Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WIAW #65: Lentil Cassoulet

Moving is always stressful. But when you are making a military move from Texas to Maryland, with a month in between, “stressful” takes on a new meaning. You may be asking, wasn’t that a while ago? Well yes, but when you are in your new place for three weeks without wifi, any phone data, and no camera, it makes it a lot harder to blog. By hard I mean impossible. So this is my first official blog post from Silver Spring (Wheaton), MD!

With that I must admit I haven’t been creating a lot of “new” recipes lately but rather sticking with the favorites while I still get the hang of my new kitchen and new grocery options. Yes, I do have two Trader Joe’s in reasonable driving distance along with a Giant and the monthly Commissary trip I do have options. And one of those options will be never going to a Safeway despite it being the closest option to me. It’s horribly expensive with a very limited offering. 

So near the end of the month, I’m taking stock of what’s left in my fridge and how to make new summery meals. One of those meals was what I’m calling Lentil “Cassoulet.” There is no other way for me to describe this dish. And it'll take a while to finish this baby let me tell you!

The classic cassoulet is a wonderful French creation of white beans, tomatoes, bacon, pork, and topped with breadcrumbs, normally served with duck confit. I wanted to take the essence of this classic dish while using up what was in my pantry. I had a couple potatoes that were about to go bad as well as some leftover green lentils. I thought, why not replace lentils for the traditional legume? I threw in the potatoes, some mushrooms, and fresh herbs. Voila, lentil Cassoulet was born.

I figured it would go perfectly with another French classic-chicken in a pot. The incredibly moist whole chicken, steamed in a Dutch oven. All this meal needed was some homemade bread (leftover and thawed,) and the reduced drippings from the chicken. I’m getting hungry just writing this….

I originally wished this dish was a little “wetter” in order to sop with the bread, but it ended up being perfect the way it was. This is also a great dish to use up your own unique leftovers. Add leftover baked chicken, bacon, leeks, roasted potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, wilting fresh tomatoes with the canned. Lentils are so filling and healthy so this makes a perfect vegetarian or vegan dish (omit butter) with bread and a salad. For gluten free, use GF breadcrumbs. Either way, throw it in a casserole dish and enjoy the benefits!

Lentil Cassoulet

1 1/2 cup cooked green lentils, (make 1/2 cup dried lentils when preparing)
1 can (14.5oz.) diced tomatoes, pulsed for a few seconds in food processor
3 medium-small Yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
5-6 small mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tbsp. butter
Olive oil
Black pepper
1 tbsp. water

2 pieces nice bread, pulsed in a food processor until small bread crumbs
Olive oil, salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly chopped basil, 3-4 leaves, cut into thin strips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl, add water, and cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes until potatoes are soften. Set aside.

While oven is preheating, sprinkle breadcrumbs on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in oven and cook for about 5 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, and then add mushrooms and sauté until soften and starting to brown. Add a splash of the red wine and stir until mushrooms have absorbed the liquid. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Add butter, carrots and celery to the pan and cook for 3 more minutes. Add tomatoes, wine, thyme, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3-5 minutes until flavors are melded. Stir in potatoes and ladle mixture into an large, oiled baking dish or ramekin quiche dish. Make sure the dish isn’t too full but close to the top.

Bake dish in the oven for 30-35 minutes until hot and potatoes are cooked through. Take the dish out of the oven.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top of the dish and put back into oven for 10 minutes until breadcrumbs are golden brown. (If not turning brown, turn on the broiler to low and cook for 2 minutes.) Take out the oven and top with fresh basil.

Serve while warm with bread and roast chicken, or a crisp salad.

To reheat leftovers, turn oven to 400 degrees until inside is warmed and topping gets crispy again. Delicious topped with a fried egg on top!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Roasted Heirloom Carrots

Sometimes, simple is best. Simple recipes are often all high-quality ingredients need to shine on the dinner plate. Take for example: heirloom carrots. I picked up a bag of organic, multi-color heirloom carrots at Trader Joe’s on my way back from Philadelphia to Small Town. I loved all the different colors in the bag from lemon yellow to bright red. It made my day to say the least.

