The Ultimate Guacamole – Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free & Vegan

The Ultimate Guacamole - low FODMAP, fructose friendly, gluten free, vegan, ibs, irritable bowel syndrome, healthy, low carb, healthy fats

Guacamole is one of my favourite things in the world. creamy yet chunky, soft and full of plant-powered nutrition and flavour, it’s a win-win-win in my book. Luckily for me (and I really don’t mean to gloat), I flew through the sorbitol challenge with flying colours instead of flying to the loo and I can consume reasonable amounts of avocado without issue, which is good, because 1/4 of an avo contains about 8% of your daily folate requirements, as well as good amounts of vitamins B2, B5, B6, C, E and phosphorous and magnesium. See below for avocado’s FODMAP information.

Now, I realise that the claim to the ultimate guacamole is pretty extreme but this, to me, is the best way to make it. This is not the awful stuff you peel the lid off from the supermarket, this is fresh avo mixed with other flavours like tomato and lime to play on your taste buds. The bonus of adding in the tomato is that, besides tasting great, it also allows you to spread (pun intended) the avocados further, which is important when you live in Seattle and the decent avocados cost an arm and a leg. It works well with breads, chicken, corn chips or veggie sticks; and don’t you dare think of skimping on the corn chips. Go hard or go home.

So, the next time you have an impromptu gathering and/or need an entree (“appetiser,” in US lingo) in an instant, give this guac a whirl. The only downside is you won’t have leftovers. Unless you make yourself a secret batch for later. Do it.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Avocados are considered low FODMAP in 1/8 fruit servings, any more and sorbitol might be an issue. If you are okay with consuming more sorbitol but are sensitive to fructose, keep in mind that sorbitol can inhibit the co-transport method by which fructose malabsorbers absorb most of their fructose. Don’t go nuts, figure out the balance that works for you.
  2. Tomatoes are FODMAP friendly in 1/2 cup servings, the amount called for in this recipe once split into the eight servings would be safe.
  3. Garlic infused olive oil is free of fructans, as FOS are water soluble, thus do not seep into the fatty oil. I really like Nicer Food’s garlic infused olive oils, available here.
  4. Limes are a low FODMAP fruit.
  5. Corn chips are low FODMAP and gluten free, as long as they’re not seasoned with anything high FODMAP.

The Ultimate Guacamole

Serves 16 FODMAPers – of course, you can eat more if you tolerate it.

  • 2 large, ripe avocados
  • 1 cup (200 g) diced vine ripened or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • Juice of 1 medium lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: 1-2 tbsp. minced chives or coriander leaves (cilantro)

Mash (don’t whip, then it’s like baby food) the avo’s  until 75% smooth, then add in the diced tomatoes, lime juice, garlic oil and salt. Mix through and tinker with more oil – if required for texture – and salt if needed. Cover it, with the stone in the bowl, until you want to serve it. For best results, don’t make it more than a couple of hours ahead of time.

It’s that simple. You’re done. Go and have a (low FODMAP) beer while you wait for your friends to arrive. To serve, I like to surround the small bowl of guac with my favourite corn chips.

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Caprese Sticks with a Balsamic Glaze – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Caprese Sticks

If you’re after a quick canape/appetiser type dish that is also low FODMAP, then look no further. This classic combination needs no alterations – other than to watch out for over consumption – to be FODMAP friendly, which is awesomesauce.

This can also be turned into a tossed salad with small amounts of the Balsamic glaze drizzled on top. Just as delicious, with much less work.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Balsamic vinegar is low FODMAP in servings of 1 tbsp and contains moderate amounts of fructose in 2 tbsp. servings. As the glaze is reduced by half, so should these measurements. You don’t need much of the glaze, anyway.
  2. Cherry tomatoes are low FODMAP in servings of 1/2 a cup, so don’t consume more than four or five sticks is you are still figuring out your tolerances.
  3. Mozzarella cheese is lower in lactose, so small servings are permissible. Each stick should only have a very small amount – say, 1/2 a tsp. of cheese – so four to five sticks should still be okay.
  4. Basil is low FODMAP.
  5. Choose good toothpicks, so they don’t splinter in your mouth. Been there, done that.

Caprese Sticks with a Balsamic Glaze

Serves 16.

  • 1 large punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup lightly packed sweet basil leaves
  • 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • Toothpicks

Pour the Balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring it to just below the boil, before reducing to s simmer. Watch it while it slowly reduces by a third to a half (stop at your desired consistency) and then take it off the heat immediately and pour into a ramekin.

