vegetarian

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Meatless Monday: Cilantro Pesto Pizza

Published May 13, 2013 by jenmatteson

Two Meatless Monday’s in a row, and I’m soon to be on fire!  Just last week I came across the most hilarious blog that is sure to make you laugh out loud.  Thug Kitchen is serving up tons of vegan recipes with even more attitude than a teenage girl.  If you haven’t yet visited, you should.  Even Gweneth Paltrow is talking about it!

Cilantro Pesto Pizza

Last weekend, I made a double batch of whole wheat pizza dough, separated it out into 8 dough balls, and froze.  I was tired of being in the mood for pizza on a Friday, but not having enough time to put the dough together after work and still eat at a reasonable time.  I’ve never tried freezing pizza dough before, but I read some where you can do it. If you read it on the internet, it must be true, right? 

I was planning to make a Mexican veggie pizza for this post, but once I saw Thug Kitchen’s cilantro pesto, I had to try it out immediately.  I took the dough out of the freezer the day prior and transferred it to the refrigerator.  I then took it out of the refrigerator and set it out on the counter for about and hour before rolling it out.  It worked out great!  Though for future, I might make a regular pizza dough instead of whole wheat.  Whole wheat doughs tend to be more stiff than all all-purpose flour doughs.  It was a little fussy in rolling out, but I made it work.    Just not a pretty edge!

Cilantro Pesto Pizza

On to the good stuff.  I was slightly concerned about this pizza, mostly because I was completely winging it.  The ingredients all go well together, but using a pesto that I’ve never tried before was a risk.  But, I took a risk and it paid off, big time.  Nate and I both loved it!  Of course I used cheese only on his side, so vegans could enjoy this pizza just as much as I did!  I initially planned to add jalapeno, but I forgot.  It was still wonderful.  The cilantro pesto paired perfectly with the toppings.  Nate said it tasted light and fresh, but I thought with the black beans and avocados, it was rich and creamy – but not heavy.  So glad to have extra cilantro pesto to use in a variety of ways.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Cilantro Piesto Pizza

Cilantro Pesto Pizza

Source: Cilantro Pesto adapted from Thug Kitchen, Pizza is Pigzilla Original
Servings: 1 small pizza, about 2 servings

Ingredients:

For the pesto (makes about 1 cup):
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
2/3 cup slivered almonds
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup olive oil

For the pizza:
pizza dough (use your favorite – I used 1/4 of my whole wheat pizza dough)
1/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup onions, chopped fine
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1/2 avocado, chopped

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine cilantro, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and zest, salt and vegetable broth.  While processing, stream in olive oil until pesto reaches desired consistency.  Set aside.

2. Cook pizza dough to specifications instructions.

3. Spread 1/2 cup cilantro pesto over crust.  Sprinkle black beans, onions, peppers, tomato and cheese over pizza evenly.  Return to oven and heat until cheese is melted and crust is desired crispness.  Sprinkle avocado over the top and serve.

Meatless Monday: Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Published May 6, 2013 by jenmatteson

We are certainly not vegetarians, but we enjoy eating some vegetarian meals from time to time.  And by “we”, I mean I make them and Nate eats them because that’s what I made for dinner.  But usually there are no complaints.  Not only is eating a vegetarian meal from time to time healthful, but it’s also pretty budget friendly.  Quality meat can get so expensive, especially when you have it as part of each meal.  I usually only buy meat when it’s on sale – I always stock up on the BOGO sales on chicken breasts because we eat so much of it and it’s such an easy go-to meal.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

But what’s easier than chicken breasts?  No meat meals!  Unless I’m using dried beans, there is almost no pre-planning involved because I don’t have to remember to take anything out of the freezer beforehand.  Not only that, but it usually comes together in a cinch.  Many of my blogging friends do Meatless Mondays, which as the title indicates, is a vegetarian recipe.  I thought it’d be fun to try to add more Meatless Mondays into our lives and into my blog.  Variety is crucial in a well balanced life.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

For these stuffed peppers, I didn’t follow any particular recipe, although I did Google how long and at what temp I should cook them for.  Didn’t want to waste any of this delicious quinoa salad stuffing!  Speaking of wasting…after I had stuffed the peppers, I put the remaining quinoa salad into a container to save for lunches or another dinner.  In the morning, I went to grab it out of the fridge to pack for lunch, only to discover that it was gone.  And it wasn’t like a little bit, I could have stuffed at least four more peppers.  I immediately texted Nate with a sad face asking why he didn’t leave me any leftovers.  While I was waiting for a response, I went to grab a container to pack a salad in, and lo and behold, there sits my full container of quinoa salad, in my kitchen drawer.  Just then, I received a text from Nate saying sorry, but it was just a little salad.  I had completely forgot about the leftover salad, which really was like three bites.  I felt so bad for accusing him, though when we talked about it later, he did say he probably would have just taken the entire container to work.  Even though it sat out all night, given the ingredients, I figured it would be safe to keep.  Don’t judge!  But really, that’s how good it was – I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away!

