Vegan General Tso-Style Protein Bowl

This is a satisfying sweet and spicy bowl that makes great use of a pantry staple – the humble chickpea. While it’s not as high protein as a dish including meat, 100g of tofu gives you 8-10g and the chickpeas give another 5. Not too bad, and if you know of a good vegan protein powder to add you can bulk it even more.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Vegan General Tso-Style Protein Bowl

1 can chickpeas

1 block extra firm tofu

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 bunch broccolini, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 thumb ginger, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 Tbsp. tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos, divided

4 Tbsp. rice vinegar, divided

1/3 c. broth (I used mushroom onion; faux-chicken or any other stock would work just as well, you just want something with a little extra flavor to layer)

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 tsp. nut butter (I used peanut, but any nut butter would do)

2 Tbsp. sweetener (I had date molasses on hand but your favorite sweetener will do – if you go for something sweeter than molasses, consider halving to 2/3-ing the amount

2 tsp. heat (don’t be like me and use ghost pepper garlic sauce unless you want a punch in the mouth – go for something saner like a nice sambal olek for the same spicy garlic without the shock)

1 tsp. + sesame oil

1 tsp. grainy mustard (y’all know I love my Maille)

2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder +

Generous grinds pepper

Toppers: thinly sliced scallions, sesame seeds

Drain the chickpeas, add to a bowl and marinate in 1 Tbsp. soy + 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar for half an hour – a couple hours.

Press the tofu, chop into half-inch cubes, and add to a large bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. soy & 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar. Let marinate alongside the chickpeas.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining Tbsp. soy & Tbsp. vinegar, broth, tomato paste, nut butter, sweetener, heat, 1 tsp. of the sesame oil, grainy mustard, 2 tsp. cornstarch and a few grinds pepper.

Chop the veggies and get everything ready.

Add a couple Tablespoons cornstarch to the tofu mix and toss vigorously to coat. Air fry 7-8 minutes, tossing often to ensure even crispiness.

While the tofu is crisping, sauté the onion over medium heat in a couple teaspoons sesame oil until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and broccolini and continue sautéing 2-3 minutes or until the broccolini looks like it’s beginning to soften a touch.

Add the peppers and let go another 2-3 minutes until those begin to soften, stirring often to avoid burning.

Add the bowl of sauce and the chickpeas. Stir well and sauté until the sauce is nice and thick and everything is well incorporated.

Add the tofu to each bowl individually (100g gives you 8g; 1c. of the chickpeas gives you 5), top with scallions and sesame seeds and serve.

Serves 3-4

Zaatar Chicken Sandwiches

This is a nice and simple sandwich that can be dressed a bunch of ways and has a good mix of protein, fats and carbs. I served these as a stand-alone for dinner and was satisfied.

high protein

This picture is tragic, but I was starving

Zaatar Chicken Sandwiches

150g chicken breast per person, sliced into thin strips

2 Tbsp. zaatar

Salt & pepper

Drizzle chicken with a touch of oil (a teaspoon worth max), toss with spices and air fry 7 minutes, shaking a couple times during cooking.

Whisk together:

1/4 c. yogurt

2 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

2 Tbsp. lemon juice (more if necessary to add more zing – I started with this amount and kept adding to mask the taste of coconut yogurt)

1 Tbsp. garlic powder (more if necessary)

Salt & pepper

Toppers:

Sliced avocado

Sliced cherry tomatoes

Sautéed mushrooms & bell peppers

Sliced olives

Cucumber strips

Stuff a pita with chicken, top with veggies of your choice & yogurt sauce.

My pita ended up not being able to hold all the chicken I needed to hit my 150g protein macro, so I had a little extra in the side – along with the avocado, which kept leaping out of my sandwich. Delicious.

Bulgogi-Style Chicken Bowl

This spin on a bulgogi bowl was my favorite dish of the week, and with a 150g of chicken serving, it helped meet my protein goal for the day with 33g.

gluten-free

Bulgogi-Style Chicken Bowl

500g boneless, skinless chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces

Marinade

1 crisp apple, grated

1 pear, grated

2 inches ginger, grated

4 cloves garlic, grated

1/4 onion, grated

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp. gochujiang

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. date molasses, honey or sugar

Combine all ingredients and marinate chicken for a few hours. To cook, I air fried the chicken for 10 minutes, shaking every few. Note: this marinade is a bit wet for the air fryer and it kind of made a mess, but it was workable; I just had a bit of cleaning to do afterward.

