This lightening quick, nutritious, delicious, and colorful meal is satisfying on every level. Plus, if you care about such things, the entire enormous bowl is only 300 calories.
Simply heat together 2 handfuls fresh baby greens and an 8 ounce package shirataki noodles. Drain, place in a large bowl, and toss with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon soy sauce, just shy of 2 tablespoons hot chilli oil, fried chilies in oil, or hot chili crisp–available on the International Isle at the grocery store–and an optional dash crushed Sichuan peppercorns to tastw. Heap into a bowl and garnish with a smidge of the hot chili oil or crisp and a few roasted and lightly salted peanuts.
My addiction to hot chili crisp (or oil) from the grocery store is no secret, and I am happy to share my “secret” pizza recipe, which is really more of a simple method:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out your favorite pizza dough super thin and place on a baking stone or lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, top with very thinly sliced yellow onion and garlic and halved grape tomatoes. Sprinkle with vegan mozz–or not–and bake 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make a slaw of shredded cabbage, carrot, mayo (I use Walton Farms no-calorie mayo), and hot chili crisp/oil to taste. Pile on top of freshly baked pizza, top with pickled veg if desired, drizzle with a little more hot chili crisp, sprinkle with lightly salted peanuts, and garnish with a basil leaf.
I hope you love it as much as I do; I enjoyed two nights in a row!
It is fair to say I am obsessed with the Tofu Braised in Hot Chili Oil at Judy’s Sichuan, a great local restaurant. But with its big cubes of deep fried tofu, it is a fairly high calorie dish. So I have created a profusion of ways to incorporate the flavor profile into healthier dishes, including popcorn and even popcorn salad, a whole grain-based salad like no other.
I created this warming and pleasantly *lip numbing soup so that we could enjoy our black eyed peas on New Years Day with punched-up flavor. Though Bob and I have been very fortunate during the Covid19 pandemic, I felt I should enjoy a bowl of this good luck omen on behalf of this beleaguered world.
While I made the soup for the holiday, please enjoy it any day for any reason. These humble black eyed peas are remarkably tasty with their unexpected twist.
*Sichuan peppercorns, not peppers at all, possess a numbing property that is not due to heat and, in fact, enhances other flavors.
Sichuan Black Eyed Pea Soup Yield: 4 servings
1 teaspoon sesame oil 1/2 yellow onion, diced 1/2 red and 1/2 green bell pepper, diced 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 to 2 teaspoons ground Sichuan peppercorns (I purchase at Asian grocery) 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced on diagonal 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced on diagonal 1 to 2 tablespoons Chinese hot chili oil or fried chili crisp (I purchase the latter at Kroger on International aisle and use as is or make my chili oil from it) 2 cups fresh black eyed peas (you may substitute canned, rinsed and drained, or cooked dry peas) 1-15 ounce can lite coconut milk and 1/2 can warm water Optional Garnishes: scallions, thinly sliced on diagonal, lightly roasted and salted peanuts, star anise
Cover bottom of soup pot with water, add sesame oil, and place over medium heat to bring to simmer. Add onion and bell peppers, sprinkle with salt and ground Sichuan peppercorns, and simmer, stirring frequently, until tender. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavours have married, peas are very tender, and soup is heated through, approximately 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning to suit your taste and add more water if needed. If desired, puree 2 cups of soup and pour back in, stirring to distribute. The soup will be less colorful, but creamier; I enjoy it both ways. Serve in mugs or bowls garnished as desired.
Every Christmas, my late mother made traditional Chex Mix. She would not be at all happy with my messing with tradition.
With apologies to my mother, this year’s vegan Sichuan Chex Mix is inspired by my Chinese obsession from Judy’s Sichuan in Virginia Beach, VA: Tofu Braised in Hot Chili Oil. Redolent of garlic, ginger, and chilies, this dish features 4 other key ingredients: fried tofu and stir fried jalapeños, red and green bell pepper, and peanuts over Jasmin rice.
I think, though I am not certain, that an elusive flavor in the dish is lent by Sichuan Peppercorn which I purchase st the Asian market and grind myself. Warm, but not hot (to me), this seasoning also adds a very temporary, characteristic, and pleasant lip numbing sensation. The Chex mix is delush with or without.
Seasoning Mix: 1/2 Cup vegan butter 1/2 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce 2 tablespoons Fried Chili in Oil (sold in a jar on Kroger’s Asian aisle) 2 teaspoons grated ginger (I purchase it in a squeeze jar) 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder 1 tablespoon Onion Powder
Optional: 1 to 3 teaspoons ground Sichuan Peppercorn
Cereal Mix: 7 cups Rice Chex cereal 5 cups pretzel sticks *3.5 ounces crispy fried onions in bag, carton, or can *3.5 ounces crispy jalapeños in a bag *3.5 ounces crispy red bell pepper or beets in a bag or carton 4 ounces roasted and salted edamame 1 cup roasted and salted peanuts
*I use Fresh Gourmet brand from Kroger. I wanted bell pepper, but couldn’t find them in two stores, so the beets added that red, sweet, and earthy element I wanted.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Melt butter in large roasting pan in preheating oven. Stir in remaining Seasoning Mix ingredients followed by all Cereal Mix ingredients, coating evenly. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely and package in airtight containers.
