Monday, November 24, 2014

Tempeh Croutons

I wish I were more of a salad person. Don't get me wrong, I love a great salad, but I'm never that inclined to make one for dinner. Lately, I've been trying to be more conscious of this salad need and have been making a salad for dinner once a week. Okay, let's face it ... I run out of time in my day and decide to take 10 minutes to chop vegetables, make a dressing and call it a day! Regardless of the reason, we are getting more salads in our diet.

Years ago, I got a small recipe book on tempeh. Over the past three moves it has gone missing, probably never to be found (by me) again. I don't remember much from the book, but I always think about seeing a recipe for tempeh croutons. Since I am a total carb freak, I love croutons on my salad, but never got the push to make them out of tempeh. Curiosity finally got the best of me and I decided to make them for last weeks salad.

Not only were they really easy to make, but they made me want to eat salad again the next night! The kids even munched on one or two and I never can seem to get them to eat tempeh!

I wonder if my recipe was close to the one in the tempeh recipe book ...

Tempeh Croutons

Baked Tempeh Croutons

8 oz tempeh
2 T olive oil
2 T Mrs. Braggs Amino Acids
2 T white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t ground mustard
1/2 t salt
1/2 t oregano

Cut tempeh into 1/2 inch cubes. In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients to make your marinade. Marinate tempeh for at least 1 1/2 hours, but the longer you do it the better flavor it will have.

Remove tempeh from marinade, reserving the marinade. Place them on a sheet tray and bake at 375º for 40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Once done, give one last toss in the marinade to get even more flavor.

Top on your favorite salad.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Butternut Squash & Rosemary Tahini Dip

I have realized that I have a love hate relationship with rosemary. As it may be one of my favorite fresh herbs to use, at the same time it can be so overpowering that I think can ruin many dishes.

When I started making this dip, I reached for the sage since I love sage and squash together, but I decided to take a different route and add just a touch of rosemary instead. I loved the outcome ... change is good! The tahini in the dip gives a smooth and nutty taste and there is just a hint of rosemary in the background. Now, if you like more rosemary ... have at it and add a little more, but for me, the subtle taste was perfect.

Vegan Butternut Squash & Rosemary Tahini Dip

We had this as an appetizer before dinner one night and we didn't eat it all since we didn't want to ruin our appetite. The little I had left over, I used as a dressing the next day for my lunch. I simply added more olive oil and a bit of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and it was a perfect fall dressing!

Butternut Squash & Rosemary Tahini Dip

Makes 2 cups

2 c butternut squash, roasted
1/4 c olive oil
2 T tahini
1 t lemon juice
1/2 t rosemary, chopped
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt

Cut squash in half and remove the seeds. Lay it face down in a pan filled with 1/2 in of water. Roast it at 375º for 40-45 minutes or until very tender.

Once done, scoop out the squash into your food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth. Add more olive oil if needed.

Vegan Butternut Squash & Rosemary Tahini Dip

I like it best served right away when it's still warm (or you can reheat it), but it does taste good cold too.

Vegan Butternut Squash & Rosemary Tahini Dip

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Squashin' Macaroni & Cheese

Since I have given up dairy and soy to see if that makes a difference in Simon's comfort level I have been craving cheese in the worst way! Big surprise ... right?!? The kids aren't helping at all. For two nights in a row they have been asking for macaroni and cheese. Usually, not a problem for me, but even my Vegan Mac & Cheese recipe has soy in it. After two days of asking, I realized it was time for a new macaroni and cheese recipe. Kids, make a note: Persistence pays off!

Right now, I have about 10 squash in the basement (all different styles). Since I just used acorn squash for my Vegan Alfredo Sauce, I decided to go with the humble butternut squash. I used a lot of the same ingredients as my Vegan Mac & Cheese because I love the flavor and let's face it, if it's not broken, why fix it? But, because the squash is so creamy, there isn't a need for tofu.

The outcome was perfect ... well, almost. I added turmeric, which I absolutely love and the health benefits are great! It's an anti-inflammatory, it increases your antioxidants, it is said to help prevent and possibly treat cancer, it's thought to delay aging and this is just naming a few benefits, there are so many more! I'll just tell you that I try to sneak turmeric in wherever I can! Sorry, back to the pasta! So, I added turmeric, but the added spice made it too zesty for the kids. After two nights of asking for macaroni and cheese and finally getting it, they couldn't handle more than about five bites! They got a quick tortilla pizza instead. Sorry kids, but mommy and daddy loved the turmeric!

By the way, the lack of dairy and soy doesn't seem to be making a difference just yet but I'm giving it a bit longer. The chiropractor visits seem to be doing wonders though ... yeah!!!!

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

Squashin' Macaroni & Cheese

Serves 4

1 butternut squash
1 med onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cups almond milk
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1 T dijon mustard
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t turmeric (optional)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 packed cup spinach, julienned
16 oz noodles

Cut butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Lay face down in a pan filled with 1/2 in of water. Roast them at 375º for 40-45 minutes or until very tender.

Cook pasta according to directions.

In a pot, heat a little oil and add in onion and garlic. Once tender and fragrant, turn off heat.

Scoop your squash into the pot with your onions and add in milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, lemon, salt, pepper and turmeric. Remember, the turmeric gives a little bite which I absolutely love, but the kids wouldn't eat it so know your audience before adding it in.

Using your immersion blender, mix all ingredients. I didn't go crazy with the mixing so there were still a few chunks of onion that you could see. Next, add in your spinach. The heat of the sauce will wilt your greens just a little bit.

Mix in your noodles and serve.

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese