Vegan Recipe Challenge 2

I meant to post this last week when I actually cooked this but I forgot, or rather I was too lazy. While I was planning on cooking something from Vegan Planet each week, I felt like making this stir-fry the other week. It was good but not mind blowing, it’s something I had made before but with some variants. Or let’s say, I made stir-fry with soy sauce before or just tofu marinated in soy sauce on lazy days. This had a bit more additions which made it much better. I’m definitely going to make it again sometime.


1 small Thai pepper, minced
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 16-oz. pkg. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1×1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp. soy sauce
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch strips
1 red pepper, sliced
1 large bok choy (or 4-5 baby bok choy), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup yellow squash, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
Cooked lo mein or soba noodles

I did vary my recipe a bit with different vegetables and I added some brown sugar for a bit sweetness. I also didn’t go to the process of transferring the sauce and tofu to a separate bowl. Maybe it does something special I’m not aware of but the step just seemed silly to me and I was hungry.
I didn’t make it with noodles but with rice because I’m in love with my new rice cooker.stirfry1

I then proceeded to chop up my ginger, garlic and peppers. I didn’t have red peppers (or well I did as I discovered the other day but I didn’t remember when I made this) so I used milder green ones as those where the only ones I thought I had. As a huge garlic lover I can never just put in 1 clove, that’s just silly!



After that I heated some oil


And sliced my tofu.


Then I stir-fried the ginger, garlic and peppers.


Added the soy sauce, water and cornstarch, be careful to stir this in very quickly or you’ll get lumps!


I then added my tofu which I had fried in a bit of oil in another pan first but you can also skip this step I guess, depends on how you like it.

stirfry8And finally my veggies.


I served it over the rice and enjoyed it a lot! It was super easy and quick to cook so definitely going to make it again on days I need a quick dinner because it doesn’t require any special ingredients and you can basically make it with any kind of veggies you have at home.



Vegan Challenge 2013

I received the book Vegan Planet in the mail this week, a wonderful surprise gift for Christmas from a friend. Thanks again! Since I’ve become a vegetarian, I’ve been flirting with a vegan lifestyle now and then but never really went through with it. Excuses have been:

* I love cheese too much, can’t give it up. Yes there are some cheeses that I’d definitely miss, like Parmesan, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, maybe even cream cheeses because they’re so easy to throw on a sandwich to take with me to work. However every time I see another report on what actually goes on in the dairy industry I know that I should get over my love for cheese. There are substitutes and while they might not be like Parmesan or Gorgonzola, they will give me the knowledge of no cows being abused for my cheese.
* I’m lazy. Worst excuse ever, I should just stock up on soy and rice products and do it. I love soy or rice milk as much as actual milk. Still gotta try almond milk. And soy cream to cook works as well as dairy cream. Definitely no need for this excuse.
* Vegan products are expensive. They don’t have to be, there’s no need to buy the expensive stuff and a package of dried beans and lentils will go a long way. Besides I do sometimes eat meat substitutes, not too often because I feel all the ready made stuff is not good for me, and they’ve become so much cheaper nowadays. The only thing that might be expensive here is vegan cheese and the likes but no need for that, I can make my own and I have been told that nutritional yeast is a lifesaver.
* What if I want ice cream? Either try to find vegan ice cream, make your own, eat fruit flavors without dairy or suck it up!
* Some people will think I’ve gone completely crazy. Let them think what they want, it’s my life style and my decision.
* I can’t eat that delicious popcorn at the cinema anymore. Now this one will be hard and I can’t think of any solution. I’ll just have to resign to say goodbye to this addictive stuff and resort to only making my own popcorn at home without butter.
* No mayonnaise with french fries anymore. Well veganaise yes but that doesn’t really taste as good as the real thing, at least the kind that I have tasted. I’ll have to try other kinds and I’ll look into making my own without using eggs.

