We are starting out this week with a creative use of our leftovers from the Family All-Appetizer Dinner on Sunday. John made shrimp cocktail and lollipop ribs and we have enough left to make an Asian surf and turf bowl. Also on this week’s menu is the beans Marbella that we did not get to last week. We are a little light on the vegetarian entrees this week since John has made two special requests, chicken enchiladas on Thursday and a romantic dinner of seared scallops for just him and me on Saturday night.
This is the ultimate hot summer night dish! I have been making these bowls primarily with salmon and shrimp but decided I wanted a vegan version. The family voted three thumbs up for this marinated extra-firm tofu bowl with cucumbers, avocados, edamame, Thai chiles, and cabbage over rice.
The tofu is marinated in a combination of soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger powder, and garlic powder. The dressing is a similar combination but with minced garlic, ginger, and green onions that I whiz up in my mini food processor. I also add a dash of sweetener.
Since there is no cooking involved with the exception of microwaving some already prepared rice or, in my case, just microwaving some frozen cauliflower rice, the dish is all assembly. On a layer of rice add thinly sliced cucumbers, shredded cabbage, thawed edamame, thinly sliced chiles, and cubed avocado. Add the dressing and a few shakes of Furikake (that’s where the sesame seeds come from.) You can find Furikake in the Asian section of your supermarket or from Amazon.
I am really pleased with this very tasty, plant-based, cost effective, new addition to our dinner rotation.
I love this chickpea dish. It is so tasty and satisfying. Usually I can find Chana dal at WalMart but this time I had to buy it from Amazon. It is quick to make in the Instant Pot and with the kale and cauliflower rice you have a power plant packed dish.
Here is the recipe I use –
Chana Dal. Serves 2-4
1 cup Split Chickpeas
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 tsp. Oil
3/4 cup Onion diced
1/2 tbsp Ginger minced
3 cloves Garlic minced
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeños (Rotel)
2 cups Water or vegetable stock for cooking
1 tbsp Lime juice
1 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp Ground Turmeric
1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
Greens for either adding at the end to the pot or raw underneath
Start the instant pot in sauté mode and heat oil in it. Add cumin seeds.
Once the cumin seeds start to change color, add the onions, garlic, ginger and saute for 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and spices and stir them well. Rinse the split chickpeas and add along with water for cooking. Stir it all up. Set to pressure cook for 18 minutes and close the lid with vent in sealing position.
After the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then release it manually the rest of the way. . Add lime juice and give a good stir. If you are using greens (spinach, kale, etc,) stir them in now, cover the pot, and wait 5 minutes before serving.
Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice or cauliflower rice
Our pasta dinner turned out even better than usual! I think the reason why is that instead of using red pepper flakes I used two minced bird’s eyes chiles and also added a chiffonade of basil. The chiles were not just spicy but had a fruitiness to them and the fresh basil was a nice herbaceous touch. I left the zoodles raw and they warmed through when I added the pasta to the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. I read online that if you cook the zoodles they are liable to become mushy. The sauce you see is just some pasta water mixed with the fond from cooking the mushrooms. A drizzle of good olive oil is all it takes to finish off this dish
Chilean sea bass was not on the menu today but we were at Costco and they had nicely sized pieces for three people at a reasonable price. It was actually cheaper per pound than the frozen pieces we buy in a bag. We decided to take advantage of it.
John cooked the simply seasoned sea bass in the oven at 400F for about 18 minutes since the pieces were thick. I started steaming the new potatoes shortly before he started the fish and then covered them to keep them warm while I steamed the broccoli. (One pan!)
I added a teaspoon of butter to the cooked broccoli and everything was sprinkled with lemon juice. The lemon and butter on the broccoli was especially good.
This was a simple, yet delicious meal. When you start with good products nothing much else needs to be done.
This herb-y salad is super easy, super tasty, and just what you need on a hot summer night. The salad part is a combo of an arugula/spinach mix (but you could use any greens), cabbage, cucumber, red bell pepper, mint, and basil. We cooked our own shrimp but you could totally use pre-cooked shrimp and not have to turn on your stove at all. The nuoc cham dressing is made with 2 parts lime juice and 1 part fish sauce, a minced clove of garlic, a minced hot chile like Thai or bird’s eye, and then sweetened to your taste. I used half of a pack of Splenda but you could use sugar or whatever.
This recipe was adapted from one on the NYTimes cooking site. Theirs called for a lot of sugar in the dressing and cooked chicken. I think that tofu would also work well in this recipe if you want to keep it vegetarian but you would also need to change the dressing to soy based.
For this week’s Breakfast For Dinner I return to a favorite of mine, stir-fried vegetables over kale with soft scrambled eggs on top. This is a very satisfying dish. For today’s vegetables I used carrots, mushrooms, carrots, celery, cabbage, and broccoli. I leave the kale raw and it wilts when the hot vegetables are put on top of it. For seasonings I use salt (of course!), rogan josh, ginger, garlic, sriracha, and soy sauce. We always have BFD for Sunday supper unless there is something special going on. It is nice to have an easy, filling dinner.
This week I am making two new dishes in an effort to expand my plant-based recipes repertoire. The shrimp and herb salad with nuoc cham is similar to our usual shrimp bowl but with a slightly different sauce. Beans Marbella is based on the old Silver Palate Cookbook’s Chicken Marbella. I hope this weekly menu will inspire you to make more plant-based dinners! They are good for you and good for the planet!
Easy dinner tonight. John seasoned the fish with salt, garlic, paprika, and Old Bay then baked it in a 400F oven for 12 minutes. To make the collards and corn, first I sautéed sliced garlic until it was golden and then set it aside. Then I put the collard greens which had been stemmed, cut into a chiffonade, and then rinsed into a sprayed pan. I added a cup of frozen corn, a half teaspoon of butter, salt, a half teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and a sprinkle of sugar. The chard has plenty of water clinging to it so none additional is needed but adjust with more water if your pan is drying out. Cook for about 8-10 minutes. Garnish the greens with the sautéed garlic.
A squeeze of lemon is all that is needed to finish the plate. I tried eating slowly and mindfully so that I could better judge when I was full. I still ate everything but I think it was more satisfying.
I found this recipe for curried green lentils in an email that Food and Wine sent me. (https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/green-lentil-curry) It sounded good to me but then I read the reviews and many people found the dish lacking in flavor so I decided to try to fix it. John and I discussed it and we came to the conclusion that it needed double the spices (except for cayenne), and the addition of some curry powder, and that the spices needed to be bloomed in some oil first. After that we would cook the whole thing together in vegetable stock instead of water. Green beans sounded ugh to me so we put in zucchini instead. We added the vegetables after the lentils had been cooking for 15 minutes and then the kale and cilantro 5 minutes later. We finish the dish off with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lime and served it over a combination of white rice and cauliflower rice.
So how did it turn out? It still needs some work. I think we need to up the curry powder and cumin seeds and maybe add a can of Rotel. I guess I would like it to taste like chana dal made with lentils instead of chickpeas.