Not much more than an hour or two before they’re required, cut the cherry toms in half, tear up the basil leaves and dice the Mozzarella cheese. Skewer them onto the toothpicks in the following order: top half of tomato, basil, cheese, bottom half of tomato.

Arrange however you’d like and refrigerate until 15 minutes before they’re served, to take the chill off.

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Creamy Roasted Pumpkin and Sage Soup – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly, Lactose Free & Gluten Free

Creamy Roast Pumpkin and Sage Soup - Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly and Gluten Free, with a vegetarian option

The leaves are finally starting to change in Seattle, huzzah!

I’ve always loved soups in Autumn – okay, okay, “Fall” – and pumpkin soup was a firm favourite of mine growing up; it was one of the dishes that my Mum had nailed (another being Spanakopita – I can’t believe I haven’t posted that one yet).

Well, just my luck to marry a guy who isn’t a pumpkin fan… or a spinach fan, either, for that matter. Hmm… I kid. It’s not that he dislikes them, there’s just plenty of other foods he’d rather eat, like a spicy chili or a really spicy Szechuan dish. I like those things, too, so mostly I don’t mind the compromise but every now and then, well, once or twice each pumpkin season, I make this soup.

The recipe below isn’t exactly my Mum’s recipe, as Ev hates nutmeg. The poor soup, it just can’t win. Instead, I went for a mix of oregano and sage, as we have a handy dandy supply of those in our herb garden. I love the traditional mix of the pumpkin and sage and the addition of a little bacon and Worcestershire sauce (see notes) really brings it all home. Top nosh. Although, be warned, this soup might look light and innocent but it is definitely filling. If you’re serving it as a first course, keep the servings small. Just FYI.

PS. Apologies for the lack of “during” photos, both my camera and phone batteries had carked it.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Butternut pumpkin/squash is low FODMAP in 1/4 cup serves but is given a moderate rating for GOS and mannitol in 1/2 cup serves. Jap/Kent/Kabocha pumpkin (squash) is low FODMAP in 1/2 cup (60 g) serves, with all green lights and no upper limit listed. If you are sensitive to GOS and mannitol, go for the Jap pumpkin but otherwise, use either or a combination of both.
  2. Garlic infused olive oil is considered low FODMAP, as carbohydrates are water soluble, so the FODMAPs can’t leech into the oil, like it would into a water based dish. Either use store bought or saute garlic cloves with the oil and bacon (or butter) at the beginning and discard before the other ingredients are added.
  3. Bacon is low FODMAP, as long as no spices like onion or garlic powder are added into its cure.
  4. Green leek tips are low FODMAP in 1/2 cup servings. Beware the white bulb, which is high in FOS.
  5. Worcestershire sauce is FODMAP friendly in 2 tbsp. servings, despite the onion and garlic that might appear at the very end of the ingredients list. The 1/4 cup called for in the recipe, divided by many servings, is a very small amount and should be tolerated. If you are concerned, or cannot tolerate even a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, sub in Balsamic vinegar to taste, 1 tbsp. serving of which gets a green light from Monash. This will alter the flavour a little but will still taste delicious.
  6. If you want to make this paleo, use unsweetened almond milk instead of the cream and Balsamic vinegar instead of the Worcestershire sauce.

Roasted Pumpkin and Sage Soup

Serving size: 1/2 to 1 cup (125 – 250 ml).

  • 2 kg approx. Butternut or Jap/Kent pumpkin (works out to 1 large Butternut)
  • 2 tbsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced bacon (replace with 1 tbsp. butter for vegetarian version)
  • 1 cup diced green leek tips
  • 1.0 L of fructose friendly chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (or Balsamic vinegar if required)
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cream (lactose free or almond milk if required)
  • 1 cup water (maybe a little more)

Preheat your oven to 200 C/400 F.

Cut the Butternut/Jap pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and go to town (carefully!) stabbing it with the knife, to facilitate even cooking. Lay the halves skin side down on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt. Bake in the oven for approx. 90 minutes, until a fork will easily penetrate the flesh. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until it’s comfortable to touch. Alternatively, refrigerate it until required, for up to 2 days.

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In a large saucepan, heat the garlic infused olive oil and fry the bacon until crispy. Meanwhile, scoop out the cooked pumpkin flesh. Remove the bacon and set it aside for later. Add in the diced green leek tips and saute til translucent, then throw in the pumpkin flesh, chicken or vegetable stock, oregano, sage, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil for 1 minute, before reducing to a simmer for 30 minutes, with the lid on.

