Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic Tofu

Recipe by Megan Stulberg 

I found myself craving Brussel sprouts in the produce section of a grocery store a couple of weeks ago, despite never trying them before. I mentioned this to my mum a few hours later, and she reminded me that my grandfather had passed away that day exactly two years ago. Apparently they were his absolute favourite food, which I didn’t know about. I’m sure it was coincidence, but like…how eerie, right?

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Ingredients…

  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, washed
  • 1 standard block extra firm tofu
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cold-pressed EVOO
  • 1/4 cup vegan “butter” spread (I used Earth Balance)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp red chilli flakes
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions…

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Chop stems off of Brussels sprouts and slice all widthwise.
  3. Toss Brussels sprouts in large bowl with vegan “butter”, sea salt and black pepper.
  4. Place on baking sheet covered with aluminium foil. Cook in centre oven rack and let roast for approximately 35 minutes. Flip every 5 minutes to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts will be light brown when done.
  5. While Brussels sprouts are cooking, press tofu block between pieces of paper towel with something heavy on top (book, cutting board, etc) until drained.
  6. Chop tofu into bite-sized chunks.
  7. Add EVOO to hot pan. Add tofu in a single layer and let cook until tofu begins to brown. Sprinkle soy sauce, garlic, nutritional yeast, thyme, chilli flakes, sea salt and black pepper on top. Flip tofu, and toss to coat with additional seasoning. Continue cooking until tofu is browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  8.  Combine tofu and sprouts. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

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Super Easy Tofu & Veggie Rice Bowl

By contributor Megan Stulberg

I used to despise tofu but it has quickly become my favourite plant-based protein to cook with! I love making this dish because it uses minimal ingredients, takes no more than 15 minutes to prepare, and the tofu is so flavourful.

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Ingredients…

  • 1 350g package extra-firm tofu (organic if possible)
  • 1 medium avocado, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup raw spinach, washed
  • 1/2 cup whole-grain brown rice
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tbsp cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground basil
  • 1 tbsp ground rosemary
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions…

  1. Boil water. Add rice and cook covered for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Press tofu for 15 minutes to remove excess water. Slice entire block into large, thin triangles.
  3. On medium heat in a large saucepan, heat dash of olive oil until it sizzles.
  4. Place tofu in pan. Add soy sauce, nutritional yeast, seasonings and additional olive oil slowly while the tofu cooks. Flip regularly. Once dark in colour and firm in texture, remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In same saucepan, saute mushrooms until golden brown in colour.
  6. Mix together rice, tofu, mushrooms and spinach in large bowl.
  7. Serve topped with avocado slices and a dash of black pepper.

Makes 2 portions (I usually pack the leftovers as lunch the next day!)

Veggie Un-stir Fry (vegan, gluten-free, raw)

By Megan Stulberg

Being the health nut that I am, I like to go on a 7-day raw detox every few months or so. Raw cleanses are a great way to rid your body of built-up toxins, get the maximum amount of nutrients possible from your food and to sharpen your mind. To learn more about the benefits of live food, click here.

You don’t need to be a nut like me to eat raw though! Here’s one of my favourite raw recipes that’s quick and easy to make:

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Plant-Based “Stir Fry”

Ingredients:

For the “stir fry”:

  • 3 cups parsnips, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw pine nuts, cashews or almonds (I used pine nuts)
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cremini or shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup bean or alfalfa sprouts, rinsed
  • 1 cup spinach

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup raw nut butter of your choice (almond, cashew, peanut) or raw tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp agave (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cold pressed olive oil (optional)
  • Black pepper (to taste)

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Directions:

1) Cut the parsnip into small chunks. Use a food processor to chop very finely until an appearance similar to rice is reached. Set aside.

2) Repeat step #1 separately for the carrots and nuts.

3) Combine the chopped parsnip, carrots and nuts in a large bowl with the spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, and sprouts.

4) Combine the ingredients for the sauce together in a blender, leaving out the agave and the olive oil. If the sauce is too bitter or too dry, add the agave and the olive oil to taste.

5) Toss vegetables in the dressing and top with additional sesame seeds immediately before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings. Keep leftovers in the fridge for 5-7 days at most.

The Girlfriend’s Guide

To me, being vegan is a lifestyle. Take everything I grew up around: big box stores, grocery store “super centres”, prepackaged foods, frozen meals…gross. Food is needed for nutritional purposes, sure, but let’s enjoy it too! By changing our diets we get the chance to start over, refresh our palettes, try new things and find out what really works for our bodies. What you discover from this might actually surprise you! Good food makes for a good body. And vegan food is always good food. Therefore, you should totally go vegan.

Time and time again I’ve heard, “I’d love to go vegan but I just don’t have the time!” Wrong. Wroooooong.

Most people (myself included, I’ll admit) are used to instant gratification for pretty much everything. Our bodies need food multiple times throughout the day and it’s tedious to put in a lot of effort. Everything nowadays seems to be done very hastily. Buying a frozen dinner that was designed to be microwaved to prevent us from needing to what, boil water? Opting for self-checkout at the store in order to skip the cashier’s spiel about donating to a local charity? It’s hard to figure out how to find time to cook, yes, but it really is worth it. Meats and processed foods are bad for both your body and your wallet.

Being a vegan really isn’t as time consuming as people think, but obviously it takes more effort than lining up at a fast food joint for a burger would. I put effort into each meal because I enjoy taking the time to appreciate what I’m doing. What can I say, I like to cook! It’s comforting to be aware of every single ingredient that I’m putting into my body. Vegan food is good for me and the environment.

So what the heck are we babbling about this for anyways? Well, we want others to be able to transition into veganism smoothly and we’re here to help with that. On this website we’ll be providing quick and easy original recipes, shopping tips and more. Being vegan doesn’t mean that you have to spend a bunch of money, or that you can’t eat out with friends! That’s just malarky.

So friends! In honour of Vegan Girlfriend’s launch we have put together a little shopping cheat sheet. Below you can find a chart that lists important staples for vegan cooking that can (and should!) be bought in bulk. This chart compares the prices of three types of stores where you can normally buy these products: bulk food stores, health food stores, and a ‘big brand’ grocery store.

Stick with us and we’ll keep coming up with stuff like this to help you become the health-conscious money-smart vegan that we know you secretly want to be.

Love,

Áine

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