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cabbage

Tofu Banh Mi Collard Wraps with Wasabi Peanut Sauce

Tofu Bahn Mi Collard Wraps

Certain neighborhoods of Philly are infiltrated with Banh mi. The classic Vietnamese sandwich essentially acts as the Chipotle of the Asian food world, but even cheaper. You walk in, select your “meat”, and leave within 5-10 minutes with an aluminum wrapped, $5 foot-long sandwich, ready to be eaten. It’s a great feeling.

Scallions

Since it’s so easy to pick up a Banh mi around Philly, I rarely take the time to make it. Yet, it’s hands-down one of my favorites of the sandwich world, and so on the occasion that I’m getting a simultaneous desire for both Banh mi and a chef’s knife in my hand, I put on my cooking hat and grab my own tofu to be canvassed.

Tofu Bahn Mi Collard Wraps

When Banh mi making is going down in my kitchen, you can nearly guarantee it’s going to have a little flair to it. What’s the point of making the original version when I can grab that anytime, with little detriment to my bank account?  Besides, if I’m recreating a dish, I’m always about finding further ways to maximize its flavor since the ingredient make-up lays entirely in my hands. No doubt, that’s going on with this recipe. Wassuppppp wasabi?

Tofu Bahn Mi Collard Wraps

I don’t eat a ton of white bread, but when it comes to Banh Mi, a chewy white roll will always oust a whole wheat counterpart. This is one instance where whole wheat just won’t work. The flavor is unfortunately just too overpowering.

Collard wraps, on the other hand, those can create some Banh Mi magic.

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Here, collard wraps are able to balance the delicate freshness of the traditional Banh mi composition, while adding an even extra layer of freshness on top of it all. It lightens up the whole meal, while enabling more flavor to shine through. Peel back that one-inch layer of bread, and the notes of deliciousness from the slaw, cilantro and other jamboree of ingredients are able to reach their fullest potential.

Shredded carrots

Be patient with the tofu, and make sure it gets a nice crisp so it can add that contrast to the creamy peanut sauce you’ll place beneath it.

For a fun, spicy twist, this peanut sauce receives a generous punch of wasabi that’ll make it stand out among other sauces. I love the flavor it brings to the subtle sweetness of the peanuts and the carrots.

CollardWraps_blogmontage

True to the grab-and-go nature of banh mi — but more so with the intention to make your wrap-eating a little less messy! — envelope your collard packages in aluminum foil. This will seal in all the flavors so they don’t end up on your shirt. Although, if you’re like me, that’ll probably happen anyway.

I brought that big pile up above into work last week, and served it with a slide of Asian slaw for my coworkers. Two thumbs up, all around.

Since these are destined for pre-packaging, this will makes a great recipe for your own workweek lunch. While best the first day, the wraps can certainly withstand being rolled up the night before and kept in the fridge till you head out.

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Asian Cabbage Slaw with Basil and Ginger

Asian Cabbage Slaw with Ginger and Basil

My blog is going on a 2 week vacation, while its author heads to the West Coast. (Hello California and Portland!) Before it says a brief adieu, however, we are leaving you with this excellent summertime recipe.

Asian Cabbage Slaw with Ginger and Basil

Have no fear if cabbages are ransacking your garden, farmers’ market or CSA share, and you haven’t a clue what to do with them. I can relate. Hence why I’m hoping to help you out here with this recipe before I jet-set away for a few.

That blank state of mind seems to be a yearly occurrence for me when cabbages starting forming into bowling balls by the masses. I really do enjoy cabbage. But what do you make with it that will use it up fast enough? A few shreds on top of some fish tacos won’t begin to peel off those layers. Nor will most pasta sautes and other recipes where cabbage comes in handy.

Of course the simple answer is coleslaw.

Cabbage

While as I said I love cabbage, there’s only so much coleslaw I can tolerate. Cabbage by the masses paired with mayo by the masses ends in feelings of eventual repulsion for the leafy veg.

