Tag: vegetarian

Eggplant Tikka Masala

One of my favorite non-vegetarian Indian dishes is chicken tikka masala.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and was drooling.  But why should chicken have all the fun?  I wanted to modify the recipe and make a vegetarian version that was even better.

There are some recipes that substitute Greek yogurt for the heavy cream in a traditional masala.  The reason that heavy cream works best is because it has a high fat content, and doesn’t break down as easily when heated.  So I kept the heavy cream and used a smaller amount to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the final dish.

In the end, the eggplant was fantastic, and I didn’t miss the chicken one bit.  The marinade really does infuse the eggplant with a lot of flavor.  The masala sauce had a beautiful color and a rich taste, but it was a little too thick.  Next time, I would add some vegetarian broth to the tomato sauce for a thinner consistency.    But overall, I am calling this recipe a success!




Eggplant Tikka Masala

2 lb. eggplant, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
6 oz. plain nonfat yogurt
2 T lemon juice
3 t cumin, divided
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
2 T oil, divided
2 t minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced
2 t coriander
1 t paprika
1 t garam masala
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 c. heavy cream

Place eggplant pieces in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, mix yogurt, lemon juice, 2 t cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, and ginger.  Pour marinade on eggplant and stir to coat all pieces.  Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Remove eggplant from refrigerator.   Heat 1 T oil in a large pan.  Add eggplant, and cook on medium heat until soft, about 20-25 minutes.  (In the summer, you might try to grill the eggplant in a basket.)

Heat remaining 1 T oil in a separate frying pan.  Add garlic and jalapeno, and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add remaining 1 t cumin, coriander, paprika, and garam masala to pan, and stir. Add tomato sauce, stir well, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Add heavy cream and stir.  Remove from heat, and mix sauce with cooked eggplant. Serve over rice, or with naan.

-Recipe inspired by Mattawa Mum

Spinach, Tomatoes, and Stars

I featured plenty of sweet treats on the blog last week, so I thought we’d start off the new week with a simple, healthy recipe.  A dish with a lot of vegetables, but still warm and comforting.  Sometimes you just need a BIG pot of soup.

I was initially inspired by this Spinach, Tomato, and Orzo soup recipe.  But when I was strolling down the pasta aisle looking for orzo, I spotted these adorable little stars.  They aren’t whole grain, but I couldn’t resist.  I do think they make the soup a little more fun!

The soup is very thick, more like a stew, but the consistency makes it quite filling.  You can easily add another few cups of water or broth to thin it out if you like.  I added Parmesan cheese, and then swirled it in the soup with a spoon until it melted.  It was exactly the kind of recipe I needed, and I will be digging into this pot all week long.



Spinach, Tomato, and Stars

1 T olive oil
1 t minced garlic
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes with basil
1 (16 oz.) package frozen spinach
4 c. vegetable broth
2 c. water
1 c. stelline, or other small pasta

Heat oil in a large pot.  Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute.  Add onions, and saute for 10-15 minutes, until soft and lightly brown.  Add tomatoes, spinach, broth, and water, and bring to a boil.  Add pasta, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until tender.

Butternut Squash Hash

When you just can’t decide what to have for dinner, there’s always “breakfast for dinner”.  That’s how I enjoyed this butternut squash hash, although it would also be good for a weekend brunch.  Feel free to expand the recipe to use a whole squash, I just happened to have half of one leftover from another project.

This recipe takes some patience while you brown the onion and squash, but those crispy edges taste so great!  I cracked the eggs right into the same pan, mostly because I was lazy and didn’t want to take out (and then wash) another pan.  But this worked out really well, and it was a fun “breakfast for dinner” meal.





Butternut Squash Hash

1/2 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 t paprika
3-4 eggs
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Place butternut squash cubes in a bowl, and cover with water.  Microwave for 5-8 minutes, until starting to soften.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan.  Add onion, and cook for 5-10 minutes.  When squash is drained, add to frying pan.  Cook for 20-30 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Season with paprika.  The onion and squash should brown, but turn down the heat if they are burning.

When the hash is ready, make 3-4 indentations in the pan.  Spray bottom of pan with cooking spray if dry.  Crack an egg into each space.  Cover, and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove cover and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over eggs.  Replace cover and cook for 1-2 minutes more, until eggs are set.

Butternut Squash and Kale Torte

My parents recently took a drive through Rhode Island, and were stunned to see the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  There are so many tragic stories related to this storm.  They saw homes which were flooded, and a landscape redefined by sand which was moved with the power of the wind.  But less than a mile from the beach, farmers were harvesting a large quantity of butternut squash.  So they bought a bushel, which turned out to be 13 butternut squash totaling 40-45 lbs.  That’s a lot of local produce!

The first butternut squash recipe to share is this Butternut Squash and Kale Torte.  With squash, potatoes, kale, red onion, and tomato, this dish is packed with vegetables, and I loved them all.  There’s also both Provolone and Parmesan cheese.  The dish is a series of beautiful layers, and the camera does not do this justice.  The recipe does take a bit of time with all the peeling and slicing, and required about 15 extra minutes in the oven, but the end result is totally worth it.


