Tag Archives: Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday: Minestrone con Pesto

Minestrone con Pesto

Minestrone con Pesto

Minestrone con Pesto

Last Friday night I made a minestrone with pesto soup with my boyfriend that turned out excellent. It was based off of a Mario Batali recipe, here’s how to make the soup and pesto:

Pesto:

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Minestrone:

  • 1 can of pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into medium dice
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch moons, 1/2-inch thick
  • 4 canned plum tomatoes, and their juice
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch moons
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces small whole wheat pasta
  • pesto for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

First, chop up all the vegetables and sauté everything except the zucchini in a large stockpot with the olive oil. If you need more liquid, add a little water. Once the vegetables become soft, add the zucchini, tomatoes, beans and tomato juice. Cover the vegetables and beans with water and cook for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Next, boil the soup and add the pasta. If you need to, add more water. Cook until the pasta is al dente.

While the soup is finishing up, make the pesto. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Then, ladle the soup into bowls and top with pesto and parsley. Enjoy!

We had our soup with a salad and some bread on the side. It’s a delicious and simple soup to make and the broth has a great almost creamy taste. Plus, the soup is filling enough for dinner!

Do you have a favorite minestrone soup? Share with us below.

Meatless Monday: Quick & Easy Bruschetta

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

On Saturday night I was headed out to a belated Epic Halloween Party at my friend Ellen’s house. I picked up some wine to bring with me and wanted to bring an appetizer as well to share with everyone. I was running short on time and decided to make bruschetta because its gotta be one of my favorite quick and easy appetizers. Plus, who doesn’t love bruschetta?

There’s only a few ingredients you’ll need:

  • Garlic clove
  • Whole grain baguette
  • Baby Roma tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Olive oil
  • S + P
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)

The first thing I did was cut up the Roma tomatoes and basil and combine it in a bowl with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Let it marinate for a while at room temperature (I let mine marinate maybe an hour or so, but even longer is better).

Then, I put a clove of garlic in the microwave with a little bit of olive oil and heated it up for about :45. I didn’t have time to roast the garlic (if you have time, you could roast it instead of microwaving). I cut the bread up into little slices and rubbed the garlic/olive oil onto each piece. Then, I lightly toasted in a 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes.

When the bread is finished toasted, top with the tomato mixture and then add a little Parmigiano Reggiano, if you like. If you have vegan friends, the bruschetta is still delicious without the cheese.

I took a pan full to the party and it was all gone by the time I left—I’d call that a success!

Do you have a quick and easy appetizer that you bring to parties? Share your ideas below!

Meatless Monday: Spicy, Sweet Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

A few weeks ago, I bought a butternut squash at the farmer’s market in Towson. With the weather getting cooler, I decided that making a soup would be the perfect way to use the squash. I found the below recipe for butternut squash soup from Chow Vegan’s blog and modified it slightly:

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 med carrot, sliced
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
  • 1/2″ fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cube vegan vegetable bouillon dissolved in the water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 heaping tablespoons silken tofu
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
  • 1-2 pieces baked tofu, cubed (press the tofu and cut into thin slices and bake until lightly browned)
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmug

In a large pot, heat the oil until hot, add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the squash, apple and carrots and saute for about 30 seconds. Add the water, ginger and spices.

Bring to a boil, cover and turn down to low. Cook for about 18 minutes or until the squash is soft. Add the tofu and puree until smooth using an immersion blender if you have one. If you don’t have one, you can use a regular blender. Just cool the soup slightly and blend in small batches. Ladle into bowls and garnish with green onions and baked tofu croutons if desired. Serve immediately.

This soup is easy to make and can be made all in one bowl which means not a lot of cleanup! I added the apple and nutmeg to give the soup a sweeter flavor to contrast with the spiciness of the cayenne. Sooo good! The green onions and baked tofu really top off the soup and give it some extra texture and flavor. This soup is perfect for a light lunch or you could serve it with some bread or salad for dinner. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

I’m always looking for new recipes that use butternut squash. Do you have a favorite butternut squash recipe? Share with us below.

Meatless Monday: Creamy Risotto with Broccoli, Arugula and Tomatoes

Risotto

Risotto

Over the weekend, I made a delicious risotto with my friend Gene that I wanted to share with you. So, we started off with with a basic risotto recipe inspired by Lidia’s Italy and added our own vegetables.

