2005 Reader Recipe Contest
AND THE WINNERS ARE . . .
YOU, the VT readers who can now make these stellar dishes part of your recipe repertoire.
We received hundreds of responses to our call for favorite 30-minute recipes. For weeks, we tossed salads, sautéed tofu scrambles, sizzled stir-fries and whipped up desserts. Ultimately, the recipes that wowed us weren't those that called for exotic seasonings or pro-style techniques. It was the creative ways the finalists transformed everyday ingredients into dishes that are so yummy you could serve them at any party-but also so easy you could throw them together on a busy weeknight.
There's something for everyone in the selections below: not one but two different types of potato salads (we all love our spuds!), a Thai-inspired tofu meal and nutty no-bake energy bites. No vegetarian recipe collection would be complete without a veggie bean burger, and we were sent a doozie. The recipe got such rave reviews that tasters demanded copies long before it got published! Finally, our First Prize Winner, the Crunchy Chocolate Truffle Pie, simply can't be beat when it comes to full-out dessert satisfaction (with a secret, good-for-you twist).
So read on-and reap the delicious rewards. With these recipes, everyone's a winner.
Shannon Allison-Leszek, Pennsylvania
Serves 12 * Vegan * 30 minutes or fewer
When she's not bartending at her in-laws' restaurant or taking care of her two-year-old, Shannon spends her time cooking delicious vegan food that even her non-veg family members love. The surprising list of ingredients in this recipe add up to chocolate heaven-hats off to Shannon for finding just the right balance of flavors and textures. (She confided that it took several tries to get it just right.)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 12-oz. container firm silken tofu
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 9-inch premade graham cracker crust
½ cup chopped chocolate-covered pretzels
1. Place chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir chocolate, and heat 30 seconds more. Repeat heating and stirring until chocolate is just melted. Set aside.
2. Combine tofu and maple syrup in food processor, and blend 3 minutes, or until smooth. Add peanut butter, and process until smooth. Add melted chocolate, and process once more until smooth.
3. Pour peanut butter-chocolate mixture into pie crust, smoothing the top; refrigerate 20 minutes. Sprinkle pretzels on top, and serve, or refrigerate until ready to eat.
PER SERVING: 332 CAL; 9G PROT; 20G TOTAL FAT (6G SAT. FAT); 34G CARB; OMG CHOL; 220MG SOD; 3G FIBER; 22G SUGARS
Jennifer Burke, California
BLACK-BOTTOM PINEAPPLE TOFU WITH CASHEW
Serves 4 * Vegan * 30 minutes or fewer
Jennifer, a San Franciscan Web designer and mom of two, entered this year's contest after a 12-year hiatus-her recipe for Farfalle with Carrot, Sage and Scallions won our grand prize in 1993. The secret to this recipe's success, she says, is to resist the urge to turn the tofu before it has a chance to blacken.
Cashew Coconut Rice
¾ cup basmati rice
1/3 cup raw cashew pieces
2 Tbs. unsweetened shredded dried coconut
2 tsp. avocado or vegetable oil
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
½ tsp. cumin seeds
¼ tsp. ground turmeric
¼ tsp. salt
Black-Bottom Pineapple Tofu
1 15-oz. can pineapple chunks in unsweetened pineapple juice
2 Tbs. tamari soy sauce
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. avocado or vegetable oil
16 oz. firm tofu, cut into 1 -inch cubes
½ cup diced carrot
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
1 tsp. sesame seeds, for garnish