Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mexican Chocolate Rice Krispy Treats

I feel a little guilty bringing you this sort of simple, no-brainer recipe after such a long absence. We moved to a new house and had internet issues, so that's slowed me down a bit. Now that we're settled in and up and running, I'll make up for lost time.

There are some familiar and much-loved foods that you think you'll never see again when you go vegan, and Rice Krispy treats were probably toward the top of my list. There are a few store-bought kinds that just don't taste quite right. The texture is there, but the flavor is off in a way that you can't quite put your finger on. When you think about it, there's really no reason to be buying them pre-made. In 30 minutes, you can have fresh, homemade ones that have your own little spin on them. Chocolate-dipped Rice Krispy treats are probably my favorite of the next-level kinds, but the possibilities are endless.

Vegan marshmallows have come a long way in just a few short years. Now there are quite a few varieties of good-quality marshmallows to choose from. I used Dandies brand for these, and they worked perfectly. The texture is right, the flavor is spot-on and they melt really well.

A note about the chocolate: I really love cinnamon. I used a ton of it in this chocolate because I wanted it to really come through. If you'd rather have it be more subtle, dial it back a bit and work up from there.

4 tbsp Earth Balance
4 cups of vegan marshmallows
6 cups of puffed rice cereal
1 bag of vegan chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark)
1 tbsp cinnamon, or to taste

Grease up a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray and set it near your stove.

In a large pot, melt the Earth Balance over medium-high heat. Add all the marshmallows and stir them around until they're well-coated. Keep them moving around and don't let the heat get too high. This will prevent them from scorching. They take a while to melt, but if you whip them around vigorously with a wooden spoon, it will happen. It takes about 5 minutes or so.

Add the cereal 2 cups at a time, stirring between each time to incorporate.

Once it's all in and well-incorporated, take it off the heat and scoop it all out into the baking dish. Use the spoon to smooth them out so the top is level. Place the dish into the freezer for 15 minutes.

While they're cooling, pour the bag of chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave them for 30-40 seconds, take them out and stir them with a spoon. They should be softened up enough to start melting. Do another 10-20 seconds if not. Don't go more than a minute or so. Once a few of them are melty, stirring them will cause the others to melt.

Add the cinnamon. If you're worried about using a full tablespoon, just do a teaspoon at a time and taste test until you've got the right amount.

Pull the dish out of the freezer and use a sharp knife to cut out squares. Put them back into the freezer for another 2-3 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it near your bowl of melted chocolate.

Take the dish back out of the freezer and pull out individual squares. Dip one end into the chocolate, making sure to coat all four sides well. Place them on the baking sheet to let the chocolate set.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chinese Honey-Hoisin Seitan Ribs

I know a lot of skeptical meat eaters. When I tell them that I made a pot roast or chicken parmesan that's vegan, they raise an eyebrow. When I tell them I made ribs that are vegan, both brows tend to go up. When they try these ribs, they're usually pretty shocked because the texture and flavor are right on. These things win over my meat-eating friends and family every time.

Normally, I slather these in a homemade barbecue sauce or braise them until they're tender. Lately I've been using a honey alternative that is out of this world and it got me thinking about honey-hoisin ribs instead. These are a nice combination of sticky, sweet and tangy.

The honey alternative is called Bee Free Honee and I can't recommend it highly enough. If you're in Seattle, you can find it at Vegan Haven or Central Market. Bee Free Honee is made from apples and it looks, pours and tastes just like honey. The only thing that gives it away is that there's a slight apple-y aftertaste. You could use agave nectar for this sauce, but it's not even in the ballpark of honey flavor. If you're wondering why honey isn't really vegan, you can find some good info here.

These ribs are very easy to make, so don't be intimidated by the final product. They take less than an hour and very little of that is "hands on" time.

For the ribs:

dry ingredients
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp garbanzo flour
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder

wet ingredients
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup tamari
2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the sauce:
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 tsp tamari
2 tsp sriracha
2/3 cup Bee Free Honee or agave nectar

green onions, sliced
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Make the ribs: In a large bowl, stir the dry ingredients until combined. In a medium bowl, stir the wet ingredients together. Add the wet to the dry and stir with a sturdy wooden spoon until combined. Don't get too aggressive or overwork the dough or the ribs will be tough. It should all come together pretty easily and look like this:

Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Put the ball of dough into the dish and knead it out toward the edges, making sure that it's being spread evenly. If some spots are thinner than others once it's spread, just work some over from a thicker spot. Once the dough is spread out evenly, score rib shapes into it with a sharp knife. One lengthwise and several others across, depending on how big you like them.

