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Jul 25, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Just Five: No-Bake Granola Bars

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014



The phrase “no-bake” is right up there with “low-fat” and “fruit juice-sweetened” on my list of things I am not interested in cooking or eating. So imagine my surprise when I started playing with this recipe from Minimalist Baker; now, my new Sunday tradition is making – not baking –  granola bars for the week.

Making homemade granola is incredibly satisfying. It’s simple, versatile and healthy; I know exactly what’s in it, unlike prepackaged store granola. I started baking granola about a year ago, and the recipe for this pistachio-studded version quickly became my go-to. But while that recipe is absolutely delicious, it’s rather high in fat.

However using sweet pureed dates and natural peanut butter as binders in these no-bake bars cuts the fat down considerably. Add chocolate chips, chopped dried fruit, banana chips or other nuts and seeds if you like. I’ve never made it the same way twice, which sometimes infuriates my family. But you can be sure they beg for more every Sunday!

No-Bake Granola Bars
Adapted from a Minimalist Baker recipe
8 Servings

10 to 12 (8 oz.) dried dates, pitted
1½ cups rolled oats*
1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, chopped
1/3 cup chunky natural peanut butter
¼ cup honey (Agave syrup, maple syrup or sorghum will also work)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil or other neutral oil
Pinch of kosher salt

• Add the dates to the bowl of a food processor and until they reach a sticky, paste-like consistency. Scoop the date puree into a large bowl with the oats and almonds.
• In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the peanut butter and honey until melted and viscous. Stir in the coconut oil and salt. Pour the melted peanut butter over the oat mixture and combine with a wooden spoon or your hands, chopping and stirring until the mixture is well-incorporated.
• Line an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with plastic wrap. Scrape the granola mixture into the dish and press it evenly in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 20 minutes.
• Transfer the chilled granola to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice them into 8 2-by-4-inch bars. Granola bars will keep in an airtight container up to 1 week.

*Optional: Bake the oats in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes for a toasted flavor.



Meatless Monday: Blondie’s Coffee and Wine Bar

Monday, May 19th, 2014



We’ve pigeonholed Blondie’s Coffee and Wine Bar into the “date night” and “girls’ night out” categories for too long. Add “vegetarian” and “lunch” to the mix because the upscale cafe located downtown on Washington Avenue more than satisfied with noontime meatless fare.

There are a few vegetarian salads on the menu, but we were hungry, which means that we went the sandwich route and ordered the JuJu Veggie – sliced avocado and cucumber, mixed greens and Swiss cheese between slices of toasted honey-wheat bread smeared with pesto. Sandwiches can be ordered cold, hot or in a wrap and come with a side order of fresh fruit, chips or a pasta salad. For a lighter meal, order a half-sandwich and pair it with any half-order of salad or soup for $7.50.




Speaking of soup, we also opted for a bowl of roasted red pepper and Gouda. Sweet tomato and herbs shone through and warmed our bellies on an unseasonably chilly spring day. Not feeling the usual sandwich-and-soup combo? Try the hummus, a generous portion of the chickpea dip flecked with feta and accompanied by sliced cucumbers and warm, oil-brushed pita.

For this lunch run, we indulged in a basket of popovers, the restaurant’s specialty. Among sweet and savory spreads to pair with that puffy goodness, we picked the seasonal marmalade. Currently, it’s orange – and sensational.

Even though Blondie’s stays open on Mondays until 4 p.m., the kitchen closes at 2 p.m., so make lunch the meatless meal of your day.

Sneak Peek: Lulu’s Local Eatery on South Grand

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Robbie Tucker and Lauren Loomis, aka Lulu, announced in February that their vegan food truck business, Lulu’s Local Eatery, would soon get a permanent home. After revamping the former Natty’s Pizza space at 3201 S. Grand Blvd., Tucker and Loomis are opening doors to their brick-and-mortar May 19.

At this fast-casual spot, you’ll find veggie wraps and sandwiches filled with local produce, plus a handful of noodle and rice bowls, sides and even a kids’ menu. Some established crowd-pleasers that were previously rotating specials on the truck now have a permanent place on the brick-and-mortar menu. The restaurant will also offer its own distinct specials not available at the mobile eatery.

And when its liquor license is approved in a few weeks, patrons will be able to enjoy wine and craft beer on tap and in bottles. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner Mondays and Wednesdays through Saturdays, with a weekend brunch slated to begin in late June or early July.

