Tag Archives: Meatless Monday recipes

Meatless Monday: Veggie Chowder

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday  Veggie Chowder

It’s mid September. Is that too early for soup? Just a few days ago Southern Oregon temperatures still reached the triple digits. The next few days, we aren’t expecting temps out of the 60’s. Can we say Fall is here?

Soup never screams excitement to me. It’s a comfort food. Maybe it’s a lot of boring standing around in front of the stove stirring chunks of vegetables together. Maybe you like that kind of thing. I won’t judge you.

Soup’s a transporter of the seasons, wanted or not. The following chowder is comforting, hearty, quite easy to throw together and a good Fall or Winter basic soup staple.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday  Veggie Chowder

Veggie Chowder

Serves 8-10 people

Ingredients:

1 stick butter
1 lage onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
4 cups (1 quart) No-Chicken broth
4 large carrots, peeled and diced into 1/8-inch thick rounds
1 small head of broccoli, trimmed into florets and bite-size pieces
3 ears of fresh corn, trimmed off the cob (or roughly 2 cups frozen corn)
5-6 medium sized russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper\
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
chives, chopped

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday  Veggie Chowder

Directions:

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender (5-6 minutes). Add the celery and garlic, cooking until fragrant (about 2 more minutes).

Sprinkle in the flour, being sure to coat all the vegetables. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the milk and broth, stirring well. Continue cooking until the soup begins to thicken (5-10 minutes).

Add in the carrots, broccoli, corn, potatoes, salt, dill, coriander and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the soup until the potatoes and corn are tender (an hour or so). Taste and add more salt or pepper if you prefer.

Serve topped with sharp cheddar and a sprinkle of chives.

** If you want a thinner soup, feel free to add more broth or milk.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday  Veggie Chowder

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday  Veggie Chowder

Meatless Monday: Spinach Basil Pesto

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Spinach Basil Pesto

When summer rolls around, one of the flavors I most look forward to (and miss during various other seasons) is fresh basil.  While my garden last year flourished beautifully, this year’s endeavors have been met with too much heat and not enough water, moles, neglect, ants… I have tried to remain optimistic, but find myself merely reminiscing about last year’s bounty versus the two cucumbers, one cherry tomato, three strawberries, single green snap pea, and nasturtiums I’ve picked thus far. One thing that has (miraculously) grown pretty abundantly is my basil. Granted I put 8 sweet leaf and 6 Thai basil plants in the ground back in May!

Traditional pesto is made in with a mortar and pestle, grinding up copious amounts of basil with pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and olive oil. One thing I’ve learned though, is just how versatile this delicious sauce can be. For instance, I use whatever I happen to have on hand — cashews, walnuts, lime juice, no parmesan, etc. The other day, I happened to have a bunch of fresh spinach. I decided to incorporate it into some pesto.

The result was a vibrant, tasty pesto.  This isn’t “traditional” pesto by any means. The spinach makes the color really pop, plus it adds a boost of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins A, C,  E and K. The addition of cream cheese certainly doesn’t add much in the way of “healthy benefits,” but does create a nicely creamy, rich sauce.

Enjoy this pesto on some freshly cooked pasta, or put a (hefty sized) dollop on some grilled halibut, use it as the base for a pizza, put a spoonful on a slice of freshly cut summer-ripened tomato (and add some fresh mozzarella and a piece of baguette if you’re feeling adventurous)!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Spinach Basil Pesto

Spinach Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups fresh basil
2 cups loose-leaf/baby spinach
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup almonds, shelled
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1/2 tsp. salt (or to your taste)
fresh ground pepper (to your taste)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Spinach Basil Pesto

Directions:

Combine the garlic, almonds, olive oil, and lemon juice into a blender. Process until slightly creamy looking and most of the nuts have broken down into small pieces.

Add the basil and spinach to the blender and pulse until just combined.

Add in the cream cheese, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese and blend just until mixed.

You may add additional olive oil to thin the sauce out if you’d like.

To keep the pesto fresh, add a layer of olive oil the the very top and refrigerate.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Spinach Basil Pesto

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Spinach Basil Pesto

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Spinach Basil Pesto

Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Summertime throws my schedule so very out of whack. Up until the middle of last week, anytime we had Silas here, baseball practice ran until after 8, making dinner time somewhere around 8:30 or 9. Vincent’s lax summer schedule (as expected and predicted for any 16 year old) means half the time I don’t know if he’ll be here for meals, or  if I’m supposed to make sure there’s food on hand just in case, or if I don’t have to think about it at all.

We come and go, dependent on weather and shenanigans, last minute excursions, etc., and while I am all for unplanned/last minute trips or spontaneous decisions to be somewhere other that in the kitchen when I’d generally be cooking, it certainly makes any meal planning seem ridiculous.

Often I end up with the ingredients for dishes I’d planned on making, with half the people I intended on feeding. (Thankfully never ever the other way around, not enough food for the folks I need to feed!) I forget how this lasagna came into existence, but know it wasn’t what I initially planned on.

The thing about pastas in general, they’re satisfying all the way around here. They’re filling, plentiful, and often leave enough leftovers to get me off the hook for another meal or two the following day! (Hurray!)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Makes one very large lasagna.

Ingredients:
15 ounces whole fat ricotta cheese
4 ounces goat cheese,
6 ounces pesto (homemade or prepared)
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 large eggplant, peeled then sliced in 1/4-inch thick slabs
2 large red bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, sliced in large pieces
3 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
3/4 cup olive oil
juice and zest from one large lemon
1 tablespoon seasoning salt

24 ounces marinara sauce (of your preference)
4 cups low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pound lasagna noodles (1 box, typically)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to boiling, then cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Work in batches if necessary. Lay the noodles in a single layer until needed, on a baking sheet drizzled with the two tablespoons of oil.

In a food processor or high power blender, combine the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, pesto, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper, until well combined. Fold in spinach and parmesan cheese. Set aside until needed.

Whisk together the 3/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and seasoning salt. Brush the eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini with the mixture on both sides. Using either an outdoor grill or indoor grill, work in batches to grill the vegetables until nicely browed/charred. Set aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Bring a large pot of water to boiling, then cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Work in batches if necessary. Place the cooked noodles on a baking sheet.

To put the lasagna together, spread the remaining two tablespoons of oil along the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spoon a half cup of sauce all over the bottom of the pan. Arrange a layer of noodles over the sauce, overlapping the edges by about 1/4-inch. Spread half of the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles, followed by the grilled peppers. Spoon 1/3 of the remaining marinara sauce over the peppers, followed by 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, the remaining ricotta mixture, then a layer of zucchini, another 1/3 of the sauce, the eggplant, and another 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, followed by the remaining sauce, then the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of grated parmesan over the mozzarella.

Line a large baking sheet with foil, then place the lasagna dish on top, covering it tightly with foil another sheet of foil that has been brushed with oil. Bake the lasagna on the center rack in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sides are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Cut the lasagna and serve.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Meatless Monday: Breaded Chik’n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

One of my favorite vegetarian meat alternative companies is Quorn. The flavor and texture similarity to chicken was what first attracted me to their products. Whenever I am cooking something with Quorn, I often treat it the same way I would’ve cooked chicken years ago.

One of my other favorite things to cook with is summertime produce this time of year. We’ve been out of town frequently and my humble little garden has suffered the effects of neglect. I don’t know how much produce I’ll eventually wind up with, but likely not nearly as much as the last few years. Fortunately I live in a little Oregon valley where the fresh produce is still plentiful and easy to come by.

I had a dish similar to this recently, except it was actual chicken. I immediately knew I wanted to figure out a vegetarian version ASAP. So… I did. While you can get already breaded Quorn Chik’n patties or cutlets (which are also filled with various ingredients like cheese, or garlic and herbs), I decided to get the “naked” cutlets and bread them myself (you get 4 cutlets in that box versus 2 in the already breaded varieties). You can add more or less tomatoes if you prefer, depending on the size of heirlooms you find!

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Breaded Chik’n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta

Serves roughly 8-12 folks.

Ingredients:
3 boxes of Quorn Naked Chik’n Cutlets
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
6 ounces panko bread crumbs
enough oil to coat a deep pan about 1-inch deep
3 large heirloom tomatoes (whatever color/variety you prefer), diced bite-size
one 8-ounce block feta, cut into bite-size cubes
4-ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, chopped
lemon wedges, for serving

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Directions:

Thaw the chik’n cutlets fully. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, garlic, Italian seasoning, pepper and coriander. Heat the oil in a large, flat-bottomed pan over medium-high. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk together the milk, eggs, and 1/3 of the seasoning mixture in a dish. In another dish, mix together the bread crumbs and remaining seasoning.

Dip each fully-thawed Quorn cutlet first in the egg-milk mixture, coating both sides. Then dip in the bread crumb mixture, again coating both sides. Fry in the heated oil until golden brown on both sides.

Place the fried cutlet on a large baking sheet that has raised sides. Continue until all the cutlets have been breaded and fried, arranging them in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Top the cutlets with the diced tomatoes, feta, and crumbled goat cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the feta softens, tomatoes are heated through and the goat cheese melts. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the chopped feta, and serve immediately with lemon wedges to squeeze over individual portions.

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Meatless Monday: Rajas de Poblano con Elote y Crema Tacos

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For a good, long period of my near-thirty years, burritos were my preferred Mexi-food fare. Over the last few years, however, I’ve found myself increasingly enamored with tacos. Possibly because nearly anything can be shoved into a taco. Possibly because I can keep eating them, whereas I am generally full after one burrito. ;)

Since I don’t cook meat at home, we have veggie-taco nights, perhaps once a week or so. However, vegetarian tacos can become boring really fast. Beans, rice, cheese, salsas and sauces of various sorts, avocado… No one here is particularly fond of what is often the other vegetarian taco offering that is heavily present on a multitude of restaurant menus — heavy on the roasted vegetables, little on anything else, beans and rice on the side… Sometimes we are lucky to find bean/rice/cheese type tacos, which are incredible despite (or perhaps because of) their simplicity.

I began to do some research for the best veggie tacos across the globe. One taco that immediately caught my attention was filled with a creamy, roasted poblano pepper filling, wherein the tacos had nothing but this in/on them. Poblano peppers are medium-spiced (although occasionally you’ll find a spicy one!), but carry a lot of flavor. Roasting them imparts a smokiness that carries through in the following dish. This gorgeous taco filling is a great balance of spiciness, sweetness, creaminess, and downright deliciousness!

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Rajas de Poblano con Elote y Crema
Tacos with Slices of Roasted Poblano Peppers with Corn and Cream

Serves 4-6 people.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 white onion, peeled, halved then cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
6 poblano peppers, roasted, seeded, then cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 cups sweet corn (frozen is okay)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cotija or mild feta cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

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Directions:
In a large skillet heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (1-2 minutes).

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, cooking until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the roasted chile strips and corn, cumin, oregano and salt, then cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

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Add the cheese, reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream. Continue cooking, stirring until the cheese has melted. Remove from heat, stir in the chopped cilantro, then serve immediately with warm tortillas.

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