VeganMoFo: Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant


There’s a farmer’s market in front of my office twice a week – on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I get so excited with anticipation as to what veggies will show up on any given day. I love being surprised as the seasons change. I especially love the colors that await me as I climb out of the subway station and over to the booths.

I recently came upon this beautiful pink eggplant. If you haven’t tried this variety, I highly recommend you do. It is more tender and has a softer eggplant flavor than other varieties. It lends itself to more recipes and doesn’t need to be treated prior to cooking to remove bitterness.

And the colors of the eggplant…love it!


Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

4 small pink eggplants
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 package of extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1 red pepper, diced
5 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cups quinoa, cooked (I used the tri-color blend)
3 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce.
3 tsp. salt
3 tsp. ground pepper flakes
3 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
3/4 cup Daiya Vegan Cheese (mozzarella or cheddar would work in this)


Preheat oven to 375.

Wash the eggplants. Slice them down the middle lengthwise.

Scoop out the eggplant leaving a 1/2 inch skin all around. Chop up the scooped out eggplant.


Heat up a large saute pan. Add the olive oil.

Add in the onions and cook for a few minutes. Add in the chopped garlic and crumbled tofu.  Cook for a couple of minutes.

Add chopped eggplant to the pan and the other chopped veggies. Cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the quinoa, spices and Daiya cheese. Make sure everything is incorporated well together.

Taste the mixture to see if it needs additional salt or other spices.

Place the eggplant shells in a large baking pan.

Place a heaping amount of the eggplant/veggie/quinoa mixture back in to the eggplant shells.

Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Bake in oven for about 30-40 minutes.



VeganMoFo: Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks (Mary’s Gone Cracker Sticks & Twigs Remake)

I have mentioned in the past about my love for Mary’s Gone Cracker’s Sticks &  Twigs pretzel sticks. At the time, it inspired me to create these crackers. From the moment I tasted these awesome pretzel sticks, I was determined to figure out a way to make them that would cost less than the $4+ to buy the bags. I had been studying the ingredient panel and studying (and eating) the bagged pretzel sticks. I have finally come up with a solution! And they taste even better than the bagged variety (according to my 10-year-old taste tester)!

It has a similar ingredient list to the wonderful crackers and are similarly adaptable to other flavors. You can add herbs or sauces to infuse them. I usually just like a simple sea salt flavor or maybe some rosemary and thyme added to the mix. Nothing too complicated.

Since we are doing this by hand, unlike the store-bought, the consistency comes out a bit different than the bagged variety. In many ways, I prefer the homemade version better.

Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks (Mary’s Gone Cracker’s Sticks & Twigs Copycat Attempt)

1/2 cup millet (dry)
1/2 cup amaranth (dry)
3/4 cup quinoa (dry)
3/4 cup brown rice (dry)
1 tbsp. water
4 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup whole, toasted flax seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup black sesame seeds (could also use gomasio)
3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350.

Cook the millet, amaranth, quinoa and brown rice as stated on the package directions.

Add cooked brown rice to Cuisinart and process with a small amount of water. You should process brown rice to a mush.

Add the quinoa, millet and amaranth and process a bit more to incorporate. Do not pulverize those grains though. You want them to stay mostly whole.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the tamari, salt, pepper and various seeds. Let sit a few minutes.

Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks

Fill up a piping bag with some of the mixture. I found that a piping bag works best, but you could use a heavy duty ziplock bag if that’s all you have.

I used a disposable piping bag and cut off a small tip. Should be about a 1/2″ in diameter if you are using the piping tools.  If it’s too thick, it would crisp up well.

Brush your baking sheet with vegetable oil.

Pipe the mixture on to the sheet in sticks. You can do long or short sticks.

Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks

Bake for about 10-12 minutes and flip sticks over.

Bake another 10 minutes or so and transfer to a cooling rack.

You will want to check on the pretzel sticks often to check for doneness. You don’t want them to burn, but there is a small window between too soft, done and burnt.

When done, store in an airtight container or bag. Enjoy!


Meatless Monday: Quinoa and Chickpea Loaf

I am always in search of easy recipes for dinners that require as few steps as possible to execute. So…when I found this recipe, it was very unlike me to snag it as possible option. When I saw this recipe on the Whole Foods website, I balked a little. I like things that require one dirty dish, one baking pan (maybe) and wham-mo. It should be done. This dish requires the extra step of whirring it in the Cuisinart. On a day when I had no time. I thought about taking various shortcuts, and I’m glad I followed through on this one. It was worth it.

Quinoa Loaf with Mushrooms and Peas (adapted from Whole Foods Market)

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 container of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
ground pepper
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup water
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup peas
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh marjoram, chopped
10 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped red onion
1/2 head roasted garlic
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. mustard
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray a loaf pan with some olive oil

Heat olive oil in skillet. Saute the mushrooms, zucchini, garlic and onions.

Add salt and pepper. Saute until onions begin to brown.

Process the chickpeas, oats, red onions and water in the food processor.

In a large mixing bowl, mix up the processed bean mixture, the roasted garlic, the fresh herbs, the quinoa, the sauteed veggies, the peas and tomatoes.

Press the mixture in to the loaf pan or shape in to a loaf shape and place in baking pan.

Make a glaze with the ketchup, mustard, soy sauce and brown sugar. Pour over the loaf.

Bake until firm and golden brown. Should take around an hour or so.

Cool a bit and transfer to a plate and slice.

It’s excellent when served with a mushroom gravy.  Enjoy!


Gluten Free Crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers Copycat Recipe)

I’ve become a gluten free guinea pig. Scouring the web, bookstores, and brainstorming new ideas for gluten free meals and snacks. The main meals aren’t too complicated. Dinners have only needed minor tweaking to adapt to gluten free. The hardest area has been snack food. We aren’t a big cake/cookie family – but the kids likes her crunchy stuff. Pretzel sticks have always been a mainstay in her feeding therapies. There’s only so much popcorn one can handle.

Store-bought snacks are not cheap. Coupons are hard to come by for the kinds of foods we are looking for. So I am trying to make my own. When we first began our gluten free adventure, I asked a friend for pretzel ideas. She mentioned the Sticks & Twigs by Mary’s Gone Crackers.

I’ve quickly become addicted to these gluten free pretzels. They aren’t like ordinary pretzels. They are full of seeds and stuff. They have a great crunch. They have a nice, nutty flavor. More involved than a standard Snyder’s pretzel. Unfortunately, at $4.50 a bag – they don’t fit my budget too well.

Looking at the ingredient label, I pondered trying to make my own. The ingredients aren’t too complicated; brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and tamari. I have these ingredients in my pantry. While googling for ideas, I came upon the crackers of Mary’s Gone Crackers fame. They are basically the same pretzel taste in a cracker. I figured that I would tackle that first – and then I could move on to pretzels.

The first time I made the crackers – my results were uneven. Some pans came out ok, and some pans came out – well, not so ok. By the second time – I finally got it down pat. Similar to the pretzels, the crackers cost around $4.50 for way too few crackers. Happy to get about 3 times as many crackers at a significant savings by making my own. I do plan on playing with the recipe more to add flavors – like garlic and rosemary.

I am still determined to figure out how to make the pretzels – in the meantime, enjoy these yummy crackers!

Gluten Free Crackers (Mary's Gone Crackers Copycat Recipe)



Gluten Free Crackers (Mary's Gone Crackers Copycat Recipe)
This recipe was slightly adapted from here.
Recipe type: Crackers, Snacks
Cuisine: Gluten Free
  • 1 cup quinoa (dry)
  • 1 cup brown rice (dry)
  • 2-3 tsp. water
2-3 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup whole, toasted flax seeds
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
1/4 cup black sesame seeds (could also use gomasio)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  1. Prepare rice and quinoa as per your regular methods.
  2. Add cooked brown rice to Cuisinart and process with a small amount of water.
  3. You should process brown rice to a mush.
  4. Add quinoa to the mix and process a bit more to incorporate.
  5. Add the tamari or soy sauce and mix a bit more.
  6. Take the dough out and place in bowl. Mix in other seeds and seasonings with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be very sticky.
  7. Spray baking pan with oil spray or rub olive oil on baking sheet. Do not use parchment paper.
  8. Drop teaspoon size bits of dough on to cookie sheet. On a half sheet pan, I got around 16 balls.
  9. Take a small piece of parchment paper, spray lightly with oil and place on top of each ball and flatten. I pressed down on to the paper with a stainless steel measuring cup. It seemed to work best.  The cracker should be very thin and flat.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees. Keep an eye on the crackers. Remove them when they have browned and are comepletly dry. Don't let them burn. I took them out at around 17 minutes. Keep an eye out. Different pans conduct heat differently.
  11. Cool crackers on rack.
  12. Enjoy!



P.S. As a follow-up, I did succeed in making the pretzels. 

Quinoa Veggie Burgers – Gluten Free

I recently moved my younger daughter over to a gluten free diet. For dinnertime, this means that for the most part, all of us are eating gluten free.  I definitely don’t mind, but it’s sometimes hard to convince the rest of the gang that gluten free could be good. I am also new to the gluten free thing for the most part, and having a hard time coming up with fun and tasty things that the whole family will enjoy. Emphasis on the easy part. 

When discussing gluten free stuff with a friend, she mentioned that there is a lot that can be done with quinoa. I had never really gone past pilafs and salads with the grain. It has also been a Pesach-only food for us. I have always loved quinoa, but the rest of the family haven’t been huge fans. I love that it’s a grain and a protein at the same time.

When I bought the quinoa the other day, I had no intention of turning it in to burgers. The idea came to me when I decided I wanted something french fry like and needed a main dish to go along with. I haven’t had a burger in a long time – veggie or otherwise. I have read about various quinoa and lentil loaves, and decided that this could probably work as a burger. I was right. Tonight’s burgers were a hit. They made everyone happy. Even the little one scarfed down two!

Quinoa Burgers

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 onion
2 carrots
1 small zuchinni
6 mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
Handful of shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1/3 cup rice flour or corn flake crumbs

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, chop up the onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Switch in the shredding disk and shred the rest of the veggies. Put the veggie mixture in to a mixing bowl and press down on the mixture with your hands and drain the liquid.

Mix the quinoa in to the vegetables. Add the cheese and seasonings.

Mix in the egg and flour.

Form in to patties and fry them on the stove for a few minutes per side.

Move them to a 350 degree oven to finish baking.

Serve them on a bun with all the fixings or in a wrap or however you tend to eat your burgers.


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