Saturday, September 24, 2011

Black Bean & Corn Salad with Cilantro Dressing

The "Black Bean and Corn Salad with Cilantro Dressing" (page 79) combines black beans, corn, red bell pepper, and red onion with a zesty dressing resulting in a hearty salad with the bold flavors of Southwestern cuisine.  The recipe calls for a 4-ounce can of mild green chiles to be mixed into the beans, corn, and veggies, but instead, I added the chiles to the dressing ingredients in the blender, using them in place of the ¼ cup of olive oil listed.  (The rest of the dressing ingredients included garlic, cilantro, cumin, lime, salt & pepper.)  The result was spectacular, not to mention, it eliminated about 50 grams of fat from this salad! J

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ziti with Abruzzese Vegetable Ragu

"Ziti With Abruzzese Vegetable Ragu" (page 200), named for the Abruzzese region of Italy, combines cooked ziti with a rich vegetable tomato ragu.  Onion, carrot, garlic, and yellow bell pepper are sautéed (skip the oil here, use broth or water instead), mixed with crushed tomatoes, red wine, and Italian seasoning, and simmered on the stove to develop the flavors.  I felt the sauce was a tad bland, so I added some crushed red pepper flakes as well.  As I usually do, I cut the amount of ziti down from a pound to 10 ounces to keep the sauce to pasta ratio more to my liking.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sloppy Bulgur Sandwiches

Vegan Sloppy Joes are really easy to make, as long as you start with the right sauce.  Once you have the sauce down, you can use lentils, tofu, tempeh, vegan "burger" crumbles, or, even bulgur, as in "Sloppy Bulgur Sandwiches" (page 109).  The sauce consists of sautéed onion and bell pepper, crushed tomatoes, and some zesty seasonings to give it a little zing.  I omitted the oil when sautéing the veggies to keep the dish fat free.  I served the mixture on a crusty French roll, with the addition of lettuce and onion.  Another great summer meal!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Curried Tofu "Egg Salad" Pitas

All through this long hot summer, I've been trying to take full advantage of meals that don't require any cooking to prepare, and sandwiches often find their way onto my menu.  We enjoyed the "Curried Tofu 'Egg Salad' Pitas" (page 110) one warm evening recently and they did not disappoint.  The hardest thing about making these was finding mango chutney, or even fresh mangos for making my own.  One of the pitfalls of traveling is not being able to predict what may or may not be available wherever you end up.  I did, however, find some mango salsa, and it worked deliciously well.  The 'egg salad' is firm tofu, crumbled and mixed with carrots, celery, onion, and seasonings, and moistened with vegan mayonnaise (use oil free!).  Stuff this inside a whole wheat pita pocket, along with leafy green lettuce, and dinner is served!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Italian Rice with Seitan & Mushrooms

Billed as an Italian version of dirty rice, the "Italian Rice with Seitan and Mushrooms" (page 271) is a blend of cooked rice, sautéed veggies (onions, mushrooms, garlic), and browned seitan, seasoned with garlic, basil, fennel seed and red pepper flakes. The recipe instructions call for sautéing the veggies and seitan in two tablespoons of oil, but I omitted the oil altogether and sautéed everything in my dry non-stick skillet.  After combining all the components, the dish seemed a bit on the dry side, so I moistened it with a cup of warmed veggie broth.  I'm not sure if using the oil would have prevented this, but the broth was definitely a great addition, adding both moisture and flavor, without adding fat.  The recipe gives you the option of using either white or brown rice, but with just one set of instructions, i.e., cooking the rice for 30 minutes.  If you use brown rice (as I did, and it was delicious), you will likely have to increase the cooking time to 40-45 minutes.