Tag: vegetarian

Spicy Pineapple Noodles

This recipe started out as Sesame Crusted Tofu with Spicy Pineapple Noodles, but the tofu portion of the recipe was a hassle and left  a burnt mess on the bottom of my pan.  The noodles, on the other hand, were quite easy and so delicious.  You could serve these noodles with some stir fried tofu or steamed edamame to keep the dish vegetarian.  If that’s not your thing, you could serve them with chicken, pork, or beef.  But make the noodles.

I was lucky and found the sugar snap peas on sale at my grocery store, but you could use another green vegetable like broccoli instead.  What makes this dish unique is the sauce.  The pineapple makes it sweet, and the ginger and cayenne make it spicy.  It’s the kind of sauce you want to slurp from the bowl at the end.  Don’t worry, I won’t tell if you do!



Spicy Pineapple Noodles

2 t canola oil
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 t minced garlic
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
8 oz. fresh sugar snap peas
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks in juice
1 t cornstarch
2 T reduced sodium soy sauce
4 oz. whole wheat spaghetti, cooked and drained
1 t sesame oil

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Add ginger , garlic, and cayenne and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.  Add sugar snap peas and stir fry for 5 minutes, until beginning to brown.  Add juice from can of pineapple, reserving the chunks.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Whisk cornstarch into soy sauce in a small bowl, and add to pan.  Stir well and simmer  for 1 minute, until thickened.  Add reserved pineapple and noodles and toss to coat.  Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.

-Adapted from Eating Well

Spaghetti Squash ‘Pizza’

After the success of my Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, I picked up another squash at the market.  But this time, I wanted to try to use it as a base for pizza.  There are a lot of low carb pizza recipes which use spaghetti squash, but they often contain over a cup of cheese in the crust alone.  I wasn’t looking for a low carb option and I prefer to save the cheese for the top of my pizza, so I used a combination of cornmeal, egg, and cheese.

Of course, this is different than a wheat based crust (hence the quotation marks), but the texture was actually very good.  Spaghetti squash tends to release a lot of water, but after the initial bake the crust was firm and even got crunchy at the edges.  Although I love a saucy pizza, I was careful not to add too much tomato sauce here because I wasn’t sure how much the crust could really hold.  I was pleasantly surprised that the sauce didn’t overwhelm the crust at all.

The taste was fairly plain, so next time I would add garlic powder and maybe Italian seasoning to the crust.  And of course, I might add some more exciting ingredients to the top of the pizza.  This is a very delicious way to pack your pizza with vegetables!  The picture below isn’t that pretty, so I think I need to make another pizza soon so I can update the post.



Spaghetti Squash ‘Pizza’

4 c. cooked spaghetti squash strands (average yield from 1 small squash)
2/3 c. cornmeal
1 c. mozzarella cheese, divided
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. tomato sauce
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine squash, cornmeal, 1/3 c. mozzarella cheese, and eggs.  Mix well.  Spread onto a greased cookie sheet, and press mixture towards edges until crust is about 1/2″ thick.   Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Remove from oven.  Spread tomato sauce on cooked crust, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 10-12 minutes more, until cheese is melted.


Crockpot Lentils and Mushrooms

I was a bit under the weather this week with a cold, and didn’t have a lot of energy.  Crockpot to the rescue, again!  This is a very simple recipe, but I love the combination of lentils, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

If you want to make this more of a soup or stew, I would suggest you double the vegetable broth.  I liked the thick consistency, and served it over brown rice.  It was just the kind of warm and comforting meal you want when you’re not feeling well.  And I had so much energy after eating it that I decided to bake!  So come back Monday for some fall inspired cookies.




Crockpot Lentils and Mushrooms

1 c. lentils
1 (8 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 c. chopped onion
1 t minced garlic
2 c. vegetable broth

Mix all ingredients in a crockpot.  Cook on Low for 8-10 hours.  Serve over brown rice.

Spinach and Smoked Gouda Quiche

Quiche is great because it is so versatile.  You can eat it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.  It travels well, and can be enjoyed warmed or cold.  You can pair it with soup, salad, or fruit, or all three if you’re serving it to company.  So I was pretty excited when my friend and blog reader Sarah sent me this recipe for Spinach, Green Onion, and Smoked Gouda quiche along with her notes on the recipe.  Smoked Gouda is one of my very favorite cheeses, but I hardly ever have a good reason to buy it.

I made a few tweaks to the recipe based on Sarah’s feedback and what I had on hand.  First, I decided to use a Vidalia instead of green onions since the big sweet onions were on sale this week.  I also used a bit more cheese than the recipe recommended because I just couldn’t resist.  Sarah said her crust came together pretty easily, but I admit that I struggled a bit.  The mixture just seemed too crumbly at first, so I added a few extra drops of milk.  When it came time to roll the dough into a circle, I ended up with an slightly crooked oval.  I am by no means an expert at making dough, but I do know you can’t rush the process.  Take your time with each step, especially rolling it out, and remember that no one really cares what the crust looks like.  Here’s my ugly crust for all the Internet to see!