This said I have decided that in the new year I’m going to do a couple of vegan challenges. I’ll go vegan for 10 days. Maybe 30 after that. Also, I’m going to try at least 52 recipes from the vegan cookbook. There are 400 delicious recipes to chose from in the book, using at least 52 should definitely not be a problem. Obviously with the 10 and 30 day challenges the number of 52 will be quickly adding up and hey, when I end up cooking 92 recipes at least, let’s make it a 100 right? Or maybe more. Maybe this will be the final push I need to become completely vegan. I already don’t eat eggs and honey (honestly the latter only because I never really use it a lot anyway) and I don’t mind leaving out milk and milk products. It’s only the damn cheese that might be a challenge but I’m going to try.

We’ll see how this goes, I’m going for the proposed challenge and we’ll go from there!

Time for Kale!

Image by Another Pint Please

I never cooked with kale a lot or eaten it in a lot of different ways besides kale and potato mash or kale soup. As kale season has started I figured it was finally time to expand my kale experience so kale was on the menu twice this week. Basically because I had so much I had to cook with it twice but it gave me a chance to play around with it a bit. I know now that when sautéing kale, I should make the leaves a bit smaller than I did (and they were pretty small already!) and maybe cook them for 2 minutes or something like that before. That way hopefully the sauteing will take a bit less time and it will fit better in my pan; also I’m hoping it will make the chewing experience a bit less tiring. Another thing I learned the second time around, salt and pepper! The first day I didn’t use enough of it so the kale was rather tasteless but the second time around I put the salt and pepper in the pan before I put the kale in and it actually tasted like kale that time. Last thing I learned is that kale chips are kinda overrated, or I maybe put too much salt on mine, not sure. Maybe I should experiment with some other spices next time. And less salt. I made savoy cabbage chips earlier this year and I definitely liked those better than the kale chips, except for the batch that I burned because I put the temp of the oven up too high.

Anyway, on to what I cooked this week! For the first day I felt like having cous cous so I searched for some recipe ideas and came across two that I liked, roasted Chickpeas with kale and cous cous from Grit & Grapes and couscous with kale and green garlic dressing from Naturally Ella.I combined both recipes because I couldn’t decide, both looked kinda good and I like giving my own spin on things, either because I don’t have all the ingredients or because I don’t like something a recipe requires or like in this case I didn’t know which one to make. I ended up making cous cous with kale, chickpeas, feta and garlic dressing. It was quite good except that when I make it again I need to tend to the kale a bit differently so it will have more flavor.


Cous cous
Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
Balsamic vinegar (1 or 2 tablespoons depending on how you like it)
Honey (1 tablespoon)
Chili flakes

Cook the cous cous and in the meantime sauté your onion and garlic. Add some salt, pepper and chili flakes before you add the kale in the pan (you can cook it a bit beforehand or throw it in and sauté it like that, which is what I did but next time I’m trying with cooking beforehand). Once the kale is almost done, throw in the chickpeas (obviously you can roast them before like the original recipe does but I was too lazy and hungry for that). While all of that is doing their thing in your pan, you can make the dressing. Mash some garlic and mix that with the oil, vinegar and honey. Add the feta to the onion, garlic, kale and chickpeas and let it melt a bit. Once everything is done serve with the cous cous and drizzle the dressing over your dish.

The next day I figured I wanted to try kale with pasta and I had some tomatoes in the fridge as well so I looked around and found a recipe that was basically what I was going to do anyway, except for the almonds but that gave me the idea of adding some pine nuts. I can see chickpeas work well with this dish as well but I opted out because I used those the night before already.


Feta (optional, I used it because I still had some but I can really see any (Italian) hard cheese work well with this)
Pine nuts
Olive oil
Chili flakes

Cook your pasta and in the meantime sauté the garlic and onion in some olive oil, add salt, pepper and chili flakes before adding the kale to the mix and sauté some more. Roast the pine nuts in another pan while all of that is cooking in the other one. At the end add the feta, the tomatoes and pine nuts. Toss with your pasta and serve.

