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Oct 02, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Wheatless Wednesday: Raw Zucchini ‘Pad Thai’

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

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Traditional pad Thai is one of Thailand’s national dishes and is also a mainstay in many countries outside Southeast Asia. This rice noodle dish commonly features eggs and tofu, sometimes meat, and a variety of saucy, often processed ingredients

As I mentioned in my most recent post, the last two weeks have seen me feasting on only raw, plant-based food. This could seem limiting to many people, but it’s been a great catalyst for creativity in my kitchen. I’ve swapped my toaster oven, microwave and oven for a dehydrator, and my recent Blendtec purchase has changed my perspective on smoothies, whole juices and sauces. If you’re really dedicated, you could even purchase a high-powered juicer to equip the kitchen for a variety of raw food meals and treats (think raw “ice cream”).

This recipe is my attempt to “raw-itize” a universally loved sweet-and-sour dish that could entice any street food-lover in Thailand. I used my Spiralizer to make simple zucchini noodles quickly, but if you don’t have one you can shred them with a food processor or box grater.

In place of soy sauce, I use coconut aminos, a gluten-free substitute made from the sap of a coconut tree. It is much higher in nutritional content than soy sauce, and since it’s a raw product, it contains active enzymes that aid in digestion. You can find coconut aminos at Whole Foods.

Raw Zucchini “Pad Thai”
4 servings

2 extra large zucchinis
½ cup chopped broccoli florets
1 large carrot, shredded
Half a red pepper, cut into matchsticks
3 green onions, chopped
5 basil leaves, plus more for garnish
5 Tbsp. raw almond butter
1 large garlic clove
3 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos*
4 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. raw honey
½-inch piece peeled ginger
1 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil
½ cup sunflower sprouts (or bean sprouts), for garnish
½ cup chopped raw cashews, for garnish
Mint for garnish
4 lime wedges for garnish

• Use a Spiralizer to make zucchini noodles or shred the zucchini with box grater or food processor. If shredding, let the zucchini sit in a colander to drain excess water 1 to 2 hours.
• In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini, broccoli, carrot, red pepper and green onion. Set aside.
• In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the basil, almond butter, garlic, lime, coconut aminos, water, honey, ginger and coconut oil until it becomes a very smooth sauce. Pour it over the vegetables and toss.
• Divide the pad Thai evenly among 4 plates. Garnish each with sprouts, cashews, mint, basil and a lime wedge.

*Coconut aminos are available at Whole Foods.

Meatless Monday: Smoked Portobello Sandwich at Sugarfire Smoke House

Monday, July 28th, 2014

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Frequenting a barbecue joint and attempting to eat meatless can seem like an exercise in futility. But if there’s ever a time to start murmuring your vegetarian hosannas, it’s while tucking in to the smoked portobello sandwich at Sugarfire Smoke House. The lone meatless entree on the menu, the sandwich at first feels a little like a sheepish afterthought, something the kitchen came up after realizing how much meat it puts in everything. But take a bite and be changed.

It’s not far off the mark to call this a spiffed-up fungiform Big Mac; according to head pitmaster Casey Jovick, that’s more or less what Sugarfire is reaching for. Two balsamic-marinated, smoked portobello are layered between a double-decker bun fresh from Fazio’s Bakery on The Hill. Huge marinated onions, shredded lettuce and sliced pickles are stuffed in between, and slices of American cheese laid over the mushrooms melt and mingle with the house-made “special sauce,” Sugarfire’s knockout take on Thousand Island dressing.

A squirt of any of the house’s menu of bottled sauces would be worth your while, but the coffee barbecue sauce is your best bet. It complements the sandwich’s sharp, vinegary tones with the sweet, earthy notes of coffee. The whole affair is a hot mess – bread, mushroom and fixings toppling everywhere – but catch it all in your tray, wipe your fingers with a paper towel, and scoop up the remnants with a fork.

With a bit of luck, you’ll find crazy corn on the menu, one of several daily rotating side options displayed on butcher paper. The side usually makes a weekly appearance and slings together corn, Sugarfire’s house rub, five cheeses, green chiles, masa and other ingredients (sometimes sausage; vegetarians, keep a watchful eye out) for a piquant, Southwestern-style side. You never knew the meat-free masses could be so at home in the land of barbecue.

 

 

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Tuna Salad

Monday, July 21st, 2014

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Like so many culinary “aha” moments, the idea for the base of this recipe came to me during what I like to call a “college kitchen” day. I needed something for lunch but hadn’t gone grocery shopping in more than a week. My ingredient options were either in can form or sitting in the freezer in unmarked plastic bags (with an ominous layer of ice, I might add).

