about that dish with none of the grease or heavy fat that used to stick to everything.

vegan rustic bread soup
INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon oil
1.5 cups chopped onion

1.5 cups chopped celery
1.5 cups chopped carrot
1.5 cups chopped peeled potatoes
2 cups chopped red cabbage or other cabbage (I just really like red cabbage this time of year as you can probably tell)
6 cups vegetable broth (I used water, 2 broth cubes, and a pinch of salt)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 cups pureed tomatoes (I used some late garden tomatoes puréed in the blender)
1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh garlic

1-2 slices of bread per bowl, I used a crusty homestyle bread from a bakery

DIRECTIONS:

Sauté onion and cabbage in oil in the bottom of a large stockpot on medium high until translucent. Add cumin and paprika and saute 30 more seconds. Add celery, carrot, potatoes, and broth. Cook until carrots and potatoes are fork tender. Add pureed tomatoes, basil, and garlic and cook 10 – 15 more minutes. To serve, place 1-2 slices of bread in the bottom of the bowl and ladle soup over it like this:

IMG_3539