Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spinach and Tempeh Lasagna

I really liked the texture of this lasagna and the unique flavor of the Swiss cheese and fresh basil. I wouldn't recommend trying to make this recipe without a food processor or blender as you would probably loose the great texture. So far this is my favorite vegetarian lasagna recipe, which I will for sure be making again.

Recipe was adapted from Vegetarian Times - January 2008 issue.
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled (reserve 1 tsp)
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. tempeh, cut into chunks
  • 1 28-oz. can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes
  • salt and pepper (freshly ground)
  • 2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen spinach, thawed and drained 
  • 8 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1 16-oz. jar roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16-oz. container low-fat ricotta cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese, divided
  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Salt and add lasagna noodles. Cook according to package directions. Strain and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°.
  3. Place onion, basil, oregano, and 2 whole garlic cloves in food processor; pulse 6 times, or until onion and garlic are chopped. Add tempeh, and pulse until tempeh is ground. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper; pulse until chunky sauce forms.
  4. Mince the remaining clove of garlic and combine with spinach.
  5. Grease a 9x13" baking dish. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over bottom, and cover with 4 lasagna noodles. Spread 1/2 spinach mixture over top. Layer 1/2 of the roasted red peppers over spinach, and top with 1 cup ricotta and 1/3 cup Swiss Cheese. Finish with 1 cup tomato sauce. Repeat, layering the remaining 4 noodles, spinach, peppers, ricotta, 1/3 cup Swiss cheese, and remaining tomato sauce. Top with last 1/3 cup Swiss cheese.
  6. Cover with tin foil and bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Remove tin foil, increase heat to 400° and bake uncovered for another 20 minutes.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Zucchini and Corn Quinoa Taco Salad

I served this salad in a rush as we had to be somewhere in a timely manner and it turned we came up with a great way to eat this dish. We whipped up the salad and served it as more of a spread for tortilla chips and couldn't believe how much we enjoyed it. We quickly decided this would be great served as an appetizer at a dinner party or as a nutritious snack on movie night! Kinda like serving a bean dip or salsa with tortilla chips.

I didn't have cotija cheese so I used feta instead. The taco seasoning for this recipe is fantastic, I highly recommend using it when cooking other recipes that call for taco seasoning. I used whatever chili powder I had around the house and not the toasted, ground chilies as recommended.... I would assume it would be that much better if I did!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thai Curry Tofu Bowl

Mike pulled off this recipe a few weeks ago when I was out getting my hair cut. I was not only impressed by his effort but by how amazing this dish turned out. I have been disappointed by many curries that are mediocre in flavor with boring ingredients - but this one is neither! I think it would be possible to serve this curry over rice but I personally prefer this served as a stew.

Don't cut any corners with this recipe, especially the roasting of the sweet potato and tofu!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Asparagus and Asagio Canapés

These make great appetizers that you can serve hot or cold. In my case I served them cold for a St. Patrick's day potluck. These turned out great and I will definitely be making them again!

  • 3 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Asagio cheese, finely grated
  • 12 asparagus spears, trimmed
  • freshly ground salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile prepare a large bowl of ice water and set it aside.
  3. Blanch asparagus in boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately strain and place asparagus into ice water.
  4. Brush one sheet of phyllo pastry with olive oil and top with second sheet of phyllo pastry; repeat until all three sheets are sandwiched together. Turn over and brush outside with olive oil and sprinkle with 3 tbsp Asagio cheese. 
  5. Cut pastry into 3 x 4 so you have 12 sections. Place an asparagus spear at the beginning of one square and roll till end and place seam down on baking sheet. Repeat until all 12 canapés are ready to bake. 
  6. Sprinkle canapés with remaining cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vegetarian Chilli

I adapted this recipe two years ago by omitting the ground beef and substituting with another can of beans. I have made many different chilies but this one hits the spot every time! A very easy recipe to double with increasingly better flavor the following day - so definitely reheat for lunch and always serve with crusty bread or tortilla chips!

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (19 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (19 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  1. In a Dutch oven, saute onion, peppers, carrots, celery. garlic and spices over medium-high heat until onions turn translucent. 
  2. Stir in tomatoes; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in beans, corn and tomato paste; simmer until bubbling, about 5 minutes.
  4. Sir in coriander and lime juice.
  5. Sprinkle with cheese and top with sour cream.
Note: You can add hot sauce or red pepper flakes if you want to add heat to your chili.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Acorn Squash and Black Bean Empanadas

Empanada is a stuffed pastry most commonly made in Spain and Portugal. The Spanish version tends to be larger in size whereas the Portugal version is divided into smaller appetizer size portions.  This particular recipe comes from the Veganomicon cookbook (one of my favorites!).

