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 Saladwith a lemon caper vinaigrette
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
Steam florets and asparagus for two minutes until just tender.
Quickly sauté veggies with garlic and sliced onions for three minutes with one tablespoon olive oil.
Plate veggies on spring mix and dress with vinaigrette.
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.
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!
dried mushrooms – 2-3 soaking in 4 cups of hot water (for at least 30 minutes)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a medium, heavy bottom sauce pan with the olive oil.
Add the onions, and sauté on medium heat until translucent.
Add the minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the mushrooms and sauté on medium heat till they brown, about 5 minutes.
Then add the potatoes, a pinch of salt and 4 cups mushroom water.
Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until the potato cubes are cooked.
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).
Immediately add a pinch of baking soda to the spinach; this will keep the spinach green when cooking; but this step is optional.
Boil for about 1 minute or till the spinach is wilted.
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.
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.
I must confess when I first thought about doing tofu meatballs I was skeptical. I’m not big on foods that try to be meat. You can’t call a carrot a burger, I won’t be duped. But always one to try anything once I plunged ahead and made these.
Yummalicious. Seriously. What they need is a publicist. Tofu meatballs just doesn’t work and Seasoned Tofu balls is just as absurd, but I digress. The Book of Yum had a recipe that was easy to prepare. The Book of Yum is a great blog dedicated to gluten-free vegetarian cooking.
2 lbs firm tofu, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 whole green onions, sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 1/4 tsp salt
one egg or egg substitute
generous amounts of freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated vegan or regular cheese (optional)
1/4 cup soy or regular yogurt whisked well
3/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, made in a food processor (I used panko)
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasonings
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
more freshly ground pepper
2 or 3 tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 375°
Slice tofu horizontally and wrap in kitchen towels and put a cutting board on top of the wrapped tofu. Put something on top of the cutting board, like a pot, for additional weight. Leave it to drain for 20 minutes. Then wrap it in a clean thin cotton dishtowel, knead it and squeeze as much water out of it as possible.
Knead the tofu in a large bowl for five minutes and then add the garlic, green onions, salt, pepper, and cheese. Knead it for another few minutes. Whisk the egg and work it into the tofu dough.
Combine the ground bread crumbs, spices and pepper in a large flat bowl or pie pan. Make small, walnut-sized balls out of the tofu dough and roll each ball in the dough.
Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan or well-seasoned cast-iron pan on medium and fry your tofu meatballs on each side until golden brown.
Top the tofu with some cheese and cook in the oven for abut 3 minutes
You could serve with a marinara and have a hero or hoagie because I’m from NJ and that’s what they are. I mean that’s what they should be called everywhere, because I’m from NJ and that’s how we roll.
I had mine on a salad. I also roasted a slice of red onion and orange bell pepper drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
This soup looks creamy and it has a creamy flavor without adding milk. I think if you wanted an even heartier flavor you could add orecchiette pasta. Those pasta cups would gently cradle this roasted flavor goodness.
Go for it!! Make soup!
2 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste, for seasoning tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Dash of red pepper flakes
1 cup freshly chopped basil
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes.
2. In a large stockpot, heat the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, fresh basil, and vegetable broth. Stir in the oven roasted tomatoes. Cook for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat.
3. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the stockpot, or transfer soup to a food processor or blender to blend. The soup should be smooth, with a few tomato chunks. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve warm.
Note-be careful when transferring the soup to a blender or food processor. You may want to wait until it is at room temperature to blend. Blend the soup until it’s more smooth than it is, but not to a silky purée (You want to keep some of the chunky tomato flavor).
I love summer. The sun on my face and heat on my skin make me feel alive. It’s a time of year when ice clinking in tall glasses of water and taking big bites of fresh tomatoes off the vine is an acceptable dinner.
May-August is my time.
September is beautiful but makes me sad because cold weather is rolling in. You can’t see it but it’s there, hovering in the background.
