Biscuit Pot Pie: Recipe #253

Here’s a comforting casserole filled with tofu, veggies, and a creamy sauce, topped with soft, pillowy biscuits. It’s a wonderful project if you have some extra time and love to put into making dinner. Thanks to Brittany and William for inspiring this biscuit pot pie!

Today’s insight comes from watching the Dalai Lama Summit: the reason we suffer, and the reason we make other people suffer, is because we don’t see ourselves and the world clearly. We can be happier and kinder if we are aware of how we distort reality in our thinking, and how this distorted thinking drives our actions.

This awareness can arise from living mindfully – breathing, walking, chopping vegetables, going about our days. One mindful breath or step can take us in the direction of happiness, kindness, and less suffering for everyone.

The way out is through.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, which is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and yours.

Ingredients ($16 total for a big casserole)

Pot Pie Filling:
1 package extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes – $3.69
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth – $1.25
2 tbsp soy sauce – $0.20
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1/2 package of vegan bacon, cut into tiny bits – $1.50
1 bunch enoki (or other) mushrooms, chopped – $2.49
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
2 celery stalks, chopped – $0.25
2 carrots, chopped – $0.46
4 garlic cloves, minced – $0.15
1/4 cup flour – $0.04
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice – $0.10
3-4 medium potatoes, cut into cubes – $0.75
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp thyme – $0.14
1/2 tsp sage – $0.14
1/2 cup frozen peas – $0.50
2/3 cup coconut cream – $1.75

Biscuit Topping:
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour – $0.32
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar – $0.04
1/2 tbsp baking powder – $0.03
1/2 tsp baking soda – $0.01
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
1/4 cup chilled vegan butter + 2 tbsp melted vegan butter, for brushing on top – $0.93
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp soymilk – $0.36

Directions for Biscuit Pot Pie

1. Cover the tofu in the vegetable broth and soy sauce, and let it sit for at least 1 hour to marinate. In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the vegan bacon bits and cook, stirring often, until crispy.

Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions start to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes until tender.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the marinade from the tofu as well as the lemon juice. Stir until the gravy is smooth. Then add the potatoes, drained tofu, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Bring the stew to a boil then turn it down to a simmer. Stir occasionally and cook for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Finally, add in the peas and coconut cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, then pour into to a greased 9″x13″ baking dish.

2. For the biscuits, mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the chilled vegan butter to the dry ingredients and use your hands to crumble the vegan butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Add the soymilk and use a fork to stir it all together, being careful to not overmix. As soon as the mixture is just combined, use a large spoon to scoop out lumps of biscuit dough to place on top of the stew in a 4×3 pattern.

Brush the biscuits with melted vegan butter, then bake at 400F for 25 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown on top and cooked all the way through. Enjoy your biscuit pot pie hot from the oven!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • 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: 17/18

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!

Crusted Tofu, Mashed Potatoes with White Bean Gravy and Massaged Collard Greens: Recipe #251

We learned recently how to make one of the best dinners you can imagine. You make a satisfying crusted tofu and pair it with cauliflower mashed potatoes, rich white bean gravy and a lemony collard salad. It’s a bit of effort but totally worth it. The tofu really tastes like chicken or fish when prepared this way, and mashed potatoes with gravy are always comforting. Deep thanks to Isa for inspiring this recipe.

Today’s insight comes from watching the Dalai Lama Summit: when you’re having a hard time with someone, you can generate compassion for them by remembering that they were once a little child, they grew up with conditioning that may be causing them to act harmfully, and they are a living being trying to be happy and not suffer, just like you.

You can still protect yourself of course, but you don’t have to feel so angry or resentful towards them if you have understanding and compassion for their suffering.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, which is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and yours.

