HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

My son, The Lima Bean has a new squeeze. The Gnat is coming to stay this weekend.

She's vegetarian, but does eggs and non-rennet cheese.

I've done the ubiquitous tomato/veggies on pasta, rissotto and frittata, and I'd like to try something else.

We're all HUGE carnivores, so my veggie recipes are pretty basic.

Gimme your WOW veggie recipes, remembering it the middle of Summer, here in Australia!!

fanks, goys.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Here is a risotto recipe I like to make. Perfect in the summer. Not sure if you can use the goat cheese, but I'm sure there are vegetarian cheeses you could use.

    Take about half a bag of frozen mini peas (yes I'm sure you can use fresh if available) and boil in salted water for a minute or two. Add around 2 cups of basil to the water and cook for a second. Remove basil and peas and puree in a blender. Set aside.

    Sweat a couple of thinly sliced leeks, a few shallots, few cloves of garilc, and a onion in olive oil and butter. Add rice and toast. Add 3/4 to 1 cup of white wine (I use a Sauvignon Blanc). Add as much broth by the 1/2 cup fulls as it can handle. Add in the pea mixture, a cup or so of frozen peas, a log of goat cheese, and a few tablespoons of chopped up taragon. Let it rest for a minute or two before serving.

    I usually add some cherry tomotoes around the risotto to serve.

    1. Ratatouille w couscous, red pepper onion tart with a big hearty salad, mushroom tart or a veg quiche, a veg terrine?
      Or what about a mediterranean theme of small plates: hummous, roasted veg pate, bean salad, babaganoush, mushroom or eggplant salad--all served with delicious fresh breads and pita. yummmm.

      1 Reply
      1. re: abud

        Along the lines of that ratatouille mentioned, how about a confit byaldi a la Ratatouille (the movie)? I can't imagine anyone not being wowed by that. :)


      2. Make your own pizzas with a green salad to eat while they bake.. make her work for food! ;)

        That way you can get meat if you want.. and she need not.. and you can use whatever cheese you want while she will get her own special cheese.

        That or grill veggies / meat on a grill, leaving her a special meat-free section.

        1. Ah, welcome to the club. However, I'm the other way, my offspring is the vegetarian and the new girlfriend is an omnivore, as are DH and I. They visited last weekend, and I made lunch. Offerings were croque madam, a room temp pasta salad with kalamata olives, fresh tomato, sun dried tomato, mozzarella cheese (which you'd omit) and fresh basil, and dessert were simple oatmeal, white chocolate, macadamia and dry cranberry cookies. It was a success. Another favorite of the offspring is just pasta, with roasted tomatoes (small size), greek olives, and basil, with fresh bread.

          1. Not sure how wow you want to go, but seeing that it is summer there I think Mexican could be a great theme. Fresh margaritas, roasted vegetable enchiladas with mole sauce with a side of seasoned black beans and fresh guacamole. I personally don't believe enchiladas must have cheese if the filling and sauce are fresh and tasty.

            1. Ina Garten's mushroom lasasgne is tasty and can be prepared in adnvance. Actually, it tastes better when you assemble it on day one and bake it on day 2.

              Here is the link (FYI- I think it tastes better the way she did it on the show using a mix of mushrooms instead of all portabellas)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Honey Bee

                I was going to recommend a lasagne as well, perhaps with vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, etc. Or a light eggplant Parmesano. OTOH, is there such a thing as a light EP?

              2. This is really more of a technique: Roasted Vegetable Focaccia Sandwich.

                Roast a bunch of sliced vegetables -- zucchini, summer squash, red onions, different colored bell peppers, etc. Use what you like; season them with salt, pepper, olive oil and herbs before. Or after. Or both. Place them between the top and bottom of a large focaccia, moistened with a bit of olive oil. Add goat cheese -- or any "non-rennet" cheese. Add sliced tomatoes. Add spinach of you like (I do). Wrap the whole thing in foil and warm in a moderate oven until the cheese is all melty. Cut into pieces and serve.