After 30 minutes, use your stick/immersion blender to puree the mixture until it’s completely smooth. Then, add in the cream and 1 cup water and stir through – if it needs a little more fluid, add in a bit more water.  Play with the salt and pepper, until the seasoning suits your tastes. Simmer for a further 20 minutes with the lid on, before serving warm with the bacon bits sprinkled on top or keeping it on a low heat until it’s required.

I like to serve with a dollop of sour cream and some finely minced chives. A fresh slice of crusty ryce bread (or your favourite low FODMAP/gluten free bread) also goes down a treat. Dig in!

This soup, like most, is better the next day and it lasts in the fridge for five days, so you can divvy it up for weekday lunches. Alternatively, it also freezes well.

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Feta and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Feta and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms - Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free and Vegetarian

It’s funny how your taste buds change as you get older – if someone had told my ten year old self that I would eventually love mushrooms and asparagus more than my beloved cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches, I’d have laughed in their face – but it’s true, the impossible has happened. It’s not just me, even my sister, who used to hate mushrooms so much that she once hid them up her nose to avoid eating them, eats mushrooms happily. Side note – Lis was three, it was hilarious; Mum and Dad had left the room and told her all the mushrooms had to be gone when they got back or she wouldn’t get dessert and returned to her sneezing up mushrooms.

Mushrooms are an hearty, healthy vegetarian steak that can be prepared in just about any way you could imagine. Nutritionally, they are high in dietary fibre, iron, magnesium, certain B group vitamins, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and zinc, and they have a moderate amount of protein (3.3 g per 100 g serve); mushies are also low in fat, cholesterol and sodium, for those who need to watch those components of food.

Notes:

  1. Mushrooms contain high levels of the polyol mannitol in 1 cup servings; one or two of these mushrooms is about 1/2 a cup of mushrooms. Eat what you can tolerate.
  2. Feta and Parmesan are lower FODMAP cheeses, being lower in lactose than soft cheeses.
  3. Use any bread you like for the bread crumbs – spelt, sourdough, gluten free, or grain free are fine.
  4. To make these vegetarian, use a sharp cheddar or vegetarian hard style cheese to top instead of the Parmesan, which contains rennet.

Feta and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

Makes 16, serves 8 as an entree/canape.

  • 16 large button mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of a fructose friendly basil pesto
  • 4 slices of the bread of your choice (approx. 1 cup bread crumbs)
  • 150 g Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese or vegetarian hard cheese, freshly grated

The day before you are making the filling, get out the bread and roughly chop it. Let it sit, uncovered, to go stale overnight. Alternatively, if you forget this step, toast the sliced bread before roughly chopping them and blitzing them in your food processor to create bread crumbs.

Wash the mushrooms, then carefully de-stalk them and use a teaspoon to dig out the fuzz, so that you just have empty shells. Line a baking tray and evenly space the mushroom tops, upside down.

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Finely grate the stalks and then saute them in the garlic infused olive oil for 3 minutes, before adding in the pesto, bread crumbs and crumbled Feta cheese. Mix thoroughly and then let it cool completely before filling the mushroom shells. Fill the mushrooms so that the mixture rises above the top by about 5 mm or so, not too much or the Parmesan cheese will fall right off later on. Depending on the size of the hollows in the mushrooms, you could use anywhere from 2-4 tsp. of the filling. You will most likely have some filling left but don’t worry, it makes for a great sandwich spread. Sprinkle the mushrooms with finely grated Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian option) and store in the fridge until you want to bake them.

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When you are ready to bake (half an hour before serving), have the oven pre-heated to 180 C/350 F and bake the mushrooms for 20 minutes, until al dente. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for 5 minutes, to let the excess juices drain, before plating and serving them.

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Mirepoix – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Mire Poix

A traditional mirepoix involves carrots, celery and onion; due to geographic and cultural divides, as well as taste preferences, variations have of course come about over time and often only include one of the original ingredients… which means that I don’t feel terrible at all about nixing the onion and replacing it with leek and chives!

A mirepoix actually forms the base of many sauces, stews and stocks – I’d been making one for ages unintentionally – and you have been, too – before I even knew it had a name. You know the browned vegetables that constitute the beginning of a stock, a pasta sauce, a chili or even the butter chicken sauce recipe on this blog? They are all actually a “mirepoix.” Go figure. I had no clue until a year ago, I just thought it was what you were supposed to do. Which you are. But it has a name. I’ll stop now.

