Category Archives: Main Dish

Southwestern Mixed Vegetable Soup

 

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This soup is a great base soup that you can tinker with.  Very healthy.

Tomatillos
I personally felt it needed more spice or complex flavor, so I would recommend adding jalapeno if you like heat, or a teaspoon or two of chili powder.

Southwest Vegetable Soup Recipe

As with many soups, this one is quite tasty the next day and can be altered into something totally new.

With our leftovers, I made it into a fish stew.  I heated it up, add about 1/4 cup red wine (or use white), and added 2 fresh cod fillets, and more fresh pepper.  Very tasty.

 

Southwestern Vegetable Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

SERVES 4 

2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 dried chipotle chile (optional)
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 cup cooked black beans
3 tomatillos, husked and cut into chunks
1 medium tomato, cored and roughly chopped
1 medium or 2 small zucchini, roughly chopped
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup or more chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut into rings (optional)

Put the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chipotle, cumin, oregano, and some salt and peper and cook stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables along with some more salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are shiny, just a minute or so.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cook until the vegetables are very tender (the potato will take the longest), 15 to 20 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve, garnished with the cilantro.

 

Thai Style Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu

 
Thai Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu

Alyssa and I visited the Saigon Market at Findlay Market this past weekend.

At a traditional grocery store, you might be able to find a few stalks of lemongrass. Or maybe not.

But at this market, there's a whole cardboard box of lemongrass stalks.  And crazy fresh ginger.

 
Lemongrass Lime Chili

This soup was amazing. Lots of flavor.  But if someone in the family doesn't like some of those exotic flavors, cut them back a bit. Use 1/2 the amount of lemongrass and lime. 

 

Thai Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

SERVES 6 

6-7 cups vegetable stock, water, or combination of the two
3 stalks lemongrass
2 Tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
grated zest of 1 lime
1 small hot fresh Thai chile, seeded, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup button or oyster mushrooms, chopped fine or sliced
1/2 cup snow peas, trimmed, or shelled peas (frozen ok)
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
Juice of 1 lime
chopped fresh cilantro leave for garnish
12 oz box extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes (we used Mori Nu)
8 oz rice noodles (we used Erawan Brand medium size oriental style noodles) 

Heat a pan of water on medium-high heat for the rice noodles. Meanwhile, put the stock in a separate large saucepan over medium-high heat. Mince the core of one of the lemongrass stalks and add it; trim and bruise the other 2 lemongrass stalks, cut them into 2- or 3-inch lengths, and add them to the pot along with the soy sauce, lime zest, chile, black pepper, and sugar. Stir, then add the vegetables and tofu.

When the water for the noodles is boiling, add the rice noodles and cook to just a minute or two short of being cooked, according to package directions.  

Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Add the lime juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more soy, lime, chile or pepper as you like.

Add the noodles to the soup, simmer another minute.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve.

Vegan New Orleans Jambalaya with Smoked Tempeh and Brown Rice

Vegan Jambalaya
Vegan Jambalaya with Brown Rice Smoked Tempeh

This is the first recipe Alyssa and I have made from the cookbook she got me last June for my birthday, Big Vegan: More Than 350 Recipes No Meat/No Dairy All Delicious by Robin Asbell.
I was surprised at how good this tasted.  Maybe it was that "expectations" thing.  I didn't expect it to taste that great, and it really did.
We used the rice cooker to cook everything together in one pot, except for the last 2 ingredients, which you stir in at the end, just long enough to warm them up.
Some of the family didn't care for the smoked tempeh.  This would be easy to fix because you stir in the Fakin Bacon at the end.  So you could stir in another meat or meat substitute for those that want something else.
New Orleans Jambalaya with Smoked Tempeh and Brown Rice
Compliments of JennaDish
from Big Vegan by Robin Asbell
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium green bell, chopped
6 large scallions, white and green parts chopped separately
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large jalapeno, chopped
1 large bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dired thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 cups vegetable stock (I used unsalted)
1 cup long-grain brown rice (rinse first)
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz smoked tempeh Fakin' Bacon, chopped into 1" pieces
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes 
(see below if using Rice Cooker to cook the whole dish)
1. Heat the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add both bell peppers, the whites of the scallions, the celery, jalapeno, and bay leaf. Saute until the vegetables are softened.  Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, and basil and stir briefly, then add the stock and bring it to a boil.  Add the rice and salt and bring to a simmer, then cover tightly and cook on very low heat until all the liquids are absorbed and the rice is tender, 35 to 45 mintues.
RICE COOKER Version: Place all the ingredients, except the tempeh and tomatoes (and green part of scallions) and turn your cooker on for brown rice.  When finished, open the lid carefully and follow step #2.
2. Fold in the tempeh and tomatoes and let stand, covered, to steam the rice and warm the tempeh and tomatoes through, about 5 minutes. Serve topped with the remaining chopped scallion greens.

