Practicing Non-Harming Toward Yourself and the World



Saag Paneer and Roasted Chickpeas

Today is the first lazy day at home I’ve had in a while, so I decided to take the time to make a delicious lunch. I had some tofu and frozen spinach, so Saag Paneer seemed an obvious choice. I used the recipe from the Elizavegan blog, and it turned out great, despite my not having basic spices like turmeric and coriander (although now I have an excuse to go grocery shopping tomorrow). It was so creamy and flavorful, and filled the house with the aromatic scent of an Indian kitchen. This recipe makes so much food; I’ll be able to eat off this for a couple of days.

Saag paneer is also known as palak paneer, and is a traditional dish of India and Pakistan. Saag simply refers to greens, although spinach seems to be the most popular choice. Next time I make this dish, I’m going to try using kale. Although paneer is cheese, firm tofu makes a great substitution.  This dish is typically eaten with roti or rice, but I chose to serve it with quinoa, mainly for its health benefits (protein, calcium, iron, and fiber, to name just a few) and because I’d been craving it lately.

If you search the internet, you’ll find thousands of slightly different variations of this dish, including hundreds of specifically vegan recipes. I’m sure many of them are delicious, but I do recommend the Elizavegan recipe, mainly because the curry and nutritional yeast-crusted fried tofu is a delicious addition and goes so well with the spinach and coconut milk.

I also made one of my favorite snacks: roasted chickpeas. I like my snacks to be savory and salty rather than sweet, and chickpeas are much healthier than the potato chips or bread I would otherwise reach for. Versatility is the best part of snacking on roasted chickpeas – you can literally season them in hundreds of different ways. The recipe I’m sharing for you today is my favorite.

Savory Mushroomy Chickpea Snacks

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp mushroom seasoning (I used Lunds & Byerlys, which I couldn’t find online, but FungusAmongUs is great too)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of paprika
1/4-1/2 tsp salt (Truffle salt would be great here
1 tsp white truffle oil, plus more to finish

Preheat oven to 425. Line a pizza pan or baking dish with parchment.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss until the chickpeas are coated thoroughly. Spread in a single layer on the parchment. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

When chickpeas are nice and golden, and slightly crisp, remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. Add truffle oil to taste.

And try not to eat them all at once! 😉

Other than cooking, today has been  a very calm day. My boyfriend has recently gotten me into video games and lent me his PSP to play Final Fantasy Tactics, so my goal for today is to play games and eat delicious food. Sounds like a great time, right?

Kelp Noodles

In an effort to use up every last bit of food I have, I decided to finally try the kelp noodles that have been in my refridgerator for at least four months.

Kelp noodles might be more well-known to raw foodists than those of us who cook, so here’s some information. Kelp noodles are made from three simple ingredients: kelp, water, and sodium alginate. They are completely raw, low-calorie, and fat-free. For people watching their weights or people who want to consume fewer carbs, kelp noodles might be a great substitute for regular pasta. For a 4 oz serving, there are only 6 calories and 1 gram of carbohydrates! On top of all that, all you’ve got to do before eating them is to rinse them, so a great choice for people who don’t like to cook or might not have time.

Having taken into account all of the above, they might not be for everyone. I enjoyed them, but I could completely understand if some people thought them bland and worthless. They’re chewy, which I liked, but for people who are stuck on traditional noodles this is a huge difference. They don’t have much of a taste, which could also be a problem for some. And I’m also sure that there are people who will just never be ok with the simple idea of kelp noodles.

I didn’t really know what to do with them, so after rinsing I basically just threw things together. It was in no way raw though – I thawed and cooked some mixed veggies and corn. I tossed with soy sauce, cayenne powder, and toasted sesame seeds. I really enjoyed eating it.

For those of you who want to try kelp noodles, there is a lovely looking recipe over at the Renegade Health Show for kelp noodles with creamy mushroom sauce. I’ve actually had it bookmarked for a while, but found myself without the ingredients. So if you try it, let me know what you think!

Spicy Sauerkraut Potatoes

I love potatoes. I also love sauerkraut.

Eating cheaply while searching for employment has forced me to become more creative during meals. I don’t have the luxury of buying any ingredient I want, so I use what I’ve already got in the kitchen. To be completely honest, it’s sort of fun.

I wanted some potatoes for lunch, so I diced them up to fry. Then I remembered the half-can of sauerkraut left in my fridge. So I tossed them together, added a few spices, and was pretty surprised that they tasted as good as they did.

This picture fails on so many levels. It's actually quite a nice dish, but having to use a crappy cell phone camera doesn't do it any justice.

Spicy Sauerkraut Potatoes (serves 1, but possibly 2 as a side)

2 medium potatoes, diced
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
3/4 cup sauerkraut, drained
1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, chopped coarsely
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp liquid smoke

Dice the potatoes, with or without peeling them (I prefer to leave the peel on). Fry in the olive oil for a few minutes over medium-high heat. Pour the vegetable broth over them, and cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed. This will take about 10-15 minutes.

Add sauerkraut, the chopped pepper, liquid smoke, celery seeds, and red pepper flakes and stir. Heat through and serve.

Tofu Scramble Hodgepodge

Tofu scrambles are my favorite easy breakfast – filling, easy, fast, and there is simply no end to ingredients you can add. Today I woke up late (thanks hangover!) and just waited until lunch time to eat. I really wanted a tofu scramble, but I didn’t want something so… breakfasty. So I added a random combination of spices and vegetables, and the result was amazing.

Sarah Kramer’s method of making a tofu scramble, from her cookbook La Dolce Vegan, is to saute the veggies in olive oil while mixing the crumbled tofu, spices, mustard, etc., in a bowl, then adding to the frying pan. I like this a lot better than my previous method of just tossing everything together in the pan. By mixing the ingredients together prior to cooking, you can make sure the tofu is coated with the flavors.


Tofu Scramble Hodgepodge (serves 1)

1/2 block firm tofu
1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
Small handful shredded carrot
1/4 small red onion, diced
1/2 red or green bell pepper, or both, diced
Handful baby spinach, torn into small pieces
A chunk of Gimme Lean vegan sausage, rolled into small crumbles
1/2 TBS Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 TBS nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cumin
Sprinkle chili powder (or cayenne powder)
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 1/2 TBS stone-ground mustard (you can also use Dijon)
Your favorite chunky salsa

Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat, and add the shredded carrots. Do this before you prepare the other vegetables, since they take longer to cook. They’re not suppose to be soft, but you want to make sure they cook.

Add the chopped red onion, bell peppers, spinach, sausage, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes and saute for a few minutes, until onions start to turn translucent.

While the vegetables are cooking, crumble the tofu into a bowl. Add the Bragg’s, mustard, turmeric, nutritional yeast, curry, cumin, and chili powder. Mix together until tofu is coated, and then add to the frying pan.

Cook until tofu browns, which will probably only take a few minutes. Remove from heat, top with a dallop of chunky salsa, and serve.


I was really pleased with the outcome. First, curry and sausage is my new love. The flavors go so well together! I can’t believe I never thought to add the two until now. I also liked the additional of a few sun-dried tomatoes, although it’s important not to add too many so they don’t become over-powering.

Onto other stuff – apparently I can bake now! I always tell people I’m horrible at baking unless I have someone helping me, but last week I baked the jelly donut cupcakes from Veganomicon, and they turned out great! And a tip for all you bakers – if you find yourself without muffin cups or veg shortening, all you’ve got to do is grease the pan with a mixture of flour and oil. Only a few of the muffins stuck to the pan and it wasn’t so bad we couldn’t eat them.

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