You can laugh if you want at the idea of popcorn salad, but if you think of popcorn as just another grain, it doesn’t seem so odd and it is delicious.
No recipe, I just mixed a bowl of Skinny Pop popcorn with a few edamame, some finely diced red bell pepper, finely sliced scallions, and roasted and salted peanuts, and tossed it together with a tablespoon of my famous hot chili oil found right on this site.
Your local gastropub could only hope to top this, the best healthy bar food evuh…
Japanese Fusion Nachos!
This is less a recipw than a formula.
Vegan eggroll wrappers, cut into triangles, deep fried, drained well, and topped with:
-shredded vegan mozzarella -steamed edamame with sea salt -finely diced red bell pepper -sexy sauce [1 part sweet chili sauce + 3 parts vegan mayo (I use no-calorie)] -sliced scallions -wasabi smoked almonds -Everything Bagel Seasoning (sesame seeds + dried garlic, etc.)
These deliciously different–but not bizarre–nachos substitute plantains for corn chips and infuse the tasty black bean topping with a hint of coconut milk, orange, and spice from my new obsession: Sizchuan Hot Chili Oil. No one will judge if you drizzle more of the addicting oil over the top.
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1-15 ounce can seasoned vegan black beans, including juice
3 ears grilled corn, kernels cut from cob
1 cup lightly packed baby spinach or kale leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Sea salt to taste
1/4 to 1/3 coconut milk (I use lite, but regular is more flavorful)
1 generous tablespoon Sizchuan Hot Chili Oil, made with blood orange-infused olive oil (see my hack below)
2 servings packaged plantain chips
Toppings: white vegan cheese like mozarella, halved tri-color cherry tomatoes, vegan sour cream, minced cilantro
In large skillet over medium heat, dry saute onion, stirring frequently, until starting to soften and color. Add all remaining ingredients, except chips and toppings, and cook, continuing to stir frequently, until onion is softened, greens are wilted, mixture is heated through, and flavors are married. Divide chips between 2 plates, spoon half of bean mixture over each, top as desired, and serve immediately.
Note: After topping with cheese, you can run nachos under broiler or pop into mic for 30 seconds before adding remaining toppings.
Hot Chili Oil Hack
1-8 ounce jar Lao Gan Ma: Spicy Chili Crisp (I purchase at Kroger or online)
4 to 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced and softened by heating for 30 seconds in microwave
1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil
1/4 cup blood orange-infused olive oil (or another 1/4 cup oil + zest of 1/2 large orange
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
Decant Spicy Chili Crisp into a larger jar, stir in remaining ingredients, cover, and chill. Stir before using; heat if desired. Delicious on virtually everything savory.
Hot Chili Oil is my new obsession. I made this curry as light–and tasty–as possible so I can spoon more of the peanuts in hot chili oil on top.
The dish is a sweet-spicy-salty celebration, both creamy and crunchy.
16 ounces bagged cauliflower hash (Kroger) or riced cauliflower 1-20 ounce can pineapple tidbits in juice (not syrup; do not drain) 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small chunks 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into small chunks 1/4 cup sliced green onions 1-15.5 ounce can lite coconut milk (or regular for more flavor and fat) 2 tablespoons vegan fish sauce or more to taste (sold as vegetarian in Asian markets) 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon Thai red chili paste (e.g. Taste of Thai brand) Sea salt to taste Garnish: lightly roasted and salted peanuts heated with a generous amount of Hot Chili Oil to taste + fresh cilantro Accompaniment: cucumber and onion salad (slice and combine vegetables with rice wine vinegar, sugar/granulated stevia blend/agave and sea salt to taste; I recommend red onion if available)
In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, combine all ingredients except garnishrs and accompaniment. Heat over medium-high until simmering. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until vegetables are cooked through. Serve garnished with cilantro and peanuts in hot chili oil accompanied by cucumber and onion salad alongside.
Yield:. 1 to 2 servings (depending on how hungry you are and whether you serve anything alongside)
1/4 cup vegan mayo (I used Walton Farms no-calorie)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Approximately 25 cauliflower florets
Hot Chili Oil (see back below)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place mayonnaise in a shallow carton or bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients except cauliflower in a small deeper carton or bowl. Add cauliflower florets about three at a time to mayo and coat well using fingers. Drop into flour mixture, shake to coat, and place a couple inches apart on lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining florets. Bake 15 minutes, turn, and bake 15 more minutes. Serve with sauce of choice or, do as I do and dip each floret quickly into hot chili, place on serving plate, sprinkle with sliced green onion and peanuts and serve immediately with chopsticks.
Hot Chili Oil Hack: purchase a prepared product, but decant into a larger jar, and add lots more oil, 5 large cloves sliced garlic softened for 30 seconds in microwave, and salt to taste. I love a neutral oil, but, when I discovered I was out, I learned that blood orange-infused oil is absolutely lovely with the chilies.