Vegan Potstickers/Gyoza/Mandu Dumplings: #214 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

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. 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

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/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!

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!

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!