Ingredients ($13 total)

Crusted tofu:
3/4 cup breadcrumbs – $0.17
1 tbsp garlic powder – $0.28
1 tbsp nutritional yeast – $0.10
3 tbsp soy sauce – $0.30
1 block of extra-firm tofu, patted dry and sliced into 8 slabs – $3.69
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10

Cauliflower mashed potatoes:
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets – $2.49
3-4 medium potatoes, cut into chunks – $0.90
2 tbsp vegan butter – $0.31
1 1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
Freshly ground pepper to taste

White bean gravy:
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth – $0.50
1/3 cup white whole wheat flour – $0.06
2 cloves garlic, minced – $0.08
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
1 tsp thyme – $0.28
1 tsp sage – $0.28
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (from can or from dry) – $0.79
2 tbsp soy sauce – $0.20
Salt and pepper to taste

Collard greens:
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice – $0.10
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
6 cups collard greens, stems removed and sliced into thin ribbons – $1.79

Directions for Crusted Tofu, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, and Collards

1. Make the tofu. On a large plate, mix the breadcrumbs, garlic powder and nutritional yeast together. On another plate, pour the soy sauce. Dredge each piece of tofu first in the soy sauce and then in the breadcrumb mixture. Press the breadcrumbs into the tofu so it gets a nice coating.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add in 4 pieces of the tofu at a time. Cook for 4 minutes on one side, carefully flip with a metal spatula, then cook for 3 minutes on the other side. Add more oil if needed, and remove from the pan when it’s nicely browned on both sides. Cover with foil to keep them warm while you’re cooking the second batch.

2. Make the veggies. Put the potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring it to a boil, then add the cauliflower. Boil for 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender, then drain the water, add the vegan butter and salt, and mash together.

In a large bowl, mix the collards, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt together. Rub it all together with your hands until the greens are soft and wilted.

3. Make the gravy. In a small bowl, add the vegetable broth and flour, and stir into a thick mixture. In a small pan, heat the olive oil and cook the garlic, thyme, and sage together for 3-4 minutes until the garlic is golden.

In a blender, add the beans, thickened broth, garlic mixture, and soy sauce. Blend until very smooth, taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed, then return to the pot. Cook and stir for at least 10 minutes until the gravy is nice and thick.

Assemble your plate with a piece of crusted tofu, a scoop of cauliflower mashed potatoes covered in gravy, and a spoonful of lemony collard greens. Enjoy your own slice of blissful comfort!

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: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 16/18

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!

Coconut Tofu Curry: Recipe #234

I’m finally getting more comfortable with curries, where I can just cook and invent and adjust without following a recipe. I can do this for Italian and British cooking, since that’s what I grew up with, but expanding my repertoire is wonderful too. For this take on Thai curry we played with broccoli, mushrooms, kale, tofu, and coconut milk to make some culinary magic.

Hope you enjoy, and thanks for being part of our delicious planet-saving family!

Ingredients ($14 total)

1 tbsp coconut oil – $0.55
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
4 garlic, minced – $0.15
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
1 tsp each cumin and ginger – $0.56
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp flour – $0.02
2 cups miso ginger broth or vegetable broth – $1.00
1 head broccoli, chopped – $3.49
5-6 mushrooms, chopped – $1.25
1/4 bag chopped kale, destemmed and chopped – $0.49
2 x 5 oz cans coconut milk – $0.67
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes – $0.40
1 lime, juiced – $0.20
1 package teriyaki baked tofu, chopped up – $3.69
3 cups cooked rice – $0.35

Directions

1. Chop and prepare all your ingredients, and start the rice cooking. I had some lovely help for this part!

Then, in a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, curry powder, cumin, ginger, salt and pepper. Stirfry for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and the spices smell incredible.

2. Next, stir in the flour into the onions and cook for 2 minutes to thicken, then gradually stir in the broth. Add in the broccoli, mushrooms, and kale, followed by the coconut milk, crushed tomatoes, lime juice, and tofu. Simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until broccoli is tender but still bright green.

Serve the coconut tofu curry hot over rice, and enjoy your bowl of curried comfort. ❤️

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

If any of you lovely readers 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!

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!

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!