Meatless Monday – Confessions Dressed with a Lemon Caper Vinaigrette

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Meatless Monday was on hiatus primarily because I was over thinking it. Stymied and frustrated I wallowed in self-pity because I wasn’t creating recipes that I deemed ‘blog-worthy’. Then I called bullsh*t on myself.

The thing I loved about Meatless Monday was that it was supposed to be easy and fun, Part of living a mindful life in being in the moment and accepting what is. I stopped doing this when it came to posts. This week I decided throw myself into the fire and whip up whatever I had handy.

This was inspired by a book I love, Culinary Artistry its a cooking concept book that talks about flavors and the science behind what foods and spices marry well. I’m not a cook who loves to follow a recipe to the letter, so this appealed to me. The result is what is this week’s Meatless Monday recipe.

The farmers market had asparagus on the cheap. In my fridge I spied a head of cauliflower, capers, lemons and spring greens.

Warm Cauliflower and Asparagus Salad with a lemon caper vinaigrette

  • Cauliflower florets
  • Asparagus
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Capers (2 ounces with juice)
  • 1/4 cup light tasting olive oil
  • 1 TSP dijon mustard
  • 1/2 shallot minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • handful parsley chopped
  • one small onion sliced

 

Directions

  1. Steam florets and asparagus for two minutes until just tender.
  2. Quickly sauté veggies with garlic and sliced onions for three minutes with one tablespoon olive oil.
  3. Plate veggies on spring mix and dress with vinaigrette.

For the Vinaigrette

  1. Whisk shallots, mustard, lemon juice, capers, remaining olive oil and parsley

 

 

 

It was easy and delish. Next time I might add quinoa or brown rice or mushrooms for some heft, but a really big serving of this left me very satisfied.

Sometimes you have to step away from something to know you really want it.

Happy Meatless Monday!!!

Namaste y’all.

 

 

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Meatless Monday – Spaghetti Squash with Eggplant and Roasted Tomatoes

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Pasta is definitely an easy plan for Monday but pasta every week isn’t great for your body. But spaghetti squash on the other hand is perfect. It’s easy to prepare and it takes on the essence of whatever else you are using. For this week’s meal I decided to jazz up this non-pasta pasta with roasted veggies and a truckload of savory goodness!

labelspaghettisquash

Ingredients

  • Eggplant (I used Chinese eggplant)
  • Spaghetti squash – one serves 2-3 people
  • Tomatoes (sliced or halved if using cherry tomatoes)
  • Onions (sliced)
  • Italian seasoning (generous sprinkling)
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic (minced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Veggie stock 1/4 to 1/2 c
  • Fresh basil (roughly chopped)
  • Splash of white wine (optional)
  1.  Drizzle olive oil on tomatoes and eggplant
  2. Generously sprinkle dried spices and toss so that everything is coated
  3. Roast veggies for 35-40 minutes at 375°. Set aside
  4. Roast or microwave squash. Roast by halving squash removing seeds and placing in a 400° oven for 40 minutes. Let cool until it can be handled. Use fork to gently remove pasta. Set aside. If you want to microwave- halved the squash, remove seeds and place in a microwave safe dish face down filled with one inch of water. Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until tender.
  5. In a pan saute onions and minced garlic add broth, lemon, juice, wine and a pinch of salt. Reduce by half.
  6. Toss with roasted veggies.
  7. Plate on top of squash.
  8. Garnish with fresh basil
  9. Gobble up.

Namaste y’all.

Meatless Monday – Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes

cauliflower steak

Yo. It’s cold out. Brick, some of us would say.

Freezing. Bitter. Glacial. Siberian.

On days this cold soup or stew is my go-to meal. But I’m trying to expand my horizons. Enlightenment and all that yada yada. So I did a little digging and found a recipe for Cauliflower Steaks. Perfect comfort food fix without getting unhealthy!

Thanks to dinnerwasdelicious.com for the yummy recipe.

