Vegan Potstickers/Gyoza/Mandu Dumplings: Recipe #214

Many cultures have a filled dumpling kind of food: samosas, empanadas, pierogies, ravioli, mochi, blueberry buns… Maybe we’re on a quest to try them all! In Japan and Korea these marvels are savory and can be filled with veggies like cabbage and mushrooms. They’re fun to cook, steamed on one side and fried on the other side, then dipped in a sesame soy based sauce. All the kids went back for seconds of these vegan potstickers. Hope you enjoy! Thanks to Bianca for inspiration.

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

Ingredients ($11 for about 12 gyoza)

Gyoza dough:
2 1/2 cups flour – $0.40
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
2/3 cup hot water – free
Cornstarch to dust

Filling:
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil – $0.40
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped – $0.15
1 tsp ginger – $0.28
1 leek, chopped – $1.49
1 package enoki mushrooms – $2.49
1 head savoy cabbage, chopped – $2.49
1 orange pepper, chopped – $1.69
2 tbsp soy sauce – $0.20
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar – $0.27
Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp canola oil for cooking – $0.04
1/4 cup water – free

Sauce:
3 tbsp soy sauce – $0.30
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar – $0.27
1 tbsp maple syrup – $0.24
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil – $0.04

Garnish (optional): tofu, sesame seeds, green onion

Directions for Vegan Potstickers

1. Make the dough: In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt, then pour in the hot water while stirring until it comes together into a ball of dough. Knead with your hands for 5 minutes, then wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour to 1 hour.

After that, roll it out on a board dusted with cornstarch to a round shape as thin as you can make it. Use a round cookie cutter about 3″ wide to cut out circles that will be used to wrap the dumplings.

2. Make the filling: In a large pan, heat the 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil over medium high heat, then add in the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to turn golden, then add in the ginger and leeks and cook for 3-5 more minutes to soften the leeks.

Add in the mushrooms, cabbage, and pepper, followed by the 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Cook for 5-7 more minutes until the cabbage is wilted and the liquid is mostly gone. Set aside to cool for the filling stage.

3. Assemble and cook the gyoza: Use your fingers to stretch a wrapper out a little bit more, then add a full teaspoon of filling to the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling like a taco shell, working from one end and pinching the two sides along the edge in a diagonal overlapping pattern (see pictures below), or any pattern you like.

Heat up the canola oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the dumplings and cook for about 3 minutes until they get nice and golden on the bottom, then pour in the 1/4 cup water and cover the pot with a lid. Steam for about 8 minutes until the water has evaporated, then remove the potstickers carefully from the pot with a flapjack (they will be a lovely shade of brown after being nicely stuck to the pan).

Stir the sauce ingredients together, and serve with the gyoza/vegan potstickers, the leftover filling, tofu, and any garnishes you like. Enjoy hot from the pan!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • 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: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If any of you amazing home chefs 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!

Cuban Black Beans and Rice with Veggie Stirfry: #124 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

This is my new favorite way to eat rice! You cook the rice right in the same pot as a fragrant mix of onions, olive oil, spices, beans, broth, and potatoes. It’s kind of like a Cuban-style risotto, but much easier to make than traditional risotto. We had it with a fresh veggie stirfry including farm-fresh chard, collards, and brussel sprout greens.

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

Ingredients ($15 total for 2 full family dinners)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
1 tsp oregano – $0.28
1 tsp cumin – $0.28
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups rice – $0.71
1 large yukon gold potato, diced – $0.45
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed – $1.74
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar – $0.27
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth – $1.74
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
1 1/2 lbs baby bella mushrooms, sliced – $5.99
5 zucchini, chopped – $2.99
Chard, collards, brussel sprout greens – free from the farm

Directions

1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, then add the onions, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions turn soft and translucent and are just starting to brown. Then add the dry rice and mix well to coat.

2. As soon as the rice is mixed in, stir in the chopped potatoes, black beans and vinegar, then pour over the broth. Cover the pan, turn the heat down to medium until the broth starts to bubble, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes until the rice is cooked. Then stir, check if the rice is done, and add a bit more broth if it’s still crunchy.

3. While the rice is cooking, in a large pot, cook the minced garlic in the 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, and let them cook down for a few minutes. Next, add the zucchini, and let that cook down for a few minutes. Lastly, add the chopped greens and turn the heat off. These will cook in the remaining heat of the other vegetables.

Serve in a bowl with the rice and beans – I like 2/3 veggies and 1/3 rice, but feel free to use whatever ratio works for you. Your body will thank you for the nourishing meal!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

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

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

Teriyaki Tofu Stirfry: #98 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Sometimes a body just wants some veggies, and fast! When you get that craving, this is a great recipe to reach for. Snow peas, mushrooms, tofu, peppers, zucchini, bok choy – really almost any veggies you have on hand would work here. You could make your own teriyaki sauce or buy it premade. 

