Some Simple Vegetarian/Vegan Recipes

In this section, we will present some quick but very tasty vegetarian/vegan dishes. Most of these can be prepared and cooked in 30 minutes or less. Some of the dishes were concocted by the Wrackline Blog's author, and others by his wife. These dishes are all meatless plant-based food, and some are purely vegan.
 The author classifies himself as a "lacto/ovo/meato vegetarian". That is, I will use milk and cheese regularly, and eat yogurt every night, and eat eggs maybe once a week. If I am presented a meat dish while visiting my kids or friends, I may eat a bit of the meat. My wife, on the other hand, has switched to a purely vegan diet in the past year.

NOTE: The "Seasoning" section and some of the individual "Cooking" sections have extra detail which may be helpful for those folks who are just learning how to cook. More experienced chefs can just skip these parts - hopefully they won't laugh too much if I have put forth some cooking gaffes!


Nutritional considerations:

Cooking:
In general, the author prefers to cook as little as possible. Why? Because heat is pretty rough on some B vitamins, Vitamin C, many phytonutrients, and even some minerals. Thus, when I saute something, I prefer to "carmelize" as little as possible (even though carmelizing greatly adds to the flavor). My recommendation is that vegetables should be still brightly colored after cooking and be somewhat crunchy. I'll still carmelize potatoes slightly in a given dish, perhaps. During the sauteing operation, use the "fork test" to help you determine if the veggies are soft enough.

Whole grain or whole wheat:
Many of these recipes will be pasta dishes. If you want to really amp up the nourishment, consider whole wheat or whole grain pastas. Why? Because "durum" wheat pasta is the "white bread" of the pasta group. Durum wheat is a variety of wheat that is hard. Nonetheless it is wheat that has been refined, and contains only the endosperm. It's just tan-colored instead of white. What does "refined" mean? Essentially it means that all the nutrients have been removed! All the fiber, all the vitamins, and most of the minerals are processed out and all that's left is the fine white powder that you see in the baking aisle of stores. But it's "enriched", you might say. But actually all this means is that chemical vitamins are added back, but not the minerals or the fiberous compounds.
 Here's another little-known aspect of eating refined products: white bread and other products made of white flour, "white" pasta, and to an extent even white rice, are all converted to sugars almost as fast as eating sugar itself. They lack the complexity and fiber of unrefined grains, and thus cause a big spike in blood sugar, which forces the pancreas to scramble and pump out some insulin to counteract it.
 Whole wheat and other whole grains, on the other hand, contain the endosperm, the germ, and the bran. This means you get the complete nourishment of the grain as Ms Nature intended. This way the pasta becomes a significant source of nourishment in the meal instead of just a filler.
 I will admit that whole grain pasta is a bit of an "acquired taste". So you might start by using half regular pasta and half whole wheat/whole grain.

Oils
Olive oil and coconut oil rule. Coconut oil can be used for some foods, particularly for anything requiring high heat. Olive oil is great for everything else. "Extra virgin" olive oil is preferred. This means not necessarily that the oil has taken the vow of celibacy, but that it is "cold-pressed", "expellier-pressed", or "mechanically pressed", AND has had no further refining. This type of olive oil is always supplied in darker bottles, since it can be damaged by light.
 On the other hand, all those pristine yellow refined oils that you see in the grocery aisles in clear bottles have been through several processes of deodorization, bleaching, and high heat, and may have been extracted by way of solvents like hexane or heptane (similiar to gasoline!). This level of processing produces the same result as the refining of wheat into white flour. All the vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, and the free fatty acids are stripped from the original oil-containing seeds. Furthermore, the high heat processes (up to 500 degrees F) cause the formation of undesireable compounds such as AGEs (Advanced Glycation Endproducts) and even trans fats. As a matter of fact, some of the final processing steps are done to remove the bad taste due to the accelerated breakdown caused by the initial high temperature processing steps!

Meats
If you're like me, you were raised on a meat-based diet. My typical meal was meat, potatoes, and a vegetable side. But over the years I have come to appreciate the advantages of a plant-based diet (vegetables, whole grains, beans, rice, lentils). Among other things, I have observed a noticably higher energy level by eliminating meats, so much so that I have to throttle it back by starting the day with a mix of Tazo "Calm" and "Zen" teas rather than coffee. It just seems to take more energy to digest meat. Further, over the years I have observed that high intake of meats seems to be associated with various health issues in friends or co-workers.
 In any case, you might not be ready to switch to an all plant-based diet yet. That's great. But consider perhaps a "meatless day" or two each week to start. Consider also changing your relative portion size. Rather than have meat be the biggest portion on your plate, let the potatoes/rices/vegetables be the larger portions. Or even consider transitioning meat to be a "condiment" rather than a "portion". Do this by adding small amounts of beef, chicken, fish, or pork to casseroles, or by just using a smaller portion of meat and take a small bite of it with a bite of the potatoes/rices/pastas. That way, you won't miss out on the "umami" taste provided by the meat (I discuss umami below).


