Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

Someone recently asked me – when do you use tempeh? I responded with, “when I’m tired of tofu and chickpeas… that’s when it’s tempeh time :)” To be honest, no one really knocks down my door begging for more tempeh recipes, but since that interview, I’ve had tempeh on the brain. Its texture is so wonderfully meat-like but it only tastes as good as what’s around it. Time to marinade!

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

The marinade I created is a smoky mixture that includes tamari, maple syrup, ground cumin, and smoked paprika. When you first mix this together, the flavor is going to be very (very) salty and pungent, but since plain tempeh starts out with literally ZERO flavor, it’ll all balance out in the end. I bake the tempeh with most of the marinade, while reserving the excess to pour onto the strips post-bake for extra flavor. Since we’re not dealing with raw meat, it’s ok to reuse your marinade like this.

Speaking of things that aren’t bland, we’re partnering with eureka!® Organic Bread on this post. (You might remember this springy edamame sandwich from last year!). Their bread is seriously tasty. It’s vegan, non GMO, and full of good-for-you grains and seeds. Most importantly, it’s soft, chewy and delicious. Whenever I used to bring home other “healthy” breads, Jack would always give me a sideways glance because so many of them often taste like cardboard. But we both really love the taste and texture of eureka! Organic’s Breads – their Top Seed® and their Sweet Baby Grains® (pictured in this post), are our favorites.

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

Instead of mayo, I slathered this sandwich with 2 flavorful spreads. The first is a lemony garlic white bean spread. The second is a sun dried tomato spread that I made by blending half of the original white bean spread with a few sun dried tomatoes.

I stacked my sandwiches with peppery watercress, crisp cucumber slices, and ripe avocado slices. You can see that there are some carrots up there in my prep photos but once I started building my sandwich since I got a little carried away with avocado slices and they didn’t fit. Obviously, feel free to build your sandwiches however you like!

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

Romesco Cauliflower Sandwiches

Romesco Cauliflower Sandwiches

I have to admit something to you. This food blog job isn’t always as glamorous as you may think it is. It’s a job, like any job, with fun parts (cooking! eating!) and less fun parts that involve sitting behind a computer monitor, editing, writing, emailing, etc. It’s not a sad life by any stretch, but it’s also not glitz and glory – it’s work. Except… when some of the opportunities that come my way are totally out of left field – and I find myself going to California for a day touring an absolutely beautiful almond orchard instead of touring Adobe Lightroom.

Romesco Cauliflower Sandwiches Romesco Cauliflower Sandwiches

A few weeks ago I went to visit Chamisal Creek, a family farm that’s part of the co-op of farmers that make up Blue Diamond Almond Growers. It was a (surprisingly!) sunny day and the orchard was in full bloom. We ate Almond Breeze blueberry muffins, learned about the process of growing almonds, and enjoyed a beautiful farm-to-table lunch.

The romesco sandwiches they served at the lunch inspired this recipe. My version here is made vegetarian by using roasted cauliflower as the “meat” of the sandwich – to me cauliflower and romesco go together like peanut butter almond butter and jelly.

Almond Breeze Orchard Tour Almond Breeze Orchard Tour

For me, it was really impactful to see that these orchards are pretty small family farms. The almonds that go into Almond Breeze aren’t grown at a giant mega-farm or anything like that, they’re grown exclusively by independent farms in the Blue Diamond Growers co-op. This farm, owned by Michael Dougherty and his family, is a 700 acre farm that grows 12 varieties of almonds and also produces wine, olive oil, and peaches. By being a part of the co-op, the farmers get much-needed support, and in turn Blue Diamond gets high quality almonds. Almond Breeze is the only almondmilk brand that actually has the orchards within its own organization.

Here are some pics from our dreamy visit!:

Almond Breeze Orchard Tour

Driving to the orchard, I was surprised how much the almond trees looked like cherry blossoms:

Almond Breeze Orchard Tour Almond Breeze Orchard Tour

The tour ended with this sweet vegan pear tart, which is on my list to make soon!

Almond Breeze Orchard Tour

Zucchini Basil Soup

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Last summer, I had a lucky opportunity to spend a few weeks in France visiting vineyards, tasting wine, and of course eating great food. Whenever I travel, I come back with a list of recipes that I might want to recreate. Very often, the ones I actually end up making in my kitchen… the ones that stand out in my memory the most… are the simplest.

