Thursday, November 19, 2009

a new nooch sauce!!!

Nutritional Yeast (or Nooch as it is called on several vegan sites) is one of those foods you either love or hate. It has a tangy, cheesy flavor and an impressive nutritional profile. Personally I love it. It is tasty in tofu scrambles, on popcorn, to season broths and flour coatings... basically anywhere!

I realize there are literally a million nooch-cheeze sauces on the internet, but they are not all created equal. After a lot of trial and error, this is my favorite version. It's good over pasta, steamed veggies or with chips dipped in it. I basically put it together myself but it was inspired by many other recipes.

(By the way, I am starting to think I may be a cheeze addict... in nearly every post that mentions any type of vegan cheese, i seem to eat the "evidence" leaving no food to photograph. The same thing happened again! I made a great Nooch and Noodle casserole only to lose control and eat it all before taking any pictures! But, for the sake of my blog I made another dish including baked potato and steamed broccoli, which you see in the photo above. This time I hid my forks until I took the pictures.)

So if you want to try another vegan nooch sauce recipe here goes:

The New Nooch Sauce


1 large potato, peeled and chopped (yukon gold works best)
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic (BE VERY BRAVE.... IT'S GOOD)
small amount of vegetable broth
12 ounces silken tofu
2 TBS crunchy mustard
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
splash soy sauce
1 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)
turmeric & paprika (for color*)
2 TBS red miso paste


  1. Put all veggies in a small pot, and cover with broth.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until very soft.
  3. Turn down the heat and add tofu, mustard, soy sauce, spices* and nutritional yeast. (*The turmeric and Paprika are to adjust the color slightly if necessary.)
  4. Simmer on low heat for an additional 3-5 minutes to reduce broth further if necessary. You will need to stir a lot and if stirring becomes to difficult move to step 5.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in miso paste
  6. Carefully transfer to a food processor and puree until the mixture is the consistency of a cheese sauce. Enjoy!
Note: Lemon juice is also a good addition... my husband doesn't care for it though. WHen combined with the miso, it can make things very tangy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Indian Feast!

My husband and I regularly go out for Indian food but it is so much more fun (and so much cheaper!) to eat at home... so tonight I tried my hand at a few new dishes: Palak Tofu, Dal and a cumin scented salad. The salad and the Dal were great, the Palak tofu needs some tweaking before I share it with the world.

The Cumin Scented Salad was inspired by the lovely pile of cucumbers and tomatoes that I always see beside the buffets at Indian restaurants. Because my DH doesn't care for tomatoes though, we altered it slightly to include peppers instead. Be sure to set out some vinegar for anyone who wants it. (My husband's suggestion!)

Cumin Scented Salad

3 small Persian cucumbers (or one English Cucumber)
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1/2 small onion
2 TBS olive oil
3-4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut all veggies and place in bowl
  2. Toss lightly with oil and spices.
  3. Enjoy!



3 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup dried red lentils

Pam Spray OR small amount vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Bring broth to a boil in a three quart sauce pot and add lentils. Cook to desired done-ness.
  2. In a separate pan, saute the onions until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and spices stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and heat though before adding to lentils.
  5. Cool mixture and then puree about 1/3-1/2 of the mixture in batches before adding back to pot.
  6. Reheat and serve with rice or bread.

If I ever get that Palak Tofu just right I will be sure to share it with you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dinner thanks to Bryanna and organic fall goodness

In Baltimore it has been unseasonably warm lately and things haven't felt particularly fall-like. It is hard to believe that we just had Halloween and that Thanksgiving is around the corner. As a result I am not really craving the traditional (and heavier) fall foods that I usually eat this time of year as much. I am still on my summer schedule of lightly steamed veggies, rice and Asian foods.

How much can one person really write about the joys of miso soup?

But fear not! Tonight I had a delicious, seasonal dinner worth writing about! I picked up a beautiful organic acorn squash at Trader Joe's as well as some frozen organic spinach. I also had some of Bryanna's Breast of Tofu marinating in the fridge. The combination was exquisite!

I'll start with the tofu. A member of the Yahoo Group: Fat Free Vegan recently drew my attention to this easy preparation. Now that I have tried it, I will probably always have a block marinating in the fridge. It was wonderful. I very lightly dusted the tofu with seasoned flour and "pan fried" it in a green pan (which is non-stick) with very little Pam Spray. As a result the tofu had a crisp outer skin and was chewy on the inside. The Flavor was great too... so good in fact that I am planning on having the leftovers tomorrow in a sandwich for lunch.

The Acorn Squash was a snap. I steamed it in the microwave. It was so sweet that it barely needed salt and pepper. What a treat!

I sauteed the spinach with minced garlic, raisins and a small handful of pine nuts in another one of my green pans with a tiny bit of earth balance. Although the green pans are wonderful for reducing the need for excess fats, I felt like the spinach needed a tiny bit of earth balance to improve the overall flavor.

So dinner was fall-like, tasty and best of all... it was a snap!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A happy sign of the times!

On Saturday I dragged my husband on an eight mile trek across Baltimore so I could collect a coupon for my next hair appointment. ( yes I am that cheap) Along the way I saw several things that (I hope) were indications of a possible swing in public opinion about veganism!

The first I saw was the Kooper's Chowhound Burger Wagon. This Baltimore based burger bar has a rolling van that sells their burgers at festivals, busy corners, etc.... On our walk we happened to run into this wagon AND (drum roll please) they offer a VEGAN veggie burger. The also offer some nice toppings besides just lettuce and tomato! The gentleman working was very friendly and more than willing to let me read the packaging on their veggie burger patties just to be sure they were vegan. As a result, I was able to enjoy a vegan burger with salsa, onions and baby greens for lunch!

My next exciting moment was when we stopped for coffee at the Daily Grind in Fells Point. Although they have always offered soy milk for coffee, previously my choices for vegan sweets were limited to a banana or perhaps Swedish fish. Today however they were offering vegan sugar cookies AND vegan apple pie! When I asked, the girl behind the counter was under the impression that they would be offering these goodies for as long as they continued to sell... so BUY UP LITTLE VEGANS!!! BUY UP!!!

So I was so excited that I just had to share these little moments from my Saturday! They certainly made me smile!