Hence, you shall now be submitted to some of our solutions to this problem. Creative and tasty solutions, methinks.
First up is the ever popular summer salad.
not just your gramma's iceburg
This, my friends, is the Greek salad from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Cooking (henceforth so named the idiot cookbook, because this is another one I hate typing out). It's chock full of radtastic veggies to fill you up, but not weigh you down when you're ready to go out for a nice bike ride after dinner. As a former Greek salad addict, I fully approve of this rendition, right down to the dressing. Add some tofu feta from the same book, and you've got a winner:
my first tofu feta attempt
Here I will admit: feta cheese was the last thing I gave up when I made the transition from vegetarian to vegan. I snubbed my nose at all tofu feta recipes this past year (because, in fact, this past week was my veganversary!). However, when Michael brought up the idea this time around, I thought, 'What the hell, lets give it a go'. Ok, so it didn't taste like feta. But it was tasty! I have a feeling that if we'd cut it into smaller cubes and let it marinate for a day rather than half an hour, it would be even better. In fact, I used some of the leftovers to make a weird breakfast one morning, and it was pretty awesome.
This next meal was made forever ago, but it's also a nice quick staple, and a bit heartier (but not too much) than a salad.
easy peasy baked tofu
Originally, I got this idea from The Accidental Vegan cookbook, but their recipe was so salty it made me gag. Still, I liked the simplicity of the recipe, and decided to adapt it to better suit my needs. Basically, just cut some extra firm tofu really thin, mix together tahini with whatever else is around (my usuals: nutritional yeast, a little soy sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder, etc), dip tofu in, put on a baking sheet, and bake it at 350F for about 30 minutes. It gets this nice brown crust on it, and it's nice and chewy. Plus, you don't have to press and marinate your tofu. Plus, it's really versatile to whatever spices you have on hand or want to incorporate to a side dish you have a craving for that night.
Oooooh, I'm excited about this one:
fabulously easy tempeh and roasted veggies
Ok, so roasting veggies may not be something you feel like doing when it's hot out and your kitchen gets to be about 5 million degrees... But you have to admit it's easy. And you don't have to be in the kitchen the whole time they're roasting. Go out and drink some lemonade on your porch or water your plants or play with your cat. Then, just hop on into the kitchen when the buzzer goes off, fill your plate, and get the hell outta there. See? Not so bad. So the roasted veggies here were super good, especially with that gravy Michael mixed up. But what I'm really excited about is the tempeh. Michael's mom brought us some wild rice tempeh the last time she came in from Evansville, and we've been trying to figure out how to use it so that the flavors shine through, but still doesn't taste like plain old tempeh. The solution came, oddly enough (ha) with the recipe on the package. That I didn't use, but did base my own recipe from it. It's so excitingly yummy and easy, I'm even going to share it in its entirety with you.
Dill Macadamia Crusted Tempeh
1 package of tempeh (prefferably wild rice, but any will do)
1.5 ounces macadamia nuts (about an 1/8 cup, chopped)
1 heaping tsp dried dill
1 scallion, white and green parts, minced
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs water
spray oil for the baking sheet
First up, cut and simmer your tempeh. We cut ours so that we get 14 pieces out of it... So 7 pieces (that's six cuts you'll make) widthwise, and then cut each of those in half, lengthwise, so they're pretty darned thin. Toss it in some boiling water, reduce heat, and cover for 12 minutes, then drain. While all that's going on, preheat your oven to 350F and make the macadamia crust. For that, place the nuts in your food processor or good blender and process until they are super fine crumbs. They'll look oily and kinda clumpy, that's good. Place them in a small bowl and add the rest of the ingredients (except for the spray oil, obviously). Mix it all up...it should be like a paste. Spray a baking sheet with the oil and arrange your tempeh in one layer. Spoon an equal amount of the paste onto each slice and spread it out so that it's completely covering the top. Put in the oven for 15 minutes, and it's done!
It's so good. The dill adds a nice summery flavor and it's just salty enough. I suppose if you wanted to coat the whole pieces of tempeh, just double the recipe. But there's enough flavor in just the top coating, that it's really not necessary.
Lastly today, is this lovely chickpea stew from some Turkish cookbook that I got at Borders about a million years ago:
simple, nutritious, and delicious
Ok, well, it turned into a chickpea and white bean stew because we only had one can of chickpeas on hand, but it was still super fabulous. It's mainly 2 red onions sauteed in oil and margarine with cumin and coriander and fennel seeds and paprika (except we didn't have enough red onion, so we added a bunch of scallions in a later step), add a can of drained diced tomatoes and a teeny bit of sugar, add the chickpeas (and scallions, if you're us) and some cashews (not in the recipe, but a nice addition), and a whole bunch (the literal sense here) of chopped parsley. Garnish with lemon wedges and salt to taste. The lemon makes this meal. You really need that burst of acid to bring out the flavors in the spices. You could serve this over rice, but we were lazy and just ate bowls of it, as is. It all came together in about 20 minutes. I know that's not really a recipe, but I don't remember exact measurements. Just add spices to taste and whatnot, if you'd like to try it out. Oh, it also called for whole spices, but we didn't have cumin or coriander seeds, so we just used the ground versions of both, and it turned out fine!
I have more to catch up on (like commenting on all your lovely blogs, I know, I know!), but it's noon and I'm getting hungry now... Time for a quick and easy meal!