Garlicky Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon and Parsley

inspired by our dear friend Rachel Humphrey

  • 1 head Cauliflower
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Parsley, finely chopped
  • I handful of fresh Sage chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • Juice and Zest of ½ Lemon
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with tinfoil or a silicone liner to save yourself a few minutes of scrubbing.
  2. Remove the leaves from the Cauliflower and try to not damage too much of the stem. Thoroughly rinse, and then slice the Cauliflower into ½ inch slices. At the ends, you will have odd bits that are a little less pretty, and that’s okay. They get extra caramelized and taste great.
  3. In a large bowl combine Olive Oil, Parsley, Garlic, Lemon Juice and Zest, Paprika, and a small pinch of Salt. Carefully toss the Cauliflower in this mixture and arrange in one even layer on the cookie sheet. If you have extra of the marinade/mixture/stuff, slather it on top of everything once its on the tray.
  4. Roast in the oven (obviously) for about 15 minutes, or until things are golden brown and crispy on the edges.

These paired deliciously with mashed sweet potatoes seasoned with fresh rosemary and thyme. To make the seasoning extra come alive I gently sauteed the spices in a pan with 1/2 t olive oil to bring out the oil/fragrance, chopped them up and added to the sweet potatoes.

Roast some green beans with a drizzle of balsamic!

Enjoy!

Namaste y’all!!!

Meatless Monday – Veggie Explosion

 

Sometimes there's like like a dinner full of sides....
Sometimes there’s like like a dinner full of sides…. Chickpea Mash, Kale Lemon Saute, Wild Rice, Tomato Cucumber Scallion Salad and Steamed Green Beans and Carrots

This Meatless Monday dish is a plate full of sides. Good sides are the best part of a meal, so I decided to make them the star. There’s a good chance you have everything but the chick pea mash in the fridge. In addition to the mash I steamed some green beans and carrots, made some wild rice and whipped up a tomato cucumber scallion salad with a homemade Dijon dressing. Last but not least I sautéed kale with lots of lemon juice and onion.

Chickpea Mash

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • chickpeas (one can)
  • horseradish (minced) one heaping teaspoon
  • tahini- one teaspoon
  • garlic – 2 cloves minced
  • jalapeno pepper (fresh) – minced
  • juice from one lemon
  • olive oil – one teaspoon

Directions

  1. In a pot heat oil and add horseradish, garlic and pepper. Stir for two minutes.
  2. Add chickpeas (including liquid)
  3. Cook on medium low for 20 minutes
  4. After 20 minutes mash the beans with a potato ricer or fork. Keep the consistency chunky.
  5. Turn the heat to medium and reduce all the liquid.
  6. Serve immediately

The mash was relish with a dash of hot sauce!!!

 

Namaste y’all!!!

Meatless Monday – Butternut Squash with Kale Quinoa Sauté

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Happy Meatless Monday!!! I saw a recipe on MindBodyGreen for a warm kale quinoa salad and was inspired to mix it up and do my own!

Squash is a delicious, satisfying comfort food; combined with kale, quinoa and warm spices it makes a perfect meatless meal.

This recipe is simple and makes a perfect Tuesday lunch.

Ingredients

  • Butternut squash (cubed)
  • Kale one pound roughly (chopped)
  • Onion – one medium (diced)
  • Peppers (your choice) chopped
  • Garlic – minced
  • Lemon – juiced
  • Veggie broth – 1/4 cup
  • Olive oil
  • Smoked paprika – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Cumin 1/2 tablespoon
  • Ginger – one tablespoon (grated)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Quinoa- one cup cooked

Directions

  1. Place squash on a cookie sheet- dust with paprika, cumin and coat with olive oil.
  2. Roast squash at 350° for 25 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and sauté onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent.
  4. Add peppers and sauté for another five minutes.
  5. Add kale, ginger, lemon juice and broth. Sauté for another eight minutes until kale is tender.
  6. Toss squash, quinoa and kale in a bowl.

Serve immediately.

 

Namaste y’all!!!

 

 

Meatless Monday! (Kale Pesto with Pasta!)

winter pesto

Official Meatless Monday Blogger

Happy Meatless Monday!! This is a recipe that I discovered last year and thought it was just right for Meatless Monday!!!