Seasoning

Most of the recipes below will simply say "the usual herbs". When you see that phrase, just look in this section. It describes the herbs/spices that the author uses for almost all of these recipes: garlic, Janes "Crazy Mixed Up Salt", and the herbs basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. How to get the best results from these herbs is discussed here. (Naturally, feel free to use your own favs instead!)

Garlic. You can't go wrong with garlic. It adds a rich flavor to almost any dish. Also its nutritional benefits are very significant. You don't really need a garlic press. Just cut both ends off the clove, and at that point the brittle outer skin can easily be lifted off (Shown in the right graphic below). If not, just lay your knife flat on top of the clove and give it a whack with the heel of your hand. Then the outer skin can easily be removed. Then just slice the clove into small pieces. For all these dishes, use 4-5 cloves or even more, if desired.
 Always allow the garlic to "rest" for a few minutes - after being cut up - before cooking. (I usually cut up the garlic before I do anything else). This allows the nutritional allicin compounds to combine upon exposure to air. If they don't get this chance to combine, they will be be degraded by cooking. NOTE: This applies to onions as well!

Jane's "Crazy Mixed Up Salt". This is the author's fav all-around seasoning/salt. I sprinkle some on the veggies when I start to saute them. Feel free to use the seasoned salt or salt substitute of your choice.

"Simply Organic Spice Right All Purpose Salt Free" is a great all-around salt substitute seasoning.

Basil. Basil is great on most dishes. If you have the inclination, buy a basil plant in the spring and set it outside your back door. Then you can go outside and cut off some leaves when you need them. Nothing beats fresh basil in a dish, and this applies to all herbs. In the fall, cut off the seeds/flowers at the top of the basil plant; this will keep it producing lots of leaves. Basil is a warm weather plant and quickly goes to pot when it gets cool. During the cooler months, you can try a package of fresh basil in stores. But it usually lacks full flavor and only lasts a few days; it's best stored wrapped with a paper towel in a plastic wrapper in a cool, dry place (NOT refrigerated). You can at least buy a bottle of dried basil, or ("italian seasoning") during the cooler months.

Oregano. Oregano is great for pasta and spaghetti dishes. You can get an oregano plant in the spring as well. It's not as sensitive to cold.

Parsley. This seems to add a bit of the magic "umami" taste to dishes. You can get bunches of fresh parsley at the store, and they seem to last for quite a while in the reefer. Store in a plastic bag with a paper towel in it to absorb moisture. Change the paper towel every once in a while.

Thyme, Rosemary. These are great when added to the various vegatable/grain casseroles.

NOTE: A lot of flavor from the garlic and herbs is lost during the heat of cooking. So add a bit of garlic when you first begin to saute the veggies or cook a soup. Then add the majority of the garlic, and all the herbs, during the last minute or two of sauteing, or the last few minutes of cooking for soups.
 NOTE: All this talk of growing your own is great for those in warm-weather states. But in northern states (like Oregon, where the author lives), you might as well stick to bottled herbs. You can try packages of fresh herbs in stores, but as with the basil, these may or may not last more than a few days.

Spices Spices cut up

Jimmie's fav spices
 Jane's salt comes in a shaker with a red top. Whole garlic on right. Usually the individual cloves will just break out. Basil leaves are on the left, parsley in the middle, and oregano on the right.

Preliminary herb prep shown here
 Whole basil leaf on left, chopped basil on bottom left. Fresh oregano on right, chopped oregano on bottom right.
 How to cut up garlic without a garlic press is shown in the middle. A whole clove is to the left. Just cut the ends off (middle, with the cut-off ends and hard outer wrapping shown above), then slice with a knife, shown on the right.

Umami

Ever wonder why certain foods or seasonings seem to produce a particularly memorable dish? Why, for example, is soy sauce so much more flavorful on rice dishes than salt? Why does a pasta made with olives or sun-dried tomatoes seem to be more tasty? Why does parmesian cheese add so much extra to pasta dishes or spaghetti?
 The answer is "umami", the recently nominated "fifth taste", to go along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Why "recently nominated"? Because scientists discovered an "umami receptor" somwhere around 2000. According to the Umami Information Center, umami is "a pleasant savory taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products. . . Inosinate is found primarily in meat, whereas guanylate is more abundant in vegetables." Ref: umamiinfo.com
 So now I know why I see monosodium glutamate, sodium inosinate, and sodium guanylate listed on many processed foods as "flavor enhancers". Naturally the first thing we did when we discovered these compounds is to isolate them and then artificially add them to food products.


