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Vegan Meals That Deliver Sustained Energy, Nourishment, and Flavor

Plus an easy to whip up vegan taco recipe from author and wellness blogger Gena Hamshaw that will nourish and satisfy the entire family.

Balancing work, family and taking care of our own needs can be a treacherous juggling act. As a busy working mom, I look for recipes that will not only make me feel good about cooking them for my family but will also provide me with the fuel I need to meet the demands of a full schedule. Gena Hamshaw, author of Food52 Vegan and the wellness blog, The Full Helping, has written a collection of recipes that are specifically crafted to help you sustain your energy levels. Power Plates features 100 compelling, nourishing and delicious one-dish vegan meals from breakfast to dinner along with Gena’s easy to follow cooking techniques.

Vibrant photographs will inspire us to create such dishes as Warm Tofu Chop Salad with Peanut Dressing (my weakness), Sesame Citrus Soba Salad and Curried Jamaican Stew with Kidney Beans. Each recipe is designed to contain the key macronutrients of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and proteins. When combined, these recipes make for a complete meal or power plate. Gena’s simple techniques and fresh ingredients will appeal to all levels of cooks and all types of diets. The tips the author shares for weekend cooking ahead, food that travels well for people on-the-go and quick weeknight dinners are all a welcomed bonus.

Speaking of quick weeknight dinners . . . who doesn’t love tacos? Hamshaw’s recipe for Roasted Zucchini Tacos with Corn and Tofu are packed with flavor and are a breeze to throw together. We can even mix and match other vegetables or proteins to make Taco Tuesday (or any taco night) a different experience each week. These tacos are a meal that the whole family can get behind. Try them tonight.

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Roasted Zucchini Tacos with Corn and Tofu

Makes 4 Servings of Tacos, and 1 Cup (240 ML) of Chimichurri Sauce 

This recipe has a bunch of components, but it comes together easily: the zucchini and corn roast in the oven while you cook the tofu and whip up the bright, tangy chimichurri sauce. Tacos are a warm weather mainstay for me, thanks to their simplicity and flexibility. Much like breakfast tostadas, they’re a great vehicle for incorporating whatever plant proteins and vegetables I’ve got in the fridge.


1 (15-oz, or 425-g) block extra-firm tofu, preferably pressed
3 tablespoons tamari
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons neutral vegetable oil, plus more if needed


2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1⁄2-inch (1.3-cm) pieces
2 cups (310 g) fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 small white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Hemp Chimichurri Sauce

1⁄4 cup (40 g) shelled hemp seeds
6 tablespoons (90 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
11⁄2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (40 g) firmly packed fresh parsley
1⁄2 cup (15 g) firmly packed fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 corn taco shells, or 6-inch (15-cm) corn or whole wheat tortillas
1⁄2 cup (20 g) chopped fresh cilantro


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. To prepare the tofu, cut it into 16 rectangular pieces and put it in a nonreactive rectangular baking pan, preferably one large enough to fit the tofu in a single layer. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the tamari, lime juice, garlic, agave nectar, and red pepper flakes. Pour the mixture over the tofu.

3. To cook the vegetables, combine the zucchini, corn, onion, oil, lime juice, and cumin in a medium bowl and mix well. Spread the vegetables on the lined baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the onion is lightly golden and some of the corn is crispy, stirring once halfway through the baking time.

4. Meanwhile, to make the chimichurri sauce, combine the hemp seeds, orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, oil, parsley, cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender (preferably a high-speed blender) and process until smooth. If the sauce is thicker than you’d like, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency. (Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the sauce will keep for 5 days.)

5. About 5 minutes before the end of the baking time for the vegetables, put the taco shells in the oven to warm them.

6. To cook the tofu, put the oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Transfer the tofu to the pan, reserving the marinade. Cook the tofu for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned or grilled. Pour the remaining marinade over the tofu and remove the pan from the heat.

7. To serve, fill each taco shell with about 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) of the vegetables, a few pieces of the tofu, a tablespoonful of cilantro, and a generous drizzle of the sauce.





Recipe from Power Plates by Gena Hamshaw ©Gena Hamshaw, 2018. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.


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