Air Fryer Tofu Reuben

I love a good hot sandwich. There’s just something about buttered crispy bread and having to use two spatulas to flip it so the fillings don’t fall out. This reuben is filled with tofu, sauerkraut, and homemade thousand island dressing. Serve it with fries or chips and a giant pickle spear, and it’s basically like going to diner in your own kitchen.

For an extra kick of flavor, I flavor my sauerkraut with celery salt and freshly ground pepper. You could also add vegan cheese to this sandwich if you want to!

If you don’t have an air fryer yet, you should totally go get one right now. They are amazing and make THE best fries. Air fried tofu is also amazing and can be used in so many different recipes. Throw it in a stir fry or on top of a salad, or into this reuben!

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Air Fryer Tofu Reuben, makes 2

  • 1 small can sauerkraut (if you use a jarred variety, be sure to drain the liquid out so your sandwich doesn’t get soggy!)
  • 10 ounces extra firm tofu, cubed
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp sweet relish
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • dash of hot sauce
  • 4 slices marbled rye bread
  • vegan butter
  1. Toss the cubed tofu with a pinch of salt and pepper. Put in an air fryer for about 12 minutes at 400F, tossing two or three times during cooking. The cubes will be slightly browned and a little crispy all around.
  2. Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients from the mayo to hot sauce in a small mixing bowl until there are no swirls of ketchup and mayo left.
  3. Heat a large pan on medium high heat.
  4.  Once the tofu is done, you will assemble the sandwiches. Butter one side of each piece of bread.  Place one piece into the hot pan, butter side down. Spread 1/4 of the sauce on the bread, place half of the tofu onto the sauce, then about 1/3 of the sauerkraut, followed by more sauce and the second piece of bread. Let it cook for a few minutes until brown, then carefully flip and cook on the other side.
  5. Cook the remaining ingredients to make the second sandwich. You will have leftover sauerkraut, or if you’re like me, you won’t because you kept sneaking little bites of it while making the sandwiches.

Vegan Shepard’s Pie

In college, I studied abroad in Ireland and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I talked about my time there so much that when I got married, my husband wanted to go too! So, I found myself back in Ireland for the second time, but this time, I was vegan. We found some great places and definitely did not go hungry.

For this Saint Patrick’s Day, I wanted to take us back to our honeymoon, and to Ireland. I love hearty dishes like this that are great right out of the oven and even better as leftovers.

Don’t skip the step of making the mashed potatoes from scratch, literally just as easy as the boxed stuff but a million times better!

I always top my Shepard’s pie with way too much gravy. I actually found a powdered brown gravy in my local Irish goods shop; it’s perfect. I add mushrooms and some liquid smoke and it’s delish!

Vegan Shepard’s Pie

  • 1 cup dried black lentils
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 8 ounce mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can peas, drained
  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 3 or 4 large pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup plant milk
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  1. Cook 1 cup lentils according to package directions, adding 1/2 yellow onion to the water for flavor while cooking.
  2. While lentils are cooking, add potatoes to large pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are fork tender. Drain the water. Use a potato masher to mash potatoes until smooth. Add in plant milk, salt, and 1 tbsp butter and continue mashing. It takes a couple minutes, but it’s worth it!
  3. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  4. In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp vegan butter until melted and sizzling. Add in carrots, 1/2 yellow onion, and celery with a pinch or two of salt. Saute until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 minutes. Add in mushrooms and garlic. Saute until mushrooms cook down and start to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add in cooked lentils and can of peas. Turn off heat and stir through.
  5. In a large casserole dish, pour the vegetables and spread evenly in dish. Add the mashed potatoes on top of the vegetables, using a large spoon or spatula to spread in an even layer on top. Use a fork to create a design on top of the potatoes.
  6. Place the casserole dish in the oven for 20 minutes. Then, turn the broiler on and broil for 8-10 minutes, or until the mashed potatoes brown on top. Serve with your favorite vegan gravy!

Pantry Tomato Soup

Some nights coming home to cook a meal sounds like the absolute worst. And I really love to cook. But those kinder kids really wear me out and sometimes I come home just exhausted. So nights like tonight, I make a simple, but totally satisfying and comforting meal.

Odds are, you probably have these ingredients in your pantry already. If not, this soup costs about $3 to make, so pick up these items next time you head to the grocery and you’ll have a quick crowd-pleasing dinner.

