Tag Archives: vegetarian

Red Lentil Soup

With the cold weather coming on strong it is the perfect time for a hearty vegetarian soup.  So warm and filling this is the perfect end to a busy weekday.


This soup idea was passed down from my mother and is perfect for using extra produce in the fridge.

Red Lentil Soup

serves 4

1 c. dry red lentils, rinsed
32 oz. vegetable stock
2 c. water
1 Tbsp. grape seed oil
1 garlic clove
i large carrot, peeled
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 chopped tomato
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 zucchini, chopped
2 c. baby spinach
salt and pepper

Add garlic, carrot, and onion to a food processor and pulse to mince. This could also be done by hand.

Heat oil in a medium-large stock pot. Saute garlic mixture with the one chopped tomato and saute over medium heat for 8 minutes or until tender.


Add stock and water to pot along with lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in parsley and oregano. Simmer over low heat 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Blend soup to puree. An emulsion or traditional blender could be used for this. Return soup to pot over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add zucchini and simmer 25 minutes. Once tender stir in spinach and stir to wilt and serve.



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Kale Salad

Welcome 2013! January is always the month that I eat the best.  I think it has more to do with the fact that I overdosed on chocolate and cheese, but soups and salads here I come!

I used the popular kale salad from Whole Foods as an inspiration for this and while not exact I think it is just as good.


Kale Salad

serves 4-5 as a side

1 large bunch kale
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. pumpkin seeds and almonds toasted
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

Toss all of these ingredients together into a bowl.

Juice from 1 orange
3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp. chipotle powder
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil

whisk all ingredients together. Toss with kale.


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Butternut Mac n’ Cheese

I LOVE macaroni and cheese! I mean super LOVE it!! I also love butternut squash and brussel sprouts so i knew this meal would be a hit, and it was!


I was a teeny bit nervous about the brussel sprouts in this, but in the end I think they really made it 10x better.  I used 1 c. of white cheddar and 1/2 c. of gruyere for my grated cheese, but any of your favorites would go well.  This would be a great make ahead meatless meal for a busy weeknight.  Just serve it with a simple salad and you’re done!

Butternut Mac n’ Cheese

serves 4 as a main, 6 as a side

2 c. peeled, cubed butternut squash
1 lb. brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/2 small-medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
about 8 oz. short pasta (I used brown rice pasta, penne style)
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
2 c. milk (I used 1%)
1 1/2 c. grated cheese
1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan

Preheat your oven to 400°F.  Place your cubed squash on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes, until just tender.  Start water for your pasta and boil according to package directions.  Drain and reserve.

Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet and medium heat and add oil.  When hot add the onion and brussel sprouts.  Saute until just beginning to brown, then add garlic.  season with salt and pepper. After another couple of minutes remove from heat.

Preheat your oven to 400°F.  Place your cubed squash on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes, until just tender.  Start water for your pasta and boil according to package directions.  Drain and reserve.

Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet and medium heat and add oil.  When hot add the onion and brussel sprouts.  Saute until just beginning to brown, then add garlic.  season with salt and pepper. After another couple of minutes remove from heat.

Make your cheese sauce by adding your butter to a small saucepan over low heat.  When it is melted add your flour and whisk to combine and form a roux.  gradually add your milk, whisking to thicken.  I added mine in 3 additions.  Last gradually add your cheese.  I seasoned mine with salt and a significant amount of ground black pepper.  Depending on the cheese you use you may need to season it differently so be sure to taste it.

Combine your vegetables, pasta and cheese sauce in a baking dish so that everything is well coated.  Sprinkle with Panko breadcrumbs and then Parmesan. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until bubbling and brown on top. Enjoy!

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Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

It is finally under 80°F in Texas, so it is time to make some soup!!

In particular this sweet potato soup.  The spiciness of the chipotles will warm you up in no time and it is a quick and easy vegetarian dish.

Oh… and did I mention the pecans? because they are definitely worth mentioning!

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

serves 4

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1-2 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped (be careful these are spicy!!!)
1 tsp. soy sauce

For serving:
Greek yogurt
brown sugar chipotle pecans

1 c. pecans
1/4 c. brown sugar
pinch of chipotle powder
1 Tbsp. butter

In a small nonstick skillet melt the butter.  Add pecans and coat.  Stir in brown sugar and stir until it starts to melt, 4-5 minutes.  Add a tiny pinch of chipotle powder and continue to cook until the sugar has completely coated the pecans.  Transfer to parchment paper.

Start by heating the olive oil over medium heat.  When it is hot add the onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook 8-10 minutes to soften, then add the garlic and cook a minutes more.

Next, add the sweet potatoes, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, chipotles and vegetable stock.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Very carefully puree the soup.  You can do this using an emulsion blender or in batches in your blender. Be sure to be careful when blending the hot soup.  Once blended stir in 1 tsp. of soy sauce.  Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt, or sour cream would work, and pecans. Enjoy!


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Skillet Polenta with Tomatoes

This polenta dish is perfect for the cooler weather that is starting to show up.  It’s hearty and meatless so if you are looking for a good vegetarian dish look no further.  The best part about it is you can really top it with just about anything you have in your refrigerator.

