Tag Archives: garlic

Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

3 Aug

Garlic is perhaps one of the most popular seasonings used to flavor savory dishes, and just the sheer aroma alone is enough to make your mouth water. A relative to the onion, garlic is low in calories and free of fat, cholesterol and sugar (source). Want to know more? Check out my All About Garlic post.

When garlic is roasted, its pungency is reduced while its flavor is brought to the forefront. This makes it an excellent inclusion for sandwiches and wraps. In addition, you can kick up your salads by incorporating garlic into your dressings. Check out this recipe for Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing. Almonds lend themselves to this recipe by providing a nice, creamy consistency, all while providing a healthy dose of potassium, dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron and magnesium (source).

Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing
Yields approximately 1-1/2 cups

1/2 cup whole blanched unsalted almonds
1 cup + 3/4 cup filtered water, divided
1 bulb fresh garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place almonds in a bowl and cover with 1 cup filtered water. Set aside and allow to soak for 8 hours, or overnight.

After almonds have soaked, preheat oven to 400° F. Cut off top quarter of garlic bulb and place on a piece of aluminum foil approximately 12″ by 12″ in size. Drizzle garlic with olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake garlic, cut side up, in preheated oven for 40-60 minutes, depending on flavor preference. Remove and allow to cool. Garlic should be very fragrant and golden brown in color. Once cooled, squeeze garlic cloves out of their skins and place in the bowl of a blender.

Drain and discard water from almonds. Add soaked almonds, 3/4 cup fresh filtered water and remaining ingredients to blender and puree until smooth, approximately 30-90 seconds, depending on your type of blender.


Pesto Pasta Salad

30 Jun

Pasta salad is an excellent way to incorporate various vitamins and minerals into your diet. You can include whatever vegetables you want and then smother it all in your dressing of choice. Having been raised with Italian dressing on my pasta salad, I grew tired of it and wanted to try something new. Enter pesto. The result is a burst of flavor that accents the various vegetables included within and makes for an excellent, refreshing salad you can enjoy on any spring or summer day.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad
Yields approximately 8-10 cups

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
1 (12-ounce) box farfalle pasta (or pasta of choice)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper or seasoning of choice
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts marinated in water, drained and chopped
1 (10.5-ounce) container cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
1 (8-ounce) bag fresh broccoli, separated into small florets
3/4 cup extra-large black olives, halved

3 ounces fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 medium cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 rounded teaspoon salt (adding more to taste)

Begin with tofu by pressing out excess liquid. You may either use a tofu press or wrap the tofu in cloth or paper towels and place a heavy item, such as a plate or two, on top and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes.

While tofu is being pressed, prepare pasta according to manufacturer’s directions. Drain, set aside and allow to cool completely.

Prepare pesto by first processing basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add olive oil and salt, and continue processing another 10-15 seconds, or until oil is incorporated. Set aside.

Slice pressed tofu into small cubes. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add tofu in a single layer and fry until golden brown on all sides. Season with salt and pepper, or the seasoning of your choice (I use a chicken-style seasoning). Set aside on a paper towel-covered plate in order to remove excess oil. Allow to cool.

Once pasta and tofu have cooled, combine with prepared pesto and remaining ingredients.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Wonton Vegetable Soup

14 Feb

A wonton is a type of dumpling commonly found in Chinese cuisine. Typically fried or boiled in soup, wontons are prepared by placing filling inside of thin, flat pieces of dough, which are folded over and sealed. The shape of wontons vary by region, but are often found as triangles.

Bok choy (also known as pak-choi), a type of Chinese cabbage, is a low-calorie food providing a healthy dose of nutrients. 1 cup boiled bok choy provides 18% DV Potassium, 144% Vitamin A, 15% Calcium, 73% Vitamin C and 15% Vitamin B6, all in just 20 calories (source).

The high amount of Vitamin A contained in bok choy plays an essential role in healthy vision, bone growth, and immune and reproduction system function. This vitamin, often referred to as retinoids, is found naturally in both animal and plant sources, however, animal-derived Vitamin A is fat-soluble and can build up in the body, becoming toxic. Plant-derived Vitamin A, however, is water-soluble and does not build up in the body, therefore toxicity is rare (source).