Bowl Base

1 package broccolini, chopped

Optional: shiritaki noodles, rice, etc.

Prep your bowl base. I air fried broccolini tossed in a scant teaspoon oil, salt and pepper for 7 minutes. I meant to bulk the dish up some with shiritaki, but ended up being not so starving for dinner. Broccolini worked great.

Toppers

1 scallion, minced

Nice amount of kimchi

1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1 fried egg

Optional: sesame seeds, teriyaki sauce, sriracha mayo, sliced nori

The chicken makes 3 servings, the toppings as written 2

Roasted Potato Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

This is a quick little salad that is easy to scale up to feed a crowd.

As written, this dressing recipe makes extras. I drizzled some on a fruit salad (kinda crappy mango & persimmon), and swirled a dollop into a quinoa brown rice mix for an extra creamy kick. Delicious.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Potato Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

250g baby potatoes

Big hand baby spinach

1 clove minced garlic

Big hand cherry tomatoes

2Tbsp. tahini

2tsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1tsp. white miso

1tsp. date molasses or maple syrup

2tsp. citrus juice

Oil, salt & pepper

Optional topper: feta (mine was vegan feta)

Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet.

Bring a small pot of water to boil and parboil the potatoes 7 minutes or until almost done.

Halve the potatoes (or quarter if they’re a bit large) and add to the sheet. Drizzle with oil and season liberally with salt, pepper and any other spice you love (I used a chicken spice mix). Spread potatoes out into a single layer.

Lightly smush with the bottom of the pot or something heavy.

Bake 15 mins or until desired crispness is reached.

In a small bowl, whisk the tahini, soy sauce, sesame oil, miso & citrus juice to make dressing. Thin with a little water to your desired consistency.

Add the potatoes, spinach, garlic & tomatoes to a large bowl, and toss with dressing.

Serves 2 for dinner

Blackberry Butternut Salad with Miso Mustard Tahini

This is a fresh little counterpart to heavy holiday dinners.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Blackberry Butternut Salad with Miso Mustard Tahini

1 small butternut squash

1 small package blackberries

Baby spinach

Candied pecans (I used Thanksgiving leftovers – spiced maple flavor)

Vegan feta

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

3 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 tsp. granulated garlic

2 tsp. onion powder

Generous sprinkle red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. white miso

2 Tbsp. tahini

Preheat your oven to 375F and prepare a baking sheet.

Peel the butternut and chop into inch-ish chunks. spread out on the baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, oil, garlic, onion & red pepper.

Pour the sauce over the squash and toss to coat evenly. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Season with salt & pepper & bake 12 minutes, stir and bake an additional 12 minutes or until your desired brownness has been reached.

While the squash is baking, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon, miso & tahini. Thin with a little water to your desired consistency.

In a large bowl, add the spinach, the still warm from the oven squash and the dressing. Toss well to combine & wilt the spinach a bit.

Add the nuts, blackberries & vegan feta and toss again. Season with more salt & pepper.

Serves 4 for dinner

Herby Brothy Soup

This is a simple soup that’s packed with greens for those days when you mostly just want a hug in a bowl – without feeling weighed down.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Herby Brothy Soup

1 package broccolini, chopped

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 c. parsley, chopped

1/2 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 c. basil, sliced

1 package baby spinach

Salt, pepper, citrus juice

Olive oil

Thick yogurt (I used a Skyr-style soy yogurt)

Avocado

4 c. vegetable stock

I’m a large pot, sweat the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent.

Add the broccolini, chickpeas, parsley and stock. Season with salt & pepper and simmer :20.

Turn off the heat, mix in the basil & spinach, taste for seasoning and add more salt & pepper if necessary.

Cool a bit and pulse a few times in a food processor.

To serve, squeeze with a little citrus, add a little chopped avocado, a dollop of yogurt and a swirl of olive oil.

