Vegan Malai Kofta with Zucchini and Garbanzos: #184 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Malai kofta is a classic Indian comfort food – think of tender dumplings in a creamy sauce. This recipe is a plant-based delight that blends cashews, coconut milk, and spices to create a rich sauce without all that dairy in it. The dumplings have garbanzo beans, almonds, and zucchini in them, and we added some peas and rice noodles to round out a complete and satisfying meal. Thanks to Isa for inspiration.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($15 total for 6 servings)

Kofta:
1 can chick peas – $0.99
1/2 cup ground almonds – $0.63
1 large zucchini, grated – $0.58
1 tsp cumin – $0.28
1 tbsp ginger – $0.70
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
Pepper to taste
1 cup ground up Hawaiian sweet rolls or other breadcrumbs – free

Sauce:
1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours – $2.00
2 cups vegetable broth – $1.00
1/2 large onion, chopped – $0.25
4 cloves garlic – $0.15
1 tbsp ginger – $0.70
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
1 tsp cumin – $0.28
1 can coconut milk – $1.99
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes – $0.20
1 tsp salt – $0.05
1 lemon, juiced – $0.20

1 tbsp coconut oil to cook kofta – $0.55
1-2 cups frozen peas – $1.00
1 package fresh pad Thai noodles – $2.99

Directions

1. Make the kofta: mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl, stir well to combine, and refrigerate the mixture for half an hour to firm it up. Shape them in your palm into about 18 oval shaped balls. Return to the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.

2. In a blender, add all the sauce ingredients and blend together until relatively smooth, then pour it into a large pan.

3. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Cook the kofta for several minutes, turning them around gently with a form to brown as many sides as possible.

Add the peas and fresh pad thai noodles to the sauce and warm to a boil. Follow package directions for how long the noodles need to cook.

Serve the kofta in bowls over top the noodles and curry sauce. Enjoy it hot from the stove. You’ll be left with a very warm and happy tummy.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Thai Peanut Soba Veggie Bowl: #169 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

This is a very comforting mix of soba noodles, tofu, cabbage, and a creamy gingery Thai peanut sauce. I would eat this any day of the week, and we all went back for a healthy second bowl. The sauce is inspired with gratitude by Oh My Veggies.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($11 total)

2-3 bundles soba noodles – $1.50
1 block extra-firm tofu, cubed – $3.69
1 head cabbage, chopped up – $2.49

Sauce:
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil – $0.80
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter – $0.44
2 tsp ginger powder – $0.25
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice – $0.81
2 tbsp soy sauce – $0.20
2 tsp brown sugar – $0.05
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28

Directions

1. Prepare for the stirfry: In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and stir well to combine. Chop up your tofu and cabbage.

2. In a large pan, wilt the cabbage over medium heat with a small drizzle of olive oil or water. You can add the tofu anytime during the wilting, which will take about 5-10 minutes. Stir frequently until the cabbage gets nice and soft but still bright green. You could also use other veggies here too that you have on hand.

Cook the soba noodles in boiling water according to package directions, then add to the tofu and veggies. Mix briefly to combine.

3. Scoop the tofu veggie noodle deliciousness into your bowl and top with the thai peanut sauce you made. Serve hot. Be prepared for some serious enjoyment!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Sesame Chicken with Soba Noodles: #24 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

“Chicken and sobas, please!” is the frequent answer to “What do you guys want for dinner?” at our house. It’s a spin on a baked chicken dish I had at a retreat once, mixed with a yummy warm soba noodle salad and a side of veggies. Today’s veggies are the British treat of cauliflower cheese.  

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($16 total)

2 lb chicken breast – $6.54
1/4 cup canola oil – $0.37
1/4 cup soy sauce – $0.40
1 tbsp bourbon – $0.30
2 tbsp honey – $0.28
2 tsp garlic powder – $0.56
2 tsp ginger – $0.56
2 tbsp sesame seeds – $0.16
1 8 oz package soba noodles – $2.99
4 tbsp toasted sesame oil – $1.60
6 tbsp soy sauce – $0.60
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar – $0.81
2 tbsp maple syrup – $0.48

Directions

1. Marinate the chicken in the mix of canola oil, soy sauce, bourbon, honey, garlic powder, ginger, and sesame seeds, cover in foil, and let sit for at least 1 hour in the fridge.

Leave foil on chicken and bake in a 350F oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the chicken breasts over with a fork, and bake for another 20 minutes without foil. Then turn the chicken breasts over one more time and bake for a final 20 minutes. They should be fully cooked at this point and nicely soaked in juices. Feel free to cut into one if you want to make sure there’s no raw pink inside.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water if desired, and add the soba noodles. Cook according to package directions (usually about 4 minutes). While it’s cooking, combine the toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup in a small bowl.

3. Drain the noodles and mix in the sauce, then put everything on the table and dig in!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

California Pad Thai: #3 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

If you’ve ever eaten street food in Thailand, chances are you’ve come across pad thai. Noodles are always a favorite around here, so we’re adding our version of this Thai stirfry favorite to our experiment list.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($16 total)

1 lb brown rice noodles – $2.99
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 sweet onion, chopped – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, chopped – $0.15
1 package teriyaki or firm tofu, cut into chunks – $3.69
1 red pepper, cut into thin slices – $0.99
1 bunch swiss chard – $2.49 (we got this for free from a community farm where we help out, you could substitute any greens like kale, collards, zucchini, or the traditional bean sprouts)
2 organic eggs, beaten – $0.62
1/2 cup cashew pieces – $1.00
2 lemons or limes – $0.40
3 tbsp soy sauce – $0.30
2 tbsp rice vinegar – $0.33
5 tbsp brown sugar – $1.83
2 tbsp peanut butter – $0.29
1 tbsp bourbon (optional) – $0.30

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt the water if desired. Add noodles and cook for the time specified on the package, then immediately rinse under cold water.

In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, peanut butter, and bourbon (if using) together to make the pad thai sauce. 

2. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, then add olive oil, followed by the onion. Cook until softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes, then add garlic, tofu, red pepper and chard, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Add the eggs and stir to scramble, then add the cooked noodles, sauce, and cashews to the mix. Toss and cook for another couple of minutes until everything is heated through. Squeeze fresh lime over top and serve hot.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5 
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!