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.

20190219_202639

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!

20190219_184003

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!

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.

IMG_20190131_201955_313

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!

Blueberry Crisp

Summer, where are you?! I needed some brightness in my life, so I made this blueberry and cherry crisp. Then I ate it with my eyes closed, and I pretended it was about 70 degrees warmer than it actually was.

This is so easy, no seriously, this is so easy to make. And you can make it and only dirty one bowl and one baking pan. Aren’t those kind of desserts the best? My husband is in charge of the dishes most nights, so I try to take it easy on him sometimes in this area.

I am not a person who loves super sweet desserts, so if you want something sweet, you might want to up the sugar or serve with some good vanilla coconut ice cream or whipped topping on top to sweeten it up. You can also mix up the fruit, if you prefer raspberries or blackberries or strawberries- the sky is the limit here.

This would be a great dessert on a warm summer day, or on a day that you are pretending it’s warm so that you can muster the energy to get out from under that electric blanket and do something. 🙂

Blueberry Crisp, 6 servings 

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar (add a couple more tablespoons if you want it sweeter)
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of half of lemon
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, softened, almost melted
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup oats
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 375F. Place the fruit in a 9×9 baking sheet, toss with the 3 tbsp flour, 2 tbsp sugar, and lemon zest and juice.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix the rest of the remaining ingredients. Use your hands here, so you can really mix the butter into the rest of the ingredients. The mixture will be crumbly.
  3. Sprinkle mixture over the fruit, it won’t cover it all, but it will cover most of it. Press mixture down to flatten. Bake for 45 minutes, or until fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Allow to cool, but serve warm.