Vegetarian Main Entree for Book club tonight!
I have to prepare something for a pot-luck style book club tonight. It is at my house so it doesn't need to be portable - but I have to clean my house beforehand so it can't be too time consuming! Does anyone have any ideas for me...I am totally open to types of cuisine and have easy access to ingredients.
I made this entree for my own book club a few months ago when I hosted and everyone wanted the recipe. It has become one of my boyfriend's favorites as well....he actually had eaten it a couple of times before he realized that it was a vegetarian dish! Verysimple to make and healthy too....
Feta and Spinach Penne
• 8 oz penne pasta (I use whole wheat)
• 2 tsp olive oil
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained (can also use fresh tomatoes diced)
• 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
• 10 oz bag baby spinach
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 pinch red pepper flakes
• 4-6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
• small can of sliced black olives
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente; drain. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic, and cook until golden brown. After browning the garlic/onion mix, add the mushrooms and sautee them before adding the tomatoes and spinach. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook 2 minutes more, until tomatoes are heated through and spinach is wilted. Add this vegetable mixture into drained pasta, stir, add feta cheese and serve!
How about vegetarian chili w/ beans and/or TVP and/or tofu, and some good cornbread.
Frittata(s) w/ a side of crusty bread and either ratatouille or roasted veggies
Make some polenta early on, let it sit in the fridge, then slice and either saute or bake in a polenta cake casserole.
Lentil or Split Pea Soup with crusty bread or a panzanella salad
Last week I made a wild rice risotto with leftover cooked wild rice. A cool dish is to make brown rice risotto with red wine. It is a pretty purple and the brown rice is not as labor intensive.
If you have a rice cooker, you can throw in the rice and cook it first.
I had about 5 or six cups of cooked wild rice(just substitute cooked brown rice). I sauteed a whole chopped onion in about 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil(butter is great, too). I put in the rice and and about half a bottle of 2 buck chuck sauvignon blanc which I keep on hand to cook with. I was out of cheap red wine, otherwise I would have used that. The rice mixture should be a bit on the wet side. Add a bit more olive oil to make it just wet but not soupy. I then grated about 4 oz of Reggiano and stirred it in. Salt and pepper to taste. I basically just made this up and it was really good.
I had made this gorgeous summer squash and goat cheese tart with a wild rice crust. That was more labor intensive, and I cooked way too much wild rice.
I used to have to come up with a monthly vegetarian potluck dish for my bookclub, too.
My fallback was some variation on a strata: layers of bread with the cooked veggies of your choice, and a custard based poured over it, then baked. What's good about stratas is that you should assemble them in advance to allow the custard to really soak into the bread, so you can put it together, stick it in the fridge, clean the kitchen, and then pull it out to bake at the appropriate time. If you do a search, you'll find dozens of recipes on the net, so just choose one that looks easy and good (really, though, it's hard to make a bad strata).
A super-quick and delicious vegetarian meal that can be put together in just about an hour and can be made ahead is Moosewood's black bean soup served with sour cream for garnish, a nice crusty bread for dipping in the soup - or even bread bowls, and a salad of mixed greens, green onion, mangos and goat cheese with a red-wine vinaigrette. It couldn't be easier. I'll sub any fruit that looks good (strawberries or nectarines are nice with the red-wine vinaigrette).
If I don't know the tastes of my guests, I'll offer the goat cheese on the side of the salad, likewise with the cilantro for the soup - since cilantro is such a polarizing herb.
The soup recipe: http://fooddownunder.com/cgi-bin/reci...
PS - you might doubt that a soup made primarily of canned ingredients could be so good, but the sundried tomatoes really bring up the flavor. I've served this to at least 50 different people over the years and never found anyone who didn't enjoy it. Do be sure though to use good canned tomatoes.