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Trying to introduce vegetarian meals to your family?


There are many health benefits to the vegetarian diet, both to the individual as well as to the planet. Incorporating vegetarian meals into your diet is actually quite easy, even if you're used to a heavier, meat-based diet.

The recipes on this page are hearty and substantial, and chosen to appeal to even the most die-hard meatlovers.
   

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Nutburgers

An all-time favorite meatless burger. The nutburger is tasty, satisfying and filling, without leaving you with the heavy feeling after eating a beef burger. And it's healthier too!
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  1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 eggs
1 cup toasted wheat germ or cooked rice
1 cup parsley, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, minced
1 onion, minced
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 green or red pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp basil
2 tsp curry powder
Mix all together in a big bowl, drop batter into patties in hot olive oil in skillet. Use just enough oil to cover the pan bottom. Cook until golden brown. Serve on a bun just like a hamburger, with red onion slices, lettuce, tomato slices......the works!
 
Irish Colcannon
Irish Colcannon
This simple dish is hearty and healthful, and is a great way to use kale. Kale is valued as a vitamin packed leafy green which grows throughout the winter. A few kale plants in your backyard garden are a ready source of winter greens.

Colcannon is a traditional dish in Ireland, and it can be served as a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal. Generous amounts of egg and potato make this a filling recipe. A breakfast of Colcannon will give you the fuel to work hard till lunch, and without needing meat.
  6 cups frozen hash browns with peppers, if available
1 medium onion
1 C milk
1 large bunch of fresh kale, approx. 5 cups chopped
1/2 tsp nutmeg, or to taste
6 eggs
1 C. shredded cheddar
Oil a 9x13 pan. Set oven to 375°.
Clean kale, remove stems, and chop kale. Chop onion, fry in small amount olive oil until brown and soft. Add kale & stir until kale is slightly cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
Remove from heat. Spread frozen Hash browns in bottom of casserole. Add milk. Top with kale and onion mixture. If using skillet, mix potatoes into sauteed veg's, then pour milk over. Make 6 'wells' and break an egg into each well. Top casserole with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake until eggs are set. Time varies by oven, usually 35-40 minutes.
 
Tofu Tamale Pie
Tofu Tamale Pie

Freezing, thawing and squeezing tofu makes it more chewy and meat-like in texture, and also makes it absorb more of the juices in the dish. Some tofu brands lends themselves to this process better than others, but since not all tofu brands are available everywhere, one has to figure this out by trial and error.

Denver brand tofu works well with this method, Melissa's brand not so much. White Wave extra firm tofu has a good, meaty texture - just dice it and toss it in.
1 lb tofu (firm or extra-firm): freeze, thaw, squeeze moisture out and cut into bite-size pieces.

Saute together until soft:
1 TBSP olive oil
1 large onion, chopped; 1 large bell pepper, chopped;1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

When these are almost soft, stir in the prepared tofu in bite-size pieces and:
1 (15 oz) can tomatoes, chopped; 1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
2 TBSP chili powder, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp oregano
1 cup (1/2 can) black olives, sliced; 1 can (12 oz) corn or (10-oz) package frozen cut corn; 1 can (6-oz) green chilies (optional).
Can add 1 to 2 cups of canned red or black beans, rinsed and drained.
Pour into a 9"X13" oiled baking dish or prepare all in a large cast iron skillet.
Preheat oven to 350* F. Prepare cornbread topping, below.

Cornbread Topping:
Mix together in a bowl:
1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt
Stir together and pour into the dry ingredients:
1 cup milk, 2 TBSP oil, 1 TBSP honey or sweetener of your choice

Pour this over the filling in baking pan or skillet and bake about 45 minutes, or until cornbread is browned.Grated cheddar can be sprinkled on top about 15 min before taking out of oven.

Adapted from "Tofu Cookery" by Louise Hagler.

 
Tofu Loaf

This tofu loaf is an excellent meatloaf substitute, and is also good sliced and fried for sandwiches the next day.

Preheat oven to 350º F, and mix together the following ingredients:
  1 lb tofu, mashed
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
or 1 TBSP onion powder
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP nutritional yeast (optional)
1/2 TBSP Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

Oil a loaf pan with 2 TBSP oil. Press the tofu mixture into the oiled loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Garnish with catsup and parsley. Sprinkle generously with paprika on the top of the loaf before putting it in the oven.

