This is more of a template than a recipe, since you can use any combination of vegetables and protein you like, with a very simple but delicious sauce.

I tend to do onion, broccoli, red bell pepper, and mushrooms as a basic veggie formula. Recently, in order to save myself all the chopping time, I’ve been using frozen stir-fry vegetables. These can be expensive, but Costco has a nice mix for a reasonable price, and it’s a good thing to keep in your freezer for emergencies.

Here’s the method:

Choose your protein. I’ve used chicken, shrimp, and tofu all very successfully. This gets cooked first. Cube the chicken or tofu, or peel the shrimp, and cook on high heat with a little canola oil until cooked through (in the case of chicken/shrimp) or browned on most sides (tofu). Note on tofu: it always sticks to my wok something awful, so I tend to do it in a separate non-stick skillet. Remove to a plate or bowl.

Add a little more oil to your skillet or wok and start cooking vegetables. If using fresh vegetables, add the ones that need the longest cook time first (e.g. onion and broccoli) and proceed in order every few minutes. If using frozen vegetables, put a lid on the skillet for part of the time so the steam can help the veggies defrost faster.

Sauce. In a small glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup vegetable broth, 3-4 T tamari, and a heaping T corn starch. Whisk.

When the vegetables are almost cooked but still crispy (or thawed and almost hot), add the protein and the sauce to the wok and stir. As soon as the sauce starts to boil, it will thicken and turn clear, and you are done. Serve with the spiced coconut rice.

Variations and Remarks: I’ve made the sauce with chicken broth, but I actually like it better with vegetable broth (even when using chicken in the stir-fry) because the chicken broth is too overpowering of the other flavors.

Last week I was unexpectedly out of broth of all sorts, so I improvised. San-J has a line of gluten-free Asian sauces, and I had bought a few to experiment with, so I had a GF teriyaki sauce in the fridge. I dumped a third of the bottle in with my veggies, and fearing that the water from the frozen veggies would dilute it too much, recklessly added a splash of tamari and a sprinkle of corn starch. Brooks claims this was the best stir-fry of all time although I don’t necessarily recommend using your good teriyaki sauce on it on a regular basis.


Spiced Coconut Brown Rice and Tamari-Roasted Kale

This is the best brown rice ever. You can do it soaked or unsoaked (soaking just makes it a little fluffier), with or without the coconut oil, and it’s always good. I usually make it with my basic stir-fry, which I’ll put in a separate post.

Make the whole amount so you have leftovers. Today for lunch, I had leftover rice with tamari-roasted kale and coconut, and it was fantastic. You can’t beat brown rice, greens, and good fats for a vegan power-lunch. 🙂 

Spiced Coconut Brown Rice
Adapted slightly from the Gluten-Free Girl.

2 cups brown rice
1/2 can (7 ounces) coconut milk
juice of 1 medium-sized lime
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Soak the rice in cool water for at least 1 hour (optional). Drain and rinse.

Combine all ingredients in a pot with 3 1/4 c water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 45-60 minutes.

Tamari-Roasted Kale
Adapted from Heidi Swanson, Super Natural Every Day (a lovely vegetarian cookbook)

1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 T tamari
3 T olive oil

1 medium bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup large-flake unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the oils and tamari in a small bowl. Toss the chopped kale and coconut with the dressing. (I just do this right on the rimmed baking sheet to save a dish.) Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes, tossing once mid-way through. Keep an eye on it, since it can over-cook very quickly. You want the coconut a little brown and the kale just wilted and crispy around the edges.

If you can’t find the large flake coconut, use half or a third the amount of the shredded kind.

I’m sure this would be lovely with quinoa, as well.

Emeril’s Black Bean Cakes

I had one of my most memorable meals at Del Inti here in Portland, for Adam’s and my 6th anniversary. We shared a huge grilled chop, topped with apricot reduction, and sides of black bean cakes, grilled summer squash, potato gratin, and ceviche. I’ve been thinking about it ever since, and last night I thought I’d try to recreate it. I chose the black bean cake recipe from, and they were fantastic! I used egg replacer and sorghum flour to make them work for us.

Emeril says, “Talk about “knock your socks off”! These bean cakes end up crispy and crusty on the outside, but oh so tender and creamy on the inside. A true study in contrasts, this dish is elevated to notches unknown when served garnished with your favorite guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.”


    7 tablespoons olive oil
    1 small onion (5 to 6 ounces), cut into small dice
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons Emeril’s Original Essence or Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning
    Two 15.5-ounce cans black beans, drained and quickly rinsed
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    2 teaspoons hot sauce


Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onion and cook until soft and lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Place the flour in a shallow bowl or plate, and stir in the Essence. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, mash the black beans well with the back of a fork — the mixture should be relatively smooth, with no whole beans remaining. Stir in the cooled onion mixture, cilantro, egg, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and hot sauce and mix well. Divide the mixture into 8 evenly sized patties (about 1/3 cup each).

Heat the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, dust the patties in the seasoned flour mixture and carefully transfer them to the hot skillet (the cakes will be delicate). Cook the cakes until golden brown on both sides and heated through, about 2 minutes per side.

If necessary, season with more salt. Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Cinnamon-Apple Popcorn

An old favorite and a must-have for snacking while decorating the Christmas tree.

2 cups dried apples, chopped
10 cups popped popcorn
2 cups pecan halves
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place apples in a large shallow baking pan.
Bake 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and stir in popcorn and nuts. In a
small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Drizzle butter mixture over popcorn
mixture, stirring well. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Pour onto
waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container.

Yield: 14 cups of snack mix

Homemade Granola

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix in large bowl:
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
½ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Mix together in small bowl:
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour liquid mixture over oat mixture; mix well. Lightly grease a 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly roll pan. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden brown and slightly crunchy. Let cool. Stir in 1 cup raisins

Makes 9 cups

Crunchy Top Bananas

Remember this?


2 Tbls brown sugar
2 Tbls melted butter
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Shredded Wheat biscuts, crumbled
2 large bananas

Combine topping ingredients.
Cut peeled bananas in half, then slice lengthwise.
Place in square baking pan.
Spoon topping over each banana slice.
Broil 1 – 2 minutes or until golden brown.