So when I needed to decide what to do with these beauties, I landed on the humble vegetable’s best fried: roasting. Just a few ingredients, a really hot oven, and a little bit of time is all these babies need to come out golden brown and caramelized sweet.

There’s little to say about this recipe as it so simple. Rather, there is more to say about what to do with the roasted carrots once you pull them out of the oven. The possibilities are truly endless. You can put them on a plate next to salmon, beets, and baked potatoes like us. But I’d rather hear about them on top of a big green salad; tossed with quinoa and kale; a bed for a poached egg next to their buddy-the roasted potato. Hey, even on top of ice cream! No, I’m kidding about that.

And if there happen to be any leftovers by chance, chop them up for Shepard’s Pie, or in a hummus and roasted veggie sandwich. I mean these carrots are pretty amazing. I mean it.
So if that hasn’t convinced you to make the easiest gourmet side dish in the world then I do not know what will…
Roasted Heirloom Carrots
Makes 4-6 sides


2 lbs. heirloom multi-colored carrots, peeled and topped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tbsp. olive oil (more for the pan)

½ tsp. kosher salt

Fresh black pepper

Desired Seasoning: Greek, dill, Italian, even dukkah all work well

½ tsp. garlic powder


 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 Cut carrots in 2-3 inch pieces, the small ends intact, the large ends haved.

 Toss carrots with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and spread out evenly on a dark baking sheet with a little more oil if necessary to grease the pan.

 Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Carrots are done when they are golden brown on sides and soft when pierced with a fork.

 Serve while still hot or later when cold over a salad.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chicken Gyoza in Savory Broth

I’m so glad to be writing this from the comfort of Small Town, Pennsylvania rather than West Texas. While I definitely tried to make the best of it there with my wonderful library job and co-military wives, I did miss Pennsylvania. One of the main reasons is the food I can purchase and make easily here...and my family of course.

 Trader Joe’s my-not-so-secret obsession was one of my first trips after the 25 hour drive with my mother and 4 lb. dog. I was here only a day when I needed to drive down to Philadelphia to spend the weekend with my sister whose fiancé was going on a trip. That provided a good opportunity for a “back to PA” celebration praticing Yoga near the river, eating French food at our favorite restaurant, and of course, a trip to my beloved Joe’s.

That trip provided these lovely pot stickers (also known as gyoza or Chinese dumplings) which are the centerpiece to this dish. I don’t want to call it soup since I like to keep the broth shallow and rather focus on the fresh veggies and pot stickers. Plus, with this incredibly flavorful broth, you only need a small amount rather than a large bowl of liquid.

I love these veggie and chicken filled beauties especially since they aren’t full of preservatives or un-pronounceable ingredients like many grocery-store frozen offerings. But being the product of Trader Joe’s, you can feel a little better about it.

This also makes the meal a little simpler. You can focus on making a really flavorful broth since the dumplings are already made. I love using different color carrots for a contract of colors, (another Trader Joe’s product.) You can use red, yellow, or orange carrots for a beautiful plate. And don’t forget about the garnishes. Like Vietnamese Pho, which inspired this broth, I like the contrast of the umami rich broth to the bright crisp veggies and herbs. At the time, I only have green onions and cilantro along with the carrots, but bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, even Thai basil would be delicious additions. I used homemade broth leftover from a roast chicken. It really makes the difference if you have it!

This recipe is good for about 4-5 servings with 4-5 dumplings in each bowl. This would be an impressive first course, but made a full meal with a salad and maybe some spring rolls on the side…courtesy of Joe of course.

Chicken Gyoza in Savory Broth
(Makes 4-5 servings)

20 frozen chicken pot stickers (gyoza, dumplings, I got mine at Trader Joe’s)
4-5 cups homemade chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup shredded chicken (optional)
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon anchovy paste or fish sauce
1 inch nob of fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Juice of one lime
2 tsp. tomato paste (optional, but adds richness)
1 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce
Olive oil

Water for dumplings
2 carrots of different colors, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup chopped green onions
Cilantro, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and/or shredded cabbage for garnish

Suggested additions: sautéed wild mushrooms, bok choy, shelled edamame, sesame oil for serving

For Gluten-free: Use GF dumplings or make your own! Use GF soy-sauce and fish sauce and make homemade broth. For Vegetarian: Use vegetable broth, omit chicken, fish sauce and use additional lime juice and soy sauce and use vegetable dumplings.

