By Request: A Few Favorite Vegetarian Dishes

donut dietI mentioned in yesterday’s post that I make some vegetarian dishes and the lovely Hannah asked what my favorite recipes were, so I figured I’d post them for posterity.

Just a few notes about these: A few of them came from the Written in Our Hearts cookbook, which is a great vegetarian/vegan collection of recipes (as well as photos, stories, and memories) published in honor of Davy Jones with the proceeds going to The Davy Jones Equine Memorial Foundation, however I’ve tweaked them due to the demands of the people I cook for and my own need to fuss with things. If you want to see the original, untouched versions of the recipes or if you want even more vegetarian/vegan recipes for your kitchen, I really encourage you to buy the cookbook. Yummy food and a good cause. Everybody wins.

Second, I like to cook because cooking doesn’t require exact measurements. Some of the measurements on these recipes are approximates.

And finally, everything here is easy because I’m lazy. I don’t like intricate, labor-intensive recipes. I’m not that kind of girl.

Veggie Penne

This is my own creation and it’s super easy. Cook a box of penne pasta and drain it. Add a little olive oil. Mix in some steamed veggies (I love the Eat Smart vegetable medley; steam in the bag in the microwave, fresh and tasty), add some shredded Parmesan and you’re done.

Mac and Cheese

People don’t think about mac and cheese being vegetarian because people don’t think about it being healthy, but it’s definitely one of those things that can be less garbage food if you make it yourself instead of getting it out of a box.

I use this mac and cheese recipe to make my cheese sauce. For a traditional flavor, I use finely shredded cheddar jack (I’m not shredding my own, kids). For something with a little more class, I use finely shredded mozzarella and substitute garlic powder for the mustard powder. Stir in a little broccoli along with the pasta and it’s mac and cheese all grown up. It might take a time or two to get the hang of the cheese sauce (it can end up a little gritty if you don’t get it right, but it still tastes fine), but it’s worth it.

Veggie Fritattafrittata

This is my take on Micky’s Veggie Fritatta in the Written in Our Hearts cookbook.

2T olive oil–2 small potatoes, diced–1/4 cup chopped onion–1/2 cup red pepper, chopped–1/2 cup diced tomato–1/2 cup diced zucchini–6 eggs–2T of milk–1/2 cup shredded mozzarella–1/2 cup shredded triple cheddar–basil–salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add potato, onion, red pepper, and zucchini. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Cook 5-7 minutes. Transfer to non-stick baking pan and stir in the tomatoes. Whisk eggs and milk together; pour evenly over dish. Scatter cheese over the top. Bake 20 to 25 minutes (depending on your oven) until set in the middle. Garnish with a pinch or two of basil.

Sauteed Zucchini

I really love zucchini and the easiest way for me to make it is to slice it up and cook it in a little olive oil over medium heat. Season it with a little salt (I prefer sea salt, but that’s just me) and it makes a great side dish. I like to serve it and brown rice with the next recipe.

Mozzarella Salad Sandwich

Another hit from the cookbook.

1/2lb mozzarella–sun dried tomatoes–rolls–4t white vinegar–1/4 cup olive oil–1/4t salt–1/8t pepper

Cut the cheese into thin slices and put in a bowl. Add the tomatoes to the cheese (julian them if necessary; I buy them that way). Shake vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small jar until salt dissolves. Add olive oil. Shake again. Add dressing to cheese and tomatoes and toss. Fill rolls with the cheese salad. The longer it sits, the better it is.

Rotini Salad

This is actually Tortellini Salad in the cookbook, but when I first made it, there was no tortellini on the shelf and I bought rotini instead. And I use sweet onion as that much raw yellow onion kills my GERD. I also downsized most of the measurements here because otherwise it was way too much. Still good, though.

1 box tri-color rotini–4-6 oz of monterey jack cheese, diced small–1 large tomato, chopped–1/4 of an onion, chopped–1/4 red pepper, chopped–1T olive oil–parsley, garlic powder, basil, oregano to taste

Cook and cool pasta. Toss everything together. Chill thoroughly before serving. If you need a place to start with the seasonings, I probably use about a tablespoon of garlic powder and oregano, and half a tablespoon of parsley and basil. Remember, though, it’s easier to add seasoning than to take it out.

veggie scrambleVeggie Scramble

This is my new favorite lunch option after we’ve had rotini salad. It seems like when the rotini is gone, there’s still bits of onions, peppers, and tomatoes left over and I don’t want it to go to waste. So I throw a peeled, chopped small potato in a pan over medium heat with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Cook it for a couple of minutes, then add the onions, peppers, and tomatoes (with all of the salad seasoning still stuck on them, no additional seasoning required). Cook that for five or six minutes. Then I beat two or three eggs with a splash of milk, pour it over the top, and let it cook for a minute or two before giving the whole pan a good scramble. With an English muffin, it’s breakfast for lunch and I couldn’t be happier.

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