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

The peppers turned out fantastic, and while they don’t look like a lot, eating a whole one is probably too large of a serving.  For presentation purposes, I didn’t want to cut the peppers in half, but we easily could have been full on a half stuffed pepper.  I mixed a little shredded pepper jack cheese in Nate’s pepper (don’t worry, none was in the “drawer leftovers”) and added a little to the top.  Of course, mine was cheese-less, so for you non-dairy eaters, it was still a fabulous meal!  The variety of fresh veggies, paired with the slightly firm pepper was a fabulous combination.  Add in a little taco seasoning, and you’ve got yourself a flavorful, healthy and filling vegetarian meal.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

What would you like to see next on Meatless Monday?

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: Makes 4

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
3 tbsp taco seasoning
4 bell peppers (I used red, but use whatever color you wish), be sure to choose peppers that have an even bottom so they can stand on their own.
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (optional)
non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1.  Add quinoa, water and taco seasoning to medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Using a paring knife, carefully cut the top of the peppers off, discarding the stem and seeds.  Set aside pepper bottoms and reserve any flesh from the tops and chop.  In a medium frying pan, spray with a small amount of cooking oil and heat over medium heat.  Add chopped pepper, onion, jalapeno and frozen corn.  Sauté for 4-6 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften, but are still slightly crisp.  Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

3. To the vegetables, add black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese (optional) and cooked quinoa.  Fold together until well combined.  Spoon quinoa salad into peppers.  Fill so the salad is barely overflowing the pepper, and top with additional cheese (if desired).  Place peppers on foil lined baking sheet or dish (dish is nice in case they try to take a spill) and bake until pepper begins to soften and cheese begins to brown on top, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and garnish with Greek yogurt and/or additional cilantro.

Recipe Swap: Avocado and Lime Black Bean Tacos

Published November 30, 2012 by jenmatteson

It’s that time again – Blogger’s Choice Recipe Swap, hosted by Sarah at A Taste of Home Cooking.  This week, I was assigned Jaida’s blog, Sweet Beginnings.  It might sound familiar because I’ve made several of her recipes in the past: double crunch pork chops, pumpkin scones with maple glaze (which I just made again before Thanksgiving), and salsa verde chicken ‘n’ dumplings.  Scroll to the bottom of this post if you want to see what other recipe swappers made!

I have to be honest, I must have been out of my mind to sign up for a recipe swap right after Thanksgiving.  We still had turkey and potatoes leftover, I had to test a pot pie recipe for a dinner I’m catering next week, so we had 6 total (thankfully Nate didn’t mind bringing them for lunch and making his co-workers jealous!), and we also had a ton of leftover salsa chicken that Nate had practically begged me to make because he loves it so much.  We still have pie, cookies and pumpkin scones from our friends thanksgiving, so the last thing I needed was another sweet.  But, I powered through and found an awesome recipe 😉

It really came down to the wire for me to make something for this swap, and I ended up having to do it on a night that Nate had class.  I definitely didn’t want to make some extravagant meal for just myself, so I opted for something similar to what I make myself when he’s not home, but with a fun twist. 

When Nate’s gone, one of my favorite things to make for myself are black bean tacos – black beans, onions, jalapenos, peppers, lettuce, cilantro (sometimes avocados – it really just depends on what is in my fridge), hot sauce and a dab of Greek yogurt on a whole wheat flour tortilla.  I saw Jaida’s avocado and lime black bean tacos and thought it’d sounded perfect.  Oh, and if you are a taco fan (which I am) she has Taco Tuesdays and has more taco recipes on her blog than I’ve ever seen before (over 40!).  Love it!

While the ingredients are fairly similar to what I would normally use, I found that sprinkling the tortilla with cumin really brings out the smokey flavor (I normally add it into the black beans), but it’s balanced out perfectly with the lime juice.  What an excellent combination!  I omitted the cheese (as I’m not a fan) and unintentionally omitted the egg whites.  I thought I had eggs (or at least egg substitute) at home, but I didn’t.  They were still excellent!  These tacos were an excellent way to jazz up my normal Wednesday night alone meal.

Avocado and Lime Black Bean Tacos

Source: Sweet Beginnings
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsps lime juice
kosher salt
1 avocado, chopped
2 whole wheat flour tortillas
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
plain non-fat Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil. 

2. In a small saucepan, heat black beans over medium heat, about 2 minutes, until heated through (microwave would work fine here).  Set aside to cool.

3. In a medium bowl, combine beans, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice.  Add salt to taste.  Stir in avocado and set aside.

4. Place tortillas on baking sheet and sprinkle each with cumin.  Add cheese.  Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

5. Spoon bean mixture evenly on each tortilla.  Add a dollop of Greek yogurt (or sour cream) and hot sauce if desired, fold gently and serve.

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