In a large soup pot, heat to medium then drizzle enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom. In pot, sauté onions until soft and translucent, not brown. Stir in garlic, anchovy paste and ginger and sauté for an additional minute, stirring until well incorporated and not clumpy. Lower heat to medium low and stir in wine. Let simmer for about a minute, then add broth a cup at a time. Stir and let broth simmer on lower heat, covered for 25 minutes.

 Once broth is a nice rich golden color, add soy sauce, Sriracha, lime juice, and tomato paste. Taste broth and add additional anchovy paste (or fish sauce) and soy sauce as need, carefully whisking into the broth. Stir in chicken meat and cook for an additional 2 minutes until meat is warmed through.

 While broth is cooking, heat a large, flat skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Add dumplings, about 5-6 at a time depending of the skillet’s size. Brown for two minutes on flat side, then turn to other side for 1 minute. Add 3 tbsp. water and immediately cover pan, cooking for 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep in slightly warm oven (heat to 200 degrees, then turn off) until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining dumplings. Dumplings should be golden brown on sides.

 Right before serving, stir carrots in the broth. In shallow bowls, place 4-5 cooked dumplings. Carefully ladle broth with the carrots over the dumplings. Don't fill the bowls too high with broth, rather only half-way to the dumplings. Top with cilantro, green onions, and any additional garnishes. Serve with lime wedges, Sriracha, and toasted sesame oil.

Serve immediately. (If there are leftovers, store broth and dumplings separately so dumplings do not get soggy. I recommend cooking dumplings fresh if reheating broth later.)


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sweet Potato Ricotta Pizza

I don’t know about you but I thought potato pizza was becoming a known thing. When discussing what to do with sweet potatoes and blue potatoes from a CSA load, I suggested slicing them thin on a homemade crust. I got some strange looks from my co-workers. Well, apparently this trend hasn’t hit the West Texas culinary stratosphere yet. 

Despite this set back, I think this sweet potato and ricotta pizza with caramelized onions would make anyone a convert. I'm definitely on a mission to change minds about sweet potatoes. They are so good for you and a lot more versatile than the Thanksgiving rut most people put them in. 

I think you'll love the combination of sweet from the onions and delicate taste of the ricotta, melding together with the unlikely star: the sweet potato. I hope you give it a shot.

Personally, my favorite pizza crust is from the Working Class Foodies Cookbook by Rebecca Lando. The secret is the bread flour. I know this sounds silly but I’ve made the crust with both bread and all-purpose flours and the former results in more tender, soft crust by a landslide. If it’s a special occasion and you can get your hands on some 00 flour, that’s even better…

But honestly, if your are looking for a simpler weekday meal, try Pillsbury’s Thin crust pizza dough. In my opinion it’s the best pre-made option on the market…and it’s really tasty.

Sweet Potato and Ricotta Pizza
(Makes one 18- inch pizza)

1 recipe homemade pizza dough or 1 Pillsbury thin crust, rolled out
½ large sweet potato (or 1 small), peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
½ cup ricotta (I use part-skim, but many prefer whole milk)
1 cup shredded mozzarella (commercial melts the best)
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced into thin half moons
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp. herb de Provence (or mixture of dried basil and oregano)
1 tsp. sea salt, divided in half
black pepper
Olive oil
½ tbsp. butter
Optional: 2 tbsp. capers, rinsed


Prepare pizza crust according to directions.

Meanwhile, heat butter and a good drizzle of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Allow butter to bubble slightly and add onions. Saute for five minutes, stirring often so the onions brown but don’t burn. Reduce heat to medium low and cover with a lid. Allow the onions to sweat and soften. (Don’t add salt yet as this will impede carmelization.) Checking often, stir onions until very soft and browning. Take off lid and brown onions for about 20 minutes. If they start to burn, add a couple tablespoons of water and this will help. Cook until onions are a deep brown color and are still slightly wet. Add a pinch of salt and stir. Set aside. You can do this step a day or two ahead of time and refrigerate cooked onions.

