Two Great Weeknight Meals! Yummy! Pizza And Pad Thai!

I mentioned Robin Robertson’s newest cookbook, Vegan on the Cheap, a couple entries ago when I made her recipe for barbecued tofu and black bean burritos.  This week, I made two more of her recipes that proved to be equally delicious: an adapted version of her Penne-Wise Peanutty Pasta and her Tuscan White Bean Pizza.  Here are my versions of the recipes:

When I made Robertson’s Penne-Wise Peanutty Pasta, I had originally intended to make pad thai.  Frustrated that my pad thai, although a favorite recipe among my friends, is usually too salty for my taste, I decided to give Robertson’s Peanut Sauce a try.  I was wary of using non-dairy milk in the sauce, but it turned out to be a fantstic addition, producing a creamier sauce that alleviates the need for so much soy sauce, peanut butter, and sugar (all the ingredients that make pad thai such a diet killer).  Instead of using penne pasta, as Robertson recommends, I used rice noodles for a more authentic Pad Thai.  I really love broccoli slaw and onions in my pad thai as well, so I used those vegetables instead of Robertson’s recommended carrots, broccoli, and cilantro.  Also, I didn’t have silken tofu around my fridge, so I substituted cornstarch instead to thicken the sauce and also made a few other modifications.  If you prefer, you could substitute tempeh or seitan for the tofu or other vegetables of your choice for the broccoli slaw and onion.  Here’s how the recipe ended up looking:

Enlightened Pad Thai Serves 2

Peanut Sauce:

1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch 
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 teaspoon raw sugar
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

Stir Fry:
1 Tbsp. olive oil 
8 oz. tofu, drained, cut into desired slices, and pressed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
3 oz. broccoli slaw
6 oz. rice noodles (approx. half of a package), cooked according to package instructions

  1. To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat half of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the tofu and pan fry for approximately 5 minutes on each side side, or until crispy.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet and add the garlic, onion, and broccoli slaw and saute until tender.
  4. Add the tofu and the sauce to the skillet and stir gently to combine.  Serve over rice noodles.  Enjoy!

Robertson’s Tuscan White Bean Pizza is a great vegan pizza option because, instead of using a cheese substitute, she calls for a mashed white bean spread.  This not only avoids the issue of using a processed soy cheese product that might not melt properly and taste rubbery after cooling, but also provides a protein-packed pizza topping that is so fresh and delicious you won’t even think about not having cheese.  The recipes for the pizza dough is also very easy to make; however, I substituted bread flour for all-purpose flour and active dry yeast for instant yeast.

Tuscan White Bean Pizza
From Robin Robertson’s Vegan on the Cheap
Serves 2

Pizza Dough:
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup (1/2 of a 15.5-oz can) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp. water, or as needed
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

  1. To make the dough, in a small bowl, mix together the yeast and the water.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  In a large bow, combine the flour and the salt. When the yeast mixture is ready, add the mixture into the flour mixture and mix well until combined.  Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about ten minutes, or until smooth.  Place the dough in a large airtight container and let rise for approximately one hour, or until doubled in volume.
  2. After one hour, punch the dough down and work it into a pizza crust.  Place the dough on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Cover with a clean towel and let rise for an additional twenty minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  To make the topping, mash the beans with the olive oil and garlic in a medium bowl.  Season withs alt and pepper, to taste, and add water, if necessary, to form a paste.  When the pizza dough is ready (after the final twenty-minute rise period), spread the bean mixture over the dough.  Arrange the tomato slices and basil on top of the bean mixture.
  4. Bake the pizza for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  Enjoy!
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