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Vegan Recipe – Spicy Eggplant Tofu

Eric and I recently tried a Thai restaurant that’s walking distance from our place.  I ordered a yellow curry with tofu entree the first time, which was your typical yummy curry.  The second time, though, I felt adventurous and ordered the Spicy Eggplant and Tofu dish.  I’m so glad I did because it was fantastic.  The crispy sides of the tofu cubes combined with the soft eggplant were perfect.  After ordering it a couple of times, I thought I might try my hand at making it.  I’ve already been successful in making the best Kung Pao ever, why not Spicy Eggplant Tofu?

Spicy Eggplant Tofu | A Vegan in Progress

I turned to my favorite recipe search engine, Pinterest, and found this blog post from Made Weekly.  I wouldn’t call it a recipe, it was more like a meal guideline.  I love the way she took the photo of the ingredients.  The photo and the simplicity of the meal over the other ones I found were what made me go with this particular one.

This was a complete hit.  Because I added a little extra cornstarch, the sauce was thicker and a little sticky.  It even looked sort of restaurant-quality.  It was super flavorful and filling and went perfectly with cauliflower rice.  Eric, my resident non-vegan loved it and looked really sad when I said there wasn’t much more.  When planning our dinners for next week, I asked if he would like it again and got an enthusiastic affirmative.

Below is my adapted version of the Made Weekly Eggplant Tofu Stir Fry.  There weren’t any measurements, and I threw it together without really measuring, so these are mostly estimates.  I was out of miso, basil, and ginger, so I went without and it was still great.  This made enough for two large servings, with a little bit left over.  Next time I would likely double it for more delicious, delicious leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of firm tofu, pressed and cubed (My mom recommended popping it in the freezer for half an hour to an hour before slicing it and it really does hold its shape in the pan better that way.)
  • 1 eggplant, cubed (I had never cooked with eggplant before and didn’t know how to approach it.  I don’t know what I was worrying about, because I just cut the ends off, cut it in half, and cubed the rest with no problem.)
  • Approximately 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Approximately 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (Use only 1 Tablespoon if you want a thinner sauce.)
  • Approximately 1/3 cup sesame oil (This is totally optional and not mentioned in the Made Weekly post.  I just didn’t have any miso, which I knew was a major flavor contributor for this dish, so I used some sesame oil, but didn’t want to overpower the meal, so I also used grapeseed oil.)
  • Approximately 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (or any basic cooking oil)
  • Approximately 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • Approximately 1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • Some red pepper flakes if you like it spicy
  • Miso to your liking (I didn’t use it.)
  • Basil to your liking (I didn’t use it.)
  • Ginger to your liking (I didn’t use it.)
  • About 1/2 a head of cauliflower for cauliflower rice

Directions:

  • First, soak the eggplant in salt water for about an hour to reduce bitterness (a trick from my sister, Alli.
  • Drain, press, freeze, and cube tofu (see above for why I recommend freezing it for a bit).  Heat cooking oil with a little sesame oil for flavor.  Add tofu cubes to the oil and drizzle liquid smoke lightly over all of the tofu cubes.  This is my tofu trick.  It smells amazing and makes the tofu a really interesting addition to the meal, rather than a bland hunk of protein.  Stir it continuously so it doesn’t burn until the tofu is brown and crispy, then set aside.
  • Whisk together garlic, miso (if you’re using it), soy sauce or tamari, vinegar, a splash of water, and cornstarch.
  • Fry eggplant, ginger (if you’re using it), and garlic in oil (I used the same oil from cooking the tofu) until it begins to soften.  Add soy/tamari sauce mixture and stir until sauce thickens and eggplant is fully cooked (it will look yellowy-brown rather than white).
  • While the eggplant is cooking, chop your 1/2 head of cauliflower into floret-sized chunks so that the food processor will be able to handle it.  Pulse the food processor until the cauliflower bits are about rice or bulgar-sized.  Place cauliflower into a microwave safe container with a lid.  DO NOT ADD WATER.  Pop one corner of the container so that steam can escape.  Microwave for 2-3 minutes or until it’s all warm enough to eat.
  • Add tofu and toss it all together.  Mix in red pepper flakes (or allow each diner to add it at their discretion, as we have to do it in my house) and basil.
  • Eat your seriously delicious meal!

