Tag Archives: tuno

Brandad-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers

7 Jul

Today, July 7, the Fiestas de San Fermín start – the festival celebrating the patron saint of Pamplona, Spain.  Every year, from July 7 until the 14, Spain gets up early to watch 5 bulls run through the streets of Pamplona when thousands of people are running in their way.  I do not condone or agree with the Corridas de Toros, at all.  But the Encierros is sort of the “revenge of the bulls”, IMHO.


I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since my last trip to Spain.  I believe that I was Spaniard in some other life… because I love the country, the food, the people…  last year, I took this opportunity to showcase a few Spanish recipes made the vegetarian way.  I enjoyed it so much that decided to do it all over again…

Bacalao, or salted cod fish,  is something I used to enjoy a lot before I went vegetarian, but I have found that frozen tuno can be molded and seasoned into tasting like many types of seafood dishes.  One of them being brandad – a mixture traditionally made with bacalao and potatoes.

Here is how I did it…



6 roasted piquillo peppers
½ cup of Tuno Antipasto recipe
2 medium-sized russet potatoes, boiled
A drizzle of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mash the potatoes well using a potato masher.  Mix together the Tuno Antipasto and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil to give it added gloss.
  2. Take the roasted peppers and carefully stuff them using a small spoon.  Place them in a shallow gratin dish and drizzle again with a little olive oil.
  3. Roast in a 400F oven for about 15 minutes until the peppers dry a bit and the filling is warmed up.


Serve alongside a green salad for a light supper or by itself as a tapa.  They’re super easy to make and very filling.

Jonathan loved this dish and he didn’t even suspect it had soy tuna in it… the flavors are so good, he just gobbled them up.  That’s the way to introduce your omnivore friends to your vegetarian cooking – don’t tell them all the ingredients before tasting anything.  People are prejudiced if you tell them of any soy product substitutes.  Have them taste the food first, and after they’re in love with it, reveal the details, if you want to…

Viva España and enjoy the next few days of San Fermín and Spanish recipes, OLÉ!!

Galician Empanada

9 Jul

During my trip to Spain, Walter and I visited the north of Spain – San Sebastián, Bilbao, Santander – mostly part of Basque Country.  I was a little apprehensive at first because even though I have always heard it is super beautiful, the Basque Country does not have the best reputation of safety. 

I am here to attest that I never, ever felt unsafe while traveling in the Basque Country of Spain. The coast of the Cantabric Sea is beautiful and is something that needs to be enjoyed and visited by all.  We wish we had more time to stay and visit with even more leisure than we actually did.

San Sebastian 2      Santander Bilbao

One of the fascinating things about this region is it’s in the path of the Camino de Santiago – the Saint James Trail.  The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage made by the followers and believers of St. James.  People walk from Roncesvalles in Navarra to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia to visit and honor the remains of the Apostle St. James, buried at the Cathedral.  People take about 1 month to walk the whole trail, about 800kms, staying in posadas or places specially designated for the pilgrims. 

Walter and I were taken by the Camino and its pilgrims.  The scallop shell is the symbol of the Camino and you can see tiles marking the way in many of the cities we visited.  Partly because of the religious significance and partly because the adventure and our love for Spain and travel, Walter and I decided we would definitely make the Camino de Santiago, specially on a Holy Compostellan Year , which is whenever July 25 falls on a Sunday.  I just learned this will be NEXT YEAR, in 2010. 

Camino SAntiago 1    Camino SAntiago 2   Camino Santiago 3

On this year, I was told you’re given a “passport” that is stamped at several intervals to testify you’re indeed a pilgrim doing the trail.  When you arrive at the Cathedral in Santiago, you get the final stamp and your country of origin is mentioned during the daily mass at noon to bless and celebrate the pilgrims.  I really want to do that!!!!

And what does this have to do with food, you might be asking yourself?  Isn’t this a blog about vegetarian food???  

When watching my other favorite Spanish cooking and traveling show, Spain on the Road Again with Mario Batali and Gwenyth Paltrow, they mentioned how these Empanadas Gallegas were super popular by the pilgrims because they are very portable, they are very nutritious, they keep well without refrigeration and best of all delicious.  I just have always seen them in the Spanish panaderías here in Puerto Rico since forever, but have not had one in many years because they’re made mostly with tuna or chorizo…

So in honor of our upcoming trip to the Camino de Santiago, here’s my interpretation of an Empanada Gallega…


 Empanada Gallega


1 sheet of puffed pastry, thawed on the counter for 30 minutes or in the fridge overnight
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
About ½ cup of TuNo soy-based product
1 tsp of tomato paste
1 garlic clove, minced
About 3 tbs of white wine or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of Spanish pimentón
 5-6 Spanish olives stuffed with pimientos – sliced
1 bay leaf
Spanish Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
About 1 tbs of whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 tbs of buttermilk or butter
Some bench flour – whole wheat preferably…