I love pesto. What’s not to love basil, cheese, olive oil? Seriously- it’s good stuff. There is nothing like fresh basil in the summer. Yum-mo. But its winter. I try to eat seasonally. By that I mean, I look to buy food that are fresh that season. Enter my new best friend kale. Kale can be grown well into winter. This makes it an ideal veggie for so many reasons. Aside from its many nutritional benefits it makes a wonderful pesto! It doesn’t taste like its basil counterpart, but it is as equally delicious.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 5 cloves garlic (you can use less, I love garlic and you never know when a vampire might show up)
  • 1/4- 1/2 c parmesan cheese (Vegan? Skip the cheese, please)
  • 1/4 c (more or less) olive oil
  • 1/4 c warm/hot water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 c pine nuts (or walnuts, pine nuts can be pricey)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preparation

1. Be sure to rinse your kale thoroughly, as dirt and sand loves to hide in those curly crevices. Rinse the leaves first, de-stem and chop, rinse again in a colander.
2. Removing the stem is simple. Grip the outer stem at the bottom with 2 fingers and slide them up, taking the leaf off. This seems to be the fastest way, as long as it is healthy kale with strong stems.
3. Some recipes call to steam the kale first before blending. I don’t and I’ll tell you why. More than likely I will be using this with some kind of heat (pasta, roasting in the oven on potatoes etc) so I don’t think it’s necessary. I also like the taste of raw kale. If you don’t, steam the kale quickly (and I mean quickly for about 15 seconds). But I suggest raw.
4. Put the kale, garlic and cheese in the food processor. Add the lemon juice. Turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in the oil. If the pesto is too thick, use a bit of the hot water. I use the water instead of adding more oil to cut back on fat.
5. Let the food processor, well process until it’s that lovely pesto, pasty consistency.
Voila.

Once this was made I stored it in a Tupperware container. To preserve pesto pour a small amount of olive oil on top (optional- I didn’t as I don’t anticipate it will make it very long).

 

Now what to do with the pesto?! The options are endless. Do not grab a spoon and eat this from the container (though you will be tempted).

 

This pesto works will with:

  • Bread as a first course or snack (a warm baguette)
  • On pasta (pictured)
  • Roasted veggies
  • Sandwiches
  • Frittatas

 

Do you have any favorite pesto recipes? Let me know, I’m always looking to collect some.

Namaste y’all.

 

Meatless Monday – Easy Peasy Pasta

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From the guardian:

Curbing the world’s huge and increasing appetite for meat is essential to avoid devastating climate change, according to a new report. But governments and green campaigners are doing nothing to tackle the issue due to fears of a consumer backlash, warns the analysis from the thinktank Chatham House.

The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined, but a worldwide survey by Ipsos MORI in the report finds twice as many people think transport is the bigger contributor to global warming.

“Preventing catastrophic warming is dependent on tackling meat and dairy consumption, but the world is doing very little,” said Rob Bailey, the report’s lead author. “A lot is being done on deforestation and transport, but there is a huge gap on the livestock sector. There is a deep reluctance to engage because of the received wisdom that it is not the place of governments or civil society to intrude into people’s lives and tell them what to eat.”

 

I’m not the government and I certainly am not interested in telling you what to heat. But….if you are interested in finding an alternative to meat even one day out of the week, keep reading!

Pasta is an easy meal and fresh pasta cooks up faster than dry and has a fresh taste! To create the meal in the photo I roasted some veggies and sautéed a few more, tossed the whole thing with lemon, olive oil et voila!

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • Cherry tomatoes (2 pints, sliced in half)
  • Eggplant (cubed)
  • Garlic (1/2 bulb, unpeeled)
  • Fresh spinach (one bunch, chopped)
  • Red onion (thinly sliced)
  • Fresh oregano
  • Basil (two teaspoons, dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon (one whole, juiced)
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh pasta for 4-6 people

Directions

  1. Toss tomatoes and eggplant with olive oil, basil, salt, pepper and place in roasting pan. place garlic in roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil until covered.
  2. Roast in preheated 375º oven and roast for 25-35 minutes.
  3. While veggies are roasting prepare pasta water. Remember fresh pasta takes only a few minutes to cook. Also sauté spinach and onions in a pan with olive oil, a splash of lemon juice, pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. When the veggies are finished remove them and place them on a large serving platter.
  5. Cook the pasta, drain and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, fresh oregano and black pepper.
  6. Serve immediately!!

Mange!!

Namaste y’all.

 

Meatless Monday – Spinach Mushroom Soup!

 

spinach mushroom soup

 


Official Meatless Monday Blogger

There’s nothing like a cup of soup to set the world right. There are so many great things about soup:

  • It can be an entire meal
  • It can be rich and creamy
  • It can be slim and lean
  • It freezes well

This recipe was inspired by Veggie Belly! The trick of adding a pinch of baking soda to keep the spinach green.