This time around I used butternut squash instead of acorn as I just so happened to have some ready to use -  peeled and diced in the freezer. I find it easier to store extra squash in a Tupperware container in the freezer, especially when making recipes that yield small portions of squash. It's convenient to know that you always have diced squash on hand. Also, this recipe like many others only requires 1 cup of beans and most cans yield 2 cups. Instead of throwing away the extra beans you can freeze the leftover rinsed beans just as you would the squash. When you are ready to use your frozen beans, simply rinse with hot water until they become soft again.

I highly recommend this recipe both as an appetizer and a main dish (and served chilled for lunch the next day). Serve with guacamole, salsa or sour cream for dipping. I have had great success making these ahead and freezing to bake on another day. They are quite time consuming so make sure you give yourself ample time if  you plan to serve the same day. I think I will probably double this recipe next time so I can have one batch ready in the freezer for a rainy day!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eggplant Pasta Bake

So I like to cook with eggplant! I like the color, shape, look and taste of eggplant. I literally have trouble stopping myself from buying eggplant every time I am at the market. It takes great will power to walk past the overflowing bins of eggplant at my local market....not to mention the 2 for $3.00 sign that taunts me with no shame! So I confess, I am addicted to buying eggplant...but I know there are far worse things I could be addicted to!

I concocted this recipe in an attempt to convince Mike that eggplant gratin has the potential of being more sustainable with added pasta. Also, every time I ask him what he feels like for dinner he requests either pizza or pasta!

  • 2 cups brown rice or whole wheat pasta, cooked
  • 1 24 oz. bottle of Marinara Sauce (or make from scratch like I did)
  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup Mozarella, grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  1. Season eggplant rounds with salt and pepper and allow them to sit in a colander for about 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°.
  3. Arrange eggplant rounds on two baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes on each side.
  4. Grease a large baking dish and pour 1/3 of marinara sauce into dish. Layer 1/3 pasta on top of sauce followed by 1/3 eggplant rounds, chopped basil and finish with 1/3 of both Parmesan and Mozzarella. Repeat layers twice more sprinkling bread crumbs on last layer and finishing with the cheeses.
  5. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Beet, Bean and Rice Bowl with Tahini-Miso Dressing

A little while back some good friends of ours invited Mike and I over for dinner and served a dish similar to this one. I ended up craving this salad about a week later, so I did the best I could to invent a similar recipe. This salad is great to pack in your lunch the next day, just keep the dressing in a separate container so your veggies and almonds stay crisp. *You will notice I forgot to sprinkle almonds over the salad before taking pictures!

  • 4 cups brown rice
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups washed and spin dried spinach
  • 1 cup shredded beet
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup almond slivers (toasted if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup oil ( e.g. flax, olive, hemp, sunflower etc.)
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp miso
  • 1 tbsp sugar or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  1. Prepare rice according to package directions and set aside.
  2. Prepare dressing by combining all ingredients in a food processor or medium bowl and process or whisk until smooth.
  3. Assemble salads starting with rice and finishing with almonds. Drizzle with generous amount of dressing before serving.
Note: I recently discovered that the recipe I was inspired by is called the "Glory Bowl" from the "Whitewater Cooks" cookbook by Shelley Adams. Shelley is from British Columbia for those of you local followers!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Coconut Lime Cupcakes

You guessed it...another birthday at the office! This time around I decided to make cupcakes instead of cake. I was very pleased with this recipe, making changes only to the icing as I was horrified by the amount of sugar it called for...4 cups!! I have no issues giving up picture perfect icing if it means reducing the amount of sugar and finding a way around sticky, slightly runny icing (this can be avoided by storing them in the refrigerator and serving them chilled). With that said I have summarized the changes I made to the icing below.

I was unable to find coconut cream so I used heavy cream with 1 tsp coconut extract.

Reduced Sugar Coconut Cream Icing
  • 1/4 cup soft unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Cream together all ingredients adding more sugar and cream as necessary.
PS - my apologies for the delayed post, I was out of town caring for my Mom who just had knee surgery. Might I also add that no blog worthy cooking took place during this time!