Foods high in "umami" compounds:

soy sauce

worcestershire sauce

sun-dried or ripe tomatoes

porcini or shiitake mushrooms (dried have much more)

olives

parmesian cheese

kombu, nori, wakame seaweeds

anchovy (it's in worcestershire sauce)

truffles

potatoes and carrots (to a lesser extent)

green tea

For a more comprehensive list with more info, check out this link:
    List of Umami foods

High umami foods

The image above shows some "umami enhancers" that are used in some of these dishes. The parmesian cheeses work great in the pasta or spaghetti meals. Um, yes, I can't claim they're "vegetarian/vegan"! For that, please see our "Cheese Substitutes" section right below. And finally, the soy sauce could be considered for any rice or perhaps lentil dish.


Cheese Substitutes

Vegan parm cheese

To make a tasty, incredibly nutritious substitute for parmesian cheese, mix the following
items for a few seconds in a small food blender:

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

3/8 cup walnuts

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (roasted and/or salted
don't seem to work well, in the author's opinion.)

1/8 cup hemp seeds

By substituting this for parmesian cheese, you are gaining some B vitamins (in the yeast),
some magnesium (in the hemp seeds), some vitamin E (in the sunflower seeds) and even
some omega-3s (in the walnuts and hemp seeds). A sample is shown on top of the broccoli,
onion, mushroom pasta shown below.

Vegan parm cheese

The Recipes

For additional taste and extra protein, lightly toast some pecans, walnuts, or slivered almonds and sprinkle on top.
 If you want to amp up the "umami", add sun-dried tomatoes, olives, shiitake mushrooms, or maybe some chopped up seaweed like kombu or nori, or substitute yellow onions for white or red onions. If you feel more adventurous, try some anchovy or truffle oil.

Note on spaghetti/pasta cooking:

Boil some water for the spaghetti/pasta. Add the spaghetti/pasta when the water is almost boiling. It can cook while you are preparing the rest.

After the water is boiling and you have added the spaghetti/pasta, you can cover the pan and turn down the heat. It's not necessary to have a furious boil to cook pastas. But watch the pan while you are doing other things. spaghetti and pasta have a tendency to boil over.

Cook spaghetti/pasta for about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Have a fork ready and, after about 8 minutes, pull out a strand or two and see if it is ready. The color will change slightly when your pasta is ready. It's better if it is not too soft. You want Al to approve. You know: "Al Dente", the universal judge of pasta dishes.

When your spaghetti/pasta is ready, dump it out in a colander to drain the water and add it back to the pan, and cover.

Potatoes, cauliflower, spinach

Mixed Potatoes, Cauliflower, Mushroom, Spinach Stir-fry with Rice Pilaf

Ingredients (for the stir-fry)

multi-colored small potatoes (usually sold as an assortment in mesh packages, e.g: purple/"black"/white). Or, you can get a red, a purple, and a white potato separately.

1/2 cauliflower

mushrooms (of your choice)

spinach leaves (a big handful)

the usual herbs (see "seasoning" above)

Cooking
 Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Slice potatoes about 1/4 in thick, add to pre-heated olive oil in skillet. Sprinkle with the Jane's salt mix mentioned above, or your favorite salt/salt substitute. Add about 1/4 of the garlic. Cover the skillet.
 After the potatoes have sauted a bit, add the cauliflower (cut into small pieces). Sprinkle a bit more of the salt on the cauliflower.
 After some of the potatoes have partially carmelized, add the mushrooms (sliced) the remaining garlic, the basil, and the spinach (and some parsley if desired). Cook for a minute or two more - mushrooms soften very quickly and spinach just "melts".


Ingredients (for the rice)

Rice (of your choice). Lunberg brown basamti rice used here.

celery, a few stalks

onion, about 1/2, can be yellow or "red"

mushrooms (of your choice)

garlic, basil

Cooking
 Cook the rice. For the basamti rice, 40 minutes is indicated on the box.
 Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Slice the celery and onions into relatively small pieces and add to the skillet. Add a bit of the Jane's salt mix mentioned above, or your favorite salt/salt substitute. After the celery/onions have cooked a bit and have become soft, add the mushrooms and garlic. (a bit of basil is optional.)
 Cook for a minute or two more - mushrooms soften very quickly. Then toss in the rice and stir to coat the rice with the olive oil.