Red Thai Tofu


Red Thai Tofu_text

Serve this tofu dish over your favorite rice.  The cookbook this came from suggests a pineapple rice.

 

Red Thai Tofu
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

SERVES 4

1 block extra-firm tofu (about 14 ounces), cubed
1 teaspoon oil
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
1/2 cup sliced shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon light agave nectar
15 leaves fresh Thai basil

Preheat a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Spray with a little cooking spray. Add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping it with a thin spatula once in a while, until it is browned on most sides. The thin spatula is important because you should be able to slip it underneat the tofu and flip it easily, keeping the tofu intact. About midway through, drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce and toss to coat.

Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside. Saute the red pepper, shallots, garlic, and ginger in the oil, using a little cooking spray if needed. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the curry paste, water, remaining soy sauce, agave. Add the tofu back the pan along with the curry paste mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the Thai basil and toss to wilt. Serve! 

Black Bean, Zucchini and Olive Tacos

Black Bean Zucchini Olive Tacos

This is one of those vegetarian (and vegan) dishes you can easily adapt to what you have.  This time of year, it would be fun to use squash, or pumpkin chunks, or sweet potatoes in place of the zucchini.

You can use any bean, of course.  

The corn tortillas make it special.  Love the grain texture and taste.

Black Bean, Zucchini and Olive Tacos
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz 

1
teaspoon olive oil
2 zucchini, diced small (about 1lb)
2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced thinly
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olive, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (6 ounce) can salsa verde (I used Frontero Tomatilla Sauce)
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained &
rinsed
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion

Garlic-Lemon Yogurt
1 cup unsweetened plain soy yogurt (Wildwood
is suggested)
2 -3 garlic cloves
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon (3 Tbsp)
1/2 teaspoon light agave nectar

Preheat a heavy bottomed skillet over
medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and add the zucchini and jalapeno, sprinkle
with the salt. Saute for about 7 minutes, or until the zucchini is lightly
browned.

Add the garlic, olives, cumin, and coriander,
and saute for 2 minutes more.

Add the salsa verde and black beans and cook
for 5 minutes. The salsa should reduce a bit so its not soupy.

Mix the ingredients for the Garlic-Lemon
Yogurt if you are using.

Warm the tortillas in a skillet or wrap in a
moist towel and microwave for one minute. Serve with Garlic-Lemon Yogurt and chopped scallions. 

 

Quinoa with Hot Curry Veggie Saute

Quinoa with Sauteed Zucchini, Red Pepper, Tomatoes

I only learned of quinoa in the last 10 years or so.  As more people are becoming vegetarian or at least eating less meat, they are looking to plant-based foods high in protein.  

Speaking of plant-based protein, I recently read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell PhD, and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD.  It's about a 20-year study of the effects of certain foods on the body, especially the relationship between certain foods and chronic disease.  Bottom line, a plant-based diet is best for our bodies – eat no animal products (meat, dairy) or as little as possible, and as little refined carbohydrates as possible.  

I also just watched (for the second time) a 60 Minutes episode on the effects of sugar on our bodies.  Has a direct relation to chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, kidney problems, etc.

