Vegan Shakshuka

I’ve been eyeing shakshuka recipes for a long ass time, so I say it’s time to give the people what they want.

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Shakshuka, which is considered by some to be one of the most perfect egg dishes (aside from the Pinterest favorite of egg-baked-inside-avocado, which has never made sense to me because, hello, hot avocado = not good) originated in Tunisia. It’s actually a staple of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, Moroccan, and Egyptian cuisines traditionally served in a cast iron pan or tajine with bread to mop up the sauce (or so my friend Wikipedia told me).

I love all things saucy and tomatoey and spicy, so I decided it was time to stop thinking that this needs to be an eggy dish. If eggs aren’t your thing, these little tofu triangles are the perfect vehicle for sopping up the delicious flavors and cooling off your mouth as you shove piping hot tomatoes into it like your life depends on it (that’s what I did). If eggs ARE your thing, feel free to use them in place of the tofs.


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Vegan Shakshuka

Adapted from the NYT

  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion (or two small ones) sliced thinly
  • 1 large bell pepper (red or green) sliced thinly
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz, include liquid)
  • 1 package tofu, drained and pressed to remove all liquid
  • parsley or cilantro, for garnish

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Preheat oven to 350*

1. Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and cook for 18-20 minutes, until everything is soft. Add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the cumin, cayenne, and paprika. Add the canned tomatoes and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes.

2. Slice the drained tofu into small triangles about 1/2″ thick. Layer on top of the sauce, then transfer the pan to the heated oven. Cook 12-15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the tofu is hot. Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve with warm toasted bread.

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Blood Orange Marmalade Cornbread

To say that I enjoy watching football would be the second biggest lie of the century after  ”I don’t miss drinking juice boxes.” aa-2 But I like the stuff that comes with football. I like dressing up in one color like a big human Crayola crayon. In high school, I started “Monochromonday,” but mainly so I could wear my hot pink corduroys in the most flamboyant way possible. I like drinking beer and shouting things. I’ve noticed that the further I am removed from college, the less acceptable it is to do this on a regular basis. Football is a great excuse to do this well into your 70′s. I like cooking and eating eccentric meals that bust everyone’s new year’s resolutions within weeks. If I can make a tub of guacamole bigger than my head, my work here is done. I like giving omnivores stuff that’s vegan, but so flavorful and hearty they don’t even notice. Instead, they can focus their energy on shoveling food in their mouths and spitting bits of it on the TV while they yell at the players. Because America! This cornbread is sweet and savory and the perfect fluffy-yet-firm consistency. It’s chewy but a little crumbly, which makes it perfect mixed into your favorite chili. HERE is my go-to chili recipe, which goes perfectly with a big chunk of cornbread, a beer, and football. ab Marmalade Sweet Cornbread

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 2 cups almond milk (or soy milk)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn (fresh is best, frozen works!)
  • 3 teaspoons marmalade (I like blood orange, but orange or apricot work)

1. Preheat oven to 400*. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or rub with a little melted coconut oil. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside. 2. Heat a skillet with a splash of olive or coconut oil. Pour in the corn and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring, until the kernels start to brown a bit. Remove from heat and and set aside. 3. In a small bowl, combine the almond or soy milk  and the apple cider vinegar. Set aside for five minutes (this allows the milk to curdle a little, resulting in a more sour taste similar to buttermilk). Once curdled, pour in the melted coconut oil and agave nectar. Whisk until combined. 4. Make a small volcano well in the center of the bowl of dry ingredients. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the well and begin folding them into the dry ingredients. 5. Pour the cooked corn and marmalade into the bottom of the 8×8 pan. Spread evenly with a spatula to cover the bottom. Next, pour the batter evenly over the corn. Pop in the oven and bake until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean (25-30 minutes). Remove and set to cool completely. Serve with chili!

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Whole Wheat Chickpea Lasagna with Pumpkin-Cashew Cheez

I am not about resolutions.

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But if I were, my resolution for 2015 would be to eat more carbs. This probably isn’t a popular idea among resolution-casting humans because at some point people decided that carbs are the devil. The fault in this claim (other than the fact that we know Justin Bieber is the devil) is that carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. The amount of carbohydrate in your diet – high or low – is less important than the type of carbohydrate in your diet. Healthy, whole grains such as whole wheat bread or pasta, rye, barley and quinoa are better choices than highly refined white bread or French fries (le duh).

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Of course, the healthiest and most bomb sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients. Harvard’s School of Public health has a Healthy Eating Plate which recommends filling most of your plate with healthy carbohydrates – with vegetables (except potatoes) and fruits taking up about half of your plate, and whole grains filling up about one fourth of your plate. This la-zag-na has healthy carbs, versatile protein, and some healthy fat from nuts. It’s got all the flavor and texture of a gooey, cheesy lasagna, but will leave you feeling like a super-powered badass (rather than just bad).

If it isn’t an endorsement to say I’ve made it four times already this month, I don’t know what is.

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Whole Wheat Chickpea Lasagna with Pumpkin-Cashew Cheez

  • 1 package whole wheat lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce (roughly 25 oz.)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 2.5 cups raw cashews
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Preheat oven to 350*

1. Begin by pouring the raw cashews in a large bowl and covering with water. Set these aside to soak overnight.

2. The next day, drain the cashews and place them in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture becomes a smooth paste, then add the pumpkin puree. Process until you have a smooth mixture, then set aside. This is your “ricotta.”

3. In either a 9×13 or 9×9 spread a layer of tomato sauce (enough to cover the whole bottom). [Note: A 9x9 will make more layers, but a 9x13 is good if you want to add other things like peppers, spinach, mushrooms, whatever!] Place a layer of uncooked lasagna over the pasta sauce, then the pumpkin ricotta, a couple squeezes of lemon juice, then sprinkle with sliced cherry tomatoes and chickpeas. Repeat. Top with any remaining ricotta mixture and tomatoes. Pop in the oven at 350* and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the noodles are tender and the ricotta is gooey.

PS I AM NOT DONE. CHECK OUT THIS GREAT BARNRAISER PROJECT AND HELP SUPPORT SOME FRIENDS BUILD COMMUNITY, LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY !

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