This weekend, we had some great friends over for dinner to reconnect after holidays and talk about what's coming up in the new year. I love when we have adventurous eaters over dinner: it means I get to go a little crazy in the kitchen and try out some new recipes.
(Thankfully, there was only one time where the broiler lit some zucchini boats on fire in the presence of guests. Most of the time, the new stuff turns out okay!)
I spent some time perusing our shelf of cookbooks (so thankful for a really awesome selection of stuff to draw from, especially in print. There's something so satisfying about sitting down with a bunch of real books and making note of interesting dishes.) Of course, I also have a soft spot in my heart for the best vegan recipe sites on the internet, including Oh My Veggies and Nutrition Stripped. And Pinterest. Always Pinterest.
It came down to a few finalists for this cooking adventure, and I'm pretty pleased with how it all tied together. For whatever reason, this meal was nut-heavy. Coconut, almond, and peanuts... I wouldn't normally include all of these in the same meal, but something about the crusted tofu and the smooth quinoa sounded like a cool combination. Luckily, none of the nut ingredients were overpowering, so we had a good balance between them.
Our omnivorous guests - and Michael - seemed to enjoy the randomness of this plant-based meal. It's always kind of satisfying to share the yumminess of non-meat dinners with non-vegans and hear that no one missed having meat! Definitely a case for Meatless Mondays at home.
Do you cook plant-based meals for an omnivorous family? How do you tackle the "where's the meat?" conundrum?
Back to this yummy dinner, as I'm sure you're dying to know what made up that scrumptious looking plate. Three main components:
Coconut and Almond Crusted Tofu from the Skinny Bitch Cookbook (shown here in an Amazon preview - this cookbook is full of amazing recipes and really helpful info for putting together your own vegan kitchen). To make this gluten-free, I substituted in ground sesame crackers for panko breading and brown rice flour for all-purpose flour. (A word of warning, which I've learned the hard way: any flour made of a root - ie. cassava, tapioca, potato - or corn flour will not substitute in for an all-purpose flour. You'll end up with an icky gelatinous substance coating whatever touched the flour. Stick to brown rice or quinoa flour for recipes like this.) I also swapped in olive oil for safflower oil.
Peanutty Quinoa Bowls from Oh My Veggies. I omitted the sugar and added a little extra tamari: the peanut sauce was awesome. Feel free to swap in another nut butter if you have peanut allergies to deal with. I can absolutely foresee using this on something else in future. It could also be a super yummy marinade. Hmm...
Coconut Kale - super easy!
1. Heat 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
2. Add 3 loosely packed cups of curly kale torn into bite-size pieces.
3. Stir to coat kale in oil.
4. Cover the pan and let cook for about 2 minutes. Kale will turn bright green and you'll know it's done. Remove from heat and serve immediately with a little sprinkle of sea salt.
So there we are! A couple of yummy mid-week dinner options, and a great batch of leftovers from the peanut quinoa. I would highly recommend making up a batch of this stuff and having on hand for lunches and side dishes during the week.
Have a terrific week!