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Archive for Vegan

HEALTHY RECIPE: Tofu Caprese Salad

Substitute tofu for mozzarella in your
caprese salad. Photo courtesy


We love cheese. We eat it daily: mozzarella, feta and goat cheese are favorites.

They’re also loaded with saturated fats. So one of our 2011 goals is to look for satisfying substitutes.

When we had lunch at Mai Cuisine, a creative New York-area sushi bar-and-restaurant chain, we didn’t have to look far. We discovered Tofu Caprese, which has become a new favorite low-calorie, lowfat appetizer, side or snack.

Mai has cleverly substituted tofu for mozzarella. (Tofu is sometimes called “the cheese of Asia” due to its physical resemblance to a block of farmer’s cheese.) It’s delicious, and it’s also vegan, helping us with our environmental goals to eat vegan two days a week. (If you don’t know how animal-based foods contribute to global warming, here’s the scoop.)

While cheese has protein, it has a lot of saturated fat. An wee ounce of mozzarella (made from the milk of cows or water buffalo) has less fat than other types of cheese, but that’s still 6g, including 4g saturated fat. And don’t think you’re “doing good” by choosing part-skim mozzarella: It saves just one gram of total fat.


On the other hand, tofu, which is pressed from the curds of soybean milk, is a highly nutritious, high-quality protein that has much more protein per ounce compared to meat. It has no saturated fat, is filled with calcium, manganese, with a good amount of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

Try it; you’ll like it!



PRODUCT: Dr. McDougall Healthy Soup

Photo courtesy Right Foods.


The doctor is in…and he’s making healthy soup.

John McDougall, M.D., physician and nutritionist, has been studying the effects of nutrition on health for more than 20 years. A founding father of the modern wellness movement, he established the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California, to help people improve their health.

His line of foods features oatmeal cups—add water and heat, (loved ‘em)—soup cups and low-sodium soups (bland). The newest entry is a line of heat-and-eat soups, about two cups per carton.

The soups are packed full of good things—veggies, brown rice and other whole grains, plus black beans, peas and lentils. Some are so thick, they could be a side dish!

Needless to say, we enjoyed these fat-free, dairy-free vegan soups as a light lunch, snack and dinner course. Read the full review.

  • Find more of our favorite soups plus recipes in our Soup Section.
  • How to garnish 20 different soups.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Amy’s Organic Chocolate Loaf Cake

    Hankering for a piece of chocolate cake?

    Keep one of Amy’s new Organic Chocolate Cakes in the freezer—regular or gluten-free—and slice a piece whenever the mood strikes.

    For a vegan product—no butter or eggs—the cakes are rich and moist, and a good quick fix. The gluten-free version disappeared from our freezer as quickly as the conventional recipe. The one thing we could wish for is a bit more cocoa flavor. But add a scoop of ice cream and you won’t notice.

    For a crowd-pleasing dessert, top a slice with a scoop of ice cream and provide ramekins of chocolate and/or butterscotch chips, chopped nuts, dried cherries or other favorite toppings. People will have fun customizing their garnishes. Or drizzle a warm dessert sauce—such as recent Top Pick Of The Week, Sassy Sauces.

    In addition to being organic, the cakes are certified kosher by Ner Tamid K.


    Vegan chocolate cake, regular or gluten-free.
    Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

  • Find our favorite cakes and recipes in our Gourmet Cakes Section.
  • Find our favorite gluten-free products in our Gluten-Free Section.
  • Comments

    RECIPES: Ice Cream Sodas With Iced Coffee & Iced Tea

    Here are two ideas for cooling-off drinks, courtesy of ChocolateBox Café in Malibu, California.

    Instead of an ice cream soda, scoop gelato or ice cream into an iced espresso and sorbet into iced tea.