Jack met me toward the end of the trip which left me with some time alone in Paris while waiting for his flight to arrive. I knew exactly how to spend the day – I headed to the store Merci. Have you been there? It an Insta-worthy store full of home goods galore and it’s the sort of place that you should go to without your significant other because he’ll likely get impatient while you’re looking at every beautiful bowl, spoon, and table-scape. They also have the cutest little library-themed cafe that was just perfect for my afternoon alone. The soup du jour was zucchini basil soup. “It’s a cold soup,” the waiter warned me before I ordered it. I thought – great, I love gazpacho. But when it came it wasn’t gazpacho at all – it wasn’t ice cold and it wasn’t too acidic. It was this lovely bright green room temperature soup served with toasted garlic bread and it was perfect.

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I’m not sure what took me so long to make this soup at home but when method reached out wanting to partner on a series of posts inspired by the herbal scents of their new kitchen hand wash, I immediately thought of this soup. Their plant-derived formula is specifically made to get food scents off your hands – especially pungent flavors like garlic. If you’ve ever gone to bed (hours later) with garlic hands, you’ll appreciate this kitchen wash 🙂

Plus, the pretty basil bottle is pretty on your kitchen countertop.

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I’ve tried to make basil soups before I realized that my mistake was in trying to heat it. The basil gets bruised and it can turn bitter. By keeping the soup at room temp (I like to serve it lightly chilled), it retains all of its fresh, vibrant flavor. The only thing that gets cooked here are the leeks (well, and the garlic-y croutons). After that, it all goes into the blender and voila!

There’s no cream or cream substitute. The blended zucchini and a scoop of hemp seeds makes this soup plenty creamy and, not to mention, light and healthy.

For depth of flavor I added a scoop of white miso paste. To make it bright, I added a bunch of lemon of course.

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Blend until smooth and then add the basil last so that it doesn’t get hot from the heat of the blender.

Top the soup with toasty garlic croutons – this step is not optional. They really balance the “health” taste of this soup and make it nicely substantial. As always, soups taste better on the second day so this is a great make-ahead lunch option.

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Jessica’s Pistachio Oat Squares

Jessica's Pistachio Oat Squares

I’m excited to share this recipe today – these Pistachio Oat Squares are SO delicious!

It’s spring which means that the best cookbooks are coming out now. You know the ones – they’re brimming with fresh healthy, veggie-ful recipes. This recipe is from Jessica Murnane’s book One Part Plant. If you’re not familiar with my blog pal Jessica, you should go listen to her podcast – she’s hosted all of your favorite food bloggers (including yours truly!) and other inspiring folks who are part of the plant-forward food community.

Her mission is simple – to inspire people to eat one plant-based meal a day. No judgement, no strings. Simple as that. The cookbook reflects her vision with accessible, easy to prepare, yet delicious recipes like these oat squares.

Jessica's Pistachio Oat Squares Jessica's Pistachio Oat Squares

These are in the “snack” section of her book – Jessica noted that they’re a little too sweet for breakfast but not quite sweet enough for dessert. Well, um… I ate these for dessert and then again the next morning for breakfast – they’re addictive!

While these look so pretty with pistachios, I feel like this recipe would easily lend itself to the use of other nuts if you don’t happen to have pistachios on hand. These were so easy to make – go run to your kitchen now if you’re craving a lightly sweet, nutty, oaty snack!

Jessica's Pistachio Oat Squares One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane

This lasagna recipe is next on my to-make list – yum!

One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane

Oh, and go get her book!

Vegan Raspberry Lemon Chia “Cheesecake”

Vegan Raspberry Lemon Chia "Cheesecake"

Happy early Valentine’s day… or Galentines Day… or whatever holiday you like to celebrate with heart shaped treats and little paper cards. As I’ve written about many times before, Jack and I have this Chocolate Molten Cake Valentine’s tradition. This year I switched things up a bit and made this decadent yet mostly raw raspberry “cheesecake” slice. How cute are those layers!?

A few notes about this recipe – it takes a little time for each layer to freeze before you add the next, so be sure to make this either the morning of, or the day before you’re going to eat it. Other than the time it takes to freeze, this is a piece of cake to make.

Vegan Raspberry Lemon Chia "Cheesecake" Vegan Raspberry Lemon Chia "Cheesecake"

I have two versions below – one version uses raw cashews for the white “cheesecake” layer and the other version uses vegan cream cheese. I wanted to offer these two options because one requires a fancy high powered blender to really cream the nuts out of those cashews and the second option will work with any blender.

Both versions also taste different – if you’re used to eating “raw” desserts you will love the cashew version. It has a fresh taste that I really like. Jack preferred option 2 which tastes a little more authentically like cheesecake. The topping was inspired by the raspberry chia jam that I make all the time – but instead of jamming it, I blended it the raspberries with chia seeds to create that bright pink layer.

Vegan Raspberry Lemon Chia "Cheesecake"