 
Grilled Polenta with Portabello Mushrooms

Portabello mushrooms are a great meat substitute. The portabella mushrooms in this recipe give the meal a hearty taste one associates with meat-based meals.

  1/2 cup polenta (coarsely ground cornmeal)
1 15-ounce can vegetable broth or 2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
4 large portabella mushrooms
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP red wine
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 roasted red pepper, cut into thin strips for garnish
Combine the polenta, vegetable broth, and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until very thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour into a 9 x 9-inch baking dish and chill completely (at least 2 hours). To grill, cut into wedges, brush lightly with olive oil, place on med-hot grill until hot and grill marks show.

Clean the mushrooms and remove the stems. Prepare the marinade by stirring the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Place the mushrooms upside down in the marinade and let stand 10 to 15 minutes. Turn right side up and grill over medium-hot coals about 5 minutes. Turn and pour some of the marinade into each of the cavities. Grill until mushrooms can be pierced with a skewer, about 5 minutes longer. Serve with grilled polenta. Garnish with roasted red pepper strips, if desired.

Note: Many other vegetables are delicious grilled as well. Grilled zucchini, eggplant, sweet potatoes, peppers, or asparagus would make great accompaniments.
 
Vegetable Fajitas

This is a favorite - quick, easy and satisfying.
  1 onion
1 each: red, green, yellow bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
8 ounces mushrooms
several broccoli crowns, cut small
6 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP chili powder
3 TBSP lime juice
fajita seasoning
lemon pepper
guacamole (recipe below)
vegan sour cream (recipe below)
flour tortillas
Slice onion and peppers into strips. Remove mushroom stems and slice the mushrooms thickly. Combine in a bowl, add the crushed garlic and mix slightly.

In a seperate bowl, mix the oil, chili powder, lime juice, fajita seasoning and lemon pepper and pour over the vegetable mixture. Stir well and set aside for an hour or more.

After the vegetables have marinated, heat a frying pan or wok until very hot. Add the marinated vegetables and stir-fry over high heat for 5-6 minutes, until the mushrooms and peppers are just tender. Spoon the filling onto each tortilla, garnish with guacamole, sour cream (and if desired, picante sauce or salsa) and roll up. Makes wonderful leftovers (if there are any!)

From "Vegetarian: The Greatest Ever Vegetarian Cookbook" Edited by Nicola Graimes

Easy Guacamole
5 - 6 avocados
2/3 of a jar of organic salsa
fresh cilantro (about half of a batch)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
fairly generous dash of cayenne

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend till fairly smooth. Season to taste.
Refrigerate in airtight container.

 
Penne alla Cecca

This recipe is very easy, and fast to make. It's a great meal for summer, too -- not heavy or hot, but filling and refreshing! Great with tossed salads and bruschetta or garlic bread...

Drop 5 large tomatoes* into boiling water for 1 full minute. Peel, seed and chop (or use 1 28-ounce can organic diced tomatoes.) Put tomatoes into large bowl with:

1/2 cup olive oil
one garlic clove sliced in half
2/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tsp (or to taste) - hot red pepper flakes

Let sit for a couple of hours, then remove the garlic. Boil one pound of the pasta of your choice, drain and toss with the cold tomato mixture. Serve immediately.

Note: This recipe can be doubled, because the leftovers are so good! You can make it easier to fish the garlic halves out later by sticking a toothpick through them before adding them to the mixture.

Adapted from the Linguini alla Cecca recipe in the book "Heartburn" by Nora Ephron. Thank you Laurie for this recipe!

 
Hearty Bean and Pasta Stew
  1 c. onion, chopped
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
16 oz can diced tomatoe, with juice
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed
15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed
4 oz., about 1/2 cup, shell macaroni
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/8 tsp pepper
3 oz., about 1/3 cup, salsa (or more to taste)
3 c. water
Saute the onions and green pepper in olive oil. Add tomatoes, water and beans and bring to a boil. Add pasta, oregano, basil and pepper and cook 10 mins. Add salsa and heat until it’s warm.

Thanks Joanne for this recipe!



    


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