I opted out of rediscovering the frozen tundra of past cooking adventures and stood in the pantry, staring at the shelves, willing something to jump into my hands and reveal a brilliant plan. After several scans, I settled on a can of garbanzo beans, thinking I’d whip up some hummus. Then I remembered our food processor went kaput earlier that week. Drat.

Undeterred, I decided it was nothing my good ol’ potato masher couldn’t handle, so I set to work draining the beans and adding some salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil to get things going. About halfway through the mashing process, I realized I had the beginning of tuna salad.

Find out how Beth Styles went from half-smashed beans to a spot-on vegetarian version of this picnic staple here, and get the recipe here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

 

Meatless Monday: Seitan Gyro at Frida’s Deli

Monday, July 14th, 2014

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Since I went vegetarian seven years ago, I’ve been on the hunt for an authentic-tasting, satisfying meat-free gyro. I grew up eating my grandmother’s Greek food, but my picky childhood palate limited me to french fries, chicken fingers and pasta Alfredo. I only became adventurous enough to try a traditional gyro – sliced meat, tomatoes and onions slathered in thick, tangy tzatziki – just one year before I chose to eschew meat altogether. Now that I’m vegan to boot, finding a delicious substitute is harder still, but Frida’s Deli helped me take one step closer to veggie gyro nirvana.

Frida’s vegan seitan gyro comes in a warmed pita (not oiled and grilled like many traditional sandwiches – it’s a health-conscious restaurant after all) with plenty of crunchy lettuce, tomatoes and red onions. A hefty handful of shredded, chicken-style seitan serves as the gyro “meat,” dotted with flavorful dried oregano and other herbs. Everything is tossed in a light “tzatziki” sauce, which is tough to get right without thick Greek yogurt. Since Frida’s vegan tzatziki is a little on the thin side, I recommend slathering your pita with the side of hummus, adding moisture and an extra hit of flavor for a satisfying vegan meal.

Meatless Monday: Summer Lasagna

Monday, July 7th, 2014

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Lasagna has something for everyone. Cheese. Starch. More cheese. But vegetarian lasagna? Well that’s usually just Mom’s recipe without the meat. Bo-ring. (Nothing against your mom. She’s lovely.) Since it’s too hot to turn on the oven and my farmers market produce overfloweth, it’s time to find a new twist on this old favorite.

Ready for a vegetarian lasagna that doesn’t require gallons of tomato sauce or even pasta? Click here for the recipe and click here to read more about how a friend’s love affair with polenta inspired Kellie Hynes to create this vibrant vegetarian dish.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Joanie’s Pizzeria’s Favorite Veggie

Monday, June 30th, 2014

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A veggie pizza might sound like a humdrum solution for a Meatless Monday, but not when it’s Joanie’s Pizzeria’s Favorite Veggie. This specialty pie from the Soulard pizza joint bursts with the bright flavors of colorful, fresh produce. Summer squash, spinach, mushrooms, yellow onions and roasted garlic all claim space on this pie, and a light tomato sauce walks a balanced line between acid and sugar. Watery vegetables like spinach can easily turn a thin crust into goo, but not here. Ours was toothsome from edge to center, and it took four Sauce staffers less than five minutes to devour all 16 inches of it. Next time, we’re ordering two.

 

 

Just Five: Grilled Endive Salad with Cannellini Beans

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

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Endive makes me feel like a “fancy” grown-up. First, there’s the pronunciation. I love that you can say AHN’-deev or EN’-dyve – I do enjoy ingredients that put on airs. Also it’ rather bitter, but once grilled, a bit of natural sweetness comes out. And only the fanciest grown-ups have developed a taste for bitter things, right?

This is a great dish for a summer barbecue, especially for long-suffering vegetarians, with simple, clean, fresh flavors and a nice combination of textures. Leftovers are equally delightful chopped up and served with grilled chicken or steak. So invite your AUH’-nt over, fill the VAH’-ze with flowers and grill up some AHN’-deev for her, DAH’-ling!

Grilled Endive Salad with Cannellini Beans
4 to 6 Servings

1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
¼ cup chopped fresh dill, divided
4 heads Belgian endive
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

• Prepare the grill for high, direct heat.
• Meanwhile, in a saute pan over medium-low heat, warm the cannellini beans for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and remove from heat.
• In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil and half the dill, and toss with the beans. Set aside.
• Trim the ends of the endive, without removing the stem holding the leavings together. Slice each head in half lengthwise. Brush the cut side of the endive with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
• Brush the grate with a bit of olive oil and grill the endive about 4 minutes, until leaves just begin to curl and char. Remove from heat.
• Place the grilled endive cut-side-up in a serving dish. Spoon the beans over the endive and top with remaining dill and feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or room temperature.

