Today my friend and I ran into each other at our local farmer’s market. As we were chatting, she mentioned how much she wanted eggplant now that it was eggplant season. At the time, I was at a loss for what to make for dinner. I had some left over cheese from my Bastille Day celebration, so I wanted a little something to go with it that wasn’t too heavy. The eggplants at the market DID look beautiful and I already had some eggplant at home, so I decided to make my favorite eggplant soup.
Delicious cheese and fruit plate with the eggplant soup. Another thing Ben really likes: Brie. Something Ben really doesn’t like: Macaroni and Cheese. He’s weird.
The soup is really easy and a good consistency for all but the hottest summer days. I served it with the above platter to un-vegan it. Husband had some farmer’s market salami as well to un-vegetarian-ify it. At dinner, Ben said, “This is delicious!” Granted, he is a sucker for anything with garam masala!
Vegan Indian Spiced Eggplant Soup
1 large eggplant, peeled, 1” dice
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 15oz can of tomatoes, drained
1 15oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups of vegetable stock
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Tb of olive oil, divided
1 ½ Tb curry
1 Tb garam masala
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground corriander
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
- Place eggplant on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until tender in a 400-degree oven (approximately 25-30 minutes).
- When the eggplant has about 10 minutes to go, heat a large pot (I used an enameled-lined cast iron pot) over medium heat. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil and sautée the onions for about 3 minutes until tender.
- Once the eggplant is done in the oven (it should begin to darken and be very tender to the touch, toss the eggplant in with the onions. Sautée for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add in the tomatoes, stir to combine, and season with the curry and cayenne. Pour in the vegetable stock.
- Allow the soup to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add in the cannellini beans and remove from the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is smooth. Stir in the remaining spices and the almond milk. Adjust the seasoning as you want. Serve!
So easy, so delicious, so nutritious!
Sometimes Asian food really lends itself to vegetarian, and then vegan, dishes. I didn’t quite know what to make for dinner tonight and I had 1,000,000 green beans, so I came up with this Thai-inspired dish. It was really quick and easy for a Monday night. Not necessarily the most fat-free dish with the peanut butter and coconut oil, but INCREDIBLY delicious. Ben helped and he enjoyed it.
Vegan Thai Noodles
(20 minutes, serves 3-4)
8 oz. firm tofu, cut into cubes of about a ½ inch
2 Tb coconut oil, divided
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ginger powder, divided
half onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lb green beans, cut in half and blanched
½ cup chopped carrots
½ cup fresh corn
½ lb rice noodles, softened according to package directions (mine said to
leave it in warm water for 5-8 minutes)
2 Tb peanut butter
¼ soy sauce
1 Tb Sriracha (or less, depending on your spice liking)
juice of two limes
2 cloves garlic, diced
½ tsp dried ginger
- In a large wok, heat 1 Tb of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and season with the garlic powder and ginger. Stir-fry until golden brown, then set aside.
- When the tofu is out, add in the other Tb of coconut oil, the onions and garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the vegetables. Stir-fry until they become tender.
- While the veggies are cooking, mix all of the ingredients of the sauce together in a small bowl. Whisk them together until they become a thick-ish sauce. If it’s too thick to your liking, add in a little water from the rice noodles to thin it out.
- Once the vegetables are tender and the noodles are soft, add the noodles to the pan along with the tofu. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds before adding in the sauce. Add the sauce gradually and continue to stir-fry until everything is covered. You can add a little water from the noodles to ensure that the sauce is coating everything.
- After about 3 minutes of stir-frying the noodles, tofu, veggies and sauce, remove from heat and serve. You can serve with some crushed peanuts, cilantro, and/or limes. All would be delicious!
Gluten free and vegan? What?!
In an attempt to get my child to eat anything at all, I’ve been cooking as much Indian food as I can, which is slightly challenging. One thing I’ve learned about cooking is that watching someone cook is really important. Having only served as a sous chef to my bestie as we made channa masala during high school, I make a lot of things up as I go. I’m working on it, though!
Dinner tonight was an accidentally vegan meal. Accidentally, because I don’t intend on ever becoming vegan and the recipes just happened to not have animal products. Trust me. I love dairy far too much. This meal was spawned from a desire to get rid of a lot of the produce that I had in my fridge. My dad found the eggplant recipe after two HUGE eggplants arrived in my Washington’s Green Grocer box. Getting rid of produce will be a theme this week.
