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David T. Cole

Quick Vegetarian Meals

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Sounds like serendipity, ALenore, which has been responsible for some of my favorite "recipes".  Last week, in a rush to save some sweet potatoes (aka "yams") that were on the verge, I created a side dish that everyone seems to love -- & it's quick & vegan to boot:

 

Put a tablespoon or 2 of coconut oil into a roasting pan (preferably dark) & stick that in the oven while preheating to 425 (or 450 if you want crisper bites).

 

Peel sweet potatoes & chop into bite-sized chunks.

 

Toss the chunks around in the hot oil -- roast uncovered for 15 minutes -- toss again -- continue roasting for 15 minutes more.

 

Sprinkle with just a little kosher salt & drizzle with just a little reduced balsamic glaze (I get it bottled at Trader Joe's) -- toss.

 

Eat immediately or cool & refrigerate (covered) to reheat later -- chopped green onions on top add color contrast & crunch.

 

The balsamic glaze really brings out the vegetable's sweetness & adds a different kind of its own -- so far, I've only tried it with salmon but I think it would be great with anything (like a spinach salad, for example).

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I have been insanely busy for the last couple of months, so not only have I been MIA around here but I've been eating much more poorly than usual - not as much time to plan, shop for, and cook healthy meals.  Things are quieting down, so today was still a little rushed but I was able to put a little thought and time into my meal.  I decided to try to make the enchilada casserole without the pasta, since I've been eating too much white pasta, rice, and bread.  It's still in the oven, I'll have to report back on how it tastes.

 

Basically, I mixed up the following list of ingredients, threw them into a baking dish, and it is currently baking away in a 350 oven:

 

1 large vidalia onion and 1 large red bell pepper, sauteed in olive oil

I huge fresh yam, peeled and chopped up

1.5 cups fresh sweet corn

1 can black beans with jalapenos

1 big can of enchilada sauce

 

Fingers crossed!

 

Edited to add: Unfortunately, this time it didn't work out very well.  I used too much enchilada sauce as the yams don't absorb sauce like pasta does.  And for some reason, even though the sauce I bought was supposedly mild, it was so spicy I could barely eat it - and I like some heat.  Next time I will use less sauce and make my own!

Edited by RescueMom
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Now it's getting close to summer, I'm going to start making one of my favorite vegetarian meals, penne with tomatoes and mozzarella. I don't really follow a recipe, I just cut up a lot of plum tomatoes, and put them in a big bowl with cubes of mozzarella cheese,  chopped  garlic, lots of olive oil, a few splashes of red wine vinegar and a little salt.  I let that sit while I boil a pot of penne, then mix it all together and top with shredded basil.   Sometimes I use Cannellini beans instead of mozzarella.  In late summer, when all the different varieties of tomatoes come into season, I make a beautiful multicolored version with red, yellow, green and orange tomatoes.

 

I made a super simplified version of this last night with the first fresh farmers market tomatoes that I've seen this year.  I just used pasta, 2 kinds of tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil from the market, salt, and pepper.  Next time I'll add the cannellini beans for some protein, and if I feel really ambitious I might roast some garlic and add it in.  But even the simple version was delicious!!

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So I know someone here had already linked to the Oh She Glows Creamy Avocado Pasta recipes here.

 

I made that tonight, but I changed it slightly and it was really good.  

 

My neighbor subscribes to a co-ops organic food delivery in the area and a lot of times ends up with veggies she either doesn't care for, or too many.  She doesn't like to see them go to waste, so she knows I'm a good bet to need vegetables like crazy.  

 

So that's why I have a giant bag of roma tomatoes.  So all I did with that pasta was toss it all together, then serve it over three chopped up roma tomatoes and sprinkled crushed walnuts on top.  It makes it a fairly cool , pasta salad sort of meal, but it was insanely delicious.  

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That sounds wonderful!  I'm going to try it as soon as I run into a good looking & reasonably priced avocado (which might be tomorrow).