Quinoa Cooked in White Wine and Vegetable Broth
Meanwhile, back at the quinoa … like any other grain, in can be very plain if you just boil it in water. So it helps build in flavor if you use broth for the cooking liquid.  In this recipe, I also added a little white wine.

Quinoa with Hot Curry Veggie Saute
Compliments of JennaDish

MAKES ONE SERVING

3/4 cup vegetable broth 
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup quinoa 

1 shallot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
1 yellow squash, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
Pinch or two hot curry powder to taste (I used Penzy's)

Rinse the quinoa well.  Put the broth and wine in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Put quinoa in and stir, turn the heat to low, put the lid on and cook for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the shallot in a little oil over medium heat.  Add in mustard seed, if using, and stir around a minute.  Add squash and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, add the tomatoes and curry powder and stir until heated and tomatoes are softened.  Taste for seasoning, adding a little more curry powder if desired.

Serve the vegetable over the quinoa.  Enjoy while hot.

 

Pasta and Sauce with Black Bean & Toasted Bread Crumb Topping

Pasta with Black Beans and Toasted Bread Crumbs and Onions

 

Pasta and Sauce with Black Bean & Toasted Bread Crumb Topping
Compliments of JennaDish

original recipe

MAKES 2 GENEROUS SERVINGS

8 ounces fresh pasta (mine is from Bouchard's at Findlay Market)
2 cups pasta sauce (I used Muir Glen's Organic, Cabernet Style) 
2 cups toasted bread crumbs (mine is from Blue Oven's Spelt Bread, ground and toasted)
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained 

Saute the bread crumbs in a little olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  After crumbs are heated, add the beans to the pan to heat up.

Meanwhile, heat the pasta sauce in a sauce pan, and cook the pasta according to package or vendor instructions.

Drain the pasta, serve in a bowl, top with sauce then the crumb/bean mixture.

 

Panzanella with Sunflower Seed Bread & Yellow Pear Tomatoes

Panzanella
Panzanella Salad

This salad, like most, is highly adaptable.  My first tip would be to use a dense, strong bread, in order to stand up to the saute and the liquids. 

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Other than that, substitute a fresh veggie (think Italian) that seems to make sense, for a veggie you don't have.

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I had some little pear tomatoes, so I used those instead of more peppers.  I also didn't have cucumber so I used a few of my fresh, homemade pickles.  If you're a pickle-lover go for it.  If not, nix that idea and sub something else.  It's too strong of a taste if you aren't thrilled with tangy pickles.

 

Panzanella with Sunflower Seed Bread & Yellow Pear Tomatoes
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from Ina Garten on Food Network.com

MAKES ABOUT 3 to 4 SERVINGS as a side

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups of 1" cubes of sunflower seed bread (or any dense, whole grain or sourdough bread)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large, ripe tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 to 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, sliced 1/2-inch thick (I used 1/3 cup fresh pickles)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
10 yellow pear tomatoes
1/2 red onion, chopped
10 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 Tablespoons capers, drained

Vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tablespoons Champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber (or pickles), red or yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.  The salad tastes even better the next day.

The Plant-Based Bowl: Quinoa, Black Beans, Tomatoes, and Caesar Chavez Dressing

Quinoa Bean Bowl with Caesar Chavez Dressing
Well, our 6-Week Vegan Challenge is up, but we are still trying to keep the habit of eating a mainly plant-based diet.

This is a "bowl."  It is very adaptable.

You simply choose a grain or healthy pasta (quinoa, rice, barley, soba noodles), a veggie or two, a bean, and a dressing or sauce.

I tried quinoa, black beans, tomatoes and Caesar Chavez Dressing.

The taste is great!  Not photogenic, but very tastogenic.  There.  I made up a word.

 

Caesar Chavez Dressing
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Serves 4 (or 2 if you're having a bowl of plain quinoa, which needs more sauce)

I found the cashews difficult to chop in the blender/food processor fully, so soaking them first would help, or even chopping, then mashing with a mortar and pestle. However, even without the prep, you'll have 4-5 teeny pieces of cashew chunks. Not a huge deal.

