Easy Vegetarian Spaghetti Caprese

Easiness: **
Greenness: lacto-ovo (leave out the cheese and substitute with lemon marinated tofu for a vegan alternative)

Cook’s Notes: This recipe is really simply but depends on using fresh, quality ingredients. So get to your local farmer’s market and get crackin’!

One serving of spaghetti, cooked (about 200 grams)
One lump of buffalo mozzarella (this is the fresh kind you get in a ball)
Cherry tomatoes or ripe (in their prime!) other kind of tomato
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 lemon
Fresh Basil (a bundle or just the leaves) chopped
1 tsp white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
oregano to taste (optional)

1. Wash the tomatoes. Cut them apart and remove the seeds and core (or “the pulpy bit”). Dice them.
2. Mince the garlic. Combine olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice from 1/2 of the lemon, garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Toss the tomatoes in the lemon juice mixture and set in the fridge to marinate while the pasta cooks.
4. Chop the mozzarella into bite size pieces.
4. Cook and drain the spaghetti.
5. Mix the drained spaghetti in with the chopped basil leaves. They should get a little wilty. Add the tomato mixture and then the mozzarella and toss gently.
6. Devour.


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Vegetarian Bibimbap

Easiness: ****
Greenness: lacto-ovo (can be made vegan w/out egg)

Cook’s notes: This direction may SOUND complicated as it involves a lot of cooking items separately and a lot of ingredients. In reality, the more ingredients you have the better, but you can get by with just the big ones: rice, spinach, carrot, bean sprouts, and mushrooms. You should definitely make the effort to try and find the paprika paste as this is a great item to have in your kitchen and really makes or breaks this dish. As for cooking the items separately, you can do it all in one pan if you’ve got a big frying pan. Honestly the effort is worth it as this was one of my favorite dishes when I lived in S. Korea, and remains one of the best today!

1 cup cooked rice per bowl
2 handfuls bean sprouts
10 mushrooms (shitake or button)
1 cup cooked seaweed
1 carrot
1 bundle spinach
2 tbsp sesame oil
soy sauce to taste
paprika to taste
white or rice vinegar to taste
Korean Paprika Paste
kimchi (optional)
sesame seeds (optional)
1 egg (optional)
Cooked and marinated tofu (optional)

1. Cook and prepare the mushrooms in a tsp of sesame oil, tossed with sesame seeds and a few drops of soy sauce.
2. Meanwhile, slice the carrot into small slivers about 2″ long as seen in photo. Toss these with a little vinegar and store in fridge to keep cool.
3. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.
4. Cook the beansprouts in a little paprika and sesame oil to give them a little kick.
5. Separately, cook the spinach in a little sesame oil and sesame seeds.
6. Now comes the easy part! Spread some rice to fill 1/2 of the bowl. On top of the rice arrange small portions of the cooked and refrigerated ingredients as illustrated in the picture.
7. Fry an egg and throw it on top or use kimchi OR tofu. Mix with a little paprika paste if you managed to find it and mash until all the ingredients are combined together and you have a delightful selection of tastes! Eat with a spoon as trying to use chopsticks would be foolish.

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Spicy Bean Hotpot

Easiness: ***
Greenness: vegan

1 tbsp cooking oil
a pinch of cumin (or more)
a pinch chili powder or paprika
2 cloves garlic
cilantro (can be omitted)
1 medium yellow onion
1 medium red onion (can be omitted)
1 can chopped tomatoes in juice
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 can red kidney beans*
1 can white kidney beans*
1 can pinto beans*
(*you can use just one can of either of these if you are only making a small batch)
Salt n’ pepper to taste

1. Dice the garlic, chop the onions, and open your cans of beans n’ tomatoes.
2. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or pot on medium. When warm, throw in the garlic and onions. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder until they look about your level of deadly. Toss w/ spices until the onions are almost translucent but not limp.
3. Chuck in the kidney beans, can of tomatoes, and tbsp of tomato paste. Put the lid on ‘er and reduce heat to low. Let the beans etc. slow cook for about 20 min. or so until they are tender. You may have to try a couple spoon fulls to see if you need to add more spices or cook longer.
4. Remove from heat and serve a) by itself, sprinkled with cilantro leaves b) over white rice c) in a tortilla with or without beans and cheese d) with chips!

