Smoked Tofu Rice Wraps

So we have been in a bit of a heat wave this week. It has been steady at around 30 degrees for most of the week and that is a wee bit hot for me. I am more of a 21-23 degree kind of girl but my veggie garden and flowers are loving it so I will put up with it…that is until the colder weather sets in and then I will find a different temperature to complain about 😉

I have been trying to encourage myself to take my own advice and find dishes that do not require the stove or even the BBQ for that matter! (Did I mention it was HOT?)

Plus my lettuce is fully ready in my garden so they are continually calling out for me to eat them. Fresh lettuce from the garden requires almost no preparation. A little olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice and some salt & pepper is all that it needs. This side can accompany almost any main dish and for this rice wrap meal it is perfect.  My favourite lettuce combo is butter lettuce and arugula plus a small handful of hemp seeds for a little crunch and some much needed manganese, magnesium and iron.

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Eating raw foods is SO beneficial to your body. Raw foods contain vitals elements of the Earth and are essential in a healthy digestive tract.  I admire those that can incorporate a larger portion of their diet to raw foods however the best that I can maintain is about 20% of raw food. However there is no need to pull out your calculator and become one of those people! Just check in with yourself every once in awhile and ask yourself when was the last time your meal was uncooked. If its been a while then plan for a hearty salad for lunch tomorrow or revisit some of your favourite raw dinner recipes. Don’t forget my Pad Thai  with kelp noodles recipe or my Arugula Cashew Cream Sauce. Or how about these Smoked Tofu Rice Wraps?

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You don’t need your chef’s papers to roll rice wraps and they definitely are not as difficult as sushi to construct. Rice paper is much more forgiving and extremely inexpensive so even if you get a tear you may be able to hide it or just toss it and start again. You will need a large dinner plate filled with warm water to rehydrate the wrap before you begin. I usually leave the rice paper in the water for about 1-2 minutes then lift and allow the water to drip off slightly before rolling. But they certainly do not need to be dry as any remaining water will be absorbed into the rice paper by the time you are ready to eat.

A few key points that I have found to help in the rolling process is to start with your ingredients piled closer to one end and then ensure that you pull the sides as tight as you can before you roll. Other than that, it only takes 1 or 2 tries to really get the hang of it.

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Your choice of filling is really up to you but I would highly recommend some smoked tofu for substance… well, also for the incredible flavour! Smoked tofu is readily available wherever you purchase your tofu and is a ready-to-eat product. I have become obsessed with it and I am now finding myself cutting it directly from the block as a snack.  In these rolls I have used carrots, cucumbers, yellow bell peppers, smoked tofu, cilantro and basil leaves. Be sure to take the time to chop everything thin as it makes for a more enjoyable bit. If you have a mandolin (you know the one you purchased years ago thinking that you would always use it and never have) then this is the time to pull it out!

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Lets not forget about  THE DIPPING SAUCE, the single most important component of this meal. If you do it properly then you should be picking up the side dish, putting it directly to your mouth and drinking it…you know, like when you are finished your cereal and cannot bare to leave the sugary milk behind in the bowl and don’t have the self-control to just use your spoon 🙂

There are a few store bought dips that are pretty good if you would like to make this meal even easier but why not make your own?

Here is a recipe for a dip that I like to use for my rice wraps;

Spicy Peanut Ginger Dip

1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce (or soy-free coconut aminos)

2 tbsp natural peanut butter, crunchy or smooth it doesn’t matter

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp chili garlic sauce (or add 2 tsp if you like it spicier)

1 tsp ground ginger

2 droppers of stevia *you could use 1 tbsp of honey or 1 tbsp of agave if you want also

2 tbsp water

  • combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk together and then pour directly into your mouth! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Ohhhh pasta, how do I love thee…

Last week my 11-year old daughter comes stampeding into the kitchen fresh off the school bus, scavenging for her after-school snack (and I use that word lightly…she somehow always seems to find the worst option out of everything we have in our house…it is a talent really!). She does her regular rounds; stands in the pantry staring blankly in hopes something will fly off the shelf into her hands, then moves over to the refrigerator suddenly becoming a deer in the headlights once the fridge light hits her pupils. On this particular day, when she opened the fridge I heard a robust “OH Sweet!” come out of her mouth. Immediately my mind thinks “Crap! What high-fructose garbage found its way into the fridge that I did not intercept and now HOW am I  going to rip it out of her grubby little hands” After walking over to my daughter I realized she was talking about my Arugula Cashew Cream Sauce that I had made earlier in the day!!! Wait. What? After I picked myself up off the floor, it occurred to me that I might be on to something here. Maybe I should share this recipe I thought.

So here it is, chalked full of all the wonderful green things that you know you should eat but somehow don’t always make the time for. This sauce literally takes about 5 minutes to whip up and requires NO STOVE! Yes, it’s raw. Even if you don’t consider yourself a raw foodist this sauce will transform the way you think about raw ingredients. I know its only April but trust me this sauce is heavenly in the warm summer months when you don’t want to start up your stovetop or even turn on the barbecue. (Reminder: if you are on Pinterest just PinIt and the recipe will be waiting for you when July rolls around). Not that you need to wait, it’s still a pasta dish and that’s good all year round 🙂

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The base (as you may have guessed) is cashews. They require about 30 mins of soaking time and then a quick puree in the blender. Make sure to rinse the soaked cashews and add fresh, filtered water into the blender. I like to take 1-1.5 cups of cashews at a time for soaking. This recipe calls for 1 cup of cashew cream (the finished product, not the raw cashews) so you will have extra but it stores in the fridge for about a week or so. When blending the cashews add just enough water to cover the nuts and then add more as needed. You should end up with a thick, smooth cream.

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After that everything just gets tossed into a food processor. So simple. The longest part of the preparation will be your noodles. Choose whichever type you like. I tend to use brown rice spaghetti or gnocchi…cause that is just how I roll 🙂

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But it is also fantastic on baked spaghetti squash or if you want to keep it totally raw use grated zucchini as your base. Either way it’s truly all about the sauce..it’s so addictive…I could barely stop myself from licking out the processor bowl (truthfully, I was just concerned that I might cut my tongue on the blade )

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I do not heat the sauce after the food processor.  The heat of the cooked pasta warms the sauce nicely if you marry them right away. However,  I am also not the type that likes my food scorching hot so heat if you want but make sure to do so gently. The avocados and cashews are fragile oils that shouldn’t be heated too quickly or too high. This dish is also great served cold if you want for leftovers or to pack as a work lunch. FYI- If you are having any challenges getting your kids to eat something green, I like to make weird names up like crocodile sauce or dinosaur noodles (which, by the way, almost became the title of this recipe).

So that’s it! Meatless Mondays have never been so tasty and easy.

Bon appetite!

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Arugula Cashew Cream Sauce

Prep time: 5-10 mins (plus soaking time for cashews)

Serves: 4-6 people

1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

1 cup cashew cream

juice of 2 lemons, plus zest of 1 lemon for garnish

10-12 pieces of basil

1 avocado, pit and skin removed

4 cups (or 1-5oz clamshell) fresh arugula ***you may substitute spinach if you like or do half-and-half

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp. crushed chili pepper flakes

6-8 cherry tomatoes, quartered (garnish- optional)

  • Using a medium sized frying pan add pine nuts over medium heat. Heat them for about 5 minutes until lightly toasted, watching carefully and stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  • Toss all all ingredients, including pine nuts, into a food processor or blender. Blend together until thick and creamy. Adding water if you feel you need a thinner sauce.
  • Pour over your favorite pasta and top with chopped tomatoes…and a chilled glass of white wine (optional ;-))

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