Here’s a look at what awaits when Lulu’s Local Eatery unlocks its doors.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Meatless Monday: Strawberry Soup

Monday, May 12th, 2014



When it comes to cold soups, you don’t have to wait until the peak of summer for that tomato-based gazpacho. Serve up a bowl this jewel-like Strawberry Soup to start (or end) the meal. Succulent red strawberries shine in this recipe from Gringo’s Cary McDowell, who served this during his time at Winslow’s Home. A splash of orange juice and a few mint leaves take this strawberry puree to the next level. Click here for the recipe, and read more about cold fruit soups here.


-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Frittata and Mesclun Greens Salad at Bixby’s

Monday, May 5th, 2014



Bixby’s, the upstairs enclave overlooking Forest Park at the Missouri History Museum, is already a secret gem of the St. Louis dining scene. After a bite of its Frittata and Mesclun Greens Salad, served at lunch until 2 p.m., you might try to keep it a secret yourself lest everyone finds out about this fresh, filling dish. Crispy quinoa stipples a generous tangle of arugula, mesclun and wiry sunflower sprouts dressed in a whisper-thin herb vinaigrette. Deep red cubes of roasted beets and sliced radishes mingle with the greens, and heaped on top of it all are thin shavings of Kickapoo cheese, sourced from Ludwig Farmstead Creamery in Fithian, Illinois. And the pièce de résistance? The herb frittata stuffed with shallots and greens, lofted to light, fluffy perfection. This delicious meatless lunch will tide you over and then some.



Meatless Monday: Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Monday, April 28th, 2014



A Monte Cristo is a sandwich-lover’s delight: stacks of deli meat sealed together with gooey cheese and jams, held by crisp battered slices of bread. But when a vegetarian version of this classic at Disney World turned out to be nothing more than a glorified grilled cheese, writer Beth Styles set out to make her meatless Monte Cristo wishes come true. Read more about her quest here, and get the recipe here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Gringo’s Vegetarian Tacos

Monday, April 21st, 2014


Vegetarian options abound at Gringo, which makes it the perfect destination for a Meatless Monday meal. Bonus: Its two vegetarian tacos are also vegan.

The tofu taco uses local MOFU tofu marinaded with poblano peppers and is seared to a charred, crisp exterior. The taco is topped with a spicy sauce made with toasted nuts, chiles and garlic, and finished with a sweet, crunchy mango-jicama salsa. It’s a delicious balance of savory-sweet heat. The calabaza con hongos taco is a mellower a mix of yellow squash, zucchini and Ozark Forest mushrooms.




If you’re dining at Gringo, don’t miss the table-side guacamole, which has a spicy kick from jalapenos and poblano peppers. It goes well on everything at Gringo, from tortilla chips to tacos to chilaquiles (pictured), which are great to share with vegetarian friends.


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.





Wheatless Wednesday: Miso Maple Cauliflower

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014


I recently spent two weeks at a yoga retreat in Ojai Valley, Calif., where we ate three lovingly prepared Ayurvedic meals a day. Ayurveda, which means “life knowledge,” is a traditional Indian medicinal practice that focuses on the powers of self-healing and balance in every aspect of daily life, including nutrition. I returned to St. Louis determined to bring snippets of those well-rounded, health-focused recipes into my daily meals.

Treating food as medicine is an important aspect of Ayurveda. The practice focuses on letting one’s sense of taste naturally guide us the body to its nutritional needs. Each of the six tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, astringent) satisfies a major dietary building block (fats, carbs, proteins, minerals, vitamins, etc). Ayurveda encourages incorporating as many of the six tastes into your meals to feel balanced and to help reduce unwanted cravings.

This recipe incorporates three of the six (sweet, sour, salty) in a earthy, grounding and satisfying combination during this transition from winter to spring – and it is naturally gluten-free. I’ll leave the bitter, pungent and astringent qualities to your creative juices. In health!

Miso Maple Cauliflower
4 Servings

¼ cup tahini paste
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. miso paste
1 tsp. brown rice vinegar or lemon juice
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 Tbsp. sesame or coconut oil, melted

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• In a small, deep bowl, whisk together the tahini paste and maple syrup until smooth. Then add the miso paste and stir until well combined.
• Thin the mixture with the rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon water and stir until incorporated, adding up to another 1 tablespoon water until a thin sauce forms. Set aside.
• In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with the oil. Pour in the sauce and mix to coat the cauliflower. Spread the cauliflower on a large rimmed baking sheet.
• Roast approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until cauliflower is browned.





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