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Apr 19, 2015
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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Meatless Monday: Pierogi

Monday, March 2nd, 2015



Making homemade pierogi sounds complicated, but these traditional Polish dumplings come together in a snap with a bit of practice. First, prepare a filling of bright green spinach, starchy potatoes and creamy goat cheese. Then, turn your attention to the dough, mixing together flour, milk and eggs and kneading well. Fill the half-moon pockets with your vegetarian filling and then pan-fry in butter and serve these delicious bites with a side of sour cream. Bonus: extra uncooked pierogi are perfect to freeze for an upcoming Meatless Monday – or any night comfort food calls. Get the recipe for the dough here and the filling here.


-photo by Greg Rannells

Meatless Monday: Veggie Gyros, Two Ways

Monday, February 23rd, 2015



A gyro to-go is one of our favorite carryout options on a busy night, but we’ll lighten things up and save a little money this Meatless Monday with Veggie Gyros two ways. For a hearty meat substitute, marinade mushroom caps in a host of spices and garlic, then saute in a hot cast-iron skillet. For a gooey, creamy option, fry up slices of salty Kasseri cheese, then wrap either filling in a warm pita garnished with lettuce, cucumber, tomato and homemade tzatziki sauce. Get the recipe for the fillings here and here, and the gyro recipe here.


-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Monday, February 16th, 2015




Well, we almost made it, St. Louis. Winter just couldn’t let us go without one good snowy kick on the way out. Combat it with a cold weather classic: grilled cheese and tomato soup. Put the plastic-wrapped American slices away; we’ve got a deliciously decadent Grilled Cheese sammie from The Crow’s Nest that calls for a rosemary-scented apple compote, gooey cheddar and stringy mozzarella. Dip it in a warm Tomato Broth (use less liquid for a thicker consistency) kicked up with cayenne, chile flakes, garlic and red wine. Opt for your favorite high-quality canned tomatoes for that fresh taste of summer in the middle of snowy muck. Get the Grilled Cheese recipe here and the Tomato Broth recipe here.


-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Meatless Monday: Warm Mushroom Salad

Monday, February 9th, 2015



Sometimes we need a meaty, filling salad without any pesky lettuce getting in the way. That’s when we turn to this Warm Mushroom Salad. Simply saute nearly a pound of your favorite mushrooms (we opt for oyster, shiitake and cremini) in a warm garlic oil, then garnish it with walnuts, pecorino cheese and fresh parsley. Get the recipe here.


-photo by Carmen Troesser

By the Book: Joumana Accad’s Falafel Loaf with Tarator Sauce

Saturday, February 7th, 2015



Maybe it’s because I’m such a food grazer that I love a good meze. I salivate just imagining a smorgasbord of Middle Eastern bites like olives, yogurt-, vegetable- and legume-based dips with pita, salads such as fattoush or tabbouleh and finger foods like stuffed grape leaves and meat pies. Some years ago, I presented an assemblage of such fare to a Turkish dinner guest. He thanked me profusely, telling me how much it reminded him of home.

Although I have never visited Turkey or any Middle Eastern country, I do feel at home preparing and eating food from this part of the world. It’s food that I taught myself to make primarily via cookbooks, so it was fun to sift through Joumana Accad’s Taste of Beirut. Among the 150-plus recipes (and lots of color photos), are all the classics – from kibbe to kafta – along with a few contemporary innovations spun from traditional dishes. I chose to prepare an item from the latter camp: falafel loaf with tarator sauce.

Falafel is a mix of puréed chickpeas, eggs and seasonings usually rolled into balls and then deep-fried. Accad’s version called for baking the falafel mixture to make a vegetarian meatloaf of sorts, which piqued my health-inclined sensibilities.




Lebanese cooking is not hard or involved. In this instance, you first make a garlic paste pounding the cloves with salt using a pestle and mortar. Next, open a couple cans of chickpeas (or cook your own to control the salt content), crack a few eggs, gather spices and purée in a food processor before transferring it to a loaf pan.




While the loaf was baking, I made the tarator. It’s a tangy sauce that is akin to mayonnaise for the Lebanese. If you’ve never made this tahini, garlic and lemon juice sauce before, it’s one you’ll want to keep in your back pocket. It’s useful as a salad dressing or atop cooked vegetables.




I baked the loaf 15 minutes longer (and covered with foil during this time) than the prescribed 35 minutes so it firmed. Once it was done, I let rest the pan a good 10 or 15 minutes before unmolding and slicing it. The falafel was moist and delicious, a light, healthy alternative to the fried variety. I may never board a plane to Lebanon, but I like to travel there often in my kitchen, and Accad is a fine travel guide.




Falafel Loaf with Tarator Sauce
8 servings

2 15.5-oz. cans chickpeas
3 large eggs
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. paprika or Aleppo pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Italian parsley
1 cup cilantro
1 Tbsp. garlic paste (recipe follows)
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup tarator sauce (recipe follows)

• Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
• Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Add the eggs, breadcrumbs, onion, baking powder, cumin, coriander, paprika and salt, and process until mixture is doughy. Add the parsley, cilantro, garlic paste and olive oil, and process until the mixture is smooth and all the ingredients are well combined.
• Transfer to a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Bake 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the loaf comes out dry. Serve at room temperature with the tarator sauce.

