Favourite vegetarian main dish?
My boyfriend and I are gently trying to introduce his family to vegetarian food. After a few moths though, we're running a bit low on inspiration. Problem is they eat fairly unadventurously, and are of the belief that something like salad/ soup does not a proper meal make (no matter what you throw in there), so a lot of things I'd normally make are out/ not popular.
If anyone has simple,go-to veggie recipes for a main meal you wouldn't mind sharing, be most obliged!
This is a good thread to start with when introducing veggies:
Also, mac and cheese with peas and corn is an excellent main dish that nobody ever turns down. Pasta generally is something that unadventurous folks are okay with, so start with veggie-centric versions of pasta dishes they're familiar with.
I also like doing a vegetarian shepherd's pie. This recipe from epicurious is good: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
Just omit the meat, and add more veggies. To this recipe, I'd probably add cubed potatoes, a rib or two of celery, and maybe some greens like spinach or kale. If you're feeling particularly froggy, there's also an excellent brand of vegetarian sausage called Field Roast. I've used the apple sage sausage in this recipe before. I actually am not a vegetarian, but almost all my friends are vegetarian or vegan (or have gluten allergies... I'm a regular halfway home for people with dietary restrictions!), and they're always trying to get me to eat fake meat. I really rather dislike the taste of most fake meat, and I'm a big proponent of whole and natural, as-unprocessed-as-possible foods, but Field Roast really tastes good!
Anyway, there's a start.
I rarely cook vegetarian, but one dish I've had a hit with when serving vegetarian friends is wild mushroom lasagna. There are quite a few variations on this - they all start with good mushrooms (porcini are great for this dish), bechamel and a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and some add meltable cheeses like mozzarella or fontina, and/or tomato, but I like the more basic version as it lets the mushroom flavor shine.
There are lots of great vegetarian Italian options: Lasagna, risotto, various stuffed pasta (ravioli, cannelloni, tortellini), pizza.
Vegetarian chili, veggie quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas
Assorted vegetarian Spanish Tapas, including tortilla (made with potato)
Lots of Indian options.
I'd vote for Ottolenghi's Very Full Tart, a tart made up of all kinds of roasted vegs - eggplant, zukes, tomatoes, parsnips, onions, garlic, peppers, etc. The vegs are roasted with olive oil first and then mixed together and put into the tart shell. Globs of feta and ricotta are pushed into the pie and the whole thing is baked again. The shell is a butter crust. This is just great.
The dishes that even I, who hasn't had a fully vegetarian meal in about 15 odd years, cannot resist are:
1. Rajma (Indian red kidney beans) - made with un-ground spices and served with plain steamed basmati rice
2. Aaloo ki Launji (potatos in a 'sweetly sour' gravy) - This is an extremely simple dish of potatoes cooked in a gravy that has a base of ground tamarind. It is traditionally had with Puri (fried, puffy flat bread) and amritsari cholle (chickpeas in a spicy gravy). The two dishes play off wonderfully as the sweeter taste of the potatoes matches with the spicier taste of the chickpeas
I would be happy to post recipes if you want.
Sure. As with any recipe, there are variations from one home to another, but the links should give you a good idea for both.
There are more involved recipes than this one, but this is good if you are a beginner. The garam masala used can also be found on that site.
Aaloo Ki Launji: This is a dish from Amritsar in Punjab. Again really simple to prepare. I suggest eating it with Puri (deep fried Wheat roti), raw onions and mango pickle.
http://www.indianfoodforever.com/punj... Sub-in tamarind for the Annardana powder (dried pomegranate powder)
Thanks a lot for these. If there are more complicated Rajma recipes, I'd be interested too, as I enjoy cooking Indian food.
Also - you mentioned in your earlier post that the potato dish goes really well with a chickpea one - the name of the dish you've given us a link to looks like a combination of the two. Is there a chickpea recipe you have a link to which goes with this? Thanks again - I'll have a go at these soon.
