I live in the Lower mainland in beautiful British Columbia and I am always on the look out for new Vegan or Vegan friendly joints that will actually appeal to the Hubs and I and huge bonus marks if the Kid can eat there too. Here’s a secret, there sadly really aren’t that many. However, this one falls into the “doh!!” category because I have walked by and heard about a newer take out place in the Kitsilano area called The Noodlebox but had never bothered to go in. Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a fan-freaking-tastic yoga conference on Vancouver Island (Victoria Yoga Conference to be exact) and on one of our lunch breaks my friend suggested we just grab something from “The Noodlebox”. Of course, I had to ask, is it the same as the one in Kitsilano and she said yes. (Duh…). So off we went!
Sigh. It was amazing!!!! Veggie options galore! Add Tofu to anything!! Pick your spiciness level!! Noodle or rice?? White or Brown!? OMG!??! Why haven’t we eaten here before!??! They even had a kids menu!!!! I have to say that this is quite rare in Canada in any restaurant you actually want your child to eat in. They also offered Ocean Wise seafood and plenty of meat and egg add-ons for those who are so inclined. Plus the portions were HUGE. A plus when you’ve just completed two, one hour power yoga classes.
I picked the Spicy Peanut Noodle Box but added Tofu and got brown rice instead of noodles (they have Gluten Free options as well if that is an issue for diners). It was PACKED with tofu, veggies, spicy peanut sauce, crushed peanuts, chopped fresh herbs, some green onions and some sprouts. It was the perfect meal and I’m not going to lie, I freaking LOVE the old school Chinese food take out boxes. I’m cheesy like that.
I literally can’t wait to go back. And next time I’m taking the Hubs and Kid. They also have locations in Calgary and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them enter the East Coast market some time soon too. Keep an eye out people!!
So I kept seeing recipes online for something called soy curls. A dash to my local(ish) whole foods left me empty handed and wondering what the heck they were. Luckily our trip to Seattle allowed me access to all the awesome stuff we can’t buy up here in the great white north. Ah Ha!! Low and behold, the Lynwood, WA whole foods had Butler’s Soy Curls. Vegan, Gluten Free and Non-GMO. SOLD.
Since I had no idea what to do with them I figured I would try one of the recipes from their own website. The Luau dish. It was like sweet and sour chicken. But vegan. And awesome. I also made a few tiny adjustments and I think mine was fabulous. The Kid ate his and the Hubs took all the left overs for lunch. Win.
Very easy to prepare them too. Just soak in some hot water for 10 minutes and then use as you would chicken strips. The possibilities are endless! I’m thinking fajitas next time, maybe something with bbq sauce or hot wing sauce as well.
Sweet and Sour Soy Curls
8 oz. bag of Soy Curls™
1/2 Red Bell Pepper–Chop into Large Chunks
1/2 Green Bell Pepper–Chop into Large Chunks
1 Can of Pineapple Tidbits in natural juice (20 oz can)
— Drain and reserve juice for sauce
3 T Nutritional Yeast (aka Yeast Flakes)
1/2 t Salt
4 T Braggs Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
2-3 T Oil for Sautéing
Ingredients for Sauce:
Reserved Juice from Pineapple Tidbits
(use entire amount from can)
1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
2 T Potato starch
Put 8 oz. of Soy Curls into a bowl and cover with hot water–let stand for about 10 minutes. Drain well and use your hands or the back of a spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Chop the onion and peppers. Drain the pineapple juice into a cup and set the juice aside for the sauce.
In small bowl mix the ingredients for the sauce (pineapple juice, sugar, lemon juice, and starch). Stir well until starch is completely dissolved. Set bowl aside to add to sauté later.
In a frying pan, on med-high to high heat, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of Oil. Sauté Soy Curls in Oil and then add 3 T Nutritional Yeast Flakes, 1/2 t salt, and 4 T Braggs Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce. Sauté until golden brown. Once well cooked, remove Soy Curls from the frying pan.
Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and add the chopped onion, chopped peppers, and pineapple tidbits and sauté until onions appear transparent-do not overcook–you want the peppers a bit crunchy. Then add in the cooked Soy Curls to the vegetable mixture in the frying pan.
Pour the Sauce mixture into the frying pan and toss until mixture becomes slightly thick.
Remove and serve immediately with rice.
The Hubs loves his risotto. Cheese? Good. Rice? Good. He is not a complicated man. Luckily this little gem caught my eye and I knew that I could kill this. And I did. It was SO good. Now the recipe was just okay. It was missing info and the amounts of the broth were wayyy off. Now that could have just been me, but I am going to give you more detailed instructions in case you are a risotto virgin like myself. I also added edammame because, well, why not! Plus a little kick of added protein never hurt anybody. I also used chickpea flour and my version is also gluten free. Woo woo.
My Vegan Spring Risotto
1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 C. White Onion, Diced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1¼ C. Asparagus Tips and Middles, Chopped
1¼ C. Portabella Mushrooms, Chopped
2½ Tbsp. Fresh Curled Parsley, Minced (I forgot this….oops)
1 Tbsp. Chickpea Flour
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
½ tsp. Lemon Zest
1½ C. Non-Dairy Milk (I used unflavoured almond milk)
1 C. Arborio Rice (risotto rice)
4 C. Vegetable Broth
1/2 C Frozen Edammae
Salt to Taste
⅛ tsp. Black Pepper
⅛ tsp. White Pepper
- Heat oil in a large rimmed pan over medium heat and add the onions and saute until they turn slightly clear (approx. 3-4 mins.)
- Next, add in the garlic and saute for an additional minute over medium heat. Then place the asparagus and mushrooms into the pan with approximately half a cup of your stock and warm it for 3-5 minutes or until the mushrooms have reduced in size.
- Stir in the parsley and flour until there are no dry chunks in the pan.
- Pour the lemon juice, lemon zest, non-dairy milk and rice into the pan and bring to a boil.
- Place the rest of your stock in a pot and heat until it is just before boiling.
- Cook and stir until almost all of the liquid is gone, then gradually add in the rest of the vegetable broth, a cup at a time until the rice has soaked up most of it. This will take roughly 18-20 minutes and you may need to add more vegetable broth/water. YOU NEED TO REDUCE THE TEMP that you are cooking at so that your dish doesn’t burn. I had to play with it, but you can go with medium to the high side of medium as a general rule of thumb.
- Add the edammame with your last half cup of broth. Just needs to warm through.
- Add the pepper, salt and white pepper to taste, serve warm.
This was our 3rd trip to Maui and our 3rd visit to The Gazebo. We discovered this little gem in a book by a local about Maui. The first time we visited I think we waited about ten minutes for a table. Last year we waited about an hour. Maybe longer. We were a table of seven mind you. This year we ended up going at lunch time even though it really is more well known as a breakfast join (but does have a full lunch menu) and we were gobsmacked when there was NO LINE. Holy moly. Lesson learned!!! Apparently it slows down quite a bit after noon and they close around two. We still got breakfast. Well me and the Kid got breakfast. The Hubs got both breakfast and lunch. You see, the Hubs is of the mind that if there are two really awesome things on a menu, you owe it to yourself to order both and take one with you for later. Makes sense…in a gluttonous way.
We shared the pineapple. Mostly because when you are in Maui it is a city bylaw that you eat as much fresh pineapple as humanly possible. Plus, look how cute it is!
The number one item in our opinion is the pancakes. They are just nice big fluffy pancakes but we get the banana, pineapple, macnut ones and they are covered in a special topping. This my friends is the key. The topping looks like some type of whip cream but it’s actually dream whip (cool whip for my Canadian brethren) with butterscotch and maple syrup. OMG. So good. Not vegan, but so so good!