Red and Green Pepper, leek, and Field Roast "Sausage"

Ingredients

1 red and 1 green pepper

1 onion. You can use yellow, white, or "red". OR: you can use a leek.

1 or 2 Field Roast grain/vegetable-based Italian Sausage(s). They come in a package of 4.

the usual herbs (see "seasoning" above)

Cooking
 Lay out the desired number of the "sausages" to defrost. I'll just look the other way if you can't resist using Ekrich sausage or some other type of "real" sausage instead of the Field Roast grain/vegetable sausage. And, I will have to admit it'll be a real tasty dish! It's usually served at state fairs.
 Cut up the peppers and onion. (This meal is best if they are cut into strips.) Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Then add the sliced veggies and about 1/4 of the garlic. Sprinkle with your favorite salt or salt substitute. Cover. After the onions and peppers are soft (usually start to turn translucent), add the rest of the garlic, some basil and/or parsley. Saute a minute or two more.
 Place the veggies in a covered Pyrex dish or similiar container (to stop cooking).
 Add a bit more olive oil if necessary to the skillet and carefully slice the sausages in half. Why carefully? Because almost all of the grain and vegetable based sausages and patties don't really hold together very well. Place the sausages in the skillet, flat side down and brown for a minute or two - they brown quickly. If you want, you can turn them over and brown the other side as well, but this shouldn't be necessary.

Peppers, onions, sausage
Leek, stewed tomato spaghetti

Leek, Stewed Tomato spaghetti

Ingredients

2 leeks

Enough spaghetti for 2-3 servings

1 14-15oz can stewed tomatoes. The author uses Muir Glen organic fire roasted diced tomatoes or diced tomatoes with green chilies. But any type of diced or "stewed" tomatoes would work. NOTE: "Crushed" tomatoes have a lot of tomato sauce. The author thinks this dish works better without tomato sauce. (But feel free to add a small can of tomato sauce if that is your preference.)

the usual herbs (see "seasoning" above)

Grated parmesian cheese (usually found in the refrigerated section of stores).

Optional: Dry grated parmesian cheese, such as "365" grated cheese at Whole Foods.

Cooking
 Cook your spaghetti (See "Note on spaghetti/pasta cooking" above)

Slice the leek into, say, 1/4 in slices. You can use some of the green section as well, in addition to the white. Note that leeks often have dirt in their various layers. So you might rinse the leek after slicing and then drain. Preheat some olive oil in a large skillet for a minute or two, and then add the leek and about 1/4 of the garlic.
 When the leek is soft (won't take too long), add the rest of the garlic, and your herbs. Basil and oregano work well for this dish. Add the can of tomatoes. Stir occasionally until the mixture is heated, perhaps 2 or 3 minutes.

Serving:
 If the spaghetti has dried out a bit after being drained and put back into the heating pan, add a bit of water to the pan and stir a bit. Place the desired amount of spaghetti in a (heated) plate. (The author always recommends heated plates!). Then drizzle a bit of olive oil and maybe some ground pepper on the spaghetti and stir. Sprinkle some grated parmesian cheese on the spaghetti, then add some of the leek/tomato mixture.
 Optional: I like to top all my spaghetti/pasta dishes with dry grated parmesian cheese, sprinkled on top of the veggies. In this case, you might use less of the grated cheese in the step above, or none at all.

Yellow Onion, Shiitake Mushroom Pasta

Ingredients

1 yellow onion (Yellow onions seem to be the most flavorful, although the "red" (purple) onions have the greatest nutrition content).

About 2 cups of shiitake mushrooms (stems removed). Shiitake mushrooms are one of the umami-rich foods, but you can substitute porcini or crimini mushrooms.

Enough linguini type pasta for 2-3 servings

the usual herbs (see "seasoning" above)

Cooking
 Cook your pasta (See "Note on spaghetti/pasta cooking" above)
 Cut up the onion, keeping most of it as strips instead of small pieces (this enhances the appearance of the meal). Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Then add the sliced onions and about 1/4 of the garlic. Sprinkle with your favorite salt or salt substitute. Cover. After the onions and peppers are soft (usually start to turn translucent), add the sliced mushrooms, the rest of the garlic, and desired herbs. Basil and parsley work great for this dish. Saute a minute or two more (the mushrooms cook quickly).

Serving:
 If the pasta has dried out a bit after being drained and put back into the heating pan, add a bit of water to the pan and stir a bit. Place the desired amount of pasta in a plate. Then drizzle a bit of olive oil and maybe some ground pepper on the pasta and stir. Sprinkle some grated parmesian cheese on the pasta, then top with the mushroom/onion mixture.
 Optional: Sprinkle some dry grated parmesian cheese on the top of the mushrooms/onions.