Serves 4-6

Vegan Taco Soup

This is a great can’t-believe-it’s-vegan weeknight soup that tastes even better as leftovers.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Vegan Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef analog (I used Gardein precooked crumbles)

14 oz. can diced tomatoes

14 oz. can Rotel with chilis

2 tsp. oregano

1 Tbsp. smoky Chipotle seasoning

1 Tbsp. cumin

1.5 Tbsp. granulated garlic

1.5 Tbsp. granulated onion

2 dried ancho chilis

2 dried New Mexico chilis

1 onion

4 cloves garlic

Veggie stock

Salt & pepper

To serve: avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro, shredded cheddar-like cheese analog, fresh jalapeños

Chop the onions & garlic. Add everything but the stock and toppings to a slow cooker.

Add enough broth to your desired thinness. You can make this more of a stew with less water, or stretch it with more.

Cook on “soup” setting for an hour or simmer on the stovetop for :30.

Top as you wish.

Serves 4-6

Smoky Roasted Tomato Soup

This is a good one – smoky, satisfying, and just the thing when you’re craving some veggie goodness – or when you’ve found a cache of almost-bagels and need something to dunk them in.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo

Smoky Roasted Tomato Soup

28 ounce can whole tomatoes

1 yellow onion

4 cloves garlic

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 can coconut milk

1/2 cup vegetable broth

Salt & pepper

1 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)

1 Tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons curry powder

Preheat oven to 400F/220C. Pull the tomatoes out of the sauce and place on a prepared baking sheet with the garlic cloves and the onions (chopped roughly). Bake 30 – 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are a bit blackened on the top. My onions were a bit burnt on the outside layer, but I think that added to the flavor. I chucked about half the burnt outer layer parts.

Cool and add to a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Whiz until smooth.

Add to a saucepan and simmer 20 minutes or so, stirring semi-frequently, and tasting to add salt & pepper.

Serves 4

Lamb Meatballs with Sticky Tamarind Sauce

Yes, more meatballs. I’m on a kick. This recipe also reminded me why I no longer cook meat on the stovetop. I’ll bake these instead of pan frying next time, basting the meatballs halfway through cooking.

gluten-free, paleo

Lamb Meatballs with Sticky Tamarind Sauce

1 lb. ground lamb

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 Tbsp. turmeric powder

1/2 small onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

2 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water

Salt & pepper

Set a large frying pan over medium-high heat with a Tablespoon or so of your favorite neutral oil.

Combine all ingredients by hand and form into meatballs, dropping into the pan as you go.

Let fry until the first side has released from the pan and is browned. Flip.

While those are working, prep the sauce.

Combine:

3 Tbsp. tamarind paste

2 Tbsp. brown sugar (or honey or date syrup)

2 Tbsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 tsp. ground ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. red chili flakes

When the meatballs are about 3/4 done, scootch over to the sides of the pan and dump all the sauce ingredients in the center. Stir, coating the meatballs, and finish cooking over medium heat.

Serves 4

An optional side (pictured)

500g microwave bag small potatoes

1/2 c. frozen peas

1 tsp. mustard seeds

1 Tbsp. mustard oil

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 Tbsp. butter

Salt & pepper

Cook the potatoes through and then chop. In a large pan over medium-high, warm the mustard seeds in the oil until they start to pop.

Add the curry powder to bloom.

Add the potatoes and peas and hit with generous salt & pepper. Stir well to combine.

When your meatballs are 3/4 of the way done and your potatoes & peas are getting a little browned, add the butter and stir again to combine.

Pull at the same time as the meatballs.

Pomegranate Beef Meatballs

Another Middle Eastern-inspired meatball recipe, this time with beef. Do you see a trend here? I’ve got a lamb version coming soon (hopefully – if my idea works out).

gluten-free, paleo

Pomegranate Beef Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef

1/3 c. slivered almonds

3 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses

3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp. pomegranate arils

3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

1/2 small onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. turmeric

2 Tbsp. fish sauce or Worcestershire (check labels if paleo or gf)

Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F and prepare a baking sheet.

Combine all ingredients with your hands, mixing well.

Form into meatballs – mine were roughly golf ball shaped.

Bake about 15 minutes.

Great alongside last week’s recipe for Pomegranate & Fig Salad.

Makes enough to serve 4