Vegan Tofu Tikka Masala

I love Indian food more than life itself, but while I was in quarantine with Miss Rona, I was bored out of my mind and in need of comfort. For me, cooking is a soothing activity, so… I started cooking. As it turns out, mastering my favorite dish — tofu tikka masala — isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at tikka masala, here’s how to do it.

What you’ll need (for the tofu)

⁃ 1 block extra-firm tofu

⁃ 1 tbsp EVOO

⁃ 1 tbsp cornstarch

⁃ 1/4 tsp salt

What you’ll need (for the sauce)

⁃ 1 can crushed tomatoes (as always, I prefer Cento)

⁃ 1 small onion, freshly grated or diced

⁃ 4 oz plain vegan yogurt (I used Nancy’s Cultured Soy)

⁃ 3-5 roasted garlic cloves (I bought mine pre-roasted from Fresh Market)

⁃ 1 tsp garam masala

⁃ 1 tsp cumin

⁃ 1 tsp ginger

⁃ 1 tsp turmeric

⁃ 1 tsp coriander

⁃ Salt to taste

⁃ Cayenne to taste

⁃ Canned full-fat coconut milk (to thin sauce if necessary)

⁃ Cooked rice (I used basmati)

What to do

1.) After pressing and draining your tofu, cut it into cubes, roll it through the olive oil, and then shake it around a bowl containing the cornstarch and salt. Throw the tofu on a baking sheet and bake it at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until crispy. You can also make the tofu in an air fryer if you don’t want to use oil.

2.) While your tofu is baking, you can cook your rice and your sauce. Start off by dicing or grating your onion, and then throw it into a deep skillet with the roasted garlic. The garlic I used comes packed in olive oil, so I didn’t need to add any to my skillet. (Substitute a bit of vegetable stock for your onions and garlic to simmer in for an oil-free recipe.)

3.) Once your onion turns translucent, add your vegan yogurt, spices, and crushed tomatoes. Give the sauce a stir so everything is incorporated. You may need more salt at this juncture, but I don’t like things overly salty, so I left it out. I do like my Indian food spicy, so I added about 1 tsp of cayenne to my skillet. You can use more or less, depending on your preferred spice level.

4.) In about 6-8 minutes, your sauce should be fully cooked through and begin to thicken up. If you like a thick, chunky sauce, you may want to leave it alone. I added a bit of coconut milk because my sauce was more of a paste. (Oops.)

5.) When your tofu and rice are done, mix the tofu into the sauce, add some rice and tofu to your plate, and enjoy!

I knew I was making this earlier in the day, so I’d already pressed my tofu. Once you get that step out of the way, you can have a delicious dinner on the table in around 45 minutes total. I was cooking for one, but you can always double — or even triple — the amounts listed to feed the whole family. Let me know if you try it!

Vegan Gnocchi With Kale And Walnuts

vegankaleandwalnutgnocchitheunscaryvegan

Quarantine Day 50. I can no longer remember what a Starbucks coconut milk latte tastes like. I have not worn real pants in two months. The concept of “day pajamas” and “night pajamas” is a thing of the past; I just wear the same pajamas until I shower again.

But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about food. I have lots of cool things in the works, and I recently collaborated with my brother-from-another-mother on a recipe over FaceTime. We played around with ingredients, tweaked it until it was utterly delicious, and now I’m sharing it with you because he’s a luddite without a blog.

You’ll need:

  • Gnocchi
  • Kale
  • Walnuts
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Salt
  • Shredded vegan parmesan cheese (we love this one)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (canned works well)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or mashed (you can use less if you’re not big on garlic, but why?)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (check out Barnivore to find out which wines are vegan!)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

theunscaryvegankalegnocchi

What to do:

1.) Boil some water and cook your gnocchi according to the directions on the package. It’s usually 2-3 minutes. During the last minute, add your kale to the pot. Drain the tasty gnocchi/kale mixture and make sure it cover it with a plate to keep it from drying out.

2.) Add your oil to a large pot along with the garlic, taking care not to let it burn. When your kitchen starts to smell like you’ve crawled inside a loaf of garlic bread, it’s time to add the flour. Mix it in with your garlic until it forms a paste, and then pour in the wine. Allow this to simmer for 3-5 minutes until it starts to reduce.

3.) Pour in your coconut milk, bring the mixture to a boil, and let it bubble away for 5-7 minutes until it thickens. Make sure to stir it occasionally, but don’t stir it continuously, as this will make it take forever to thicken, and you’ll want to eat now.

4.) Add your gnocchi, kale, and walnuts to the pot, stirring to make sure everything is coated evenly. Cook for about a minute to warm the walnuts through and release their natural oils.

5.) Season with salt and pepper to taste, and then sprinkle your shredded parmesan on top. You can also garnish it with more walnuts or a dash of red pepper flakes for a bit more bite.

theunscaryveganwalnut

There you have it! A hearty, fulfilling recipe with all the creamy goodness of dairy with none of the cruelty. You can definitely adapt this recipe to suit your taste if you hate kale or walnuts like some of the weirdos in my family, but keep in mind that all veggies require different cooking times. If you want something like broccoli or carrots, that will take longer to cook. Or you could do what I do and cheat — I use the frozen versions from Bird’s Eye all the time.  Steam them in the microwave, stir them in, and voila! (Note that some of the Bird’s Eye veggies come packed in a butter sauce, so read the labels carefully.)

What’s your favorite pasta recipe? Leave me a comment, or tag me on Instagram using #theunscaryvegan so I can see it!

Go-To Vegan Granola

I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes for granola. From here on out, there’ll be no more shelling out big bank for tasty goodness. Best of all, you can customize it to your preferences. My granola is great on its own as a snack, served with your favorite vegan yogurt, or as the perfect crunchy topping for oatmeal. (Keep it in the fridge in a sealed container for added freshness.)

theunscaryvegangotogranola

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (or your nut or seed butter of choice)
  • 1 tsp almond extract (you can use vanilla, but almond extract is my secret ingredient to almost everything I bake)
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt

theunscaryvegangranolarecipe

What to do:

1.) Preheat your oven to 325F. While the oven is heating up, mix all your wet ingredients in a bowl.

2.) Add the oats, seeds, and nuts into your wet mixture, folding your ingredients to make sure everything is evenly coated. Then dump it onto a coated or lined baking sheet, spreading it out into a thin layer.

3.) For baking, I always use the bottom rack in the oven because it seems to cook more evenly, but some ovens differ. Use whichever rack you use for baking and pop it in for 20 minutes. Take it out, add your cranberries — or whatever dried fruit you want to use — give it a quick stir to incorporate the fruit, and pop it back in for an additional 5-7 minutes.

4.) Eat! The granola will keep for a month in the fridge or at room temperature in sealed container.

theunscaryvegangranola

It’s that easy. What’s your favorite way to use granola?