Category Archives: Main Dish

SRC – Mom Francesca’s Eggplant and Onion Casserole

My Secret Recipe Club assignment for the month of November was The Recipe Taster.  I loved reading how he became interested in food and cooking at a young age:

“My childhood in Sicily was spent splattering colors or sketching on anything at hand and getting dirty with clay or gypsum. Soon though, TV chefs motivated me to take advantage of the free kitchen in those few afternoons that I was left alone at home.  I can still remember the first gooey meringues I prepared; perched on top of a silver presentoir, over a delicately embroidered white linen napkin, they waited on the kitchen table for my parents’ return, a token of gratitude for what they did and will be doing for me.
It wasn’t until I moved to Florence, in 1997, for University that I found myself in charge of my own food. The big city meant exposure to foreign food, new ingredients, new inspirations that fed my ever increasing curiosity. Soon all my house-mates relied on me for their dinners.”

When perusing the blog there were many recipes that were worthy of a feature, however I decided to make “Mom Francesca’s Eggplant and Onion Casserole” for TWO reasons…

  1. I really like eggplant and am always looking for new ways to prepare it.
  2. My mom’s name is Francis and she had Italian as one of her majors in college

It was simply meant to be.

I made the recipe according to the instructions below from The Recipe Taster’s website, with the exception of the olive oil.  I used the tiniest amount to grease the bottom of the casserole and did not drizzle any more oil onto the casserole.  What resulted was a casserole which was a bit dry looking on top after baking, but that was easily remedied by mixing the casserole prior to serving…you won’t even miss the oil and your heart will thank you!

MOM FRANCESCA’S EGGPLANT and ONION CASSEROLE 

Ingredients (serve 4-6 people):

  • 300g onions, mixed red and yellow 
  • 600g eggplant, about 2 medium ones 
  • 45g/1/4cup quinoa 
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (optional) 
  • dried oregano, to taste 
  • 1 small can chopped tomatoes in juice 
  • extra virgin olive oil (I barely used any)
  • 1/3 cup white wine 
  • salt 

Method:

Set your oven to 200C/390F and while it is eating up prepare the vegetables.

Trim the stem and flower ends from the eggplants and cut them into 3-4 drums across their length. Lay the drums cut side down and cut them vertically into planks about 5 mm/1/5″ thick and set aside.

Peel the onions, cut them in half and then into slices about 3mm/1/10″ thick.

To build the casserole, chose an oven-proof dish that could accommodate the ingredients in at least 2 layers. 

Grease the bottom of the dish with about 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (I used about 1/2 of that), place some of the onions on it followed by the eggplants (if the pieces are too wide to fit in, tear them in halves using your hands). Sprinkle the eggplants with some of the quinoa and salt. Add a pinch of oregano, red pepper flakes (if using). Cover with some of the tomato pieces. 

Continue layering the ingredients as described until either the oven dish is filled up or the ingredients run out. 

Finish the casserole with a layer of onions a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Pour the white wine over the vegetables and bake the casserole for about 1h-1h30m or until cooked through. To test for doneness try a piece of eggplant, it should still retain some bite but must be cooked through. Check the casserole every now and then and if the top is browning too fast, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil. 

Baked Casserole Prior to Mixing

Baked Casserole AFTER Mixing

Let the casserole cool down a bit before serving since it will be boiling hot. Coincidentally, this dish is great even served at room temperature. 



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Filed under Gluten Free, Grains, Main Dish, Recipes, Secret Recipe Club, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

GUEST POST – Weelicious’ Carrot Ginger Sauce

I am super excited about today’s guest post by Catherine McCord of Weelicious…this marks her third guest post for Veggie Grettie (click HERE for her first and HERE for her second).  I can’t wait to make this recipe.  The carrots I have been buying at the Farmer’s Market right now are so sweet and flavorful, so I know this is going to be amazing.  Enjoy!!!

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When it comes to my kids, if they’re offered rice or pasta they pretty much could care less what its mixed with. But when I served this Carrot Ginger Sauce tossed with long strands of noodles they were dubious. What was this “orange pasta” sitting on their plates?

That initial skepticism changed almost immediately after their first bites. With sweetness from the carrots, salty flavor from the miso and nuttiness from the tahini, they were so hooked by the incredible taste, I think they’re going to start paying a lot more attention to what’s on their pasta and rice from now on!

