DDD # 44 – Vegan Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Brown Sugar Tofu & Chili Oil

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Vegan Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Brown Sugar Tofu & Chili Oil

Serves 2 very well

INGREDIENTS

for the chili oil

1/2 cup oil

3 star anise pods

1-2 TBS chopped fresh ginger

2 TBS crushed red pepper

2-4 garlic cloves – minced

3 scallions – chopped

for the dressing

2 TBS sesame oil

2 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS low sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos or tamari

2 TBS brown sugar

for the soba salad

7 oz soba noodles – cooked & drained

1/2 – 1 pound tofu (I used pressed tofu)

2 TBS brown sugar

1/2 tsp S&P

1 TBS sesame oil

Mixed chopped vegetables.  I used:

1/2 cucumber

4 radishes

1/4 red bell pepper

1 cup purple cabbage

2 scallions

(you could use edamame, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, green beans or whatever you like)

Cilantro

Sesame seeds

Lime wedges

DIRECTIONS

Cook the noodles & set aside.

Whisk the dressing together & set aside.

Heat the oil for the chili oil in a pan.  Add the star anise & crushed red pepper.   Add the ginger & scallions.  When the scallions are soft & just starting to brown – add the garlic & heat for one minute.  Put the oil in a storage container to cool.  You won’t need all the oil for this recipe & the leftover should keep in the fridge for several days.

Heat 1 TBS sesame oil.  Add the brown sugar & salt & pepper.  Add the tofu & heat until the sugar caramelizes onto the tofu.  Set aside.

In a bowl – toss the noodles with the tofu & veggies.  Add some dressing (not all of it) and a drizzle of the chili oil.  Start very light with both the dressing & the chili oil & add more to taste.

Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro & serve with lime wedges.

 

Vegan Cold Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad with Asparagus & Spinach

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Chicken Piccata is one of the things I missed most when I gave up eating meat in the 80’s.  Then – companies began making very convincing meatless chicken & that hole in my heart was cured.  Behold my warm, vegan Chicken Piccata – below.  REALLY convincing – trust me!

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So – I had a few Memorial Day BBQ’s to attend & I was all about vegan pasta salads.  They were a great idea because they assured that I would have something to eat at these parties & because vegan pasta salads – like the ones I made – were safe to leave out for hours without risk of spoiling.   The other two I made were my Spicy Vegan Southwestern Pasta Salad & Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto & Feta Cheese (Vegan or Vegetarian) – seen below, respectively.

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I brought this Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad to a party at Naomi & Jason Priestley’s home.  That is Naomi on the far left.  I am the dimwit in the back who – it seems – was the only one there that didn’t know where to look when being photographed.

Anyway – Naomi took one bite & looked at me in shock.  “McCarthy!  Did you put real chicken in this?”

Needless to say – I hadn’t. But Beyond Meat chicken is so convincing – warm or cold – that it can fool even unapologetic, degenerate meat-eaters.  This pasta salad disappeared quickly – and – besides Naomi – nobody ever questioned whether or not the chicken was real.  I think they all assumed it was.

It is light & clean & healthy & vegan.  If you are a Chicken Piccata lover – this salad is for you!

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Vegan Cold Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad with Asparagus & Spinach

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta

9+ oz vegan chicken – cubed

1 bunch asparagus

1 cup fresh spinach

1/8 cup olive oil (more or less)

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (more or less)

3-6 TBS capers (Quantity determined by your taste for capers.  I love them!) – chopped or not – or just chop some – your call

1/2 cup parsley – chopped

S&P

GARNISH – extra parsley & lemon wedges

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DIRECTIONS

Trim the asparagus by holding each spear by each end & bend until it breaks.  This breaks the asparagus just above the woody & impossible to chew part.  Set aside.

Boil the pasta.  My asparagus was the very thick kind.  If you have the thick asparagus – add it to the boiling pasta 3 minutes before the pasta is done.  Do it for 2 minutes for average asparagus & 1 minute for the very thin asparagus.

Drain & run under cold water.

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Slice the asparagus into bite-sized pieces.  Chop the spinach.

Toss everything together.  Adjust the lemon & olive oil to your taste & season with S&P.  Garnish with extra parsley & lemon wedges.

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Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto & Feta Cheese (Vegan or Vegetarian)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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A few months ago, I made the vegan arugula pesto you see above.  I made a lot of it & then I froze it in batches of about 1/2 to 1 cup each – freezing each serving in sandwich baggies – like below.

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They freeze flat – like little DVDs – and take up very little room in the freezer.  Then – you can just thaw it as you need it.  I used some to make this pasta salad for a BBQ this weekend.  I used real feta in this but – at home – I would have used this vegan cheese here – below the feta.  You could do whichever – or leave the extra cheese out entirely.  Your call!  Whatever you decide – this is easy & fresh & tasty!

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Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto & Feta Cheese (Vegan or Vegetarian)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta – cooked, drained & rinsed in cold water

1 arugula pesto recipe

6 oz feta or vegan cheese – crumbled

1/2 to 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes – halved or quartered

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta & drain under cold water.

