Archive for Vegan

Roasted Squash Hummus with Turmeric {Vegan}

it’s Thanksgiving in Canada.

Despite the fact that most of my family lives right here in the Lower Mainland, we’re all busy with our lives and we don’t spend tons of time together. We do usually get together for Thanksgiving, though. It’s an easy, laid-back affair with way too much food, and containers of leftovers coming home.

I usually make a dessert at the request of the famjam, but this year, I want to introduce you to something a bit different.

Roasted squash hummus with turmeric

Now, as you know, chickpeas are my jam. Okay, so chickpea water, technically, is my jam, but you gotta do something with all those cans of chickpeas you’re opening for the aquafaba, so we eat a lot of hummus.

In my cookbook, I have no less than 6 different kinds of hummus. I thought, in fact, that I had discovered all the hummus combinations, but friends, let me tell you, I have not.

Last week, I attended VanFoodster’s very first Vegetarian Tasting Plates. I have written a whole post about what I discovered on that food tour, but one of the places we visited was called Saj & Co (on Davie) and there, we were served a roasted butternut squash hummus! It was fantastic–brightened with a touch of turmeric.

So of course I came home and started roasting squash to make it.

It’s an incredibly pretty dish, and the squash adds a creaminess and a sweetness that I think would make it an incredible appetizer for your Thanksgiving table.

I served mine with super-simple-to-make za’atar crackers.

Squash Hummus

Roasted Squash Hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, reserve the aquafaba
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed roasted squash (I actually used a kobucha, but I think anything will do, butternut, acorn, etc)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • optional garnishes: pepitas, balsamic reduction, olive oil, fresh herbs, smoked paprika, za’atar.

Method

  1. Cut the squash in half and dig out the seeds with a spoon. Chop into larger chunks, then drizzle all over with olive oil, and salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven until soft, about 30 minutes (depending on the size of the squash).
  2. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough so you can work with it. Remove the skins, and chop into chunks.
  3. In your blender or food processor, place all the ingredients, except for the water.
  4. Blend well until the mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides.
  5. With the blender running, slowly drizzle the water into the top of the blender or food processor. If the hummus is still too thick, add a bit more water, or olive oil if you like until it gets to the right creamy consistency.
  6. To make the crackers: take two large tortillas and brush them with a little oil. Sprinkle with za’atar and then cut into strips. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven until crisp and a little brown around the edges.
  7. To serve: ladle the hummus onto the centre of a plate, and scatter the crackers around. garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of coarse salt, and a few dots of balsamic reduction.

Ma Po Tofu {Vegan}

I’ve been watching a lot of Anthony Bourdain lately. I was about 2/3 of the way through reading Kitchen Confidential on the day he died, and I had watched Parts Unknown here and there. But since then, I’ve finished the book and binged my way through the first 6 seasons of Parts Unknown that are on Netflix.

Ma Po Tofu

Like many of you, I’m sure, I was devastated by the news of Tony’s death. Like many of you, again, I saw his life as something I aspired to; travel, food, exploration, discovering new cultures.

Also like many of you, I had a hard time understanding his love of offal. But every time he sits down in some random Asian noodle shop and starts slurping up soup, you can just see every part of him humming with happiness.

There were multiple episodes where he eats a dish called Ma Po Tofu, the latest one while doing a show in Sichuan Province in China.

This part of the world is well known for two things: the sichuan pepper and heat. In this particular episode, Tony gleefully rejoices in Eric Rupert’s discomfort at the level of spice in his food.

Well, Rupert, I’m with you.

It’s not that I don’t love spice and heat. I do. I just like it a little more… um… moderate, shall we say.

Also, this dish is normally made with ground pork, which is decidedly not vegan.

I sometimes struggle with tofu, to be honest. I know I should love it because it soaks up flavour and it’s cheap and it’s a great plant-based source of protein. But honestly, I sometimes feel like no matter what I do to it, it still tastes bland.

Well, that is clearly not the case here. If sichuan peppers do anything, they will light your mouth on fire.

To be fair, this recipe is probably a little north of authentic. I love gochujang, and I keep it in my fridge to add a little zip to dishes. It’s Korean, not Chinese, so while it still belongs in the bigger Asian bucket, it’s not super authentic. My thought when putting together this dish was to put together a vegan version of this spicy, saucy tofu dish, that also was hopefully accessible to most people, who may not have access to slightly more exotic ingredients. I love the fermented bean paste in here, it adds a real funkiness to the sauce that is unmistakably delicious.

I doubt Tony would approve. But to be fair, he wasn’t a huge fan of most vegetarian/vegan fare….

Ma Po Tofu Vegan

Ma Po Tofu

Ingredients

  • 6 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2-1 tbsp sichuan peppercorns, roasted and ground in a mortar & pestle (depending on how hot you want it)
  • 1/4 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 3 green onions, sliced on the bias, whites & greens separated
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fermented black bean paste
  • 1 tbsp gochujang
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 large package tofu, silken firm, drained and sliced into bite-sized pieces

Method 

  1. Place the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with hot water. You may need to weight them down with something to hold them underwater so they can rehydrate. Let sit for 10 minutes while you chop vegetables.
  2. Drain mushrooms, but reserve the water. Slice, discarding the tough stems. To the mushroom water, add the soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce and cornstarch, and stir well. Set aside.
  3. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a wok until hot and sizzling and add the peppercorns. Stir for about 30 seconds. Now add the mushrooms, and stir fry them for about a minute or two.
  4. Next add the red peppers, and stirfry for 1 minute. Finally add the white parts of the onions, garlic and ginger, and stirfry for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the gochujang and the fermented bean paste, and toss well with the vegetables. Finally, add the mushroom slurry and stir well until it thickens.
  6. Last, add the tofu into the sauce and stir well. Toss to coat and allow the tofu to cook a little in the sauce. The tofu is not very hearty, so be gentle, and don’t leave it in there for long.
  7. Serve atop rice, and garnish with the green tops of the green onions.
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