Vegan Recipe – Soy Chorizo Skillet

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I realize that have been sorely behind on my posts of vegan recipes that I have tried.  I haven’t had much time or need to cook recently, but here’s a simple recipe that I adapted from my husband’s breakfast skillet recipe.

Vegan Recipe of the Week – Soy Chorizo Skillet | A Vegan in Progress

Action shot – you can see the steam coming off of it!

Funny enough, he’s the Mexican one, but I like things a lot spicier than he does.  I would say that this recipe comes out to medium spiciness.  If you like medium strength salsa, you will probably like it.  Feel free to adjust it to your tastes.

Soy Chorizo Skillet | A Vegan in Progress

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 russet potatoes
  • Olive oil – enough to coat the bottom of the pan
  • About 1/3 of a bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach (I only used one, but it shrinks a lot, so a second handful would have been good)
  • About 1/3 of a package of soy chorizo (a textured vegetable protein with Mexican spices)
  • 1/4 cup of chunky salsa (I used Trader Joe’s chunky salsa)
  • A sprinkling of Chef Merito Chicken Seasoning, which is actually vegan (I purchase this at the local Vallarta Supermarket, found only in California, but any Mexican market would likely have it)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add oil to the pan and let it heat up while you peel and cube the potatoes.
  2. Add potatoes to the pan and stir.
  3. Sprinkle Chicken Seasoning over potatoes, stir them so that all potatoes get a golden tint.  You don’t want more than that because the seasoning is pretty salty.
  4. Add chopped bell pepper.
  5. Toss spinach in skillet and stir.
  6. Taste-test a piece of potato.  If it is soft, mix in the chorizo and salsa, if it is still firm, let it cook a while longer.
  7. Wait for chorizo and salsa to warm up to the temperature of the potatoes, then serve.

This makes a delicious, slightly spicy breakfast that is great in a bowl with a glass of orange juice.  I would imagine that it would also be great wrapped in a tortilla.

Update and Spicy Juice Recipe

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Sorry everyone!  I have been unforgivably absent from A Vegan In Progress for a while now.  I’m not done – I promise!  I have a lot more that I would like to write about.  I am just really, really busy with my last semester of college.  I’m taking 16 units, while working, so I haven’t had the time to update as much as I would like.

I am also in the process of a juice fast.  I’m trying to reboot my system and detox to heal my body from the damage done by all the crap food I used to eat.  I am also in it for the weight loss, which has been great so far.  I have lost 31 pounds to date.  I’ll keep you updated on any major weight loss milestones as well as a few juice recipes here and there.  Until I’m done, I’m obviously not cooking or going out to eat, so any posts that you see (and I do have a few already planned) were from meals before my fast.

Now for my spicy juice recipe… (“recipe” is kind of used loosely here).

Amounts are up to you, depending on the number of ounces you are going for.

Juice carrots, cucumber, lime, spinach, red bell pepper, and jalapeno.  Mix it together well.

Spicy Juice | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan Recipe – Spicy Chickpea Burgers

Since it’s Labor Day weekend, a holiday that traditionally involves grilling, so I thought it was an appropriate time to attempt making my own vegan burgers.  I have been battling a cold all week and didn’t feel up to a trip to the store, so I searched for a recipe using mostly ingredients that I already had at home.  I came upon this recipe for Spicy Chickpea Burgers at That Was Vegan?  What a cute blog name!

Please visit the link for the recipe.  I didn’t have bell peppers, so I did without.  I used a blender instead of a food processor, and for the chili sauce, I used Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce.  I grilled the patty on a George Foreman grill and oiled it up quite a bit first, but it still stuck to the top.  I think it would be better would be to bake it, because it would likely stay together that way.  I used a silicone spatula to get it off of the grill and it stayed mostly in one piece.  I added a slice of tomato, a heap of spinach, and some buffalo sauce.  It was yummy, but I definitely think it would be better with the bell pepper.  I’ll try it again some time soon.

Spicy Chickpea Burger | A Vegan in Progress

Spicy Chickpea Burger

Dual Dining – Burgers

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Eric and I had a super easy dinner of burgers and veggies one night last week.  He had a turkey burger and I tried out a Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle patty.

Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle Vegan Patties | A Vegan in Progress

Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle Vegan Patties

I topped it with a little buffalo sauce and it was spicy and tasty.  I think next time, though, I will attempt a vegan patty recipe myself.

Overall it was a simple, very quick dinner that satisfied us both.