2 Tablespoons chopped shallot
2 Tablespoons cashew pieces
1 Tablespoon tahini
1 Tablespoon miso
1/3 cup water
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon capers with brine
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Blend it all in a blender or food processor until well blended, 2-5 minutes.

Vegan Ricotta & Spinach Lasagna

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Vegan Lasagna

I've never had a non-dairy lasagna.  I was bracing myself to be tolerant. But to my surprise, it tasted just like another awesome Italian dish.  No tolerance necessary.

Vegan Spinach Lasagna

Alyssa and Allen liked it also.  Jill wouldn't try it. 

The "ricotta cheese" is replaced by a mixture of crumbled extra firm tofu, roasted cauliflower and nutritional yeast flakes.

No Dairy No Meat Lasagna

Here it is assembled and ready for the oven….

Cut Vegan Lasagna

and after being baked and cut.

Also, I used plain lasagna noodles, which is what we had on hand.  But the original recipe called for, and I would recommend, using whole wheat.

 

Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

SERVES 4-6 

Drain the tofu well by squeezing gently to release much of the excess water, then wrapping the tofu well in thick paper towels and setting a heavy on top for 10 minutes or more.  You can make the "ricotta" mixture ahead and refrigerate.  Hodgson Mill's makes a whole wheat lasagna with flax seed.

"RICOTTA" MIXTURE:
1 head cauliflower, chopped into 1/2" pieces
3 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound extra firm tofu, drained well
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
6-8 grinds of freshly ground pepper, or a few pinches canned pepper

RED SAUCE:
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil (or add about 10 fresh basil leaves, torn)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt

LAYERS:
5 whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken in half, cooked according to directions
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1/4 cup black olives or green olives for top, (other ideas: pepperonata, capers, roasted red pepper strips)

Summary of Timing: 
Preheat oven, start draining process with tofu, meanwhile roast cauliflower, meanwhile put pot of pasta water on medium low (so that getting it to the boiling point later won't take as long), start on sauce by sauteeing garlic in oil, after "ricotta" mixture is finished, turn pasta water up to high and start cooking noodles.  Basically, you have 3 things to make,but you never have more than 2 things going on at the same time that you have to watch.  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  

On a heavy baking sheet or roasting pan, drizzle a little olive oil and spread over bottom, dump the cauliflower pieces in a pile, drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons oil, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mix together well with your hands, coating all pieces of cauliflower.  Spread evenly over pan.  It doesn't have to be a single layer. 

Bake for 10 minutes, remove and stir/flip cauliflower well with spatula.  Bake for another 10 minutes. Flip and stir again.  Bake another 5-10 minutes if necessary, until cauliflower is lightly browned and tender.  Set aside.  Turn heat down to 350 degrees F.

In the meantime, in a pot that will hold the tomato sauce, turn heat to medium, pour the 2 teaspoons oil and sautee the garlic until lightly golden and starting to become aromatic (don't burn), pour in the crushed tomatoes and thyme and let simmer on low for 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick.

Crumble the drained tofu into a medium mixing bowl, add the nutritional yeast and lemon juice and mix well.  Add the cauliflower, mix well, and mash well with a potato masher, or pulse it a few times in a food processor.  Set aside.

Boil lasagna noodles according to package directions – a little salt and a little oil is recommended. Drain, run cold water over noodles to stop cooking, lay them out on a lint-free towel or on a plate. 

To assemble:  In an 8×8" baking dish or something close – I used an 8"x10" clear Pyrex baking dish – put a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish.  Place a single layer of noodles on the sauce, spread 1/3 of the "ricotta" mixture evenly over the noodles, layer with 1 cup chopped spinach evenly, pour on a cup of sauce.  Repeat this one more time.  Then the last layer will be noodles, then sauce, then the "ricotta" (no spinach).  Sprinkle will olives in whatever design you prefer.

Bake 40 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and top has at least lightly browned.  Serve immediately or let cool just a few minutes.  Unlike regular cheese lasagna, this dish will not hold it's heat for very long, so don't plan on letting it cool more than 10 minutes.