Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian “Tuna” (Chickpea) Salad

Oh, hello Monday.  It’s so lovely to see you again.

Not.

Ah well.  Here it is.  And since it’s late, I’m going to quickly share with you our Meatless Monday lunch, and then I’m going right to bed.

When I was in college, one of my good friends was a vegetarian.  This was really the first time I was in close proximity to a real-live-practicing-since-fourth-grade vegetarian, and I experienced a lot of interesting (sometimes weird–but not weirder than how I eat now) foods that she ate.  One of these was a “vegetarian tuna salad”.  Now, I don’t like real tuna salad very much, but I love chickpeas and every permutation of them, so this was an instant hit.  Her version of this is probably very different than what I came up with at seven this morning, but mine turned out great regardless.  Fritz ate this for lunch too, and was happy enough with how it tasted.

He has a real tuna salad sandwich for tomorrow, though.

Vegetarian “Tuna” (Chickpea) Salad

  • 2 C chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 T mayonnaise (we use low-fat, or something like that)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and smash ’em.  You could puree them in a food processor, but I like the texture you get from smashin’.  Then make this into a sandwich, or eat it on bell peppers or pita chips (yum).  I imagine you could add onion (maybe shallots would be better), or relish, or olives (I think I recall black olives in the college version of this) for a more interesting taste.

Fritz made my sandwich with avocado (definitely recommended) and iceberg lettuce topped with a bit of spicy mustard.

Fritz had a more classic sandwich–avocado, iceberg lettuce, and thick slices of a plum tomato.  No mustard for this kid.

Both sandwiches were on a great multigrain bread we’ve finally settled on (we have very different bread tastes–I like as grainy as possible and Fritz would love if I let him eat white bread).  By the way, did you know that Fritz makes my lunch everyday?

Oh yes.  I make sure the house is stocked with easily packable snacks (Fritz: granola bars, yogurt, almonds, trail mix, pears, string cheese and baked goods; me: almonds, yogurt, apples, carrots, tea, sugar snap peas, and whatever else strikes my fancy that week), and he makes the magic happen.  It’s amazing, because I don’t have to get up any earlier (how does it take me an hour to get ready not including lunch prep?).  Fritz is just the best.

The best.

Goodnight!

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Sautéed Zucchini

I’m back!  This week was pretty nuts, but I think that I’m finally getting back into the swing of things.  It’d be nice to have things running smoothly, unlike this morning when Fritz and I realized that we had literally no food in the house that was appropriate for a quick school lunch.  Tomorrow I have the morning off, so I’ll be sure to make some things we can pack quickly.

We also ran out of old-fashioned oats and steel-cut oats in the same week–a travesty!  Luckily, my mom can read my thoughts from 6 1/2 hours away (with no traffic, that is), and told me today that she mailed me three pounds o’ oats in a box today.

What a woman.

I was thinking today that I have been lax in posting side dishes, probably because it’s just more exciting to write about and photograph entrées, and because I also have an affinity for one-pot meals.  However, we do eat a lot of side dishes, especially since I’ve tried to add more vegetables to our diet lately.  Here’s a nice one for ya:

Sautéed Zucchini (courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 or 3 zucchini (or summer squash), cut in half lengthwise and sliced crosswise
  • 1 small onion (I used half a giant onion), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then toss in the onions and cook until translucent, a few minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the ends off of each zucchini, and slice-‘n’-dice.  Add those into the skillet.  After a few minutes (around eight), they will be tender and beginning to brown.  Make a well in the center and add the garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper, then toss all together.

Enjoy!  I’ve been using jarred garlic in olive oil because I hate having to peel and mince garlic, but when the taste is fairly important (such as this recipe), you can taste a weird, almost chemically aftertaste which is not the best.  However, on the bright side, Fritz never notices when I use garlic anymore.  Mission “Sneak Food Fritz Hates Into Everything He Eats Until He’s Immune” accomplished!

We ate this as a side to baked tilapia with a mustard (me) and chutney (Fritz) bread crumbs topping smothered with roasted tomatoes.  Yum.  So easy and a great way to make frozen fish taste good in a quick and healthy way.  I’ll post the recipe next time I make it!

