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Help with Vegetarian creations?? :D

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hey!

Anyone have any tips for coming up with some new, creative vegetarian dishes? I'm trying to broaden my horizons a bit, and have some experience with vegetarian foods, but tend to run out of ideas pretty quickly. I know there's a ton more out there that I just don't know about yet.

 

Would love to hear any tips from any of you!

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 12

Check out the http://www.moosewoodrestaurant.com/recipes.html

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

Check out the http://www.moosewoodrestaurant.com/recipes.html


This is great!! Thank you for this one. It could help me too!

post #4 of 12

There's an on-going thread in the cookbook reviews forum about vegetarian cookbooks. You might want to check that out. Otherwise there's just going to be a lot or repitition.

 

Meanwhile, with vegetarian even more so than other foods, you really have to develop a sense for which flavors can work together. For instance, my Snap Beans & Beets With Pistachio dish always gets raves. But, almost universally, the reaction has been, "I'd have never thought to combine those."

 

Many vegetarians, IMO, also try too hard to create dishes that mimic meat. Why? Just let the veggies shine.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post


Many vegetarians, IMO, also try too hard to create dishes that mimic meat. Why? Just let the veggies shine.

I couldn't agree more.  And especially if they use fake meat!  yuck
 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #6 of 12

I am a vegetarian, so i find myself eating a lot of frozen foods and pastas.  But my family and I have found some delicious recipes:

 

-Eggplant (if you want them to be breaded, fry them first.  if unbreaded, cook them slightly to soften them and sprinkle with salt and pepper) on garlic bread, with a layer of tomato sauce and mozzarella... bake in over until gooey and delicious!

 

-Baguette or other flat italian bread, sprinkled with salt and pepper, with a thin coat of butter.  Pop into the oven for about five or less minutes to melt butter and slightly crisp bread.  Saute some portabello mushrooms and tomatos with olive oil.  Spread on top of baquette.  Julienne carrots, or just chop them, and spread on top of mushrooms and tomatoes.  Sprinkle with parmesan shavings.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake in oven just until carrots are softened and bread is crispy!

 

-Take Pillsbury rolls (or your own if your a real chef... this recipes are more for the at home cook!) and cook until golden.  Slice in half.  Remove middles of rolls (the "doughy" part), leaving just the "crust" or outer shell of the roll.  Spoon black beans, rice, chopped tomatoes, feta cheese, and finely chopped pecans.  Bake in oven for additional five or ten minutes.

 

Other ideas:

-pasta salads

-homemade pizza variations

-homemade veggie burgers

-breaded broccoli and cauliflowers

 

Hope I helped a little!

post #7 of 12

I am a vegetarian, so i find myself eating a lot of frozen foods and pastas. 

 

I don't understand the connection. What is the particular relationship with being a vegetarian and eating frozen foods?

 

Friend Wife and I lived the vegetarian lifestyle for about 2 1/2 years, and never spent much time in the frozen food section.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 12

I tried doing pescetarianism for almost a year (don't ask; long rants about ethics and my informal understanding of neurology). While doing it, I found that usually frozen veggies are no cheaper than fresh outside of maybe peas. Buying in-season, it's even cheaper still usually.

 

To answer the OP, I'd say veggie meats helped to get me through the first part of things, but I tended to buy rather than make them. What happened in terms of digestion and meat craving for the first couple of months wasn't so pretty without the stuff. I also rediscovered a love for mushrooms, and broadened my cheese horizons considerably. I think one of my favorite dishes to cope with meat cravings was a mushroom cream sauce with extra firm tofu over rice; some would turn it into mushroom risotto. No, "recipe" here per say; I just caramelized onions, fried mushrooms with minced garlic in beurre noir turned cream sauce, added some chopped tofu, salt, pepper, etc. and served over plain basmatti or any other starch of choice.

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

I am a vegetarian, so i find myself eating a lot of frozen foods and pastas. 

 

I don't understand the connection. What is the particular relationship with being a vegetarian and eating frozen foods?

 

Friend Wife and I lived the vegetarian lifestyle for about 2 1/2 years, and never spent much time in the frozen food section.



