Vegetarian Recipes

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Tri-Color Green Bean Salad Recipe Recipe

At this time of the year I think I've reached the last crop of green beans to harvest from our garden. I simply steamed them and served them the healthy way. In addition to regular green beans, I bought fresh purple beans and wax beans to complete the dish. 

I seasoned the steamed bean salad with a sauce that I concocted using green beans, sweet basil, almond powder and fruity olive oil. As a reminder of the sauce flavor, I garnished the salad with lightly toasted sliced almonds. 


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Banh Uot Cha Lua Chay (Vegetarian Vietnamese Rice Noodles) Recipe

This vegetarian dish is Cậu Hoà's (my uncle) favorite. Since we live near San Jose, I'm fortunate to be able to find ready-made bánh ướt. It literally translates to "wet cakes". They're sheets of rice and tapioca noodles. The assembly of the dish, after steaming the rice noodle sheets, is ultra simple. 

I accompanied the rice noodles with Vietnamese tofu ham called chả lụa chay (you can find the recipe in my second cookbook, Banh Mi.) I also added fried tofu, steamed bean sprouts, fried shallots, cucumber and a wide array of Vietnamese herbs. The vegetarian dish is then "watered" with nước mắm chay. I just discovered vegetarian nuoc mam made of pineapple juice, which is similar to but less pungent than real fish sauce. 


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South Indian Spiced Lemon Rice Recipe Recipe

I've had South Indian lemon rice several times and always wondered how it was made. Naively, I thought the rich yellow hue of the rice came from the abundance of lemon in the dish. In fact it's because of turmeric. I finally learned the recipe from my husband Lulu's aunt, Sara. We get along great; we're the same age and Sara is so much fun to be around.  

The preparation requires 3 steps. First, making lemon rice is a great way to use leftover cooked basmati rice. Separate and massage the grains of rice and season them with turmeric, lemon and red chili powder. Then comes the baghar (which translates to "tempering," which involves frying chana dal (dried chickpeas), red dried chiles, mustard seeds, curry leaves, onions and cashew nuts. Lastly, the yellow rice is added, then flavored with a generous amount of ghee (clarified butter). A last drizzling of lemon juice provides a touch of tanginess to fragrant, spicy rice. Our family loves it!

For extra richness, you could sprinkle a bit of coconut powder at the end or serve the rice with coconut chutney and raita (Indian yogurt sauce)


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Yuba Stuffed Mushroom Appetizers Recipe

Whenever I'm at the Asian grocery store, I buy large quantities of fresh yuba (tofu skin) whenever it's available. If you've wanted to try a vegetarian meat substitute but were suspicious it would taste bland, I urge you to try these yuba stuffed mushroom appetizers. 

If you're not familiar with yuba (tàu hũ ky in Vietnamese), this food product is the film that's formed on the surface after boiling the soy beans in water. I bought ready-to-use fresh yuba, so all I needed to do was season it. I made a mixture of rice vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, tahini, yuba, five-spice powder and black sesame seeds. 

The assembly was very easy. I stuffed the yuba filling into hollowed crimini mushrooms and garnished the appetizers with sunflower seeds for extra crunch. Voilà!


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Asparagus Stuffed Pasta with Fig Hazelnut Sauce Recipe

I don't know if you've noticed but I tend to prepare healthy meals fairly often. This is my husband Lulu's request and it was his New Year's resolution to change his eating habits. He's lost 25 pounds so far and he's trying to get back to his pre-marriage weight.

Yesterday, I boiled manicotti-like pasta (big pennoni rigati) and stuffed them with a mixture of yuba (tofu skin), green asparagus spears, yellow onions and curly parsley. After completing the vegan filling, I realized I needed a binder to be able to stuff the mixture into the cylinder-shaped pasta . 

While the pasta was boiling, baby Aria and I stepped outside and randomly harvested a few ripe figs in the garden. That's when I decided to prepare a sauce for this dish made of fresh figshazelnuts, tomato paste and roasted red bell peppers. The texture came out exactly as wonderfully as I had anticipated it would. Sometimes, improvisation ends up with beautiful results!  

 


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