The wontons below encompass a savory tofu filling and are cooked in a light vegetable broth, which is full of bok choy, carrots, baby corn, mushrooms and green onion.

Vegetable Wonton Soup

Wonton Vegetable Soup

8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dry and crumbled
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon soy sauce
fresh cracked black pepper
1/3 (12-ounce) package round dumpling wrappers*

12 cups water
3 tablespoons vegan vegetable bouillon paste (I use Better Than Bouillon)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 medium-size carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 heads bok choy, washed and sliced
1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms of choice, cleaned
8 ounces baby corn, drained
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Begin with wontons by placing tofu, garlic, soy sauce and pepper in a bowl. Mix with a fork until thoroughly combined.

Place a dumpling wrapper on a clean, flat surface and spoon approximately 1 tablespoon tofu mixture into the center. Moisten edges of wrapper with water and fold to form a half-moon. Seal wonton by carefully pressing around filling and edges to remove as much air as possible. Continue process until filling is used up. Set aside.

For the soup, bring water to a boil and stir in vegetable bouillon paste until dissolved. Add ginger, carrots, bok choy and mushrooms, reduce heat to low and cover, allowing to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Add prepared wontons to pot and replace lid, continuing to simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Finally, add baby corn and green onions, replace lid and simmer for 1-2 additional minutes, or until wontons and vegetables are tender. Serve hot or warm.

* Dumpling and wonton wrappers often contain egg, so it is important to read the ingredients, ensuring that the wrappers are vegan.

White Bean and Sage Crostini

4 Feb

Crostini, sometimes called crostino, which means “little toast” in Italian, is a small slice of grilled or toasted bread capped with a flavorful topping (source).

This recipe, featuring beans and fresh sage, provides a variety of nutrients. 1 cup canned white beans provides 50% DV Dietary Fiber, 19% Calcium, 44% Iron, and 19g Protein (source). An excellent source of Manganese, white beans assist with healthy bones, metabolism, sex hormones and thyroid gland function, regulation of blood sugar, prevention of epileptic seizures, as well as assisting with calcium absorption (source).

These refreshing White Bean and Sage Crostini are excellent hors d’oeuvres or can be used as a fancy potluck contribution.

White Bean and Sage Crostini

White Bean and Sage Crostini

1 (8-ounce) baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
olive oil
fresh cracked pepper

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or great northern beans
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Begin with the crostini by placing baguette slices in a single layer on a large cookie sheet. Brush both sides of bread with oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, for the topping, drain beans and rinse with water, allowing to drain thoroughly. Mash beans in a small bowl and add remaining ingredients, mixing until combined.

Spoon bean mixture evenly atop baguette slices and serve.

Hearty Chickenless Noodle Soup

1 Oct

Now that fall (or autumn, if you prefer) is upon us and the days are getting cooler, we now look to enjoy warmer foods. Nothing warms you up like a hot bowl of soup like mom used to make!

With subtle smoky notes, this version of the classic chicken noodle soup replaces chicken with tofu and is completed with carrots, celery, onion and noodles in a savory vegetable broth.

Hearty Chickenless Noodle Soup

Hearty Chickenless Noodle Soup

1/2 (14-ounce) package extra firm tofu, frozen then thawed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (yes, it’s vegan!)

6 ounces long pasta of your choice, broken into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped white onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Begin with the tofu by pressing it. Either wrap in a dry towel and place on a stable surface, covering with a couple of heavy plates, or, use a tofu press. Allow tofu to be pressed for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place olive oil, soy sauce and poultry seasoning in a small bowl, whisking to combine. Roughly chop pressed tofu and add to mixture, carefully stirring to coat. Set aside and allow tofu to absorb flavors.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place tofu mixture in a single layer on baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Next, start the soup by heating oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add carrots, celery and onion, cooking and stirring often for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Add garlic, stirring often, and continue to cook an additional minute.

Add remaining soup ingredients (with the exception of noodles) and bring to a boil over high heat. Add noodles and boil according to manufacturer’s directions. Remove soup from heat and stir in tofu. Allow to cool slightly before consuming.

Oil-Free Pesto-Grilled Potatoes

8 Aug

Oh, how I love pesto! And potatoes. And a hot grill. Grab some aluminum foil and you’ve got a great dish.

