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


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 7 November, 2013: Taco Casserole

I made this for my How Do We Get A Vegan Restaurant in Naperville informal potluck. It was a big hit.

vegan taco casserole



1 bag of corn chips (I also used some regular corn tortillas briefly fried in oil)
1 large tomato, chopped or 1.5 cups
1.5 cups black olives, sliced
1.5 cups onion

Bean stew

Cashew-oat nacho cheez


About 2 cups black, kidney, pinto, or chili beans from a can, not drained
1.5 cups vegetable broth or V8
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons taco seasoning


3/4 cups cashew pieces
1/4 cup raw onion
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 a lemon’s juice
1 cup oats
2 cups water
1 roasted red bell pepper
2 teaspoons taco seasoning


Prepare the nacho cheez: combine all nacho cheez ingredients in a high speed blender OR if you don’t have a high speed blender, use cashew butter instead of cashew pieces and pre-cook oats in water in microwave for 2 minutes, then combine and blend in normal blender.

For the bean stew, combine beans and onions in a small pan with taco seasoning. Fry until onions are translucent and taco seasoning is fragrant. Mix broth with 1/4 cup flour. Pour over bean mixture and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Grease a casserole dish or dishes by wiping with olive oil. Layer chips, nacho cheese, bean stew, onions, olives, and tomatoes in one large casserole dish or two small ones, I used my big 13 x 9 casserole. How many layers depends on how thin you spread each one. I ended up with 3 layers of chips, 2 layers of beans, and 2 layers of nacho cheez. It’s not an exact science.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Pour 1.5 cups of veggie broth or V8 into the casserole and bake for 20 more minutes.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 6 November, 2013: Lentil, Tomato, and Greens Soup

tomato peanut butter greens soup


1 tablespoon oil
1.5 cups onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic (1 tablespoon) minced
1 teaspoon jerk seasoning (or 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne)

2 cups cooked lentils or one can store-bought lentil soup
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or stewed tomatoes and their juice
3 cups chard. chopped
3 cups spinach leaves

1 tablespoon peanut butter
4 cups vegetable broth

Fake bacon bits, to serve


If you are making lentils from scratch, combine half a cup of lentils with 3 cups broth in a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to medium. Let simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

In a large pot, fry onion in oil at medium heat until onion is translucent. Add peanut butter, garlic, and jerk seasoning or spices, fry until peanut butter dissolves. Add the spinach and chard and tomatoes. Simmer until greens wilt, about 2 minutes. Douse in 4 cups vegetable broth. Heat through and serve with fake bacon bits on top.

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

creamy tomato sauce penne


4 cups cooked penne, ziti, or farfalle pasta

4 cups chard, shredded



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:



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 31 October, 2013: Shepherd’s Pie With Puff Pastry

Delicious lentil stew underneath a puff pastry crust.

vegan shepherd's pie with puff pastry



1 cup dry brown lentils
4 cups water for cooking lentils

1 tablespoon oil
2 cups onions, chopped

1.5 cups carrots, chopped
1 cup peas (I used frozen)
1.5 cups chopped potato

4 plus 1 cups water
2 broth cubes or 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon

2 cups stewed chopped tomatoes or fire-roasted tomatoes

1 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
1 teaspoon sage

3/4 cup flour

1 thawed puff pastry crust, I used Pepperidge Farm brand


Thaw puff pastry sheet overnight in the refrigerator. Alternately, thaw it by letting it sit on the countertop for 2 hours.

In a small pot, combine lentils and lentil cooking water. Bring to a boil. Stir and turn heat down to medium. Simmer uncovered for 50 – 60 minutes, or until lentils have absorbed the water and are soft.

Meanwhile, fry onions in oil in a very large pot on medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Add the carrot and potato, stir-fry for about 1 minute more. Add sage and paprika, wait about 30 seconds. Douse with 4 cups water and bouillon cubes/Better Than Bouillon, reserving 1 cup of water for later. Cook until potatoes are tender. Depending on the potato, this can happen in anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. I used red potatoes and for some weird reason, they took a small eternity to cook. I suggest using Yukon Gold potatoes. They are a fast cooking potato. Add the peas once the potatoes are either nearly done or done.

Add tomatoes to stew.

Mix reserved 1 cup of water with 3/4 cup flour into a slurry. Add this slurry to the stew and stir until it thickens, about 2 minutes.

