Tag Archives: Meatless Monday

Meatless Meatball Subs

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (6 of 8)

During my first year of college, I lived in the dorms, which meant sharing an 11′ x 17′ living space with my roommate, on a floor made up of twelve rooms, filled with all ‘honor student’ females. Our floor also contained a kitchen — not a common commodity in these dormitories!  Dorm-livin’ meant cafeteria-eatin’ and there were many occasions in which the cafeteria dinner options sounded beyond unappetizing. Cereal or frozen yogurt seemed the most viable options. I didn’t cook in those days of dorm living. Unless you consider saimin (Top Ramen) cooking, which, at 15 cents a piece was doable on my student budget.

However, it turned out my friend Oliva across the hall was an excellent cook — her dad being a chef and all. If we purchased the ingredients, she was often more than obliging in cooking a delicious meal (granted we share the meal with her, too — understandable!).

I remember meatball subs being something I hadn’t eaten before, but one evening when ruminating over grumbling stomachs of what should we have for dinner? Olivia very matter-of-factly said “MEATBALL SANDWICHES.” When Olivia had an opinion on what was going to be cooked and eaten, you were better off just going with that (the alternatives being a mad dash across the street to 7-11 for lord knows what, or a run uphill to the cafeteria, just in case they may still be open, or let’s be real – vending machine pop tarts and Pepsi for dinner). So that’s what we had. Soft pillowy hoagie rolls, filled with homemade meatballs, marinara sauce and cheese. A fork-and-knife type of sandwich, but delicious.

This version isn’t what we had in those days. The ‘meatballs’ are entirely vegetarian, the sauce is homemade and filled with flavor. The fork and knife are optional, but probably helpful.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (4 of 8)

Meatless Meatball Subs

Yields 6 very hefty sub sandwiches.

Ingredients:

For the marinara sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium sized bell pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, diced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried basil
generous amount of black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly minced parsley

For the meatless meatballs:
2 14-ounce tubes Lightlife’s Sausage-Style Gimme Lean
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
4 tablespoons COLD butter
olive oil

For the subs:
6 hoagie style rolls
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into pieces about 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
6-8 fresh basil leaves, julienned

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (7 of 8)

Directions:

Make the sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic, then sauté until the onion is very soft (8 to 10 minutes).

Add the mushrooms and sauté 2-3 minutes, just until the mushrooms slightly soften. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil, black pepper, oregano, thyme, and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45-60 minutes. Stir in the fresh parsley at the last minute.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (1 of 8)

Make the meatballs while the sauce cooks:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside until needed.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Gimme Lean, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, eggs and liquid smoke. Use a box grater to grate the cold butter into the mixture. Using your hands (if you prefer a spoon that’s fine, but your hands make this easier!), mix together the mixture until well combined.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of mixture and use your hands to roll it into a ball. Place on the greased baking sheet. Continue doing this until all the mixture has been used up, spacing the veggie meatballs about 1-inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes (turning once halfway through), or until the meatballs are nicely crisp and browned on the outsides.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (2 of 8)

Make your subs:

Turn your oven on its broil setting.

Mix together the 3 tablespoons melted butter and granulated garlic in a small dish.

Split the hoagie rolls in half lengthwise, being careful to try and keep one side intact. Brush the butter/garlic mixture on the split sides of the hoagie rolls. Place on a baking sheet, buttered side-up. Once all the rolls have been buttered, place under your broiler, watching carefully, until the bread is toasted to just-golden-brown in color.

Remove from the oven and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the sauce on each hoagie. Arrange 4 meatballs on each hoagie, followed by 3-4 more tablespoons of sauce. Top with pieces of mozzarella (as much or as little as you prefer), and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Return the subs to the oven, under the broiler, again watching closely so your sandwiches don’t burn. Broil until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and sprinkle a bit of fresh julienned basil over each sandwich.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (8 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (3 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (5 of 8)

Bangkok Curry Noodle Bowls with Crisp Baked Tofu

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (11 of 11)

Some things I’ve enjoyed about the past few weeks: The stretches of days where we’ve had sunshine and weather warm enough to trick you into thinking Spring’s closer than it is. Slow walks through downtown, mostly to the grocery store. Our two old dogs, who are nearing the end of their days, following me around throughout the day then laying right under my feet later as I try to prepare dinner. Stretching homemade pizza dough into very OCD pizza rounds. Unintentional lazy weekend days (Sundays, after long sports-filled Saturdays). Not bothering to brush my every-growing-ridiculously-long hair for days at a time (messy buns to the rescue!). The rain we’ve suddenly been getting, with the threat of more rain and potential snow this weekend… Bowls of noodles.