                This is from Julia Child's series "Baking with Julia" (book by Dorie Greenspan). The focaccia recipe that it accompanies is the best I've found.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jmckee

                  Thanks for this, jmckee! Is that focaccia recipe anywhere online?

                  1. re: abud

                    I don't think so. Haven't looked, though. "Baking with Julia" is at my branch public library, though, so you may have luck there.

                    Actually, the book is well worth acquiring, if only for the focaccia recipe, along with the pita bread and basic loaves. Mine's dusty with flour.

                2. Back in the day I was veggie. I appreciated anyone who did something a little different for me...

                  Grilled veggies sound great, especially if it is summer, but make sure there is something substantial in there too, like bread or potatoes.

                  Beans are always good. A bean salad is great for lunch. Take a couple types of canned beans, chopped tomato, chopped zucchini, chopped onion, fresh herbs, and a vinagrette. Serve with bread.
                  My favorite is chickpeas and kale stirfried together with garlic, olive oil, lemon, onions and tomato. You could serve on top of pasta or rice or plain or as a side dish. Super easy and tasty.

                  Breakfast type foods are good. A frittada, pancakes, quiche, anything like that is tasty and easy to do veggie.

                  Stuffed squash (patty pan works nicely) or green peppers are great. Stuff with rice, tomato, onion, garlic, herbs and cover with a cheese she can eat.

                  Stir frys and Asian foods also work really well.

                  1. portobelo mushroom burgers. (Or you guys can have your regular burgers) You can marinate her mushroom for a little bit before you grill it. I'm not a vegetarian, but I eat these all the time. Delicious.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tochipotle

                      I had to do a vegetarian sandwich for a cookout once, because a friend of mine is an unrepentant carnivore and refused to cook something for a friend of hers who'd recently gone veg. (Hows THAT for gracious hosting?) I marinated a nice portobello cap in olive oil and a little dry white vermouth with a lot of fresh chopped herbs from our garden, grilled it, served it on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, muenster cheese, roasted red pepper, and a tahini dressing I made up on the spot and then forgot to write down. (To paraphrase Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest: I hate it when then happens.) It looked so good I made one for myself.

                    2. Portobello Burgers are a good idea. Heidi Swanson's chickpea burgers are amazing:
                      Serve with epicurious polenta fries and roasted red pepper ketchup (both recipes also amazing

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: abud

                        I like portobellos stuffed with rissotto or you can make them Italian.
                        I have quite a few family members that are vegetarian. One of the complaints I've heard is that whenever they are guests, people freak out when it comes to serving meals to them. There are so many good vegetarian entrees that are so tasty that everyone will enjoy them. I made it a point to learn a few dishes which I make from time to time for us and I am not a vegetarian, just like their food. I like to also eat what they eat during their stay, it makes it more enjoyable for me, and to be able to ask questions and learn a few things. Here are a few ideas:
                        Vegetable stir fry, there so many Asian dishes with tofu or an Indonesia stir fried rice-super good!
                        Italian dishes are really substantial - Cochiglie with peas and ricotta, angel hair with broccolini, cauliflower, yellow crooknecks, basil gruyere parlsley cheese sauce. Pasta with walnut pesto sauce, Spinach gnocchi, Polenta with eggs and tomato sauce, rolled stuffed eggplant.

                        Vegetable curry also is a good one!

                      2. Homemade mac & cheese.

                        1. I'm dying to find out what The Lima Bean and The Gnat thought of your menu. Could there be a Beatrix Potter-ish series in your future?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Gio

                            I'm dying to find out the origin of the names "Lima Bean" and "Gnat"!

                            1. re: jmckee

                              I'm thinking those are pet names that Purple Goddess uses to designate those whom she holds dear.
                              Bless her heart ......I'm sure they appreciate it. (said with TIC)

                          2. Marcella's Zucchini Risotto, with Zucchini Flowers


                            This was a big hit at our house even though we're ominvores. You could sub vegetable broth for chicken/beef.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MMRuth

                              Oops - just saw that you didn't want to do the risotto thing ....

