Meatless Monday: Favorite Vegan Sides

Favorite Vegan Sides

When most people hear you are vegan they immediately envision a diet of all side dishes. It is hard for people who aren’t familiar with vegan options to understand that we eat a wide variety of foods, not all sides with a gaping hole on the plate where the main dish used to be. Most of the meals in our house are bowls, casseroles, tacos etc that don’t require side dishes. Occasionally we will need a side dish and I have 2 of my favorite vegan sides to share with you today.

GARLIC RICE

Favorite Vegan Sides

This simple Garlic Rice was inspired by a local Japanese restaurant, Blue Ginkgo, that we love. They started to make Garlic Rice and it is so delicious I have been known to just eat the rice with edamame for dinner.

Favorite-Vegan-Sides

I was sent a sample of Royal Basmati rice to try and it worked perfectly in this Garlic Rice. I cooked the rice both on the stovetop and in my pressure cooker. The pressure cooker rice turned out better, but that is because I have terrible luck cooking rice on the stovetop. Rice cookers/Pressure cookers are my friend! I’m looking forward to trying a few of Royal’s other products, especially this Basmati, Wild Rice and Quinoa blend.

Serve this rice with my Teriyaki Bowl or use it as a side for any Asian inspired meal. I’m planning to use this frequently now that we are approaching cold & flu season. Garlic is known as a potent antibacterial.

Garlic Rice
 
Fragrant garlic rice that works well as a side for Asian inspired meals or as the base of a Bowl.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1¾ cup water
  • 10 cloves garlic, whole
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Tamari
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin
Instructions
  1. Soak rice for 15 minutes then rinse. Place rice, water and 10 cloves of garlic in saucepan. Bring to a boil uncovered. Once boiling reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until rice is cooked. This can also be done in a pressure cooker or rice cooker. Follow your manufacturers cooking instructions.
  2. Once rice is cooked heat a skillet to medium high over the stove. Add in sesame oil and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Heat for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add in cooked rice, Tamari and scallions. Toss to coat the rice. Taste for season. Add more Tamari and sesame oil as needed for flavor. Remove skillet from heat and serve.

 ROASTED POTATOES AND AIOLI

Favorite Vegan Sides

Potatoes are one of my absolute favorite foods. I blame my Irish heritage. I love them roasted, mashed, in potato salad and as fries. One of my favorite restaurants in Oakland, Encuentro, serves roasted potatoes with a side of aioli for dipping, The aioli changes frequently but my favorite is the Lemon Herb Aioli. I love the tanginess of the lemon combined with the fresh herbs.

The aioli can be used on sandwiches and the like but I love copying Encuentro and using it as a dip for my potatoes. Toss small potatoes that you have cut into wedges with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of your potato wedges and potato type. Once they are done let them cool slightly and serve with this tangy, fresh aioli. These potatoes are a great accompaniment to veggie burgers and are also a hit at potluck meals.

Favorite Vegan Sides

Vegan Lemon Herb Aioli
 
Tangy aioli packed with fresh herbs. A perfect side for dipping potatoes or delicious as a spread on sandwiches.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise (see note*)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill, basil are a good start)
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a serving bowl. Once thoroughly combined refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Notes
*I prefer Wildwood Organics Zesty Garlic Aioli

* This is not a sponsored post, but I did receive a free sample of Royal Basmatic rice for review. All opinions are my own. This post does contain affiliate links.

Meatless Monday: Tofu Fried Rice

Tofu can be a very confusing ingredient for people who are new to eating without meat. Most people are curious about how to use tofu, but they also usually have a horror story of some awful dish they ate in the past with tofu that still haunts them. The key with tofu is to understand the different types of tofu and use them in the correct dish. I’ll break down the different tofu options and their best uses. I also have a new recipe using tofu to make a vegan fried rice. My tofu fried rice is a complete meal, full of veggies and protein. When you use leftover rice it is a quick and easy Meatless Monday meal to add to your rotation.

Tofu Fried Rice Blog Labeled

Tofu Types:

One of the confusing things about tofu is all of the texture and packaging options. There are many great guides that focus on the different textures (Super Firm, Firm, Soft, Silken) of tofu. While the labeled texture is important, I think the biggest differentiator is how the tofu is packaged.

ASEPTIC SILKEN TOFU

Tofu that is stored on the shelf in the grocery store, normally in the Asian food aisle, is packaged in an aseptic box. This tofu has a silken texture and is very soft. I use this type of tofu when I make dessert. It blends into dishes really well, but won’t hold up to stirfrying etc. Many people also use tofu stored in aseptic containers if they are using tofu as an egg replacer in baking.

Tofu Fried Rice - Mori-Nu

photo credit Mori-Nu

WATER PACKED TOFU

This is the tofu you see in the refrigerated case at most grocery stores. The tofu sits in a small tub of water. Regardless of the labeled texture, this type of tofu is going to be full of moisture. Many people like water packed tofu for scrambles, since the additional moisture keeps it from drying out. I rarely use this type of tofu because I find the texture way too mushy for my liking. If this is all you can find in your area be sure to press the tofu to remove the excess water before adding it to your dishes. Here is a quick overview on how to press tofu.

Tofu Fried Rice - Water Tofu

photo credit Wildwood Organics

VACUUM PACKED TOFU

Vacuum packed tofu is my favorite variety for making stir fries, scrambles, curries etc. This tofu is vacuum sealed with a very small amount of water. I find this tofu to have the best, most firm texture. I never need to press this kind. The brand I normally see is Wildwood Organics. It is sold at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Tofu Fried Rice - Vacuum

photo credit Wildwood Organics

To make my Tofu Fried Rice I advise using the Vacuum Packed Tofu if you can. In my dish I quickly pan fry crumbled tofu before cooking any of the veggies. By adding a little turmeric the tofu looks like the egg it is replacing in traditional fried rice.

Tofu Fried Rice - Tofu

Once the tofu is cooked and removed from the pan you can work with any veggies you like. Make sure they are cut small so they cook quickly. This Tofu Fried Rice is a great way to use up vegetable odds and ends in your refrigerator.

Tofu Fried Rice - Veggies

I like to top my rice bowl with Sriracha for a hit of spice. Skip the Sriracha and consider a sweet chili sauce if you are looking for a milder dish. The leftovers are fantastic for lunch the next day.

Tofu Fried Rice 2

Tofu Fried Rice
 
Tofu fried rice is a complete meal in one bowl. A Meatless Monday favorite packed with veggies and protein.
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons Sesame Oil, divided
  • 8 oz Tofu
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ cups Broccoli Florets, finely chopped
  • ½ cup Carrots, peeled and shredded
  • ½ cup Zuchinni, shredded
  • ½ cup Scallions, sliced thin
  • 4 cups Rice, cooked
  • 3 Tablespoons Tamari
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, minced
  • Sririacha, optional
Instructions
  1. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil to a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Crumble in tofu. Add in turmeric and salt. Mix until turmeric is completely combined in tofu. Saute for 10 minutes over medium low heat. Add splashes of water if needed to prevent sticking. Once tofu has cooked for 10 minutes take tofu out of the skillet and set aside in a separate bowl.
  2. Add remaining teaspoon of sesame oil to same skillet over medium heat. Add in ginger and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add in broccoli and 2 Tablespoons of water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in carrots, zucchini and scallions. Cook for 2 minutes, mixing frequently.
  3. Add rice and Tamari to the vegetable mixture. Stir until well combined. Add in tofu. Cook over Medium hit, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Serve warm, topped with cilantro and Sriracha.