Onion, mushroom pasta
Chili spaghetti

Jimmie's Chili spaghetti

Ingredients (this is a quick dish)

Amy's Medium chili (Can substitute Amy's Spicy Chili, Amy's Black Bean Chili, or Amy's Medium with Vegetables Chili)

(If you want a bigger amount) One can/carton of pinto, kidney, or chili beans

Carrots (omit if you want a faster dish)

Enough spaghetti for 2-4 servings

(optional) the usual herbs (see "seasoning" above)

Cooking
 Cook the spaghetti. (See "Note on spaghetti/pasta cooking" above)
 If using carrots, pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Then add the sliced carrots to the pre-heated olive oil in skillet. Sprinkle with your favorite salt/salt substitute (optional). Add about 1/4 of the garlic. Cover the skillet.
 Once the carrots are fork-soft, add the can of chili into the skillet. Also add the beans if desired. If you didn't saute some carrots, just add the can of chili (and the beans) into a large skillet. Optionally add more garlic (push some of the chili away from one side and place the garlic right on the skillet surface so it can cook a bit). Toss in some basil, if desired. Cook a minute or two and add the spaghetti. Stir and heat a bit longer.

Chili spaghetti

Jimmie's Chili spaghetti (with black beans)

Here is a variation of the chili spaghetti.
This one has Amy's black bean chili and a can of black beans
Also, for extra flavor, I sauted some sliced red onion along with the carrots.

Multi-Pepper Spaghetti

Ingredients (this is another quick dish)

Some mixed peppers. Usually these are available in a plastic package. They will usually be yellow, red, and orange. Or just use one green, one red, and one yellow pepper.

Enough spaghetti (or linguini type pasta) for 2-3 servings

the usual herbs (see "seasoning" above)

Cooking
 Cook the spaghetti. (See "Note on spaghetti/pasta cooking" above)
 Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Slice peppers lengthwise, add to pre-heated olive oil in skillet. Sprinkle with your favorite salt/salt substitute. Add about 1/4 of the garlic. Cover the skillet.
 When the peppers are fork-soft, add the rest of the garlic, some basil and/or parsley and (if desired) some oregano. Cook for a minute or two more.

Serving:
 If the spaghetti has dried out a bit after being drained and put back into the heating pan, add a bit of water to the pan and stir a bit. Place the desired amount of spaghetti in a plate. Then drizzle a bit of olive oil and maybe some ground pepper on the spaghetti and stir. Sprinkle some grated parmesian cheese on the spaghetti, then top with the peppers.
 Optional: Sprinkle some dry grated parmesian cheese on the top of the peppers.

Multi-pepper pasta
pasta

Broccolini-leek pasta

Ingredients

1 bunch broccolini (about 10-15 pieces)

1 leek

5-6 small "baby bella" mushrooms (small portabello mushrooms)

Enough linguini type pasta for 2-3 servings

A handful of pecans

the usual herbs (see "seasoning" above). for example, in this dish, I simply used 3-4 garlic cloves and some "italian seasoning" from a bottle.

Cooking
 Cut off the thick ends of the broccolini stems. Then cut the broccolini along the stem. That is, you are splitting the stem down the middle. For thin stems, you end up with 2 stems with their attached florets. For thick stems, you might end up with 3. Slice the leek into about 1/4" circles. As you enter the green area, peel off a layer and re-rinse the leek (often, dirt will be between the layers). Continue cutting, peeling, and re-rinsing until you have cut up most of the leek. Cut up the mushrooms into thin sections.
 Saute the broccolini and leek in some olive oil. Sprinkle with the Jane's salt or your own choice. When the vegetables are almost soft, add the mushrooms, the garlic, and the italian seasoning. Saute a bit more.
 Toast some cut up pecans in a bit of olive oil.

Serving:
 If the pasta has dried out a bit after being drained and put back into the heating pan, add a bit of water to the pan and stir a bit. Place the desired amount of pasta in a plate. Then drizzle a bit of olive oil and maybe some ground pepper on the pasta and stir. Add the sauted veggies, and top with the toasted pecans. If desired, add some parmesian cheese or the "vegan parm cheese" topping.

Broccoli, onion, mushroom, red pepper pasta

NOTE: The image shows a bit of the "vegan parm cheese" on top.