 

 

Meatless Monday: Vegan Jackfruit Carnitas

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

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Barbecue season is upon us, which means meat, meat and more meat … and leaves poor vegetarians and vegans to make a meal with some sorry sides. Fear not; it’s jackfruit to the rescue.

Looking at a fresh jackfruit, you wouldn’t expect it to inspire anything. In fact, if one snuck into your house, you’d probably whack it with a baseball bat. A fresh jackfruit is humongous, oblong and yellowish green. Like an 80-pound alien booger with tumors. But the inside, ah, the inside of this gentle giant is interesting. Crack open a jackfruit and you’ll find pale yellow, fibrous flesh that vaguely resembles a pineapple. With tumors – er, seeds. OK, the jackfruit is not going to win any beauty prizes, but those fibers and seeds are where the magic happens. They soak up the flavors of the sauce you cook them in. And, yes, when you tear it up, braised jackfruit has the exact look and mouth feel of pulled pork.

Read more about the weird, wonderful powers of jackfruit here, and get the recipe for Vegan Jackfruit Carnitas here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Cauliflower two ways at Lulu’s Local Eatery

Monday, June 16th, 2014

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Anything on the menu at Lulu’s Local Eatery, the newly opened brick-and-mortar of the beloved food truck at 3201 South Grand, is fair game for Meatless Monday. After all, it’s not just vegetarian; it’s vegan. Check out the Spring Roll Bowl with crispy cauliflower atop greens, shredded carrot, green onions and cilantro dressed in a savory orange peanut sauce. It’s a dish with contrasting flavors, temperatures and texture and that makes us feel full but not at all heavy.

 

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For something a little richer, try the Buffalo Cauliflower Wrap. Crispy, fried cauliflower is tossed in buffalo sauce and rolled into a burrito along with greens, cucumber, carrot, onion and Lulu’s nondairy ranch sauce that cools things off just enough to take a big bite.

If they haven’t sold out already, snag an order of the brownie bites, provided by Sweet Art. They’re decadent with intense chocolate flavor and are also a Sauce office favorite.

 

 

Wheatless Wednesday: Asian Mung Bean Noodles with Sunflower Seed Sauce

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

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Die-hard gluten-free foodies know the frustration that comes when dining at Asian restaurants. The menus look so innocently gluten-free – until the words “soy sauce” appear. Soy sauce is the main gluten culprit in many Asian dishes because it is traditionally brewed with wheat. While soy sauce may not affect those with mild gluten intolerance or allergies, those of us with celiac disease must stay clear of it. That narrows down hundreds of dishes at Asian restaurants to a precious few that can be prepared gluten-free.

Thankfully, gluten-free soy sauce alternatives to use at home are relatively easy to find these days. Most groceries now carry soy sauce and tamari brewed without wheat. Instead of taking your chances on a restricted takeout menu, try your hand at this dish. It’s a healthy, high protein, gluten-free take on Asian-inspired food that includes local, wholesome ingredients – definitely not your typical No. 22.

Asian Mung Bean Noodles with Sunflower Seed Sauce and Roasted Tofu
4 servings

¼ cup sunflower seed butter
¼ cup tahini
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. gluten-free tamari, divided
3 Tbsp. agave nectar
4 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. miso paste
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped ginger
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 lb. firm tofu
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pint snow peas, trimmed
10 to 12 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
Mung bean fettuccine noodles*
Chopped mint for garnish

• Blend the sunflower seed butter, tahini, rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons tamari, agave nectar, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, red wine vinegar, miso paste, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika and 3 tablespoons hot water until smooth. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
• Meanwhile, spread a clean kitchen towel on a plate and place the tofu on top. Place another clean towel over the tofu and stack a heavy plate on top. Allow the water to drain from the tofu for at least 1 hour.
• Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Dice the pressed tofu into 1-inch pieces. Toss in a bowl with 1 tablespoon sesame oil, the remaining 2 teaspoons tamari and salt and pepper to taste. Spread the tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet.
• Roast for 15 minutes, flip the tofu, and roast another 10 minutes, until browned on both sides. Set aside.
• Meanwhile, add the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the snow peas and asparagus pieces and saute until light brown, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
• Prepare the mung bean fettuccine according to package directions. Place the cooked beans in a large mixing bowl and toss with the sunflower seed butter sauce. Add the vegetables and toss.
• Divide the noodle mixture between 4 plates. Top each with roasted tofu and chopped mint.

*Explore Asian Gluten-Free Organic Mung Bean Fettuccine noodles can be found at Local Harvest Grocery.

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