Brush the top of the dough with a little vegetable oil and put it into the oven for 30 minutes.

Make the sauce: While the ribs are cooking, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Get a large sheet pan out and line it with aluminum foil.

Once the ribs have been cooking for 30 minutes, take them out of the oven and re-score the lines. You'll be taking them out of the baking dish and moving them to the pan, so feel free to actually cut the slab into 2 segments to make it easier to work with. Just split them along one of the lines. Turn your broiler on low.

Brush both sides of the ribs generously with the sauce and place them on the foil-lined baking sheet. Put the ribs into the oven and let them cook for 5-7 minutes, or until they start to char a bit and the sauce caramelizes. Once that happens, pull them out and flip them and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.

Cut along the pre-scored lines and separate the seitan into rib shapes. Brush with a little more sauce and sprinkle on some sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Carrot and Potato Stew with Lemon-Thyme Dumplings

I love this stew. It's easy and fun to make and always hits the spot, especially on a chilly fall or winter night. Our neighbor got a spot at Pike Place Market for his soda business and gave us some veggies from the market. This was the perfect dish for them. Look at these beauties:

Which reminds me: don't get stuck in the mindset that there has to be some kind of meat-type ingredient in order to make a stew. The potatoes and carrots, along with a thick broth, are more than enough to make this stew satisfying. Some seitan or field roast would be a perfectly fine addition, but I think you'll find that you won't need them.

For the stew:
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 bunch carrots, peeled and sliced (about 1 1/2 cups after they're diced)
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into small chunks
6 cups warm veggie stock
1 tsp salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp tarragon
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tsp smoked paprika
Black pepper to taste

For the dumplings:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp thyme, crushed between your fingers
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil

Make the stew: First, dice up your veggies and have them at the ready. You can put the potatoes, carrots and celery on a plate or in a bowl all together to save space. Leave the onions by themselves. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Once it shimmers, add the flour and stir it around in the oil, making sure it's absorbed completely. Stir the mixture around for about 3 minutes, until it's a little darker and smells kind of nutty.

Add the onions and the salt and stir them around to coat in the flour mixture. Sweat the onions over the heat, stirring pretty regularly, until they're nice and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir it around, cooking it for another 20-30 seconds.

Slowly pour in the veggie broth, stirring constantly with a whisk to make sure there are no lumps. Add the other vegetables and the seasonings and stir it all up. Put the lid onto the pot and turn the heat up to high. When it starts to boil, turn the heat back down enough to keep it at a nice simmer. Let it cook like this for about 20 minutes, stirring it around occasionally.

Make the dumplings: While the stew is simmering, combine your dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and stir them around. This won't be like pizza or bread dough, all dry and easy to handle. It should be sticky. Only add more flour if it's liquidy or runny (it shouldn't be).

Remove the lid and drop in large spoonfuls of dumpling dough directly into the stew. They'll sink and won't look like much, but trust me on this. Put the lid back on and leave it alone for 15 more minutes. Once you lift the lid, they'll go from looking small and sad to this:

Ladle the stew into some bowls, top with a couple of dumplings and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fried Green Tomato BLTs with Homemade Potato Chips

There's just a little summer left, so we have to make the most of it. I know, I know: Labor Day has come and gone. That may be the finish line for white pants, but officially, we have a little time left. Green tomatoes are all over Seattle right now, so I can think of no better way to use them than in this twist on an old classic. Look at these beauties:

Tempeh bacon can come in two forms: store-bought and homemade. I opted for the store-bought kind to save time, but if you want to go the homemade route, simply slice up some tempeh and marinate it all day or overnight in some soy sauce, liquid smoke and maple syrup. If that's not an option, don't sweat it. Tofurky can come to the rescue:

You can gussy this sandwich up any way you like. The most popular way is probably adding avocado. I wholeheartedly endorse this, I just didn't have any handy the night I made these. Something else I wholeheartedly endorse is a new brand of vegan mayo that's hit the store shelves recently:

This stuff is grand. It nails the mayo flavor and texture and it costs less. I've seen it at all the major grocery stores lately, even the ones that don't carry Vegenaise. It's right on the shelf next to the dairy mayo, which is smart.