But, I must admit there is something vaguely sexy about the fall. Turtlenecks and flip-flops are standard uniforms. It’s still warm enough to grab a drink outside, but you can rock a hat. The heat of summer still lingers in the air like perfume at the end of the day…
And while I miss summer, soup season makes it bearable. I am nothing if not a lover of soups.
This roasted cauliflower and carrot soup I found in the New York Times is a perfect blend of summer and fall flavors. The lemon keeps it light as the rooted flavors of carrot and cumin keep it grounded. It’s yoga, for your mouth. The miso adds umami. Its a soup that makes you want to lay down on your back and exhale… I took the liberty and added (and subtracted) a few things to suit my palate. Not that the Times doesn’t know their stuff but hey, I like things the way I like them.
All jokes aside, this is a great meal for after a long yoga practice or any kind of workout. The soup is filling without being heavy and the carrot salad has crunch with layers of sweet and savory because of the dressing. I had mine with bread because I’m a girl who likes to sop things up.
Don’t judge. Sometimes a dish is so good you want every drop. And the truth is, it’s much classier than me licking the bowl. I’ll let my dog keep that party trick.
Enjoy. Happy Meatless Monday.
cauliflower- one head choped
carrots – one pound chopped
onion- one large chopped in chunks
garlic – one head unpeeled
celery- one stalk – roughly chopped
4-5 cups stock or water
corriander seeds- one tablespoon
cumin- one tablespoon
juice from one lemon
cilantro (dried) – one tablespoon
miso- 1 tablespoon
Ingredients for Salad
honey- one teaspoon
dijon mustard- one teaspoon
garlic- minced one teaspoon
Place veggies in a pan and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Makes sure to coat the garlic bulb with oil so it doesn’t burn.
Roast veggies and garlic bulb in 425° oven for 35-45 minutes (check frequently- I like veggies roasted but not mushy)
Transfer veggies to a large heated soup pot that has 2 tablespoons olive oil
Add spices and sauté veggies for six minutes
Add miso and broth
Bring to a simmer and then lower heat
Cook for 10 minutes
Blend until smooth in very small batches
For the salad
I spiralized the carrots and cucumbers.
To make the dressing put all of the ingredients into a blender (or whisk in a bowl if you are looking for a forearm workout)
I cut the scallions into the thin slices and and tossed with the dressing.
I just read an article about the damaging effects of dividing time between a computer, phone, tablet and TV. It apparently shrinks the brain. So I’ve decided to put my phone away while I bounce from laptop, TV and kitchen while I type this post. I already feel smarter.
Earlier this week the mail delivered a treat. I’m now the proud owner of a spiralizer. Oh sure, many people have been using this for years, but since it’s new to me dear reader, it’s now new to you. This gadget has already changed my life. It transforms veggies into ribbony strands and curly shapes. And trust me, this isn’t just cool, the shapes allow for dressings and sauce to cling.
I spent my weekend enjoying this amazing east coast ‘pre-fall’ weather, bike riding, doing yoga and spiralizing everything I could get my hands on. On Friday I made a spiral cucumber, carrot, red onion salad. I added a bit of my lemon tahini dressing and tapped my toes as I chomped away. And since I’m pretty real with you when I write, I’m not ashamed to say that when I woke up at 3am for water, I had a large bite. I may or may not have had said salad for breakfast on Saturday.
Or do. I can take it.
No matter what your feelings, I’ll still share this easy Meatless Monday recipe.
squash zoodles (you can also use a mandolin- but I can’t really be trusted with one)
red onions, very thinly sliced
mushrooms sliced (I used shitake, but hey grab whatever you have)
garlic minced (3 cloves)
spinach or any greens that are handy
olive oil- three tablespoons
splash quality balsamic
salt, pepper and white pepper
lemon juice from one lemon
In one pan sauté all of the veggies and ingredients except the zoodles.
Heat the pan (with 2 tablespoons olive oil) over medium heat first add the onions, then garlic, then the mushrooms.
In a second pan heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and quickly toss the zoodles for two minutes.
Combine the sauce and zoodles
Fair warning. Stay tuned for spiralizer recipes. If you see me running through the farmers market with loaded down with veggies and laughing with crazy eyes, keep movin’. It’s safer that way.
This week you may want to try lentils. My recipe this week is brought to you by the blog Zenfully Delicious. I love Indian food and Daal is an easy way to try something new. For those of you new to the idea of removing meat from your diet creating interesting meals is good plan to keep you on track. Finding ‘meat’ substitutes wash’t something that worked for me. Generally speaking, I found that having great meals that didn’t need meat was the best way to me to enjoy a meatless lifestyle. While Daal is considered to be an accompaniment to an Indian meal, I had it as a main dish with some salad.
The key to Daal is the tempering of the spices at the end. Tempering spices in Indian cooking is an essential step and depending on the dish is either done at the beginning of cooking or at the end. In the case of Daal it is done at the end.
With Daal you can spice this up as much as you want. I added Garam Masala, smoked Paprika and a few drops of mustard oil to my tempering mixture.
Today’s Special is a cute indie flick I saw on Netflix. The scene with the tempering of the spices is particularly funny.
Anyway, back to the recipe.
1½ cups yellow split lentils or toor lentils
½ a medium onion, finely chopped
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Juice of half lemon
3-4 cups cups veggie stock (or water) (this depending on how soupy you’d like your daal. More liquid = more soup)
Tempering ingredients: 2 tablespoons canola oil
½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 clove or ½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 whole Serrano pepper
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
¼ teaspoon chili powder
In a large pot add 2 tablespoons olive oil ( you could also use butter or ghee but I’m keeping the dish vegan).
Saute onions, tomatoes and garlic
Add the rest of the ingredients except the cilantro
Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat.
I deviated from the recipe here and added a little more spice. I like lots of flavor into the pot went more cumin, curry powder, red pepper flakes, freshly grated ginger and lime juice)
Prepare tempering ingredients by measuring them out first. Don’t mix them all together. I placed them on a flexible cutting board. The process happens quickly and it will burn if you try to gather the spices and temper at the same time. Ask me how I know this.
Simmer lentils for 20 minutes (or longer if you like them softer)
Temper the spices and add to the daal as it is finished cooking.
Stir in the tempered spices.
Serve over rice immediately.
Heat canola oil in a pan on a stovetop till it shimmers (should be hot). Turn off the heat. To this hot oil, add the cumin seeds, garlic, Serrano pepper and dry spices. Everything should sizzle in the pan. (Watch out for splattering spices during this process.)
I added a dollop of cilantro chutney which can be found in most grocery stores. In my pantry I also had some chickpea chips. Perfect for a garnish!
In the world of southern and soul food, collard greens are a staple. They are typically cooked with ham hock and lots of fat. And since the leaves are fairly tough cooking greens long and slow is what is thought to make them delicious.
Not so it seems.
While doing training at Integral Yoga, I’d pop downstairs to their grocery store for some tasty food cooked with love. One afternoon I discovered sautéed greens and haven’t looked back. They take 15 minutes and have a fresh, vibrant taste. You would think that with so few ingredients these would taste boring. You would be mistaken.
2 tsp olive oil
Big bunch of greens – stems removed and shredded. (I used my bare hands and made it mini playtime)
5 garlic cloves minced
coarse salt (Maldon is my fave)
1/2 c water (or veggie stock)
Heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic by stirring constantly until it’s just about golden brown.
Add the greens, baby!! Stir in salt.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add liquid.
Cover and steam for 10 minutes.
If liquid is left in the pan turn heat to medium and quickly stir until liquid evaporates.
These are so good I’ve been making batches and having them for lunch and with dinner. Tons of greens are available at farmers markets this time of year- so stock up!!!