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Saturday, May 23, 2015


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This is the time of year that I switch from making soup several times a week to making hearty full-meal salads with whole grains, potatoes, pasta and noodles, or sweet potatoes, with beans or tofu or other vegan protein and lots of vegetables (and sometimes fruit-- fresh or dried-- and nuts).  This ensures that we have something ready-made, nutritious and tasty in the refrigerator at all times for quick meals or snacks.

These recipes are two that we have enjoyed recently-- one an old favorite, and one new, made up to utilize what I had in the freezer and fridge.

NOTE: About Szechuan chili garlic paste in the first recipe-- the best kind contains fermented soybeans, which give added flavor and umami to this condiment. My favorites are Six Fortune Mandarin Jah-Jan Sauce (ingredients: vegetable oil,  bean curd, chili sauce, soybean paste, bamboo shoot and mushroom) or Six Fortune Soybean Paste with Chili Paste (ingredients: Chili, soybean paste,salt, sugar, sesame oil), but there are other brands with similar ingredients.


 Printable Copy

Serves 8

This is a very easy, versatile and delicious salad, which I adapted from a recipe in Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" (Broadway Books, NY, 1997) about 15 years ago.  I often make it for potlucks or  family gatherings, and invariably have several requests for the recipe.  I've adapted it even more over the years to use various types of noodles, vegetables and vegan protein.

The noodles:
1 lb. gan mian or ji mian (plain, thin flour and water noodles) or mian xian (extra-thin Amoy-style flour and water noodles), or egg-free chow mein noodles
OR, if you can't find Chinese noodles, spaghettini, vermicelli or cappellini (thin Italian pasta)
1-2 bunches green onions, chopped
1/4 c. toasted sesame seeds (and/or 1/2 cup roasted peanuts)
The vegetables:
1 lb. of lightly cooked vegetables-- any of the following or a mixture:
whole green beans  or asparagus, cut into 2" lengths
broccoli flowerettes, thinly sliced
broccolini, broccolette or gai lan, thinly sliced
snap peas (cut in half if they are large)
slivers or cubes of any vegan protein you like, such as:
strips of crispy "B of T"
cubes or strips of vegan "ham" or any type of seitan
reconstituted Soy Curls
any sort of marinated, grilled and/or fried tofu or tempeh (see 2nd salad recipe below for a quick grilled tofu that is also good in this salad)
7 T. soy sauce (can be low-salt)
1/4 c. dark sesame oil
3 1/2 T. brown sugar
3 T. balsamic vinegar (or Chinese black vinegar)
3 T. water
1 T. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. salt (this sounds like alot, but it's a BIG salad)
1 tsp. Szechuan chili garlic paste (preferably the type with fermented soybeans in it-- see text above  recipe for more information)
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water until tender.  Run cold water over them in a colander.  Drain well. Mix the Dressing ingredients together well and pour over the noodles.  Toss well.  Add the green onions, sesame seeds (and/or peanuts), vegetables, Protein of choice and optional red pepper slices, if using.  Toss well.  Store in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.


Printable Recipe

Serves 4
This is the new salad-- definitely worth repeating. You could substitute other grains for the bulgur, but I love it's earthy flavor, which melds well with the sautéed mushrooms.

1 cup medium (#2) bulgur wheat
1 lb. slim green beans, trimmed  and cut in half
10 large mushrooms (I use creminis), sliced
1 cup sliced green onions
Grilled Tofu:
12 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 tablespoons soy sauce (can be low-salt)
1 tablespoon brown sugar or maple syrup
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup plain rice vinegar
2 tablespoons oil of choice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed

Bring the bulgur to a boil with 2 cups of water in a small saucepan.  Turn down to low, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the bulgur is tender and the water all absorbed. Set aside to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Plunge the green beans into boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.  Immediately drain and plunge into very cold water to stop the cooking.  Set aside to drain in a colander.

Sauté the sliced mushrooms in a bit of oil until cooked to your liking.  Set aside.

Combine the tofu cubes with the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic.  Spread the tofu cubes on a rimmed baking sheet with the marinade ingredients and place about 4 inches below the heat source of your oven's broiler.  Broil for a few minutes, watching carefully, until the cubes start to brown and stir them around to mix with the remaining sauce. Broil a few minutes longer, until browned to your satisfaction. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Whisk or blend together the Dressing ingredients. Fluff the cooked bulgur with a fork and scoop into a large bowl.  Add the drained, cooked green beans, the sautéed mushrooms, tofu cubes and green onions.  Mix well.  Add the Dressing and toss well.  Serve at room temperature.


1 comment:

Tarin Lindsey said...

Your blog looks great. Your recipe looks so nutritious and yummy. I like also the ingredients with nice combo of mushroom and green beans, easy to prepare. I am excited to serve this delicious recipe to my husband. For sure he loves it. I love also your other recipes perfect for a meal. Thanks for sharing your brilliant ideas and tips. Excellent!