I found the pasta dish a bit dry so I think I’ll be adding a can of diced tomatoes next time to make it just a bit more juicer, tomato sauce might also work but I think that might become a bit too overwhelming.

My next kale adventure will be curry with kale! Probably with some onion and chickpeas to make it less kale only. Maybe I’ll add some potatoes as well. But that will be sometime next week I think.

Lentil Curry – Dhal

Tonight I cooked a sort of Indian Dhal, I was in the mood for lentils for a while now, and I hadn’t eaten curry in a while so I was in the mood for that.. I might have also gotten in the mood for curry because I’ve been watching too many episodes of (Junior) Masterchef Australia and there have been various curries that passed my screen. As it has finally cooled down a bit I figured I should actually cook something today, and that something could eve be spicy. I googled for lentil curries and found a couple of recipes that seemed delicious but I ended up making this rather simple one I found on Allrecipes because I actually had all of the ingredients at home. I did want to add some spinach but I forgot that while cooking but it was really good all the same. Definitely making it again but I’ll add some more chili to make it spicier and I’ll try it with spinach to make it a bit more varied. All in all though this is a quick (not counting cooking the lentils, or using canned lentils) and easy recipe and it has a delicious mixture of flavors. It might not look pretty but it’s definitely tasty!

Ingredients for four servings

200 g red lentils
1 large onion, diced
8 ml vegetable oil
15 g curry paste
3 g curry powder
1 g curcuma
1 g cumin
1 g chili powder
3 g salt
2 g white sugar
1 g minced garlic
1 g ginger root, minced
200 g tomato puree

Prepare the lentils (soak them, cook them or don’t do anything if you used canned ones). In the meantime saute your onions until they’re brown. Mix all the spices with the curry paste and sugar and salt in a bowl (depending on how spicy you want it, use more or less curry pasta or chili; I personally think I will add some cilantro powder as well next time as some more chili or curry pasta to make it even spicier). Add that mixture to the onions and stir fry for about 1 or 2 minutes. Start adding the tomato puree by stirring it in. Once everything is done, mix everything with the lentils and serve.

I didn’t have fresh ginger root, so I just used ginger powder and I added a bit more sugar because my curry paste is pretty salty, I recommend going by taste adding the spices but obviously don’t overdo it on one or that will take the upper hand, be careful that the proportions are right. I also added some soy cooking cream to make the tomato puree a bit more creamier but that’s not necessary. I can really see this dish with coconut milk as well so I’ll probably be trying that next time!

You can serve it with bread, if you want to keep it completely Indian serve with Naan or Papadum for example, or serve with rice.

Vegetable Couscous with Yoghurt

I meant to share this one a while ago already when I made it but it kept slipping my mind so here we go! Obviously this is another vegetarian dish and I made it as a main dish but you can also use it on the side of whatever else you’ll be having! I felt like eating couscous again some weeks ago and as I always love to try new things I found this recipe online and I loved it. Because of the chickpeas it really works as a main dish as well, a simple but delicious main dish.


Chickpeas (drained)
Olive oil
Vegetable broth
Ground cumin (I used the whole seeds because I only had those and worked as well)
Ground cilantro (it really depends how you like your cilantro, if you love it you could might as well add some fresh leaves)
Harissa (spicy Arabian paste)
(Soy) Yoghurt
Mint (I left this out because I don’t like it)

Clean the carrots, zucchini and scallions. Make thin slices of the carrots and zucchini (or dice the zucchini, they’re done quicker than the carrots anyway). Cut the white and green parts of the scallions separately. Drain and rinse (if needed) the chickpeas. Heat the oil in a large enough pan and saute the carrots, zucchini and white parts of the scallions. Once they’re almost done, add the chickpeas and saute it all for another 2 minutes or so. Add the broth, cumin, cilantro and harissa and bring to boil. Stir in the couscous (so obviously you’d need as much broth for the couscous to get done). Take the pan of the heat source and let it sit for 5 to 7 minutes, basically until your couscous is done, which obviously depends on the kind you have so check your package! In the meantime mix the yoghurt with some oil and salt. Clean your mint leaves, chop them and add them to the yoghurt. Add the green parts of the scallions to the couscous once it’s done and serve together with the yoghurt. As I don’t like mint in my yoghurt myself, I added some of the scallions to mine but that’s all about taste.