Baingan Bharta and stuffed Kale Parathas. Yum.
For the main dish, I made Baingan Bharta, which is an eggplant and tomato curry. Think of it kind of like an Indian ratatouille. Fun fact: Indian food is not quick to make. I used Mark Bittman’s recipe and was really pleased. It was probably one of the better curries that I’ve made so far. I followed it to a T and it came out really well. I recommend using only one jalapeño with the seeds mostly removed. We like heat and this was a pleasant amount.
To go with the Baingan Bharta, I made stuffed Kale Parathas. Husband LOVED them. I used this recipe and altered the filling slightly by using fresh ginger instead of ginger paste and I didn’t use the chilies or the sugar. Instead, I used a dash of cayenne. They were superb, if I do say so myself. Highly recommended!
Stuffed peppers are one of Husband’s favorites. It’s an American staple that can very easily be turned into something that’s vegetarian friendly, and healthy! I made these pretty protein-packed and substituted in quinoa for the traditional rice. Additionally, you can make this recipe very easily for the non-vegetarian set. One of the rules for when I gave up land animals was that Husband and Ben didn’t need to become vegetarians along with me. Therefore, I often have to make 1.5 meals for dinner. Generally, not a big deal. What makes this meal awesome is that it is very quick to make and can easily be a week-night meal (especially if you make the quinoa ahead of time). One of the keys to this recipe is that I brown the met first (for the non-vegetarian filling). By browning the meat first, you cut down on the wait time substantially.
(Serves 4-5; Hands on time: 20 min; Baking time: 20 min)
6 large-ish bell peppers (whatever colors you like)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese for topping
1 cup of dry quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
Dash cayenne pepper
1 lb. ground turkey
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- In a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan, bring quinoa and stock to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook until the quinoa becomes translucent (approximately 10-15 minutes). When the quinoa has about 5 minutes left to cook, add in the onion.
- As the quinoa cooks, brown the ground turkey. After the turkey is browned, add in the taco seasoning and a 1/4 of water. Cook until the water is absorbed/evaporated.
- When the quinoa is done cooking, divide it roughly evenly between two medium bowls. Add in the turkey to one bowl, and mix to combine. In the other bowl, add in the coarsely chopped black beans and spices and mix to combine.
- In preparing the peppers to be stuffed, cut off the stem and remove the seeds and ribs. Cut a small bit off of the bottom so that the pepper will stand on a jellyroll pan.
- Stuff the peppers to the brim. For my recipe, I had 4 non-vegetarian peppers and two vegetarian peppers. Top each of the peppers with shredded cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes and serve!
Vegetarian stuffed peppers. Look at all that protein-y goodness!
At first, Ben was unconvinced about the whole thing. However, I added some garam masala, and he ate it right up. He is a weird, weird kid.
This is an action shot of Ben eating garam masala straight. I have an odd child.
The last month of being land-animal free has been an adventure. A good adventure, but an adventure none-the-less. One thing I’m really happy about is that I’ve become much more creative with my cooking, especially when trying to find protein substitutes. While I really could eat my sweet potato patties every day, that’s a whole lot of sweet potato (speaking of which, eating the sweet potato patties with the beet and paneer paratha is AMAZING). My former riding instructor is a vegetarian/vegan chef and shared a recipe for black bean burgers.
James’s Black Bean Burgers
1 can black beans( well rinsed with cold water.)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cilantro fresh and finely chopped
1/4 cup onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ancho chili pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tb bread crumbs
- In a medium bowl, mash the black beans, cilantro, onion and garlic with a potato masher.
- Add in the seasoning and stir everything together.
- Form the mixture into patties that are about a 1/2″ thick.
- In a skillet over medium heat, heat some olive oil, and cook about 3 minutes per side.
I served mine up in a fresh, whole wheat pita, which I made using this recipe. Making your own pitas is ridiculously easy, so I’m sad that it’s taken me this long to make them. I served the burger with Greek yogurt on a pita.
In addition to the black bean burgers, I made a quinoa and beet salad. Quinoa is another really great source of protein. For those of you who are gluten-free, quinoa is a great option.
Quinoa and Beet Salad
2 beets, roasted, peeled and chopped
1 cups of dry quinoa (cook to package instructions)
1/3 cup of crumbled feta
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 olive oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
- Roast the beets for 45 minutes in a 425 degree oven. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and roughly chop them.