For the BLTs:
2 green tomatoes
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
veggie oil for frying

1 package tempeh bacon (or other vegan bacon)
vegan mayo (any flavor)
good bread

For the chips:
2-3 medium russet potatoes
olive oil
sea salt

Make the chips: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Using a mandolin or slicer attachment for a mixer, slice the potatoes thin. Lay them out in an single layer on 2 parchment-lined sheet pans. Brush them with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt and any other spices or herbs.

Put the sheet pans in the oven on the lower rack and set your timer for 10 minutes. When it goes off, pull them out and flip them to the other side, then put them back in for another 8-10 minutes. Watch them closely after 8 minutes so they don't burn. If they're browning too fast for your taste at the 10 minute mark, move them to the top rack and leave them in for another 5 minutes after flipping. Once they're done, take them out and let them cool.

Make the bacon and fried green tomatoes: In a skillet, heat about a 1/2 inch of veggie oil over medium-high heat. Carefully put the tempeh bacon into the oil and cook for 4-5 minutes, flipping and repeating with the other side. Remove the browned tempeh slices to a plate lined with a paper towel.

You'll be using the same basic that's called for in the onion ring post. That means three bowls: one with flour, one with milk and a bowl of seasoning. Put one cup of flour in the first bowl. Mix the milk and apple cider vinegar in the second bowl until it's thick and then combine the rest of the ingredients in the third bowl. Dust each tomato in flour, then dunk in the milk and then toss it in the flour/cornmeal mixture. Set the coated tomatoes aside so they're ready to go. Repeat the same frying process for the tomatoes, letting them cook 3-4 minutes per side, until golden.

Toast the bread and spread with mayo and any other condiments you desire. Build your sandwich with plenty of the bacon, lettuce and fried green tomatoes. It's as easy as...




Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer Cookout: Field Roast Burgers on Pretzel Buns with Buttermilk-Dipped Onion Rings and Grilled Watermelon

Summer is cookout season, and have I got a doozy of a cookout menu for you. Lots of omnivores seem to think that a vegan summer cookout would be all healthy bird food that would leave them craving some kind of meat. This meal will surprise them and might actually change a few minds about the need to have a cow slaughtered in order for them to have a satisfying burger. Behold, the newest invention by the geniuses at Field Roast:

I've tried many versions of meatless burgers, both homemade and store-bought. Most of them make what I think is a fatal error: trying to be like meat while trying not to look or taste like meat. Most veggie burgers are pretty decent, but they all start to taste the same to me after a while. And getting your meat-eating friends to even consider a veggie burger is nearly impossible. The term "veggie burger" is an instant turn-off to some people. This new burger solves that problem surprisingly well. Here they are, pre-grill, with some Daiya cheese slices:

I put these on the grill and then went back into the kitchen to get something. Almost immediately, I could smell that familiar aroma of summer and thought, "The neighbors are grilling burgers." It was unmistakably a "real" burger being grilled that I smelled. But no. That smell was coming from my grill. Yeah, they're that convincing. Look, smell, taste, it's all there.

This burger needed a bun that was worthy of it, so I opted for a homemade pretzel bun. Pretzel buns are very "in" right now at restaurants, for good reason. They sound labor-intensive, but they're not at all. Try to make these the day of your barbecue as they're much better fresh. I made mine so that they were ready 45 minutes or so before we ate, which was perfect. Your guests will be ooh-ing and ah-ing over these, when they're mouths aren't full of pretzel and burger.

The other star of the show: onion rings. These are my veganized version of the out-of-this-world onion rings at Red Mill burgers here in Seattle. Admittedly, these do take some time and some effort, but it really shows in the finished product. I always use Walla Walla sweet onions for these onion rings. Walla Walla sweets are a staple at our house during the summer months. If you've ever made onion rings before, you might have had a problem with the breading slipping off after they're cooked. This was happening to me for the longest time. The answer is to chill your peeled and sliced onions in the fridge overnight to release the moisture that "sweats" out of the onions and causes the breading to slip off after they're cooked. These are best when they're made right at the very end and served fresh and hot.

The last part of this cookout menu is grilled watermelon. I'm not a raw-watermelon kind of guy. I love the flavor of watermelon, but the consistency is weird to me. Grilling it changed all that for me. The sugar caramelizes and the consistency changes just a bit. Just brush a wedge of it with some olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and pepper and grill it up. I probably could've let these go a little longer on the grill, but they were still delicious:


For the pretzel buns:
1/4 warm water (around 115 degrees)
1 package yeast
1 tbsp evaporated cane sugar
1 1/4 cups warm beer (I used an IPA)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking soda
coarse sea salt or pretzel salt

For the onion rings:
2 large sweet yellow onions
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups plain, unsweetened soy milk
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal
1/4 masa harina
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp dried thyme
fresh ground pepper
vegetable or peanut oil for frying

Make the pretzel buns: Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl (or use a stand mixer and dough hook) and let it go until it's foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the beer, oil and salt and stir it in. Add the flour one cup at a time, mixing all the while, until a soft dough forms. Knead it for 5 minutes or so, either with the dough hook or on a floured surface. Form it into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl to rise for an hour.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Press your dough down and put it out onto a flour surface to work it a bit (but not too much). Slice your dough ball into 8 equal wedges.

