Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Pasta, Sprouts, and Pretentious Rice Crispies

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pasta, Sprouts, and Pretentious Rice Crispies

For dinner tonight was simple baked tofu and spinach pasta. I adapted this from a Vegetarian Times recipe for Garlicky Tofu. The original recipe called for much too much garlic for my taste (and I like garlic!), prebaked tofu (I can bake the tofu myself, thank you, it takes 20 minutes), and not enough spinach. This recipe was very simple and very filling. I used a different pasta this time, an organic whole grain pasta with flax, and neither of us were particularly sent by it. But the rest was good, so I’ll do this again, but with a different pasta.

I used the Veganomicon recipe for Italian Marinated Tofu and baked it, the above stated not-anything-to-write-home-about pasta, an entire bag of fresh baby spinach steamed, and store bought mushroom onion marinara. It only took about a half hour to cook, and it was healthy and so-so (we mostly ate around the noodles and there was plenty of spinach to allow for it).

I also tried Lizzy’s Roasted Mustard Brussels Sprouts again and they turned out much better. I made a lot more mustard sauce, and it had too much zip, so I added a little agave and that smoothed it out. I basted the sprouts again about half way through cooking time, and I think that helped with the flavor as well. Yum!

I felt like baking tonight, but not really baking. Anyone else ever feel that way? What to do, eh? I decided to make vegan rice crispy treats, as, well, this is ‘baking’ without baking. I made what I like to call a ‘Pretentious Rice Crispy Treat’ as I added chopped hazelnuts, diced dried apricots, and shredded coconut to them. Brett and I discovered this lovely flavor combination from a box of organic granola bars we bought a bit back. Both of us had been wondering where else we could use this flavor combination. We came up with two ideas, a rice crispy treat or oatmeal (super creative I know).

I found a product called ‘Ricemellow Cream’ at the store and it’s vegan with no hydrogenated oils or sugars added. So I decided to try it out, and it’s pretty good and makes a mean crispy treat.

J’s Pretentious ‘Not Your Momma’s’ Rice Crispy Treat

1 10 oz box organic puffed brown rice cereal
1-2 tubs Suzanne’s Ricemellow Cream (or other marshmallow substitute)
1-2 tbsp Earth Balance (I like the organic whipped variety)
handful of chopped hazelnuts
lots of organic dried apricots, diced
1 cup (or more) shredded coconut (I used organic reduced fat)

Pour cereal in a large bowl.

Heat Earth Balance and ricemellow cream in a sauce pan until they begin to melt. Add the hazelnuts, apricots, and coconut and stir well.

Once melted, pour over puffed brown rice and stir.

Spread mixture into a 9x13 pan and let sit until cooled. Cut into squares.


These were really easy and quick, between dinner and these treats I was in the kitchen for less than an hour. Nice.

So, before I close, I had to let people know that Brett finally started a blog! I am so happy he did. I can tell you, it definitely has nothing to do with food (though I’m sure he [or I as I may post on his blog from time to time] may broach the topic of veg*nism at least once). His points of view are – well, different, but not far out there or unreasonable (as are, I believe, my own). I have always thought Brett has a great way of articulating his opinions on things, so I am happy others get to enjoy (or fume at) his musings as well. If anyone dares, they can pop over and check it out. That is my plug, but seriously, I’m stoked, I love a good debate as much as the next person and hope to see some lively discussion going on around some important and touchy issues. Sometimes you have to get uncomfortable and really rethink some fundamental things to really get somewhere. These are just, of course, my humble opinions, but I thought I’d share.

Well, anyways.

‘Til next time!


Lizzy said...

Ohh I've been craving spinach! This morning I took some brussels sprouts out of the freezer because I want to make the mustard version again, too! And I'll definitely use more sauce this time =)
And some spinach to go along with it and I'm thinking about trying quinoa. I bought it a few weeks ago, but haven't made it yet. How do you cook it? There's no cooking instruction and I've read several instructions online. Some said 5 minutes, others 15 minutes. I don't want to mess it up when I try it for the first time.

I bought some gluten free pasta yesterday. Hopefully it'll taste good, because it's a huge carton.

Ohhhh, rice crispy squares! They're not well known in Germany and when I was offered one back in Canada five years ago I had no idea what to expect. Your version sounds so damn good with the nuts and apricot ♥
When I don't feel like baking I'll make granola(bars) from now on ;)

And I totally agree with you on that -> Sometimes you have to get uncomfortable and really rethink some fundamental things to really get somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Mmm. That pasta looks sooo yummy. It's such a versatile food! I really must try that sprouts recipe, it just sounds so delicious, especially since I've never been a huge fan.

