Daily Vegan Lunch for 24 December, 2013: Tofu Cucumber Mint Chutney Cold Pita Pizza

vegan cucumber chutney pesto flatbread with tofu IMG_3882INGREDIENTS:

1 pita round
1.5 cups cucumber, sliced very thinly
1 tablespoon prepared mint chutney or prepared pesto

1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon garlic, minced (about one clove)
Salt to taste

3/4 cup firm tofu, drained

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, combine minced garlic, tahini, and salt.  Toast one pita round — I used my broiler on 400 for a minute — and spread it with mint chutney or pesto.  Add a layer of sliced cucumber and tomatoes.  Crumble the tofu and sprinkle on top, then drizzle with garlic tahini sauce.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 18 October, 2013: Black Rice, Tofu, and Red Cabbage

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INGREDIENTS:

2 cups cooked black rice
1/2 avocado (about 1 cup) peeled, pitted, and chunked
1 cup peeled, chopped cucumber
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red cabbage
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste

2 teaspoons oil
1.5 cups firm tofu
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

DIRECTIONS:

Slice tofu and pat the slices dry with a clean towel or paper towels. In a small pan, bring oil near to smoking (medium-high). Cut tofu into cubes and sprinkle them with cumin and garlic salt. Fry the tofu in the hot oil until slightly brown on all sides.

Combine black rice, avocado, cucumber, onion, red cabbage, additional 1/2 teaspoon cumin, vinegar, and sugar (optional) in a medium sized bowl. Add cooked tofu and toss to combine all ingredients.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 16 October, 2013: Fat-Free Jackfruit and Cucumber Salad

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INGREDIENTS:

1.5 cups jackfruit chunks (I used a fresh one that I sliced up and boiled in water for 10 minutes, you can also buy it in tins, make sure to get water-packed and not in sweet syrup)

1 cup chopped, seeded cucumber, do not skin

1 tablespoon chopped green onions

1/2 cup shredded or julienned carrots

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (or 1 half teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon celery salt)

Additional salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a blender or food processor, combine the jackfruit, Old Bay seasoning, and salt. Pulse a few times until just barely chopped. Transfer the jackfruit mixture to a small bowl and combine with cucumber, carrots, and green onion.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 5 September, 2013: Smoky Cream Cheese, Avocado, & Cucumber Sandwich

vegan smoky cream cheese and cucumber sandwich
This cream cheese is so realistic, if I had not made it myself, I would swear it was made with cow’s milk.  I learned the secret from Miyoko Schinner and her Artisan Vegan Life recipes and Artisan Vegan Cheese cookbook.  Just blending soaked cashews with a little water, lemon juice, and salt makes a very convincing cream cheese to begin with, however, if you add Miyoko’s stroke of genius a.k.a. almond milk yogurt and allow the cream cheese to culture/ferment over the course of a day, the results are a dead ringer for dairy cream cheese.

This is a godsend for the lactose intolerant as well as vegans.  I recently wrote Panera Bread about carrying more vegan options — imagine if Panera provided vegan cream cheese!

Which begs the question, why does anyone ever need to torture a cow and take away her babies for cream cheese when you can just make an exact replica cholesterol-free out of cashews and vegan yogurt?

cow and calf
CREAM CHEESE INGREDIENTS:

1 cup cashews soaked in water 9 – 24 hours
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 drops liquid smoke
1/2 cup almond or other non-dairy yogurt, plain flavor
1/4 cup water
Salt, to taste

1 green onion, minced

SANDWICH INGREDIENTS (FOR ONE):

1-2 tablespoons vegan smoky onion cream cheese
2 slices whole grain bread, toasted
1/2 a small avocado, sliced thinly or smashed
4 slices of cucumber, peeled and seeded

DIRECTIONS:

Soak cashews and drain.  I have noticed that with my Vitamix blender, it is far easier to blend cashews in large batches of 2 cups or more.   A good strategy is to make this cream cheese in bulk by doubling the recipe and then freezing the excess.  I used the cream cheese without onions as a base for Mozzarella Basil Caprese Salad from Artisan Vegan Life.

Combine cashews, lemon juice, liquid smoke, water,salt, and yogurt in a blender and blend until very, very smooth.  Alternately, save the blending altogether by replacing the cashews with cashew butter.  Blending soaked cashews into a smooth paste will take longer in a non-high speed blender, however, it can be done.  No matter what kind of blender you have, the sides will have to be repeatedly scraped down.  I use a rubber spatula.    Add water by the tablespoon to get the consistency you want, keeping in mind it will thicken dramatically once it sits out for a day.  Add the minced green onions to the blender and pulse a couple of times until they are incorporated.

Transfer the cream cheese to a container and allow it to sit on the counter for anywhere from 12 – 36 hours.  The yogurt will help the mixture to ferment/culture.  The mixture will thicken as it sits.  The longer you leave it to sit, the more tangy your cream cheese will be.

Chill the cream cheese.  Toast the bread and assemble the sandwich!

Daily Vegan Lunch for 25 August, 2013: Sprouts, Carrot, and Cucumber in Peanut Sauce

vegan sprout salad thai style

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

3 cups mung or soybean sprouts
1 cup shredded or julienned carrot
1 cucumber, julienned or spiralized
1 green onion, minced

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

1 heaping Tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup apple juice
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1 – 2 teaspoons tabasco, Sriacha, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)

DIRECTIONS:

Combine sprouts, carrot, cucumber, and green onion in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and whip with a fork until blended.

Pour dressing over salad just before serving.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 24 June, 2013: Dill Cucumber Spinach Noodles

Fresh dill, lemon, and spinach give this recipe a spanakopita flavor — spanakopita (Greek spinach pie) recipe will be coming in a few days.

vegan dill cucumber noodles

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups cooked Korean noodles or linguine
2 cups spinach leaves
1 cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh dill weed
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a lemon’s juice (about 2 teaspoons) or to taste
1 teaspoon coarse or regular salt, or to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-cook noodles according to package directions, set aside. I set mine aside in the colander and rinse them in cool water right before using them in stir fries to get them not to stick.

In a large fry pan, wilt spinach by placing it in the pan on medium heat and pouring water on it. Wait about 2 minutes, stirring once the water starts boiling off. Add the dill weed, olive oil, and cucumber to spinach and stir them around for about 1 minute. Add the garlic, allow it to cook about 30 seconds. Rinse and add the noodles, mixing them with everything else in the pan. Finish by adding lemon juice and salt to taste.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 18 June, 2013: Stir Fried Udon Noodles With Cucumber and Yuba

vegan cucumber udon

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INGREDIENTS:

One bunch cooked udon noodles (the amount is pictured in my hand above)
3 teaspoons oil
1.5 cups onion, sliced
1/2 a cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 cup crumbled yuba (soybean curd sheets found in Asian grocery stores, optional but yummy)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon agave nectar or sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons sesame seeds, optional

DIRECTIONS:

This was a great use for all of those broken pieces of yuba that fell to the bottom of the package! Immerse yuba in 1 cup of water to reconstitute it. Wait about 5 minutes, drain and set aside. Stir fry onion in oil at medium high heat for about one minute. Add cucumbers and yuba, tossing them around for another minute. Add noodles, soy sauce, sesame seed oil, and agave nectar or sugar. Stir until combined. Make a small well in the center of the noodles and add garlic. Add a teaspoon of water so garlic cooks slightly for about 30 seconds. Add sesame seeds, mix well, and serve.