In a small bowl, mix ricotta, ½ tsp. salt, herb de Provence, garlic, and half of the parmesan together.

Put sliced sweet potatoes on a large microwave-safe plate and sprinkle a little water and a pinch of salt over top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 3-5 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender and pierced easily with a fork. Allow to cool slightly.

When your crust is ready to be topped, start by smearing the ricotta as your base on the pizza crust. Evenly layer sweet potato over the ricotta. Sprinkle about half the mozzarella on top.

Scatter the caramelized onions and capers on top and cover with remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Cover the pizza with fresh black pepper.

Bake at 475 for 10-12 minutes if using homemade crust or according to package instructions. Sprinkle fresh parsley over the pizza.

Wait about 2 minutes until cutting, then serve.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mango Black Bean Salsa

It is always funny to me what a particular item will cost depending on the season. Last week, mangoes were 68 cents each while limes previously 5 for $1 the previous week are now 50 cents each! I soon found out that due to a terrible Mexican lime crop this season, restaurants and paying up to $100 for 40lbs. of limes while previously they were paying $15-25. So right now a mix of lemon and limes is more than a good rounded flavor but simply good economics.

So when I needed something to bring to a ladies night for snacks and cocktails, I wanted to make something everyone would like both taste and allergies wise while limiting how much time I had to cook. Empanadas were out of the question then so mango salsa seemed perfect. Especially with mojitos....

To say the least: I was right. The salsa was a hit and has always been a favorite recipe of mine when mangoes are in season. For Ladies' Night I served the big bowl of salsa with chips but it is unreal on tilapia, grilled tuna steak, shrimp, grilled chicken, or even on simple rice.

What is great about this salsa is that it almost acts as a fruit salad because it's so chunky and delicious. You'll want a strong chip for this dip.

If you want an easy, passable hor-d'oeuvres, try a spoonful of this salsa in a crispy wonton cup with or without a bite of grilled chicken.

No matter how you serve it, you and your guests will be going back for more than one bite.

Mango Black Bean Salsa
makes about 4 cups of salsa

2 ripe Mangoes, chopped into small chunks
2 cups Black beans, cooked (or 1 1/2 cans, rinsed)
1/2 Red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup Cilantro, finely chopped
2/3 cup Red onion, finely diced
1-2 Limes/lemons, juiced (2 tbsp.)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes


Mix all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Add salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. 

Allow salsa to chill in the fridge for several hours or over night for best flavor. Before you are ready to serve, taste the salsa and add more lime juice or salt to personal taste.

Serve with tortilla chips, on fish, grilled chicken, over rice, even in mini wonton cups.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WIAW #64:Portuguese Chickpea Stew

I’ll be the first to admit that books often inspire my next culinary pursuit.  A good book can transport to the coasts of Spain or the rivers of India. Currently two books have made me yearn for experiences not so easy to come by in West Texas.

Peter Mayle, the prolific English ex-pat who lives and writes about Provence once again makes me want to return to France. In The Vintage Caper, set in Marseille, Rose wine is practically a requirement of conversation. I must admit I tend to stereotype the pink-hued wine as here in the States, “White Zin” and Arbor Mist have crowded the market making the readily available options on shelves and at restaurants to be one step above fruit juice. But despite the stereotype, I am on the hunt for a light, crisp, hardly sweet rose. I think I found one for Easter supper thanks to the local wine boutique down the street. They let you sample if you’re buying…

The second book is A Year in the World, by Frances Mayes, famous for her previous book, Under the Tuscan Sun. In this travel-autobiography, Mayes and her husband travel the world for a year in order to have new experiences and fulfill life long travel goals. She first takes us to Spain, then to Portugal. I’m quite familiar with Spanish cuisine and the tapas tradition. But like most Americans, Portuguese food is an unknown to my eating, and cooking experience.

I’ve always wanted to go to Portugal, known for its seafood and vibrant ingredients and bakeries. For some reason it is the one European cuisine that is not prolific in America. I’ve never been to a Portuguese restaurant, or known of one. In Mayes’ book, you can almost taste the fresh clams, the paprika, and the lemon. After reading this part of the book I long to travel to Lisbon and the neighboring towns. 