 

Meanwhile, for those with almost too many tomatoes, I've been making good use of Marcella Hazen's Tomato Butter Sauce recipe, which could hardly be easier & works equally well with 2 cups of fresh tomatoes (romas included).  I use salted butter & omit adding salt -- & I don't discard the onion because that would be wasteful, so I put half in the blender with the tomatoes & use the other half for something else.  If you've never made this before, taste it before adding anything, just to savor the impact of pure tomatoes -- then go ahead & add half the onion &/or garlic, basil, oregano, Parmesan, etc. as you please.  This freezes well & works for any tomato sauce application I've been able to imagine.

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I think you might mean two pounds of fresh tomatoes, 3pwood, or at least that's what I just used :-) and the result are outrageously good.  Thank you so much for that recipe, holy Yum!!  Actually I basically doubled the recipe because I was up to my butt in roma tomatoes! 

 

I did put the final sauce into the vitamix (and I'm sure a food processor would work) because I didn't take the time to peel the tomatoes first on theory that the skins are actually good for you....that and peeling tomatoes is such a pain in the posterior!  But oh my goodness, the taste is so wonderful!  I think you could Vegan that sauce right on up by using Earth Balance vs. olive oil, by the way, in case anyone wants to give that a try.   

 

Wow, that's good stuff! Thank you so, so much for that! I always like to get a look at how things go on a new recipe, so here's my at the start photo: 

 

WP_20140823_002_zps1acdc81d.jpg

 

and at the end, before meeting the vitamix: 

 

WP_20140823_003_zps192f26b0.jpg

 

This assumes that I did this correctly, but it tastes like I did!  Thank you again, 3pwood

Edited by stillshimpy

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You're very welcome, stillshimpy -- so glad you've tried it & not at all surprised that you like it.  As did the Smitten Kitchen blogger, I somehow managed to miss this until a couple of years ago -- once I discovered it, I fell in love & started telling everyone I knew -- now I make it all the time, with fresh tomatoes in the summer & with canned during the rest of the year.

 

 I don't know what the weight of fresh tomatoes should be -- the recipe calls for a 28 oz can of tomatoes (undrained, though that's not specified in the Smitten Kitchen version) & I keep 14 oz cans around so I measured 2 of those undrained & got 2 cups.  I've doubled the sauce & halved it, never bothered peeling the fresh tomatoes -- it's pretty flexible, & I'll bet olive oil would work for those who don't eat butter.

 

 

 

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It's a miracle, I finally have a Quick Vegetarian meal to recommend.  Hardly anything I make tends to be quick and I actually cooked the red beans for this in a slow cooker beforehand, but you can just sub in canned red beans.

 

Simply Organic has a Mole Sauce that is vegetarian (although they suggest is as being best with chicken or pork it doesn't actually have any kind of meat product in its spice mix) ....so I simmered two cups of red beans in minimal amounts of liquid (I used the liquid I'd cooked the beans in the slow cooker, but if you're using canned, rinse those and put in about a half a cup of water) .  Simmered for twenty minutes and served that with cornbread (Bobs Red Mill, if anyone gives a darn) .  

 

It was great and very thick.   Like most people who eat a lot of beans, I'm always looking for something new to do with them and this one was really good.  

 

And quick! I finally did something that was fast!  I'm still somewhat stunned myself.  

Edited by stillshimpy
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This isn't quick because of all the chopping, but it doesn't take long to finish once that's done.  I was inspired by 2 recipes substituting cauliflower for, respectively, fried rice & couscous -- I didn't follow either of them & instead did this:

 

Trim & wash a small/medium head of cauliflower & cut into florets -- blitz those with a food processor or grate by hand.

 

In a large skillet, saute over medium heat in hardly any oil until starting to brown slightly -- sprinkle with just a little salt & stir.

 

Add chopped vegetables of choice (mine were purple onion, garlic, daikon radishes, red & yellow bell pepper, & frozen basil leaves from last summer's plant) & saute to crisp/tender.

 

Dissolve 1/2 tsp vegetarian bouillon in 1/2 cup water & add to steam for awhile.

 

Clear a space down the middle of the pan & add just a little more oil there -- pour in a beaten egg & cook til it becomes firm -- chop into bits & stir into the vegetables.