Not that I’m a mayo-hater or anything. I just can’t eat it with slaw on a regular basis until my family and friends’ gardens stop crying me cabbage.

This Asian slaw however? It’s something my fork could get down with daily. Especially in the summer when almost every lunch/dinner screams for a crunchy, cool salad.

Asian Cabbage Slaw with Ginger and Basil

I like this because it’s refreshing, yet each bite hits you with an immense amount of flavor. You get sesame paired with summer basil, and a slightly sweet and spicy kick from the rice vinegar paired with the ginger. Use a food processor to make its assembly easy, and feel free to top with roasted peanuts or any other garnish of your choice.

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Quick Spring Eats

Spring so far has been more about cleaning than cooking. It’s been all about salad days — Mac DeMarco included. Morning runs — some in shorts and a t-shirt!(!!)  And quick, unplanned dinners. It’s been about leisurely minutes spent outside, explorations with friends, and cleaning my psyche. (I hope you didn’t think by cleaning, I meant my apartment. Currently, my laundry’s flooding my room, and likely covering up the dust that’s swimming down beneath it. Hey – that could be considered laundering the floor though, right?)

Sometimes, when spring calls, you’ve just got to shift your priorities a bit and soak up all that sun that bright sky is shining down. However, that doesn’t mean turning your diet to crap. Short on time certainly doesn’t mean pizza night should be every night.

Let's eat

For Lunch/Dinner: When you can have a few quick and easy recipes up your back sleeve, your spring cleaning will feel so much more CLEAN. As I said, I’ve been doing a lot of salad. Raw greens are my go-to, largely because their heartiness can take on a lot, and because they’re easy to make a meal out of. Add grains. Add beans. Maybe add herbs or cheese. Add nuts. Add other veggies. Definitely add avocado. Create a salad that feels like much more than a salad, so you can feel both healthy and excited. The best part? When you start with a base of raw kale or collards, you can make a huge bowl on Sunday night, and have something already made you can munch on all week. Throw this Tahini Dressing on it, and you’ll be golden.

Chia Overnight Oats

For Breakfast: If you’re like me, and you’ve been using the spring weather to get up early and bike/run/read/whatever — or if you’re not, perhaps consider doing so; it feels great  — it’s ideal to have a breakfast that’s both energizing and quick. I HATE rushing around in the morning. It starts my day off on a stressed out note. But when going for a run in the morning, I can’t say I love waking up extra, extra early either. My solution? Have breakfast prepared the night before.

Here’s where overnight oats comes in. I’ve definitely featured a few of these recipes before on my blog. I’m still eating it on the regular, and am still loving how satisfying it is. Plus, it’s made in advance so you literally need just one minute in the morning to pull it out of the fridge, top it with nuts, and drizzle maple syrup on top — leaving all your other morning minutes to relax and fuel up. See below for the recipe to my latest chia seed rendition.

Curried Ketchup Cabbage and Potato Stir-Fry

For Lunch/Dinner: Another go-to is breakfast-for-dinner. Pack your breakfast with veggies, and this becomes an incredibly quick health-for-your-buck kind of meal. My breakfast of choice this past week? Eggs a la Curried Ketchup Potato Cabbage Stir-Fry.

There’s a beer garden in Philly that turns simple snacks into memorable menu items solely by the curried ketchup they offer on the condiments table. I’m pretty sure all they do is add a little curry powder to regular store-bought ketchup – which is what I do with my potato/cabbage breakfast-for-dinners.

There’s no set recipe here. Dice 1 large onion and 1 large potato, and saute in some olive oil until the onion is caramelized. Meanwhile, slice up about 1/2 head cabbage. Add 1/4-1/3 cup of ketchup to the pan, along with a palmful of curry powder. Stir, and then add the cabbage. Add a splash or two of apple cider vinegar, and cook over medium heat. If cabbage begins to stick, add 1/3 cup of water, and cover pan with a lid. Finish cooking until cabbage is tender, 8-10 minutes in total, adding a few red chili pepper flakes if you want it spicier. Top with a pan-fried egg, and serve.

