Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Rice Casserole

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Ingredients:
• 1 T Better Butter (from either cookbook) or commercial vegan margarine
• 1 cup uncooked rice of your choice
• vegan no-chicken broth, vegetable broth or water*
• ½ medium onion, diced
• 2 cups mix of chopped broccoli and cauliflower
• Colby Melt or Tangy Cheddar Melt (from The Non-Dairy Formulary)
• additional soymilk to adjust consistency as desired
• sea salt or kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper, to taste

*The amount of broth or water required will depend upon the rice you are using; use the appropriate amount according to the directions on the package. For this dish, I use white basmati rice and 1 cup uncooked basmati rice requires 2 cups of broth or water.

Technique:
In a large saucepan, bring the broth or water to a boil. Add the butter or margarine, rice and onion. Stir well, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for the amount of time suggested on the rice package.

Meanwhile, while the rice is cooking, prepare your cheese melt and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

During the last 10 minutes of cooking time for the rice, add the vegetables on top of the rice and replace the lid. Do not stir! The vegetables will steam while the rice completes cooking.

Stir the cheese melt into the rice/vegetable mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture seems a bit dry, stir in small amounts of soymilk in increments until the desired consistency is reached.

Transfer the mixture to a lightly oiled casserole dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Uncover the casserole dish, set the oven on broil and lightly brown the top of the cheesy rice mixture under the broiler, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Flaky Un-Fish Filets

DSC08538-002This is my signature recipe for creating a deliciously vegan and yet easy-to-make alternative to fish. The filets are coated with a plain or seasoned dry breading of your choice and then baked. To add a seafood flavor, try incorporating some ground or flaked kelp, dulse or nori seaweed into the breading mixture. To spice things up, add Cajun or Southwestern seasonings to the breading – the possibilities of seasoning combinations are endless. For those who are gluten-free, simply use gluten-free bread crumbs. Or try coating the filets with crushed nuts. Crushed macadamia nuts or pecans make an excellent coating; or combine breadcrumbs and crushed nuts together. You can also create “mock fish sticks” which are very popular with children. After baking, the filets are finished by browning in the skillet in a small amount of cooking oil.

Canned green jackfruit provides the amazingly moist and flaky texture in these filets. It can be found in Indian and Asian markets. Look for the label “Green Jackfruit” or “Young Green Jackfruit” and be sure that it’s packed in water or brine, not syrup. You may notice cans of ripe jackfruit stocked nearby but don’t be tempted to substitute as it is very sweet when ripe and packed in sugar syrup.

Ingredients:
• ½ carton (6 oz.) firm or extra-firm silken tofu
• 2 cans (17 to 20 oz. each) green jackfruit in water or brine
• 1 T No-Eggy Mayo (from either of my cookbooks) or commercial vegan mayonnaise
• 1 T unmodified potato starch, cornstarch or arrowroot powder
• 1 tsp onion powder
• ¾ tsp sea salt or kosher salt
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• ¼ tsp ground white pepper
• plain or seasoned dry breadcrumbs, regular or panko; and/or finely crushed nuts (about 1 cup total)

Technique:
Slice the tofu into 2 slabs and drain on paper towels or a clean, lint-free dish towel. Gently press the tofu while draining to encourage as much liquid as possible to transfer to the towel(s).

Drain the liquid from the cans of jackfruit and rinse the fruit thoroughly (especially if it was packed in brine) and drain in a colander. With a sharp knife, remove the tough core from each chunk of jackfruit and discard. Break the chunks apart with your fingers and remove the soft seeds and discard.

Green Jackfruit pulp with core and seeds removed.

Green Jackfruit pulp with core and seeds removed.

Wrap the stringy pulp in a paper towel or clean kitchen towel and squeeze to remove any excess remaining water. This will yield about 6 to 7 ounces of jackfruit pulp. Add the chunks of jackfruit to a food processor and pulse several times to shred into flakes. Do not purée the fruit. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Add the tofu to the food processor with the remaining ingredients and process into a paste. Add the paste to the shredded jackfruit and mix well. Form filet shapes from the mixture no more than ½-inch thick (4 filets).

