>polenta spinach bruchetta

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whenever i’m short on time, my go to meals are italian. why?  quick and easy.  for dinner tonight, i decided to create a dish using some pre-made polenta that i bought from trader joe’s.  i baked the polenta, topped it off with a simple pomodoro sauce, vegan mozzarella, and sauteed spinach.  it turned out pretty tasty.

ingredients-
9-18 oz of store bought polenta or you can easily make your own
12 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/4 diced onions
3-4 cloves of minced garlic
handful of spinach
1/4-1/2 cup of shredded vegan mozzarella
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
olive oil
cooking spray

directions-
1) pre-heat oven to 400
2) in a medium pot, heat 2tbs of olive oil on medium low heat.  when the olive oil is hot, add onions and cook until they are translucent.  stir in garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
3)  add the can of diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  cover and simmer on low.
4)  in a separate pan, heat 1tsp of olive oil.  add spinach when oil is ready.  add red pepper and cook until spinach is wilted.  set aside.
5) slice polenta into 1/4 inch and place on a baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  place in the oven and bake for about 10- 15 minutes.
6)  take the polenta slices out of the oven and add a 1/2 tsp of the pomodoro sauce on top of the sliced polentas.  next, add a pinch of shredded mozzarella and spinach on top of the pomodoro sauce.  lastly, garnish each of them with the remaining shredded mozzarella. 
7) change tempreture to broil setting, and broil polenta bruchettas for 2 minutes. 
** with the remainder of the sauce you can make more polenta spinach bruchettas or have a side of pasta with the bruchettas.**

>scrambled tofu sauteed in garlic and tomatoes

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i took a simple egg dish that my dad used to cook me for breakfast and veganized it. it’s an easy recipe to make!

ingredients:

8oz of firm tofu
2 green onions, sliced
handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

directions:
1)  heat olive oil on medium heat and saute tomatoes and garlic for about 3-4 minutes.
2)  add green onions and crumble in tofu into pan.  add salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 5 minutes in order for tofu to soak up all the flavors.  be sure to mix tofu while cooking to prevent it from burning.  enjoy!

** i served the dish on a fresh bed of spinach and a side of whole wheat toast with vegan butter.**

>tofu and french bean quinoa with heirloom tomato cucumber salad

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quinao, pronouced keen-wa, originated in south america and was a staple food of the ancient incas. although quinoa may resemble a grain, it is actually the seeds of a leafy plant. quinoa is a complete protein that consists of 12%-18% protein. below is a recipe that i concocted in my kitchen tonight. for the side dish, i made an simple heirloom tomato cumber salad inspired by a tomato salad i had at lucas in oakland. to your health!

quinoa ingredients:
1/2 cup quinoa (i used trader joe’s organic quinoa)
1 cup of vegetable stock
7oz tofu (cubed and browned in canola oil)
french green beans (cut in half)
salt and pepper

directions:
1) place quinoa and vegetable stock in a small quart pot and bring to boil. reduce to simmer and cover. cook for 10-15 minutes.
2) steam french green beans.
3) in a large bowl, toss quinoa, green beans, and browned tofu. add salt and pepper to taste.

tomato heirloom cucumber salad ingredients:
1/2 lbs of heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1/2 lbs of cucumbers, sliced
1/4 of sliced red onions
3tbs red wine vinegar
2tbs of white vinegar
2tbs olive oil
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

directions-
1) whisk red wine vinegar, white vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
2) in a larger bowl, combine cucumbers and tomatoes. add vinaigrette mixture to the cucumbers and tomatoes. toss all ingredients together and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.

>vegetable filipino empanadas

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Empanada is a bread or pastry that is stuffed with a meat and vegetable filling  The origin of this dish is said to come from Arab countries and introduced to Spain and Portugal.  Literally, the term empanada comes from the Spanish and Potugese verb empanar, which means to wrap and coat in bread.  I’m pretty sure emapanadas were introduced to the Philippines when Spain colonized us.
 source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empanada

Filipino emapanadas are usually baked and filled with seasoned ground beef or chicken, onions, vegetables, and raisins.  Although, the empanadas in Ilokos Norte are huge, fried, and filled with mongo beans (mung beans), chorizo, and an egg.  This empanada is usually eaten with Jufran or garlic vinegar.  I’ve tried these particular empanadas at a street cart vendor near my dad’s home town and personally, I like the Ilokano version better.  I have yet to try making the Ilokos Norte empanada version… maybe I’ll be inspired when Dime and I head back to the Philppines next summer.  Yum… can’t wait.

Last weekend, my mother in-law showed me how to make her version of empanadas….I just veganized her recipe.   I made two versions- vegetable empanadas and pineapple emapanadas.  I’m actually not going to publish the pineapple recipe…this was my mother in-laws own creation and I think I’m just gonna keep it in the family. haha.