I have adjusted this recipe of Alton Brown’s to be low FODMAP. You can use mirepoix as a pasta sauce on its own, to bake with oysters or top a pizza. Anything goes, really. I love versatility. Thanks to the dry heat used, which intensifies flavours, this simple method adds a real depth of flavour to dishes that require a tomato sauce base.

Notes:

  1. Celery contains enough mannitol to be high FODMAP if you eat an entire stalk, which you wouldn’t be doing here. However, if you are very sensitive, just reduce it or sub in some extra leek or add in celeriac (for texture).
  2. Green leek tips are low FODMAP in half cup servings, so unless you eat the entire batch of mirepoix, you should be fine.
  3. Tomatoes are low FODMAP in half cup servings.
  4. Carrots are low FODMAP in about a quarter cup serving size.
  5. Garlic infused oil is tolerated by many who are sensitive to fructans, even though it seems counter-intuitive. FODMAPs are water soluble, so the garlic sizzling/infusing in oil shouldn’t leach out too many fructans. Simple solution – use a pinch of asafoetida in its place, which is both low FODMAP and gluten free (unless wheat flour is used to cut it).
  6. Red wine is low FODMAP in 150 ml servings. Red wine vinegar is double fermented red wine, so it is also safe.
  7. Balsamic vinegar is low FODMAP in 1 tbsp. servings, which is all there is in the entire recipe.

Mirepoix

Serves 12-14 FODMAPers, depending on tolerance.

  • 2 large tins of whole, peeled tomatoes, separated into toms and liquid
  • 1 cup finely sliced green leek tips
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup minced green chives
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole or diced
  • 2 tsp. fresh minced basil
  • 2 tsp. fresh minced oregano
  • 2 tsp. minced capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Strain the tinned tomatoes completely – give them a squish to make sure all the juice is out – and reserve the liquid. Prepare all the veggies as required above.

Combine the tomato liquid, red wine, chives, vinegars and herbs in a saucepan and bring to the boil, before lowering heat to a simmer and reducing volume by half. This should take about 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, preheat grill/broiler of your oven (grill in Australia = broiler in USA) and then simmer the whole garlic cloves over a med-high heat on the stove top, in an oven-safe pan, until fragrant and then discard if you are sensitive (or dice and leave them in if not). I love my cast iron pan; like this sauce, it’s versatile – the most versatile piece of cookware that we own (bake cakes/breads, stove top, grill/broiler safe, arm workout, you name it).

Add in the leek tips, carrot and celery and sweat the veggies until tender. Add in the tomatoes, then put the pan under the grill/broiler (on the top/second shelf) and leave it with the oven door open for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops have begun to char. This adds flavour and is a good thing, so let it get moderately charred.

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Once the veggies have sufficiently blackened, put them back on the stove, on a medium heat and add in the capers. Saute for a minute and then tip the veggies into the (now reduced) tomato liquid. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture to the texture you need (i.e. pasta sauce would be chunkier than a pizza sauce), then flavour with salt and pepper before simmering for a further 5 minutes.

You’re done! Unless of course you want to preserve/can it, which I recommend, as you can make big batches and have jars on the ready for when you’re feeling lazy.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Tomato Soup – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free and Vegan

Roasted Pumpkin and Tomato Soup

Over winter I came to love a simple, yet delicious soup that I would often make for myself if I was home for lunch, or as a “pre-dinner snack.” What began as a way to get rid of opened tins in the fridge evolved into a tasty and warming dish that I really enjoy eating.

This soup requires no alterations to be fully vegan, though you can sub in chicken stock for the vegetable stock if it’s all you have. I often make my soups vegetarian; I think we rely too much on meat in our diets and, while I have unsuccessfully tried to go vegetarian twice now (every time I’d spend 6 months with cold after cold and the last attempt I believe triggered my gastritis) I do my best to limit meat intake to smaller amounts and free range whenever possible.

Notes:

  1. Use a pumpkin that is low in FODMAPs/that you tolerate. Jap pumpkins, or the American style pumpkin (think Jack-o-lanterns) are safe.
  2. Tomatoes are low FODMAP – just make sure, if you aren’t using fresh toms, that you use tomatoes that have not been concentrated at all, such as tomato paste. Your best bet for tinned tomatoes is to buy whole peeled in a tin and puree them yourself.
  3. Tinned pumpkin and tomatoes can be used in a pinch but fresh always tastes better. Use whatever you have time for!
  4. If you do not need it to be vegan, you can use this FODMAP friendly chicken stock recipe and add the sour cream at the end – if you can tolerate lactose, of course.