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Spinach is delicious and so good for you. It has a healthy dose of vitamin A and is known for being high in iron. Remember Popeye the Sailor who got his super strength from spinach? Well, brain pickings.org had some interesting information about the cartoon hero. I always wondered why he ate so much spinach…

 

Popeye, with his odd accent and improbable forearms, used spinach to great effect, a sort of anti-Kryptonite. It gave him his strength, and perhaps his distinctive speaking style. But why did Popeye eat so much spinach? What was the reason for his obsession with such a strange food?

The truth begins more than fifty years earlier. Back in 1870, Erich von Wolf, a German chemist, examined the amount of iron within spinach, among many other green vegetables. In recording his findings, von Wolf accidentally misplaced a decimal point when transcribing data from his notebook, changing the iron content in spinach by an order of magnitude. While there are actually only 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100-gram serving of spinach, the accepted fact became 35 milligrams. To put this in perspective, if the calculation were correct each 100-gram serving would be like eating a small piece of a paper clip.

Once this incorrect number was printed, spinach’s nutritional value became legendary. So when Popeye was created, studio executives recommended he eat spinach for his strength, due to its vaunted health properties. Apparently Popeye helped increase American consumption of spinach by a third!

– Via brainpickings.org

 

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Ingredients

  • olive oil – 2 tablespoons
  • onions – 1/2 cup chopped
  • garlic cloves – 2 peeled and minced
  • potatoes – 1 cup peeled, diced
  • spinach – 4 cups tightly packed fresh, tender  leaves
  • fresh oregano – 2-3 sprigs  (or freshly dried oregano)
  • baking soda – A pinch of  optional
  • button cap mushroom tops – 15 large
  • dried mushrooms – 2-3 soaking in 4 cups of hot water (for at least 30 minutes)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Preparation 

  1. Heat a medium, heavy bottom sauce pan with the olive oil.
  2. Add the onions, and sauté on medium heat until translucent.
  3. Add the minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add the mushrooms and sauté on medium heat till they brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Then add the potatoes, a pinch of salt and 4 cups mushroom water.
  6. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until the potato cubes are cooked.
  7. Add washed spinach leaves, oregano and salt to the pot (keeping in mind you’ve already added a little salt to the soup in the previous stage).
  8. Immediately add a pinch of baking soda to the spinach; this will keep the spinach green when cooking; but this step is optional.
  9. Boil for about 1 minute or till the spinach is wilted.
  10. Turn off the heat. Using a hand/immersion blender, puree the soup till smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour the soup into a regular blender and carefully puree. If the soup is too thick, add ½ cup water and blend again.
  11. Serve warm, with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.

 

 

It’s soup yoga!!!

Sometimes you have to hold it around your hands and take a big warm sip.

 

Namaste y’all.

Meatless Monday – Whole Wheat Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Lemon

Pasta and Tomatoes

“When bananas blush, they turn brown, not red. And when tomatoes blush, you’ve probably said something really naughty.”
― Jarod Kintz99 Cents For Some Nonsense

 

Tomatoes are versatile delicious. Why not make them them the star of your Meatless Monday dish? Roasted tomatoes with pasta is simple, elegant and scrumptious. Since you are only using a few ingredients- don’t skimp and go for quality especially when it comes to the tomatoes and pasta.

 

Enjoy!!

 

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs tomatoes halved
  • One bunch of basil
  • Olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves with the peel on
  • Freshly shredded cheese (optional)
  • Quality flaked sea and and fresh black pepper
  • Fresh thyme
  • Whole wheat pasta- I used fresh whole wheat. But there are many great quality dry pastas that aren’t too expensive

 

 

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees . Stem the tomatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. 
  2. Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the thyme and garlic. Separate one bulb of garlic and place 4 cloves still with peel on parchment, soak peel with olive oil. Roast for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast the tomatoes until caramelized, about 20 minutes more. 
  3. Turn off the oven and leave the tomatoes inside for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool completely. 
  4. Remove garlic from oven and peel
  5. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  6. While pasta is cooking chop a handful of fresh basil (thyme would also work nicely)
  7. Squeeze juice from one whole lemon mix and with peeled garlic using a fork. Set aside
  8. When pasta is done drain and toss pasta, tomatoes (include and juicy oil from roasting pan), lemon garlic mash and basil.
  9. Top with fresh black pepper and shredded parm or piave vecchico or don’t use cheese to keep it vegan.
  10. Serve with salad and crusty bread!!!

 

Namaste y’all!!