I’ve always heard the bread, pao, is incredible. I cannot wait to taste it one day.  Inspire as I was, I decided to take to the book quite literally and use as many of the ingredients as possible to make a Portuguese chickpea stew, as described in the book. Mayes talks about chickpeas, squash, and above all fresh coriander (cilantro,) being common and important ingredients in the cuisine. Fresh bread of course goes without saying. I love how hearty this dish is with just enough broth to soak up with bread, but not too much making this a soup. And what a lovely hued broth it is.

After looking over some recipes, I made my own version. I encourage you to mix and match depending on what you have around the house. I only included sausage in my stew, but beef, pork, and especially chorizo are all worthy ingredients. Make sure to use a good quality smoked paprika. This is a great dish to use up any vegetables you may have lying around such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, spinach, or any other type of hearty greens. It's even better the next for leftovers so bring on the veggies!

This is easily doubled or then some for a large crowd. The simplest one-pot version relies on a Dutch oven that you can sauté the vegetables in, and then transfer to the oven. You can even serve it tableside if you have a pretty one! If you don’t have a Dutch oven simply sauté vegetables in a pan then transfer to a baking dish. Or better yet, use a stovetop safe baking dish.

I've been happily eating this all week so it's my WIAW. And considering I sprained my ankle yesterday at work, I'm happy to have something to eat!

Portuguese Chickpea Stew
(Adapted from Rachel Ray and Saveur Magazine)
Makes 5-6 dinner sized portions

1 lb. of your favorite sausage (smoked or chorizo goes well, even turkey sausage), sliced 1-inch thickness
3 cups loosely packed kale, washed, stemmed, and torn into medium size pieces
1 can (14.5oz.) diced tomatoes and liquid
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups prepared chickpeas or 1(14.5 oz.) can
2 cups sweet potatoes or butternut squash, cubed into 1-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 carrots, diced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. smoked sweet paprika
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pinch cayenne pepper or ¼ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
black pepper and salt to taste
½-3/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)
olive oil
Bread for serving

Variations: Try spinach in place of the kale (stirring in near the end of cooking,) add a pound or two of cubed Yukon gold potatoes for a larger crowd. 6oz. of Pork, lamb, or beef shoulder is also works. You could even stir in peeled shrimp at the last minute of cooking. If you aren’t a huge tomato fan, this would also be just as good if you supplement two cups additional broth for the tomatoes and add a few more carrots and celery.
Of course, this is very easy to make vegan simply by swapping the butter for olive oil, as well omitting the meat, Worcestershire, and using vegetable broth.

For gluten-free: Omit the bread and serve over quinoa or rice.


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large Dutch oven, begin to brown onions over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Once onions are soft and translucent, add butter, garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook for additional minute. Sprinkle with salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Stir the spices, including the bay leaves and Worcestershire.

Turn heat off and toss in sweet potatoes (or squash), kale, chickpeas, and broth. Pour tomatoes on top of the mixture and arrange sausage slices on top.

Cover with lid or aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove lid and continue to bake for 15 minutes until sausage looks browned and crispy. Fish out bay leaves and discard.

Either serve stew in the Dutch oven tableside or dish portions into shallow bowls and top with lots of cilantro. Serve with bread.


Have you ever been inspired by a book to try a cuisine? Have you tried Portuguese food?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Thai Peanut Noodles with Crispy Tofu and Mago

Volunteering at a library bookstore does has its perks. Most importantly, I get them half off. Secondly, I get first pick of some beautiful cookbooks (and other books) for gifts and personal use. At two different library bookstores I’ve found editions of Food & Wine Magazine’s series, Best of the Best. I love the series because it is literally a collection of the best recipes from the top cookbooks of the year. That means you get an incredible variety of recipes from some of the best chefs and writers around. This one from the simply titled Recipes by Susan Spugen is no exception. 

Peanut Noodles with Mango is a simple Asian inspired dish that is easy to recreate at home. The recipe as is really good as a side dish but I wanted to make an entree for two hungry people. So crispy fried tofu seemed like a good fit. Chicken, or shrimp would also be delicious in place of the tofu. I like how crispy thinly sliced tofu gets in a shallow oil bath inside a dutch oven. That baby makes frying TOO easy. You can also pan fry the tofu in a skillet with just a couple tablespoons of olive oil.