                            2. My teenagers were "veggies" for a few years. I always found that whole grains were appreciated....brown rice cooked in veggie stock with some herbs or green onions thrown in at the end. Real long cooking barley or wild rice, again add fresh herbs at the end.

                              1. I posted a recipe for Korean stuffed cucumbers, a nice summery dish, here:
                                You could easily substitute a variety of mushrooms or other veggies for the meat.

                                1. How about bibimbap? You could have beef for the carnivores, and all the veggies and a fried egg for her.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: bear

                                    Forgot to add that you could marinate some tofu in the same marinade you used for the beef in the bibimbap. I made this a couple of weeks ago, and carnivores and veggies alike were quite happy.

                                  2. My son's name is Liam, and a friend once wrote it down as Lima... it stuck, and The Gnat is a very tiny size 4 and about 4ft 11.. and her name is Natalie!!!

                                    I am SO trying the mushroom burgers tonight!!!


                                    So far we've done a vegi curry with dhal, vegie nachos, vegie tapas, pesto baked vegies, asparagus and haloumi bake, LOTS of salads.

                                    She's staying for 2 more nights and then comes back in a couple of weeks for another week, so keep the ideas coming!!!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: purple goddess

                                      What a good MaMa bird you are! No chance for a little meat then on the sly?
                                      You rock!.... I'm thinking they already know that though.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Why, thanks Gio **blush**

                                        I thought we'd go veggie for her stay.. but Furry (husband) is starting to get that "dead animal on plate" look in his eye.

                                        So he will get a hand-ground pattie tonight!!

                                        1. re: purple goddess

                                          Some things I love during the summer (but all lighter fare--more like appetizers)--
                                          -Stuffed squash blossoms: saute shallots; mix with ricotta cheese, grated parmesan, black pepper, and dill. then stuff this in the squash blossom and bake. You could put it over bread and make a crostini.
                                          -Cherry crostini: they sound weird, but the combo is very yummy--you need finely chopped walnuts, chopped up cherries, dill, cream cheese and water cress. And stale french bread. You mix the dill and walnuts w/ cream cheese and spread that on the bread. Then you top it with watercress, on which you put the chopped cherries. It sounds weird, but the combo really works. I have a picture of it here: http://anzukko.blogspot.com/2007/06/c...
                                          -Mango gazpacho: This one, I don't know if I can write out off the top of my head, so I'll check my cookbook when I'm not procrastinating doing my final paper and get back to you. But the gist of the recipe is, puree 4 or 5 mangos, and combine equal parts water and mango puree. Add vineagar (the original recipe calls for champagne vinegar, but I've added cider vinegar with success) to taste, and then as condiments, you add chopped mangos, strawberries, cucumbers and garnish with chives. Very refreshing in the summer. Actually, NM. Here's the recipe: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                          Ok, back to my paper. . ..

                                    2. Tofu, as already mentioned, is incredibly versatile. But being in Australia you should have easy access to tempeh, which has 1,001 uses. Sometimes even carnivores like it! Sandwiches, stir fries, etc., etc. I like the kind that has seaweed in it.

                                      Miso soup without the bonito in the dashi or without any dashi at all. (Shitake mushrooms, especially from dried rather than fresh, make a great addition.) Actually there are, at a conservative estimate, 3,276,000 soups you can make.

                                      There are any number of rennetless cheeses here in the US. Irostron mentioned leaving out mozzarella, but there is at least one made with lemon juice instead of rennnet. Which reminds of paneer, an Indian cheese made with lemon juice or vinegar. Here's a link to a site that has several lists of cheeses, but it is US based. There may be similar info for Austraila. http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/cheese.htm

                                      Which reminds me of Indian food. You could eat a different delicious Indian vegetarian dish every meal for the rest of your life and not try them all.

                                      Have fun! Let us know how it comes out!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Richard 16

                                        making palak paneer tonight, as her "going home" dinner. The veggie burgers were a hit, too.. and last night was a great salad with nuts and avo and croutons and eggie-bits.

                                      2. wish i had seen this earlier PG. the vegie section of my christmas survival kit will give you w few ideas - all in season for december here.