Casseroles hide a multitude of delicious oddness and present it in a homey package, maybe its the cheese on top? Try casseroles around the world.
Enchilada casserole made w/anything from roasted veg and/or black beans to tvp or lentils, serve w/refried beans and spanish rice if they need it.
Tamale pie or tamales filled with what ever you like
moussaka w/a cucumber or greek salad
pastas of all kinds
While not adventurous, my favorite vegetarian dish is pasta.
A simple spaghetti prep along the lines of Scott Conant's famous "Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Basil" -- i.e., make a sauce with some sauteed tomatoes, garlic, EVOO, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, then toss the spaghetti in the sauce and serve garnished with some fresh basil. I omit the cheese simply because I don't like cheese.
The best vegetarian dishes are Indian, in my opinion. However, for unadventurous people, I would make Marcella Hazan's spaghetti with caramelized onion sauce (in her book Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking).
Ingredients are crucial since this is such a lightly seasoned dish. Only very good parmesan, butter, and olive oil will do!
My favorite is lo mein, with good fried chewy noodles and loads of vegetables. I started out using the recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking, and I still refer back to it occasionally, but mostly I wing it. It may not be simple, but it's my go-to vegetarian main dish:
Cook everything on high heat.
If you can, get fresh wheat noodles from an Asian market.
Prep your vegetables. I like using: lots of green onions and/or Chinese leeks, and a brassica or two - cabbage or Chinese cabbage, bok choy, choy sum, tender broccoli, etc. I'll add to that all sorts of things such as shredded carrot, shiitake mushrooms, celery, spinach or chard, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, whatever looks best at the time. I prefer using a variety of things with smallish quantities of each. Whatever you pick, cut all the vegetables long and thin and not too much wider than the noodles. You want all the vegetables to reach the same degree of doneness at the same time, so keep than in mind when cutting and parboil if you need to.
Prep the sauce - I use a lot of soy sauce, a little sugar or brown sugar or honey, maybe some mirin or vermouth or other sweet wine, sometimes a little sesame oil or a good dose of white pepper. I always leave red pepper for people to add on their own afterward. My husband DOES NOT like cornstarch so I don't use it, although I would.
Boil some water. Cook the noodles a few minutes with lots of stirring and checking until they are al dante, then cool in cold water and drain really well. Don't leave them unattended.
Heat up the wok or skillet and stir-fry the vegetables in a little oil, adding just a pinch of sugar if they need it. Cook hot and fast with lots of stirring so they caramelize a bit on the outside but are still crunchy. Take out of the wok and set aside.
Heat some oil. You want to basically make a big noodle fritter in your wok or skillet so don't skimp on the oil. Dump in the noodles and flatten out . Once they're flattened try not to disturb the underside, like making a hash brown or delicious latke. You want to fry until the underside is golden. Flip over and fry the other side.
If it's just for my family, I wouldn't normally use the method I just described. I'd use a lot less oil and just fry the noodles around a bit, and it wouldn't make a wonderful crunchy noodle fritter. But I would do the noodle fritter for a special occasion or company.
Then you dump in the sauce, cook for a little bit, and dump in your vegetables. Stir around with a spatula, breaking up the noodles by cutting with the spatula, until everything is mixed well. Serve immediately.
Ooh thank you so much! So many good ideas here - cannot wait to try them out. The wild mushroom lasagne for one sounds amazing. Perhaps eggplant parm will be next on the list - never had it so was hesitant to try, but if its a favourite.. And thanks for the lo mein instructions - watch out family, here it comes!
Mujadarra - between the lentils and the caramelized onions, there's plenty of umami to satisfy meat-eaters like me, and the rice makes it filling. It can be served hot, cold, or room temp, on its own or as a side, easily customized with added meat, or as a bed for poached eggs if the family insists on something heartier. Equally good basic or with added spices.