I rarely eat zucchini (because I’ll almost always choose summer squash over it–I love yellow!) but I enjoyed having a different vegetable in the mix.  Days when I’m good about eating healthily and exercising just make me feel so amazing…and then I can enjoy some guilt-free relaxing time with Henry and Sleepless in Seattle (good recommendation, Mom)!

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“Green Monster” Smoothie

When my good friend Breanna was recently visiting, we got to talking about green smoothies–you know, the ones that look absolutely disgusting, have ingredients like spinach and kale in them, and are consumed mostly by the hippie roommate in your standard romantic comedy?  Well, we decided that we wanted to try them.  I’ve read in a few blogs lately that they can taste really delicious with enough tweaking and practice.

Luckily, I didn’t have to do all the practice.  Others have done it before me, and since this is one recipe that has the potential to be truly revolting, I decided to go with someone else’s Classic Green Monster recipe–Oh She Glow’s Angela Liddon.  And it was a great choice.

(On a side note, it started snowing pretty heavily in the last half hour, and I am really hoping that my classes (which don’t start until one today) get canceled.  I have so much to do today and I would love some surprise free time!)

Classic Green Monster  (adapted only slightly from the original)

  • 1 C skim milk
  • 1 T chia seed
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (for Fritz’s) or 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa powder (for mine)
  • 2 handfuls rinsed spinach leaves
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled
  • 4-6 ice cubes

Put everything in the blender–for best results, use this order: milk, chia, protein powder/cocoa powder, spinach, and banana on top.  Blend until smooth, add the ice cubes, and finish blending.

Easy peasy!

The green isn’t so frightening when you think about all the spinachy, chia-y, and banana-y goodness filling your body.

Fritz got a travel-mug version.  Bet he’ll be feeling energized throughout his long school day with a start like this!

Is mine in a beaker-mug?  Yes.  Are you surprised?  Yes?  Then you need to meet my mother, and you’ll understand.

That’s it!  I, too, was surprised that something with so few sweeteners can taste delicious.  I think for my own enjoyment that it’s key the banana be actually ripe, because this is the flavor you want to taste.  I also liked the taste with cocoa powder (it just gave it a hint of chocolate with only 10-ish calories), and the protein powder in Fritz’s was great (with many more calories)–perfect for anyone training for, say, a half-marathon (Breanna!).

Now that I have the classic one down, I feel like I can do more experimenting and make my own masterpieces.  I can’t wait to try adding peanut butter, coconut, and other fruits to these Green Monsters.

Thanks Angela!

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Filed under Beverages, Breakfast, Vegetarian

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Curry

Today was my first day back at school after five blissful weeks of vacay.

I wasn’t ready.

But it really wasn’t as bad as I expected.  Mostly because we got out an hour early.  The best part, of course, was watching our teachers fill in all of the Fridays we are supposed to have off with field trips (okay, like, two–but I regrettably suspect the number will continue to grow).  I did get to go grocery shopping with the unexpected free time, and now the fridge is stocked with lots of veggies and fruits for the upcoming week.

It was stocked, at least, until I made this Meatless Monday’s (they’re back!) dinner: 

Eggplant Curry  (inspired by Evelyn H. Lauder’s In Great Taste)

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/8 t chili powder
  • 1/8 t ground cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t tandoori masala
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 (small) green bell peppers, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 crown broccoli, diced
  • 1/2 C chickpeas
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

It’s a long list, I know.  But really all you have to do is use whatever veggies you have in the fridge–I wanted to finish the broccoli, get rid of the chickpeas, and use up the tomato paste before it went bad!

This is a pretty quick-‘n’-easy recipe, not counting all the time it takes to attempt to take decent photographs with a point-and-shoot digital camera in winter light (or should I say dark? absence of any light whatsoever?) with a reading lamp to brighten up the table.  Yeah.  I can’t wait until spring.  Forget the warm weather and cute clothes that come with it–I just want to be able to take decent pictures of my every meal.

Anyway, like I was saying, it’s a pretty easy recipe. 

Start out by heating the oil in a large pot/saucepan/wok on medium heat and adding the spices for a few minutes until fragrant–like any basic Indian food recipe.  Toss in the onions and cook until golden, then add in the garlic and bell pepper.  So far–yum to the max.