Add the bread crumbs or coating of your choice to a bowl or a plate. Press the filets into the crumbs/coating and place the breaded filets onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, gently turning the filets after 15 minutes.

To finish the filets, add just enough oil to a large skillet to cover the bottom and place over medium heat. Pan-sear the filets in the oil until golden brown on each side and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon or the garnish or sauce of your choice.

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Fried Oyster Mushrooms with Fire-Roasted Jalapeno Lime Tartar Sauce

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Fried Oyster Mushrooms is my vegan version of fried clams or oysters. I use organic cornflake cereal crumbs for the breading because the light cereal sweetness mimics the sweetness of fried clams and oysters. Regular fine breadcrumbs will work too.
Fresh oyster mushrooms are often difficult to locate and when they are available, they’re rather expensive. However, canned oyster mushrooms can be purchased from your local Asian market and are very inexpensive. They also have the perfect texture for this recipe. Canned abalone mushrooms work well too. Serve with vegan tartar sauce or cocktail sauce. Here I’ve served them with a vegan fire-roasted jalapeno and lime tartar sauce (recipe follows).

Ingredients
• 2 cans (about 7.5 oz. drained weight) oyster mushrooms or abalone mushrooms (available in Asian markets) or 1 lb. quartered fresh oyster mushrooms
• ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• ¼ cup non-dairy milk
• 2 T No-Eggy Mayo (from either of my cookbooks) or commercial vegan mayonnaise
• cornflake crumbs or fine breadcrumbs
• sea salt or kosher salt
• vegetable oil for frying

To make cornflake crumbs, place the cornflakes in a zip-lack or paper bag, seal and crush with your hands. They can also be crushed in a food processor.

Technique:
If using canned mushrooms, drain the water. Remove any tough portion of the mushroom stems and slice the mushrooms into strips.

Place the mushroom strips into a zip-lock bag and add the flour. Seal and shake well to coat the mushrooms.

In a small dish, mix together the milk and mayo until smooth and pour into the zip-lock bag. Add a few pinches of salt, seal the bag and shake until the mushrooms are coated.

Add the cornflake crumbs or the breadcrumbs to a bowl and dredge the mushroom strips in the crumbs until well-coated.

In a deep wok or skillet, heat about 1/2-inch of oil over medium-high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Fry the mushrooms until golden – they cook quickly, about 30 to 45 seconds, so watch them carefully.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot with the condiment of your choice for dipping.

Fire Roasted Jalapeno and Lime Tartar Sauce
Ingredients:
• 1 large jalapeno pepper
• ½ cup No-Eggy Mayo (pg. ) or commercial vegan mayonnaise
• 2 T minced fresh onion
• 1 tsp fresh grated lime zest and a squeeze of fresh lime juice
• sea salt or kosher salt to taste

Technique:
Place the jalapeno directly on the stove burner over medium heat. Turn frequently with tongs until the pepper is blistered and blackened. Place the pepper in small zip-lock or paper bag and seal to hold in the steam. Let cool. The skin should slip off easily. Cut off the stem end, split the jalapeno lengthwise and remove the seeds. Finely mince and add to a small bowl.

Add the mayo, onion, the lime zest and a squeeze of lime juice. Mix well and season with salt to taste. Refrigerate to blend flavors and until ready to serve.

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Bhindi Masala (Indian-Spiced Okra)

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Bhindi masala is a very popular Indian dish consisting of spiced okra, onions and tomatoes. Okra is a powerhouse of nutrition due to its high soluble fiber, vitamin C, and folate content. It’s also high in antioxidants and a good source of calcium and potassium. Okra contains a large amount of mucilage: a slimy substance which is responsible for its high soluble fiber content. This gooey mucilage is very evident when okra begins cooking but dissolves when thoroughly cooked and mixed with the acidity of the tomatoes.

Ingredients:
• ¼ cup olive oil, divided in half
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 medium green chili, finely diced (mild or hot, your choice)
• 1 lb. fresh okra (bhindi) cut into ½-inch pieces
or a 1 lb. bag of frozen cut okra, thawed
• 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
• 4 tsp coriander powder
• ½ tsp turmeric
• ½ tsp dry ground mustard
• ¼ tsp chili powder (mild or hot, your choice)
• large tomatoes, peeled and chopped * or 1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes

*To peel fresh tomatoes, drop them in boiling water for 1 minute and then immediately transfer to an ice water bath; the skins will slip off easily.

