Three Easy Vegetarian Dishes
Eating Less Meat
In my quest to eat healthier I tried to become a vegetarian, I failed. I am an omnivore and will most likely always will be. However I did commit to trying to reduce the amount of meat that I eat and that I serve to my family. This was a hard sell to my husband who is a bonafide meat and potatoes kind of guy. So we compromised and decided that we would attempt to eat at least two meals that were completely meat free. Now, there are times that those meatless meals simply consist of spaghetti and marinara sauce, but there are a lot of other dishes that we eat that are tasty and even satisfy that meat eating guy!
Photo Guide to Making the LasagnaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Easy Vegetarian Lasagna
I created this dish when I was looking for a lasagna that did not feel so very heavy as one filled with layers of meat and cheese. After some tweaking, it has become a family favorite and leaves very little leftovers for the next day!
box of lasagna noodles of your choice prepared according to package directions
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 16 oz. container of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
3 cups of mozzarella cheese
1 box of thawed frozen chopped spinach (squeeze out the extra water from the spinach before using in the lasagna).
1 small zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the ricotta cheese with the egg, then stir in 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese and a little salt and pepper. In the 9 x 13 inch pan, spread 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the pan. Then place the noodles so that the bottom is covered completely. Next evenly spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the noodles, sprinkle half of the spinach over the cheese and then place half of the zucchini rounds over the spinach, followed by a generous sprinkle of mozarella. Repeat the same process starting with the sauce and then noodles. For the final layer, Place the noodles over the sauce then cover with the final third of the sauce. Add the remaining cheese over the sauce and sprinkle with last of the Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes.
**Variation: Note that the lasagna can be made with whatever vegetables that you and your family enjoy.**
Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
If you've ever watched or tried any of Emeril Lagasse's recipes, you know that they are typically high in fat, fried, and oh so good. Well Emeril has made a transformation and has a show on planet green tv that teaches people how to "fix" their cooking problems. For example, if you are struggling with finding heart healthy recipes that taste good or low sugar treats because you are a diabetic, Emeril is there to help. So as I continued me quest for vegetarian options, I stumbled across this show and fell in love with many of the recipes that he has shared. The stuffed acorn squash was a huge hit in my house. Although it took a little time to chop everything up, the flavors were out of this world. My husband didn't even notice that there was no meat.
2 acorn squash, split in half, seeds removed
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 orange pepper, finely chopped
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch Swiss or rainbow chard, ribs removed and diced, leaves chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Place the squash, cut side down, onto a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for 12 minutes or until then flesh is soft. Set aside. (Alternatively, you can roast the squash in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add the grapeseed oil. After a minute, add the orange pepper and onion and season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables begin to soften, add the Swiss chard ribs. Continue to cook another 2 minutes or so, and add the garlic. Stir to combine and cook only until the garlic becomes fragrant. Turn off the heat and stir in the brown rice, chopped Swiss chard leaves and parsley.
Place the acorn squash halves in a baking dish and fill each with 3/4 cup of the mixture. Sprinkle each stuffed squash with about 1/4 cup of the Monterey Jack cheese and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt.
Serve warm with red pepper hummus or a side salad.
Yield: 4 servings
I subscribe to this magazine and find many of their recipes easy to cook and tasty too!
Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas
Yet another Emeril favorite of our is the Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas. This recipe is sure to tantalize every bit of your taste buds and leaving you asking, can I have more, not where's the meat?
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for cooking quesadillas
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 lime, juiced
10 7-inch flour tortillas
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup grated queso blanco cheese or Monterey jack cheese
Salsa for serving
Light Sour Cream for serving
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium sized saute pan over medium heat. Add red peppers, corn, and black beans. Season with cumin, salt and pepper, cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the lime juice, stir to combine, and remove from heat.
To assemble: Lay one tortilla in a hot skillet. Add 1/4 cup filling and then top with 2 tablespoon grated cheese. Top with another tortilla and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly browned on the bottom tortilla. Flip and cook on the other side until slightly browned and the cheese has melted.
Cut each quesadilla into six triangles and serve warm with Salsa and light sour cream.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8