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Yakisoba Stir Fried Noodles and Don Lee Farms Veggie Patties

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Like Trader Joe’s, Costco has recently increased their vegan food options.  We just go to Costco every so often because we are only two people and it takes us forever to go through our purchases.  However, when I was juicing, Costco was a great place to get produce in bulk, so we went once a week through that time.

Costco offers Don Lee Farms Veggie Patties to be used as veggie burger patties or just crumbled and used as a meat substitute in any recipe.  I find them to be pretty moist, flavorful, and affordable.  My favorite part is the tiny sunflower seeds mixed in.  They go really well with spicy brown mustard.

Don Lee Farms Veggie Patties | A Vegan in Progress

I also recently tried the Yakisoba Stir Fried Noodles from the Costco frozen section.  They are vegan “Japanese-style noodles with crispy vegetables and a savory sauce.  They are a very easy and healthier frozen meal option and they work very well as last minute lunches for work.

Yakisoba Stir Fried Noodles | A Vegan in Progress

I noticed that everything tastes very fresh for a frozen meal.  The “savory sauce” is noticeable on the noodles, but the veggies don’t seem to be seasoned at all.  The second time I had one of the packs, I added Tamari sauce and will be doing that from now on.  This meal reminds me of the Panda Express chow mein if mixed with veggies.  I will be buying these regularly for an easy grab and go work lunch.

Yakisoba Stir Fried Noodles | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan Recipe – Tempeh Tornado

My apologies for missing so many weeks recently!

I know that I tend to make a lot of slow cooker recipes, but it’s what keeps us fed while I’m in school.  I promise some active cooking recipes soon.  In fact, I’ve got a brownie recipe for next week!

Anyway, I haven’t had Sloppy Joes in I don’t know how many years, but for some reason I decided to try the Tempeh Tornado recipe from The Vegan Slow Cooker: Simply Set It and Go with 150 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Devour.  If you haven’t already – I really recommend picking up your own copy of the cook book, because there are so many awesome meals in it.  The Tempeh Tornado recipe makes a hearty sandwich filling that’s so nice and cozy.  It’s so good for warm dinners in the winter.  It also works really well for lunches if you pack the filling and the bun separately.

Please excuse the paper plate!  This photo is from when I enjoyed it at work for lunch!

Tempeh Tornado | A Vegan in Progress

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 packages (8 ounces) tempeh, cubed (I just crumbled it)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ bell pepper
  • Buns for serving

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes of 3 cups chopped fresh
  • ½ cup water  (Add a little more water if you will be cooking it for more than 9 hours.)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan chicken-flavored bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider, plain white or white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon molasses (I didn’t have any and it was fine without)
  • 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (This stuff is expensive!)
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder or smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon pasilla chile or regular chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce (to taste)

THE NIGHT BEFORE:

Steam the tempeh in a steamer basket for 10 minutes.  This takes out some of the bitterness.  While the tempeh is cooking, mince the garlic and bell pepper,

To make the sauce: place all the sauce ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Add the tempeh, garlic, and pepper, cover, and store in the fridge.

(You may have noticed this by now, but I tend not to prepare this stuff the night before, so I prepared everything in the morning and it worked out fine.)

IN THE MORNING:

Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Serve as open-faced sandwiches or on buns.

Vegan Recipe – Asian Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

As you know, I have not had a lot of free time lately, so I have been lagging on lunch preparation.  Last night I realized that unless I wanted a plain peanut butter sandwich, I had nothing for lunch today.  So, Eric and I ran to the store to grab a few essentials, waiting to do a real shopping trip later since it was after 10pm and Sprouts was closed.

I knew that it had been too long since I had posted a proper recipe, so I quickly flipped through The Vegan Slow Cooker: Simply Set It and Go with 150 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Devour book and found the recipe for Asian Tempeh Lettuce Wraps.  We had most of the ingredients on hand and I picked up the few extras while we were at the store.  Preparation for this one is minimal.  It would have been miniscule if I had a veggie chopper or a food processor, but I’m a pauper, so I chopped mine by hand.  It cooked while we slept and smelled delicious when we woke up.  Eric packed the filling in a reusable container for me and washed pieces of iceberg for wrapping.  As a last minute addition, I tossed the jar of Hoisin sauce into my lunch bag.

Slow Cooker Asian Tempeh Lettuce Wraps | A Vegan in Progress

I want more just looking at it now!

