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Feb 27, 2007 01:49 PM

Vegetarian & Low Carb?

I'm looking for recipes that are vegetarian, but aren't pasta-based. Every Thursday, my roommate and I alternate cooking. However, I'm trying to cut down on empty carbs and she's a vegetarian. I've made a bunch of eggplant-based dishes, but after that, I'm drawing a blank. Any suggestions?

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  1. No recipes in particular, but if your problem is how to add meaningful starch to a meal, I have some suggestions: Quinoa is a great grain to go with veggie sides. Last night I just cooked up some quinoa with salt and pepper and then served with a quick saute of crimini mushrooms, garlic, roasted red pepper and red onion. A little dollop of Masala Simmer Sauce from Trader Joe's added a spicy kick (I needed to finish the last dregs from an already opened jar, but any other flavorful sauce, chutney or salsa would have worked) and slices of a perfectly ripe Fuerte avocado with some preserved lemon completed the meal.

    Whole wheat cous cous is another starch I use when I want to avoid regular pasta. Lentils or beans can add heartiness and the protein, fiber and antioxidants make the carbs definitely non-empty.

    1. Rice and beans of course are nutritious carbs, even corn as in polenta, corn tortillas or cornbread has some value, chickpeas as in hummus, curried chickpeas and falafel are worth eating. Edaname are healthy.

      1. If you can incorporate some whole grain, try this:
        Cook some barley in flavorful broth. Blanch some rapini, then drain it and saute with lots of garlic and some red pepper flakes. Mix rapini, cooked white beans, some barley (doesn't have to be much, just enough for a bit of chewy texture), and some grated pecorino. Load it into a casserole dish, top it with grated mozz, and bake until toasty (you can skip the mozz and casserole step, it'll still be good, just less pretty).

        1. If you're looking for a pasta/rice substitute, barley is really good. It soaks up extra sauces but has a nice chewy bite to it. I've even seen barley "risotto" recipes before.

          If you're looking for meal suggestions, are you averse to using tofu? Firm tofu, when drained between layers of paper towels and then marinated, takes on lots of flavor but also has a meaty consistency (depends how well you get the excess water out). Portobello mushrooms also have a nice mouthfeel to them.

          Mexican dishes come to mind for easily-converted to vegetarian stuff... Simmer tofu (orginally I wrote chicken, then remembered that kind of goes against vegetarianism) in enchilada sauce with black beans and rice (how about brown rice?). Or roast peppers and stuff them with cheese and black beans.

          Boy, until I started thinking about this, I didn't realize how much meat/seafood I enjoy. Low carb I can do easily, veggie dishes I'm not used to!

          1. You are getting a lot of suggestions for really high carb sides here. I don't eat vegetarian, meat tastes better than veggies but we definitely watch our carbs. Dreamfields pasta is something to look for, 5 net carbs/serving. It is sold on the web and in a lot of major grocery stores. Barley, quinoa, beans and rice just put the lbs. on as well as whole wheat couscous. I use a commercially produced corn tortilla that nets out at about 4 carbs per tortilla. You need to maybe pick up or check out of the library some cookbooks on low carb cooking and start reading lables and watching your glycemic index to keep those carbs low. Check out some diabetic sites. They are pretty low on carbs and sugars.