  • Iced Coffee Float. Coffee lovers can pair an iced espresso with gelato in chocolate chip, coffee, hazelnut, tiramisu or vanilla (you can substitute ice cream). If you’re in the mood, add a tablespoon or two of coffee liqueur to the iced espresso. Top the drink with whipped cream and garnish with a light sprinkling of cocoa powder.
  • Iced Tea Float. Tea lovers can create a SorbeTeani with iced tea and sorbet. It’s a no-fat, no-cholesterol vegan drink if you leave off the whipped cream. Combine iced green tea or rooibos with fruit sorbet in lemon, orange, passion fruit or raspberry. Garnish with a mint leaf and optional whipped cream or vegan whipped topping.
    Pre-chill the glasses in the freezer for a frostier drink.


    Cool off with an iced espresso combined with
    coffee gelato. Photo courtesy
    ChocolateBox Café.


    If you’re in the neighborhood, ChocolateBox Café is hosting a Summer Happy Hour. All ChocolateBox Café drinks, hot and cold, are half off Mondays through Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (through August 26, 2010).

    What’s the difference between ice cream and gelato? Sorbet and sherbet? See our Ice Cream Glossary.



    PRODUCT: “Beefed Up” Tofu

    Nasoya has created a new product for vegetarians, vegans and others on a no meat/low meat diet.

    Tofu Plus is fortified to provide 20% of the daily value of five nutrients that others get from meat: vitamins B2, B6, B12, D2 and calcium.

    Replacing three ounces of meat (the size of a medium hamburger) with three ounces of Tofu Plus avoids six grams of saturated fat and 53 milligrams of cholesterol.

    Tofu in general is low in saturated fat, is sodium- and cholesterol-free and is a good source of iron and phosphorus. It contains 8g of protein per serving.

    Tofu Plus is certified organic. The fortified tofu is available in Firm and Extra Firm textures. Extra Firm is better for grilling, baking or stir-fry; Firm is best for salads, crumbling and scrambling.

    Try this GRILLED TOFU SALAD recipe from Nasoya (find more recipes at


    Tofu Plus: the same tofu flavor and texture
    fortified with the nutrition of meat. Photo

    Ingredients: Marinade & Dressing
    • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
    • 1/2 inch of grated fresh ginger
    • 1 clove of minced fresh garlic
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

    Ingredients: Salad
    • 1 pkg Nasoya firm or extra firm tofu, cubed
    • 1 bag spring mix or spinach
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/4 cup walnuts
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

    1. Mix the marinade and dressing ingredients. Pour over the tofu and let sit for 15 minutes to 12 hours.

    2. Grill the tofu on high, flipping once there are grill marks. This will improve the texture of the tofu, making it more similar to meat. You can also pan-fry the tofu in a stovetop skillet or bake it in the oven. Once the tofu is lightly browned, let it cool.

    3. Toss the tofu and the remaining dressing into your salad and enjoy!


    Tofu is made from curding soymilk, much in the same way cheese is made from milk. First soybeans are ground with water and heated. The soymilk is separated from the solids, the hot soymilk is stirred and a coagulant (a natural firming agent) is added. The curds that form are poured into a forming box (a mold) and the whey is pressed out. The pressing action forms the curd into a solid block of tofu, which is also known as bean curd. Read all about tofu.


    PRODUCT: Stonehouse 27 Indian Simmer Sauces

    Like Indian food? Would you like an easy way to prepare it at home?

    Stonehouse 27 cooking sauces are a boon for anyone who enjoys Indian flavors and would like to enjoy them more often.

    From-scratch Indian cooking is time-consuming, but much of that time goes into the preparation of flavorful sauces, in which meat, fish and vegetables are then simmered.

    Stonehouse 27’s line of Indian cooking sauces, also known as simmer sauces, make it easy to prepare delicious main courses: Just add meat and/or vegetables and simmer for 30-40 minutes. While it’s cooking, make the rice.

    This is also healthier Indian cuisine. It’s all-natural and gluten-free with no added salt. The recipes use heart-healthy canola oil instead of the saturated fats; and diabetic-friendly, low-glycemic agave nectar instead of refined sugar.