Next, add the rest of the veggies:  I started with the broccoli and chickpeas and let that cook for a few minutes, then added the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, lemon juice and sugar.  Once that’s mixed in and bubblin’, top off with the eggplant.  Try not to die of happiness.  Cover and stir occasionally until all the veggies are tender (only about five more minutes).

Serve hot in a big ol’ bowl.  I made 1 C (uncooked) of brown rice and 1 C of a Trader Joe’s brown rice mix (long grain brown rice, black barley, and daikon radish seeds–so good!  Buy it tomorrow!), which I think should last exactly the same amount of time that the curry will. 

This recipe doesn’t have an overpowering curry taste, and you can still taste each vegetable.  Can’t wait to eat it as leftovers tomorrow during school.

By the way, I wrote this while watching Juno.  Since turning off our cable (one of the best decisions we ever made), I like to have a stock of some of my favorite and most girly movies as background for blogging time.  Some of my latest and greatest have been Notting Hill, Music and Lyrics, Where the Wild Things Are, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Once, and, weirdly enough, the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

What are some of the movies you can watch over and over again?  I need some new suggestions!

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Lentil Loaf

I was recently perusing one of my favorite healthy eating blogs (you guys know this: Oh She Glows, duh) and stumbled upon something Angela made called a lentil loaf–basically the healthy, vegan version of meatloaf.  Well, I’m not a vegan, but I do want to eat well, and the ingredients in this loaf just looked spectacular!  I couldn’t resist.

Plus, I’m on vacation and I have a lot of time on my hands.

I even went to the gym again today, even though I went yesterday and plan to go tomorrow, mainly because I was bored.  Hopefully that continues after school starts–tomorrow I’m starting a “Total Body Conditioning” class, and I’ll let you know how that goes.

Anyway, back to the loaf.

Walnut Lentil Loaf (slightly adapted from the Oh She Glows version)

  • 1 C dry lentils cooked in 3 C veggie, chicken, or beef broth
  • 3 T ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 C warm water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/3 C grated carrot
  • 1/3 C grated apple
  • 1/4 C raisins
  • 3/4 C toasted walnuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1/3 C whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 C bread crumbs

First, cook the lentils in the broth in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil then reduce to low, and simmer for about 45 minutes.

While doing that, toast the walnuts in a 350 degree oven for five minutes–don’t burn ’em!

Also, combine the flaxseed and water in a small bowl and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.  A weird and magical thing happens and a gooey gel forms (this is called a “flax egg”).

While the lentils are cooking, dice the onion and garlic and saute them in a large pan for a few minutes until browned.  Add the carrots and cook for another minute, then toss in the grated apple, walnuts, and raisins and finish with another two minutes, add the salt, pepper, and thyme and set aside.

Speaking of thyme, remember all the herbs from my herb garden that I hung up to dry?

There they are!  Lavender, thyme, and sage.  I love cooking with herbs that I grew and dried myself–it makes me feel like a totally independent and self-sufficient woman…even though I bought every single other ingredient.

Once the lentils are cooked and cooled, process 75% of them in a food processor until smooth (well, mine weren’t really smooth.  More like mashed).  In a large bowl, combine the lentils (processed and unprocessed), the flour, bread crumbs, and flax egg.  Mix together (man up and use your hands to get it done quickly!), and add the veggies and squish those in there too.

Line a bread pan with parchment paper so that the long sides hang over the pan.  Fill with the lentil mixture and press firmly into the pan until it is even on top. 

For the glaze, mix ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and some honey in a small bowl and spread over the top.  I didn’t measure amounts, but I hate ketchup (and love vinegar), so I can assure you that I went light on the former and heavy on the latter.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour (I did 45 minutes this time but would go a bit longer next time for more crispness on the edges), slice, and enjoy!  We ate it with a green salad and some cardamom rice leftover from yesterday.

This was a giant success.  It was great–though I can’t imagine most meat-eaters would like it replacing their mother’s beloved beef-and-rice meatloaf.  I’ve myself have never been a fan (not just yours, Mom, but any meatloaf!), so this is a great substitution for me.  Fritz also raved about how filling it was, and was very shocked to hear all the healthy ingredients fueling him for his test tomorrow.

I love tricking Fritz with hidden extra veggies.

I think this will help prepare me for my future children.

