Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Indian Samosa Casserole

One lovely day, Lauren met Fritz.  Fritz is South African.  South African food is influenced by all sorts of different countries than American food is.  It is delicious.  Fritz taught Lauren about braais, boerewors, samosas, melk tert, rusks, rooibos tea, droerwors, biltong, Mrs. Ball’s chutney, amarula, and lamb roasts.

Lauren married Fritz.  Immediately.

Seriously, though, I may have been born into the wrong country.  My entire family fully embraced all things South African after meeting the Zietsmans–we had a lamb roast at our rehearsal dinner, my mom makes rusks more often than I do, and everyone drinks rooibos tea.  My dad even gave a blessing in Afrikaans at our wedding.

It’s so wonderful when families blend as well as ours did.

So as a tribute to food that Fritz loves, I was ecstatic when I stumbled upon a recipe for an Indian samosa casserole in Vegetarian Times a few days ago.  I love to make things that I know he will be excited to have (on one of our first dates I made him bobotie to surprise him–and perhaps demonstrate my eligibility as a bride), and this proved to be just as successful as I expected.

Fritz ranked this right up there in the list of “vegetarian things I don’t mind not containing meat”.  Now if this did contain, say, ground lamb, I am quite certain he would not object–so feel free to add that if you want a non-vegetarian version.  I also doubled the recipe so that I could bake one for dinner and freeze one for some other day–the recipe says you can freeze it for up to four months!

Indian Samosa Casserole (from Vegetarian Times; makes one casserole)

Crust:

  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t curry powder
  • 2 T vegetable oil

Filling:

  • 1/2 T mustard (I used spicy)
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 1/2 T minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/8 t red pepper flakes
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped (1 1/4 lbs)
  • 1 t vegetable oil
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 1 C veggie or chicken broth
  • 2 t sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  To make the crust, whisk together the dry ingredients and add oil–stir until clumps form.  Slowly add 6-10 (I only needed 6) T cold water until the dough sticks together (this is roughly a million times easier if you use your kitchen-aid).  Cover dough with a damp towel and set aside.

Next, boil the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.  Roughly mash them (you want some chunks of potato leftover) and set aside.

Side note:  I always misspell potatoes.  I spell it potatos.  Every time.  Tomatoes, too.  Thank goodness for spell check.

Anyway, heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions, carrots, ginger, and garlic until the carrots are tender (about five minutes).  Push the onion mixture to one side, and add the mustard, curry, cumin, and pepper flakes.  Toast ’em for 30 seconds, then mix it all together.  Stir in the frozen peas.

Next, add the broth and sugar and stir, making sure to scrape up all the spices from the bottom of the pan.  Add this onion mixture to the mashed potatoes, and stir it all up, adding salt and pepper to taste–if you want.  That’s your filling!

Spoon into a 9-inch pie plate (or two, if you doubled this recipe like I did).

Set aside, and take out the dough.  On a slightly floured surface, roll the dough out into an 11-inch circle (if you doubled the recipe, make two circles…duh).  Cover the filling with the dough, pressing down to make sure there are no air pockets. Fold the overhanging crust under, and crimp the edges.  Cut an “X” into the middle (to release steam while cooking), and brush the top of the pie with milk.  If you are freezing one, leave out the milk step for that one–do it right before you bake it.

For the pie you aren’t baking, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place in a ziplock bag.  It’s okay if you squish the beautifully crimped crust a little–Fritz won’t even notice.  Then freeze it!  To bake it later, preheat the oven to 375 degrees,  place on a baking sheet, and bake 75-90 minutes.

For the casserole we are eating tonight, place it on a baking sheet (there’s boil-over potential here, so be kind to yourself), and bake for about 40-50 minutes until the top is golden-brown and you see the filling bubbling up around the edges.

Let stand for five minutes before serving.

Enjoy! 

Fritz and I really enjoyed this–for a more decadent casserole, you could try using another crust recipe.  This one was good (and very healthy) but you could tell it wasn’t a flaky, buttery, pastry crust.  You could also try phyllo dough on top.  That said, neither Fritz nor I had any complaints as is–the curry powder in the crust was a nice, tasty addition.

I also just ate leftovers as dinner tonight, and after a minute in the microwave it was just as good the second day.

With all that said–it’s back to studying.  Have a beautiful night!

7 Comments

Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Very Veggie Pizza (with Whole-Wheat Dough)

In celebration (yes, celebration!) of yesterday’s Meatless Monday, I made a pizza.  We were tired, and I didn’t feel like going to the gym–but I did feel like playing with my new light box!  By the time I got dinner started it was already dark outside, so you get to experience how food looks in our new box.  It’s not better than natural light by any means, but it is eons better than what I had before.