Creamy Risotto with Broccoli, Arugula and Tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large minced onion
  • 2 minced shallots
  • 6 cups arborio rice
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 6-1/2 cups hot vegetable stock, plus water as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or as needed
  • 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • broccoli
  • fresh tomatoes
  • arugula
  • red pepper flakes
  • Italian seasoning

First, you cook the onions in the olive oil until golden brown, then add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes, next add the white wine and stir until absorbed. Then, gradually add ladles of broth to the rice, continually stirring until each ladle is absorbed. Steam fresh or frozen broccoli and set aside.

Then, add salt, pepper, butter, tomatoes and arugula to the risotto. Continue adding broth and stirring until the rice is al dente or as tender as you would like and the vegetables are cooked. Finally, stir in the broccoli and the Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

This recipe is a little labor intensive, so be prepared to stir…and stir some more. But, when the rice is cooked, it’s well worth the cramp left in your arm! Give this recipe a try—even non-vegetarians will like it! Plus, it makes lots of leftovers which are great for lunches or a quick dinner.

You can put almost anything you want into a risotto—I’ve had asparagus which is really good. Do you have a favorite risotto recipe?

Meatless Monday: Easy, Delicious Banana Cookies

Banana Cookies

Banana Cookies

Banana Cookies - Pre-Bake

Yes—you read that right: banana cookies. I hadn’t ever heard of them, but I was looking up recipes to use up some dates I had and figured I’d give this one a try. The cookie recipe is really easy to make, I got this from VegWeb:

Healthy Banana Cookies

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas.  Stir in oats, dates, oil, and vanilla.  Mix well, and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown.

Serves: 3 dozen.

For this recipe, I used slightly unripe bananas, so I added a little agave nectar to sweeten the cookies up just a little bit. I also substituted about 2/3rds of the oil with apple sauce instead to cut down on the amount of fat in the cookies. I added a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg for a more complex flavor. These cookies are really sticky, and more like a granola bar, but are perfect for breakfast or a quick snack. Give them a try sometime if you want something guilt-free and delicious to snack on!

Do you have a favorite banana recipe?

Meatless Monday: On Wasting Food

Food Waste

I started reading this new book called The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend a couple weeks ago to broaden my outlook on why we eat what we eat in this country. Plus, I’m always reading books about animal rights, vegans and vegetarians that I figured I needed to hear what the meat-eaters are saying.

So, what do you think of when you or people you know waste food? For me, I think about how so many people don’t even have food and how wasteful it is that I didn’t feel like taking my $15 pasta leftovers home. I always think of “waste not, want not” and feel horrible about throwing away food (which is one of the reasons I try to only buy food I know I’ll eat).

Well, in The Compassionate Carnivore, I wanted to share a fascinating point that Friend makes about wasting food: when you waste food you’re needlessly killing animals. Wow. I never thought about food going to waste in that way. It really makes me think that when you eat a hamburger you’re actually eating a cow and when you don’t finish your meal a cow was killed for no reason—how wasteful. Friend makes this point to help readers realize that if they’re going to eat meat, they should finish their food. To me, it just makes sense that if you’re going to take an animal’s life to put food on your plate, you should eat every last bite and cherish the food you are consuming while recognizing all the hard work it took to get that meat on your plate.

So, what are your thoughts on wasting food? Wasting meat?

Meatless Monday: Do the Guacamole!

Guacamole

I have a confession…I’ve never made guacamole before today (gasp!). I’m embarrassed considering how much I love guacamole and how easy it is to make. So, if you’re like me (and I know some of you are) here’s an easy recipe if you want to give a whack at making your own sometime. This recipe makes about two servings of guacamole and its easy enough to make you can make another batch when this one is already gone.

Guacamole

Add as little or as much of the ingredients below until it tastes how you like your guacamole.

  • avocado
  • tomato
  • garlic
  • onion powder (or real onions)
  • cayenne pepper
  • lime juice
  • salt
  • pepper

Just chop up the tomato and garlic and add it to the avocade and mush with a fork. That’s it. Easy and delicious.

Serve with tortilla chips, crackers or use it as a spread on a sandwich. Yum!

Do you ever make guacamole? Do you have a favorite recipe? Share with us!