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Posts Tagged ‘main dishes

Once again, I sing the praises of the chickpea! It is, by far, my favorite of all of the beans. Something about its creamy, nutty flavor just blends wonderfully with so many cuisines, don’t you think? And without chickpeas, we wouldn’t have hummus! (what a crime!)

This stew has a simplistic name, but when I first tried it, I was sold. It’s simple to make, and combines iron-rich spinach with the vitamin C in tomatoes, which will release the iron in the greens. Furthermore, the beans are a great protein and fiber source. And, enough with the nutrition—the garlic, rosemary, and tomatoes together just plain taste good!

Chickpea and Spinach Stew
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh or dried minced rosemary
¼ c chopped parsley
1 c peeled, diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
3 c cooked chickpeas or 2 15-oz cans, rinsed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 bunches spinach, stems removed

1. In a wide sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, rosemary, and half the parsley. Saute for 2 minutes, then lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 12 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas, season with salt and pepper, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the spinach in the water clinging to its leaves until tender. Add the spinach to the chickpeas, taste for salt, and season with pepper. Serve in pasta plates, top with extra virgin olive oil if desired, and garnish with the remaining parsley.

Mmmmmm! Great comfort food going into mid-October!

This one screams “one-pot ‘70’s dish comfort food”. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) But wait, there’s more! It contains the goodness of spinach and tomatoes, yet they’re hidden by a (lightened) yummy, creamy sauce that even picky eaters will enjoy. I love this casserole, and so have others that have tried it.

If you don’t do beef, it also works with ground turkey. I imagine it also works with veggie crumbles. Oh, and leftovers reheat wonderfully!

Mexican Hamburger Casserole

adapted from the internet

1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey or veggie crumbles)
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
(dash cayenne if desired for extra spiciness)
1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can RoTel (or other) Mexican-style tomatoes, drained
1/3 c light sour cream
1 8 oz package light cream cheese, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large skillet, brown the meat over medium heat, along with the onion. When the meat is thoroughly cooked, add the cumin and chili powder (and cayenne if desired) and thoroughly mix in. Turn off heat. Add remaining ingredients one at a time, and stir until thoroughly blended.

3. Pour mixture into oiled 8×8 casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Great way to get beans and veggies into picky eaters! It’s a great casserole to keep you warm during the winter.

As we transition into cooler times of year, I’m looking more toward soups, stews, and risottos. This has been a go-to recipe of mine for a while. It’s a dairy-free risotto, and meat-free as well. The original recipe calls for tarragon, but I substituted fennel seed the first time I made it, since I had no tarragon on hand. Bruce understood that there was no meat in the dish, but the flavor of the fennel tricked his tastebuds into believing there may be some sausage… and he happily scarfed down consumed the meat-free dish!

This risotto uses Arborio rice, which is a standard in risotto preparation, and it also contains wild rice, which is high in fiber and potassium. I’ve modified the original in a few places. This dish is truly outstanding.

Wild Risotto
from Vegetarian Planet

1 cup water
1/4 c uncooked wild rice
4 c water or vegetable stock (I suggest stock)
2 tsp olive oil
6 scallions, both white and green parts, chopped fine (I use regular onions sometimes. Tastes just as good, though you don’t get so much color in the dish.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ c uncooked Arborio rice
½ c dry white wine
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon, or ½ tsp dried tarragon (I use fennel seed, crushed)
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2/3 c coconut milk (light works great)
1 c fresh, or frozen and thawed, peas (I can’t stand peas, so I’ve always omitted these)

1. In a saucepan, bring the 1 c water to a boil. Add the wild rice, cover the pan, and reduce the heat. Simmer 25 minutes. Drain the rice.

2. In a saucepan, bring the 4 c water or stock to a simmer, and keep it hot.

3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Saute the scallions and garlic over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the Arborio rice, and stir it for 2 minutes. Add the wine, the wild rice, and the tarragon. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, then add ½ c of the heated stock or water. Stir frequently until the liquid is absorbed, then add ½ c more water or stock. Continue adding the water or stock in this manner, waiting between additions until the liquid is absorbed and stirring frequently. After about 18 to 20 minutes, most of the liquid should be used, and the rice should be tender but still slightly chewy.

4. When all of the stock or water is used, add the tomatoes, coconut milk, and peas. Stir the mixture, and simmer it, stirring often, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Serve at once. (I find it reheats well, too!)

Enjoy! This is a great dairy-free risotto. So many recipes need cheese or butter to avoid blandness, but this one is great! Try it, and tell me what you think!

