Saturday, August 8, 2015

Fettuccine in a Creamy Basil Alfredo Sauce

  Spinach Fettuccine in a Basil Alfredo Sauce with Marinated Portobello Mushrooms

This recipe is super easy, quick, and yummy! The sauce is cashew based and requires no oil.   I just recently discovered  how awesome cashew "cream" is.  It thickens on its own without the need for corn starch, and it can also be used as the base for many other sauces and gravies!


1 (8 oz.) box of fettuccine
1/2 cup of cashews
1 1/2 cups of water
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (adjust if using table salt)
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons of white wine
2 teaspoons of fresh basil, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg (optional)

Servings: 3-4
Cook Time: Approx. 15 minutes


1) Set a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.  While the water is boiling, you can prepare the ingredients for the sauce.

2) Create a cashew cream by processing the cashews and water in a blender on high until completely smooth, and the water had turned a milky white color. The mixture will be watery but will thicken upon cooking.

3) Add the cashew cream mixture and all other ingredients (minus the fettuccine) into a small/medium saucepan.

4) When the water in your large pot is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

5) While the pasta is cooking, turn on the heat for the sauce.  Cook the sauce on medium heat.  Stir occasionally with a whisk until the mixture is thick and bubbly.

6) Drain pasta, coat with the sauce, and serve immediately!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Fried Sweet Plantains with Creamy Sage Cheese Sauce

Fried, sweet plantains are a quick and easy snack or side dish to make. Plus, they are super delicious! In this recipe, I fried the plantains, and then sprinkled kosher salt, hot sauce, and a creamy sage "cheese" sauce over them. However, plantains are great fried with just a little sea salt sprinkled on them.  No need to add any sweetener, since they are naturally sweet! 

 For the sauce, I experimented with with cheeses from The Non-Dairy Formulary cookbook ( Check it out if you haven't yet! I  revised one of the recipes to use ingredients I had in my pantry and to include sage, since I had a ton of sage in my garden. The sage actually works really well in the sauce and tastes wonderful with the plantains.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 - 10  minutes
Serves: 2


  • 1 ripe plantain
  • vegetable oil to coat pan
  • sea salt or kosher salt to taste
  • hot sauce to taste
Sage Cheese Sauce:
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/8 +  teaspoon red chili peppers
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 5 leaves of fresh sage
  • chives or scallions, chopped

Plantains Instructions:

1) Pick out a ripe plantain.  A ripe plantain should have black spots and feel soft to the touch.  

2) Peel the plantain by making a long slice in the skin, and then peeling the skin off.  Then, cut the plantain on the bias into 1/4 - 1/2 inch diagonal slices.

3) Put enough oil in pan to form a thin coat over the entire pan. Heat the oil on medium/high heat until hot.  Add plantains.  Flip each plantain over when they have browned.  Fry each plantain only once on each side.

4) Remove plantains from oil and let drain on a paper towel for a minute or two.

5) Place the plantains on a plate, and sprinkle sea salt over them.  Then, drizzle some hot sauce and creamy sage cheese sauce over them. Finish with chopped chives or scallions. If you want to keep it simple, just add the sea salt and serve!

Sage Cheese Sauce Instructions:

1) Process ALL the ingredients in a blender until smooth.

2) Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and cook on low/medium heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula.

3) Continue cooking and stirring the mixture until it is thick and bubbly. Use the spatula to scrape the sides of the pot if the mixture begins to stick.  Serve WARM. (Once cooled, the mixture with thicken further and get clumpy.)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Crispy Orange Sesame Tofu

Crispy, coated tofu in a sweet and spicy orange sesame sauce.

