What are your favorite simple vegetarian/vegan meals, the ones you make most often coz they're easy and delicious, the ones requested by spouse/children/friends?MAYAN BLACK BEAN SOUP1-lb black beans--soak the night before or morning of, then rinse------------------------2 T olive oil1-2 onions, chopped4 ribs celery, chopped2-3 large carrots, chopped4+ hot peppers, chopped (with or without the membranes/seeds depedning on how hot you like it) or use canned/pickled chilies6 large cloves garlic, minced------------------------6+ tomatoes, chopped (or a bottle of Goya pico de gallo or other salsa instead of hot chilies and tomatoes)2 bay leaves2 tsp oregano2 tsp cumin, crushed or ground1 tsp coriander, crushed or ground1 tsp paprika1/2+ tsp hot chili powder----------------------1 lime wedge per servinga little chopped cilantro(1) Saute' onion in olive oil for a few minutes, then stir in rest of first-group veggies and saute another 10 minutes.(2) Stir in tomatoes, herbs, spices, presoaked beans and plenty of water. Simmer for a couple of hours, then optionally mash or puree to desired consistency (or not).Serve with lime and cilantro. And a nice salad.HOT POTBring a quart or two of broth to a boil, then add each ingredient as you prep it. Amounts are approximate.6+ large, thinly sliced shiitakes1/2-1 head bok choy or 1/4-1/2 head napa, coarsely chopped1/4-1/2 onion, sliced or cut into crescentsoptional: Handful of pea pods, destrung3 garlic cloves, sliced or mincedTub of tofu, cut in favorite shapes/sizesoptional: 1, 3/4" cylinder of soba noodles or some mung bean noodles or no noodles1-2 Tbsp soy sauce1 tsp sesame oilSmall squirt agavePinch of 5-spice powderBy the time you stir in the seasonings, it's almost ready to eat.CAULIFLOWER FENNEL LEEK SOUP3 Tbsp olive oil, butter, or some of both1 med to large onion, chopped2-3 leeks, chopped2-3 fennel bulbs, chopped1-2 qts broth1 med to large cauliflower, chopped small1 cup half & half (or non-dairy cream like Mimicream, made from cashews)salt, pepper, nutmeg(1) Saute onion, leeks, and fennel in oil/butter till soft.(2) Add cauliflower & broth, and add water if veggies aren't covered. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes till very soft.(3) Puree with an immersion blender, blender or food processor, then stir in cream and seasonings (won't need salt if you use salted broth).PASTA W/BROCCOLI AND CAPERS1/2-1 lb pasta1-2 lb broccoli, trimmed & cut into bite-sized pieces, stems & all-------------------2-3 Tbsp fragrant olive oil1 tsp red pepper flakes6+ cloves garlic, chopped2 Tbsp capers and some of their pickling liquid-------------------1/2-1 cup grated romano or parmesan(1) Boil pasta. When 5 minutes from done, add broccoli (or boil broccoli separately). Save some cooking water before you drain it.(2) Meanwhile, saute pepper and garlic for a minute or two, then turn off heat and stir in capers & brine.(3) Grate cheese.(4) Stir it all together, adding 1/4 cup or so of pasta/broccoli cooking water. ==================I used to make shells (conchigli) stuffed with ricotta cheese and mac & cheese from scratch often, but I've cut back on pasta and cheese so only make these when my kids visit now, if they ask for them. The secret to great stuffed shells is a great from-scratch marinara with mushrooms and fresh herbs. The secret to great mac & cheese is stirring in sautéed onions, celery and bell pepper--and a little sherry and worcestershire to the cheese sauce. And baking with a layer of seasoned bread crumbs and wheat germ on top.We also love minestrone and Indian dinners (usually dal, vegetable curry such as aloo gobi, and raita), but these are more work so I don't make them as often.
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