Sun-Dried Tomato Tofu Spread

My husband isn’t a fan of sandwiches.  Actually, there are a number of food things of which he isn’t a fan.  It can make preparing food difficult if I cater to his tastes.  Thankfully, he’s not demanding about it and will quietly eat whatever is set in front of him (unlike my fussy eater…who should know better at almost 15.)  This was his favorite spread of the 3 that I made last week.

That being said, his favorite way of eating it wasn’t on a sandwich!  (No surprise there!)  He put it on top of leftover rice and heated it in the microwave.  Then after tasting it he said something about ketchup….*gasp!*  (I’m telling you, having a non-taster destroy finely-tuned “gourmet” dishes can do something to your psyche!  lol) I couldn’t bear it.  I said, “Here, give it to me.”  And disappeared into the kitchen.  There was half a jar of pizza sauce and some vegan mozzarella cheese leftover in the frig.  I topped the whole thing artfully with those items and reheated it all in the microwave.  Now you know why it was his favorite of the fillings ~ because it was more like a pizza casserole!  (Actually, it smelled wonderful heated up even before I embellished it.  It probably would make into patties or meatballs, or into a casserole situation very nicely.)

Nevertheless, this does make a marvelous sandwich spread.  I can say this not only because I like it so much, but because my fussy eater loved it ~ even though it does have sun-dried tomatoes in it!

If you use organic ingredients (as in any recipe), the results will be tastier.

Tofu Spread

  • 1/2 c. pecan meal (or very finely chopped pecans – you can do this in the food processor before you chop any of the other moist ingredients)
  • 1/4 of a large onion
  • 1 7-8″ stalk of celery heart, cut into several chunks
  • 14-16 oz. water-packed extra-firm tofu, rinsed and squeezed out some
  • 1/4 c. sliced or diced sun-dried tomatoes ~ oil packed
  • 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 c. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast

Place pecan meal in a bowl.  Finely chop onion and celery in food processor.  Place in the bowl with the pecan meal.

Process remaining ingredients until sun-dried tomatoes are mostly in small pieces and tofu is not smooth, but evenly textured and well mixed with everything else.  (See picture.)  Scrape out into the bowl with pecan meal, onion, and celery.  Stir everything is evenly combined.  Chill for an hour or so to meld flavors.

Sweet and Savory Walnut-Olive Spread

The weather suddenly decided it’s summer ~ and it’s too hot to cook.  (Hey, going from chilly to very warm in a short time makes me whine about cooking!)  I thought maybe cold sandwiches would work for a change from salads of varying types.  I didn’t want anything typical, boring, or mundane, though, since my crew isn’t marvelously thrilled by sandwiches to begin with ~ except my son-in-law, bless his easy-to-cook-for heart!

Considering the fact that many vegan-spread recipes I already had on hand contained beans and/or bread crumbs (which I needed to avoid this time for allergy-sake), I went searching.  I started looking online (what a marvelous resource!) and found this recipe.  But I didn’t have any limes or fresh parsley.  Rats.  (I did have lemons…does that count?)  I decided to make it anyway and use the lemons to replace the lime juice.  They’re similar, right?

Well…it was kinda plain, even with the lemon juice.  I didn’t want to throw it out ~ and serving it “as is” was tantamount to doing the same thing ~ just a few days later when nobody touches as leftovers.  I started throwing things in that might “fix” it.  Some of them might seem a bit unorthodox, but what emerged was pretty tasty!

This is a thick spread.  It would work well on celery, crackers, or bread ~ or in a lettuce wrap!  My favorite way was on celery.

Stay tuned…there will be 2 more sandwich spreads coming in the next couple of days!

Sweet and Savory Walnut-Olive Spread

  • 1 c. walnuts, soaked 2-4 hours (if for only 2 hours, change the water once or twice to speed the process up a bit)
  • 2/3 c. pitted black olives
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 2 T. minced sweet onion
  • 1 T. dried cranberries
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 2 T. almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp. dillweed
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup (opt., but it really gives a deep note of flavor)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until everything is well combined.  Scrape the sides often to keep things moving, as it’s very thick.  Don’t process so long that the walnuts become walnut butter, but long enough to make the cranberries turn into little pieces or flecks.

Chicken-Style Seasoning

Becoming a vegan can be a HUGE decision fraught with difficulties as you learn just how to fix good food in a new way.  It is easier now than it was 16 years ago, between increased availability of vegan cookbooks and the marvelous advantage of the internet.  Each person who takes the step to change their diet – in whatever increments they choose – stands on the shoulders of those who have come before who have already figured out some of the difficulties.  We learn from them and, hopefully, pass that information on to others, as well as anything new we have learned.

When my kids were diagnosed with allergies to dairy, my life “ended” suddenly ~ at least as I knew it!  I had to find out now how to cook without dairy (and other things that they couldn’t have.)  A cookbook that saved my family’s taste buds was “Whole Foods for Whole People” by Lucy Fuller (which Amazon says is temporarily out of stock.)  If I could only have gleaned ONE recipe from it, I would have to choose this one that I share with you today.  With this single mix by my side, I have invented countless recipes and replaced bouillon cubes, broth, etc., in umpteen dishes.

I give you…..Chicken-Style Seasoning.  If you have used McKay’s Chicken-Style Seasoning, you can replace it with this (although you may need an extra 1/2 tsp. per cup of water by comparison.)  Oh, and I recommend you make at least a double batch to save time.  Believe me, you’ll use it up!  Especially if you keep checking back to this blog for any new recipes that I post.  I use it regularly.

Chicken-Style Seasoning

  • 1 c. nutritional yeast flakes (some people call it brewer’s yeast, but make sure you get nutritional yeast – and certainly not baking yeast!)
  • 2 T. salt
  • 2 T. onion powder
  • 1 T. celery salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ T. dried parsley flakes (stir in last)

Pulse in blender all but the parsley flakes, very briefly.  (You may use a food processor, but it won’t become a powder as easily.)  Stir in the parsley flakes and store in an airtight container in a cool place.

Use 1 1/2 tsp. in a cup of water to make a broth or to replace 1 bouillon cube when making soup.  This is fantastic on popcorn, too!