Tofu scramble – Of a sort

I love tofu.  I could easily eat tofu every day. I actually get tofu withdrawal when I travel.  I often make tofu scramble.  The version below is not a classic tofu scramble, as I used extra firm tofu, rather than the softer variety, so the term “scramble” is not accurate, but I’m using it anyway.  My scrambles vary in content, depending on what I have on hand.  The one below is a little unusual, in that it combines ingredients that are not normally associated with scrambles, but the result is delicious, nonetheless.

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Ingredients

  • Extra firm tofu.  I used about 1/3 of a block of President’s Choice low fat variety.
  • 1 cup chopped green cabbage
  • 1 half sliced orange bell pepper. Any bell pepper would do
  • 1 large portobello mushroom, diced. Cremini mushrooms work well, too.
  • 5-6 maddelena olives.  These Peruvian olives are very fleshy and have a wine vinegar flavour.  You can use any type of olive you like, as long it’s not the nasty type from a tin.
  • Daiya vegan cheddar shreds

Preparation

  • Saute the tofu and cabbage in olive oil until the tofu is golden and the cabbage softened
  • Add the mushrooms, pepper, and olives.  Saute until the pepper is cooked.  Season to taste.
  • Add the Daiya cheese and stir until melted.

Lentil soup

Lentil soup is a staple in so many kitchens; mine is no exception.  I prefer to use brown lentils for this recipe, as I like the lentils to retain their shape and bite.

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Ingredients

  • I large onion, diced
  • 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic, diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils
  • 15 oz tin of diced tomatoes (I puree them first)
  • Vegetable broth or water

Preparation

  1. Saute the onion in olive oil, until transparent
  2. Add the spices, carrots, and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add the lentils and tomatoes. Do not add any salt until the lentils are cooked, as they might remain too hard otherwise.
  4. Add enough broth or water to just cover the ingredients.
  5. Simmer until the lentils are cooked, but ensure that they still retain their shape.  You don’t want the lentils to get mushy.
  6. Season to taste.

Butternut squash and chickpea soup

My love of chickpeas has been well established.  Today I will focus on another culinary love:  Butternut squash.  Truth be told, I love all types of squash, including acorn, pumpkin, buttercup, delicata, kobacha, and spaghetti.  I think you get the picture. While I love the traditional smooth butternut squash soup, I do like to add additional fibre and protein to soups whenever I can, hence the variation below.  As always, measurements are approximate, since I eyeball everything. The vegetables and chickpeas I used are organic. On another note:  I must take better pictures.

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups of peeled, uncooked, and diced butternut squash.  You can roast the squash for a different flavour, but for this soup, I find that uncooked squash tastes better.
  • I large onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 4-5 vine-ripened tomatoes.  You can use tinned tomatoes, but I prefer to use fresh, if possible.
  • Tomato paste, if necessary.  I use the type that comes in a tube (Italian style).
  • Water
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Sautee diced onions in olive oil.
  2. When onions are translucent, add the diced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add squash, tomatoes, and chickpeas.
  4. Add enough water to cover the vegetables.  Don’t add too much water, as you want a thicker consistency.  You can always add more water later.
  5. Salt and season to taste.
  6. Simmer for about 45 minutes.  If the soup needs a little more tomato flavour, add some tomato paste to taste (approximately 1 tablespoon).
  7. I used an immersion blender to partially blend the soup.  You want to retain some whole chickpeas, so don’t overdo it.
  8. This soup definitely tastes better the next day as the flavours settle.

Moroccan-themed chickpea soup

I love chickpeas:  On their own, roasted, in soups, in salads.  I could easily eat chickpeas every day; in fact, I often do.  The soup below combines chickpeas and spices to create a Moroccan-inspired flavour. I don’t tend to measure items when I cook, so what follows below is a close approximation. I use organic vegetables, tomatoes, and chickpeas.

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Ingredients

  • I large onion, diced
  • 5-6 cloves of fresh garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tbsp of sumac
  • 796 ml (24 fl. oz) tin of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • Water or vegetable broth
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach

Instructions

  1. Saute the diced onion in olive oil.
  2. Once the onions are translucent, add the diced garlic cloves.
  3. Add the cumin and sumac to the onion mixture, and saute for about a minute.
  4. Add the chickpeas.  I like to cook chickpeas from a dried state, but tinned would be fine as well, as long as they are well rinsed.
  5. Add the tomatoes.
  6. Fill the empty tin with water or broth, and add to the pot.  When making any soup, it’s better to not add too much liquid, as watery, thin soup is nasty.  If the soup becomes too thick while cooking, you can always add more.
  7. Season with salt to taste.  I don’t like pepper, but feel free to add.
  8. Bring to the boil, and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  9. Partially puree the soup.  I used an immersion blender.  You want to break down the tomatoes a little, but you still want to retain some texture in the soup, so don’t go to far.  As you can see in the picture, there are still whole chickpeas in the soup.
  10. Add spinach.