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 – Comfort Food Lightened Up

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Today was rainy and chilly. I love a warm meal on a cold evening. But it doesn’t have to be loaded down with things that aren’t good for you. I took a variety of cubed squashes and golden beets tossed them with greens and some homemade dressing and had a great dinner that was satisfying.

Ingredients

  • Mix of your favorite root veggies – I used butternut, rutabaga, parsnip, carrot and golden beet
  • Olive Oil mister (
  • Fresh spices your choice (I used sage and thyme)
  • Salt & fresh black pepper
  • Salad greens- (use the beet greens too! )

Salad Dressing

  • This is my basic salad dressing recipe and I love it.
  • Olive oil
  • Quality balsamic
  • Dash of honey
  • Dollop of dijon mustard
  • Garlic**
  • Splash of soy sauce (this is the secret umami ingredient)
  • Blend or whisk everything*

* To save time I make my salad dressing in my wooden salad bowl and then toss with everything. I also cuts down on having to wash one more thing. I know. Lazy yogi.

** Rub a clove of garlic around the wooden salad bowl a few times for some flavor. (I learned this from a now cancelled cooking show Master Chef)

Happy Meatless Monday!!

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 – 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!!

Meatless Monday – Grits with Sautéed Vegetables

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Official Meatless Monday Blogger

 

If you have a case of the Mondays, breakfast for dinner can help. It’s like ending the day from the beginning except better because it’s over in a matter of hours and you are at home. Boom.

 

One of my favorite things for breakfast is grits.

 

What are grits? You’ll have to excuse me as my gaze hazily travels off in the distance… I love grits. They remind me of my mom cooking weekend mornings, Sunday brunch, cold weather and jazz. If you’ve never had them, this probably gets you no closer to knowing what they are. About Food gives a more substantial definition:

Grits are confusing to both the Southerner and non-Southerner alike, so let me break it down for you. According to The Food Lover’s Companion, the word “grits” is really a shortened way of saying what it really means, “hominy grits.” Grits are derived from hominy. The Food Lover’s Companion further cites hominy as being one of the first foods that American Indians gifted to the colonists. Hominy is dried corn kernels with the hull and germ removed. When this dried hominy is ground, it turns into what we know as grits.

 

 

Fun Facts About Grits

  • The annual World Grits Festival is held in April at St. George, South Carolina. The town claims to be the ‘Grits Capital of the World’, eating more pounds of grits per capita than anyplace else in the world. Via Food Reference 
  • Three-quarters of grits sold in the U.S. are sold in the South, throughout an area stretching from Texas to Virginia, sometimes referred to as the “grits belt”.[3] The state of Georgia declared grits its official prepared food in 2002.[4] Similar bills have been introduced in South Carolina, with one declaring: Whereas, throughout its history, the South has relished its grits, making them a symbol of its diet, its customs, its humor, and its hospitality, and whereas, every community in the State of South Carolina used to be the site of a grits mill and every local economy in the State used to be dependent on its product; and whereas, grits has been a part of the life of every South Carolinian of whatever race, background, gender, and income; and whereas, grits could very well play a vital role in the future of not only this State, but also the world, if as Charleston’s The Post and Courierproclaimed in 1952, “An inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, [grits] should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of [grits] is a man of peace.”[5]

 

 

People who love grits take them very seriously. Trust. I grew up eating grits for breakfast. For most of my life I was a grits purist and would only eat them with a dollop of butter, salt and if I was feeling jazzy some pepper. When my mom added cheese to the mix I definitely changed my tune. I have heard that there are people out there who eat grits with milk and sugar like cream of wheat. I do not understand these people.

That’s cool, they get to live here too. (side-eye)

mondays

 

This recipe is fast and delicious.

 

Ingredients

You should use whatever veggies move n’ groove you and your family. When I was grocery shopping I grabbed a few things that were on sale:

  • Red pepper
  • Green pepper
  • Onion
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Italian spice blend
  • Shredded cheese (1/4 c)
  • Pat butter (optional)
  • Olive oil

 

Directions

For the grits

Prepare according to package.

For a extra blast of flavor you could:

  • substitute veggie broth for water and…
  • after the grits are done toss in 1/4 c of shredded cheddar cheese
  • go the extra mile and sprinkle crushed red hot pepper and a dash of smoked paprika

If you like your grits super creamy stir, stir, stir while they cook. For thicker grits use a little less liquid.