- While the beets are cooking, cook 1 cup of quinoa according to the package’s instructions. I recommend using vegetable broth because it adds flavor.
- In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper. While whisking the juice mixtures, stream in the olive oil.
- Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and toss.
Black Bean Burgers with a delightfully pink beet and quinoa salad
This summer, I have vowed to learn how to make South Asian cuisine in order to feed Ben. Part of that vow is to learn from his daycare ladies. The rest is trial and error. Today was a mixed bag. For lunch I tried to make some cholé and rice. Not that successful. For dinner, I made beet and paneer stuffed paratha with different fillings for tacos. It was awesome and very baby approved.
Notes on paratha:
For the paratha, I followed this recipe pretty closely. I didn’t have any cilantro, so I used the juice and zest of one lemon to brighten up the filling. Also, I upped the paneer quotient to about a grated cup. Speaking of grating, I wasn’t sure if the recipe called for cooked beet to be grated or raw. Raw worked just fine. Super good choices. A note for the non-Indians out there. When the recipe says to “gently roll” out the paratha. Gently is not a guideline. You must be really easy with the rolling pin or else you will get an exploding paratha. Not ideal.
Generally, though, these are pretty easy to make. Ben was a big helper.
Ben is pretty much obsessed with making dough.
For the filling, I made a meat-itarian and a vegetarian version and served them with Greek yogurt, tomatoes, and lettuce.
Garam Masala Turkey Tacos
(Baby approved! He ate it out of the bowl.)
Makes about 4 full tacos. Takes about 10 minutes.
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 garlic powder
1 Tb olive oil
1/2 cup water
- In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the turkey.
- When the turkey starts to brown, add in the spices. Stir and allow the turkey to absorb the spices.
- Add the water and cook for another 2-3 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Not the greatest picture, but it was so, so good.
2 cups of baby spinach
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cream cheese
- Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add in the spinach and spices and cook until wilted then add the cream cheese. Enjoy!
Ben enjoying his hard work! Notice the different shrapnel all over the plate. He ate more of this than anything in the past week other than raisins and Cheerios. True story.
Recently, I decided to give up eating land animals (you can’t give up fish in Maryland!). I never really liked meat and I, genetically, have high cholesterol, so it made sense. Husband and Ben are thankful that I’m not going to give up cooking meat for them, but I decided to try my hand at a vegetarian dish. In perusing for sweet potato burger recipes, I came across a bunch. They weren’t too my liking, so I came up with this one. The word “burger” is a little bit generous. They’re a little more of a crab cake consistency than a burger consistency. Therefore, I found it fitting to dress this one up like we would in Maryland.
The awesome thing about this recipe is that it’s packed with good-for you foods. There are lean proteins in the form of the legumes and the nutritional power house:the sweet potato. If you serve it with avocado, you get the added benefit of the “good fats”. Enjoy, my friends!
Maryland Sweet Potato Burgers
Makes 7-8 patties
2 medium sweet potatoes, baked, peeled, and mashed
2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ Tb Old Bay Seasoning
½ tsp Ancho chili pepper
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cumin
2 Tb Greek yogurt
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (more or less)
½ cup all-purpose flour (more or less)
2 Tb Greek yogurt
2 Tb Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
- In a large bowl, coarsely mash the sweet potatoes and cannellini beans together.
Potatoes and beans, all mashed up
- Once they are sufficiently mashed, mix in the spices, yogurt, and egg. The mixture will be pretty sticky.
- Add in the breadcrumbs and flour a little at a time. You want to judge the consistency so they don’t become pancakes but aren’t blobs of goo. I used about a cup of each, but you might use more or less depending on how goopy your sweet potatoes and beans are.
- Form the mixture into patties of roughly equal size. Allow the patties to chill in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes.
These look a lot better than raw meat.
- As the patties are chilling, you can make your sauce. Simply mix together the yogurt and hot sauce and adjust the proportions to your heat-liking.
While Ben is a big help, he won’t quite make it onto Top Chef with his breaking down of green beans.
- When the patties are done chilling, heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Depending on how large your skillet is, place about 4 patties in at a time. Because the patties will be slightly sloppy, you should wait until you can easily flip them and they become golden brown. It will take about 5-6 minutes per side.
- Enjoy! I added a little avocado as nature’s butter and served it with roasted green beans that Ben picked. 🙂
Sweet potato burger with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce-Yogurt dressing and avocado