Living in a climate with a rather ugly winter, we make the most out of summer in our home. Fresh basil, just the scent of it, is the spirit of summer in herb form. I’ve always loved pesto but I don’t want all the oil found in all the recipes. The beauty of this recipe is that you get the bright, verdant flavor of pesto without the oil because we will be using an aluminum packet over a grill, locking in the flavors and the moisture of the sauce.

NOTE: For those without a grill, you can achieve the same results with a parchment packet in the oven at 425 degrees, cooking the same length of time as on the grill recipe below.

Pesto-Grilled Potatoes

Oil-Free Pesto-Grilled Potatoes
Yields 4-6 Servings

2 cups fresh basil
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup low sodium vegetable stock
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons organic lemon rind, grated
1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds Yukon Gold or baby potatoes

First, make your pesto by placing all of the above ingredients, except for potatoes, into a food processor and process until it is a paste. Add stock by the tablespoon if it is too dry and not coming together.

Wash potatoes and slice into halves or quarters. Very small potatoes can be left whole.

In a large bowl, add the potatoes and 1/3 – 1/2 cup of pesto.

Lay a large sheet of foil, add the potatoes and fold over the edges to make one sealed package. Cook over a hot grill for 20 minutes, turn with tongs and cook for 15 more minutes. Enjoy!

Marla RoseMarla Rose is a writer, mother and activist.
She recently relaunched VeganStreet.com and is co-founder of Chicago VeganMania.

Tofu and Sausage Sauté

2 Feb

I love weekends. Why? Because I have time to cook and savor a sizeable breakfast. And if you don’t know by now, I love my breakfast!

A little note: anytime I mention sausage, cheese, or any other typically animal-based product, I am referring to the vegan version.

Tofu and Sausage Sauté is one of the most popular recipes of mine. My family, herbivores and omnivores alike, always devour it. This protein-packed dish is chock full of tofu, “sausage”, greens and “cheese”, most of which are excellent sources of protein; topped with a delicious, savory sauce. Tofu and Sausage Sauté is perfect for anyone, especially those who live an active lifestyle. Following is the estimated amount of protein this dish provides:

  • Tofu: fried tofu provides over 67 grams of protein per 14-ounce serving (source)
  • Vegan Sausage: seitan-based sausage contains approximately 26 grams of protein per 4-ounce serving (source)
  • Spinach or Kale: raw spinach has 1.35 grams of protein per 1-1/2 cup serving (source) and raw kale has 3.3 grams of protein per 1½ cup serving (source)
  • Vegan Cheese: vegan cheese typically contains approximately 1 gram of protein per 1/4 cup serving (source, source and source)

Tofu & Sausage Sauté

Tofu and Sausage Sauté

1 (14-ounce) package extra firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
1/2 cup crumbled or diced vegan sausage
2 tablespoons diced white onion
1-1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach or kale
1/4 cup shredded or diced vegan cheese (I prefer mozzarella or monterey jack)

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Press tofu by wrapping in cloth or paper towels and weighing down with a couple of plates for 20-30 minutes. After this time, cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare sauce by combining soy sauce, mustard, dill weed and garlic powder in a small glass and mixing until combined. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and cook until light brown on all sides, turning occasionally. Add sausage and onion to the pan and cook, stirring often until onion is translucent and sausage begins to brown, approximately 5-10 minutes. Add spinach or kale and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes, or just until tender. Remove from heat and add the sauce, stirring to coat. Finish by sprinkling cheese over top and mixing in if desired.

All About Garlic

10 Dec

Perhaps best known for warding off vampires, garlic, also known as Allium sativum, is part of the onion genus. There are many types of this popular herb grown around the world including “crow garlic”, “field garlic”, “meadow garlic”, “wild garlic” and “wild onion”. Native to central Asia, garlic is used for culinary, medicinal, religious and spiritual purposes, and can be grown year-round in mild climates. The cloves of garlic can be planted, and the resulting scapes which grow out of them can also be consumed, and feature a milder flavor than that of the bulbs themselves (source).