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Meatless Monday: Mjdara (Lentils with Rice)

Today is Tuesday, not Monday. 

Just wanted to make sure that you knew that I knew that.

But with finals going on like crazy, I didn’t get a chance to post this yesterday (plus, I posted the nut rocha yesterday–let’s not get too greedy here!), so today you get a surprise “Meatless Monday (was yesterday) post”.  I was considering just skipping for the week, but I made mjdara, or lentils with rice, and it was so good that I thought it deserved to make it into the world-wide web.

Mjdara is from the “African” section of a cookbook my mom gave me (thanks, Mom!) for Christmas last year, called Global Feast Cookbook.  It doesn’t say much about it in the book, so I googled it–and Wikipedia told me it originated as a “poor man’s food” in Africa and the Middle East, where meat was much more difficult to get than just heading over to your local BJ’s.  It also said that despite its lowly beginnings, now it’s a “health-conscious man’s” food (I made up that terminology), due to all of its wholesome ingredients.

So let’s get to it!

Mjdara (Lentils With Rice)

  • 2 C lentils
  • 2 t salt
  • 3/4 C uncooked brown rice
  • 1-2 onions, chopped (I used one, and some green onion)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • optional: 1/2 C raisins, 1 tomato, chopped
  • also optional: ham, pistachios (…no thanks!)

This is a pretty easy and hands-off recipe.  Combine lentils, salt, and enough water to cover (with an inch of water on top) in a saucepan, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.  Add the rice, tomatoes, raisins, and extra water if necessary, cover, and cook for 30 more minutes until the rice is tender.

Meanwhile, saute the onions in olive oil in a skillet until softened.

I love purple onions.  They take such amazing photos.

When the lentils are all smushy (technical cooking term), and the rice is tender, add the onions and mix well.

Sprinkle with freshly grated black pepper and serve hot.  I like to serve anything lentilly (another technical term) in a broiled green pepper half.  The two tastes just go together perfectly, even with the sweet raisins.  Fritz is also a big fan of this method.

What do you think?  Like the text?  Someday when I’m a famous gourmet physical therapist (wait…that’s an odd career choice…), I think photos like these will look fantastic introducing my favorite recipes in my New York Time’s best-selling cookbook. 

Maybe when that happens, the heat in my apartment will work.

Want to hear that story?

This morning, as I studied for my P&O final exam, I noticed something odd.  Mainly, that I was shivering–while wearing leggings, fleece pants, two pairs of socks, a sweater, and a blanket.  I kept turning the thermostat up (sorry Chris!), but it didn’t seem to get any warmer.  Actually,it got colder.  I knew something was seriously wrong when Henry cuddled up to me–at first I felt very flattered, but I quickly realized it was more of a desire for body heat than a blatant showing of affection.

He’s not much of a cuddler.

I looked at the thermostat and it was set at ninety but the actual temperature of the apartment was fifty-eight.  That’s right.  Fifty-eight degrees.  Luckily, that got fixed a while later (apparently some water froze in our oil tank), and now it’s slowly warming up again.  However, there are still a few remnants of our morning Ice Age:

That would be the ice that has formed on the inside of our bathroom window.  The inside. 

I can tell tonight’s going to be a heat blanket kind of night.

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Meatless Monday: Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup

Cold times call for desperate measures.  Which to me, means lots and lots of soup.  I just love being wrapped in a plethora of sweaters and blankets, wool socks that go almost to my knees, drinking multiple mugs of tea and eating bowls of hot soup to keep warm while watching Love Actually and The Holiday and The Family Stone over and over again.

Fritz would rather I just reset the thermostat.  But I can’t keep everyone happy, can I?

The two of us have been feeling the post-Thanksgiving rundown, and I wanted to make a soup that was chock full o’ veggies to try to give us a little boost.  I did a little searching and found a great recipe in 100 Best Health Foods–it’s a non-meat recipe, but it promised to be “hearty”, which is a necessity for the Fritz stamp of approval.  That man does not like a thin broth, no sir.  So if you are eagerly awaiting the holidays like me, or just trying to save your landlord some money, turn down the heat and get your blankets out!

Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup (adapted from 100 Best Health Foods)

  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 C vegetable broth (okay…I used bouillon cubes again–don’t judge me!)
  • heaping 1/2 C barley, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • few dried sprigs of thyme
  • 1 t dried parsley
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 16 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 head cabbage, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t need any extra salt)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, celery, and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until softened, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the stock, barley, and herbs, reduce the heat to low, and cook covered until the barley is just beginning to soften, 30 minutes to an hour.

Gather up your veggies!  Add the carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes (and a pinch of sugar if you like) to the pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat back to low and simmer for another 30 minutes, until everything is nice and tender.

Finally, add the cabbage and season with salt and pepper to taste.  You may need to add a cup or two of hot water at this point, depending on what your desired “chunk” to “broth” ratio is.

I’m sorry.  That’s a disgusting phrase, isn’t it?

Simmer until the cabbage is cooked through (about 15-20 minutes), then serve in warm bowls. 

Who needs the thermostat up now?  Not me!

In other exhilarating news, Fritz and I have made a life-changing decision.  Momentous and quite exciting, if I do say so myself.  Are you ready for this?

(No, it’s not babies.  God, no!  You can all take a deep breath.  We are both still in school, for goodness’ sake!  And we’re still babies ourselves!)

We have officially unplugged the TV.  It’s still there in all of its 37″, HD glory, but only for our designated movie nights (that’d be the weekend).  We have realized that we spend way too much time watching horrendous TV–we never got higher than channel 21, anyway–and not enough time just being.  Isn’t that so hippie of us?

Anyway, since this big change (that happened Friday morning), we’ve studied a lot more, read a lot more, cooked more, slept more (!), and just hung out together.  It has been really, really nice.  You don’t even realize what an obnoxious background noise the TV is until you turn it off.  It’s just plain peaceful in these parts now!

And I can still watch The Office and 16 and Pregnant on the internet.  I haven’t gone completely off the deep end.

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Filed under Soups/Stews, Vegetarian

Get Your Lentil On: Masoor Dahl (and drying herbs)

I love me some Indian food.  Fritz’s sister Eber bought us (well, me) a cookbook called complete indian cooking for a wedding gift and every single recipe I have made from it (and it has been quite a few) has been absolutely delicious.  I bought a couple of bags of dried lentils the other day, and I was in the mood to make something spicy yet comforting: masoor dahl.

I’ll let the book speak for itself for once:

“This spicy lentil dish…is high in nutrients as well as tasting delicious, so you can feel good about its benefits as well as enjoying its fantastic flavors.  Lentils are full of nutrients and have a high energy value.  They are rich in protein, carbohydrates, phosphorus, and iron, as well as the B vitamins.”

I love feeling good about my food, don’t you?

Masoor Dahl (adapted from complete indian cooking)

  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 t cloves
  • 1/2 t freshly ground cardamom
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 t garam masala
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 C lentils
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom and fry until fragrant.  Add the garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and garam masala and cook for about five minutes.

Add the lentils, stir, and cook for one minute.

 Add salt to taste and enough water to come roughly 1 1/4″ above the lentils.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about half an hour until very thick and tender.

Meanwhile, I decided that to spice these lentils up I’d serve them in a roasted green bell pepper.  Halve the pepper, throw out the seeds, and place under the broiler until tender and browned.

When the lentils are tender, stir in the lemon juice and spoon into bell peppers.  Serve immediately.

Fritz was such a big fan of this meal that I had to stick another bell pepper in the oven so he could have seconds, and then a serving to bring to school for lunch tomorrow.

Speaking of Fritz and school, he has his first patient tomorrow!  I’m so excited for him–he says he’s not even nervous anymore because he is too overwhelmed trying to remember everything he has to do.  But I’m sure he will do amazingly well.  So good luck dental class!  If I had time between now and then I’d bake you a tooth cake (oh!! tooth cake pops! what a great idea!!), but I have to go do some homework myself.

I’ll leave you with a photo essay of my new accomplishment for the day.  This morning there was frost on the ground, and I knew I had to salvage whatever I could from my herb garden before everything dies.  I have waaay too much thyme and sage, so if you live near me and would like some to dry, please let me know!

what our herb garden looked like when it had just started growing

I am going to grab a few paper bags tomorrow when I go grocery shopping to put over the hangers so dust doesn’t collect in them, so hopefully they dry well.  I’m off to do some orthopedics homework, so have a beautiful night!

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian