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The Passionate Pursuit of Delight

Tag: vegetarian

Roasted Squash and Pear Sandwiches

Roasted Squash with Pear

Fall = Gourdfest. Well, around my house anyway. Each fall, we host a party where all things gourd-related are celebrated. I am talking about pumpkin beer tasting, butternut squash soup, pumpkin hummus, and roasted delicata squash with red onions. All the fall flavors make me so happy but having some of my besties in the house puts it over the top.

What my friends may not know is how many recipes I test before Gourdfest. I want the food to be as memorable as the laughs and good times that we enjoy. This year, one of my first test recipes is this Roasted Squash and Pear Sandwich. Doesn’t that sound like perfect fall food? Yet, such an unusual sandwich idea.

Roasted Squash with Pear

Let’s talk about butternut squash. Are you a fan? I was a little bit intimated by butternut squash at first. I mean, could winter squash BE any more difficult to cut through? But, I learned a little secret about butternut squash. When you are shopping for butternut squash, look for one that has long neck compared to its bulbous end.

Then, just cut through the stem end and cut again at the end of the long neck before the bulbous end. From here, all you need to do is peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. For this recipe, slice the neck into 1/2” slices.

Roasted Squash with Pear

After that, you have a decision to make, do you want to tackle the bulbous end or just chuck it into the compost bin? No judgment here no matter what you decide. Sometimes I will peel the skin off with the vegetable peeler and then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Other times, I won’t be feeling it at all, and will just quarter it and throw it into my compost bin.

The next component is a perfectly ripe pear sliced thin and a red onion also thinly sliced. The surprise ingredient is the miso mayo. Are you a miso fan? My first experiences with miso was in soup form at Chinese restaurants.  Miso is made from fermented soy beans. You know anything fermented is good for you, right? Gut health and all that. Miso paste can be found at Asian markets and sometimes in the ethnic food aisles or produce section of some grocery stores. Miso adds that umami flavor which is rich, deep flavor.

If you decide to buy miso paste (and you should) here is a recipe for miso soup so you can use up your stash. The video below is from The Happy Pear where twin Irish brothers post articles and videos featuring easy vegan recipes.

How to Make Roasted Squash and Pear Sandwiches

Want more sandwiches?

Roasted Squash with Pear Sandwich

Lentil Picadillo Stuffed Peppers

Lentil Picadillo Stuffed Peppers

What the heck do vegetarians eat? I hear this all the time from friends and family who want to invite someone they care about over for dinner. But, when that person is a vegetarian many cooks get stumped. Ask my Mom. She will tell you. That poor woman has two daughters are totally or nearly vegetarian and two grandkids are vegetarian. She will tell you that she hates inviting us over for dinner because she has no idea what to make. So, Mom, Lentil Picadillo Stuffed Peppers is one great alternative to consider. It is hearty enough that even carnivores (like your husband) will feel satisfied.

First, a little background about Picadillo which is a popular dish in Spain and many Latin American countries. Picadillo is typically made with ground beef, tomatoes, and a variety of spices. It is often served with rice and used a filling for dishes like tacos or savory pastries.

Lentil Picadillo Stuffed PeppersI like this healthier version of Picadillo swaps out ground beef for lentils. Lentils are inexpensive to buy, low in fat, high in fiber, and full of protein. By sautéing aromatics like onion and garlic with chili powder, cinnamon, Italian seasoning, cocoa powder, and tomatoes, you can achieve a rich flavorful broth to coat the lentils.

This version of Lentil Picadillo is most similar to the Picadillo found in Puerto Rico which includes green olives for a salty bite and raisins for a sweet chewy texture. In Puerto Rico, Picadillo is a common filling for empanadas or fritters. In this recipe, I add cooked rice to the Picadillo and stuff it inside a sweet red bell pepper before baking.

Lentil Picadillo Stuffed Peppers

Finally, lentil Picadillo Stuffed Peppers is a great make ahead meal. You could prep the Picadillo on the weekend and then on a weeknight, stuff the peppers and bake.  A healthy, homemade dinner will be on the table in under 30 minutes. What is not to love about that? Also, can you say lunch leftovers? Just try not to gloat as your coworker pulls her sad little Lean Cuisine out of the microwave.

How to Make Lentil Picadillo Stuffed Peppers

Lentil Picadillo Stuffed Pepper

Smoked Mozzarella Lemon Pizza

Smoked Mozzarella Lemon Pizza

Smoked Mozzarella Lemon Pizza

If you keep pizza dough in your freezer (you do keep pizza dough in your freezer, right?), then weeknight dinners are a breeze. All you need is sauce, a few vegetables, and cheese and you are good to go.

A few years back I found a recipe on a blog for smoked mozzarella pizza with lemon.  The recipe and picture caught my eye because the lemon was sliced into paper thin rounds and used as a topping. Lemon rinds? Can you eat them? Would you want to?

Since I am always game to try new things, I made the recipe and fell in love with it! Since then I have realized that thinly sliced lemon on a salmon sushi roll is also delicious. But, this post is about pizza and over the years I have riffed variations of the original pizza based on whatever is in season or in my refrigerator.

This time around I had spinach that I needed to use and the end of a bag of pistachios. I find smoked mozzarella at Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, ask at your local grocery store. Smoked mozzarella can sometimes be challenging to find. You can use fresh mozzarella in a pinch if you can’t get your hands on the smoked variety.

Smoked Mozzarella Lemon Pizza

Pizza Dough

I take the pizza dough out of the freezer the morning I plan to make pizza. The dough will be thawed by dinner time. A few tips on pizza dough. Many grocery stores stock fresh pizza dough in their refrigerated aisles. I particularly like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. You can also hit the freezer section and get bread dough (like Rhodes) and keep that on hand. If you have some time on the weekend, you can make a delicious no-knead pizza dough and use it for this recipe or place it in the freezer for future use.

I also love making pizza on a pizza stone. You put the pizza stone in the oven as you start to preheat the oven. Once the oven comes to temperature, then set a timer for at least fifteen minutes and let the stone get nice and hot.

I roll the dough out on a parchment paper-lined pizza peel. Roll the dough out thin if you want to achieve a crispy crust. Then, drizzle the crust with olive oil and spread it around with your fingertips until there is even layer over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes over the top of the dough.

Next, place slices of smoked mozzarella on top of the dough, followed by lemon slices (rind and all). My sweetie doesn’t love the lemon rind so I do cut the rind off half the lemon slices and put those pieces of lemon on his side of the pizza.

Finally, place spinach leaves over the top and sprinkle with the pistachios. Slide the pizza and parchment onto the pizza stone and let the magic begin.

I usually check the pizza halfway through cooking time and rotate the pizza 180 degrees to ensure even baking.

Let me know if you try this unusual but delicious pizza!

This recipe is inspired Alexandra Cooks recipe for Pizza with Lemon Smoked Mozzarella and Basil  

Smoked Mozzarella Lemon Pizza

Blow-Your-Mind Black Bean Chili

Blow-Your-Mind Black Bean Chili

Are you ready for football to be over for the season? I know that I am.  Honestly, this year I couldn’t care less about either team that is playing in the Super Bowl. The only thing I am excited about is hanging out with friends and eating delicious food.

After Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl is the next big event in the Olympics of food.

You want to bring a dish to the party that will be delicious and Instagram-worthy. You may want it to have some sort of nutritional value. I always prefer homemade food, cooked from scratch, because I am weird like that. I want my food to be made from ingredients from the Earth rather than chemicals in a factory.

Blow Your Mind Black Bean Chili

My daughter often laments when she visits my house that my kitchen is full of ingredients rather than food. I take this as a compliment, although, I know it is not intended as such.

Super Bowl Appetizer Ideas

So, for weeks I have been trying to decide what to bring to the Super Bowl party that we will be attending this weekend. I can’t decide between snack food such as a dip with chips and veggies like this Roasted Carrot Hummus or Guacamole with Clementines or bringing something more substantial.

Blow Your Mind Black Bean Chili

Some of the people attending the party are meat and potatoes people and a few are vegetarians. So, I want to bring something that will appeal to everyone.

Keeping that in mind, in addition to the dip recipes listed above, I have a really delicious chili recipe to share with you. The Super Bowl and a pot of chili go together like wine and cheese. Am I right? Chili is a perfect party food. It can be made ahead of time and then kept warm in a slow cooker so it is ready to eat at half-time.

Blow-Your-Mind Black Bean Chili

This Blow-Your-Mind Black Bean chili is sure to please your football loving friends. I am so in love with this chili recipe! It is full of black beans and wheat berries (more on these in a minute) which makes it a super satisfying.

Blow Your Mind Black Bean ChiliThe addition of mushrooms also lends meaty texture to the chili which may keep the carnivores at the table from grumbling. The smoky flavor comes from chipotle chili powder. If you like extra heat and smoke, you could add a chopped up chili pepper and some of the sauce from a can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. The chili is meatless which is perfect if you have vegetarians coming to party and hearty enough that the carnivores may not miss the meat.

If you aren’t familiar with wheat berries, I encourage you to give them a try. You boil the whole grains in liquid, usually water or broth, until cooked through. The process is similar to cooking rice. They have a chewy texture and a nutty flavor. You can find wheat berries in the bulk section of many super markets or packaged in the grocery aisle with other whole grains. Wheat berries are sometimes referred to as hard red winter wheat.

Blow Your Mind Black Bean Chili

Plus, suggest having a selection of toppings available so that guests can customize their chili bowls just the way they like them. Some of my favorite chili toppings are:

  • Avocado
  • Green onions
  • Lime wedges
  • Grated cheese
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Sour cream

Blow Your Mind Black Bean Chili

White Beans and Tuscan Kale

White Beans and Tuscan Kale

I love to spend a few hours cooking on Sunday in order to set myself up with healthy, satisfying meals for the week. One dish that I often cook on Sundays is a large pot of beans. Canned beans are convenient but there is something special about cooking dried beans which you can infuse with your favorite flavors. Plus, cooking them at home also allows you to control the amount of sodium that you put into the beans.

Heirloom Beans

Recently, I have become obsessed with heirloom beans. Luckily,there are few companies that are preserving the incredible diversity of beans beyond what you will find canned in the grocery store. There are two companies whose gorgeous beans I haven’t been able to resist in the past. With names like Tongues of Fire, Orca, and Rattlesnake, these heirloom beans are really beautiful, like little works of art. They make me want to buy all the clear glass containers to store them in my pantry. #pantrygoals

Rancho Gordo is a California-based company that specializes in dried heirloom beans. The other is Zursun Heirloom Beans, an Idaho-based company that also sells an amazing collection of dried beans, many of which, you may not have ever seen before. I know I haven’t seen them available anywhere in regular grocery stores. I encourage you to check out the selection of beautiful beans that both companies sell.

White Beans and Tuscan Kale

About This Recipe

In this recipe, I used Zursun’s Flageolet beans which are a favorite of the French for their cassoulet. These white beans are prized for their delicate flavor and pretty pale green color. You could use any dried white beans and they would be perfectly fine.

While the beans cook, they soak up the favors of the sage, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. The beans cook until they are creamy consistency. You add the kale, spicy red pepper flakes, and more cheese right at the end and cook until the kale wilts.

White Beans and Tuscan Kale

You end up with a stew-like consistency. You can ladle it into a bowl or spoon it on top of slices of toasted crusty bread. This meal is so hearty and satisfying; I guarantee that you will love how it warms you up from inside on cold winter days. If you have any leftover they will taste even better the next day in your brown bag lunch. I promise!

White Beans and Tuscan Kale

White Beans and Tuscan Kale

Fiesta Buddha Bowl

Fiesta Buddha Bowl

I live on Buddha bowls. I cook the components for Buddha bowls as part of batch cooking for the week. When I first started making them I didn’t know that they were called Buddha bowls. I just called them bowls. But, I love the name Buddha bowls now, so that is how I always refer to them. For the uninitiated, a Buddha bowl is simply a meal that consists of a grain, a green, and a bean.

The grain can be rice (brown, white, red, black, or wild), quinoa, wheat berries, or any other grain that you fancy. Be adventurous and try some new grains. Peruse the bulk bins at your grocery store and find a new grain to try. You can buy a small amount of a few different types and see which ones you like. You can google how to cook any grains for instructions on how to prepare them.

Fiesta Buddha BowlFor greens, I like to use raw greens which are hearty like chopped Romaine or kale. Or, sometimes I will use sauteed greens like Swiss chard or spinach. But, I often substitute other veggies in my bowls like roasted broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower. This isn’t science, just use what you like!

I always have cans of beans in my pantry. I couldn’t pick a favorite. I love them all. They each offer unique character to a dish. On any given day, you can find garbanzos, black beans, white beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans in my pantry. I also keep a stash of dried beans handy. They are so cheap, easy to cook, and a great source of fiber and protein.

Fiesta Buddha Bowl

As you can see, Buddha bowls are perfect for make-ahead meals. Cook a big batch of your grains over the weekend, open a can of beans, and then decide what vegetables you want to include. Then, you will have a quick easy dinner and left overs for lunch.

I often will see an ingredient at the store that will inspire my Buddha bowl for the week. This week I found avocados on sale at my local market. Instantly, I know that a Fiesta Buddha Bowl was going to happen this week. Over the weekend, I made a batch of brown rice. I had black beans, Romaine lettuce, salsa, corn, onions, salsa and pepitas in my pantry. Along with the avocados, I was set!

Fiesta Buddha Bowl

I will be featuring ideas different Buddha bowls in the coming months. But, there are seriously so easy that I encourage you to come up with some combinations of your own featuring ingredients that you love. I would love to know if you have any favorite bowl combinations.  Feel free to leave me some ideas in the comments below.

Fiesta Buddha Bowl Pin

Easy Kimchi Fried Rice

Easy Kimchi Fried RiceDon’t bother with take-out when you can make fried rice at home in no time at all. The secret is to cook your rice ahead of time. I usually cook it the day before I want to make fried rice but sometimes I will prepare a batch of rice and once it is cool I put it in a freezer bag and freeze it for future use. When you make fried rice you want the rice to be cold and a little dried out, so, it is preferable to not cook it just prior to making fried rice.

I adore kimchi. Kimchi is a Korean condiment of fermented cabbage. I love its funky flavor but know that it can be a bit of an acquired taste for many.  One benefit of kimchi is that it is full of probiotics from the fermentation process.  You can find kimchi in a glass jar in the refrigerated cases in the produce section of many grocery stores. Oftentimes, it will be placed near the tofu, egg roll and wanton wrappers. Adding kimchi to fried rice gives it great flavor but doesn’t overwhelm the dish.

Easy Kimchi Fried RiceAnother great thing about preparing fried rice at home is that you can customize it so it is exactly the way you like it. Add the veggies, protein, or flavors that you love. You can use this recipe as a base and then make it your own by preparing it just the way you want.

Sometimes I will scramble a few eggs and add them into the rice just as I am finishing it up. Other times, I will fry a few eggs sunny-side up and serve one on top of each serving of the fried rice. You can add shrimp, leftover pork or chicken, or pineapple or cashews!

See what I mean?  Once you try this recipe I hope you will be hooked.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Garlic Ginger Baby Bok Choy

Garlic Ginger Baby Bok Choy | Veggie | Asian | VegetarianBroccoli and cauliflower sometimes bore me. I need novelty. I like to mix things up a little in order to keep it interesting. Once the garden is done and farmers markets have packed it in for another year I crave variety in my produce. One way that I satisfy that craving is to grocery shop at ethnic markets.

Garlic Ginger Baby Bok Choy | Asian | Vegetarian | Easy | Healthy

On a recent trip to an Asian market I picked up a large bag of baby bok choy for about $2.50. Baby bok choy is tender, mild, and can be substituted for any other green that you typically use like spinach or Swiss chard.

Garlic Ginger Baby Bok Choy | Asian | Vegetarian | Easy | HealthyI used the baby bok choy in noodle soup, sautéed with onions, peppers, and mushrooms in a frittata, and stir-fried in a delectable sauce of garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Baby bok choy is easy to prepare by rinsing it under water in a colander and let it drain. It can be chopped into thin ribbons or in this recipe the bok choy is sliced in half lengthwise.

Garlic Ginger Baby Bok Choy

Clean Out the Fridge Frittata

vegetarian frittata

Don’t you hate getting ready to leave town with a drawer full of veggies in the vegetable drawer of your fridge? Or, sometimes you have leftovers vegetables that you just can’t face warming up again.

In these cases, I like to whip up a veggie frittata. Making a frittata is a workhorse skill in the kitchen that you will want to master. Frittatas can be served warm or cold. For breakfast or brunch, I would serve with fresh fruit and oven roasted potatoes. You can easily pair the frittata with a salad or soup and bread for a satisfying lunch or light supper.

Frittatas travel well for potlucks and make fabulous leftovers. Have I convinced you that you should start making frittatas? I hope so.

Clean Out the Fridge Frittata

Are You Nutty for Butternut Squash?

how-to-prepare-butternut-squash-plus-recipes

Do you love butternut squash and the warm, comforting flavors of fall that often accompany it? Are you intimidated by the idea of preparing it? If so, this post is for you.

You will see how easy it is to peel and chop a butternut squash, plus, I will share five scrumptious recipes for you to use with your chopped butternut squash. You can buy chopped butternut squash at some food stores but if you do it yourself it will be fresher, less expensive and all compostable waste. Who needs that extra packaging?

butternut-squash-whole-long-neck

When I buy butternut squash I always look for one that has a long neck and a relatively small bulb on the bottom.  Why? The neck has no seeds so it is all usable squashy goodness.  Cutting and peeling a butternut squash doesn’t have to be a pain in the butt.  Here’s a short video which shows the process step by step.

You got this, right? Make sure you have a sharp knife to cut off the top and bottom. I swear that is the hardest part. After that you are well on your way to enjoying that sweet butternut goodness.

Here are five recipes that I have bookmarked to try out this fall.

Recipes

thai-curry-butternut-squash-soup-2

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash soup (photo: Morgan Eisenberg)

caramelized-onion-butternut-squash-crustless-quiche

Caramelized Onion Butternut Squash Quiche (photo: Physical Kitchness)

butternut-risotto-recipe

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto (photo: Cookie and Kate)

roast-butternut-squash-and-chickpea-salad

Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad (photo: SkinnyMs)

curried-butternut-and-white-bean-taco

Curried Butternut and White Bean Tacos (photo: Veggie and the Beast)

Don’t those recipes look amazing? I can’t decide which one to try first. Let me know if you decide to make one and how it turns out.

 

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