*Mushroom strudel -- in phyllo dough
*Spaghetti squash casserole
*Crispy baked eggplant with blue cheese sauce
*A simple casserole of roasted eggplant, chickpea, sauteed onion, tomato, fresh basil
*Eggplant and spinach curry -- I like my version better than one that I have tried in a restaurant
*Roasted butternut squash risotto
Grab The Moosewood Cookbook and any of Mollie Katzen's books from the library to get you started on an endless stream of ideas.
re: twilight goddess
Yay for the mushroom strudel, the dinner party dish from college 35 years ago. I still make the filling, but add hydrated porcini mushrooms with the reduced soaking water. I use it to make filo triangles for finger food, and as a filling for mushroom lasagna. For the lasagna, I buy roasted yellow tomatoes in oil at Wegman's, drain off the oil, then puree them and pour the sauce on top. Top off with some grated Parm and voila. This is perhaps my most requested recipe when I cater parties, and I am embarrassed to reveal how simple it is.
My absolute favorite is lentil tacos. I eat them burrito style, rolled up in a wheat tortilla with all the fixins. I was really skeptical before trying it - but as huge meat lovers in this house, we didn't miss the hamburger one bit. It's now a weeknight staple. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Tasty-Le...
Several folks have already mentioned Butternut Squash. Here's a variation on that theme:
Butternut Squash Baked Pasta
1 lb dried pasta (Shells or Rigatoni)
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 tbs freshly chopped Rosemary (reserve 1 tbs for bread crumb topping)
3 tbs Olive Oil
3 tbs Butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp black pepper
1-2 tsp kosher salt
1 box frozen pureed winter squash
1/2 cup Mascarpone Cheese (sold in tubs near Ricotta)
1 cup of the pasta water (from boiling the pasta)
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for bread crumb topping)
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
Bring large pot of salted water to a boil for cooking the pasta. You will be saving 1 cup of the cooked pasta water to thicken the sauce. I like to put a 1 cup measuring cup into the collander so that I don't forget to save a cup!
Combine the bread crumbs, 1 tbs. chopped Rosemary and 1/2 cup grated parmesan--set aside.
Melt the butter and oil together in a large sauce pan. Add the onions and 3 tbs of chopped Rosemary. Caramelize the onions until soft and brownish--takes about 10-15 minutes over med high heat. Turn off the heat and add the minced garlic, frozen squash, the mascarpone, the salt and pepper. Let this sit and melt together. When the pasta is finished cooking, save 1 cup of the pasta water and add it to the squash/onion mixture. Stir the squash mixture over low heat until it is fairly uniform. Add the 1 cup of parmesan to the sauce and stir to combine. Put the cooked pasta into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add the squash/onion sauce to the pasta and combine. Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes--until the bread crumbs are crispy.
If it's called Parmigiano-Reggiano then it's protected under EU law (protected designation of origin) and has to be traditionally made which includes animal stomach rennet. I am an omnivore now but was a vegetarian for 20 years and did not eat cheese that was made with animal rennet. Similarly true Parmesan cannot be kosher. I just think it shows guests with religious or ethical preferences respect when a host/ess is clued up about these things. It would just be helpful when recommending vegetarian dishes if a recipe said "parmesan-style-vegetarian/kosher-hard-italian-grating-cheese". Of course this does not have the same "ring" as simply "Parmesan" but it does raise awareness of what is actually in what one eats.
I've bought kosher Parmesan from Italy that had the typical parm markings on the outside and everything -- costs about 30% more but if it's not the real thing it's pretty convincing.
Aside from this, I have been unable to find any other Italian-style grating cheese that's kosher. Certainly there's no kosher peccorino. Locatelli is right out. There are some US producers of Asiago that are veg, but it's not really comparable.
I've bought kosher Pecorino Romano and Parmesano-Reggiano (the real things, as far as I can tell) from Fairway in NYC. Kosheritalia.com also carries them, and I think they're the same brands as Fairway has.