Start off by making the dough, because it’ll need to rise and you can get all the toppings ready once it’s busy doing its…you know…thang.

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough  (adapted from In Great Taste by Evelyn Lauder)

  • 1 C spelt flour
  • 1 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 C wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 1/4 C warm water
  • 1 T olive oil

First I had to make the spelt flour.  Because my mom is amazing and scatters kitchen gifts in her wake wherever she goes, I have a coffee grinder that also works perfectly to make grains into flour.  You can also experiment here with what kind of flours to use–the original recipe used all-purpose flour for the whole thing and suggested subbing half whole-wheat.

Add all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl, combine, and make a well for the wet ingredients.  Pour them in, making sure the water is warm but not hot enough to kill the yeast.  Mix thoroughly and knead for ten minutes on a tabletop or about half the time with the KitchenAid.

Cover bowl with Saran wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about forty minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare your toppings.

Very Veggie Pizza

  • Whole-Wheat pizza dough
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 C basic pesto sauce (remember this recipe? Get a few cubes out of the freezer!)
  • chopped veggies (I used 1/2 bell pepper, a tomato, olives, 3 scallions, and 1/2 onion–all the leftovers in the fridge!)
  • parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  While the dough is rising, chop the veggies and place the canned tomatoes into a saucepan.  Let them simmer until thickened into a sauce.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into two.  Roll out into a circle 10-12″ in diameter, and if you want an authentic feel, dust the bottom with cornmeal.  Place on a cookie sheet and spread with half the pesto, leaving 1/4″ bare on the edges.  Cover with half of the tomato sauce, then layer on half the vegetables and top with a sprinkle of the parmesan cheese.

Repeat with the other pizza.  When the oven is hot, bake the pizza on the middle rack for about 12 minutes until crispy on the bottom and the vegetables are cooked through.  If you want, you can broil it for a minute or two to blacken the toppings a little–but I didn’t want them overcooked.

This crust is my favorite that I’ve ever made.  It was perfectly crisp on the bottom, but still just doughy enough under the veggies to satisfy my pizza craving 100%–I didn’t want a flatbread sandwich, I wanted a pizza!  However, by far the perfect touch was the pesto sauce under the tomatoes.

It was divine.

And the best part is, you get leftovers to bring to school the next day!

What do you think about our lightbox photos?  Pretty crazy background there, huh?

3 Comments

Filed under Breads, Entrees, Vegetarian

Lentil Vegetable Barley Soup (Crock pot)

Hello all!

Last semester I loved Tuesdays, and this time it’s Wednesdays.  I just love having late mornings–I can sleep in (’til eight), catch up on our budgeting, clean, and still have time to set up dinner in the crock pot before I have class.  Now that is just amazing.

So here’s the latest and greatest from that lovely little invention known to we mortals as a slow cooker:

Lentil Vegetable and Barley Soup

  • 1/2 large onion or one small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium summer squash (or zucchini), halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 C carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C red lentils
  • 1/2 C yellow split peas
  • 1/2 C barley
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 C vegetable broth (or chicken or beef), plus ~2 C extra water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • fresh or dried basil to top (optional)

As with all crock pot recipes, this is a breeze to put together.  Dice and layer all the veggies, and top with the grains, liquids and the spices (except the basil).  The order I used was: onions and bell peppers, squash and carrots, lentils, peas, and barley, diced tomatoes and broth, salt, pepper, sugar, and finally the extra water.

Aren’t the colors of this soup just gorgeous?  I was lucky and actually got to take pictures in daylight for once (another great thing about late mornings).

Set the crock pot on low for eight hours or on high for four hours.  The lentils, peas, and barley will absorb a lot of water, so you may need to add even more extra (unless you like a nice thick soup like I do–then you will be very pleased when you arrive home from class!).

Top with a sprinkle of basil and some pepper and enjoy!

Before I’m off to bed, I thought I’d share one last thing with you.  It’s a favorite of mine–I have some every day (often two or three times), and it calms me while awakening me at the same time.  It’s warm, it’s comforting, it’s a blast in a glass.

Any guesses?

Nope, not Deena from J-Shore (is it cool that I abbreviated that?).  It’s tea.  The best tea I have even been given the privilege to steep.  I’m nearing the end of the tin and every day I die a little more inside knowing that I’m one day closer to running out (melodramatic, much?).  It was a gift–a great one.

I would like to thank a certain South African for allowing this beautiful marriage between me and Zululand to happen–you know who you are.

Thanks!

5 Comments

Filed under Soups/Stews, 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!

Leave a comment

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)!

1 Comment

Filed under Side Dishes, Vegetarian

“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!

4 Comments

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!

2 Comments

Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian