Peruvian Seitan and Potatoes, Yellow Rice with Garlic

Friday night, my husband and I had a wonderful dinner with our downstairs neighbors. We decided to cook out in the backyard and didn’t really plan anything elaborate. We each just brought what we wanted to eat as a couple and shared what food we had.

Tired of the same-old veggie burgers and hot dogs, I decided to make the Peruvian Seitan and Potato Skewers  (you can download the recipe here) and Yellow Rice with Garlic featured in “Viva Vegan!” The Yellow Rice I’ve made before, but the skewers I’ve been wanting to make since I first got the book. And, wow, it did not disappoint.

The pictures you see in this post aren’t of the skewers we put on the grill (it was too dark to take pictures), but of the leftover seitan and vegetables that we cooked in a cast iron skillet the next day. Both cooking techniques produced delicious results. The marinade for the skewers was tangy and spicy, with ancho chile powder, garlic and red wine vinegar, among other ingredients. I only marinated the seitan and veggies about 30 minutes for the cookout, and it was very flavorful. For the leftover dish in the pictures, everything was allowed to marinate overnight.

I really wish I could have taken pictures of the whole meal because, even though we didn’t plan it that way, all of the dishes worked together so perfectly. My neighbors made chicken on the grill, but also brought Calabacitas, a wonderful Southwestern squash and corn dish. They also made a grilled Romaine salad that was so, so good. It was a wonderful way to share an evening with good friends.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Cucumber and Avocado Sushi Roll

My husband was on spring break this past week, so I took off a few days to spend time with him for a “staycation.” It was a much-needed break that allowed me to work on a few projects. On the cooking front, I used the time to try a few dishes that I’ve been wanting tackle, sushi being one of them. I was really intimidated with the idea of making my own sushi, but it actually was quite easy; that is, once I got the hang of rolling it. It took a few rolls to finally come to the one you see in the picture above, which still isn’t perfect. But the great thing about making sushi is that you can eat your mistakes.

If you want to make your own sushi, I highly recommend buying your ingredients from an Asian market and not from a regular supermarket to save money. I was able to purchase a huge bottle of seasoned rice vinegar and 30 sheets of nori for under $10. I purchased the sushi rice in bulk from Whole Foods, which ran $1.99/lb. I was able to make about six rolls, with some rice left over using the recipe below.

For the roll you see above, I kept it simple and used cucumber and avocado. I wanted to include wasabi paste, but the only kind I could find had milk in it, which I thought was strange. Also, I substituted Bragg Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce for added nutrition.

Here’s the recipe that I used for the sushi rice. And don’t worry, you’ll think that you’re adding too much vinegar and sugar, but it soaks into the rice as it cools and turns out perfectly.

Vinegared Rice “Sumeshi”


1 3/4 cups Japanese-style short-grained rice
3 tbsp Japanese seasoned rice vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp sea salt


Place the rice in a large bowl and rinse several times until the water runs clear. Drain the rice and leave in a strainer for 1 hour.

Transfer the rice to a wide saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Over high heat, cover and bring to a boil for about five minutes.

Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and leave, still covered, for about 10-15 minutes.

Mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt together and stir until dissolved.

Transfer the rice to a large dish and pour the vinegar mixture over the rice. Fold the vinegar into the rice (do not stir). While folding, use a fan (I used a magazine) to cool the rice. Let the rice cool to room temperature to make the sushi.

Tip: Pour a little of the rice vinegar into a bowl and dip your hands into it before grabbing the sushi rice; otherwise, it will stick to your hands. Also, less is more with sushi (I learned the hard way!). Don’t use too much rice or your roll will look more like a burrito. Spread it out in a thin layer over your nori. The same goes for your veggies. A single, thin line of cucumber and avocado is all that you need.


Dal Makhni

I love lentils. They’re cheap to buy and easy to prepare. They’re also super healthy. Combine them with some fragrant spices, tomatoes, and a cashew cream sauce, and you’ve got yourself a delicious, Indian-inspired dish that is sure to please.

I adapted this recipe from the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook, which is one of my favorites. I highly recommend it if you’re thinking of becoming vegan or just looking for simple vegan recipes. Lauren Ulm’s food is very simple in its ingredients and preparation, making it a good starting point before moving on to more involved cookbooks, like, say, Veganomicon.

Dal Makhni

Serves 2 + leftovers


2 cups long-grain brown rice
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
2 cups green lentils
8 cups water
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
4 green cardamom pods
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup water


In two separate pots, cook both the lentils and rice in 4 cups of water, each. Add the Earth Balance to the rice. Both should take about 40 minutes to cook.

After the rice and lentils have cooked for about 20 minutes, go ahead and heat the oil in a large, deep skillet (I used a soup pot). Add the onion, and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions start to brown and caramelize. Stir constantly and keep an eye on them to prevent the onions from burning. After they’ve browned, add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cardamom pods and fry for 2 minutes. Next, add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the tomatoes and salt and simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the cooked lentils to the pot. Add a 1/2 cup of water if the mixture is too thick.

Blend the cashews in a blender or food processor, and slowly add the water until it forms a creamy sauce. Add the cream to the lentil mixture and reserve some on the side for an extra dollop on top.

Serve over rice.