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Grilled cheese is the obvious choice to pair with this soup- and I’ve got a trick for that. I love to make grilled cheese, but I burn them every time I try to make them. I just get too distracted and it never turns out the way I imagine it will. But, I have discovered a way that makes it not only easier but also way less hands on to make grilled cheese, so you can make a whole bunch all at the same time. I use a tasty bread sliced on the thicker side, I stuff it with some homemade vegan cheese (or a store bought vegan shred), and then smear both sides of the sandwich with vegan mayo (instead of butter, just trust me on this one!). I bake in a oven preheated to 450F for 6-7 minutes, then flip and continue baking for another 6-7 minutes, until golden brown. Once done, turn off the oven, and leave in the warm oven until ready to serve!

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Pantry Tomato Soup, serves 4-6

  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomato 
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water 
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  •  salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces coconut milk (about half a can) 
  1. Chop the onion and garlic and add to a large pot with a pinch of salt. Saute on medium high in a large pot until slightly browned, stirring often.
  2. Add a splash of the vegetable broth and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add in the remaining broth and the cans of crushed tomatoes. Turn heat down to medium, add in basil, salt, and pepper and allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
  3. Use an immersion blender to create a smooth soup consistency. Alternatively, you can add to a blender and blitz for a few minutes and then pour back into the pot. Add in the coconut milk and stir. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Roasted Beets and Carrots with Cashew Cheese Sauce

Valentine’s Day is coming up! Want to impress your significant other with a dinner that looks super fancy but is actually mostly hands off and super easy to make? Of course you do!

Most of the work in this dish is the prep work- peeling, soaking, roasting. Then, while it’s20190207_175005 all in the oven, you can spend more time chatting and drinking wine. My favorite kinds of meals!

I made this meal with some farro I had in my pantry- I just cooked it according to the package directions and added in some salt and pepper and washed and dried beet leaves to wilt. You could make rice, barley, quinoa, whatever you have on hand will be perfect! 

What I love about this recipe is how versatile it is. You could also use sliced acorn squash, sliced sweet potatoes, or any other root vegetable that you like!

So, get the peeler out, crank the oven, and pop open that bottle of wine.

Roasted Beets and Carrots with Cashew Cheese Sauce

  • 4 red beets, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 4 golden beets, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 6 large carrots, peeled, and sliced into equal size pieces
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  • pinch each of salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1.5 cup cooked grain (rice, farro, barley, quinoa) seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 cups washed and dried beet leaves, chopped 
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Place golden beets and carrots onto 2/3 of large baking sheet. Arrange red beets on the remaining edge of the baking sheet so they don’t turn the other vegetables red while baking. Drizzle oil over the vegetables and sprinkle on salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, flipping once after 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put cashews, parsley, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper into a high powered blender. Blitz until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.
  3. Once the grain of choice is cooked and seasoned, add in the chopped beet leaves so they can wilt in the warm grains.
  4. Once the vegetables are finished, spread the cashew cheese sauce on the bottom of the plate, then add the grains and beet leaves in the center. Place the roasted veggies around the grains to make an instagram worthy plate! 20190210_181410

Black Bean and Fried Tofu Tacos

Tacos are literally my favorite food. Anytime someone asks me what my favorite food is, I always say tacos. If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be tacos. I am also a firm believer in the fact that anything can be a taco topping. Burgers, veggies, fruit, whatever. Put it in a tortilla, and you got yourself a winner! Do you believe me that I really love tacos yet?

I think tacos need to be colorful in order to be their best selves, so this version of a taco has some bright purple cabbage and a bright green jalapeno sauce to really liven things up. I love the use of corn tortillas here because they are lower in calories than flour tortillas, and that just means more tacos on my plate without more guilt. Duh.

These are super flexible- use just the bean sauce, or just the tofu, or make some sauteed veggies instead of the tofu, whatever makes your heart happy. You can up the spice on the sauce by using the seeds and ribs of the jalapenos, or tone it down by removing the ribs and seeds. Adam likes things mild, I like things spicy- and since I am the one cooking, it usually ends up too spicy for him. Oops! I served this meal with a side of fried plantains, because fried plantains are the bomb.

I’m going to break down this recipe into the different components, and then you can piece them together to make the perfect tacos.

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Black Bean and Fried Tofu Tacos, serves 4-6

  • 12 corn tortillas, taco size
  • black bean sauce, recipe below
  • fried tofu, recipe below 
  • 1 small head purple cabbage, sliced super thin 
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp natural sugar
  • 1-2 tsp celery salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 large avocado, sliced 
  • batch of jalapeno- cilantro sauce, recipe below 
  1. Start by mixing together the finely slice cabbage, vinegar, sugar, celery salt, and pepper. Toss and set aside to let the flavors deepen. This can also be made the day before too.
  2. Make black bean sauce, fried tofu, and jalapeno sauce.
  3. Warm corn tortillas on a hot griddle pan for 30 seconds each side. Alternatively, you can char the tortillas on a gas burner for 30 seconds each side.
  4. Start with a warmed tortilla, spread 2-3 tablespoons black bean mixture as the base. Add one or two pieces of tofu. Top with cabbage slaw, red onion, a few slices of avocado, and jalapeno sauce. Now go eat as many tacos as you please.