 

Either serve as is with soy sauce (or Tabasco or Sriracha sauce) on the table, or stir a few splashes of soy sauce into the pan & cook briefly over medium heat to evaporate the liquid before serving.

 

Very tasty & horribly healthy -- not to mention cheap when cauliflower is on sale & you've got vegetables that need to be used up. Omitting the egg would make it vegan & I suppose tofu could be added instead for protein.

 

 

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Okay, so I've done it at long last.  I've made the batch of Vegan Cashew Cheez that is so freaking good, it's worth documenting the flavor combo and process.  This is after many attempts and cashew lives lost (moment of silence) and it's so good you could conceivably make a grilled cheese out of it.  Can be made in a food processor or vitamix.  I was using a Vitamix.  Minimal soaking time seems key on this: 

 

Two cups raw cashew pieces soaked in water, at room temp for 1 1/2 to 2 hours 

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes 

1/2 teaspoon chili powder 

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/4 teaspoon onion powder 

1/2 teaspoon turmeric. 

salt to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon sea salt) 

 

1 - 3 tablespoons cold water, depending on desired thickness (the three would be if you want it for a dip or use more if you want a sauce for veggies) 

drain and rinse cashew pieces, place in blender or food processor, dump in all other ingredients except for the water and pulse or blend, adding water to get to the desired thickness.  

Honest to goodness...I think it's actually better than cheese.  

Edited by stillshimpy
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Loving this!  Although I ended up going with a Dill and lemon cashew based dressing.  It was super good, but I don't think there is a way to make convincing Vegan Ranch.  

 

Not my recipe, but I've made it about four times so far and I love it.  I do change it a bit.  I use two sweet potatoes, one in olive oil and salt.  The other in Olive oil with salt and smoked paprika.   I also use a spicy BBQ sauce and put pepitas on top of it all.  

 

From Vegan Yak Attack ...they're on Facebook too. I admit, I do a light saute on the kale first, just to wilt it slightly.  I've also used baby kale, but I am just not into having to massage kale before eating.   Southwestern Kale Salad, with Sweet Potatoes and Blackeyed peas.   Super fast and delicious!

 

 

Soooooo good.  

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I became vegan this month and I'm not much of a cooker but will be following this thread. Any recommendations for a good vegan pizza cheese that melts? 

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20 minutes ago, Petunia13 said:

I became vegan this month and I'm not much of a cooker but will be following this thread. Any recommendations for a good vegan pizza cheese that melts? 

I like Miyokos Mozzarella.

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Better than Daiya, definitely. Miyoko's has spreads too. I think they might be good but the one I tried tasted oniony and I hate onions, so I don't quite know yet.

ETA: Got the faux lox one and it is spectacular!

Edited by TattleTeeny
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My favorite "I don't have energy and/or time to cook" meal is pasta with peas, which I have several times a week and will have any time of day. Cook some whole wheat pasta with frozen peas, drain, and add olive oil, tomato, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. This is the most lazy version of the meal but of course this lends itself to endless variations. You could also use canned beans such as cannellini beans (sadly I'm a hypochondriac and afraid of canned food, but before my anxiety got bad I used to eat cannellini beans with pasta all the time) or other types of frozen legumes such as fava beans (my store used to carry frozen fava beans but sadly now I can't find them in the store anymore). Mushrooms, broccoli, and summer squash also go very well in here. If you have a steamer basket you can steam vegetables above the boiling pasta and peas. Also you could use vegan Parmesan in place of the nutritional yeast if you want, or Earth Balance in place of the olive oil, or add fresh roasted garlic in which would make it extra good. For an extra high protein version you could have one of those chickpea or lentil flour pastas instead of whole wheat pasta. The reason why I like this meal so much is because it is a high-calorie meal that provides a good balance of protein, fat, and carbs, it has a lot of nutritional value, it takes only about 15 minutes and one pot to prepare, and because it involves pasta it's automatically good.