Oh, and if you have never made polenta do not worry.  It is sooooo easy!

This recipe comes from Bon Appetit, but as usual I have made a few changes.  In the recipe  you transfer the cooked polenta to a skillet, but I usually use a baking dish. I just think it looks nicer.  Also, it calls for Gorgonzola cheese, but if your not a fan use Feta.  They both have a bite!

Polenta with Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

serves 4 as a main

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups water
1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil leaves

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush 12-inch-diameter ovenproof skillet or baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Combine 4 cups water, polenta, and salt in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, whisking often. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the polenta is very thick and pulls away from sides of pan, whisking continuously, about 3 more minutes. Whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 cup basil. Transfer polenta to prepared skillet or dish. Spread polenta to even thickness.

Sprinkle polenta with tomatoes and garlic. Sprinkle evenly with Gorgonzola, mozzarella, and remaining 1/4 cup basil. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 16 minutes. Cut polenta into wedges and serve from skillet.  Enjoy!

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Greek Pizza

So it is football season and there is no crowd pleaser like good pizza.  If you are like me nontraditional toppings are the best part. This time I decided to go Greek!

I have several crusts that I like to rotate through, but if I am trying to please a crowd and not worried about gluten this one is the way to go.  You can whip it up in the food processor and it crisps up perfect.  Oh, did I mention it also freezes well?? The recipe came from fine cooking.

Pizza Cust

1 Package (2 1/4″ tsp.) active-dry yeast
1 1/2 cups very warm water (110 F)
18oz. (4 cups) all-purpose flour; more for dusting
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. cornmeal
Mix yeast and warm water together.
combine all ingredients in food processor until dough comes together in a large ball.
Split dough in half and place in a large bowl.  Cover with a damp dishtowel and let rise for at least 45 minutes covered
Preheat oven to 500°F.  Roll out dough and fold edges to form the crust.  Transfer to baking sheet or pizza stone and sprinkle each crust with 1 Tbsp. cornmeal.
Prebake crust for 5-8 minutes until starting to brown.  Keep a close eye on it, time can very due to thickness and you want it just starting to turn golden.  This helps keep it crispy once it is loaded up.
Put on ingredients and bake until cheese melted, and golden about 10 minutes.  Again watch closely.
Toppings for 1 pizza:
1/2 c. pizza sauce.
1 c. grated mozzarella
1/2 c. thin sliced red onion
1/4 c. thin sliced tomato
1/4 c. sliced mushrooms, I used portobello
1/4 c. chopped kalamata olives
3/4 c. baby spinach
1/2 c. crumbled feta, if you want a little more bite you can add another 1/4 c. to the top
1 clove minced garlic, you could skip this if your sauce contains a lot of garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt
Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to nonstick skillet over medium heat.  When hot add garlic and saute 30 seconds until fragrant.  Add spinach and barely wilt, 30 seconds more season with salt.  Transfer to plate and reserve.  Add a tad bit more oil and toss in the mushrooms.  Cook these just 1-2 minutes, add a pinch of salt and remove from heat.  You want them softened, but keep in mind they are going to bake on the pizza so you don’t want to over due it
Start layer on your pre-baked pizza crust.  I started with the sauce then sprinkled on my feta cheese.  Next I laid down the spinach followed by the mushrooms, onions, and olives.  I sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over that.  Last I put on the tomatoes, a sprinkle of salt and another handful of feta right on top.
Cook for 8-1o minutes in your 500°F oven on the middle rack to brown.  Always keep an eye on pizza they can brown quickly.

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Quinoa with Orange Blossom Vinagrette

Here it is again.  My favorite super food, Quinoa.  I saw this recipe as I was flipping through whole living in the grocery store and it really caught my eye.  It is the perfect blend of your fall and summer produce and the dish looks just as amazing as it taste.

I love dishes like this one that can compliment food so well or stand completely alone.  You could dress this salad up with a nice piece of fish or eat it as a healthy lunch.

Quinoa with Orange Blossom Vinagrette
adapted from Whole living

serves 4 as a side

1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 21/2 tablespoons, divided
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon orange blossom honey
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch-cubes
1 cup haricot vert or small slender green beans, trimmed
1 apple, skin-on, cored, julienned (granny smith preferably)
1 cup thinly sliced Swiss chard stems and leaves
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In small pot over medium-heat, reduce orange juice by half. Cool. In small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, honey and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In medium pot, bring vegetable stock to boil. Add quinoa and cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Meanwhile, oil a baking sheet with 1/2 tablespoon oil. Spread butternut squash cubes in single layer; sprinkle with salt. Roast for 15 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender.

Meanwhile, in heat remaining tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté apples and Swiss chard until apples soften and Swiss chard wilts, about 3 minutes. Add haricot vert; sauté 2 minutes more, or until crisp-tender.
Add roasted quash and sautéed ingredients to quinoa in bowl. Toss to combine. Add vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Garnish with slivered almonds and serve.

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