Make (or thaw – if you are using some you froze) the pesto.

Ratio of pesto to pasta is a personal thing.  Start light & add as much as feels right to you.  Mix well.

Stir in cheese & tomatoes.  Season with S&P.

Enjoy!

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Cold Vegan Soba Noodles & Spiralized Cucumber Noodles with Avocado & a Light Peanut Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Ugh – I am just having a shit couple of weeks.  The details are all, individually, mainly minor annoyances, disappointments & slights but – combined – they pack a wallop.   Add this to the triple-digit heat & the fact that I have no AC & you get a very despondent girl, thick with over-indulgence, self-pity & slimy sweat.  Ugh.

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So – at 7 am – I decided to get cooking – before it got too hot to do so.  My first effort was a mushroom & baby kale tofu frittata.   It looks OK there in the pan but it was, ultimately, very thin (less than half an inch deep) and would not have photographed well – so I ate some & saved the rest to add to my dogs’ dinner tonight.

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Next up, I wanted to use some stale French bread I had – so I attempted 4 little vegan maple-walnut bread puddings.  They started off looking promising – no?  But, even though I cooked them for nearly an hour – they never got crusty & when I let them cool, they collapsed in their centers & looked as defeated as I feel.  I tasted one.  Tasted good but they were definitely a no-go for the blog.

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By this time is was officially sizzling outside & I still wanted to make a blog entry – so – cold noodles!  These are really easy, really fast, customizable & light.  I added only 1 TBS of peanut butter to what would make 2 good-sized servings.  You can see that the noodles are not heavy with sauce – critical in weather like this.   I also added a good portion of spiralized cucumber noodles to lighten it up even more.   You can get these together in ten minutes.  I reviewed two different spiralizers in my Vegan Sweet and Spicy Spiralized Cucumber Salad with Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes post but I recommend the less expensive hand held version seen below.

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Cold Vegan Soba Noodles & Spiralized Cucumber Noodles with Avocado & a Light Peanut Sauce

Serves 2 very well.

INGREDIENTS

8.8 oz soba noodles – cooked & drained & run under cold water (drizzle with sesame oil to keep them from sticking)

Sesame oil

1 hothouse cucumber – spiralized (or cut into think matchsticks)

1 TBS tamari

2 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS ponzu sauce (or 2 TBS tamari & juice of 1/4 lemon)

1 TBS peanut butter

1 tsp sriracha for heat (optional)

GARNISH OPTIONS – sliced scallions, sliced avocado, sliced jalapeno, sliced cucumber, sliiced red cabbage, black and/or white sesame seeds, lime wedges, cilantro, basil, chili flakes

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DIRECTIONS

Spiralize (or slice up) the cucumber.  Cook the noodles.  Drain & run under cold when done (drizzle with sesame oil to keep them from sticking).

Meanwhile, whisk the tamari, rice vinegar, ponzu sauce, peanut butter & sriracha (if using).

Toss everything together & garnish with your selections.  Serve.

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Easy Work Lunch! Cold Orzo Pasta Salad

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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So – I have joined the ranks of the masses & accepted a full-time job.  I am story assisting on an Esquire TV show called – appropriately enough – “Best Bars in America.”  The job is challenging but fun & the hours are long.  The long hours have really cut into my indulging in cooking & lunches, in particular, have been a challenge.  I want something that is good at room temperature (because there is no oven & I loathe microwaves) and it can’t be something stinky, like curry or egg salad, lest I gross out my peers.  I want it to be relatively healthy & light (so I don’t get sleepy) and I want it to be satisfying.

Initially, I bought expensive pre-made things – like quinoa or kale salads.   That got $$ and boring really fast.  My vegan chicken salads have worked nicely – wrapped in lettuce, but you can’t eat that 5 days a week.  So – one morning – with 30 minutes to go before work – I whipped this up from just what I had around.

Like most of my recipes – it is infinitely customizable.

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You can add anything in this bad boy.   I will list what I used in just a moment but the real secret to this salad is the dressing.  I just used a Newman’s Own Italian once & a Ken’s Steakhouse Caesar another – but you can make your own or use a different dressing each time.  I made a TON of this stuff & the real secrets are two-fold:

1) Do not add the tomatoes until the day you are going to eat it because tomatoes really do not do well in the fridge and

2) do not dress it until JUST before you eat it.

So – I would bring a little container of this to work each say & bring a little dressing in a plastic bottle & dress it just before I ate it.  I ate it 4 days in a row.  Here are the ingredients I used:

INGREDIENTS

The bulk of a package of orzo – cooked as directed (but any pasta – shells, penne, butterflies, whatever – will do) and drained & rinsed

Cherry tomatoes – halved

Garbanzo beans

Sliced radishes

Sliced black olives

Chopped cucumber

Chopped red cabbage

Diced basil

Chopped mint

Salad dressing (I used Newman’s Own Lite Italian & Ken’s Caesar alternately but you can use any you prefer – or MAKE yourself)

And I just tossed various portions or each ingredient together & stored it in the fridge (sans tomatoes – that is – because, as I said, tomatoes get yucky in the fridge).

Other things you might add:

Avocado (but not until just before you eat it)

Arugula

Cilantro

Chopped kale

Feta (or other) cheese

Diced carrots

Diced celery

Diced red onion

Sliced mushrooms

Raisins (or other dried fruit)

Nuts

Anything, really.  Even vegan (or real) chicken or some cooked shrimp.

See?  EASY!

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Vegan Horseradish Chicken Salad with Pecans and Jalapeno Potato Salad in Baked Wonton Cups

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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It is another hot motherfucking week here in LA & I am in no mood to cook.  Still – I was tasked with bringing an appetizer to a little gathering & I was up early enough today to get the little cooking these recipes require done before the heat set in.

You can really stick any old thing in these baked wonton cups – like flavored mashed potatoes & cheese or taco fillings or pizza fillings but I did not want to have to use the oven at my destination to reheat or melt anything & cold salad fillings just sounded better today, anyway.   I will have to assemble these at the destination because I do not want the cups to get soggy but that is no big deal.   I only mention this to explain why I do not have photos of a bunch of these assembled.  I just made one of each & photographed them – and then ate them up!  This is the curse of a blog made of exclusively foods I am eating myself or feeding others.  I do not have the funds to waste on food that won’t be eaten nor the heart to throw good food away nor the family around to each a bunch of extras that I might create.   What you see here is typically my day to day menu – and these little party treats are no exception.

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Baked Wonton Cups

INGREDIENTS

1 package small wonton skins – round or square

cooking spray

mini cupcake pan

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to about 325 degrees.

Spray the mini muffin pan with cooking spray & press a wonton skin in each.

Bake for between 6-9 minutes or until they are nicely browned.  Check the first batch frequently – because I burned mine.

Set out to cool.

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Vegan Horseradish Chicken Salad with Pecans

 

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan chicken (I really recommend the awesome Beyond Meat version)

1/2 cup scallions – chopped (do not forget to regrow the ends – like HERE)

2 celery stalks – minced

1/4 pecans – chopped

1/2 cup lettuce (romaine is best) – chopped with extra for garnish

1 TBS prepared horseradish

1/2 cup vegan mayo (or real – if you are not vegan) – more if you like a wetter chicken salad

1 TBS of Dijon

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cube the chicken up small so it will fit in the wonton cups.  Then – just mix all the ingredients up & season with S&P.  Chill until you are ready to put it into the cups JUST before serving.  Maybe add some freshly cracked pepper & a shred of lettuce as garnish.

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Jalapeno Potato Salad

INGREDIENTS

3 medium potatoes – boiled until tender & cubed small

2 scallions – chopped (do not forget to regrow the ends – like HERE)

1 large jalapeno – seeded & diced

1/2 red bell pepper – diced

1/2 tsp (or more) chili powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 cup mayo (vegan or not)

1/4 cup yogurt (vegan or not – and you can change the ratio of mayo to yogurt to suit your taste)

3/4 cup cilantro – chopped

S&P to taste

OPTIONAL – add 1/2 cup corn kernels (I try avoid corn that is not from a local farmers’ market because of GMO)

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DIRECTIONS

Mix that shit all up & season with S&P.  Chill (as with the chicken salad) until just before serving.  Maybe garnish with extra cilantro & freshly cracked pepper.

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Cool Vegan Cashew & Cranberry Chicken Salad Tacos with Avocado

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK – I am not sure what the weather is like where you are but here in LA – it is hot as a muthafuckah!   It is pushing 100 degrees!  Just brutal.  I don’t have AC & cooking is just impossible in this weather.  So – I whipped up these cool & vegan bad boys!  They are kind of like a taco-wrap hybrid.  I used these little flour tortillas – right from their home in the cool of my fridge.  I am not positive they are vegan – so if you are vegan – use a tortilla you know suits your diet.

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And I used that Beyond Meat vegan chicken.  The coupon above is good until the end of May 2014 – so print a few out & go get some of this awesome stuff!  If you let it sit on the counter a few minutes – it will defrost enough so that you can cube it up & by the time this all comes together – the chicken is thawed completely but still CHILLED!  Perfect!

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Cool Vegan Cashew & Cranberry Chicken Salad Tacos with Avocado

Feeds two very well

INGREDIENTS

1 9 oz package of faux chicken – thawed

1 avocado – peeled & seeded & cubed

Fresh lime juice

1/3 cup vegan mayo

1/4 cup (or more) cashews

2 celery stalks – diced

1/2 small cucumber – diced

2 mini sweet peppers (or half a bell pepper) – seeded & diced

1/4 cup purple cabbage – chopped

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins or other dried fruit)

1/2 tsp cumin

Pinch of salt

Pepper to taste

Flour tortillas or other wrap (even lettuce)

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DIRECTIONS

Prep the avocado & squeeze lime juice all over it.

Now – just mix everything up in a big bowl.  Season to taste.  Eat with lettuce cups or as wraps or as little flour tortilla tacos.

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