Ingredients

8-12 broccoli florets

1/3 to 1/2 red onion (or yellow)

6-7 small crimini or "baby bella" mushrooms

1/3 to 1/2 red pepper

Some spinach (optional)

Enough linguini type pasta for 2-3 servings

the usual herbs (see "seasoning" above)

Cooking
 Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Slice the peppers lengthwise, Cut the onion into wedges and separate the rings. Add the peppers, onions, and brocolli to pre-heated olive oil in skillet. Sprinkle with your favorite salt/salt substitute. Add about 1/4 of the garlic. Cover the skillet.
 When the veggies are soft, add the (sliced) mushrooms and the rest of the garlic, along with some basil, and possibly some oregano. Or add "italian seasoning".
 Just before you finish the vegetables, add some spinach that you have pulled apart into relatively small pieces. (Spinach wilts very fast.)

Serving:
 If the pasta has dried out a bit after being drained and put back into the heating pan, add a bit of water to the pan and stir a bit. Place the desired amount of pasta in a plate. Then drizzle a bit of olive oil and maybe some ground pepper on the pasta and stir. Add the sauted veggies. If desired, add some parmesian cheese or the "vegan parm cheese" topping.

pasta
Cauliflower, kale, olive pasta

Cauliflower, kale, olive, onion, pepper pasta (My wife's recipe)

Ingredients

1/3 to 1/2 cauliflower

2 or 3 small red peppers (from the packaged 3-pepper assortment). Or: 1/2 regular red pepper

10 - 15 black olives (bottled, Kalamata is one brand)

Some kale (For this dish, any kale other than the "curly" kind)

1/3 to 1/2 red (or yellow) onion

(optional) 1/2 cup white wine. Wine adds a bit of complexity to the taste of most dishes.

Enough linguini type pasta for 2-3 servings

the usual herbs (see "seasoning" above)

Cooking
 Cook the pasta. (See "Note on spaghetti/pasta cooking" above)
 Cut up the cauliflower into pieces about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in size. If you have the small peppers, cut them cross-wise into "circular" sections. If you have 1/2 a regular pepper, cut into small sizes. Cut up the onion into relatively small sizes.
 Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Add the cut veggies to pre-heated olive oil in skillet. Sprinkle with your favorite salt/salt substitute. Add about 1/4 of the garlic. Cover the skillet.
 When the veggies are fork-soft (should be about 5-7 minutes), add the rest of the garlic, some basil and/or parsley and (if desired) some oregano. Add the kale and the black olives. Add the wine if desired. Cook for a minute or two more. Even though kale appears hard and tough, it wilts very rapidly.
 If the pasta has dried out a bit after being drained and put back into the heating pan, add a bit of water to the pan and stir a bit. Place the desired amount of pasta in a plate. Then drizzle a bit of olive oil and maybe some ground pepper on the pasta and stir. Sprinkle some grated parmesian cheese on the pasta, then top with the veggies.
 Optional: Sprinkle some dry grated parmesian cheese on the top of the veggies.

Lentil, Vegetable, and Field Roast "Sausage" soup (my wife's recipe)

Ingredients

1 cup lentils (yellow, red, or orange)

about 1/2 cup frozen corn

2 ro 3 small carrots

some spinach

1/2 red or yellow onion

A couple of stalks of celery would be great in this soup also

1 or 2 Field Roast grain/vegetable-based Italian Sausage(s). They come in a package of 4.

the usual herbs (see "seasoning" above). Or your choice.

Cooking
 Pour the lentils a little at a time into the palm of your hand and inspect for debris. Continue until you have one cup. Place in pan, add about 2 cups of water. Don't add salt or salt mixture at this time (see "Lentil NOTES"). Set this pan aside while you are sauteing the vegetables.
Lentil NOTES:

Yellow, red, or orange lentils are better for soups, and will turn mushy when cooked.

Green, French green, or brown lentils remain firmer, and might be better for meals for which the lentil is served as a side dish.

If you are cooking them as a side dish, the cooking time is anywhere from 15-25 minutes. Split lentils cook faster. Generally, you might try a small spoonful after about 15 minutes to see if they have reached the desired softness.

Why not add salt at the beginning? Because adding salt to lentils while they are cooking tends to make them a bit tough.

Thaw out the Field Roast "sausage" if frozen. Slice the sausage into about 1/4 inch thick sections.
 Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Slice the carrots (and celery if desired) into about 1/4 inch thick sections, slice the onion into small pieces. Add the sliced vegetables to the pre-heated olive oil in skillet. Add about 1/4 of the garlic. Cover the skillet and saute for about 7-10 minutes.
 Toward the end of the sauteing, turn on the heat under the lentil pan.
 Toss the sauteed veggies into the lentil pan. After it comes to a boil, turn down heat to a slow simmer.
 Lightly brown the sausage in the saute pan. Toss into the soup when it has reached the desired brownness (it browns very fast).
 After about 10 minutes of cooking, add the spinach, the rest of the garlic, the desired herbs, and the desired salt or salt mixture or salt substitute. After about another 10 minutes or so, try a spoonful from time to time to see if your lentils and veggies have reached the desired softness. Some folks like firm veggies in their soup; others like their soups to be soft.

