Week 3: Quick and Easy Meals (with Black Bean, Tofu and Veggies!)

Being vegan has improved my life dramatically (as you can read about here) but one of the best things about being vegan is how easy it is to pull together dinner in a flash.  Of course I try to plan ahead and do meal-prep on the weekends, but sometimes I just need to pull dinner together quickly.  These quick dinners might be hummus and avocado sandwiches, canned soup, or even just leftovers.  But I also have a few recipes for quick and easy meals that can be put together with just a few of my pantry staplesblack beans, tofu and veggies.

Quick and Easy with BLACK BEANS!bb1

Black beans provide a great base for any dinner.  We always have some frozen or canned ready to be made into dinner at a moments notice!

Black Bean Burritos:
Ingredients:

  • 2-3 TB canola oil
  • ½ an onion diced
  • 2 TB cumin (divided)
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • ¼-1/2 water or beer (and yes, beer is staple in our house)
  • 2 cans of black beans (3 cups cooked)
  • ½ an onion cut into thin slices
  • 1 bell pepper cut into slices (optional – you can also use other veggies you have on hand like broccoli, cauliflower, etc.  And yes, I have made broccoli burritos, and they were yummy!)
  • Salt
  • Tortillas
  • Lettuce, avocado, and salsa (optional)

Directions:

1)   Saute the diced onion in 1 TB of canola oil (medium heat) for about 5 minutes, or until softened.  Add in 1 TB of cumin and all of the chili powder.  Cook for 1 more minute

2)   Add in the black beans and stir.  Add in ¼ cup of water or beer and stir.  Let it cook like that, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

3)   In a second pan, sauté the onion in the remaining oil on high heat for 3-5 minutes.  Add in the bell pepper and sprinkle with the remaining cumin.  Sautee, tossing often, for about 5 more minutes.

4)   Mash the beans and turn the heat to medium-low until read to serve.  Season with salt to taste.

5)   Make burritos with beans, veggies, and any other fillings you want!  You can also make salsa rice by cooking 1 cup of dried quinoa with 1 ½ cups of water and ¾ cup of salsa and add that to fill out your burritos!

Black Bean and Corn Taco Salad

Salad Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of cooked black beans (or two cans)
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 2-3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 a red onion, diced finely
  • 2-3 TB fresh cilantro
  • 1 tomato, chopped (or 1/3 cup of jarred salsa if tomatoes aren’t in season)
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olive
  • 1 good sized head of lettuce, chopped and washed

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2TB olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime (1 to 1 1/2 TB)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Directions:

1.  Mix the black beans, corn, scallions, red onion and cilantro together.

2. Mix the dressing ingredients, and then mix the dressing in with the beans until all the bean mixture is coated in the dressing.  At this point you can refrigerate the salad for a day or so, if you wanted to make it ahead of serving time.

3. Carefully stir in the avocado and olives.  Make sure the avocado stays in chunks!  Alternatively, you could just “top” the salad with the avocado and olives.

4. Serve on top of the lettuce.  This is great with some tortilla chips on the side!

Quick and Easy with Tofu and Veggies!

veg

If you keep tofu and some froze veggies on hand

(like broccoli, edamame, or frozen stir-fry mixes) you can pull together dinner any time!  Here are my three favorite quick and easy ways to make a tofu-and-veggie dinner on the fly.

Trader Joe's Tofu - we always have some in the fridge!

Tofu and Veggie Stir-fry:

Ingredients:

  • Canola oil
  • 1 block of tofu, cubed
  • 3 cups of raw veggies, chopped (if frozen, thaw them out in the microwave)
  • ¼ of tamari, divided
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 inch of ginger, grated

Directions:

1)   pour about 2 TB of oil in a large pan or wok.  On medium-high heat, cook the cubes of tofu, tossing every few minutes, until they are golden brown.  Sprinkle with 2 TB of tamari and cook for 3 minutes more, tossing often.

2)   While the tofu is cooking, mix TB of tamari with the ginger

3)   Pour the tofu out on a plate, add 1 TB more of oil to the pan, and stir-fry the veggies until cooked to your liking.

4)   Move the veggies to the side and sauté the garlic for about 20 sections, then stir to combine.  Sprinkle with the tamari/ginger mix and stir to coat. Add the tofu, cook for 1 more minute and then serve over rice or noodles – or just in a bowl by itself.!

Tofu and veggie peanut sauce bowls

Ingredients:

  • Canola oil
  • 1 block of tofu, cubed
  • 2 TB tamari (plus more for peanut sauce)
  • 3 cups of raw veggies, chopped  (if frozen, thaw them out in the microwave)
  • 8 oz of udon noodles or fettuccini
  • Peanut sauce from Mollie Katzan

Directions:

1)   Bring a pot of water to boil for the noodles

2)   Pour about 2 TB of oil in a large pan or wok.  On medium-high heat, cook the cubes of tofu, tossing every few minutes, until they are golden brown.  Sprinkle with 2 TB of tamari and cook for 3 minutes more, tossing often.

3)   While the tofu is cooking, make the peanut sauce

4)   Pour the tofu out on a plate, add 1 TB more of oil to the pan, and stir-fry the veggies until cooked to your liking.

5)   Don’t forget to cook the noodles!

6)   Make the bowls with a layer of noodles, a layer of veggies, a layer of tofu and a load of delicious peanut sauce!

Quick Thai Red Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 TB canola or vegetable oil (or peanut oil)
  • 1 block (12-14oz) of tofu, cubed
  • 2-3 cups of raw veggies, chopped (if frozen, thaw them out in the microwave)
  • 1-2 TB of curry paste (the amount is based on your spice preference.  I love things spicy and would put in 2 TB if I could, but my husband likes it a bit more on the mild side.  We compromise with 1 heaping TB)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (regular or light)

Directions:

1) Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet on medium heat.  Put the tofu in the skillet, and let it cook until the side in the pan is brown (about 3-6 minutes).  Flip the tofu to get another side and do the same.  Continue this until the tofu is browned to your liking.  I usually cook the tofu for about 15 minutes total just to get it mostly browned, which makes it a bit more chewy.

2) Turn the heat to medium-high and add the veggies (but not the greens yet, if you are using greens) and stir-fry them until they are to your liking.  The longer you cook them the softer they get.  I stir fry carrots and peppers (and broccoli, which I also sometimes use) for about 5 minutes.

3) Push the veggies and tofu off to the side of the pan, and then put in the curry paste.  Mash it around in the hot pan for about 30 seconds, then pour in the coconut milk.  Stir the paste into the coconut milk until it is incorporated, and then mix everything up with the veggies and tofu.

4) Put in the greens (if using), turn heat down to medium-low and cover for 3-6 minutes, or until greens are wilted.  This step also lets the tofu and veggies absorb some of the curry flavor.  Stir occasionally, and give it one last good mixing before serving.  Serve over rice or quinoa.

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