One can use animal rennet to make kosher cheeses, but it needs to be from a kosher-slaughtered cow. To quote from the website of the OU, the world's largest kosher-certifying agency:
Animal rennet and lipase can be kosher, however. If the kosher source animal is slaughtered, de-veined, salted and processed according to kosher law, its rennet and lipase are fine for kosher use. (There is no halachic problem with using animal-derived enzymes in cheese [mixing meat and milk] since the amounts used are miniscule. Moreover, the enzymes are not cooked with the milk, and they are flavorless. Also, the davar hama’amid principle cited earlier only applies to non-kosher substances, and the enzymes are actually kosher.)
Taken from here: http://www.oukosher.org/index.php/com...
Mac and Cheese for sure. Here's my go-to recipe. Too much of this stuff will kill you, but it's worth it. Serve it with a nice green salad or tomato bruchetta to help cut through the richness of the cheese: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...
Also, stuffed pasta shells (I do versions with both cheese and and cheese with veggies), top-your-own corn tostadas or bean burritos, top-your-own pizza, eggplant parm, spicy tofu stir fry, (get the General Tsao's sauce at Trader Joe's) with steamed veggie dumplings and veggie egg rolls, (frozen at Whole Foods).
BTW, I'm totally trying that squash pasta thing. Looks great!
Two I've been making often recently include dolmades and pa jun.
The dolmades recipe is here: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp...
Just substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock to make it vegetarian.
The pa jun recipe is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/28/din...
Just leave out the optional shrimp to make it vegetarian.
-Peanut Noodles: w/ gingered vegetables, tofu, and cashews. Not something I've made but a mouth watering fav at a local restaurant.
-Lasagna w/ roasted mushrooms and other veggie of choice (I did onions), soooo yummy! I got this from my Italian cooks illustrated and can supply you w/ recipe is you like.
- Pumpkin or butternut squash ravioli
-Chili, yes a stew, but you can make it look great w/ tortilla chips rimming bowl, avocado, green onions, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and fresh lime wedges.
-Bean and roasted veggie burritos w/ festive sides and fillers.
-Potato pancakes w/ sides or choice. My Dad makes a simply divine recipe ... I could get from him if you like.
-Agree on the enchiladas, yummy! Make your own noodle crepes though ... it's as simple as pancakes.
- Homemade tomato soup w/ toasty cheese sandwiches (everyone loves this, right?)
-pizza and calzones. Make it a margherita w/ fresh sliced tomato and basil and they'll never miss the meat. Mmmmm!
My go to is Amy Sedaris' recipe; I've tried many good ones and hers is just stellar. And absolutely yes to the fresh dill and fennel (optional in the recipe). The frozen spinach works better here (squeeze it all out). Whenever I make this the numbers 3, 8, and 2 stick and I'm golden: 3 packs frozen chopped spinach, 8 oz. each small curd cottage cheese, crumbled feta, cream cheese, and 2 bunches scallions. I always have the herbs, phyllo and lots of eggs. I'll post the recipe if you like.
Creamy quinoa mushroom casserole
Just tried a new one this week: a creamy quinoa mushroom casserole with spinach, dill, lemon, and a crunchy Parmesan top. Mmmmm! This is delicious! Sautee 3/4 pound chopped mushrooms with one large onion (chopped) and 3 to 4 minced cloves of garlic, and about 5ounces spinach in the last two minutes. Remove from ehat. Combine with 3 cups cooked quinoa (cook in broth for more flavor). Add 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup cottage cheese, 2 Tbsp fresh dill, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, lots of black pepper, a little salt, a little Aleppo chile if you like some heat, and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. put in 2 quart glass baking dish. Dust with paprika and grate on more Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350, covered for 25 minutes then uncovered until top is browning and casserole bubbles.