When it comes time to bake the final product, you also need to be patient.  The original recipe quotes 35 minutes; mine took around 45 minutes, and Sarah said hers took closer to 60 minutes.  But this quiche is well worth the wait!  I had a piece straight out of the oven, and loved the combination of flavors.  If you buy a bag of fresh spinach for the recipe, you’ll have some extra for a salad to accompany the quiche.  If you tackle this project on a weekend afternoon, you will have a gourmet dinner by evening.




Spinach and Smoked Gouda Quiche

6 T butter, softened
2 T nonfat milk, plus more if needed
1/4 t salt
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 c. flour
1 T canola oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced thinly
3 c. fresh spinach
1 c. nonfat milk
1 c. shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1/4 t black pepper
3 eggs

Place butter in a mixing bowl, and beat until fluffy.  Combine 2 T milk, salt, and egg yolk in small bowl and whisk well.  Incorporate milk mixture into butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Add flour, and beat just until combined.  Add more milk if mixture seems too crumbly.  Press dough into a small disk in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.

Remove dough from refrigerator.  Roll out dough on a floured surface into a circle.  Place dough in a 9″-10″ pie plate.  (My Pyrex dish is somewhere between 9 1/2″ – 10″.)  Freeze for 15 minutes.  Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, until lightly brown.  Allow to cool.

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Add sliced onions, and saute until tender and lightly brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Add spinach, and saute for 5 more minutes.  Meanwhile, combine milk, cheese, black pepper, and eggs in a large bowl.  Add onion/spinach mixture to bowl.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Bake at 350F for 45-55 minutes, or until set and lightly browned.

-Adapted from Cooking Light

Poached Eggs over Spiced Lentils

I have to confess….this was the first time I ever poached an egg myself.  Oh, I’ve cooked eggs a hundred other ways, but never poached them.  I was inspired by this recipe for Spiced Lentils and Poached Eggs from Cooking Light.  I am always ready for some spiced lentils, so why not put an egg on top?

I changed a few of the steps and cut out the garnish, with the goal of a simple and quick vegetarian meal.  Keep in mind that red lentils get quite soft, similar to split peas.  It was difficult to really drain them well. If you want lentils which have a little more bite, use the traditional brown ones.  But don’t hold back on the spices here; I was actually glad I used an extra dash of cayenne.  It really makes this recipe great!

To save time, you could prepare the lentils on Sunday, and then heat them up and either poach or fry a fresh egg when you get home from work.   My first poached egg was fine, but the yolk wasn’t as firm as I like.  While poaching eggs isn’t difficult, I think frying eggs is even easier.  Either way, I’ll be making this recipe again soon.



Poached Eggs over Spiced Lentils

1 c. red lentils
1 bay leaf
3 c. water
1 T olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped finely
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 t minced garlic
1 t curry powder
1/2 t cumin
Dash cayenne
1 T white vinegar
4 eggs
Salt and pepper

Place lentils, bay leaf, and water in a pot.  Bring to a boil, and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes.  Drain and discard bay leaf, set aside.

Heat olive oil in a pot.  Add chopped onion, and cook on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until softened.  Add tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes.  Add garlic, curry powder, cumin, and cayenne, and stir well.  Cook for 1 minute, then add lentils to the pot and heat through.  Scoop desired amount of lentils onto each plate.

Meanwhile, fill a shallow wide pan with water and bring to a boil.  Add vinegar, and reduce heat slightly until simmering.  Pour each egg into a small cup, and then slide into the pan.  Simmer for 3 minutes, then remove eggs with a slotted spoon and serve over lentils.

-Adapted from Cooking Light

Tortellini Minestrone

I always feel good when I have a big pot of soup simmering on the stove.  And this recipe truly makes a big pot of soup, so be prepared!  The recipe is inspired by this  Spinach Tortellini Soup from Budget Bytes.  I added white beans and zucchini, and renamed it because the soup reminded me so much of minestrone.

I like that the soup is packed with vegetables and really filling, and the tortellini bites are such a treat!  The recipe offers a great way to stretch an ingredient that is both more expensive and more calorie dense.  If you’d like just a little more cheese, sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan on top, because that’s what I did right after I took this photo.  This is really a delicious soup, so gather your family and friends, or get out some Tupperware, and make your own big pot.



Tortellini Minestrone

1 T olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
2 t minced garlic
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
28 oz. water
1 t Italian seasoning
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach
1 (8 oz.) package frozen zucchini
1 (12-13 oz.) bag frozen cheese tortellini

Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Saute onion and garlic on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until softened.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, Italian seasoning, and beans, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Add spinach, zucchini, and tortellini, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables and tortellini are tender.