Tip: The keys to perfecting the crispy tofu are to drain the tofu adequately, use a non-stick pan, and to fry the tofu immediately after coating with corn starch.   The longer you leave the tofu in the corn starch, the gummier it will get.  With some practice, you will end up with restaurant-quality, crispy tofu!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Serves 4

Tofu Ingredients:
  • 1 and 1/2 packages (14 oz.) of extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup of corn starch
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
Sauce Ingredients:
  • 6 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • juice from 1/2 an orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated orange rind
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Optional thickener: 1 teaspoon of corn starch, 1-2 teaspoons cold water


Prep: Press the tofu for 30 minutes.  Another option is to squeeze and drain the tofu. For the second option, cut the full block into two parts, so you have three total.  Gently squeeze each piece of  tofu  horizontally and vertically.  Then, let the tofu blocks drain in a colander for 30 minutes. I found that Soy-Boy and Trader Joe's brands are very firm and drain adequately this way. While the tofu is draining, prep the other ingredients and start cooking the sauce.

1) Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a saucepan and simmer on low/medium heat.  The sauce should be finished cooking the time the tofu is finished draining. (20 minutes.) Turn off heat.

2) Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes or rectangles.

3) For the coating on the tofu to get crispy, you do not want to overcrowd the pan. Split the tofu into three amounts and fry each separately.  Start with 1/3 of the tofu cubes. Sprinkle some cornstarch over them, and use a spatula to coat the tofu evenly.  You want a thin coat of cornstarch over the tofu.

4) Add oil to non-stick frying pan, so there is a thin coat of oil coating the entire pan.  Add the tofu to the pan immediately after the oil is hot.  Fry until bottoms of tofu are crispy and golden.   Use tongs to flip each piece. Remove tofu when the other side is golden and crispy.

5) Drain the tofu in a colander. 

6) Repeat the steps 3-5 for the next two batches of tofu.  Do not coat the tofu in corn starch until you are ready to add to the pan.  You do not want the tofu to sit in the cornstarch too long.

7) After all all the tofu is cooked and drained, put the tofu in a bowl.  Add the scallions and sesame seeds. Use a spatula to mix.

7) If you wish to thicken the sauce, first bring the sauce to a boil.  In a separate small bowl, mix a teaspoon of cornstarch and a teaspoon of cold water until smooth.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and stir.  Remove from heat.

8) Pour the sauce into the bowl of tofu.  Use a spatula to coat evenly. Serve immediately.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sweet and Tart Green Smoothie

This sugar-free smoothie gets its sweetness from natural ingredients: raisins, apples, and bananas. This is one of the most refreshing smoothies I've made. Perfect for a hot, summer day!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes: A little over 2 cups 

  • 1 frozen banana, chopped
  • 2 leaves of kale, chopped
  • 1/2 a granny smith apple, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1 cup of water (less water for a thicker smoothie)
  • 2 tablespoons of raisins 
  1. Put all ingredients into a Vitamix blender. (Any other high-powered blender would work as well.)
  2. Start off blending at a low speed, using the "Tamper Tool" to push ingredients down towards the blade.
  3. Blend at a high speed until a uniform color appears. (45 seconds)
  4. Drink by yourself or share with a friend! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Easy Pea-sy Tofu Scramble!

I clearly remember the first tofu scramble I ever was the worst!  Years of trial and error have taught me that a tofu scramble CAN have great taste and texture.  I think the secret is to make sure you have firm, drained tofu and a good non-stick pan! I've found that Soy-Boy and Trader Joe's brand tofu works the best for me.  I don't even have to press the tofu!

Tofu Scramble with Herb Potatoes and Grits

Serves 2

  • 1/2 package extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (adjust amount if using table salt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 leaves of kale, chopped
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of water

1) Saute the onions and bell peppers in oil until translucent and a little browned.

2) Add the spices and water.  (I add water to make a gravy of spices.  It coats the tofu much more evenly than if I sprinkle the spices directly on the tofu.)

3) Break up the tofu into medium-sized pieces. Larger pieces are more flavorful than smaller ones.

4) Add tofu to the pan and stir until the tofu is coated with spices.

5) Saute tofu mixture until water has evaporated and tofu starts to brown. I only stir the tofu occasionally. Add the garlic while the tofu is cooking.

6) Add the peas, kale, salt, and apple cider vinegar.  After you add them, cover the pan.  Let the peas and kale steam for a few minutes.  Don't overcook, or the peas will dry out.

7) After the kale and peas have steamed, add the nutritional yeast and stir well.

8) Remove from heat and enjoy!