Pumpkin and Tomato Soup

  • 425 g roasted pumpkin, pureed (fresh or tinned)
  • 425 g tomatoes, peeled and pureed (fresh or tinned)
  • 500 ml FODMAP friendly vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper

If you have not done so already, peel your pumpkin, weigh out 425 g, dice it and roast at 180 C/350 F for about 30 to 45 minutes, or microwave until done. Once cooked, puree the pumpkin in your blender/food processor.

In the mean time, weigh out your tomatoes, bring a pot of water to the boil and score from top to bottom, dividing the tomatoes into quarters. Score, do not slice. Fill another large bowl up with ice cold water to halt the cooking process once the tomatoes are out of the pot. Reduce the water to a simmer and then drop in your tomatoes; count to 30 seconds, remove the tomatoes and put them quickly in the cold water for 5 minutes. This is called blanching. To peel the tomatoes, stick your finger or the handle of a tea spoon under the scored edges – which should have lifted – and work the skin off. Next, de-core the tomatoes before pureeing them in your blender.

Now to the soup!

Combine all the ingredients (in order) in a sauce pan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Let the mixture boil for a couple of minutes before reducing it to a simmer and cooking for an hour with the lid ON – it doesn’t need to reduce much. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

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To keep it warm until required, just leave it over a low heat with the lid on, to prevent further reduction.

Enjoy it with a slice of suitable bread (if you can tolerate a little rye, have you tried my ryce bread?), cornbread or a savoury muffin (pumpkin muffin recipe to come soon).

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Grilled Tofu Salad – Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free & Vegan

Grilled Tofu Salad

I love warm salads. They are the perfect spring or autumn meal; not too heavy to weigh you down but just warm and hearty enough for the season.

They are also very quick and easy to make for a weeknight dinner. Thirty minutes or less? Yes, please!

Notes:

  1. Balsamic vinegar has been listed as both safe and unsafe, depending where you look. Monash University lists 1 tbsp. as safe and 2 tbsp. as containing moderate levels of fructose. Most balsamic vinegars are actually flavoured wine vinegars, so it’s hard to tell whether the authentic balsamic vinegar or the imitations are being referred to. At any rate most people aren’t buying the real deal, they’d be much too expensive to cook with except on very special occasions. I can tolerate 2 tbsp. of the imitation balsamic vinegar that I buy.
  2. Butter is very low lactose, as during production the water-soluble sugar was removed along with the buttermilk.
  3. Cherry tomatoes are considered low FODMAP in half cup servings, according to Monash University.
  4. Mushrooms are considered by Monash University to be high in mannitol and have moderate FOS in one cup servings. Different mushroom varieties have different levels of FODMAPs and I can tolerate the less than half cup serving of button mushrooms in this dish, as polyols do not affect me and the FOS has been reduced enough for my tolerance levels.
  5. Green chives are low in FODMAPs, just make sure you don’t use the white root portion.

Grilled Tofu Salad

Serves 2.

  • 2 cups loosely packed spinach, de-stemmed
  • 225 g/8 oz extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup cherry or vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. minced green chives
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or whole
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 + 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter or dairy free equivalent (vegan option such as coconut butter or Nuttelex etc)
  • 2 tbsp. flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp. each of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Slice the tofu so that it is approx. 2 cm thick and wrap it in paper towel, then sandwich it between two chopping boards and place something on top to lightly press it down. This will squeeze much of the fluid out of the tofu. Leave it like that for 20 minutes; in the meantime, prepare the vegetables.

Seal the surface of your a fry pan, then unwrap and fry the tofu for about 4 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown. Divide the spinach leaves between two plates or pasta bowls and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the oil and your choice of normal or vegan butter over a medium-high heat and then put in the garlic; let it simmer for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Next, lower the heat to medium and saute the mushrooms until they have softened considerably and begun to release liquid, then throw in the rosemary and first 2 tbsp. of chives. After a minute, add in the tomatoes, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar and stir until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

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The vegetables should be done at about the same time as the tofu, so divide the vegetables between the two servings (place on top of the spinach) and then take the tofu off the heat and  slice it into strips. Place the tofu on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with remaining chives and flax seeds (optional but I like the crunch). The flax seeds aren’t pictured below.

Serve immediately, so that the vegetables and tofu are still warmed through.

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