-Adapted from Budget Bytes

Eggplant and Mushroom Vindaloo

Another craving for Indian food led me to google new recipes.  At HolyCowVegan.net, I found great Indian recipes along with stories which inspired them.  Vindaloo is traditionally from the Goa region in western India, which was colonized by the Portuguese, so the dish has both Portuguese and Indian influences.  The two key ingredients are vinegar and garlic, and the dish was traditionally made with pork.  As the dish evolved, it was also known for being spicy, and in some cases quite hot.  To get the original recipe and read the whole story with beautiful photos of Goan beaches, head over to HolyCowVegan.  Of course, her version of the dish uses eggplant and mushrooms in place of the pork.

The recipe is long, but the combination of spices is what makes Indian dishes so good, so I wanted to follow it as closely as possible.  I had most of the ingredients in my cabinet, with the notable exception of black mustard seeds.  I took a field trip to the Indian market in Waltham and picked up a large bag of mustard seeds for just $1.49.  I assumed that I could grind the seeds in my food processor, but this wasn’t the case.  I don’t own a coffee grinder, and I actually don’t have a mortar and pestle either.  So I  ignored this issue and left the mustard seeds whole in the marinade.  I have no idea what kind of difference this made, but it was my only option at the time.

Regardless of the issue with the mustard seeds, this recipe was great.  I loved the sweet/sour/spicy flavor combination and the texture of the eggplant and mushrooms.  It actually wasn’t that hot, which might be due to my mild chili powder.  I don’t know if this recipe tasted authentic or not, since I can’t compare it to a restaurant dish.  But I can say that after eating this fabulous meal, my craving for Indian food was completely satisfied.



Spaghetti Squash ‘Lasagna’

Spaghetti squash is so much fun, I really should cook it more often.  I picked one up from the produce market the other day, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it.  So I searched the archives of my own blog.  (Pathetic, I know, but I forget which recipes I’ve made!) I found this Spaghetti Squash Bake from 2009, and decided it could use a few updates.  There may not be any pasta in this lasagna, but there’s still a fantastic tomato sauce and 3 types of cheese.  I happened to have a container of Crockpot Tomato Sauce in my freezer, but you can use whatever sauce you like.

The only way to make this recipe manageable from a time perspective is to cook the squash the day before.  Slice it open, clean out the seeds, pop it in the oven, and pick up a good book or watch some TV.  Let it cool while you chat on the phone.  Then scoop out the flesh into a container and put it in the refrigerator.  On your way home the following night, you’ll be so excited that the hard part of dinner is done!

I really liked the updates I made to this recipe, but it was still somewhat watery.  That’s not a big problem, but you may want to serve this with a slotted spoon.  While this isn’t a traditional lasagna, it’s still a great dish packed with flavor.



Spaghetti Squash ‘Lasagna’

1 large spaghetti squash
1 1/2 c. fat free ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 c. reduced fat mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 t Italian seasoning
1 t Garlic Gold toasted garlic bits
1 1/2 c. tomato sauce, divided

Cut open spaghetti squash.  Clean out seeds and pulp.  Place facedown on a baking sheet and cook at 350F for 30-40 minutes, until softened.  Allow to cool.  Scoop out the flesh with a fork and set aside. (This can be done the day before.)

In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese, 1/4 c. mozzarella cheese, 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and garlic.

Place 2 c. of spaghetti squash strands in a 9″ square dish coated with cooking spray.  Spread half of ricotta mixture on squash, followed by 1/2 c. tomato sauce, and 1/4 c. mozzarella cheese.  Place another 2 c. of squash on top, and repeat layers.  For the top layer, place any remaining squash in casserole dish and top with 1/2 c. sauce, 1/4 c. mozzarella, and 1/4 c. Parmesan.  Bake at 375F for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.


Toasted Orzo

My Mom made Toasted Orzo earlier this summer, back when we had the Kale with Grilled Sausage and White Beans.  It reminded me of years ago when we used to make Rice-a-Roni, though she might kill me for saying that.  While I do like rice, I actually like orzo even more.

I found this recipe which is incredibly simple, and makes a perfect batch.  You brown the orzo in a saucepan with a bit of olive oil, and then simmer it covered for 10-15 minutes with the broth of your choice.  I generally use Knorr’s Vegetable Broth, but you can use chicken bouillon if you’d prefer.  If you’d like to reduce the amount of sodium, you can use half broth and half water.  If a bottle of white wine is already open, you could add a splash of that too.



This side dish complements almost any meal, and is so much better than any San Francisco treat.

Black Bean and Tomato Pizza

What’s been keeping me well fed lately?  My freezer!  (And no, I don’t mean ice cream, though that is tempting.)  I almost always have whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s in my freezer, and I also had a small container of Way Better than Canned Black Beans.  These aren’t ordinary black beans; they are simmered with onion, garlic, and cilantro so they are packed with flavor.

I decided to make individual Latin-inspired pizzas with the seasoned beans, halved grape tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese.  I threw the pizzas together quickly, and after just 10-15 minutes in the oven at 400F, dinner was served, with leftovers for lunches.  When I made these beans back in January, I had no idea they would come in so handy – I need to make another batch soon.