Breakfast Enchiladas

I’ve been wanting to try this Breakfast Enchilada recipe for a while.  Your favorite fillings go inside the tortillas, which are then set in a mixture of eggs and cheese.  I really like breakfast casseroles, especially ones like this which you can make the night before, and then bake in the morning.

The original recipe included chopped peppers and ham, neither of which are on my list of favorite foods.  So I used onion, mushrooms, and spinach, and kept the dish vegetarian.  I also reduced the overall amount of cheese and traded in the half-and-half for skim milk to lighten things up a bit.



The end result was quite good, but I was thinking that it would be even better with some fresh tomatoes and sour cream on top.  Since I didn’t have any of that in the house, I paired an enchilada with some fresh fruit for a complete breakfast.  Keep this recipe in mind, especially if you’re having company for breakfast or brunch over the holidays.




Breakfast Enchiladas

1 T olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 (8 oz.) package mushrooms, sliced
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
6 flour tortillas
6 eggs
1 1/2 c. skim milk
2 T flour
Salt and Pepper
1 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Saute onions for 15-20 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown.  Add mushrooms, and cook until mushrooms are soft.  Stir in spinach and heat through.  Remove from heat and allow to cool briefly.  Place 1/2 c. filling in each tortilla, roll, and place seam side down in a 13″x9″ baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk, and flour, and season generously with salt and pepper.  Pour mixture over tortillas.  Sprinkle cheese evenly over the dish.  Refrigerate overnight if desired.  Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes covered with foil.  Remove foil, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to set for 5 minutes before serving.

-Adapted from Inspired Taste

Linguine with Green Beans

I’ve had so many food adventures in the last few days, and spent very little time in my kitchen.  I had a lovely visit with a friend from college who had a list of great restaurants in the area, many of them new to me.  We had a delicious dinner at My Thai Vegan Cafe, and a fantastic brunch at Sofra in Cambridge.  (Their shakshuka was so much better and more authentic than my version.) I don’t really do restaurant reviews on the blog, but it’s safe to say that I will be visiting both places again soon.  We also enjoyed dessert in the form of an espresso cannoli from Mike’s and my very own Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies.  It was such a treat to enjoy good food and good conversation with the whole family, and experience some new places in my backyard.

But suddenly it was Sunday afternoon, and I was alone again, facing a busy week ahead.  I decided to make a pasta dish inspired by Giada’s Whole Wheat Linguine with Green Beans, Ricotta, and Lemon.  Frozen green beans were the best option this time of year, although I do think this recipe would be infinitely better with fresh spring green beans.  I really liked the creaminess of the ricotta cheese, the scent of the garlic, and the slight tang of the lemon juice.  The dish doesn’t have any powerful flavors, but it’s a simple, comforting bowl of pasta.  I am not sure yet how it will hold up when reheated, but I will surely find out this week.



Linguine with Green Beans

6 oz. whole wheat linguine
1 c. part skim ricotta cheese
1 T olive oil
2 t minced garlic
1 (16 oz.) package frozen green beans
2 T lemon juice
Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle (basil, oregano, garlic, and thyme)

Cook linguine according to directions.  Drain, reserving 1 1/2 c. of pasta water.  Toss pasta with ricotta cheese.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes until just starting to brown.  Add green beans, and saute for 5-8 minutes.  Add 1 c. of reserved pasta water, and simmer for 3-5 minutes.  Add pasta/ricotta mixture, and stir to coat.  Add more pasta water if needed to thin the sauce.

Add lemon juice and several dashes of Pasta Sprinkle, or Italian seasoning.  Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Crockpot Lentil, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Soup

Although it seems like everyone in the Northeast is preparing for a hurricane, I am just trying to prepare myself for a hectic week.  I sincerely hope that everyone stays safe, and feel lucky to live pretty far inland.  I do have candles, matches, and a flashlight, and I guess if the power goes out I’ll be eating a lot of soup!

This soup was inspired by a Betty Crocker recipe I saw on Pinterest.  It’s thick, creamy, and packed with vegetables and plant based protein.  It reminds me of something you’d make with those condensed soups in the red and white cans, except this has all real ingredients and a lot less sodium.

The recipe requires just a little more work than my usual “throw everything in the crockpot and go to bed” routine.  You saute onion and celery prior to starting the crockpot, and add some additional ingredients towards the end.  But it’s still a lot easier to make this soup on Sunday than it is to stare into your fridge at 6am Monday morning, trying to figure out what you’re going to bring for lunch.  🙂



Crockpot Lentil, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Soup

1 T vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 stacks celery, chopped
1 c. lentils
1 (8 oz.) package of sliced mushrooms
1 c. long grain and wild rice
1 t thyme
1/4 t black pepper
6 c. vegetable broth
2 c. water
1 c. frozen peas and carrots
1 (12 oz.) can fat free evaporated milk
2 T flour

In a small frying pan, heat oil.  Add onions and celery, and saute for 15-20 minutes, until soft and lightly brown.   Place in crockpot, and add lentils, mushrooms, rice, spices, broth, and water.  Cook on Low for 6 hours.

