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!

Soft Pretzels

Snacks are my weakness. Soft pretzels are one of my favorite snacks. And when I make them from scratch it’s way more delicious and satisfying.

The most important step to this recipe is the boiling in the baking soda water. This step is20190203_135929 what makes a soft pretzel, well, a soft pretzel. I could pretend I understand the science behind it, but I’ll just assure you that it’s the most important step.

Making pretzels does take a little extra time since you have to let the dough rise, boil the dough, then bake it. It’s so worth the time!

To make this dough, and many others, I end up using a lot of yeast. If you bake a lot, or plan to make these pretzels every week like you probably should, it’s much more cost effective to buy the glass jar of yeast and store in the freezer to keep. For measurement’s sake, 2 1/4 teaspoon is equal to one package of yeast. Yeast can be tricky, so make sure your water is warm enough to dissolve the sugar, but not too hot that it kills the yeast.

Another key to this recipe is the maple syrup and water mixed together. This mixture is the replacement for the usual egg wash. It will help make the pretzel golden brown and give them that traditional pretzel look.

You can also make pretzel nuggets instead of twisting each piece into a pretzel shape. Once you create the logs, you can just slice into small pieces and then continue to follow the recipe as written. I love to serve my pretzels with a mixture of spicy brown mustard and agave nectar or maple syrup. Basically, the vegan honey mustard! 

Soft Pretzels, makes 10 

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup & 1 tbsp water mixed in a small bowl
  • pretzel salt

You’ll also need a large pot filled with water and 2/3 cup baking soda.

  1. Combine the warm water, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, then add yeast. Allow 5 minutes to get foamy. Add the flour and vegan butter, and using the dough hook attachment, mix on a low speed until well combined. Turn it up to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, and clean out the bowl and lightly oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel, and sit in a warm place to rise for about an hour. The dough should double in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring the large pot of water, about 10 cups, to boil and then add the baking soda.20190203_135553
  3. Cut the risen dough into 10 equal pieces. Each piece will be stretched out into a long log, about 15 inches long. Lay the log on a flat surface, and make a U shape with the log, holding the two ends. Pull them up, twisting them once, then press onto the bottom of the U to make the shape of a pretzel. Place them on the parchment lined sheet pan.
  4. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds each side. Remove them from the water and return to the sheet pan. Brush the top of each pretzel with the maple syrup and water mixture and then sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown, about 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack once finished. Optional, but totally worth it, you can also brush with melted butter after baked.

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Spinach Dip

Parties are my favorite excuse to get in the kitchen. Sometimes, I invite people over just because I want to try out a new recipe or to have the excuse to buy some fancy vegan cheese. My house is kind of place where people come hungry because they know I’m making something- even if I say it’s a low-key simple event. I’ll always at least make a dip.

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This dip recipe is easy and (aside from the soaking of the cashews) comes together in minutes. Cashews are a great vegan alternative to creamy and cheesy ingredients. I have found about a million uses for cashews over the last year, and they are perfect in this dip.

I also love to make my own tortilla chips for a homemade dip like this; it really adds the final touch to a great appetizer. Of course, you can buy chips, but when it’s seriously this easy to make them, it’s worth the extra minute. Chop up some corn tortillas into triangles, toss in a little oil and your favorite seasonings, then bake in a 375ºF oven for about 12 minutes, flipping once. Done. Wasn’t that easy?! 

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I made this dip on Superbowl Sunday to enjoy while we didn’t watch the game. Ha! We pigged out on game day snacks while catching up on our Netflix and Hulu shows. While I love to eat this dip fresh, the best idea I had was to use the leftovers as a base to a homemade pizza the next day. SO GOOD. I recommend showing slight self control and saving some, or just make a double batch.

 

 

 

Spinach Dip

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight (alternatively, you can boil the cashews for 15 minutes)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • juice of half of a large lemon
  • 2 bunches of fresh spinach, about 6 cups, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup vegan mayo
  • salt and pepper
  • vegan parmesan, optional
  1. Put first 5 ingredients into a high powdered blender. Blitz together until smooth, this may take a couple minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Wilt spinach in a large pot or deep pan over medium heat for two minutes. Add mayo and cashew mixture to spinach. Stir and keep over heat until bubbly and hot, about 6 minutes. Taste and add salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, or more lemon juice if needed.
  3. Top with vegan parm if desired. You can stop here and it’s ready to eat! Or, you can put everything into an oven safe dish and bake at 375ºF for 12-15 minutes to brown the top. Serve with homemade tortilla chips (quick recipe above), pretzels, or carrots.

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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!

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.