Ooh I wish I could find a marshmallow substitute so I could make your rice squares, I miss them from my childhood.

Jennifer said...

Lizzy - I too love spinach, and Brett also loves spinach, so I like to make it often as it helps him get his veggies (I really don't have to worry about that, but he doesn't like veggies as much as me).

Oooooh! You should most DEFINITELY try quinoa. It is probably my favorite grain, so easy to cook, it tastes great, and is highly nutritious. This might also be something you could feed to you bf, as Brett can really dig on some quinoa, he always gets upset that I don't make more, so I'll have to start making a double batch or something.

Directions for cooking quinoa:

Rinse VERY WELL in a mesh strainer (it will taste bitter if not well rinsed).

Put 1 cup quinoa in a small pot with 2 cups of water.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.

Cover and cook until all water has been absorbed, 10-15 minutes.

Did you know that quinoa is also pretty good raw? Can't do that with rice!

I think the problem with the pasta we tried was that it was 'too healthy'. They were trying to combine an awful lot of ingredients to make it as healthy as possible and this left a texture that had was not very good.

You should start a German Rice Crispy Squares movement! Make 'em the next big thing. I myself am not a huge fan of plain rice crispies, but adding nuts, fruit, and coconut made them SO good. And they take hardly any time to make. What's not to love?

That’s about that. You know, I understand that being uncomfortable is - well, uncomfortable, but sometimes it takes that for someone to change in a positive way, or at least be able to have an understanding of where others are coming from. I think discomfort is not only what got me to give up cars for good (seeing that oil fuels war, environmental degradation, injustice, etc) but also led me to becoming vegan (I went veg for mostly environmental and health reasons [though animal rights are definitely a part of my veganism], and I was uncomfortably faced with the fact that eggs and other animal products were just as harmful to my health, the environment, and especially the animals as meat. As I had said at an earlier time I believe, I actually gave up dairy before I gave up meat, so this was not an issue when I went vegan.)

Romina - Thanks. I love pasta 'cause you can just kind throw whatever you want in.

I'm not sure how widely available the ricemellow creme is, but the brand I used is Suzanne's. I would figure if they have it in mid-Missouri it should be a lot of places right? Missouri is not exactly the most progressive or veg friendly place.

Pleasantly Plump Vegan said...

yr rice crispy treats sound awesome!

Happy Herbivore said...

i think our stomachs are on the SAME cycle. just yesterday i went and bought puffed brown rice and ricemellow to make 'rice crispy treats' I'll have to shove your additions in there.

p.s. nature's path hemp granola type bars taste like a rice crispy treat!

I really ought to blog about them because I'm obsessed.

Jennifer said...

Happy Herbivore - HAHA! That is TOO funny. You know, I was actually surprised at how good the ricemellow creme is. I had trouble not eating it out of the jar with a spoon. Adding the hazelnuts, apricots, and coconut took them to a different level than just plain 'ol crispy treats.

I actually eat Nature's Path Hemp Plus Raisin granola bars on a daily basis, they are generally my breakfast. And it was actually a different variety of Nature's Path granola bars (the Apricot and Nut) that introduced me to the flavor combination I used for the crispy treats.

I think we could easily dedicate an entire blog to the deliciousness that is the Nature's Path granola bar. All the ones I have tried to this point have been really good. When I went vegan I was pissed that there was not a variety of Kashi granola bars without honey (at least not that I could find), but now I'm thinking 'Kashi who?'


Jennifer said...

Pleasantly - They are very good. And so easy, if you can find some of this ricemellow creme, I'd definitely give it a try.

T said...

Oooh, those rice crispy treats are a dream come true! I love it when people veganize something I didnt realize I'd been missing.

And the pasta looks awesome too- greens in pasta are so fabulous and underutilized.

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

Oh, man! I used to LOVE Rice Krispie Treats! And I really, really, really love that Ricemellow Creme... So good! I don't know why I haven't tried vegan ones yet. Yours look so delicious!

Veggie said...

I was thinking about making rice krispie squares with Ricemellow Cream and was wondering how I would do, or if it would work. I guess I know the answer now, eh.

Jennifer said...

Veggie, you should they are tasty, the ricemellow doesn't melt the same as regular marshmallows, but once you start stirring it, it gets soft enough to easily mix with the puffed rice.