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onions and garlic.  Sauté for a few minutes until the onions start to soften and become a bit translucent.  Add the bay leaf to season.
  3. Add the crumbled pieces of TuNo and let it cook all together.  TuNo usually comes frozen, but you will not need to defrost it for this application.  Just let it defrost and melt in the pan with the onions. 
  4. Add the tomato paste, pimentón and the vinegar to the pan and let it combine well.  Add the olives and season with salt and pepper.  Let it cook for a few minutes and turn the stove off.  Set it aside to cool off for while you work with the dough.
  5. I cover the baking sheet of my toaster oven using a layer of aluminum foil and then parchment to ease up on the cleaning. 
  6. The puffed pastry usually comes folded in thirds, I don’t even bother to unfold it… dust it with a little bit of whole-wheat flour, cut it into two halves and flatten it out using a rolling pin.  Roll the two halves of puff pastry one a bit larger than the other… Place the larger half onto the baking sheet lined with parchment. 
  7. Add the breadcrumbs to the onion/TuNo mixture and remove the bay leaf.  Transfer the mixture carefully onto the puff pastry leaving about a ½ inch border all the way around.  Try to flatten the mixture a bit to make it an even layer. 
  8. Empanada Gallega - Relleno
  9. Cover the filling with the smaller layer of rolled pastry.  Bring the edges of the puff pastry together folding one onto the other and securing by pinching with the tines of a fork.
  10. Brush the top layer of pastry with the melted butter or buttermilk, whichever you have on hand.  Make 2 slits on the top for the steam to escape.
  11. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and smells delicious.
  12. Take it out of the oven carefully and out of the baking sheet to cool off a bit into a cutting board.

   I just hope we can find a vegetarian version of this empanada like this along the Santiago Trail… what do you think??


Empanada Gallega 1

Getting a peak inside the filling…  yum!

TuNofish Salad Sandwich

1 Feb

I am a sandwich person at heart… I love sandwiches for lunch or even dinner.  Heck, I love sandwiches for breakfast and snacks as well.  I bought these nice whole wheat hoagie rolls this last week and I have just been making sandwiches away… 

One of my favorite ones is TuNofish Salad – pay attention to the spelling, because it’s made with Tuno, the soy protein flavored with seaweed to taste like regular tuna.  It’s light and makes a great lunch.  My friend Jesiel would say it makes a great breakfast… because she only has tuna sandwiches as breakfast, ever since she was a little kid… 

It’s super simple…



1/3 cup Tuno soy protein, defrosted and squeezed as dry as possible
3 tbs egg-free mayonnaise, such as Vegenaise
1 tbs finely chopped onion
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
Choice of bread – I used a whole wheat hoagie roll
Lettuce – romaine or arugula works great
3 tomato slices
Extra mayo to spread
  1. Mix together in a bowl the Tuno, mayo, onion, lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper. 
  2. Toast bread to your liking.
  3. Spread mayo on both sides.
  4. Place TuNo salad on bottom bread.  Top with lettuce and tomatoes.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top of tomatoes.

Enjoy with your favorite kind of natural potato chips or plantain chips.

Just to give you an idea that if you enjoy tunafish sandwiches and you decide to go veggie, you will not have to give the experience or the flavor.  Believe me, these taste just as good as the real thing used to taste to me.

Try it…

Tuno Antipasto

19 Jan

Antipasto… when you hear the word you probably think of a platter of salamis, deli meats, Italian cheeses, olives, roasted peppers, etc.  And you would be right…

However, don’t ask me why or how, but in Puerto Rico, a party delicacy served warm made out of tuna or chicken, stewed with lots of onions, peppers and in a rich tomato sauce is also called an antipasto.  My version, of course, is made with Tuno – a brand of frozen soy protein flavored with seeweeds to taste like tuna.

You can have this as a warm party “dip” or  it goes great on top of rice or even pasta.



1/3 cup of Tuno, defrosted
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 medium cubanelle pepper, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely minced 
1/2 cup pureed tomatoes or tomato sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 laurel bay leaf
1 roasted red bell pepper
2 tbs capers or sliced green stuffed olives
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, pour olive oil and onions.  Sautee for a few minutes, add peppers and garlic.  Add some slat and pepper to help the mixture release some moisture.  Sautee until softened.
  2. Add frozen Tuno.  Cover saucepan, this will help the Tuno defrost completely.


3.  Add tomato sauce, vinegar, roasted peppers, bay leaf, capers or olives. 

4.  Cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. 

Serve warm with crackers as a warm dip.  Or serve on top of whole grain rice as a main course.


Buon Appetito!!!

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