Black Bean Sauce 

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp each of onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke, optional, can add 1 tsp more chili powder instead 
  • 1/3 cup water
  1. In a large pot, mash the beans with a potato masher until almost no chunks remain. Add in spices and water and mix. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Cook over medium heat until heated through, or about 15 minutes. If it gets too thick, add more water a couple tablespoons at a time. It should be spreadable with a spoon, but not runny and thin.

Fried Tofu

  • 1 16 ounce package firm tofu, drained and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup rice flour 
  • 2 tsp each of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder 
  • vegetable oil for frying
  1. Using a sharp knife, slice the tofu block in half. Then, slice each half block into 12 long strips. You’ll end up with 24 strips.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the rice flour and spices. Toss the tofu a few strips at a time in the mixture, completely coating each piece of tofu.
  3. Add oil to a large pot, about half an inch from the bottom. Heat at medium-high until hot. My trick is to take a drop of water and put it in the pan- if it sizzles and pops, it’s ready. Just be careful!
  4. Carefully add tofu into the pan, a few at a time, don’t overcrowd the pot! Fry the tofu on each side until golden brown. When golden on each side, remove tofu from the pot and put on a tea towel or paper towels to drain excess oil. Optional, but delicious, you can sprinkle a little more salt on each piece after frying.
  5. Repeat until all tofu is fried.

Jalapeno Sauce

  • 2 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed if less heat is desired
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems, 
  • juice of one lime
  • zest of half of lime
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayo 
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Put all ingredients into a high powered blender. I use a mini smoothie making blender cup when I make sauces so it blends better and the sauce doesn’t get lost in a giant blender cup. Blitz it up until completely smooth. It will take a little longer than you might think because of the cilantro- but you can’t really over mix this, so have at it!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

It’s freezing and below zero across most of the country today, so I needed a dinner that was going to warm us up! It also helped that I had a snow day today!

Snow days are just as exciting for teachers as you remember they were when you were a kid. Except, maybe even more because coffee and daytime TV! This meal reminds me of a meal my mom used to make too, so it was definitely appropriate for a snow day.

Stuffed cabbages are easy, tasty, and with the addition of tempeh, so filling too. It does take a minute to get it all set up and ready to go, but I list some tricks to make it a little faster and easier throughout the process.

However, if you are short on time, or just a little lazy (that’s okay!) there’s a great shortcut to this meal. Skip steaming the cabbage leaves and finely chop the cabbage instead. Add the cabbage to the pot when you add the onion, then following the recipe as stated. Put the entire mixture into the baking pan, pouring the tomato sauce all over the pan before baking. Call it a “stuffed” cabbage casserole!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, 4 servings

  • 1 large green head cabbage
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1 package tempeh 
  • 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomato, no salt added, drained 
  • 3 cups cooked barley
  • 3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 large can (28 ounce) crushed tomato 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar 
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Carefully remove the largest layers of cabbage leaves in whole pieces, I got 9 from my 3-ish pound head of cabbage. Steam the leaves in a large covered pot with a steamer rack for about 10 minutes. When the leaves are soft, remove and use the same steamer pot and rack to steam the tempeh for 10 minutes. Steaming tempeh allows flavors to soak in better later in the recipe. Remove tempeh, allow to cool for a minute or two, and chop finely.
  2. Saute onion with a little water over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tempeh, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, coriander, allspice, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Stir and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Add in the drained diced tomatoes, stir, and turn off heat.
  3. Mix together tempeh mixture and barley in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
  4. Place all of the cabbage leaves on flat area with rib side down. I put all the cabbage leaves out at one time so I can get an equal amount of filling in each one without wasting any of that delicious filling. Fill the cabbage leaves with an equal amount (about 1/3 cup) of filling in each one. Roll up each leaf around the stuffing, tucking in the sides as you roll. I don’t stress about perfection here, this is a dish best served a little messy, so just go for it! Place the stuffed cabbage rolls into a glass baking pan, seam side down. Repeat the process until all leaves are stuffed and rolled.
  5. In a bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, and cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Pour tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls. Cook for an hour, or until soft and tender. Serve immediately.