I only eat many frozen foods because I'm 15 years old, parents work all day until 6:30 p.m., and I don't get home until usually the same time or later.  I know thats no excuse, but I'm more of a baker than a cook :) and I've been a vegetarian for 1 1/2 years so I am starting to spend less time in the freezer and managing to make more fresh foods when I have time! (:

post #10 of 12


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xashley717x View Post





I only eat many frozen foods because I'm 15 years old, parents work all day until 6:30 p.m., and I don't get home until usually the same time or later.  I know thats no excuse, but I'm more of a baker than a cook :) and I've been a vegetarian for 1 1/2 years so I am starting to spend less time in the freezer and managing to make more fresh foods when I have time! (:

Well, that's a whole nother thing!  Sounds like you're already too hard on yourself as it is! 

 

Here are some ideas, quick and easy. 

 

Pasta e ceci:

you could spend all day soaking and then cooking chickpeas (or depending on where you live, garbanzos) but you don't have all day, nor should a fifteen year old be spending all day inside cooking beans! and you can get them canned. 

 

Put a fairly big pot of water to boil with a small handful of salt. 

 

Get another pot, one that will hold around 6 cups or more, with a fairly heavy bottom.  Take a couple of cloves of garlic, an onion, a stick of celery and a carrot - crush the garlic, chop the rest.  Put some olive oil in a pot (enough to cover the bottom of the pot and if you tip it it will make a very small puddle).  Add the chopped/crushed vegetables and turn on to very low heat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Let them "sweat" very slowly till they get soft, but they shouldn't brown (a little nut-colored is ok, but better tasting in this case if they stay light)

Drain the chick peas in a strainer, run water over them, and dump in the pot.  Add enough water just to cover the beans.  Meanwhile put a big pot of water to boil on the side. 

Let the soup boil for a little - ten minutes or more, depending on the time you have as you wait for the other pot to boil. 

 

When the other pot boils, add some short pasta (ditalini, elbows, whatever you can find easily) and cook till almost done (when you bite into it you will see a very thin white line of uncooked dough, that's when to drain it)

 

Take an immersion blender if you have one and blend HALF or a little over half of the chickpeas and liquid so it's creamy.  Put it all back into the pot and add the drained pasta.  Continue cooking till the pasta is completely cooked.  This is very tasty and has more protein than a steak. 

If you don;t have an immersion blender, you need to cool the mixture first a little before blending in a regular blender but if you;re in a hurry, melt a couple of ice cubes in it.  The reason you have to cool it is that it can be very dangerous to blend hot liquid, it will squirt all over and you DON'T want to be burned by chickpea puree - it is very hot and sticks to you more than water, and keeps burning!

If you don't have any blender at all, you can crush the chickpeas in the pot with a potato masher.

 

Lentil soup

Take 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, crush them.  Put them in a heavy-bottomed pot with some olive oil and slowly cook them till they're soft.  Add dried lentils and water - they enlarge in the water so keep an eye on them and add more water if it gets absorbed.  Add salt and pepper.  Let the lentils cook till they're soft (there shouldn;t be any crunch at all.

You can add a bag of fresh washed spinach  or a package of chopped spinach. 

Let the spinach cook.  Taste it and add salt if necessary. 

Take some good rough bread like italian bread, even better if it;s stale.  Toast it and then rub a piece of garlic on it, drizzle with olive oil and pour the soup over it. 

You can also cook some rice and eat the soup with rice instead. 

 

If you make either of these soups, you can eat for a couple of days with them. 

 

If you're so young and eating vegetarian you need to be sure you're eating enough protein.

It's important to know this simple rule.  Milk products and eggs have animal protein, so that's good.  But you can get lots of protein with vegetables.  Vegetable protein is not complete - that is, our bodies can't get what they need from simple vegetables or legumes (beans) on their own.  But if you mix different vegetable proteins together in the same meal, you will get complete protein.  So you want to be sure you have any two of the following in the same meal (or in the same dish, as above)

 

legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas (garbanzos), peas, peanuts)

grains (wheat (also pastas, breads), rice, barley, corn, oats) (whole grain will give you more protein)
Seeds (sesame, (including tahini sauce) , sunflower, pumpkin, etc)

nuts (walnuts, almonds, filberts or hazelnuts, pecans, etc)

 

Also remember that even a small amount of milk or cheese or egg, mixed with any of the above will also complete the protein of any of those. 

 

Peanut butter sandwich (preferably on whole wheat) makes complete protein

Oatmeal cooked in milk will give you complete protein

Hummus (do you know it?  I think it's pretty popular now and not hard to make but you can buy it ready made) is complete protein since it;s made of chickpeas and sesame seeds.  Make it a base for a sandwich (add sliced cucumber and tomato, for instance, on whole wheat bread) and you have an extremely healthy source of lots of protein. 

