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Apr 20, 2014
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Meatless Mondays

Meatless Monday: Black Bean, Spinach and Feta Empanadas

Monday, April 14th, 2014



Looking for a Mexican restaurant? Ask vegetarians. Their GPS will find one like chips find salsa. Mexican restaurants, no matter how plain or fancy, promise a variety of meat-free options well beyond the ubiquitous iceberg wedge. Plus, margaritas are vegan.

As a home cook, I heart Mexican cuisine because the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to prepare. But how many taco nights can you have? (Not a rhetorical question – I’m really asking. Is two per week too many?)

So … in hopes of expanding my repertoire beyond cheese quesadillas, I studied up on empanadas. “Empanada” is Spanish for a pastry stuffed with yumminess. The specific yumminess depends on what’s produced locally. In some parts of the world, you’ll find empanadas filled with beef or eggs. In other parts, street vendors sell sardine or chorizo empanadas. And in warmer regions, sweet empanadas ooze with gooey yams and fruit.

Here in the Midwest, our empanadas usually tout chicken or beef, so I decided to create a vegetarian version. Black beans are the abundant resource in my habitat and would make a substantial filling.

Find out how Kellie Hynes took black beans to the next level. Get the recipe for Black Bean, Spinach and Feta Empanadas.

Meatless Monday: Veggie Wrap at The Royale

Monday, April 7th, 2014



The Royale has always been popular for the late-night drinker with a discerning palate, but it’s also a great place to grab a bite, particularly if you’re of the vegetarian or vegan crowd. The Veggie Wrap sounds unassuming, but don’t be fooled. A large, fluffy pita smeared with a generous dollop of house-made hummus can barely be folded around a hefty serving of romaine lettuce, diced cucumbers, bright red tomatoes, sliced red onions, roasted red peppers, mellow artichoke hearts and salty feta. The house-made dill tzatziki sauce is served on the side, and we advise dipping as you go. And at $9, this vegetarian monster, which comes with a side, will satisfy your Meatless Monday dinner and your Tuesday lunch to boot.





Meatless Monday: Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Monday, March 31st, 2014



If chocolate equals seduction, how do you woo the dairy-adverse? I searched for a vegan chocolate mousse recipe. Several called for mashing up avocados, adding unsweetened cocoa and drizzling the whole thing with agave nectar. It was just so weird; I had to try it.

Find out how Vegetize It took a recipe that tasted like “sweet dirt” and turned it into a faux-chocolate mousse so smooth and light, you’re vegan friends may accuse you of deception. Click here for the recipe.

-photo by Greg Rannells

Meatless Monday: Quincy Street Bistro’s Green Tomato Po’ Boy and Garden Salad

Monday, March 24th, 2014



Quincy Street Bistro isn’t necessarily on the vegetarian dining circuit, yet it is possible to eat meat-free food prepared by the restaurant’s James Beard Award-nominated chef Rick Lewis.

We made a more-than-filling meal out of a green tomato po’ boy, a side of picked beets and a garden salad. The tomato was battered and fried crisp, and the flavors of a zippy Cajun mayo pulled the whole thing together. A side of pickled beets was an easy choice. They’re cut thickly and coarsely, and come swimming in moderately sweet brine. If that root veggie doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of other veg-friendly sides to choose from.

Our garden salad held a generous portion of fluffy field greens decorated with radish and cucumber wheels, red onion slivers and mozzarella and Asiago cheeses gilded with a house-made roasted shallot vinaigrette.

As with The Hog Burger and so many other dishes we’ve had at QSB, our palates were pleased and our bellies were full after our vegetarian meal – and we met our Meatless Monday goal.

Meatless Monday: Zucchini and Yellow Squash “Pasta”

Monday, March 17th, 2014



Who said vegetarian pasta has to be boring? Or even pasta, for that matter: At Franco, creative reimaginings of vegetarian standards allow the ingredients to shine. Like this take on fettuccine Alfredo, a Zucchini and Yellow Squash “Pasta” that subs squash for noodles and cauliflower purée for cream sauce. Even better? Just a few simple tweaks make this meat-free stunner vegan.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Hartford Coffee Company’s Baked Falafel

Monday, March 10th, 2014



Hartford Coffee Company’s name might make you think this Tower Grove South neighborhood spot is just a coffee shop, but it also has a full food menu. Every weekday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., order any of Hartford’s food offerings, including breakfast items, baked goods, sandwiches, salads and vegetarian options. Craving Hartford’s baked falafel at 7 a.m.? No problem. Fresh baked falafel patties are served on soft pita with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and a cucumber-dill sauce. With your choice of a side, you’ve got a full meal – any time of day.

Meatless Monday: Fearless Matzo Ball Soup

Monday, March 3rd, 2014



The first (only) time I made matzo balls for my Jewish in-laws, Shiksa Dough Bombs of Doom dropped out of the pot. They were tough with gritty, uncooked centers that resembled the desert their people wandered for 40 years. Only drier.

Those concrete-filled matzo balls haunted me. But it’s a classic, nourishing dish that should be in everyone’s cooking repertoire, so I decided to try again. And this time, I’d make a healthier version without chicken broth and schmaltz (chicken fat).

My mother-in-law’s chicken broth is the pretty, translucent color of warm sunshine. My homemade vegetarian stock has a russet tone better suited to heavy stews. The color comes from slowly simmered vegetables, which also give it a hearty taste. Could I make a lighter-looking broth that wasn’t light on flavor?

Click here to read more about this warm bowl of comforting matzo ball soup without all the schmaltz. Or, go straight to the recipes for soup and matzo balls.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Athlete Eats’ Bibimbap Bowl

Monday, February 24th, 2014



The delicious bibimbap bowl at Athlete Eats is a low-carb, healthy lunch or dinner. The “Caulirice” is actually raw cauliflower, blitzed in a food processor, then sauteed in a little oil and spices. This faux-rice serves as the base for MOFU (a hearty replacement for the usual spicy grass-fed beef), bright green edamame, pickled carrots and shiitake mushrooms. This dish serves up a vibrant punch of colors, textures and tastes, and the egg on top adds richness. Order your bowl to go and pick it up on the way home; Athlete Eats closes at 6 p.m.



Meatless Monday: Mushroom Bread Pudding

Monday, February 17th, 2014



Who says bread pudding is only for dessert? This Mushroom Bread Pudding’s requisite cubed bread and egg-based custard ensure substance and richness, while savory spices and a mix of earthy mushrooms keep flavor delicately toothsome. You’ll fall for it at first bite. Click here for the recipe.

-photo by Geoff Cardin

Meatless Monday: Sandrina’s Portobello Sandwich

Monday, February 10th, 2014



Sandrina’s in South City has long been the go-to spot for late-night meals. The kitchen serves up dishes like duck quesadillas, crabcakes and bacon-wrapped meatloaf with portobello demi-glace well into the night. Even vegetarians have choices beyond the usual midnight basket of fries or onion rings.

We’re partial to the portabello sandwich. A meaty grilled mushroom cap liberally glazed with sharp balsamic sits atop crisp romaine and slivers of raw red onion. A cool cucumber sauce mellows the acidic flavors, but what pushs this warm sandwich into better-than-average territory is the sprinkle of shredded gouda, just enough to lend a smoky accent to this hefty handful. And since the kitchen is open until 2 a.m. daily, you can enjoy this dish whether your Meatless Monday starts at 6 p.m. or 1 a.m.



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