Carrot Ginger Sauce (Makes 1 Cup)

1 Tbsp Canola Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp Ginger, peeled and minced
4 Medium Carrots, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp Miso
1 Tbsp Tahini
2 Tbsp Water

Accompaniments: Soba Noodles, Brown Rice, Pasta (conventional wheat or GFree)

1. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
2. Add garlic and sauté until soft, about 30 seconds.
3. Add ginger and carrots.
4. Cover and cook until carrots are soft, about 15 minutes.
5. Transfer to a food processor and add the miso, tahini and water.
6. Puree until smooth.
7. Serve tossed with pasta, soba, udon noodles or rice.

* Stays fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

3 Comments

Filed under Guest Blog, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

LENTIL SALAD IN A BELL PEPPER BOWL

I couldn’t for the life of me come-up with an interesting name for this meal, but that doesn’t mean that this meal doesn’t rock…because it does.  This salad in a pepper bowl covers all the bases; protein, complex carbs, and vitamins galore not to mention the fact that you eat the bowl…no dishes!!!

A few weeks ago I was talking to my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher after school about food and recipes…an almost daily occurance between the two of us (my daughter knows to keep playing when we get on the subject of food, because we are GUARANTEED to be there for a long while) and she mentioned that the last time she was at Trader Joe’s they made a yummy salad by mixing together pre-cooked lentils and bruschetta.  Um, yum!

I think I might be single-handedly responsible for purchasing all of Trader Joe’s bruschetta.  While I can make my own, this product has saved me so much time and the flavor is amazing.  What is NOT amazing is the amount of olive oil they add to it.  Rest-assured, I have a solution for this problem.  When I buy the bruschetta I put it in the coldest part of my fridge for a day and all of the olive oil floats to the top and solidifies a bit making it quite easy to skim-off and throw in the trash can (better the trash can than my arteries!).

I have been eating this like crazy and it is now a staple in my fridge.  I took the liberty of adding some rice to the salad and really enjoy the results.

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INGREDIENTS

1 container Trader Joe’s Bruschetta (oil skimmed off)
1 box Melissa’s Steamed Lentils
1 bag Trader Joe’s Frozen Rice Medley* OR Frozen Organic Brown Rice

*Trader Joe’s Frozen Rice Medley contains barley which is not gluten free

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Cook the frozen rice by placing it in a glass bowl (NOT in the plastic as the directions suggest) and microwaving for 2-3 minutes.

Mix together the rice, lentils, and bruschetta (including all of the juice).

Cut the top off of a bell pepper and remove the seeds.  Spoon the lentil salad into the prepared bell pepper and enjoy!

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For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.

2 Comments

Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Grains, Main Dish, Product Reviews, Quick, Quick Tips, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

MY AWARD-WINNING VEGAN GLUTEN FREE CREPE RECIPE

A BIG, MASSIVE, GINORMOUS THANK YOU!!!!  

Thank you to all who voted for my crepe recipe in the So Delicious So Much to Love Recipe Contest.  I am beyond thrilled to report that my recipe won!  This is my very first recipe contest win and I am beyond excited.

For those of you who do not have Facebook, as promised, HERE is the recipe.

11 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Contests, Dessert, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

GUEST BLOG – SPORK SISTERS Spicy Corn Fritters with Lemongrass

I am so excited that the Spork Sisters are guest posting today!  I met Heather and Jenny at the Natural Products Expo West and they were as sweet as could be, but what really won me over was the amazing food they were serving.  In a land of sample aplenty, their food stood out and was wonderfully flavorful.

If this is your first introduction to the Spork Sisters, take note.  The ladies just released their first cookbook (Spork-Fed) and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.  For some time now the ladies have been teaching cooking classes in LA to rave reviews.  For those of you who can’t get to LA, they now have online cooking classes.

I highly recommend checking out their site and learning more about the awesome duo (click HERE).

The following recipe is from their cookbook, Spork-Fed with a foreword by fellow fans and sisters, Emily and Zooey Deschanel.

Spicy Corn Fritters with Lemongrass (gluten free)

INTRO: These lil’ fritters are special! They get a lot of their essence from lemongrass, one of the most important flavors of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. Just the smell of these fritters cooking will attract attention from neighbors all around. When you make a Southeast Asian feast, be sure these are part of the menu.

Yields about 8 fritters

Ingredients
2/3 cup gluten-free cornmeal, plus 1⁄2 cup for coating
3 tablespoons rice flour
2 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon neutral tasting high-heat oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon tamari (wheat-free)
1 tablespoon chili paste (chili garlic paste or sweet chili paste)
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
1 ear corn, kernels sliced from cob, or 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
1⁄2 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup water, more or less, as needed
2 tablespoons neutral tasting high-heat oil, for cooking

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine 2/3 cup cornmeal, rice flour and baking powder. Whisk until uniform.

Add maple syrup, oil, lime juice, tamari, chili paste, ginger and sea salt, and whisk.

Add corn, lemongrass and water to mixture. Amount of water needed will vary, depending on which brand of rice flour is used. Consistency should be fairly firm and mixture should hold together when scooped. Form mixture into 2-inch round patties.

Add additional cornmeal to a bowl and coat patties. Tap patties gently to remove excess cornmeal.

Heat a large sauté pan and add high-heat oil. Place patties in pan and cook over low-medium heat for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden.

Note: You can double the recipe when serving more than four.  For a printable version of this recipe click here.

The Sporkie Scoop

FOR YOUR SMARTS Lemongrass is native to Southeast Asia and has been consumed and used as medicine for thousands of years! Lemongrass is a general term for about 55 species of grasses. Some types are used in perfumes and cosmetics because of the clean, fresh smell.

FOR YOUR PARTS Lime juice contains a compound called limonene, which is a major cancer fighter! It can also boost your white blood cell activity. That’s some powerful citrus!

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Filed under Appetizers, Books, Gluten Free, Guest Blog, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

BAKED TOSTADA SHELLS / BOWLS

Since Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner I have been thinking about what I want to serve for dinner that night and I thought a Tostada Bar might be fun.  Traditionally tostada shells are not exactly healthy (since they are fried), so today I played around in the kitchen and found out that it is actually REALLY easy to make baked tostada shells / bowls with corn tortillas.

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, softened some corn tortillas (which can be done on the stove top, or in the microwave), shaped the softened corn tortillas into a bowl by placing them inside some small springform pans and topping them with little pastry molds to keep the middle of the tortilla down while they baked, and baked them for 15 minutes.   How easy is that?  I am sure the same method would work for flour tortillas as well…just watch the baking time since I haven’t tried it myself.

Here are some ideas for what to put-out for a Tostada Bar:

  • Beans (whole or refried)
  • Vegan sour cream
  • Shredded cheese (Daiya is our favorite)
  • Vegan Queso (click HERE for my recipe)
  • Salsa Fresca (click HERE for my recipe)
  • Guacamole
  • Chopped onion
  • Sliced olives
  • Sliced Jalapenos
  • Shredded lettuce or cabbage
  • chopped cilantro
  • A variety of hot sauce
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Finely chopped mushrooms cooked down with taco seasoning

Is there anything you would include in your Tostada Bar that I haven’t listed???  I’d love to hear your ideas.

8 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Quick Tips, Recipes

BOOK REVIEW – Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps

Kim Barnouin’s “Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps” is such a fun read! People are constantly asking me what my favorite brands and products are, which products are good substitutes for non vegan foods, and which products don’t make the cut  (I could and chat for hours [and have] about these very topics).

Reading Kim’s newest book feels like chatting with a girlfriend about those very same subjects. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her product recommendations and how she highlighted the differences between each, i.e. which vegan cream cheese was the tangiest, which is the softest in texture, etc. As for the product recommendations, who knew there was a vegan version of condensed milk (Soymilke Condensed Milk)??? I am really looking forward to researching this product more.

I recommend this book to everyone from omnivores trying to add more plant based foods to their diet, to newbie vegans trying to find subs for their old favorites, to seasoned vegans wanting to know more about new vegan products on the market.

Kim highlights a few of her go to recipes in the book, one of which is now in my permanent lunch rotation. I am hooked on the “Deb’s Chili” recipe that she included in the book. Kim’s friend Cathy got the chili recipe from her mom (some of the best recipes come from moms) and it is an absolute winner along with a snap to make.

The publisher has very kindly agreed to let me share the recipe with you.  I fortunately had the forethought to take some quick pictures of the chili while it was piping hot and before eating it!

DEB’S CHILI – Yields 6 servings

2 Tbs grapeseed oil (I omitted this)
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 (4-ounce) can green chilis, diced
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, diced
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup salsa
2/3 cup vegan cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup vegan sour cream

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until soft, about 5 minutes (I water sautéed mine). Stir in the chilis, taco seasoning, tomatoes, kidney beans, and black beans. Let the mixture simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes (after water sautéing the onions I threw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker around lunchtime and kept it on low until dinner).

Serve with salsa, cheese, and sour cream.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Books, Crock Pot, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Product Reviews, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

MY CEDARLANE SOLUTION

I recently took over the position of Editor at Chic Vegan (I am super stoked about it!!!) which means I am in the middle of experiencing a steep learning curve (translation – I don’t have a lot of extra time).  There have been more than a few days when I have looked-up from my computer screen just in time to go get my daughter, help her with her homework which we finish just in time for my son to come home from school and then before you know it it is time for gymnastics and Jiu Jitsu.  Where does the time go???

The other day a I was making a MAD-DASH through Costco (I know other mamas out there can get through Costco in 15 minutes flat too, right?  Not my preferred method, but necessary at times.) to pick-up a few essentials like organic pre-cooked edemame, seaweed salad, and some organic produce when something caught my eye.  In the refrigerated section I noticed that they had some Cedarlane Vegetable Barley Soup…SCORE!!!  I looked at the back of the package and although it didn’t say vegan on the packaging it did say DAIRY-FREE and upon further examination I couldn’t see any non-vegan ingredients.  One word to the wise is that this is NOT a gluten-free soup.  Barley is a gluten-containing grain.  Fortunately my daughter does not have an allergy to barley.  That being said, I still do not give it to her very often.

My easy meal solution was to warm the soup and adjust the final soup for each person.  For the boys in the family I added some Gardein chicken that I first chopped-up and browned.  I ate the soup straight-up, but there is a very slight spicyness to the soup, so I poured some into a bowl for my daughter, added a little filtered water and a squeeze of ketchup to tame the spice.  This was such an easy and quick meal!  Costco to the rescue again.

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Filed under Main Dish, Product Reviews, Quick, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

MUSHROOM STROGANOFF

One of my favorite dinners as a child was Beef Stroganoff (I hadn’t seen the light yet).  My mom would lug out the electric skillet and make a huge batch of it for dinner.

Things have changed a bit in my dietary life since then, but the memory of stroganoff and how much I liked it still lingers.  The egg noodles have been replaced with gluten-free Quinoa shells, the beef has been replaced by mushrooms, and the sour cream is now vegan.

The end result…bliss.  My family lapped-up this dinner.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup diced onion
12 ounces mushrooms (1/2 finely diced, 1/2 sliced)
1 Tbs. Earth Balance soy-free spread
1 box Quinoa shell pasta
2 Tbs. cornstarch + 2 Tbs water (make a slurry)
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1/3 cup So Delicious original creamer
2/3 cup Sour Supreme
Chopped cilantro and / or parsley for serving
 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

After cleaning the mushrooms, place half of them in the food processor and process until finely diced.  Slice the remaining half of the mushrooms.

Sauté the onions, mushrooms, and Earth Balance until the onions are translucent.

While sautéing the onion and mushroom mixture, boil the shells until they are very al dente.  You do not want to cook the pasta too much or it will become soggy when you bake it.   When the pasta is ready, drain it and pour it into a casserole dish.

Once the onions are translucent add the broth, So Delicious coconut milk, and wine (optional) to the onion and mushroom mixture.    bring the mixture up to a low boil and add the cornstarch slurry along with the salt and pepper.  Allow the mixture to thicken.  When the sauce has thickened, take it off of the heat and mix in the creamer and Soup Supreme.

Pour the finished sauce over the noodles, mix to incorporate, and bake covered for 30-45 minutes until the noodles are soft and have absorbed a good amount of the sauce.

Serve topped with chopped parsley and / or cilantro.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Gluten Free, Main Dish, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

VEGAN HOLIDAY KITCHEN – Giveaway

Over the holidays I was gifted a copy of Nava Atlas’s Vegan Holiday Kitchen by my parents and I absolutely love it.  I was recently offered a copy of the book to review and when I mentioned that I already owned it we agreed that it would be wonderful to give a copy to one lucky Veggie Grettie reader.

Nava Atlas is the author and illustrator of many books on vegan and vegetarian cooking, most recently Vegan Holiday Kitchen, Vegan Express, Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons, The Vegetarian Family Cookbookand The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient GourmetA book on leafy greens, Wild About Greenswill be published in June 2012.

I have been given permission to share three of the recipes from Vegan Holiday Kitchen with you…the hardest part was choosing which ones to share!

CORN FRITTERS WITH CILANTRO SAUCE

Click HERE for the printable recipe

HEARTY LENTIL AND MUSHROOM SHEPHERD’S PIE

Click HERE for the printable recipe

CRANBERRY-CARROT CAKE

Click HERE for the printable recipe

 *** WE HAVE A WINNER ***

ASHLEY won the giveaway with the following comment-

I would really appreciate this book because I have recently been diagnosed with Lupus and as a part of keeping myself healthy (as well as my family) I have changed to a vegetarian/vegan diet as it helps keep my symptoms better controlled.
Thanks!!

All recipes and images reprinted with permission from Vegan Holiday Kitchen © 2011 by Nava Atlas, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.  Photographs by Susan Voisin

132 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Cake, Dessert, Dip, Giveaways, Holiday, Main Dish, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetarian