Tag Archives: meatless mondays

General Tso’s Cauliflower

Do you ever just CRAVE Chinese takeout?

Of course you do. It’s savory, sweet, universally loved, and straight up addictive.

Since the vegan days I haven’t gotten to enjoy that greasy, sticky Chinese chicken, I saw a few inspiration pictures of how to make it yourself around the internet and came up with this!

This General Tso’s Cauliflower is approved by my omnivorous husband, tastes great as leftovers, and completely cured all of my cravings. Although it still has a quite a bit of sodium from the soy sauce and some added sugar to give it that General Tso’s taste, it and has a FAR lower fat content (NO deep frying for this one) and much less salt and sugar than what actual Chinese takeout would have!

General Tso's Cauliflower

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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As easy vegan version of your favorite Chinese takeout

I absolutely love serving this with rice and steamed edamame to balance the powerful flavor of the cauliflower and for protein. You can buy bags of pre-shelled edamame in the frozen section of the grocery store. Just steam for five minutes, sprinkle some salt and you’re good to go!

Ingredients

  • 1 large head or 2 small heads of cauliflower
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 pounds vine ripened tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger minced (or 1tbsp pre minced ginger)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Juice of one orange (or lemon or lime, if you don’t have citrus on hand, increase the rice vinegar to 1/3 cup)
  • 1 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2-4 tbsp coconut sugar
  • Optional: if you like it spicy can add 1 tsp Chinese chili garlic sauce or 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes!
  • For the batter:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/ 3cup corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup plant based milk

Directions

  1. Prepare the cauliflower by cutting florets into bite sized pieces and keeping the stems cut short so that it is easy to coat in batter
  2. In a large sauce pan or skillet, start the sauce. Turn the stove top to a medium heat and add the sesame oil. When the oil is warm, add the garlic, ginger, and tomato paste. Sauté until fragrant (approx 2 min)
  3. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, orange juice, water, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, turn heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally while you prepare the batter (approx 20 min).
  4. Pre heat your oven or air fryer to 400 degrees. Prepare the batter in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, dry corn starch, salt, and slowly add the milk, 1/4 cup at a time until the batter is watery to submerge the cauliflower but thick enough to stick! I find that 3/4 cup is usually the right amount.
  5. Dump your cauliflower florets into the batter and cover completely. Spray a baking sheet or a flat pan in your air fryer with a high smoke point oil like avocado, grape seed, or canola oil. Don’t use a mesh basket for this, you will need a flat surface for it to cook on! Lightly spray the cauliflower once on the sheet. Cook the cauliflower in the air fryer for 7 minutes on each side, or bake for 10 minutes each side in the oven. The batter will become lightly golden brown at the end and your cauliflower will be nice and soft in the middle. Remember to keep stirring your sauce! If you’re cooking rice and edamame, now is a good time to start making those as well.
  6. Add the corn starch/water mixture to the general tso’s sauce to thicken it. Continue to stir until the cauliflower is cooked. Once the cauliflower is done, add to the general tso’s sauce, turn off the heat, and toss to coat. I had some sesame seeds on hand so I sprinkled some of them in at the end as well! Enjoy!

Let me know what you guys think! Drop a comment below if you have any other takeout suggestions you want me to try to create!

Pineapple Teriyaki Tofu

Pineapple Teriyaki Tofu

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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About: This recipe is a sweet and savory summer dish. It’s fully vegan, highly customizable, and best of all requires only one pan! I know it looks like a lot of steps but stay with me! The three main tasks of this meal are baking the tofu, chopping the veggies, and sautéing the teriyaki sauce.

Original recipe inspiration: Sticky Teriyaki Tofu by Vegan Travel Eats (https://vegantraveleats.com)

Additional ideas: Rather than making this a stir-fry, try grilling! You will still need to make the teriyaki glaze in a pan and bake the tofu to make sure it’s crispy, but don’t add in the solid pineapple or veggies. Instead, take a bamboo skewer and pop on the raw veggies, pineapple, and cooked tofu and brush the teriyaki glaze on. Then throw on the grill and cook until the veggies are done! You may need to add more corn starch or simmer longer to get it to thicken.

Optional shortcuts: Using canned pineapple and/or store bought sauce of choice.

Serving suggestions: Make with rice or nothing at all! Feel free to add any other veggies that make your heart sing.

Ingredients

    For the stir fry
  • 1 pineapple (chopped, with juices kept in separate bowl for teriyaki sauce)
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup corn starch (plus 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper)
  • For the teriyaki sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger (about a 1 inch piece)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (can substitute any oil if you don’t have it)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos or tamari)
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp corn starch dissolved in 2 tsp of cold water
  • -Optional: if you like it sweet, add 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or agave syrup or maple syrup). The pineapple will naturally sweeten it up, so add sweetener to taste
  • Optional: if you like a little heat, can add 1 tsp of chili garlic sauce or 1/2 tsp of red chili pepper flakes. Feel free to add much or as little heat as you like!

Directions

    For the Tofu: To get the tofu nice and crisp, I HIGHLY recommend planning ahead and squeezing out the excess moisture. This is less important if you enjoy tofu, but extremely important if you have a meat eater around that is not on team tofu yet.
  1. Drain and Press the tofu:
  2. Open the package of tofu and drain any excess water. To press, take two dish towels and fold them up into nicely packed rectangles (fold in half about 3x). Place the tofu between the dish towels and “smoosh” between two plates. To make sure tofu is comes out as firm as possible, place in refrigerator for two hours. If tight on time, gently press on the top plate to get out as much water as possible, then leave in the fridge as long as you can while you prep the other ingredients.
  3. Once the tofu is ready, pre heat oven or air fryer to 400 degrees.
  4. While the oven is pre heating, take the tofu out of fridge and cut into small cubes (about 1/2 inch in size).
  5. Toss the cubes in a medium sized bowl with the corn starch plus salt and pepper. Make sure the cubes are covered on all sides
  6. Spray down a baking sheet with an oil that can handle a high heat (avocado, canola, and grape seed oil all work). Place tofu cubes on sheet and spray a light coat of the same oil on top.
  7. If using an air fryer: bake for five minutes, flip, and then bake for another 5 minutes. The tofu will have a light golden brown appearance when finished. If using an oven: may take 7-10 minutes per side depending on your oven. Set aside on a plate when done.

While the tofu bakes, make your teriyaki sauce
1. Before you do anything else: cut your pineapple into 1 inch chunks, making sure to preserve the juices for your teriyaki sauce later.
(I found it easiest to take a chef’s knife and cut the entire pineapple in half vertically, then score hashmarks into the flesh of the pineapple vertically and horizontally, then spoon out the pieces into a bowl. This not only preserves the pineapple itself as a bowl for a beautiful presentation later, but it also helps to preserve the pineapple juices)
2. After you are done cutting the pineapple, strain out the bowl of pineapple into a second empty bowl so that you can collect the juices for your sauce. I ended up having about 1/3 cup of pineapple juice.
3. Mince the garlic and ginger before you start the sauce.
(If the ginger is fresh, I like to use a vegetable peeler to get the skin off, then use a grater for speed and also enhancing the disbursement of flavor throughout the dish)
3. Take a sauce pan, add the sesame oil, and turn to a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and ginger, stirring for about 2 minutes until it becomes fragrant.
4. Add all other ingredients including soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, sugar, chili garlic sauce (or chili pepper flakes), pineapple juice, and dissolved corn starch. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down low to simmer with the lid off for about 10 min, stirring frequently.
5. While the sauce is simmering, chop the onion and bell pepper.
6. After the sauce simmers for about 10 minutes, add the red onion, bell pepper, and half of the pineapple to the pan (save the rest for a snack later), stir frequently until the onion and pepper begin to soften (approx 5 min). If your sauce is too thick, cover the pan with lid. If too thin, take the lid off!
7. By now the tofu is most certainly done! Toss the crispy tofu into the pan and cover it with that teriyaki juicy goodness. Feel free to turn the heat off, you’re done!

A little introduction…

As you probably guessed, my name is Chrissy. I’m a food and travel lover, but above all else, a real person. I have always loved experimenting in the kitchen to recreate the flavors of restaurants I like or exotic places I have been to. I also have a full time job and don’t have time to for lengthy, difficult recipes.

See? Real person 🙂

In the past year, I have transitioned from full time pork and cheese lover to full time vegan. That’s right, the V word. Perhaps the most difficult part of this transition has been learning to cook all over again. I have tried countless vegan recipes in books and blogs and have been frustrated with how so many are either full of uncommon ingredients, time consuming, or honestly just not good. I want to share my successful recipes with the world so that whether you are taking the plant based plunge or just looking for more Meatless Monday ideas, I can make your cooking a little easier. I hope you join me on this journey to plant based living.