Technique:
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the onion and green chili. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the okra and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to lightly brown, about 15 minutes. The okra will be very slimy – this is normal.

Now, stir in the masala (coriander, turmeric, mustard powder and chili powder) and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, mix well and continue to cook until the tomatoes are cooked through and any excess moisture has been evaporated, about 15 to 20 minutes; the mixture should resemble a thick stew.

Add additional salt to taste and serve hot.

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Bhindi Masala (Indian-Spiced Okra)
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Buffalo Chik’n Nuggets

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The sauce for these delicious and spicy nuggets was created in Buffalo, New York, hence the name.

Ingredients:
• 1 recipe (about 20 oz.) Chik’n Seitan nuggets (from my cookbook)
• ¼ cup flour of your choice, non-GMO cornstarch or arrowroot powder
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• ½ tsp paprika
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• vegetable oil for frying

For the sauce:
• ¼ cup Better Butter (from my cookbook) or vegan margarine
• ¼ cup vinegar-based hot red pepper sauce

Optional condiments:
• Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing (from my cookbook) or “Buttermilk” Ranch Dressing (from my cookbook)
• celery sticks

Technique:
After refrigerating the prepared chik’n seitan nuggets as recommended, drain any excess broth they may have been stored in. There’s no need to pat dry as moisture will help the flour adhere better.

Combine the flour, salt, paprika and garlic powder in a zip-lock bag. Add the nuggets and shake well to coat evenly (a light coating is all that is needed).

Pour ½-inch of oil into a large deep skillet or wok and place over medium-high heat until the oil appears to shimmer. Add the nuggets to the skillet and fry them until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.

Melt the vegan butter or margarine in a bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan and whisk in the hot sauce. Toss the nuggets in the sauce mixture until evenly coated and serve immediately to prevent them from getting too soggy. You can also serve the sauce on the side. Serve with celery sticks and Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing or “Buttermilk” Ranch Dressing. If you need to reheat the nuggets, gently warm them in the oven – do not microwave or they will get soggy.

When the oil in the skillet has cooled, strain and save for future frying purposes or dispose of properly in the trash (never pour oil into the drain!)

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Kung Pao Chik’n

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Diced chik’n seitan, sliced garlic, grated ginger and green onions

are stir-fried in a spicy Szechuan sauce with dry roasted peanuts.

Ingredients:
• 10 oz. chik’n seitan (from The Gentle Chef Cookbook), diced into ½-inch pieces
• 2 T vegetable oil plus 1 tsp sesame oil for frying
• 5 scallions (green onions) including green tops, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• 1 T freshly grated ginger
• ⅓ cup unsalted roasted peanuts (or cashews)
• 1 to 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 tsp cracked black pepper

For the marinade:
• 1 T water
• 2 tsp tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• 2 tsp dry sherry or Shaoxing rice wine (substitute with water if necessary)
• 2 tsp cornstarch (preferably non-GMO), potato starch or arrowroot powder

For the sauce:
• ¼ cup water
• 1 T dark brown sugar
• 1 T rice vinegar
• 2 tsp tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 1 tsp cornstarch (preferably non-GMO), potato starch or arrowroot powder

Technique:
Mix together the marinade ingredients in a zip-lock bag. Add the chik’n, seal and shake to coat. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the recipe but shake occasionally to redistribute.

Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small dish, whisking well to ensure the starch is fully dissolved. Set aside.

Thinly slice the garlic and set aside in a bowl with the grated ginger and diced green onions.

In a wok or deep skillet, add the vegetable oil and 1 tsp sesame oil and place over medium heat. When hot, add the red pepper and black pepper and sauté about 30 seconds.

Add the chik’n including any marinade and sauté for about 4 minutes until the chik’n is lightly browned.

Add the ginger, garlic and green onion mixture and sauté an additional minute or two.

Add the sauce, toss well, and sauté until the sauce begins to thicken. Serve immediately with jasmine rice.

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