Bowls of noodles of any sort are my go-to comfort food. Mac and cheese, ramen/saimin, cold udon or soba noodles… The following recipe is soup-like, but heavy on the noodle-to-soup ratio. The sauce is creamy, delicious, not overly spicy, but super flavorful. If you want things a little spicier, you can certainly add your desired amount of chili-garlic sauce!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (8 of 11)

Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Baked Tofu

Serves 8-10 people.

Ingredients:

For the Tofu:
15.5 ounces extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp gochujang (I prefer Mother in Law’s 00 Fermented Chili Paste)

For the Coconut Curry Sauce:
2 tablespoon oil
3 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
4 tablespoons red curry paste
2 14-ounce cans regular coconut milk
1 cup No-Chicken (or vegetable broth)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons gochujang
6 tablespoons soy sauce

For the Bowls:
12 ounces brown rice noodles
2 tablespoon oil
half an onion, chopped thinly
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups chopped asparagus
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
black sesame seeds for topping
limes for serving
a handful of fresh thai basil for serving

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (9 of 11)

Directions:

Prepare the tofu: Drain tofu about an hour before you want to prepare your meal. Roll the tofu in an absorbent towel several times and then place something heavy on top to press. I use a pot on top of a cutting board and sometimes add something to the pot to add more weight. Do this for 30 minutes.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (1 of 11)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. While the oven preheats, cut the tofu into bite size cubes. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, minced garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar and gochujang. Gently toss the tofu in the mixture. Place the tofu on a nicely/generously oiled baking sheet, arranged in a single layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the tofu is nicely brown and crisp on the outside. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (3 of 11)

Prepare the noodles: soak the noodles in a bowl of cold water for at least 20 minutes, until they’re soft. Drain and rinse. Set aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (2 of 11)

Prepare the sauce: heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and ginger; stirring around for 3-5 minutes. Add the curry paste; cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, sugar, gochujang, and soy sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes or so while you prep the rest of the ingredients – it should thicken slightly.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining two tablespoons oil over high heat. Add the onion, carrots, broccoli, and asparagus. Stir fry for about 5 minutes until the broccoli and asparagus are bright green and just slightly tender. Add the noodles and baked tofu, tossing them around with the vegetables. Add the sauce and toss together until just combined (if you cook it too long at this point, the noodles can get overly sticky).

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (4 of 11)

Prepare the bowls: serve bowls topped with the purple cabbage and sesame seeds, along with a squeeze of lime and chopped basil leaves. Enjoy!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (7 of 11)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (5 of 11)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (6 of 11)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (10 of 11)

Meatless Monday: Veggie Chowder

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday  Veggie Chowder

It’s mid September. Is that too early for soup? Just a few days ago Southern Oregon temperatures still reached the triple digits. The next few days, we aren’t expecting temps out of the 60’s. Can we say Fall is here?

Soup never screams excitement to me. It’s a comfort food. Maybe it’s a lot of boring standing around in front of the stove stirring chunks of vegetables together. Maybe you like that kind of thing. I won’t judge you.

Soup’s a transporter of the seasons, wanted or not. The following chowder is comforting, hearty, quite easy to throw together and a good Fall or Winter basic soup staple.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday  Veggie Chowder

Veggie Chowder

Serves 8-10 people

Ingredients:

1 stick butter
1 lage onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
4 cups (1 quart) No-Chicken broth
4 large carrots, peeled and diced into 1/8-inch thick rounds
1 small head of broccoli, trimmed into florets and bite-size pieces
3 ears of fresh corn, trimmed off the cob (or roughly 2 cups frozen corn)
5-6 medium sized russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper\
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
chives, chopped

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday  Veggie Chowder

Directions:

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender (5-6 minutes). Add the celery and garlic, cooking until fragrant (about 2 more minutes).

Sprinkle in the flour, being sure to coat all the vegetables. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the milk and broth, stirring well. Continue cooking until the soup begins to thicken (5-10 minutes).

Add in the carrots, broccoli, corn, potatoes, salt, dill, coriander and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the soup until the potatoes and corn are tender (an hour or so). Taste and add more salt or pepper if you prefer.

Serve topped with sharp cheddar and a sprinkle of chives.

** If you want a thinner soup, feel free to add more broth or milk.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday  Veggie Chowder

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday  Veggie Chowder

Meatless Monday: Homemade Falafels

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (3 of 7)

I’ve totally been MIA. Cooking? Yes, totally. Sporadically, but yes. This last post sort of demonstrates the immediate busyness we generally find ourselves in come September.  My food photography is frequently overrun by kids’ activity photos.

Sometimes I feel like I’m complaining. The never ending cleaning is overwhelming and the constant go-go-go gets wearing. But the truth is I don’t mind on one hand. I really suck at meal planning, but the craziness of keeping up with everyone sort of lends itself to having to learn better techniques of such things.

