From Chicago Botanic Garden Chef Series 2015


Smoked Jamaican Jerked Tofu


  • 4 tablespoon of olive oil

  • Juice of 2 limes

  • 3 green onions chopped

  • 1 roasted red pepper, skinned and cleaned

  • 1 roasted green pepper, skinned and cleaned

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 2 tablespoon of fresh thyme

  • 2 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced

  • 1-2 tablespoon of brown rice syrup or other sweetener

  • 2 teaspoon of allspice grounded

  • 1 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

  • 2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

  • Blocks of firm tofu (1-2 slabs per person) drained and dried



  • Mix all ingredients, except tofu, into a blender.  Mix until all is incorporated and is in a liquid state.

  • Add tofu to a plastic zip lock bag or glass or stainless steel bowl.  Pour marinade over tofu and stir.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

  • Remove tofu and add to a grill and cook with indirect heat.  Add wood chips to smoke the tofu.  Cook for 20-30 minutes.

  • Remove from grill and let sit for 5 minutes on a plate.  Serve with Creamy Quinoa, Jicama, and Potato Summer Salad. 

From Chicago Botanic Garden Chef Series 2014


Green Goddess Dressing

Makes 1  1/2 cups


  • 1 garlic clove, peeled

  • 1/2 cup of soft tofu

  • 1/2 cup of hummus

  • 1/4 cup of tarragon leaves

  • 1/2 cup of parsley leaves

  • 1 tablespoon of chives

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 1/2 of an avocado - use other half for the salad

  • 1/4 to 1 cup of cold water, for desired consistency

  • 2 teaspoons of agave nectar

  • 1-2 Tablespoon of Tamari or Soy Sauce



  • Put all ingredients, except the water, into a blender and blend.

  • Stop the blender and scrap down the sides.  Continue to blend.

  • Gradually add water, starting with 1/4 cup until desired consistency.  I recommend a ranch-like or mayonnaise-like consistency.

  • Refrigerate at least an hour, and mix well before serving.  Can be stored for a week.

Creamy Quinoa, Jicama, and Potato Summer Salad 

(Serves 3-4)

  • 2 cups of quinoa, rinsed and strained

  • 3-4 red potatoes

  • 1-2 Jicama, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

  • 3/4 - 1 cup of vegan mayo (see recipe below)

  • 3 celery stalks, chopped

  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped

  • 1/4 cup of fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

  • 3 tablespoons of fresh dill, roughly chopped

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest

  • 1-2 tablespoon of lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup of finely diced red onion

  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds (for garnish)

  • 1 cup of dehydrated curly kale (for garnish-optional)

  • salt and pepper to taste



  • Start by filling a pot with cold water and add red potatoes.  Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender, 15-18 minutes.  Drain and let cool to handle.  Cut into 1/2 inch pieces and season with salt and pepper.

  • Bring another pot to boil.  Add quinoa and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Look to see when seeds turn from a white pearl to a translucent color.  Drain and strain.  Add back into the pot and cover, let sit for 10 minutes.

  • Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and slowly toss to coat evenly.  Taste and season accordingly

  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds and kale (optional)



  Vegan Mayo

  • 3/4 cups of silken tofu

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

  • 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

  • 1-2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

  • pinch of salt and black pepper

  • 1-2 tablespoon of brown rice syrup or other sweetener



  • Add all the ingredients into the blender except the olive oil.  Blend and scrape sides and continue to blend until creamy.  After tofu has blended to a liquid state, run blender and slowly add olive oil to emulsify everything together.

  • Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.  

Creamy No Oil Mushroom And Kale Pasta


Ingredients - serves 4

  • 1 pound of pasta (Gluten free or whole wheat preferred)

  • 1 pound of Mushrooms sliced (Any kind, like button, Portobello, oyster mushroom etc)

  • 1/4 of a cup of dried mushrooms roughly chopped, soaked in 1/2 cup of hot water (save water for recipe)

  • 1/2 cup of hummus

  • 1 head of garlic that has been roasted

  • 1 cup of vegetable stock

  • 1 bunch of kale, cleaned and leaves picked and chopped

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Hot pepper flakes (optional)



  • Boil a pot of water and cook pasta according to manufacturer's instructions (al dente preferred)

  • Preheat non stick pan on high heat

  • Add fresh and dried mushrooms, roasted garlic, water used for mushrooms, and vegetable stock to the pan.  (can add hot peppers here for more spice)

  • Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 4-5 minutes.  Taste and check for seasoning.

  • Add hummus and stir.  Add more stock or hummus to desired consistency. Cook for 1-2 minutes

  • Add pasta and kale to pan and cook for 1-2 minutes

  • Taste and season, and serve immediately.  

Baked Tofu with Chef HC's Secret Sauce 


  • 1LB of Firm Tofu

For the tofu, cut it into 8 slabs crosswise and blot very well between clean kitchen towels or paper towels. If you want your baked tofu to be extra firm, you can place a cutting board over them with some sort of weight for 20 to 30 minutes or so.


Combine all the marinade ingredients form Chef HC's Secret Sauce(see Fresh Spring Roll Recipe above)  in a small container and whisk together. (no need to cook) Arrange the tofu slices in a single layer in a shallow container and pour enough marinade over them to cover. Let stand for an hour or two—the longer, the better.


Shortly before you’d like to bake the tofu, preheat the oven to 400º F. If this is the only thing you’re making, use a toaster oven—it’s the perfect size. Otherwise, roast some veggies at the same time (I used the excess marinade to roast eggplant. Remove the tofu slices from the marinade and transfer to a parchment-lined baking pan in a single layer.


Bake for 20 minutes, then turn over and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the tofu is firm and starting to turn light brown along the edges.

Fresh Spring Rolls

With Chef HC’s Secret Sauce



  • Assortment of fresh vegetables and fruit

  • Rice paper



1. Soak the rice paper one at a time in warm water for a minute to soften.

2. Carefully remove rice paper, and lay on a clean surface.

3. Fill your custom ingredients on the rice paper and roll like a burrito.

4. Continue to make the next roll until all the paper is used.


Directions for secret sauce by Chef HC

  • 1/2 cup of tamari or soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup of raw agave or maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice

  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced

  • 2 tablespoon of minced ginger


Add everything to a saucepan and heat on high.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and simmer.  Reduce by half, look for a thick syrup like consistency. Cook time around 20-25 minutes.  You can make sauce in advance, but might too stiff, so reheat briefly. Drizzle sauce on spring rolls (save and use left over sauce for 3-5 days in frig)




Soba Noodle Salad with Green Goddess Dressing


Serves 2 

  • Dried Soba noodles about 1/2 cup

  • 1 head of butter leaf lettuce, thoroughly washed and roughly chopped

  • 1 cup of arugula leaves, thoroughly washed

  • 1 zucchini cut into thin noodles, lengthwise.  Can use a mandolin

  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped

  • 1 cucumber, sliced

  • 1/2 of an avocado, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

  • 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts

  • 1/2 cup of Asian pears or regular pears sliced thinly

  • *Optional - To make this a substantial meal, add 1 cup of Roasted beets cooled and roughly chopped



  • Cook the soba noodles accordingly to package directions.  Aim for al dente, do not overcook!

  • Once the noodles are done, add zucchini noodles into the same pot.  We are going to blanch the zucchini slightly.

  • Drain the soba and zucchini noodle onto a colander and rinse with cold water to stop additional cooking. 

  • Once all the ingredients are cleaned and chopped, add to a salad mixing bowl.

  • Add the Green Goddess dressing and toss.  Serve immediately and enjoy!