Roll each wedge into a ball shape a little smaller than your fist. It doesn't have to be precise, though. Some will be bigger than others.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once it's boiling, slowly (and I mean slowly) add the baking soda to the water. Be careful, as adding it too fast will have it boiling over and causing a huge mess (trust me on that). A little controllable fizz is what you want. Boil the balls of dough, two at a time, for about 30 seconds each. They will get noticeably tougher and more dense-feeling after this, which is what we want.

Fish them out of the water and onto the parchment-lined sheet pan. With a sharp knife, cut an X slit in the top and sprinkle the tops generously with the coarse salt.

Bake them in the 425 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or so (15 seemed to be a bit too long). They should come out looking, well, like a pretzel.

You have two options with the buns: you can split them like regular hamburger buns or you can use two full buns for one burger. Yeah, you heard me. We ate them that way and have no regrets.

Make the onion rings: Peel and slice the onions into thick slices. Separate the layers onto a sheet pan and spread them out. Ideally, this should be done the day before you're making the onion rings. If that's not possible, just do them as early as you can the day you're going to be making them. The longer they have in the fridge (up to a day), the better.

To make the batter and breading, you'll need three bowls. Put 2 cups of the flour into the first bowl. In the second bowl, make your buttermilk by pouring the apple cider vinegar into the soy milk. Whisk it around for a bit until it starts to thicken. In the third bowl, combine the other 2 cups of flour and all your other dry ingredients. This is where it'd be nice to have bowls that were any color other than white:

Using one hand for dry ingredients and one for wet, dredge the individual onion rings in the flour then dunk them into the buttermilk and then toss them in the cornmeal mixture. Place them gently on a sheet pan or large baking dish, staggering them to keep them from sticking to each other.

Heat a straight-sided pan with at least 2 inches of oil. Once the oil is about 350 degrees and starts to shimmer, start frying your rings by putting them into the oil gently. Don't crowd them up in the pan or they'll be difficult to turn. After a few minutes, check the bottoms of the onion rings for a golden color. Gently flip them and cook the other side. Lay them on a plate or pan lined with paper towels (a good way to reuse that original sheet pan). You can keep these warm in a 200 degree oven, but not for long. They will lose their crunch the longer they sit around. But if you make them right at the end, they won't be around for long.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream

It's gotten hot around here, so more ice cream is in order. Strawberries are a bit of an obsession of mine, though I don't really eat much strawberry ice cream. Growing up, I only really ate it when we had the neapolitan variety in the freezer. Chocolate and vanilla were always around, but I would eat neapolitan and think, why don't I eat more strawberry ice cream?

Until a few years ago, strawberry balsamic ice cream was considered one of those boutique and unusual flavor combinations. Now it seems to be a staple at places like Molly Moon's. I didn't love it at first, but it's grown on me. The balsamic in this recipe is somewhat subtle, so if you really want to taste it, feel free to add a little more.

Do not use the light (or, maddeningly, "lite") variety of coconut milk. It'll leave you with weak, thin ice cream. It's also a big ripoff because it's 95% water. Full-fat coconut milk sounds like a dieter's nightmare, but remember: we're making ice cream, which isn't exactly diet food to begin with.

1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 cups non-dairy milk (almond or soy works best)
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp evaporated cane sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 1/2 tbsp water
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp cornstarch

In a medium saucepan, combine the 3/4 cup of sugar with both milks, stirring to combine. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. When it starts boiling, reduce the heat and keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it cool.

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar with the cornstarch. Add the strawberries and water and cook over medium heat, until the strawberries are soft and starting to break down, about 5 minutes. Use a potato masher to crush the strawberries until they're mostly smooth (a little chunkiness is fine). Stir in the balsamic vinegar and set the pan aside to cool.

Process the ice cream base mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. While this is happening, gather your strawberries and ice cream container together, along with a silicone spatula. Now you're ready to assemble your ice cream.