The following recipe is one that can serve as multiple meals (another plus in the overly-busy-lifestyle). These falafels are great on their own, served with hummus or other tahini-based sauces. They also make great sandwiches or protein for a hefty salad. Delicious hot or cold, that also makes leftovers easy to deal with!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (7 of 7)

Homemade Falafels

Yields about 30 falafel balls

Ingredients:
1 pound dry garbanzo beans [chickpeas]
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
5 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
small pinch of ground cardamom
vegetable oil for frying

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (5 of 7)

Directions:

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Let them soak overnight.

Drain, then rinse the garbanzo beans. Pour them into your food processor along with the chopped onion, parsley, cloves of garlic, flour, salt, cumin, coriander, pepper, and cardamom.

Pulse all ingredients together until a coarse meal forms. Scrape the sides of the food processor as needed, pushing the mixture down the sides. Process the mixture until a slightly coarse paste forms. You want the mixture to hold together, but don’t overprocess, so you don’t end up with hummus! Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (2 of 7)

Fill a deep skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat. Meanwhile, form the falafel mixture into round balls or slider-shaped patties using your hands (about two tablespoons of mixture per falafel). You can make them smaller or larger depending on your personal preference.

Test one ball to make sure your oil is hot enough. At the correct temperature, it should take 2-3 minutes per side to brown. If it browns faster than that, your oil is too hot and your falafels will not be fully cooked in the center. Cool the oil down slightly and try again. When the oil is at the right temperature, fry the falafel balls in batches of 5-6 at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Let the cooked falafels drain on paper towels.

Serve the falafels fresh and hot. My preference is with pita bread, homemade hummus, tzatziki sauce, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese! :)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (6 of 7)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Falafels (4 of 7)

Meatless Monday: General Tso’s Quorn Chik’n

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (5 of 7)

Having never eaten General Tso’s chicken, it would seem kind of silly to decide to cook such a thing on a whim. However… rule number one in Julie’s kitchen: have no fear and jump right in.

So what the heck is this dish? Basically, it’s pieces of breaded and fried chicken, covered in a slightly sweet, slightly spicy sauce. It’s found in numerous Asian restaurants, though its origins are in Taiwan. If you want to read a more in depth explanation, check this out.

While everything I cook at home is vegetarian (with the exception of fish), every now and then I do miss cooking/eating chicken. One of the most realistic chicken-like alternatives I’ve found is Quorn Chik’n. Generally I just cook it as I would real chicken. This dish is pretty simple to throw together. We enjoyed it with veggie fried rice, but you could serve it with plain steamed rice or noodles.

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (7 of 7)

General Tso’s Quorn Chik’n

Serves 6 or so.

Ingredients:

For the Chik’n marinade:
1 egg white
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vodka
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 packages Quorn chik’n tenders

For the dry coating:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable broth
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons chopped chives

1 1/4 quart sunflower or peanut oil
1 cup fresh pineapple, cubed (optional)

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (2 of 7)

Directions:

Beat egg white in a large bowl until lightly foamy. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar and vodka. Whisk to combine. Set aside half of marinade in a small bowl. Add baking soda and corn starch to the large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the Quorn Chik’n to the large bowl and turn to coat thoroughly. Cover and set aside.

Combine flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined then add the reserved marinade, mixing just until mixture has coarse, mealy clumps. Set aside.

To make the sauce combine soy sauce, wine, vinegar, chicken stock, sugar, sesame seed oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl and stir with a fork until cornstarch is dissolved and no lumps remain. Set aside.

Combine the oil, garlic, ginger, red chili flakes in a large skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are aromatic and soft, but not brown. Stir sauce mixture and add to skillet. Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens, about 1 minute. Add scallions. Transfer sauce to a bowl to stop cooking, but don’t wipe out your skillet.

Heat the sunflower or peanut oil in a large wok or Dutch oven to 350°F. Transfer the chik’n from the marinade to dry coat mixture, tossing in between each addition to coat chik’n. Once all the Quorn chik’n is added to the dry coat ingredients, toss with your hands, pressing dry mixture onto the chik’n so it adheres, making sure that every piece is coated thoroughly.

Shake off excess coating and carefully lower the flour-coated chik’n into the hot oil, one piece at a time. Once all chicken is added, cook, stirring around until the chik’n is cooked through and very crispy, about 4 minutes. Transfe to a paper towel-lined bowl to drain any excess oil.

Add the chink’n to the empty sauce skillet and return the sauce to the skillet. Toss chik’n, folding it with a rubber spatula until all pieces are thoroughly coated. Fold in the fresh pineapple if you’re using it. Serve immediately with rice.

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (1 of 7)

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (3 of 7)

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (6 of 7)