Sesame Slaw with Warm Garlicky Seitan

It’s official: seitan is my favorite vegetarian protein. I’m such a sucker for any recipe that includes seitan. With the weather warming up, I was looking for a cold salad recipe that looked filling. And this slaw recipe from page 58 of Isa Does It fit the bill. This was fairly quick and easy to make. True to the weeknight billing of Isa Does It. Isa has you pan fry the seitan, which makes the seitan a bit tough and pretty crisp. Overall, this was tasty, but not amazing. The edamame were a nice addition. I ate it all week happily, so it couldn’t be too bad. I’d make it again if I found myself wanting to make a quick filling Asian-inspired slaw or I had the ingredients.

Borlotti Bean Mole with Roast Winter Squash

My sister posted this recipe on her blog. I’ve never actually made mole. Since this recipe just kind of creates the mole in the broth of the stew, it seemed like a good starter mole recipe. I used 85% chocolate instead of the 70% called for. I used two dried red chilies and two jalapenos and there was absolutely no spice in the final dish. It’s possible that somehow I ended up with jalapenos with no spice in them. Who knows. I also used double the kale called for.

The recipe calls for you to cook the dish in the oven for two hours. I did do this, but my sister says she didn’t and the dish tasted fine. So it might be an unnecessary step.

The final dish had a nice flavor, and I enjoyed eating it the first time. But I didn’t want to eat it the next day. It just wasn’t interesting or indulgent enough to hold my interest. I added 8 oz of cubed seitan, and I thought this really helped the dish. With the seitan it felt more indulgent and I enjoyed it for the rest of the week.

Creamy Vegan Potato-Leek Soup

I already had all the ingredients required for this recipe from Isa Does It, so I decided to try it. It was pretty easy to make. The recipe tells you to mash the potatoes after cooking them with a potato masher. But I don’t have a potato masher, so I took out about 1/3 of the cooked mixture and blended them with the immersion blender. It left so potato lumps in, but overall the technique worked alright.

I enjoyed the soup, but it also wasn’t anything special. It was about as good as any potato leek soup I’ve tried. So if you particularly need a vegan version of this classic, this is a good option. But if not, maybe just stick to a standard recipe.

Green Bean Salad with Spicy Thai Dressing

I made a modified version of this thai green bean salad as a side to tofu larb. I omitted the dried shrimp and used cashews instead of peanuts since I didn’t have peanuts on hand. I enjoyed the salad. It was quick to make and very tasty. The only thing is it really needed to marinate for two days before the flavor fully soaked into the green beans.

https://www.delicious.com.au/recipes/green-bean-salad-spicy-thai-dressing/d8f3d75f-9612-4c0f-883d-046071c93b8b

Tofu Larb

I was recently turned on to the miracle of tofu lettuce wraps by a friend. This recipe for a vegetarian twist on Laotian larb intrigued me. The recipe is essentially a Laotian-flavored tofu salad in leaves of lettuce. Since I’ve never eaten traditional larb, I have nothing to compare it to.

I didn’t mind these, but didn’t love them either. The tofu mixture just wasn’t quite flavorful enough to keep my attention for more than one meal. Plus, every time I saw the mixture in the fridge, it just made me crave my favorite spiced tofu salad recipe. I did enjoy the interesting texture created by the toasted rice powder and fried onions. An interesting recipe to try, but I don’t think I’ll make it for a main course again. Though it might make a nice appetizer for a Thai/Laotian dinner. One commenter recommended adding vegan fish paste. I might try that for more flavor.

Vegan Quinoa Caesar

This recipe was next up on my list of salads to try from my new cookbook Isa Does It. I was really intrigued by the idea of a vegan caesar salad made heartier by some extra ingredients. In addition to lettuce and dressing, Isa adds tempeh croutons, avocado, and quinoa to make this salad not just a full meal, but truly indulgent. She also adds some arugula to make the salad a bit healthier.

I really really liked this salad. Once I made it, it was all I wanted to eat all week. I actually had it for lunch and dinner on the same day! The dressing was delicious and the smoky flavor of the tempeh was complex and satisfying.

I will definitely make this again. The only change I will make is to increase the romaine a bit. I thought the quinoa, romaine, arugula recipe was just a bit too heavy on the arugula and quinoa. I think I’d use 10 ounces of romaine instead of the 8 called for by the recipe and 5 cups of quinoa instead of 6.

This link is the same as far as the salad ingredients and dressing from the cookbook. But it exchanges the marinated tempeh for breaded tofu.

Roasted Yellow Beet Salad with Warm Maple-Mustard Dressing

I very rarely make salad recipes from my cookbooks, but I’m trying to add more raw vegetables to my diet. My new cookbook Isa Does It includes a number of intriguing salad recipes. Since I love beets, I picked out this recipe for arugula salad with walnuts and beets as the first one to try.

I used red beets instead of golden beets since they’re easier to find and I think they taste better anyways. The dressing is literally just maple syrup and whole grain mustard, which seemed really strange to me. This is not the type of dressing I ever make. But I actually really enjoyed the dressing. My main issue with the salad was that there were so many red onions in it and the dressing alone wasn’t enough to break their sharpness. I added a 1/4 cup of halved green grapes, which successfully cut the sharpness of the onions and rounded out the flavor of the salad overall.

I ran out of dressing before I ran out of salad. Next time I’d make 1.5x the recipe. Also online she adds 1 tbsp of water to the dressing, which I’d try next time to thin it out a bit.

Wild Rice Soup with Browned Seitan Strips

For my birthday this year my friend Ellen got me a new Isa Chandra Moskowitz cookbook called Isa Does It. I’ve been very excited to try some recipes from the book. One of the first recipes I picked out to try was this recipe for soup with wild rice, white beans, and seitan. It stood out to me since I have been looking for more wild rice recipes and I really like seitan.

I used the seitan recipe in the book instead of my usual Simple Seitan recipe from Veganomicon. The seitan didn’t come out as well as it usually does. It was more loosely structured and spongy. In the future I’ll stick with my usual seitan recipe.

I enjoyed this recipe and it was indeed easy to make. It was flavorful and the seitan made it feel like more of a treat. However, I thought it had a bit too much rice and not enough broth. Next time I’d use 3/4 cup of wild rice instead of 1 cup and 7 cups of broth instead of 6.

Mushroom Hot Pot

We’ve gotten back to back winter storms in Durham this week, so I was craving something soothing. I thought this hot pot recipe from Post Punk Kitchen might be just the thing.

I liked but didn’t love the recipe. The broth was pretty good, but not quite as flavorful as I’d expected. I didn’t put star anise in the broth since I didn’t have any. There weren’t nearly enough mushrooms in my opinion. Maybe it would have been more flavorful if I had added them. I used broccoli, tofu, and rice noodles as my optional add-ins. But they didn’t really seem to go that well with the broth. Maybe rice would have been better?

Overall not bad. But I’m not sure it was good enough to make again.

Creamy White Beans with Herb Oil

I accidentally bought way too much cilantro for another recipe and needed to find ways to use it up. I found this intriguing recipe for white beans in an herb oil sauce on New York Times Cooking. Instead of using half cup cilantro and half cup basil, I just used 1 cup cilantro. I really try not to use canned beans, but I couldn’t find dried butter beans or cannellini so I ended up using canned cannellini. This made the recipe really fast to make.

I’d definitely make this again. It was fresh, tasty, and unusual. A solid way to dress up plain beans to make them feel indulgent.