I was afraid this recipe would be a little out of our normal dinner comfort zone as it is served cold. To my delight and surprise, Aaron loved this unconventional dish and promptly scarfed it down in about a minute. He also called dibbs on the leftovers. That’s how I know I have a hit on my hands.

I just happened to have a lovely soften mango and sugar peas on hand, so luckily this dish came together quite easily. I often keep toasted sesame oil on hand because it adds so much flavor. Try to get if you can. I also recommend a couple dashes of Thai fish sauce if you want to add a little umami to a dish, which is slighlty the sweeter side.

Another adaption I made to the original recipe was the use of PB2 instead of peanut butter. You can definitely use regular smooth peanut butter if you have yet to discover PB2. One reason that I recommend the former is the addition of flavor with only a ¼ of the calories of regular fatty peanut butter. The addition of 45 calories per tablespoon versus 200 calories of the traditional condiment makes this a little lighter for a weeknight meal. If you are serving this as a side dish at a barbeque, go ahead and use the regular stuff. I don’t believe in reduced fat peanut butter. There, I said it.

This is a crowd pleaser and perfect for when the weather gets a little warmer and the produce gets fresher. For kids, the mango and tofu are optional. They’ll love the peanut sauce! I’m sure you will too.

Peanut Noodles with Crispy Tofu 
and Mango
(Adapted from Recipes by Susan Spugen featured in 
Food & Wine’s Best of the Best, Volume 9)
For 2-3 entrée sized portions

For the Peanut Sauce

½ cup PB2 peanut butter prepared with ¼ cup water, or ½ cup regular smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp. warm water
1 ½ tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. grated or finely chopped fresh ginger root
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. vegan sugar
¼ tsp. black pepper

For the Noodles
½ lb. spaghetti noodles (thicker, not thin noodles are best)
1 cup sugar snap peas or snow peas, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 lime, juiced
1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
½ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1-2 green onions, chopped
optional: ¼ cup roasted peanuts, chopped for garnish
sriracha and sesame oil for serving

For the Tofu
½ block extra-firm tofu, sliced into ½ inch strips, then cut in half
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
water and salt for soaking
Vegetable oil

Gluten-free version: Simply replace tamari sauce for soy sauce, don’t flour the tofu, and use your favorite gluten free spaghetti noodles.


Add all ingredients for the sauce to a small food processer or blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use. (you can make this 2-3 days ahead of time)

In a small bowl, mix chopped mango with lime juice and a pinch of salt. Chill until ready to serve.

For the noodles, bring a pot of salted (2 tsp.) water to a rolling boil. Add spaghetti and cook according to package instructions. You don’t want soft noodles, so cook just a little more than al dente since you will chill noodles until allow them to rest to doneness.

At the last minute of cooking time, stir in snap peas to pasta water, cooking for no more than 1 minute until bright green and softened. Once pasta and peas and cooked transfer to a large colander and rinsed well with cold water at least twice so noodles do not get gummy with the chilled toppings and peas do not get over cooked.

Toss noodles and peas in the peanut sauce until well coated.

For the tofu, add slices to a shallow baking dish with warm water and 2 tsp. salt. Soak tofu for at least 15 minutes. Pull slices out and place on a plate or cutting board lined with paper towels. Cover slices with more paper towels and gently press down to press out water. Repeat one to two times until tofu is no longer soaking wet, only slightly damp.

In a shallow bowl, combine flour, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and peppers.

If deep-frying, heat a large dutch oven or cast iron pot over medium heat with enough vegetable oil to cover bottom by about two inches. Test by dropping a piece of green onion into the oil. It is ready if the onion begins to sizzle on impact.

Once oil is hot, bread tofu slices in the flour mixture on both sides. Working in batches, carefully place slices in the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes, then flip for an additional minute, until both sides are lightly brown and crispy. Carefully take pieces out of the oil and place on paper towels. Sprinkle slices with the salt.

Serve dish as soon as the tofu is cooked. Spoon noodles and peas on plates, top with chopped cilantro, green onions, mango and tofu slices. Drizzle plates with additional sesame oil and top with chopped peanuts. Serve with sriracha.