Vegan Carrot Bacon

Vegan Carrot Bacon is great as a snack or as part of a sandwich or wrap. Use it to make a vegan BLT (with avocado) on your favorite bread.

Vegan Carrot Bacon

1 large carrot, peeled, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Dash garlic salt
Dash black pepper
Combine oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, liquid smoke, garlic powder, and black pepper in a medium sized bowl.
Using a vegetable peeler, make length-wise carrot ribbons. Add the carrot ribbons to the marinade and toss to coat well. Let marinate for 20 – 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lay the marinated carrot ribbons out on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each piece over and bake another 5 minutes. Thicker pieces may need to cook a little longer. Let carrot bacon cool slightly, allowing it to crisp up before eating.

Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad

Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad

I love this salad! It’s something I make quite a bit. It’s fresh, crunchy, colorful, virtually fat-free, nutritious, and very flavorful. This salad keeps fairly well in the fridge for up to two days.

Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad

1 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 to 2 carrots, grated
1/2 to 1 cucumber, seeded, peeled, and chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 (or more) fresh chiles (I usually use jalapenos or serranos), seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
chopped roasted peanuts

Combine cabbage, carrot, cucumber, cilantro and chiles in a large bowl. Mix vinegar, sugar, garlic, and fish sauce together in a small bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over cabbage mixture and toss well. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts right before serving.

Carrot Hummus

Carrot Hummus

I let my 5 year old pull the remainder of the carrots in the garden to make room for something else. I decided to use them to make carrot hummus. My carrots were lighter orange than the ones you typically find in a grocery store. My hummus is not as vibrant of an orange color as I assume using more deeply colored carrots would produce.  No matter, the overall result is a tasty variation of hummus and would be a colorful addition to any table of food.


I adapted this recipe from one found in the April 2015 issue of Cooking Light. This issue has 7 variations of hummus and they all look interesting.

Carrot Hummus

1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
shredded carrots
sliced almonds (optional)

Place the chopped carrots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the carrots are very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Save the water to add to the hummus.

In a food processor, add the chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, kosher salt, cumin, and cooked carrots. Add about 3 tablespoons of the water the carrots cooked in and process, stopping to scrape down the sides from time to time, until smooth. This may take up to 5 minutes. Spread carrot hummus in the serving dish and top with shredded carrots and sliced almonds (if using). Sprinkle with paprika.

Orange Tofu and Broccoli

Three weeks ago I tore my calf muscle while testing for my green belt in Tae Kwon Do. Recovery has been slow and I am still unable to walk. Luckily, I can still cook. My kitchen is small enough that I can hobble around on one foot and do what I need to do. My hubby has been out of town quite a bit the past two weeks, so my vegan mom flew in to help me take care of my kids (especially the crazy toddler) and the house while I am recovering. This is one of the vegan meals I prepared for her. I served it with brown rice and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Orange Tofu and Broccoli

Canola oil (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 (16 ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup warm water
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sriracha (or to taste)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 bunch broccoli, seperated into bite-sized florets
3 carrots, sliced on a diagonal

Lay the tofu slices on paper towels and then pat with additional paper towels to remove moisture. Heat the canola oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Place the 1/4 cup cornstarch in a dish. Coat the tofu slices with the cornstarch and gently shake off excess.

Fry the tofu in batches in the hot oil until golden brown on all sides (about 5 minutes). Drain tofu on paper towels. Allow wok to cool, and wipe clean.

In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, orange juice, water, sugar, sriracha, garlic, and cornstarch. Mix until smooth and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil in the wok over high heat. Stir-fry the broccoli and carrots until tender. Form a well in the center of the vegetables, and pour in the orange sauce. Bring sauce to a boil and then add the fried tofu. Continue cooking until the sauce is thickened and the tofu and vegetables are well coated.

Green Papaya Salad

From January 28, 2007: I have wanted to make this salad for years, but haven’t been able to find green papaya.  Finally, yesterday, I visited a new Asian market that opened up in Spotsylvania, VA and not only did they have green papaya, it was already shredded.  Woo-hoo!  This salad was super easy to make.  I omitted an ingredient….dried shrimp (I can’t take the intense flavor).  Other Green Papaya Salad recipes I found included cherry tomatoes and/or green beans and I think that is more authentic.  I’ve also been told that the green papaya should be pounded in the mortar so that it takes on more flavors from the dressing ingredients. My mortar is not that big, so maybe I’ll leave this salad to the professionals.

Green Papaya Salad

1 small unripe green papaya, peeled and thinly shredded
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly shredded
salt and pepper
lettuce leaves
crushed peanuts

1 clove garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 small red or green chiles, seeded and chopped
2 tsp. sugar
3 T. lime juice
2 T. fish auce

Mix the shredded papaya and carrot with salt and pepper.  Arrange on a bed of lettuce leaves on a serving dish and pile the papaya and carrot on top.  For the dressing, using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic, shallot, chiles, and sugar to a fine paste.  Blend with the lime juice and the fish sauce to make the dressing.

Garnish the salad with the crushed peanuts and pour the dressing over it.  Toss the salad as soon as you are ready to serve.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Adapted from a recipe in The Book of Vietnamese Cooking by Deh-Ta Hsiung (Salamander Books Ltd., 1997).

Red Hot Noodles with Shrimp

The red-hot chile oil dressing is amazing!  I created this noodle dish as a vehicle to carry the dressing. I know the addition of cucumbers may seem odd, but trust me, it all works. Sometimes I add rehydrated and julienned wood ear (black fungus) mushrooms along with the carrots and cucumbers.  They add color and interesting texture.

Red-Hot Noodles with Shrimp

1/2 pound linguine (or other Asian flat noodle – like Chinese Egg Noodles), cooked according to directions
red-hot chile oil dressing (recipe below)
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed, shredded, and excess moisture squeezed out
1/2 to 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined

Heat 2 tablespoons of the red-hot chile oil dressing in a wok.  Add the shrimp and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until they start to turn pink/opaque.  Add the shredded carrots and cucumbers and continue to stir-fry until shrimp are just about completely cooked.  Add the noodles and 3 more tablespoons of the red-hot chile dressing and stir-fry until the noodles are warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.  Serve with additional red-hot chile oil dressing.

Red-Hot Chile Oil Dressing

Red-hot chile oil dressing, a recipe I got from Nina Simonds’ Asian Noodles cookbook (which is one of my all time favorite cookbooks) is something I make often. This dressing is hot and downright addicting! I like to use it in stir fries and to dress Asian-style noodle dishes.

1/4 cup safflower or corn oil (I use canola)
2 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper or 4 to 6 small dried hot chile peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch rings (i used about 15 small dried hot chile peppers because I’m a chilehead)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
7 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sake
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Combine both oils in a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until almost smoking hot. Add the red pepper, cover, and remove from the heat. Let sit until cool, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to dissolve the sugar. Refrigerated, in a covered container, the dressing will keep for a week. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Carrot Cinnamon Bread

This is a recipe from my friend Donna in California.  She is the queen of quick breads and cookies.  My son was hesitant to eat this (vegetables are the most terrifying things on Earth to him), but he really liked it.  I subbed 1 cup of whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour in this recipe.  Next time I make this bread, I will use less sugar.  It’s a little too sweet for my tastes (and I’m a sugar addict).  I got 4 small loaves from this recipe and it took about 40 minutes for them to bake.

Carrot Cinnamon Bread

1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 cups grated carrots
3 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsps. baking powder
2 tsps. baking soda
2 1/2 tsps. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour pans (pan sizes posted at end of recipe).

In a medium bowl combine dry ingrediets, mix to blend and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl combine sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla and mix well.  Add carrots and blend. Add the dry ingredients slowly and mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans.

*Pan sizes* This will make (2) 8X5 loaves plus (1) small 4X2 loaf or you can make (3) 7X5 loaves plus (1) 4X2 loaf.  Baking is about 35-38 minutes. Test with a toothpick after 35 mins.

Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.

Bahn Mi Burgers

These flavorful burgers are inspired by the Vietnamese sandwiches, Bahn Mi, and are a nice change from hamburgers.  Depending on how big you make the patties, this recipe makes about 8 burgers.  They freeze well.  The left-over burgers can also be cooked, sliced,  and put on top of a bowl of rice vermicelli (bun).  Serve the noodle dish with the pickled carrots and radish, cilantro, bean sprouts, cucumbers and fish sauce (nuoc cham).  Delicious!

Bahn Mi Burgers

for the burger:
2 pounds pork (sirloin tip, butt, or other lean cut) cut into 1-inch chunks (or use ground pork)
1 – 2 tablespoon(s)lemongrass, finely minced
3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced (or grated)
1 jalapenos, seeded and finely minced
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
freshly ground pepper

buns (French style, Kaiser rolls,

for the toppings:
English cucumber, thinly sliced
pickled carrots and diakon radish (recipe follows)- made the day before for best flavor
fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
Sriracha-lime mayonnaise (recipe follows)

Cut the pork into 1 inch chunks and grind it in a food processor with the blade attachment.  Place the meat in a large bowl and mix in the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, fish sauce, sugar, and pepper. Form patties and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld.  While the meat is resting, make the Sriracha-lime mayonnaise.
Fire up the grill and grill burgers to desired doneness. Grill buns.

Alternatively, cook patties in an oiled cast iron skillet over medium heat until done and juices run clear. Toast buns.

To assemble, spread Sriracha-lime mayonnaise on each side of the bun. Place the cooked pork patty in the bun and top with the pickled carrots and diakon radish, cucumbers, cilantro and jalapenos.

Sriracha – Lime Mayonnaise

1/2 cup mayonnaise
juice from 1/4 lime
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce (or other chili garlic sauce)
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine ingredients.

Pickled Carrots and Daikon

4 cups daikon radish, julienned
about 1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 cups carrots, julienned
1/4 cup white vinegar

Place daikon in a bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes. Drain off liquid. Add 1/3 cup sugar and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

Toss carrots with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar in a separate bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid and toss with 2 teaspoons sugar.

Drain the daikon and carrots again. Toss daikon and carrots together and add another 1-2 tablespoons of sugar to taste. Add 1/4 cup vinegar. Toss, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Keeps in the fridge for about a week. Store it in the liquid but remove from liquid before serving.