The Hubs also gets the Hawaiian fried rice with eggs on top. Somewhat of a traditional breakfast dish over there and without the meat and eggs it wouldn’t be too bad. He lives for that stuff. He wanted to go back and get other order for take out to eat on the plane. No. Seriously.
You might notice that his also had white chocolate chips. Ya…
Anyways, if you are in Maui, check out the Gazebo. You won’t be disappointed.
I love me a good take out. I do not love me a muffin top. So in efforts to veggie-fy and healthy up some favorite dishes I decided to make one of our favorites, pineapple curry fried rice. A recent trip to my happy place Trader Joes landed me with a package of vegan spring rolls. That sounded like a perfect Sunday dinner to me!
Here’s the his and hers since the Hubs really wanted egg in his (baby steps people…) so I added that in.
All you need is:
3-4 Cup cooked long grain brown or brown basmati rice (follow the directions on the package or if you are even lazier than me, buy it cooked)
1 Cup diced fresh pineapple
1 Cup mixed frozen veg (I used a blend of carrots, peas, corn and green beans)
1 Package of Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n (optional if you aren’t a fan or do gluten free)
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp mild curry powder (or go for the hot if you like more heat. I was hoping the kid would partake so kept it mild)
1/2 cup low salt roasted cashews
Cook the Chick’n as per the directions or in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes.
Heat oil in a pan and cook the garlic for a few minutes. Toss in the veggies, rice and sauce/curry powder. Stir. Add the Chick’n. Stir.
Place in a bowl. Toss on the cashews. Eat.
Hubs finished his and asked if there was more. Score! He was out of luck. Will make more next time I guess! Will add some sliced green onion next time too I think.
The spring rolls were just okay. Not bad. Just not fabulous. Their frozen pakoras on the other hand….
I love you. I would marry you if I could. You make my life infinitely easier with your veg/soy based replica meat products. The kid will eat your 7 Grain Crispy Tenders EVERY single day of his life (note to reader, I do NOT feed them to the kid every day, but man alive, he WOULD eat them if that were in any way possible). My current favorite is the award winning Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n. I’m not going to lie though; I am not crazy in love with your sauce. I do make my own. But I will continue to purchase your products because they are about as good as processed foods get and when I get home from work and the kid is hungry and I have 15.5 seconds to get something even moderately healthy on the table that I know for sure he will eat (and those my friends are very rare foods indeed), I turn to you. NEVER LEAVE ME.
Do you buy Gardein? I cannot live without it. Yes, it is pre-packaged and mostly frozen food but look at the nutritional label. Two 7 grain crispy tenders have 30% of an adult’s daily requirement of B12. Who are we kidding; even the kid can polish off 4 of those puppies in one sitting. More if they were available.
I decided to make the orange chick’n and make my own sauce. It was fast and easy and with a big scoop of long grain brown rice, a nice perfectly balanced meal. Even the hubs ate it and liked it! Sadly I didn’t have time to cook the chick’n and veggies separately, which is my preference as it is MUCH better crispy. Next time.
1 Package of Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow or orange pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup toasted unsalted whole cashews
½ cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 ½ Tbsp low sodium organic soy sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp ginger root, minced
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 stalks green onion, chopped
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons potato starch
1.5 tablespoons water
In a large saucepan combine 1 ½ cups water, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Whisk well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic, green onion and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.
Combine potato starch with 1.5 Tbsp of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir starch mixture into sauce until it thickens. Leave on low. Whisk occasionally.
Cook up your Chick’n (I use coconut oil but any good cooking oil would do) as per directions and set aside. Fry up 2 bell peppers with 1 small onion until desired softness (as always, we like ours on the crispy side so we only fry for about 5 minutes, if that). Toss everything together in a big pan (veg, chick’n and sauce) and serve over brown rice (or white if that’s all you have). Toast your cashews in a pan on medium heat or in the toaster over and sprinkle over your dish. YUM.