I looked forward to my lunch all day and let me tell you, it did not disappoint!  The flavors were delish and the Hoisin added a perfect amount of sauce.  The only issue is that the actual sauce that it cooks in stays very watery (even after I cooked it for an additional half hour on high with the lid off).  It was a big mess, dripping down to my wrist with every bite.  I would just suggest straining out the liquid since it has done its job in flavoring the filling and the Hoisin can take it from there.

This is wonderful as a wrap, but would make a very nice salad topping.  Loved it!

INGREDIENTS:
1 package (8 oz) plain soy tempeh, cubed
1 large stalk celery
2 medium-size carrots
1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained

FOR THE SAUCE:
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp grated ginger, more as needed
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar or plain rice vinegar mixed with 1 tsp sugar
1/3 tsp red pepper flakes or sriracha
Whole iceberg or butter lettuce leaves, for serving

THE NIGHT BEFORE:
Steam the tempeh in a steamer basket/colander for 10 minutes.  If you have neither, you can cover the bottom of a stir fry pan with a layer of water and boil it, then add the tempeh.  I read that it works similarly to steaming since there isn’t enough water to really boil the tempeh.  The steaming takes out some of the bitterness.  While the tempeh is cooking, mince the celery , carrots, and water chestnuts.

To make the sauce: combine all the sauce ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the tempeh, celery, carrots, and water chestnuts, cover, and store in the fridge.  If you are making it overnight for a lunch like I did, just put everything in the slow cooker, no need to refrigerate it.

IN THE MORNING:

Place the tempeh, vegetables, and sauce in the slow cooker and smash the tempeh with a spoon until it crumbles.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Add an additional 1 tsp grated ginger if its flavor has dulled.  Serve with whole lettuce leaves to wrap the filling in.

** The book suggests using the filling to make a banh mi sandwich.  Serve on a toasted sub roll with fresh bean sprouts, shredded carrots, cilantro, and some jalapeños.

Vegan Recipe – Easy Southwestern Salad

I have been super busy lately, so I’m sorry about the lag between posts.  This is proving to be a really challenging semester and it just began a few weeks ago!  I have a salad recipe to share with you today, but I use the term “recipe” loosely here.  I tend to just toss in whatever sounds like it would taste good together.  I thought that this was a particularly tasty combination, so here’s the list of ingredients.

Southwestern Salad
– spinach
– leftover corn, cut off the cob
– chopped red bell pepper
– chopped tomato
– Lightlife Chick’n style Smart Strips
– Daiya pepperjack style vegan cheese shreds
– crumbled tortilla chips (not pictured)
– salsa verde
– squirt of lime juice

Easy Southwestern Salad | A Vegan in Progress

Black olives would have been nice as well, but I was all out of them.  The chips aren’t pictured because I forgot to add them until halfway through devouring this salad, but the crunch made a really nice addition.

Whenever packing a lunch for work, I put the greens in one reusable container with a paper towel folded and placed on top of them.  The paper towel absorbs moisture and helps keep your greens fresh (a tip from my mom).  Then I package all of the wet ingredients including any dressing in a separate container.  Anything that has to stay dry (like tortilla chip crumbs or rice noodles), I put in a plastic snack bag.  Sometimes I will wash and sort out a few containers of spinach at a time along with wet ingredients for a variety of different salads on Sunday so that I can grab and go during the week.

I’ll have another semi-recipe for you later in the week, hopefully.  Thanks for reading!

Vegan Recipe – Lentil Tacos

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I hope to try and post a new recipe each week.  I may miss a week or two, but that’s my goal.

This week I tried a variation on the first vegan meal I made for myself – lentil tacos!

You will need:
1/2 cup green lentils
1/2 cup black lentils
(Lentils can really be any amount or any kind.  Just keep in mind that they balloon up once cooked so you get a lot more than you think you will.  This amount made three servings for me, so I could take it to work for lunches.)
1/2 packet of low sodium taco seasoning
Any kind of salsa (I used salsa verde)
Tortillas or Pitas
Optional: vegan cheese, lettuce, olives

1.  I simmered the lentils for about 30 minutes and just taste tested them for consistency before draining the pot.

2.  I put the lentils in a bowl and mixed in about half of a packet of low sodium taco seasoning, making sure the lentils were coated evenly.

3.  I kept it simple and just layered the lentils and salsa in my tacos.

This makes a yummy and easy dinner when paired with a salad or some fruit.

To prep the leftovers for easy eating in the office, I mixed the salsa verde in with the lentils in a tupperware container.  Once at work I spooned the mixture into pita halves.