For me the problem with most vegetarian meals is that they leave me hungry and then craving meat two or three hours later. There are a couple meals that absolutely fill me up and satisfy:
Paneer Tikka Masala is one. This stuff is really hearty. I like the Raghavan Iyer recipe in "660 Curries" but there are lots on the internet. It's really not that hard to make.
"Lisa's Mushroom Burgers" are really good too. The trick is the chopped mushroom that is then made like a meatball/meatloaf. Those grilled portobello mushroom caps passed off as burgers are disgusting to me because they always get soggy and slide off the bun. You can see the recipe at http://www.weheartfood.com/2008/10/li...
My favorite USED to be Pasta ala Norma: Sauteed eggplant, tomatoes, and onion, tossed with hot pasta. However, Harters turned me onto a root veggie "cobbler" that lately has supplanted that: cubed root veg and lentils topped with cheesy cobbles. Delicious, easy, heartwarming, fantastic, and my new "go to" veggie dish.
Here's an excellent chickpea curry with a touch of tomato and some cozy heat (I also add spinach) -- just delightful. You do need to amass the Indian spices if you don't yet have them, but once the pantry is stocked this is such a *snap* to put together. It's also really affordable, after that initial investment as you compile the spices. You can make your own chai too with these spices-- great hot or iced.
This is so much better than any recipe calling for "curry powder" and it just pops with flavor. I toast and grind my own garam masala (and I can provide a recipe, if you like). I added about 5ounces spinach at the end of cooking time, right before stirring in the yogurt and cilantro.
We just finished Giada De Laurentis' Rigatoni with Vegetable Bolognese for dinner tonight. It was really good. The dried mushrooms added a real depth of flavor, and the mascarpone at the end added enough richness to really satisfy. Definitely a keeper.
I made the recipe pretty much as is, but instead of the 5 oz. mixed fresh mushrooms, I used 8 oz. creminis because I wanted to use them up. Terrific.
I've been a vegetarian for a long time, so I have some old standbys that I can do quickly and easily:
I'm on a HUGE breakfast burrito kick with Soyrizo and greens (like arugula)
pizzas (broccoli white, Asian style, tomato and balsamic, or really any kind)
quinoa stir fry is so fast and easy (and filling!)
Veg Shepherd's pie
Cream cheese pasta with greens
Southwestern orzo pasta
Green bean risotto
Lemon and Leek Pasta
Let me know if you want any of the recipes I use for these!
re: Veggie Liv
re: Veggie Liv
1 large lemon
3 tbs olive oil
1 leek (white parts)
1/2 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbs flat leaf parsley
8 oz whole wheat pasta
1 ear of grilled corn
1 diced roma tomato (or about 5-8 cherry tomatoes, halved)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
(You can serve this hot or cold, but I always eat it hot.)
Cook pasta according to package directions in heavily salted water until almost al dente.
Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, shallot, and leek and saute for about 6-8 minutes. Then add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes. Slowly add in about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and the wine. Then add the corn (removed from the ear), parsley, tomatoes, and seasonings. Add the pasta and toss. Right before serving, add the juice from the lemon.
Garnish each plate with lemon zest, and lemon wedge, and parsley.
You can see a picture of it here: http://veggieliv.blogspot.com/2011/01...
This is delicious and incorporates bold flavors with squash and greens, tomatoes and bell pepper.
Harvest Squash Casserole -- mmmm, brimming with yumminess and veggies!
1 large butternut squash, 2pounds or more
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper
1 medium zucchini
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium jalapeño, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tomatoes -- 2 chopped, 1 sliced
1 cup chopped kale
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin -- toast the seeds and grind yourself for more flavor
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cups grated jalapeño pepper Jack -- 6 ounces
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Roast on a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes or until soft.
Remove squash and set aside to cool; reduce oven to 375.
Heat a little olive oil and sautée onion, bell pepper, zucchini, garlic, jalapeño and oregano about five minutes. Scoop out the cooled squash and smush it a little until smooth. Stir in your sautéed veggies. Add the basil, tomatoes, kale, sour cream, salt, cumin, chili powder, coriander, cloves, cayenne, and 1/2 cup grated cheese.