 

Keep it vegan and leave out the cheese… there are always choices. See your case of the Mondays is fading away.

 

For the veggies

  1. I halved the baby tomatoes and roasted them with olive oil and italian seasoning- roasted them in a 375° oven. I roasted the veggies while I cooked everything else. You could easily sauté the tomatoes- I am just a fan of roasted tomatoes.
  2. I put the brussels sprouts in the food processor and pulsed a few times
  3. Sliced the peppers and onions into strips
  4. Minced fresh garlic
  5. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a pan or skillet
  6. Sauté veggies starting with the onions and garlic
  7. Add the peppers and spices
  8. Add the brussels sprouts
  9. Add enough liquid to steam the sprouts (maybe 1/8 c. I used a splash of broth and lemon juice)

Scoop veggies on grits and dig in!!!

 

Happy Meatless Monday!!

 

Namaste y’all

Meatless Monday – Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup with Roasted Pepper Sandwich

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

 

 

 


Official Meatless Monday Blogger

I love eggplant. I once someone who hated eggplant. We broke up. Not because of the eggplant. But it definitely should have been a warning sign.

Eggplant is delicious and versatile! It can be roasted, baked, grilled, sautéed, stuffed and in honor of this Meatless Monday- it can be blended into a delicious soup. I’ve paired the soup with an open-faced sandwich. The soup is substantial enough to have as a meal but dunking things into soup is a fun pastime.

Let’s stop the chit-chat and get down to business.

This soup does require a little more work than many soups which you can throw into a pot and simmer. The layers of flavor will make you glad you took the time to roast the veggies first. I’d never steer you wrong when it comes to soup. My soup game is pretty serious.

 

Ingredients

  • One whole eggplant peeled and cubed
  • One pound of tomatoes (of your choice) quartered
  • Two red potatoes cubed
  • One large onion- roughly chopped
  • Four cloves of garlic
  • Four cups of stock or water (but stock is yummier- for real)
  • One tablespoon flour
  • Italian seasoning – 2 heaping tablespoons
  • Crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

 

For the sandwich

  • Roasted red peppers (I used the kind in a jar)
  • Sautéed onions
  • Lettuce (your choice I had Boston on hand)
  • Lemon garlic aoili
  • Cucumbers
  • Feta
  • Bread – baguette (or your favorite sandwich bread)

 

Directions

  1. Coat veggies with olive oil and spices.
  2. Roast all veggies in a pre-heated 375° oven.
  3. Transfer veggies to a large soup pot that has been heated with one tablespoon olive oil.
  4. Add stock bring to boil add flour, stir and reduce to very low heat
  5. Cook for another 45 minutes.
  6. Transfer to blender in small batches and blend until creamy.
  7. Return to pot and reheat for five minutes.

 

Sandwich directions

  • Use whatever ingredients move you.
  • I’ve had people say that they miss protein on a sandwich- add a bit of feta or mushrooms.
  • A dollop of hummus or pesto also adds depth.

 

Happy Meatless Monday!

 

Namaste y’all.

Meatless Monday – Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot Soup with Tricolor Carrot Salad

Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower Soup
Happy Meatless Monday! Soup, salad and bread. Yum.


Official Meatless Monday Blogger

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.

Namaste y’all.

 

Ingredients

  • 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
  • smoked paprika
  • salt pepper
  • juice from one lemon
  • lemon zest
  • cilantro (dried) – one tablespoon
  • olive oil
  • miso- 1 tablespoon

 

Ingredients for Salad

  • tri-color carrots
  • scallions
  • cucumbers

 

Dressing

  • balsamic vinegar
  • honey- one teaspoon
  • dijon mustard- one teaspoon
  • soy sauce
  • garlic- minced one teaspoon

 

 

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. Roast veggies and garlic bulb in 425° oven for 35-45 minutes (check frequently- I like veggies roasted but not mushy)
  3. Transfer veggies to a large heated soup pot that has 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. Add spices and sauté veggies for six minutes
  5. Add miso and broth
  6. Bring to a simmer and then lower heat
  7. Cook for 10 minutes
  8. Blend until smooth in very small batches
  9. Serve immediately

 

For the salad 

  1. I spiralized the carrots and cucumbers.
  2. 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)
  3. I cut the scallions into the thin slices and and tossed with the dressing.