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Easy Vegetable Tempura

Easiness ***
Greenness lacto-ovo

Tempura seems like it’d be very difficult to make but it’s really not! Most of the time you’ll actually spend in the kitchen will be for the clean up as the battering and frying motion can get a little messy. Still, tempura is a great way to use up whatever spare veggies you have in the fridge that you don’t know what to do with. The downside is you gotta eat it the same day because tempura is best when eaten fresh!

Any of the following can be used to make tempura. Choose one or two, or more!:
Shitake Mushrooms
Sweet potato
Winter squash
String green beans
Green peppers
Bell Peppers of any color
Button mushrooms
Portabella Mushroom

TEMPURA BATTER (You can also buy pre-mixed tempura powder batter at most supermarkets):

1 egg
1 1/4 c. iced water
1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
Oil for deep frying

TEMPURA DIPPING SAUCE (You can also buy tempura dipping sauce in some supermarkets):

1 3/4 c. dashi stock (fish bouillon)
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. mirin
Sugar (1 to 3 tbsp.) to taste

1. Cut shitakes mushrooms into halves. Slice sweet potato into thin rounds, squash into quarter rounds, green beans into halves, green peppers into strips.

2. In chilled bowl, mix egg and iced water. Add flour to egg mixture. Fold loosely to keep batter lumpy.

3. Lay out a rack with a bunch of paper towels on it. Heat oil in wok or deep fryer to 340 degrees (you can also use a deep frying pan and a set of tongs). Pat dry all ingredients with paper towel. Dip vegetables in batter. (Be VERY careful with this step. If you are not an experienced cook, please have someone around to help keep an eye on things!) Deep fry until golden (the batter will appear puffy and crisp). Remove using tongs and drain vegetables briefly on paper towel covered rack or tray. Make sure they are cool before serving. 10-15 minutes is usually good.

4. Serve with dipping sauce and rice.

Modified from a recipe at Cooks.com http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1726,149168-251192,00.html>

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Garlic-Soy Asparagus

Easiness: **
Greenness: vegan


* 2 bunches asparagus
* 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
* 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 tsp. sugar
* 4 Tbsp. sesame seeds


Soak asparagus in cold water (I usually just plug up the sink for this occasion) for a quick rinse.

Bend each spear until it snaps naturally (this is where the asparagus is most tender); discard the tough ends. Trim the “spines” off the asparagus with a carrot peeler to make it more tender (optional). Slice the asparagus diagonally into 1 inch pieces; set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sugar and stir for about 30 seconds. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.

Add asparagus and soy sauce, then sauté for about 4 minutes (it should still be crisp but slightly tender).

Remove from heat. Toss in bowl with sesame seeds, adding additional soy sauce if you see fit.

Tip: Do the prep work ahead of time, but bring the dish together five minutes before the meal.

Recipe from HumbleGourmand.com

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Vegan Veggie Dips

When it comes to fresh, raw veggies, most people are accustomed to slicing them up and dunking them in a normally dairy-based dip like sour cream, ranch dressing, or cream cheese. But how can vegans do it? Well, if you are finding your veggies a little bland, but want to avoid the dairy, there are plenty of options! Below is a list of my favorite vegan veggie dips. Many of these work great as snacks or food on the go. Try dunking cooked tofu or meat alternative products (like Morningstar Farms fake chicken nuggets or fake buffalo wings) in these for a tasty meal! Many are also great with pita bread!

Vegan Veggie Dips
Baba Ghanoush
-Peanut Butter on celery
-Salsa [is actually a very tasty and zesty ranch dressing alternative!]
Black Bean Dip
Vegenaise (available at most grocery stores in the organic foods section)
-Oil & Vinegar
-Vegan pesto or pasta sauce
-Marinara sauce
Spicy Miso Dip
Cashew veggie dip
-Sesame Tahini
Magic Miso Dip (use sesame tahini to make this vegan)

Veggies For Dipping
-Carrots sliced and peeled
-Bell peppers sliced and seeded
-Broccoli Fleurettes
-Sugar snap peas
-Cucumber cut into slices
-Mushrooms cut into slices with stem removed
-Cherry tomatoes
-Tomatoes cut into chunks
-Cauliflower fleurettes
-Celery cut into sticks
-Blanched asparagus

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Vegan Mint Pesto / Pasta Sauce

Easiness: **
Greenness: vegan

1 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup mint leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil

In food processor, process parsley, mint and garlic. Slowly add oils until emulsified. Serve at room temperature over your favorite pasta with chopped tomatoes!

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