You like garlic? I know you’re drooling. I do. I am! This is awesome stuff, and this is one of the first vegetarian recipes where Bruce told me he didn’t miss the meat. (Usually when I cook something meatless, he tells me, “this is really good, if only it had a side of chicken sausage…”)

Just make sure you have lots of parsley or breath mints on hand before you go out.

Chickpeas and Pasta with Sizzling Sage and Garlic

from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

1 large onion, diced
¼ c extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly-ground pepper
large pinch red pepper flakes (be as generous as you want!)
3 c cooked chickpeas or 2 15-oz cans, drained
8 oz large farfalle or other dried pasta shapes (I’ve used small shells. The beans get enrobed in the shells!)
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh sage

1. In a wide skillet over medium heat, fry the onion in two tbsp of the oil until golden, stirring frequently especially toward the end. Season with salt, plenty of pepper, and the pepper flakes.

2. Add the chickpeas and turn the heat to low. (I like to cook the chickpeas long enough so they get slightly chewy on the outside.)

3. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in salted water until al dente, then add it to the chickpeas.

4. Heat the remaining oil in a small skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and sage and fry for 20 seconds (I usually go for about a minute). Immediately pour over the dish and serve.

Sometimes I double the garlic and sage topping, even. Hey, you only live once!

Is it a quiche? A frittata? Or just a big baked omelet? Whatever you call it, I’ve been making this for years, and it’s not only a great protein source, but also a way to get rid of whatever it is you have left over in your fridge. Well… almost everything. 😉 I can’t say I’d try watermelon in quiche.

Good news? It’s healthy, as well. I’ve always loved quiche, but oh, the crust and the fat… This works without a crust, and bakes up solid on the bottom. Reheats very well!

Crustless Quiche
Adapted from many recipes found on the web long ago

8 eggs, or equivalent egg substitute
½ c milk (use whatever variety you want, but I’ve had best luck with 1% and 2%)
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper

Fillings: options are fairly limitless, so use your imagination, but here are some ideas to get you started: (I use about ½ cup each)
sautéed mushrooms
chopped tomato
your favorite cheese
cooked sausage (bulk or sliced links)
chopped, pre-cooked chicken
minced garlic (obviously more like a tsp!)
caramelized onions
sautéed bell peppers
Or… whatever suits you!

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Whisk eggs in a bowl. Add milk, salt, and pepper to combine. (If you want to add other seasonings which complement your fillings, you may do so now; for instance, caramelized onions, sautéed peppers, and jack cheese might go great with a dash of cumin!)

3. Grease or cooking-spray an 8 x 8 baking dish. Start layering in your filling ingredients, starting with the densest/heaviest at the bottom. They may end up stacking about halfway up the dish in the end.

4. Pour your egg mixture evenly over the filling ingredients, covering everything. Bake the quiche at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

5. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then cut into squares and enjoy!

Please let me know if you come up with any outstanding quiche filling ideas! Or… any I shouldn’t try! ☺

By the way, if you haven’t already seen my guest post at Susan’s Pilates blog today, check it out! (Thanks, Susan, for the opportunity!)

Happy Friday! I’m starting a tradition of posting recipes to start off the weekend, so be sure to check here each Friday if you’re looking for something interesting to cook up!

I made this soup for the first time last weekend, and I have to share it with you all, it’s that good. I licked the spoon, the bowl, nearly the pot! It’s thick and hearty… hey, it’s still soup weather up here in Seattle! Another plus? It’s also vegan!

This soup uses pureed sweet potatoes as a thickener, but the real star is the hint of peanut flavor. The savoriness of the peanuts, onions, and garlic plays off nicely against the sweet spices. I guarantee you that this will feature regularly in your repertoire!

African Tomato and Peanut Soup

1 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 (or more!) garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp ground coriander
0.5 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
2 large (about 1.5 lbs) sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
4.5 c water
1 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne (optional)
¼ c chopped dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp peanut butter (I added a little more to taste)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1. In a large saucepan or small stockpot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onion browns around the edges. Add the garlic, ginger, and spices, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring often.

2. Add the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrot, and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add the water and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the soup for 30 minutes.

4. With a food processor or blender (warning! since the soup is hot, process in batches, not filling the container more than halfway at a time to avoid burns), blend the soup almost to a puree. Taste, and add the cayenne if you like. Add the peanuts and the peanut butter, and whisk until the peanut butter is fully incorporated.

5. To serve, reheat the soup, and ladle it into bowls. Top with the chopped cilantro. Serves 6.

*Recipe from Vegetarian Planet, Didi Emmons.

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