Cottage cheese with sunflower seeds is really filling and a good main course if you;re in a hurry

If you want a simple cookbook with lots of information about nutrition i recommend laurel's kitchen.  The stuff is not fancy, usually easy to prepare and very healthy. 

 

Make sure you eat LOTS OF VARIETY of vegetables for the many vitamins they have. 

 

Research traditional "poor foods" - peasant dishes, etc, because they will all be based on non-meat protein sources.  Pasta e fagioli, minestrone, polenta with cheese, the two recipes i wrote above, are some italian examples.  Mexican food is full of bean/rice/corn dishes.  Indian food is strongly vegetarian. 

 

Good cooking!

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #11 of 12

>I only eat many frozen foods because I'm 15 years old, parents work all day until 6:30 p.m., and I don't get home until usually the same time or later.<

 

That was my point, Ashley. You're eating frozen foods---rightly or wrongly---for the sake of convenience. This has nothing to do with being a vegetarian per se.

 

Thing is, many frozen foods are not particularly healthy (too much sodium and additives). More to the point, they're not all that much quicker to prepare than many meals you can make yourself. All it takes is a little planning, and, sometimes, prep work you can do the night before.

 

For instance, in little more time than it takes to "cook" a frozen dinner, you could broil or grill some fresh portobella caps. With slightly more time you could make them stuffed. I did that very thing last night.

 

I had some left-over cous-cous which I'd made with scallions. I cleaned the mushroom caps (with portobella's that means removing the stubby stem and scraping away the gills), brushed them with oil, and popped them on the grill. While they were cooking to the almost done stage I made a quick bechamel sauce as a binder, and mixed it, along with some grated cheese, with the cous-cous. I stuffed the portobella caps with the cous-cous mixture and returned them to the grill until cooked through.

 

Total elapsed time: About 20 minutes.

 

To cut that time down further, you could make the cous-cous mixture and pre-cook the mushrooms the night before. Then just pop them on the grill (or under the broiler) when you're ready to eat. Elapsed time from fridge to plate, maybe six minutes.

 

Soups and stews take a little time to make. But most of the time the pot is cooking by itself. And they always taste better the second day. Maybe you could spend ten or 15 minutes putting together the ingredients, then do your homework while the pot simmers away. Next night, reheat and eat.

 

I would suggest you get a good vegetarian cookbook (maybe check the library, initially, rather than buying it) and spend some time exploring the possibilities. You'll soon discover that in the same time it takes to make pasta or to cook a frozen dinner there are innumerable vegetarian dishes you can make.

 

It would be a shame to waste the availability of all the great fresh veggies that are available this time of year.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #12 of 12

Other ideas -

Pasta is a great resource and pretty quick.

 

I've posted this many times, but i think people don't imagine cauliflower can be so wonderful. 

Take a cauliflower and break it into flowerets, and then take the big ones and quarter them lenghthwise and wash. 

Put a good filming (about 1/8 inch) of olive oil in a large frying pan (it should be a fairly heavy pan if you have one)

Add about five cloves of garlic sliced and if you like it, some hot red pepper flakes or a couple of small hot peppers (they're about half an inch long) - or more if you like it hot, or less or none if you don't like it hot. 

 

Add the cauliflower with whatever water is clinging to it from washing.  Salt it (use your shaker and salt over the whole pan as if it were something in your dish you were going to eat that had no salt on it.  Put less rather than more, you can always add, but you can't remove it!). 

 

Cook, covered, over VERY low heat, stirring every once in a while till it's very soft but not browned (the heavy pan helps this, but you can keep the temperature very low) 

Meanwhile boil a big pot of water and put a handful of salt in it. 

When it's boiling and the cauliflower is cooked, shut the cauliflower and put about a pound of pasta in the water - use "short" pasta not spaghetti, rigatoni, penne, stuff like that, so that you don't pull a strand of spaghetti out and there is no cauliflower on your fork!  If you use short pasta you can pick up cauliflower and pasta on the same forkful.

 

As soon as the pasta is cooked, drain and immediately put a handful of parmigiano on it WITHOUT stirring.  (If you stir it will end up on the spoon and on the pot and not on the pasta.) Leave it a minute so it sort of melts and then add the cauliflower and stir well.  (Never put sauce in the middle of the pasta without mixing well)

 

You can do the same with zucchine, but i think the cauliflower is the absolute best.  .

As soon as the pasta is cooked

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
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