Tag Archives: easy prep vegetarian foods

Summertime and the grillin’ is easy

veg-grillFor us, summer means less time in the kitchen and more time outside in “the big room” – so of course, the less fuss involved in the preparation of meals, the better we like it.  And what could be less fussy (and more delicious) than a stir fry prepared al fresco on the grill?  Utilizing any of the super fresh, yummy vegetables of summer, you really can stir fry practically anywhere even over a camper hotplate or an open fire.

The following list is just a small sample of our favorite summer fresh vegetables for stir frying: green beans, peppers, onions, eggplant slices, carrots, zucchini, pattypan or yellow squash, chard, sugar snap and snow peas, asparagus, and of course sweet corn. Use your imagination when combining vegetables for a stir fry and never be afraid to experiment.  Summer is the best time of year to enjoy all the flavorful benefits and easy preparation of vegetarian food.  So, go on…stir fry!

Asparagus Grilled with Lime

This recipe is both easy and elegant and if you’ve never tried grilling these tasty spears, now’s the time! Gorgeous stalks of fresh asparagus are blanched, then grilled and dressed with lime juice. Heavenly!

Serves 4

Good-sized bunch of fresh asparagus stalks, preferably the thicker type suitable for grilling
Coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh lime juice
Extra virgin olive oil

To prepare:
Blanch asparagus stalks by placing in salted, boiling water for a minute or two, until bright green. Remove quickly and rinse in cold water to stop cooking.

Lightly brush with olive oil and carefully place on hot grill so that the spears don’t fall through the holes. If you prefer, you can use a grill basket especially designed to hold smaller vegetables.

Using long-handled tongs, roll the asparagus around until all sides are just beginning to turn golden and spears are slightly tender. This should take only a few minutes.

When done, arrange stalks on serving platter, sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and give them a good squeeze of fresh lime.

Note: Eat seasonally and eat well. Asparagus is the true culinary harbinger of spring and when it’s plentiful, I buy tons of it. Prepared with simplicity, asparagus is the ultimate vegetable. Look for fresh, tender asparagus with tight tips. Instead of cutting, snap off lower end of each spear where the woodier part meets the tender stalk.

Cashew Cream Spread

1-2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/3 c. cashew nut butter
2 T. white or red miso
2 t. olive oil

In a food processor or blender, add the nut butter, miso and garlic. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, the olive oil, and process. The spread should have a smooth consistency similar to mayonnaise.

This also makes a wonderful creamy salad dressing with the addition of a bit more water, added a little at a time, to your preferred consistency.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Tempeh Mockfish

Tempeh Mockfish

Using tempeh with sea vegetables, this is a mouth-watering mixture that is so versatile it can be a sandwich filling or the main dish at dinner.

This “mockfish” mixture is amazing tossed with pasta or used as a stuffing. You can even process it for a delicious paté with the flavor of the sea but without the pain.

2 T. olive oil
1 pkg. tempeh with sea vegetables, diced
1 small to medium onion, chopped finely
1 sheet Nori seaweed, cut into small pieces
1 T. vegan mayonnaise

To Prepare:
Heat a heavy skillet on medium heat until hot and add the olive oil and onions and sauté until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add the diced tempeh and cook, stirring often, until tempeh is nicely browned. Remove the pan from the heat and add the pieces of seaweed. Cool the mixture for 10-15 minutes before adding the mayonnaise, then mix well, and season to taste.

Use as a sandwich, ravioli, or wonton filling, or as a topping for crostini.

Watch how tempeh is made.

Cool Summer Food

Yesterday I met some friends in Portland for breakfast. While we were waiting we started reading the lunch and dinner menu for the day. This particular place is very vegetarian friendly, and there are lots of choices to look over, a nice change from most places where we go.

One of the specials for the day was Barbecued Tempeh, Coleslaw and Cornbread. The whole combination sounded delicious, and perfect for the season. So that afternoon, at the farm stand, I picked up some fresh organic cabbage, sweet onions and scallions and put together one of Didi Emmons’s wonderful slaw recipes, my jerk tempeh and homemade vegan cornbread.

While the restaurant menu was certainly the inspiration and really had us craving these wonderful flavors, I was able to put together the entire menu for all of us at a fraction of the cost, not a lot of time and I even had fun doing it!

When the dog days of summer have you hankering for a light, tasty, stick to your ribs menu, try these recipes together. I promise you won’t be disappointed especially when it’s topped off with an icy Corona and a twist of fresh lime!

Tempeh Reuben

Tempeh Reuben

4 slices good quality rye bread
2 slices swiss cheese or vegan Swiss-style cheese
Four slices fried tempeh (see below for method)
1 T. vegetable oil
¾ c. sauerkraut (coleslaw may be substituted)
Vegan Thousand Island dressing
Softened margarine

Heat a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. Place swiss cheese on two slices of bread and top each with tempeh laid side to side at an angle. Put two tablespoons of Thousand Island dressing on the tempeh, heap on some sauerkraut, then top with the remaining slice of bread. Coat each side with a light scraping of margarine and grill in pan, until toasty and golden. Remove, cut and serve.

Tamari Tempeh

Take a package of tempeh, any style, and cut into quarters. Take each quarter and slice in half through the center, so you have eight thinner slices.

Heat 3-4 T. of oil in a heavy skillet. Fry tempeh slices until golden brown on one side, then turn to brown the other side. When the tempeh is crispy and golden, remove and place slices onto a paper towel for a minute or so to drain any excess oil, then brush each side with tamari or soy sauce while the tempeh is still hot.

Chickpea Salad with Basil and Pine nuts

Chickpea Salad with Basil and Pine Nuts

This salad is as easy as it is delicious. When you need a quick, high protein, pick me up, reach for this recipe.

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 T. red onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. red or yellow bell pepper, chopped (or mix red and yellow for added color)
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
1-2 T. chopped sundried tomatoes (optional)

Dressing ingredients:
2 T. olive oil
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. fresh chili paste
Salt and pepper

Rinse the chickpeas and put them in a bowl. Add the onion, peppers, toasted pine nuts, and basil ribbons. In a small bowl whisk together the oil, lemon juice, and pepper paste until emulsified. Pour over the salad and toss everything to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

I like to serve this with a hearty slice of bread to mop up the juices. For an alternate presentation, you can lightly mash the chickpeas and pile the mixture onto grilled or toasted bread as a super easy and super tasty bruschetta.

Pasta with Red Onion, “Bakin,” Radicchio, and Edamame

Pasta with Red Onion, “Bakin,” Radicchio, and Edamame


This was a dish that I grew up with and have adapted. It’s so easy to make in a pinch and a wonderful way to use up leftover pasta. Use any vegetables you like, but keep the edamame. It’s firm texture holds up well against the al dente pasta. Edamame are also superior in nutrition to many beans and children really like their sweet, crunchy snap. Vegetarian bacon adds salty flavor. The trick with vegetarian bacon products is to cook them separately and to help maintain a crispy texture, add back in at the end. The amounts given in this recipe are guidelines, so you can use as much or as little as you wish.

8 oz. penne (or your pasta of choice)
3 T. olive oil
1 red onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 ½ c. radicchio leaves, sliced thin
½ pkg. vegetarian bacon of choice
2 c. edamame beans, frozen and parboiled
Small handful torn basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large shallow pan heat oil. Chop the vegetarian bacon and fry the pieces until browned and crispy. Remove the “bacon” from pan and set aside.

Add pasta to the boiling water.

Add a small amount of oil to the pan you cooked your “bacon” in and sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add the parboiled edamame and red pepper flakes and sauté for a minute or two.

When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and, without rinsing, add the hot pasta directly into the onion mixture, turning everything over to heat it all through. Add in the cripsy bacon pieces, the radicchio, basil, salt, and lots of pepper, tossing to combine well. The radicchio will wilt slightly when it comes into contact with the hot pasta mixture. Plate and top with a sprinkle of picada if desired.

Sweet Potato Stew with Swiss Chard


watch this recipe being made.

Sweet Potato Stew with Swiss Chard

2 T. olive oil
2 c. diced yellow onion
1 t. salt
1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 red Thai or jalapeño pepper minced, with the seeds (adjust to suit your taste)
1 T. fresh ginger
1 t. ground coriander
½ t. turmeric
1 14 oz. can full fat coconut milk
1 bunch of swiss chard (about 4 cups loose), chiffonade
¼ c. cilantro
Squeeze of lime, for garnish

To prepare:
In a large saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat, then add the onion and a bit of salt. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potato, garlic, pepper, ginger, and spices and sauté for another minute or two. Add 2 cups of water, the coconut milk, and a bit more salt. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, add the chard, and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes or until the chard is tender. Thin the stew with water if it seems too thick. Top with cilantro if desired and spoon over rice, quinoa, or other cooked grain of your choice.

This is scrumptious served with Herbed Quinoa Pilaf, Tofu Bites or some fried tempeh. It’s equally wonderful served with a side of cornbread.

Beet Burgers (Didi Emmons)

Didi’s Beet Burgers

Didi Emmons came on the show and made these burgers and ever since I was hooked. They’re truly spectacular. Note that these must be cooked over low heat, otherwise, the sugars in the beet will burn. But really, even if you’re hasty and burn the burgers, they’ll still taste fabulous. I recommend eating it bun-less, next to a big salad, with a puddle of hot sauce. You can freeze burgers in individual packages for easy preparation.

Makes approximately 8 burgers

2 T. vegetable oil
3 small beets, scrubbed well (about 1 lb.)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped (roasted)
1 mediun carrot ( scrubbed and roasted)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3-4 good quality beet green leaves
½ c. walnut pieces
1 c. raw millet
2 slices of whole wheat bread, lightly toasted
½ c. wheat germ (optional)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of the oil on a baking sheet. Cut the beets into quarters and place them on the sheet pan. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic too. Lightly season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Bake until the beets are cooked, about 25-30 minutes, or until a knife enters the beet easily. Let the vegetables cool for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the millet. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, and add the millet. Cook the millet for 30 minutes, over very low heat, and covered. When the millet is finished, put it into a large bowl and let it cool for a few minutes.

In a food processor, combine the walnuts, the bread, the garlic, and the pumpkin seeds, and wheat germ, if using. Process until the bread is a nice fine crumb texture. Add the mixture to the millet.

Now add the vegetables to the processor and process until well chopped. Add the vegetables to the bowl as well. Stir the mixture with a large spoon and season liberally with salt and pepper. When the mixture is thoroughly mixed, chill it for 1 hour.

Form about 8 generously sized burgers with your hands, packing each down into a nice even height.

To cook the burgers, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan, over low heat. When the pan is hot, add the burgers. Do not move them once they are in the pan because this will cause them to fall apart. Let the burgers cook for a few minutes, then with a spatula, carefully flip them and continue cooking the other side until nicely browned. You want to develop a nice caramelized crust. Repeat with the remaining burgers, or freeze the extras in individual baggies for a convenient burger meal whenever you need it.