Transfer to a casserole. Top with sliced tomatoes, the remaining cup of grated cheese, and a few good dashes paprika. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 until bubbling and golden. Serve immediately.
This is a tasty casserole that I got from Chow.
1 jalapeno pepper seeded
1 green bell pepper
1 T oil
1/2 C fresh or frozen corn
1 T ground cumin
9 6-in corn tortillas
1/2 C salsa
1 tomato sliced (or equivalent cherry tomatoes halved)
1 16 oz can vegetarian fat free refried beans, or equivalent pureed home-cooked beans
with a pinch of salt in the FP
8 oz shredded chesse of your preference (I used the Mexican shredded in the bag)
Cilantro for garnish (I didn't use it)
Slice onion and peppers; saute in oil over medium heat until softened but still slightly
crisp 5-7 min. Add corn and heat through. Season with ground cumin and a pinch of salt. Remove from heat.
Using 8 x 10 in. pan cut 3 tortillas to cover bottom of pan which you've greased.
In small bowl combine salsa with refried beans. Spread bean mixture over tortillas and top with half the cheese. Top with another layer of tortillas and green pepper/onion mixture. Top with final layer of tortillas, and thinly sliced tomatoes. Cover with remaining cheese.
Bake, covered with aluminum foil for 20 min. Uncover and continue baking another 20 min. until the top is golden brown.
Garnish with cilantro if you wish. I didn't. The leftovers reheated very well later in the week.
I think it has to be my smoked tofu and cashew stir-fry. My husband says it is the best thing he's ever eaten and requests it ALL the time. I think I make it once a week at this point.
Heat up a large skillet or wok until it is screaming hot (I use setting 9 on my stove). Add 2 TBSP of peanut oil. Toss in 1 large onion (halved then thinly sliced)...warning, it will splatter wickedly. Cook this until the edges start to brown/blacken. Then add mixed veggies of your choice. A bag of Trader Joe's mixed veggies work very well for this, but fresh is better if you have it. Cook these until they are soft and begin to blacken/brown. Remove them to a bowl.
Add 1 TBSP of peanut oil to the skillet. Add to this 4 cloves of crushed garlic and 1.5 TBSP of crushed ginger root. Let this get fragrant, but don't burn it (this will happen quickly...just a few seconds). Add to this 8 oz. of small slices of smoked tofu (I'd say my pieces are no larger than 1/4 inch across). Cook until they start to brown. Then, add 1/3c of mirin, 1/2c of strong veggie stock (I use 1 tsp of better than bullion to 1/2 c) and cook this liquid down to about half volume. Then add your removed veggies, a couple handfuls of toasted cashew pieces, a few good glugs of soy sauce, and a few dashes of toasted sesame oil.
It's fantastic, quick and nutritious. We usually serve it over brown rice.
I recently made my Moroccan Vegetable and Chickpea Stew again, and it reminded me how much I love this dish! It's pretty, too: http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010...
Moroccan Vegetable and Chickpea Stew
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 c. chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, cut into 1/2 inch half-moons
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
1 t. turmeric
1 t. coriander
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. paprika
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 c. raisins
2 c. vegetable broth (use gluten-free broth if you are gluten-sensitive)
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (recommend Eden brand – bpa-free cans)
1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted
Harissa, purchased or homemade
Whole wheat couscous (or rice if you are gluten-sensitive)
Heat the oil in a dutch oven. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic, spices and salt and cook for 2 minutes more. Add all of the vegetables and stir to coat. Add tomatoes, raisins, broth and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, partially covered. Add a bit of extra broth if the stew gets too dry. (It will need more if the stew sits and thickens after you cook it.)
Serve the stew on whole wheat couscous, topped with the toasted almonds and a dab of harissa.