Garlic Bulb and Cloves

With its pungent, strong taste, garlic is used to add flavor to various African, American, Asian, European and Middle Eastern culinary dishes. In addition to flavoring breads, stir-fries and various pickled dishes, garlic cloves can also be placed in oil for a period of time, creating garlic-infused oil which has many uses of its own. Roasted garlic can also be created by cutting the top off a garlic bulb, drizzling with oil, wrapping with foil, then roasting in the oven until garlic is soft. This creates a whole new dimension of flavor excellent for a variety of dishes (source).

Currently one of the highest-selling herbal supplements, garlic is used to prevent and treat various ailments, the most common being your typical cold. Garlic has a variety of medicinal uses which date back to 3,200 B.C. More recently, however, garlic was used in World War I to cure dysentery, and in World War II to treat battle wound infections when antibiotics were not available. Multiple studies have shown that garlic can lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure, cure Athlete’s Foot, reduce some ear infections, and possibly even aid in the reduction of colon and stomach cancers (source).

In some European cultures, garlic has been used for protection, with some believing it to ward off evil entities. The Hindu and Jain cultures believe that the consumption of garlic increases ones desires, and therefore often avoid it. In addition, some Buddhists also avoid consumption of garlic as they believe it stimulates aggressive and sexual drives (source).

Raw garlic is a very good source of Manganese and Vitamins B6 and C, and a good source of Calcium, Phosphorus and Selenium. In addition, 1 cup raw garlic provides 17% of your recommended daily protein and 13% of your daily iron intake (source).

Craving some garlic? Try some Garlic and Rosemary Tofu Bites or Greek Garlic and Potato Dip.

Easy Vegetable Broth: Did You Know?

2 Dec

Ever wondered what to do with the vegetable pieces that you don’t use?

Vegetable Broth

Make vegetable broth!

Not only is vegetable broth easy to make, it is also inexpensive and can be healthier than the store-bought varieties. Instead of throwing away the typically discarded ends, leaves, and other pieces of vegetables, add them to a large pot along with plenty of water and the seasonings of your choice. Boil for an hour, drain and discard the solid pieces. Voila! You’ve got homemade vegetable broth!

The cool thing about this is that you can use nearly any vegetables* of your choosing. Furthermore, you can add nutritional value to your broth by adding 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, and for more flavor, a little salt. Garlic and onion can also be used.

*Use vegetable pieces that are fresh with no signs of decay or rot, and avoid those with strong, overpowering flavors such as cabbage.

Tomato Basil Soup

28 Oct

There are many things that pair well together. Two of my favorites, however, are tomatoes and basil. Perhaps the most common species of basil, sweet basil, is prevalent in Italian cuisine and has a clove and menthol-like aroma with a subtle peppery, yet sweet flavor. It is one of the few herbs that has a much more pronounced flavor when fresh, so using fresh rather than dried is often recommended. Basil is native to India and various regions of Asia with over 160 known cultivars (source).

Not only is fresh basil delicious, it is also chock full of vitamins and nutrients including but not limited to: Calcium, Copper, Dietary Fiber, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Protein, Riboflavin, Vitamins A, B6, C, E and K, and Zinc (source). Basil also boasts a variety of health benefits. It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, benefits the cardiovascular system, assists with strong bones and helps protect DNA (source).

Check out the many health benefits of tomatoes on my Corn and Tomato Salsa Fresca post here.

The recipe below utilizes both tomatoes and fresh basil, and is excellent on a cool day alongside a grilled “cheese” sandwich. Enjoy!

Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup
Yields approximately 8 cups

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
6 large tomatoes (3-4 inches in diameter), diced
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc wine
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring often and being careful not to let the garlic burn.

Add tomatoes, wine, water, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add basil, replace lid, and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Puree soup with an emulsion blender or place approximately 1-1/2 cups of the mixture into a blender and puree until smooth, approximately 30-45 seconds. Be careful not to place too much of the mixture in the blender or else pressure will build, causing a mess. Pour puréed mixture into a large bowl and repeat until entire mixture has been blended.

Place a large mesh strainer over a separate large bowl and add puréed soup. Stir to remove as much liquid as possible, and discard remaining solids. Season soup with additional salt and pepper to taste.

VARIATION: Tomato Basil Bisque – Add 1 cup non-dairy creamer after straining soup and stir to combine.

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