lentil sausage soup
Split Pea Soup

Split Pea-Potato-Mushroom-Carrot Soup

Ingredients

1 cup of dry split green peas

1/2 large russet potato, or 1 medium potato (or any potato of your choice)

3 - 4 "baby bella" mushrooms (or crimini or shiitake)

2 - 3 carrots

some vegetable or chicken broth

2 - 4 cloves garlic, some Jane's Crazy salt (or your own choice). Some basil or your choice of herbs.

Cooking
 Check the peas for small debris, then place in pan and add enough broth to cover the peas about 1/2 inch. Heat to boiling and then cover and reduce to a simmer.
 Cut the potatoes into small pieces, slice the carrots into relatively thin sections, slice the mushrooms. Pour some olive oil into a skillet and preheat a bit, then add the potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle with a bit of the Jane's salt.
 When the potatoes and carrots are soft (even a bit carmelized if desired), add the mushrooms and the garlic and saute a bit more. Remember - mushrooms cook quickly.
 Pour the sauted vegetables, into the simmering peas and cook until the peas are soft to your preference. NOTE: You might set a timer for every 30 minutes or so, and check your soup to make sure the liquid has not been absorbed. Stir the soup each time you check. Add the basil (or other herbs) toward the end, for maximum flavor.

Navy Bean-Mushroom-Carrot-Celery Soup


Ingredients (This is a quick dish)

2 cans of navy beans

1 - 2 carrots

1 - 2 stalks celery

Some "baby bella" mushrooms, or shiitake or crimini mushrooms

some vegetable broth or mushroom broth

2 - 4 cloves garlic, some Jane's Crazy salt (or your own choice). Some basil or your choice of herbs.

Cooking
 Slice the carrots and celery into relatively small pieces and saute in a bit of olive oil in a skillet. When soft (won't take too long), add the mushrooms and garlic and saute some more.
 While the vegetables are heating, pour the two cans of navy beans in a pan. It's fine to add the liquid as well. Add some broth (enough to cover the beans and make a good "soup" when the vegetables are added). Set the heat to medium - the beans are already pre-cooked.
 When the mushrooms are soft, pour the vegetables into the beans. The olive oil will add a bit of fat to the soup and enhance the taste. Add the herbs and cook enough to reach the desired temperature.

Navy Bean Soup
Veg beans polenta

Garbanzo Beans and Vegetable Polenta (my wife's recipe)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Polenta (Bob's Red Mill is great. Or just use corn meal plus coarse corn meal)

1/2 cup milk or almond milk, plus 1 1/2 cup water (for the polenta)

1 can garbanzo beans

2 gold beets

1 leek

2 carrots

1 cup (approx) crimini mushrooms (shiitake would be great as well)

1 stalk celery

some kale

2 small yellow peppers (from the "assorted peppers" packages), OR 1/2 "regular" yellow pepper)

2 - 4 cloves garlic, some parsley (if you have it). Other seasonings listed below in "Cooking"

Cooking
 Add the polenta, the milk, and the water to a pan and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and cover. Add some seasonings of your choice. My wife used "Simply Organic Spice Right All Purpose Salt Free" and a bit of the Jane's salt. (Optional: add a few red pepper flakes). NOTE: stir every once in a while, or the polenta will stick. Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes.
 Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Slice up the beets, the leek, the carrots, the celery, and the peppers as desired. Add the sliced vegetables to the pre-heated olive oil in skillet. Add about 1/4 of the garlic, and some salt/salt substitute. Cover the skillet and saute for about 7 - 10 minutes or until slightly soft. Don't forget your polenta! It should cook in about 5 - 10 minutes.
 Add the mushrooms, the kale, the beans, the rest of the garlic, the parsley (if you have some). Saute for about 5 more minutes or so.

Serving:
 Just spoon out some polenta in to your (heated) plate and spread it out a bit. Then add the beans/vegetable mixture.

"Ancient Grains" and Vegetables (my wife's recipe)

Ingredients

1 pkg Engine 2 Ancient Grains (in freezer section of stores)

2 or 3 jalapeno peppers

2 small red peppers and 2 small orange peppers (from the "assorted peppers" packages), OR 1/2 "regular" red or orange pepper)

1/2 onion (red or yellow)

some kale

1 container of pre-made salsa

2 or 3 cloves of garlic. Other seasonings listed below in "Cooking"

Cooking
 Allow the package of the "Ancient Grains" to defrost beforehand.
 Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Slice up the onion and peppers as desired.
 Slice up the jalapenos. (NOTE: jalapenos vary greatly in "heat". The "blunt" ones are usually milder than the "sharp" ones. Remove all the seeds - they have most of the heat.)
 Add the sliced vegetables to the pre-heated olive oil in skillet. Add about 1/4 of the garlic. Cover the skillet and saute for 5 - 8 minutes.
 Add the Ancient Grains, the kale, the container of salsa, and the rest of the garlic. Add these seasonings also (or your choice):

"Simply Organic" all-seasons salt

"Simply Organic" chili powder

"Simply Organic" smoked paprika

cumin

Cook for a few minutes longer

Quinola and vegetables
Vegetable tacos

Veggie Tacos (my wife's recipe)

Ingredients

Field Roast "Classic Meatloaf" (vegetarian), 1/2 package (whole package if you want a bigger portion)

One bottle mild or medium salsa. We used "Herdez" brand salsa.

"Simply Organic" all-seasons salt

"Simply Organic" chili powder

"Simply Organic" smoked paprika

cumin (NOTE: substitute the spices of your choice in lieu of these four seasonings.)

2 - 3 cloves garlic

1 red onion (can use yellow if desired)

2 - 4 jalapenos

Cooking
 Place the "meatloaf" and the spices into a small food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles ground beef.
 Saute the onion and jalapenos in a little olive oil in a skillet, until they are soft. If you like them carmelized, saute a bit longer. Add the garlic when the veggies are almost done.
 Add the meatloaf and the salsa, heat a bit longer, then set aside or place into a bowl.

Serving
 Serve in lightly toasted taco shells, along with refried beans, tomatoes, spinach, and some avocado (or your preferred extras).

Rice and Veggies (my wife's recipe)

Ingredients

1 cup Bhutan red rice (Lotus Foods brand) - or a similiar rice

some Swiss Chard

1 or 2 yellow carrots (usually come in a package of multi-colored carrots). You can use 1 or 2 regular carrots instead

1 medium orange bell pepper (or 3 orange peppers from the "assorted peppers" packages)

2 or 3 shallots

a bit of "savory" seasoning (Morton and Basset)

Some Spice Right all purpose seasoning

Or: substitute your desired seasonings.

Cooking
 Cook the rice as directed on the package.
  Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Slice up the veggies as desired. Place the carrots in the skillet first, cover and cook for a bit, then add the peppers and shallots and 1/4 of the garlic. Cook until soft and then add the Swiss Chard and the rest of the garlic, placing the garlic underneath the vegetables. Cover and cook a minute or teo until the chard is soft.
 Serve by placing some of the rice on a heated plate and then place the vegetables on top.

Rice and veggies
rice and FR meatloaf

Field Roast "Meatloaf", Rice Pilaf, Brocollini

Here's a vegan meal that looks like the traditional "meat and potatoes" dish - meat, some sort of starch, and a side of vegetables.
Ingredients

The desired number of slices of Field Roast "Classic Meatloaf". Field Roast and other vegan meat substitute products are sometimes near the dairy section of stores.

Ingredients (for the rice)

1 cup of your desired rice. "Lundberg Wild Blend" makes a great pilaf.

1 or 2 stalks celery, chopped

3 or 4 of the small peppers in the "assorted peppers" package, chopped

1 or 2 green onions or 1/3 - 1/2 medium onion, chopped

Cooking
 Cook the rice as indicated on the package.
 Pre-heat some olive oil in a skillet for a minute or two. Slice the celery, peppers, and onions into relatively small pieces and add to the skillet. Add a bit of the Jane's salt mix mentioned above, or your favorite salt/salt substitute. A bit of basil might be nice as well. After the celery/onions/peppers have become soft, toss the cooked rice into the skillet and stir to coat the rice with the olive oil. Transfer the rice pilaf back to the rice pan or to a warm serving dish.
Place the slices of the Field Roast "Meatloaf" into the skillet, adding a bit more olive oil if necessary and lightly brown them. Note that they brown quickly.

Ingredients (for the broccolini)

1 or 2 bunches of brocollini

some sliced red onion

a few mushrooms (optional)

Cooking

Saute the onion and broccolini until soft, and add the mushrooms (if desired) and saute a few minutes more.

This meal is great as is. If you want some gravy (gravy is shown in the photo), heat some olive oil in the skillet you used for the "meatloaf". When heated, gradually add some white flour, stirring constantly. Then add some vegetable/mushroom broth, if available. Otherwise add water. Add some Jane's salt or other seasoning and cook a bit longer.

Copyright © 2016 J.A.