Garlic Paste
Makes 1 tablespoon

6 garlic cloves
1 tsp. salt

• Peel and cut the garlic cloves lengthwise; toss out the clove if it contains a green shoot, which indicates that it is old. To peel the clove easily, knock it decisively with the handle of a knife.
• Chop the garlic fine and place in the mortar with the salt. Pound away for 2 or 3 minutes until the mixture is the consistency of a paste. Use in cooking right away or store in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in an airtight container. You can prepare several such small packages at one time.

Tarator Sauce
Makes 1 cup

1 tsp. garlic paste
½ cup tahini
¼ to ½ cup lemon juice, according to taste
¼ to 1/3 cup water

• Place the garlic in a bowl, add the tahini, and mix well. Add the lemon juice and water gradually, stirring until the sauce is the consistency of a creamy yogurt. Add more water slowly if needed. Taste and adjust the sauce as needed.

Variation: Add ½ cup chopped parsley to the tarator and mix well prior to serving. This herby tarator can be used to dress salads.

Reprinted with permission from Health Communications

What cookbook author takes you on a cultural adventure in your kitchen? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Taste of Beirut.



Just Five: Tender Kale Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015



2014 was The Year of Kale, and everyone is over it  – except me. This beautiful dark green leaf is delicious when sauteed, braised, added to soups and stews or blitzed into juices. I never got the whole kale chip phenomenon, but I love that it brought so much attention to this misunderstood vegetable.

Many people balk at kale in its raw form: too tough and stringy. Instead of gnawing on it for five minutes, try a little tenderness beforehand. Massage that kale. You heard me. Get in there and really work it over. Roll it between your hands; squeeze it like a stress ball; beat it up. Massaging kale breaks down its tough cellulose; you will actually see and feel the change in the texture. The kale will feel softer than before and will taste much less bitter. Doesn’t a good massage have that effect on us all?

Tender Kale Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
3 to 5 servings

1 avocado, pit removed and peeled
3 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
1 Tbsp. vinegar-based hot sauce (like Tabasco or Cholula)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ tsp. kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 cups chopped lacinato kale, stems removed (about 1 bunch)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

• In the bowl of a food processor or blender, puree the avocado, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and the hot sauce until combined. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and with the machine running, pour in the olive oil until smooth, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed to reach a thick but pourable consistency. Set aside.
• Place the kale in a large serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of black pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Use clean hands to massage the leaves 2 to 3 minutes, until the kale is slightly darker green and feels softer.
• Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Add the cherry tomatoes and serve.

Meatless Monday: Paella

Monday, February 2nd, 2015



Paella can be as complicated or as simple as you desire. Yes, you can use a traditional paellera and create it over an open flame – or you can take out your trusty cast-iron skillet and try our simpler method. This vegan version bulks up the traditional rice dish with eggplant, bell peppers and cannellini beans. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then finish on the stovetop to create a lovely, crunchy socarrat. Get the recipe here (scroll to the end for stovetop and oven instructions).


-photo by Carmen Troesser


Extra Sauce: 5 recipes to win your Super Bowl party

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest unofficial American holiday of the year, and as with all our holidays, it comes with it’s own traditional menu of delicious eats. Step up your game day grub with five recipes for our favorite football food:


1. Get smoky with a big pot of Smoked White Bean Chili. (And before you cry foul, we’ve got the traditional red chili fans covered, too.)


2. Pulled Pork and pigskin are a classic combination, and ours simmers all day in a root beer-chile sauce.


3. Fire up the grill and savor the sweet heat of Harissa Honey Hot Wings.


4. No harissa? No problem. These Honey Sriracha Wings require just five key ingredients, including that bottle of rooster sauce in your fridge.


5. Fear not, vegan and vegetarians – even meat-heads will drool over these Macho Cauliflower Poppers. Sharing is optional.


-chili photo by Michelle Volansky; pulled pork photo by Greg Rannells; cauliflower poppers photo by Carmen Troesser; harissa wings photo from Balaboosta by Einat Admony

Meatless Mondays: Vegetarian Beef Stew

Monday, January 26th, 2015



Meat-based stews can take hours of simmering to turn tough cuts into tender morsels. Vegetarian stews, on the other hand, can come together in less than an hour. Our Vegetarian Beef Stew is as filling as its inspiration, without all that time-consuming stew meat. Chunks of rutabaga, potatoes and carrots are simmered in tomato-based broth that holds surprising depth of flavor thanks to tomato paste, red wine and molasses. A pound of seitan adds more heft and stands in for the beefy texture, and frozen corn adds a pop of sweetness. Get the recipe here.


 -photo by Kristi Schiffman

Meatless Monday: Grilled Endive Salad with Cannellini Beans

Monday, January 19th, 2015



We love surprise warm January days like these; take advantage and fire up the grill for a meal that stays clear of heavy stews and braises. Slightly bitter endive is sturdy enough to withstand an open flame and takes on a whole new flavor profile when imbued with a bit of char. Cover with a quick cannellini bean salad seasoned with bright lemon, dill and feta to perfectly complement that smoky taste. It’s perfect for a light vegetarian entree – though were a juicy steak to find its way to your waiting grill, we won’t hold it against you. Blame the unexpected grill weather. Click here for the recipe.

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