Monday, September 30, 2013

Vegetarian Pad Thai

I am a pad thai lover, but most vegetarian versions are pretty gross (I have tried quite a few!) and I have been scouring the blogs for something I will want to make more than once. Well, the other day I ran across this recipe, promising a yummy veg pad thai that took only 30 minutes to prepare.

"No way," I thought.

I decided to take on the challenge and timed myself preparing it. From start to finish, it took me about 45 minutes including all the chopping, which is not bad for my first time making it. I think I can get it down to 30 minutes with practice. Plus, some pretty darn good pad thai. So this dish is a surprising winner in more ways than one.

Vegetarian Pad Thai

modified from Post Punk Kitchen

Serves 4 (or 2.5 in our house)

8 oz pad thai rice noodles (sometimes called rice stick noodles) , cooked according to package directions (or directions below)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
14 oz (one package) tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
4 cups brocolli florettes and thinly sliced stems
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups scallion, chopped into 1 inch pieces (I used one bunch of green onions for this)
1 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped
4 oz mung bean sprouts

For the sauce:
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (use gluten-free tamari to make this gluten-free)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha
1 heaping tablespoon mellow white miso

To serve:
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Extra lime wedges

1. Put a pot of water on to boil. When the water boils, boil broccoli florets for 5 minutes, or until sort of soft. Turn off the heat and scoop the broccoli out with a slotted spoon and put on a plate. Add the pad thai noodles to the hot water. After 8 minutes, drain noodles and rinse in cool water to stop cooking. 

2. While the water is boiling, make the tofu. You’ll need a large cast iron pan, or something non-stick that can take very high heat. Preheat pan over high heat. Once pan is good and hot, drizzle in 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the cubed tofu and sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon salt. The tofu should immediately sizzle when it hits the hot the pan, otherwise, turn the heat up. Cook for about 7 minutes, tossing often, until it’s nicely browned.

3. In the meantime, mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. The miso may not completely dissolve, but that’s okay, just get it as smooth as possible.

4. When tofu is browned, transfer it to a plate and cover gently with tin foil to keep warm.

5. Now we’ll cook the sauce. Lower heat to medium. Cook the garlic in the remaining oil very briefly, about 15 seconds. Add the scallion and cilantro and toss just to get it wilted. Add in brocolli and cook for 4 minutes or until cooked through. Now pour in about half the sauce and get it heated through.

6. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Then add back the tofu and broccoli, the mung beans and the remaining sauce, and toss to coat.

7. Serve immediately, topped with peanuts and lime wedges, plus extra cilantro if desired.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thai red curry with butternut squash

We all just had the best lunch ever. Made with Sai's vegetarian red curry paste.

From epicurious


  • 1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds) -- I used acorn
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 Tablespoons thai red curry paste
  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • Kosher salt
  • One 13-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish


1. Peel the squash, cut it lengthwise in half, and scoop out the seeds. Cut off the top where it meets the bulbous bottom. Cut the bulb end into 3/4- inch-wide wedges. Cut the neck end into 1/2- inch-thick half-moons. (This seems to indicate that you are supposed to keep the peel on? I did not do that, and instead peeled the squash and cut into 3/4 inch chunks)
2. Heat a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil, then add the curry paste and stir for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the squash and stir to coat with the curry paste. Stir in the chickpeas and season with salt. Add the coconut milk and 3/4 cup water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until the squash just begins to soften.
3. Stir in the cilantro and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender but not falling apart and the sauce has reduced slightly. Season to taste with salt.
4. Divide the curry among four soup bowls, top with cilantro, and serve.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Roasted Za'atar Eggplant Bowl from goop

So since becoming a goop convert, I have been trying all her vegetarian recipes. For the back-to-school issue, the puy lentils with wilted spinach were only OK (and the dressing too tart!) but this eggplant recipe is something we will definitely make again. Anything with roasted eggplant tends to be a hit-and-miss (mostly miss) item in our household but this recipe, for the most part, works. Next time I will make sure to use a generous amount of oil on the eggplant before roasting, try to cut it a bit smaller (maybe 3/4 inch chunks) and try to use japanese eggplant which is usually better in these types of recipes.

Roasted Za'atar Eggplant Bowl from goop

makes 2

  • 3 medium-large japanese eggplant (or one big regular eggplant) peeled and chopped into 3/4 -inch cubes
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced (can use yellow if it's all you have)
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar (Middle Eastern spice - can be found in most spice aisles)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • cooked rice or quinoa
  • olive oil
  • sea salt + black pepper

for yogurt + lemon dressing

  • 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt (I used our regular homemade yogurt for this and it was fine)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon tahini
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt + pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread the eggplant on a baking sheet and sprinkle with za’atar until coated. Drizzle with olive oil (about two tablespoons). Cook for about 10 minutes, remove from oven and shake the baking sheet to move the eggplant around (for even cooking). Place back in oven for another 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, caramelize the onions: Coat a large pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. Sauté onions with bay leaf until soft and deeply caramelized, about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. To make the dressing, finely grate the garlic into a mixing bowl. Add the yogurt, lemon juice and tahini. Mix. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Place quinoa or rice into two serving bowls or sealable food containers. Top with the eggplant and onion mixture. Drizzle the dressing over the bowls to your liking.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

delicious roasted vegetable salad from New York Times

We tried making this salad tonight. So good! And baby boy could eat most of it too (minus the arugula)! This is a meal I want to make again and again.

Spinach Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Spiced Chickpeas

Yield 2.5 main-dish servings
Time 1 hour
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes -- (or one small butternut squash, which is what I used)
  • 2 medium carrots (1/2 pound), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, more as needed
  • Black pepper, as needed
  • 2 thyme sprigs (or a big pinch of dried thyme)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (because we were cooking for our 12-month-old, I substituted paprika for this and the recipe was still quite nice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 ounces spinach (6 cups) -- or arugula, or both
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot
  1. 1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a clean dishtowel or several layers of paper towels and spread drained chickpeas evenly on top. Pat dry with another dishtowel or paper towels.
  2. 2. Toss sweet potato and carrots with 2 tablespoons oil and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and top with thyme sprigs. Roast, tossing occasionally, until golden-brown and very tender, 40 to 50 minutes.
  3. 3. While vegetables are roasting, toss chickpeas with 2 tablespoons oil, chili powder, cumin and a large pinch of salt. Spread on another rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to the oven 10 minutes after you’ve put in the potatoes and carrots; roast until crisp and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. 4. Using the flat side of a knife or a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic with a large pinch of salt until it forms a paste. Add it to a small bowl and whisk in yogurt and lemon juice. Slowly whisk in remaining 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. 5. In a large bowl, combine spinach, roasted vegetables, chickpeas and shallot. Toss with enough dressing to lightly coat vegetables and greens and serve at once.