Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Vegan Lunch Box and Recipe for Tofu Fish Sticks

Jennifer McCann thinks "outside the box" to create appetizing and fun vegan meals perfect for the school lunch box, and her menus make meal planning easy.

Amazon: Vegan Lunch Box: 130 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love!

Vegan activist, Jennifer McCann, is the creator of the Vegan Lunch Box blog that celebrates the vegan lifestyle with fun and tasty vegan meals for the whole family. But if vegan recipes for school lunch boxes are needed, McCann's Vegan Lunch Box is filled with animal-free recipes and sample menus.

Vegan Lunch Menus & Ideas

For all menus in the book, McCann works to create lunch meals that are complete and well-balanced. She makes it a point to incorporate these six items into every menu: whole grains, protein, fruit, vegetables, calcium, and dessert. If you're making up your own menus, remembering to incorporate those items into any vegan lunch meal makes it more rounded, and easier to create: just pick something in each category for an easily put-together lunch.

McCann gives parents ideas for all types of meals, including menus for those kids who may have food allergies. All recipes are completely animal-free (no meats, no dairy, no fish, no eggs, and no honey), and also free of soy products, gluten, wheat, and both peanuts and tree nuts.

Vegan Lunch Box Overview and Chapters

Vegan Lunch Box is divided into two main parts: The Lunch Menus; and The Recipes. The first part of the book contains all the menus, and uses the recipes in different ways. The many menus include those that save time (Quick and Easy), those that can be made early in the morning (Rise and Shine) or ahead of time (Ready and Waiting), and fun menus based on a theme (Lunch Box Adventure) or seasonal celebrations (Special Occasions).

The different chapters contain recipes that can be mixed with other family favorites for unique combinations and daily menus: Appetizers & Snacks; Salads & Dressings; Dips, Sauces and Spreads; Soups & Stews; Sandwiches; Mains; Veggie & Bean Sides; Breads & Muffins; Desserts; and Beverages.

Recommended for Animal-Free Meals & Ideas

While vegan households may use this book for everyday meal planning, non-vegan households can use this book for a little variety in kids' lunch boxes. Tasty salads and sandwiches are easily put together using pantry ingredients, and the items that are made from the recipes are durable enough to be packaged in lunch boxes. The cookbook eases the question some parents ask themselves: What can I make for the kids' lunches?

Recipe: Tofu Fish Sticks

This recipe from Vegan Lunch Box uses kelp granules which give these tofu sticks a hint of fishy flavor. They can be found in shaker containers at health food stores and provide a low-sodium salt alternative that also supplies iodine.

This recipe makes 4 servings

  • 2⁄3 cup fine cornmeal (or all-purpose flour)
  • 2⁄3 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kelp granules
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2⁄3 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 pound firm tofu, drained
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges for squeezing
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat it with olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Combine the cornmeal or flour, sliced almonds, paprika, kelp, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, dill weed, and pepper to taste in a blender. Blend on high until most of the almonds have been turned into a coarse meal, with a few larger pieces of almond remaining. Pour the mixture into a wide baking dish or pie plate.
  3. Place the plain soy milk into a bowl and set next to the cornmeal mixture.
  4. With a sharp knife, cut the tofu into even slices just under 1⁄2 inch wide. Cut the slices into fish stick dimensions or use a fish-shaped cookie cutter to cut out tofu fish. Working with one piece at a time, dip the tofu into the soy milk, then toss gently in the cornmeal mixture to coat evenly. Place on the prepared baking sheet. When all the tofu fish are on the baking sheet, sprinkle them with olive oil.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the tofu over and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until crispy. Squeeze some lemon juice evenly over the tofu fish and serve.

Book Information:
  • Vegan Lunch Box: 130 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love; by Jennifer McCann
  • De Capo Press, 2008
  • ISBN13: 9781600940729
  • Paperback, 280 pages
Recipe is reprinted with permission from De Capo Press. Recipe by Jennifer McCann.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Renee Shelton
The Cookbook Papers


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