Don’t worry. I’ll be back to cooking up slightly more elaborate meals pretty soon once the novelty of spring wears off. And if that doesn’t happen, then the abundance of early season veggies on their way is bound to get me back in the kitchen. I’m getting antsy just thinking about it.

What’s your favorite spring meal? Or your favorite quick meal to make?

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Butternut and Black Lentil Collard Wraps with Cilantro Pistou


Black lentils

Collard wraps are my new obsession. I wish I made the discovery a few years ago. Perhaps then I’d be a bit better at rolling them by this point…Thank you aluminum foil for keeping me (somewhat) clean on a regular basis.

I’m psyched to present my newest version of these. Can we just start off by discussing how beautiful those above lentils are?! Their bluish shimmer is so striking. How could you not want to put them with some butternut and wrap them tightly in an equally gorgeous green shell? The beauty of clean eating, I tell you. It feels almost too easy.

Butternut and Black Lentil Collard Wraps with Cilantro Pistou

I provided my office with lunch for the very first time this past week. (We’re a small team.) And thus, I also gave my co-workers their very first taste of collard wraps.

We’re a health-based startup, so needless to say, I was immediately given employee of the month. Kidding. But these wraps did go over rather well, and I foresee more collard wraps in their future. Woohoo! I’m always on a never-ending healthy eating revolution, so I love when new ideas are a hit.

Light and portable (with the help of that handy dandy aluminum foil, as mentioned above), these make for a great workweek lunch, one that will leave you feeling alert and ready to go. The cilantro pistou adds a tangy, almost Baja-esque feel with the help of a little cabbage for some crunch.

Butternut paired with avocado is also a new obsession of mine, as I feel both compliment each other’s butteriness. Find them here together, and let me know if you feel the same. (Sometimes I’ll just steam up winter squash, and melt some smashed, salted avocado on top once it’s finished. It’s heavenly, and oh so simple.)

I wouldn’t share just any recipe for my first time making lunch for my office. So trust me, this one’s a healthful delight. Maybe you can impress some friends with it, too. And start a collard wrap revolution with me. Enjoy!

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Coconut Curry Cabbage Stir-Fry with Pasta

Coconut Curry Cabbage Stir-Fry with Pasta

Sometimes I get the weirdest cravings. Like for iced coffee in the middle of a February snowstorm. Or for bubble baths (likely a result of said iced coffee). Or for cabbage, a vegetable I think of little outside of those lone, random lustings.

Generally, cabbage comes into my mind mainly in the summer, when its heads are running rampant in the garden. It comes to mind when I’m dining outside, veg. or fish tacos in hand, and a few shreds of crunch lace the top. I can get down with some cole slaw, too, but I can’t say I’m dreaming of it all year. It’s definitely not something I seek out. (This recipe excluded.)

Cabbage, however, seized my mind this past cold, wintry week. (Along with thoughts of California. And beaches. And everything else warm-related, to the extent I started writing about it in my music journalism…)

Cabbage

As per usual, while working at a coffee shop shifted to daydreaming of dinner at a coffee shop, as per not usual, my mind drifted to cabbage. And so was born this recipe.

Cowabunga.

Coconut Curry Cabbage Stir-Fry with Pasta

Coconut curry’s something I daydream of on the regular, so no surprises here. It gives this pasta a vegan sauciness that feels creamy but not overly rich. It pairs perfectly with the crunch from the cabbage, and the peanuts thrown on top. Feel free to swirl in a little peanut butter if you do want to take it to the richer side, or if you simply don’t have any peanuts on hand. Just don’t skip out on the nutty element all together.

A little cabbage, yes cabbage, to brighten up a winter day. Who would’ve dreamed? Me.

Green cabbage

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