    The flavors—Dates and Tamarind, Tamarind and Garlic, Tomato and Chilies, Cashews and Cream, and Cilantro and Coconut curries—have varying degrees of heat and are flexible to be used with meat/fish or vegetarian. Most varieties are vegan; two varieties are vegetarian.


    Turn out Indian fare with ease, with
    Stonehouse 27 cooking sauces. Photo by Yuliya Gorodetskaya | Fotolia.

  • Read the full review.
  • Find more of our favorite Indian products, including Fabulous Flats tandoori naan to go serve with your Stonehouse 27 preparations.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Gudernoobs From Woo-Hoo Foods

    Looking for a healthier sweet snack to feed candy-loving kids (or adults)? Gudernoobs just might fit the bill. Behind the goofy name is an all-natural, fruit-and-nut-based sweet treat.

    Created by a team of parents, including a physician’s assistant, Gudernoobs are made in four flavors. The small, individually wrapped chews include Awesome Apple Cider, Big Time Brownie, Outrageous Oatmeal Banana and Perfect Peanut Butter.

    Billed as “the original un-candy,”* each flavor has only five or six simple, healthy ingredients, like bananas, dates, flax, oatmeal, raisins and vanilla. There is no added sugar, artificial flavors, dyes, high-fructose corn syrup or preservatives. The product is all-natural and vegan.

    *NOTE to hypesters and sloganeers: What is an original un-candy, i.e., non-candy? Fruit, grain, and anything that isn’t candy is un-candy. The original “sweet” was the date, which grew in the Middle East millennia before the word “candy” was formed; along with honey. The word “candy” is derived from the Persian “qandi,“ for sugar (also note the Sanskrit “kha??aka?,” sugar candy). The first qandi were fruits and nuts rolled in honey.



    The name may be wacky, but kids will love
    it. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

    With 60 calories per two-piece serving, and only 5 to 7 grams of sugar, Gudernoobs make a wholesome snack for kids. In fact, one of the co-founders’ kids came up with the wacky product name. Try them frozen for a cool, firmer-textured treat.

    Gudernoobs are available at select retailers or online by visiting

    More Healthy, Sweet Snacks

    This product and company name reminds us of our personal favorite “healthy snack,” Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. Created by Laura Trice, M.D., the products are superb. But if she hadn’t sent them to us, we’d never have bought them off the shelf.

    We don’t want to eat “junk food,” wholesome or not. (What’s wrong with “Laura’s Healthy Sweets?”) Nevertheless, we encourage you to check out these cholesterol free, vegan and (in some varieties) gluten-free snacks. The Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food line is certified kosher (although a Jewish grandmother might not approve of the name, either).


    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Organic Nectars Chocolate Bars: Better For You

    Have a chocolate craving? Consider if you’d rather have a chocolate bar that’s lower on the glycemic index than those sweetened with sugar. Or maybe you want one that’s guaranteed allergy-free?

    Then unwrap the new, raw cacao gourmet chocolate bars from Organic Nectars. These new handmade chocolate bars—the first to be sweetened with organic palm nectar—are free of cane sugar, dairy, gluten, trans fats and cholesterol as are all Organic Nectars products.* In addition to being organic, the true benefit here is the palm nectar, which has a glycemic index of just 35—almost half that of sugar (which is 65 on the G.I. Index). That makes Organic Nectars a better-for-you chocolate bar.

    *Note that plain chocolate bars are typically free of gluten, trans fats and cholesterol, and generally, only milk chocolate has dairy; but if you are concerned about dairy, read the label to see if any has been included or if the product was made on a machine that also makes milk chocolate.

    In addition to being organic, the major benefit here is the palm nectar, which has a glycemic index of just 35—almost half that of sugar (which is 65 on the G.I. Index). That makes Organic Nectars a better-for-you chocolate bar. The chocolate is also available in one-pound blocks for baking.



    Take a bite out of these organic, vegan and
    kosher chocolate bars, which come in six varieties.