Dump or ladle half of the stew into a 13 x 13 casserole dish. There will be enough stew to make another casserole (puff pastry usually comes in packs of 2 by the way), to freeze, or just to eat. Cover the 13 x 13 dish with thawed puff pastry sheet. Trim the edges to fit and make sure to vent the top so you don’t have exploding Shepherd’s Pie.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 25 October, 2013: Tomato Toasts

A very fast broiler meal or snack.

vegan tomato toasts


2 slices tomato
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 pieces of homestyle bread or baguette
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper


Mix oil with garlic and divide and spread the mixture on 2 slices of bread. Broil the bread for 2 minutes at 400 degrees or until bread begins to brown. Take the bread out of the oven and top them with tomato, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Broil 2 more minutes.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 28 September, 2013: Cajun Yuba

Yuba is bean curd skins, or the chewy skin from the top of the tofu vat in the tofu-making process. You could easily sub any form of veggie meat or veggie sausages instead of yuba if yuba is not available.

vegan cajun yuba


1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon flour

2 cups yuba (bean curd skins, available in most Asian grocery stores) soaked in water for 15 minutes and drained
1.5 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced or about 2 teaspoons
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1.5 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped sweet bell pepper (optional)

1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon allspice


In the bottom of a large fry pan, combine oil and flour and raise heat to medium high. Put the onions on the side of the pan with an additional teaspoon of oil if desired. Stir the flour-oil mixture constantly and watch carefully. The flour-oil paste will brown into a chestnut/peanut butter color. Once it does, douse the resulting roux with crushed tomatoes, mixing in the onions. Add the drained yuba, celery, garlic, bell pepper, and spices. Stir until tomato sauce is heated through and add salt to taste.

Serve with rice.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 24 September, 2013: Tofu, Spinach, and Tomato Rice

vegan tomato tofu spinach rice


2 teaspoons oil
1/2 block extra firm tofu, sliced, patted dry, and then cubed
1 cup chopped onion
4 cups cooked brown rice (I used brown rice I cooked in the rice cooker and froze in advance)
2 cups pureed tomatoes (I used crushed tomatoes from a can)
1.5 cups frozen corn kernels
1.5 cups frozen spinach
1 teaspoon jerk seasoning OR 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon thyme and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)


Fry tofu and onion in a large pan in oil on medium-high heat until tofu cubes are browned and onion is translucent.  Add rice to the pan and mix it gently to evenly distribute the tofu.  Add corn, spinach, and tomato puree/crushed tomatoes and heat until spinach and corn are thawed and heated through.  Finish by stirring in jerk seasoning and smoked paprika, salt to taste.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 20 September, 2013: Cauliflower Tomato Peanut Millet Bowl

vegan cauliflower peanut millet bowlINGREDIENTS:

2 teaspoons oil

1.5 cups onion, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 – 3 large tomatoes, chopped or one 13 ounce can stewed tomatoes in their juice
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1.5 cups chopped peanuts to garnish


1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1 teaspoon hot sauce/sriacha

4 cups cooked millet or rice, to serve on the side


Chop cauliflower roughly. In a large pot, immerse cauliflower in water and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn heat to medium high and simmer 10 minutes or until cauliflower is fork-tender but still has some of its firmness. Drain the cauliflower and set it aside.

Fry the carrot and onion in the bottom of a second large stock pot on medium high heat until it is translucent, about 3 minutes. Make a well in the center of the onion-carrot mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter to the onions and stir until it melts. Add all spices: cumin, nutmeg, thyme, paprika, and cayenne pepper or hot sauce, stir briefly, about 30 seconds. Add cauliflower, red bell pepper, garlic, and chopped tomatoes. Cook for 3 – 5 more minutes until tomatoes release their juice and are heated through. Serve alongside cooked millet or rice and garnish with chopped peanuts.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 11 September, 2013: Raw Summer Squash Pasta with Walnut-Tomato Sauce

spiralized summer squash pasta with walnut sauce


1 summer squash, julienned, spiralized, or shredded

1 cup walnuts, soaked 4 plus hours and drained

1 tablespoon onion

1 clove garlic

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup tomato, roughly chopped

Soy sauce or salt to taste

Chopped green onions (optional) garnish


Soak nuts and drain off water.  Julienne or spiralize summer squash and set aside in a bowl.   Reserve a little chopped tomato for garnish.

Combine soaked nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and tomato in a food processor and blend to a chunky texture.  Add soy sauce or salt and pulse a few more times until it is a slightly chunky paste, taste test it to see if it needs more salt.  Toss walnut mixture with spiralized squash.

Garnish with green onions and chopped tomato.