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Sep 16, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Meatless Monday: Summer Lasagna

Monday, July 7th, 2014

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Lasagna has something for everyone. Cheese. Starch. More cheese. But vegetarian lasagna? Well that’s usually just Mom’s recipe without the meat. Bo-ring. (Nothing against your mom. She’s lovely.) Since it’s too hot to turn on the oven and my farmers market produce overfloweth, it’s time to find a new twist on this old favorite.

Ready for a vegetarian lasagna that doesn’t require gallons of tomato sauce or even pasta? Click here for the recipe and click here to read more about how a friend’s love affair with polenta inspired Kellie Hynes to create this vibrant vegetarian dish.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Joanie’s Pizzeria’s Favorite Veggie

Monday, June 30th, 2014

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A veggie pizza might sound like a humdrum solution for a Meatless Monday, but not when it’s Joanie’s Pizzeria’s Favorite Veggie. This specialty pie from the Soulard pizza joint bursts with the bright flavors of colorful, fresh produce. Summer squash, spinach, mushrooms, yellow onions and roasted garlic all claim space on this pie, and a light tomato sauce walks a balanced line between acid and sugar. Watery vegetables like spinach can easily turn a thin crust into goo, but not here. Ours was toothsome from edge to center, and it took four Sauce staffers less than five minutes to devour all 16 inches of it. Next time, we’re ordering two.

 

 

Just Five: Grilled Endive Salad with Cannellini Beans

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

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Endive makes me feel like a “fancy” grown-up. First, there’s the pronunciation. I love that you can say AHN’-deev or EN’-dyve – I do enjoy ingredients that put on airs. Also it’ rather bitter, but once grilled, a bit of natural sweetness comes out. And only the fanciest grown-ups have developed a taste for bitter things, right?

This is a great dish for a summer barbecue, especially for long-suffering vegetarians, with simple, clean, fresh flavors and a nice combination of textures. Leftovers are equally delightful chopped up and served with grilled chicken or steak. So invite your AUH’-nt over, fill the VAH’-ze with flowers and grill up some AHN’-deev for her, DAH’-ling!

Grilled Endive Salad with Cannellini Beans
4 to 6 Servings

1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
¼ cup chopped fresh dill, divided
4 heads Belgian endive
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

• Prepare the grill for high, direct heat.
• Meanwhile, in a saute pan over medium-low heat, warm the cannellini beans for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and remove from heat.
• In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil and half the dill, and toss with the beans. Set aside.
• Trim the ends of the endive, without removing the stem holding the leavings together. Slice each head in half lengthwise. Brush the cut side of the endive with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
• Brush the grate with a bit of olive oil and grill the endive about 4 minutes, until leaves just begin to curl and char. Remove from heat.
• Place the grilled endive cut-side-up in a serving dish. Spoon the beans over the endive and top with remaining dill and feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or room temperature.

 

 

Meatless Monday: Vegan Jackfruit Carnitas

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

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Barbecue season is upon us, which means meat, meat and more meat … and leaves poor vegetarians and vegans to make a meal with some sorry sides. Fear not; it’s jackfruit to the rescue.

Looking at a fresh jackfruit, you wouldn’t expect it to inspire anything. In fact, if one snuck into your house, you’d probably whack it with a baseball bat. A fresh jackfruit is humongous, oblong and yellowish green. Like an 80-pound alien booger with tumors. But the inside, ah, the inside of this gentle giant is interesting. Crack open a jackfruit and you’ll find pale yellow, fibrous flesh that vaguely resembles a pineapple. With tumors – er, seeds. OK, the jackfruit is not going to win any beauty prizes, but those fibers and seeds are where the magic happens. They soak up the flavors of the sauce you cook them in. And, yes, when you tear it up, braised jackfruit has the exact look and mouth feel of pulled pork.

Read more about the weird, wonderful powers of jackfruit here, and get the recipe for Vegan Jackfruit Carnitas here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Cauliflower two ways at Lulu’s Local Eatery

Monday, June 16th, 2014

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Anything on the menu at Lulu’s Local Eatery, the newly opened brick-and-mortar of the beloved food truck at 3201 South Grand, is fair game for Meatless Monday. After all, it’s not just vegetarian; it’s vegan. Check out the Spring Roll Bowl with crispy cauliflower atop greens, shredded carrot, green onions and cilantro dressed in a savory orange peanut sauce. It’s a dish with contrasting flavors, temperatures and texture and that makes us feel full but not at all heavy.

 

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For something a little richer, try the Buffalo Cauliflower Wrap. Crispy, fried cauliflower is tossed in buffalo sauce and rolled into a burrito along with greens, cucumber, carrot, onion and Lulu’s nondairy ranch sauce that cools things off just enough to take a big bite.