As for really good recipes, I definitely recommend tempeh "chicken" salad. Get a block of tempeh, cut it into small cubes, and boil for about 10 minutes. Then drain, put the cubes into a bowl, and crumble the tempeh. Combine with 3 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (I use Just Mayo), 2 tsp of either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, some cut-up cucumber or celery (celery is traditional in chicken salad but I prefer cucumber), and seasonings to taste: garlic powder, minced onion, fresh or dried dill, black pepper, and paprika. Even meat eaters like this. I have also thought of making a "tuna" salad variant by adding nori, but haven't tried it yet.

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Quick question. I've been vegetarian for decades. The last time I tried any fake "lunchmeats" was ages ago and I didn't find anything I liked. Just wondering if there is something on the market that's actually good, by this time. Anyone? Thanks in advance.

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I like the Yves brand vegan bologna.  A lot of mainstream supermarkets in N. Calif have stopped carrying it but it seems to be available at Sprouts.

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On 4/19/2019 at 7:10 PM, rubaco said:

Quick question. I've been vegetarian for decades. The last time I tried any fake "lunchmeats" was ages ago and I didn't find anything I liked. Just wondering if there is something on the market that's actually good, by this time. Anyone? Thanks in advance.

I recently had some Tofurky Deli Slices (Hickory Smoked), and thought they were good.

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On 4/27/2019 at 11:19 PM, Trini said:

I recently had some Tofurky Deli Slices (Hickory Smoked), and thought they were good.

Both Tofurky and Lightlife are good.  

I do like the Quorn roast.  I like to add spices like rosemary to it as it cooks which means I have to change the way they say to cook it.

Gardein is pretty good.   They have a lot of variety to choose from.

Morningstar Farms and Boca are also pretty good.

My one major gripe.  I would hope that all of those companies would find a way to lower the sodium levels in their foods.

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On 4/19/2019 at 7:10 PM, rubaco said:

Quick question. I've been vegetarian for decades. The last time I tried any fake "lunchmeats" was ages ago and I didn't find anything I liked. Just wondering if there is something on the market that's actually good, by this time. Anyone? Thanks in advance.

Seconding Tofurky and Lightlife. My husband has one of those two in his sandwiches at work, plus cheese and condiments. The best Lightlife product is their tempeh bacon though -- it's tempeh that is marinated to taste like bacon and you fry it in a pan. It doesn't taste exactly like bacon of course but it satisfies the bacon craving and it's way better than the other vegan bacon I tried. Field Roast is also really good, especially their sausages, and they have lunch meats.

Yesterday I made some of the tempeh "chicken" salad I mentioned previously. I used Vegenaise this time instead of Just Mayo, because it comes in a glass jar, but they taste identical to me.

Edited by BuyMoreAndSave
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Quote

Morningstar Farms and Boca are also pretty good.

I believe these brands may have eggs in them--just in case anyone is vegan vs. vegetarian.

You guys, I made a vegan brunch for myself today!  "Cheesy" tofu scramble with mangoes and tomatoes! (Bacon salt [vegan, surprisingly] and miso are key.)

65952281_10217686706506888_998674720607961088_n.jpg

Edited by TattleTeeny
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On 7/7/2019 at 12:03 PM, TattleTeeny said:

I believe these brands may have eggs in them--just in case anyone is vegan vs. vegetarian.

Some (not all) of Morningstar Farms products are Vegan.  On the tear strip at the top of their packaging, some of them have a "V" and they list them as vegan.

https://www.morningstarfarms.com/products.html

Edited by icemiser69
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On 7/9/2019 at 5:55 AM, icemiser69 said:

Some (not all) of Morningstar Farms products are Vegan.  On the tear strip at the top of their packaging, some of them have a "V" and they list them as vegan.

https://www.morningstarfarms.com/products.html

Same with Boca. You just have to check. The Original Vegan Boca Burger is the go-to in the Macc house.

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My favorite so far of all the burgers is the Gardein Ultimate; I find it to be a pretty spot-on facsimile of an actual hamburger. I bring them to barbecues, along with Follow Your Heart "cheese" slices, so I can eat like "regular" people, haha!

Edited by TattleTeeny

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