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

Ingredients ($14 total)

1/2 bottle Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce (or other teriyaki sauce) – $1.85
1 package extra firm tofu, cut into chunks – $3.69
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1 orange pepper, diced – $0.99
1 (8 oz) package crimini mushrooms, sliced – $2.49
2 zucchinis, halved and sliced – $0.78
1 (9 oz) package snow peas – $2.29
2 bok choy heads, chopped – $1.99

Directions

1. Marinate the tofu in the teriyaki sauce for at least 20 minutes (can be longer if you cover it and put it in the fridge).

2. Chop up all your veggies! Heat the olive oil over high heat in the biggest pan you have. Cook the garlic first, just for a minute until it starts to turn golden (not dark brown). 

Add the mushrooms, pepper, and zucchini, and stir to cook for about 5 minutes. 

Next add in the snow peas and bok choy, and cook for about 3 more minutes, just until they turn bright green.

Lastly, add in the tofu.

3. Mix everything together thoroughly, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for about 3 more minutes to bring the tofu up to a nice warm temperature and let the teriyaki sauce get mixed into everything.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • 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: 18/18 (maximum possible score!)

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

Island Chicken: #38 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Marinated chicken, rice, and veggies are a staple dinner at our house. Everyone cleans their plate and asks for more. Today’s variation uses a Hawaiian-inspired pineapple teriyaki sauce. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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

Ingredients ($8.50 total)

2 lb chicken breast – $6.54
1/2 bottle Island Soyaki sauce (or teriyaki sauce + pineapple juice) – $1.85
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
Rice and veggies on the side if desired

Directions

1. Cut the chicken breast up into pieces about 1/2″ thick. Mix the chicken pieces well with the sauce to coat each piece, then put the whole thing in a dish and cover it to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Drain the sauce from the chicken and save the sauce for later. Drop the chicken into the hot pan and let it brown for a couple of minutes. Flip each piece over the cook the other side, then add the sauce back in and let the whole thing cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the thickest chicken piece is no longer pink inside.

3. Serve the chicken pot straight to the table with whatever side dishes you like. Basmati rice and peas and corn with butter went over well here. The sauce tastes great poured over the rice on your plate too.

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: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 16/18

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

Algerian/Moroccan Chicken Couscous: #16 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

What happens when you marry couscous, or little balls of pasta, with oranges, lemons, cumin, chicken, and a bright array of vegetables? Kind of a party in your mouth. My kids’ reaction: “Wow! My tongue is so confused. Can I have some more?” I hope your family enjoys this healthy and tasty creation too. Feel free to improvise with whatever veggies you have on hand!

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

Ingredients ($14 total)

1 16 oz package Harvest Grains blend (mostly Israeli Style Couscous, but also includes red and green orzo, split baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa) or straight couscous – $2.99
3 1/2 cups water – free
1 tbsp butter – $0.16
1/2 cup raisins – $0.50
1/2 cup orange juice – $0.37
1 lemon – $0.20
2 tsp cumin – $0.56
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 chopped onion – $0.50
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast – $4.91
1 cup chopped cucumber – $0.65
1 chopped red bell pepper – $0.79
1 cup chopped green beans – $0.99 (we got these free from the farm)
1/4 cup chopped chives – $0.90
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil and then add the butter, couscous, raisins, and stir. Bring back to a boil and turn the heat off, leaving the pot covered on the burner to soak in the water. After 10 minutes it should be ready to fluff with a fork.

In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, squeezed lemon, cumin, salt and pepper, and mix well.

2. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and cook the onion on medium-high heat until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped bell pepper and green beans, and cook another 5 minutes, then add the chopped chicken and cook 5 minutes more, until the chicken is cooked through and not pink.

3. In a large bowl, gently mix the fluffed couscous blend, chicken and veggie stirfry, cucumbers, and sauce all together until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle the chives over the top. Serve on a large platter or in individual bowls. Great as leftovers too!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • 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: 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!

Garlic Eggplant with Zucchini: #11 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

In my 10 years of practicing tai chi, we ate at a lot of Chinese restaurants after class. My favorite dish was always the garlic eggplant, so I thought I’d try recreating it here. Bonus challenge: my husband says he doesn’t like eggplant. Maybe this dish will change his mind?

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

Ingredients ($5.86 total)

1 medium eggplant, chopped – $2.49
1 tsp salt – $0.02
3 medium zucchini, chopped – $2.49
1 tbsp cornstarch – $0.10
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil – $0.30
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.14
3 tbsp soy sauce – $0.15
1 tbsp sugar – $0.06
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water – $0.03
1/2 tsp ground ginger – $0.08

Directions

1. Coat the chopped eggplant in the salt and let sit for 1 hour to drain the water out of the eggplant and prevent it from being chewy. 

2. Pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel, combine with the zucchini, and toss the vegetables with the cornstarch to coat.

Heat the toasted sesame oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to turn golden.

3. Add the vegetables and stirfry for 8-10 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and dissolved cornstarch in a small bowl.

Once the vegetables are done, add the sauce to the pan with the veggies and stir for another minute or so to thicken the sauce. Serve hot as a tasty side dish.

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: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 1 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 14/18

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!