Quick Tip: Steam Vegetables without a Steamer

steam vegetables without a steamer

Steaming vegetables is one of the best ways to prepare them – it leaves almost all of the flavors and nutrients intact and doesn’t add any oil. But if you don’t happen to own a steamer of some kind, it’s still super easy to make wonderful steamy veggies! All you need is some parchment paper.

First chop and rinse whatever vegetables you’d like to make, I went with a nice green blend of broccoli, asparagus, and snap peas (I also added a sprig of rosemary and some chopped onions):

green vegetables mix

Then without drying them (you want a little moisture to make steam) lay them out in one-serving piles on a long sheet of parchment (you want to be able to fold the parchment in half right over your veggies) – you can also add some seasoning at this point, and I’d appreciate it if you could get it all over your counter like I did, it just makes me feel better.

steam vegetables in parchment

Next, fold the parchment in half right over the vegetables.

Then begin wrapping the parchment by folding the edges in from the corner, like so:

It doesn’t have to be gorgeous, but try to make sure your folds are tight enough that they won’t pop open or let the steam out. You should end up with a little packet that looks like a calzone:

Pop that right into the oven at 350 for 20-30 minutes or so, depending on how soft you like your vegetables, and then carefully remove it – the parchment will have puffed up a bit and gotten slightly brown. Set out on a plate or counterop and slice open – be careful, steam will come out when you cut it. You can then serve it right in the paper, calling it “légumes en papillote” if you want to be fancy.

steam vegetables in parchment paper

If you really like steaming vegetables (and why wouldn’t you? It’s awesome!) you may want to invest in an electric steamer so you don’t have to go through tons of parchment paper. I like this one from Amazon, personally.

 

Tempeh Bacon BLT

 

vegan bacon BLT

It seems like everyone is obsessed with bacon lately, doesn’t it? I don’t quite get it – I mean, I like bacon as much as the next gal, but I don’t know that I think it’s the best food in the world or anything. That being said, I do love a good BLT! This recipe definitely fills that craving. You’re not going to be passing this stuff off as real bacon, but it’s got a great smoky, salty, crunchy thing going on that works really well on a sandwich, and could also be great crumbled over a salad or next to a tofu scramble.

First you need to slice some tempeh up as thin as you can – I slice mine down the long side and then cut it in half, but it doesn’t really matter, just depends on how long you want your slices to be.

how to slice tempeh for bacon

Then mix together some soy sauce, spices, and a touch of agave or other sweetener if you want the sweet smoky flavor, and marinate the tempeh in the sauce for 10-30 minutes. (You can skip the marinating if you’re in a hurry.)

marinating tempeh bacon

Pour the tempeh AND all of the marinade into a pan over medium-high heat, and cook until the sauce has evaporated and the tempeh is nice and charred on both sides – the time it takes can vary so just keep checking and flipping it until it’s nice and crunchy.

tempeh bacon

That’s it! To make a BLT just spread some mayo on bread and then add slices of tomato, lettuce, and some fresh avocado if you’re feeling feisty.

vegan tempeh bacon

Tempeh Bacon BLT

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 20 slices of tempeh bacon

vegan, gluten free (if you use GF bread and soy sauce), low fat

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of tempeh, sliced very thinly into strips
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Whisk together all ingredients except tempeh in a shallow dish (I used a pie plate)
  2. Add tempeh to liquid and marinate for about 30 minutes (you can skip the marinating step if you like)
  3. Pour tempeh and all of the marinade mixture into a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté for 5-10 minutes per side until liquid has evaporated and tempeh is blackened and crunchy. Serve immediately.
  4. To make a BLT, add mayo, lettuce, and tomato to sandwich bread - avocado is also great!

 

Creamy Vegan Spinach & Artichoke Dip

dairy free low fat artichoke dip

Spinach and artichoke dip is pretty much one of my favorite things – my family has actually texted me pictures of themselves eating it at restaurants simply to make me jealous.

Unfortunately it’s also just packed with dairy products and a ton of fat, so I had to go a long time without eating it. My tastebuds were very sad about this…but my waistline was very happy about it. (Those two just don’t agree on anything) But now peace can finally be restored!

This spinach and artichoke dip is not only vegan, it’s actually really low fat, too. But as always, the most important thing is that it is delicious. I’ve taken it to several parties and it has been met with pretty unanimous approval from my decidedly omnivorous friends. It’s fairly quick to whip together, too, which is always nice.

Chop up some artichoke hearts pretty fine (I use the canned kind, make sure they are in water, not oil! You can also use fresh or frozen, just defrost them first)

chopped artichoke hearts

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onions, spinach and artichoke until the spinach is nice and wilty and the onions are translucent or lightly browned.

saute spinach and onions

Set spinach, onion and artichoke mixture aside, then combine soy milk, flour, oil, salt, garlic powder and onion powder in the skillet, whisking frequently over low or medium heat until it thickens slightly – this should only take a minute or two.

vegan roux

Combine flour mixture and vegetables in an oven-safe casserole, mixing thoroughly.

dairy free low fat spinach dip

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes, until it is thoroughly heated and the top is starting to darken slightly. Serve warm with baked tortilla chips or vegetables.

gluten free artichoke dip

To make ahead, just prepare the mixture but don’t bake it – you can store it in the fridge for a day or so and then bake it for about 20-25 minutes just before serving. This is one you can go ahead and try to pass off to people without telling them it’s vegan (and low fat and gluten free) – just serve it and watch as it gets devoured!

vegan spinach artichoke dip recipe

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings (about 4-5 cups of dip)

Vegan, gluten free, low fat, refined sugar free

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz bag frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (in water), finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5-10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 3/4 c. brown rice flour
  • 3 c. soy milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onions, spinach and artichoke until the spinach has defrosted and the water has boiled off, and the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic at the end, leaving it in the pan just long enough to heat and become fragrant, about a minute. If you don't have a large enough skillet to fit everything, you can sauté the spinach first, then the onions, artichoke and garlic separately, and then just combine them in a bowl afterwards.
  3. Set spinach, onion and artichoke mixture aside, then combine soy milk, flour, oil, salt, garlic powder and onion powder in the skillet, whisking frequently over low or medium heat until it thickens slightly - this should only take a minute or two.
  4. Combine flour mixture and vegetables in an oven-safe casserole, mixing thoroughly.
  5. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes, until it is thoroughly heated and the top is starting to darken slightly. Serve warm with baked tortilla chips or vegetables. To make ahead, just prepare the mixture but don't bake it - you can store it in the fridge for a day or so and then bake it for about 20-25 minutes just before serving.