    Available in six flavors, the vegan chocolate bars have a smooth taste and texture and a higher cacao content than most bars, which means more antioxidants. The bars are certified USDA Organic and certified Non-Dairy Kosher by Natural Food Certifiers. The 1.4-ounce bars retail at $5.20 to $5.40 each.

  • THE PRIZE: One winner will receive six chocolate bars in each of the following flavors: 54% chocolate, 70% chocolate, 85% chocolate, coconut milk chocolate, golden white chocolate and raspberry bittersweet chocolate.
  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our NutriNibbles Section and enter your email address for the prize drawing.
  • Find out more about Organic Nectars at
  • Read our review of Organic Nectars vegan ice cream and dessert sauces.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Amy’s Organic Soups

    Just in time for the cold spell come three hearty soups from Amy’s Organic.

    If you don’t know this brand, try it and become one of the many fans. The products are organic, tasty and better for you than most supermarket brands.

    Amy’s aims to appeal to vegetarians and vegans as well as the general audience.

    The three new soups include Chunky Tomato Bisque, Fire Roasted Southwestern Vegetable and Spanish Rice and Red Bean.

  • Chunky Tomato Bisque is creamy, velvety and sweet as sugar. Alas, that’s because there are 14g of sugar is per serving—almost three times as much as the other two varieties. You’ve heard us say this before, but there is more sweetener hidden in our food supply than is necessary or healthy. That Amy’s uses organic evaporated cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup means nothing to your glycemic index.
  • Fire Roasted Southwestern Vegetable Soup is vegan, a flavorful mix of tomato, potato cubes, roasted corn, bell pepper, black beans and onions. Green chiles and chipotle are listed on the label, but we tasted pepper rather than chile heat.


    Stay warm this winter with Amy’s Organic
    soups. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

  • Spanish Rice & Red Bean Soup is mis-named. Spanish rice is a spicy white rice side dish prepared with tomatoes, onions and green peppers. Putting the words “Spanish rice” in front of this red bean soup with tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, zucchini and brown rice (which is the eighth ingredient on the label—i.e., not a whole lot of rice) is misleading. But the soup is hearty and nicely peppery.
  • The line is gluten free, certified organic by QAI and kosher by Ner Tamid K. The soups are low fat, cholesterol free, high in fiber and have no GMOs.


    RECIPE: Falafel Sliders

    This recipe was the grand prize winner in the 2009 Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off. The inspired idea of falafel sliders is the creation of Amy Siegel of Clifton, New Jersey. Enjoy the recipe, courtesy of Manischewitz,



  • 1 envelope Manischewitz Falafel Mix from 6.4 oz box
  • 2 pounds ground turkey*
  • 1 cup mint leaves, chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large Bermuda onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 can tehina (tahini)
  • 12 3-inch soft rolls
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, washed and patted dry
  • Pepper
  • Water
    *Use regular instead of “light” ground turkey for best results in this recipe.



    The 2009 grand prize winner: Falafel
    Sliders by Amy Siegel. Photo courtesy
    The Manishewitz Company.


    1. In a large mixing bowl, combine falafel mix, turkey, mint leaves, black pepper to taste and 3-4 tablespoons cold water, to moisten. Shape mixture into 12 small patties.

    2. Heat a grill pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Grill patties for 3-5 minutes per side, until no longer pink in center.

    3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and Bermuda onion. Sauté for 10-12 minutes, until softened and golden.
    4. In a small bowl, stir together tehina with ¼ cup water. Add more water to make a thinner sauce, if desired, set aside. Heat rolls in a 250°F oven for 5 minutes, or until warm.

    5. To assemble sliders: On a plate, place bottom half of roll, lettuce leaf, cooked patty, onions, 1 tablespoon tehina and top half of roll. Garnish with additional chopped mint leaves. Serve remaining tehina sauce on the side for dipping.

    The history of falafel.

    Find more of our favorite international recipes.



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