Pour 1/3 of the ice cream base into the container, followed by half of the strawberry mixture. Repeat again, ending with the last 1/3 of the ice cream base. Take your spatula or a butter knife and swirl it gently through to mix the two together. I ended up stirring it all together, but you can get artsy with it if you want.

Freeze it for at least 3 hours before serving. It tends to freeze a little hard, so set it out on the counter for about 5 minutes or so before you plan to start scooping.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Orange Cardamom French Toast

There's breakfast and then there's breakfast. This is definitely the latter. If you've been good all week, eating oatmeal or fruit or granola for breakfast, then you deserve some next-level decadence on the weekend. Most omnivores (and even a few vegans) don't really understand how you even begin to veganize something like this. Everyone seems to have it in their heads that french toast just has to have eggs to be any good. It's actually pretty simple. Using a good vegan cream cheese yields a rich, thick batter. Tofutti makes a great one, as does Trader Joe's.

I also like to use different spices to make it a little more interesting. I'm on a big cardamom kick lately, so that's where this one went. Orange and cardamom go surprisingly well together, but if you're not a cardamom fan, feel free to omit it. You can also swap the cinnamon and cardamom quantities for a more traditional orange/cinnamon flavor, which is pretty great as well.

1 loaf of good sourdough bread, sliced thick

1 cup soy milk
1 cup vegan cream cheese
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp evaporated cane juice
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (or a "warm" setting, if your oven has one of those).

Combine all the batter ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour the batter into a wide, shallow dish.

Drop the sliced bread into the batter one slice at a time, turning it until completely coated. Let the bread soak the batter in a bit and soften up.

Put a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and melt a nub of vegan butter. Carefully take the bread out of the batter, shaking it to release the excess. Gently drop the soaked bread into the pan.

Resist the temptation to turn it over when you think it should be turned. Trust me, it's not ready. You're looking for some caramelization and a bit of browning on the underside. That takes a little time. Don't turn the heat up too high, or it'll quickly burn.

Flip it over and...

There! That's what you're looking for. It may be a little wet in the middle still. That's okay, we're going to take care of that. Once both sides look like this, scoop it up with a spatula and move it to the glass dish in the oven. Repeat the process with the rest of the slices, putting each one into the oven with the others. Once they're ready, dust them with powdered sugar and serve with hot maple syrup.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Creamy Kale Salad with Blackened Tofu Croutons

Admittedly, there are probably a zillion kale salad recipes out there. Here's my own spin on this old favorite, one that's easy to make and is a real crowd-pleaser. It's another one of those recipes that can be changed to suit your tastes or accommodate what you have on hand. I had these veggies on hand and needed to use them up, but feel free to play around with it and find a balance of ingredients that works for you.

If you don't have a lot of time or experience with stemming and chopping kale, most grocery stores sell the bagged version pre-shredded for you. It usually has carrot and other stuff already in it and can be a time-saver when you need it.

The blackened tofu adds a nice punch to this dish. You can also use this recipe for other dishes that might be good with blackened tofu. It's certainly the star of this salad. A blackened tofu sandwich would be good, come to think of it. Hmmm...

2 bunches kale, stemmed and chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 small can sliced black olives
1 large tomato, diced
1 avocado, halved and diced

For the tofu:
1 package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tbsp ground smoked paprika
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer (Bob's Red Mill works, too)
4 tbsp water
1/2 tsp maple syrup or agave nectar

For the dressing:
1/4 cup sesame tahini
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
2 tsp whole grain mustard
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Make the tofu: In a large, shallow dish, combine the seasonings and set aside. Take the pressed tofu and turn it on its side. Slice the long, narrow end of the block of tofu right down the middle, so you have two thinner blocks. Then, stack them flat and slice them twice length-wise. Rotate them and slice them four times the other way so you have nicely-sized cubes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the water, egg replacer and maple syrup/agave. Dip the cubes in the liquid mixture a few at a time and then toss them in the seasoning, making sure that all sides are covered. As you finish, just put them in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake the tofu for 25 minutes, tossing it around a little about halfway through.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and then put the baked tofu in. Stir it around and ensure all sides are being cooked. The outer seasoning will harden a bit and form a crust. It'll also blacken a bit. This shouldn't take more than 3 minutes or so. Have a plate line with paper towels standing by for when they're done.

In a large bowl, toss the salad ingredients together a bit at a time to combine.

Add the tofu and dressing as you go. Once it's done, everything should be coated and the tofu should be distributed enough to get a "crouton" in every bite.