If they haven’t sold out already, snag an order of the brownie bites, provided by Sweet Art. They’re decadent with intense chocolate flavor and are also a Sauce office favorite.

 

 

Wheatless Wednesday: Asian Mung Bean Noodles with Sunflower Seed Sauce

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

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Die-hard gluten-free foodies know the frustration that comes when dining at Asian restaurants. The menus look so innocently gluten-free – until the words “soy sauce” appear. Soy sauce is the main gluten culprit in many Asian dishes because it is traditionally brewed with wheat. While soy sauce may not affect those with mild gluten intolerance or allergies, those of us with celiac disease must stay clear of it. That narrows down hundreds of dishes at Asian restaurants to a precious few that can be prepared gluten-free.

Thankfully, gluten-free soy sauce alternatives to use at home are relatively easy to find these days. Most groceries now carry soy sauce and tamari brewed without wheat. Instead of taking your chances on a restricted takeout menu, try your hand at this dish. It’s a healthy, high protein, gluten-free take on Asian-inspired food that includes local, wholesome ingredients – definitely not your typical No. 22.

Asian Mung Bean Noodles with Sunflower Seed Sauce and Roasted Tofu
4 servings

¼ cup sunflower seed butter
¼ cup tahini
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. gluten-free tamari, divided
3 Tbsp. agave nectar
4 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. miso paste
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped ginger
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 lb. firm tofu
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pint snow peas, trimmed
10 to 12 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
Mung bean fettuccine noodles*
Chopped mint for garnish

• Blend the sunflower seed butter, tahini, rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons tamari, agave nectar, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, red wine vinegar, miso paste, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika and 3 tablespoons hot water until smooth. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
• Meanwhile, spread a clean kitchen towel on a plate and place the tofu on top. Place another clean towel over the tofu and stack a heavy plate on top. Allow the water to drain from the tofu for at least 1 hour.
• Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Dice the pressed tofu into 1-inch pieces. Toss in a bowl with 1 tablespoon sesame oil, the remaining 2 teaspoons tamari and salt and pepper to taste. Spread the tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet.
• Roast for 15 minutes, flip the tofu, and roast another 10 minutes, until browned on both sides. Set aside.
• Meanwhile, add the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the snow peas and asparagus pieces and saute until light brown, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
• Prepare the mung bean fettuccine according to package directions. Place the cooked beans in a large mixing bowl and toss with the sunflower seed butter sauce. Add the vegetables and toss.
• Divide the noodle mixture between 4 plates. Top each with roasted tofu and chopped mint.

*Explore Asian Gluten-Free Organic Mung Bean Fettuccine noodles can be found at Local Harvest Grocery.

Meatless Monday: Spinach Walnut Pesto

Monday, June 9th, 2014

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Gardens are brimming with fresh leafy spinach right now, and we love its nutritious versatility in everything from salads to sides. Tonight, blitz it with fresh herbs, walnuts and Parmesan cheese for a vibrant, earthy pesto. Cook a pot of your favorite pasta or gnocchi until al dente, then coat it liberally in the sauce for a quick, flavorful Meatless Monday meal. Get the recipe here.

 

-photo by Greg Rannells

Meatless Monday: Who Needs Meat? at MoKaBe’s

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

 

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My first encounter with alfalfa sprouts occurred in high school when I became a die-hard fan of Jimmy John’s Turkey Tom, a plain-Jane turkey sandwich stuffed with sprouts. Alas, sprouts disappeared from that sandwich in 2012, and since then, a turkey-tomato-mayo sandwich just isn’t the same – and neither is my palate.

Luckily I can get my sprout fix at MoKaBe’s, the coffeeshop that anchors the corner of Arsenal Street and South Grand Boulevard– and a much healthier, meat-free option at that. The vegetarian menu at MoKaBe’s isn’t just a dinky collection of salads and a grilled cheese sandwich; the number of its meatless menu items practically equals the carnivorous offerings. Four different house-made veggie burgers are listed (In fact, MoKaBe’s Blue Mac burger made our Veggie Burger Short List a few years ago.), not to mention several other meatless sandwich options, like the appropriately named Who Needs Meat?

Two slices of Companion multigrain bread speckled with white and black sesame seeds are slicked with a creamy, house-made dill sauce. The bread barely contains a large stack of lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumber and a hefty handful of my crunchy, beloved sprouts, all bookended by slices of Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese. I continued to feed my veggie fix with a side house salad of spring greens, artichoke hearts, yellow peppers and mushrooms tossed with sundried tomato dressing. This vegetarian meal left me full and had me wondering the eponymous question: who needs meat? Well, at least for today.

 

Just Five: No-Bake Granola Bars

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

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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

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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.

 

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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.

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