Add peas and carrots.  If soup appears very thick, add 1-2 cups of water or broth.  Cook for additional hour.

Whisk milk and flour in a small bowl, and add to crockpot.  Cook for 30-60 minutes until soup is thickened and heated through.

-Inspired by Betty Crocker

Pumpkin Alfredo

My cooking club theme this month was pumpkin, and I decided to “warm up” for the event with this Pumpkin Alfredo recipe, inspired by Jamie from Live (and Eat) Abundantly.  Not only does this recipe use pumpkin in the sauce, but the base of the dish uses spaghetti squash for noodles.  If that’s not your thing, you can either replace the squash with pasta, or do a mixture of the two like Jamie did.

While I really liked the concept of this recipe, I think the sauce needed something.  I used plenty of salt and pepper, and it still came up a little short.  I think it could use a bit more cheese, and perhaps a freshly chopped herb, like sage.  Jamie mentioned that she used hot sauce, but I am not a big fan of the stuff.  That’s OK, there’s still lots of time left in pumpkin season to experiment with this one, and I look forward to trying again.



Pumpkin Alfredo

1 medium spaghetti squash
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
3 T olive oil
2 T flour
2 t minced garlic
1 1/2 c. milk, or non-dairy milk substitute
1 c. pureed pumpkin
1 t mustard
Salt & Pepper
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Cut spaghetti squash in half.  Place face down on a baking sheet, and roast at 350F for 45-50 minutes, or until flesh pierces easily with a fork.  Allow squash to cool so that it is easier to handle.  With a fork, remove the “strands” from the skin, and place in a large bowl.  Mix in spinach, and set bowl aside.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat olive oil.  Add flour and stir constantly for 5-8 minutes.  Be careful not to let the flour burn.  Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Slowly whisk in milk, pumpkin, and mustard.  Continue to cook and allow mixture to thicken.  Add cheese and stir well to incorporate. Season generously with salt and pepper.  Taste and correct as needed.  Add squash/spinach mixture and stir to incorporate.  (If you have a large squash, you may end up reserving some of the squash/spinach mixture for a later use.)  Serve garnished with additional Parmesan cheese.

-Adapted from Live (and Eat) Abundantly

Grilled Apple and Cheddar

Grilled cheese just might be my favorite sandwich.  I can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It’s very important that the bread is crispy and the cheese is melty.  (Spellcheck doesn’t like the word “melty”, but you know what I mean!)

This fall, I’ve gotten into a kick of making grilled cheese sandwiches with Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Cheddar and fresh slices of apple on whole wheat bread.  Cheese and apples are always a great combination, and this makes for an awesome sandwich on a chilly day.



OK, so this isn’t a real recipe, but I do have some important tips.  First, cut the apples slices very thin so they’ll soften slightly as the sandwich cooks.  Second, make sure to place half of the cheese slices under the apples, and half of them on top.  This will ensure that the cheese melts onto both sides of the bread with the apple slices in between.  And finally, serve any remaining apple slices on the side of the sandwich.

I was not paid by Cabot to mention their cheese, and the cheese was not provided to me as a sample.  But I do love the fact that Cabot reduced fat cheeses have a great texture, and really melt when you make a sandwich!

Butternut Squash Chili

One of the things I love about Pinterest is finding new recipes.  It’s similar to reading a cooking magazine, except you click through the pin (the picture) for the recipe.  I keep track of the recipes I want to make on Pinterest here, in case you’re curious.  This Butternut Squash Chili came to me from Pinterest, courtesy of Gluten Free Goddess who posted the recipe, and the friend of mine who pinned it.

I’ve been wanting to make some kind of chili since the cold snap here in New England, and this one came out so well.  I modified the original recipe a bit, removing the peppers and chilies that I don’t like, and adding extra squash.  I used frozen butternut squash mostly for convenience; it would have been a lot more fun to hit up a farmer’s market for a locally grown squash, but that wasn’t in the cards this weekend.  The original recipe also indicates that this can be made in a crockpot, but I used the stove top directions because they fit my schedule.

The end result is a mild chili which is rich in flavor from all the vegetables.  Between the bright orange squash and the red tomatoes, the color is perfect for fall.  If you like your chili with more kick, add a jalapeno or some cayenne pepper.  The diced fresh avocado was a nice touch though, and I highly recommend it.  I have more than a few chili recipes on the blog, including White Bean Pumpkin Chili, Sweet Potato Chili, and Black Bean Chocolate Chili, but this one will now be in the rotation.



Butternut Squash Chili

1 T canola oil
2 t minced garlic
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t ginger
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 (20 oz.) bag frozen butternut squash
4 c. vegetable broth
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 T sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large soup pot.  Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, and ginger and stir well for 1 minute.  Add onion and celery, and stir well to coat.  Saute for 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, squash, broth, beans, sugar, and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes more, until slightly thickened. Serve garnished with fresh avocado if desired.

-Adapted from Gluten Free Goddess