Coconut Rice with Black Eyed Peas

Ever since I became a vegetarian in May, I’ve been trying out new recipes, being more attentive about what to eat and all that so beans, lentils and such are on the menu quite often. I finally found black eyed beans which I wanted to try and looking around online I found this recipe on Allrecipes. The original one asks for bacon but I obviously ignored that part. It’s a very simple dish with not many flavors but it kinda works and it’s awesome because you all make it in pan and it’s quick and easy.


(Olive) oil
(Bell) pepper
Rice (any kind you like)
Coconut milk
Black eyed beans (you can obviously also use other beans if you prefer)
Fresh thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce

Chop the onion, pepper, chili and garlic and saute them in the heated oil. Once done you add the rice, water (I already cooked it in the water boiler and then added it) and coconut milk and let it boil before you reduce the heat. Add some salt as well. Add the drained beans and thyme (the recipe used the whole twigs and then removed those but I love thyme so I put the little leaves in and left them). Cover and let it simmer. In the meantime chop your tomatoes, add them and let it all simmer some more. Check now and then how the rice is coming along so you know when it’s done. Probably about 20 to 25 minutes in total I’d say, so about 10 after you add the beans and another ten after you add the tomatoes. I tasted it with some more salt and pepper and added some dried chili flakes and garlic. Serve with Tabasco sauce.

Black Bean Adventures


I had some black beans that I really wanted to try cooking with because I had never used them before. I did actually buy them to make a veggie burger I once saw a recipe for but then I stumbled across this Mexican Pasta recipe so I ended up trying that because it sounded delicious. I often stray away a bit from recipes either because I don’t have one of the ingredients or I don’t like one or I think something else would work better. This time I used dry beans (that I obviously soaked over night and cooked before using them) and I added a bit of sour cream to the sauce. Oh, and I didn’t have taco seasoning so I just seasoned it to my liking. It was delicious! The olives do take over the dish a bit so if you’re not all too fond of olives, I’d use a bit less of them but don’t leave them out completely because the whole dish together is an interesting mix of tastes. Next time I’ll probably add some garlic as well.


Here’s the recipe as I made it:


75 gr corn
50 gr black beans (dried)
35 gr black olives
1 can of peeled and diced tomatoes
1 onion
1 bell pepper
60 ml salsa sauce
cayenne pepper
pesto mix
100 gr sour cream
Olive oil

Cook the pasta and in the meantime saute the onion and pepper in the oil, when they’re brown add the corn, beans, sliced olives and salsa and season as you like it. Lastly stir in the sour cream and then serve over the pasta.


As I had soaked and cooked too many beans I decided to make a sandwich spread/dip with what was left over. Looking around online I found several recipes with several ingredients but a staple seemed to be beans, lemon or lime juice and sometimes olive oil. I decided to just throw in anything I had and thought would taste good. Started with the black beans which I mashed in the food processor adding some lemon juice and olive oil. I also had some corn left from dinner so I threw that in as well. I then proceeded with a fresh tomato and an onion. Added some salsa to make it more moist and then tasted with salt, pepper, cilantro, cayenne pepper and pesto mix. I did add some more olive oil and lemon juice as I went going by the texture and moistness it was getting. It ended up being delicious! I’ll definitely be playing around making these some more! Got a recipe for lentil spread and eggplant spread and I’m planning on making a chickpea spread.