Recipe Box: Vegetarian Edition

I’m by no means a vegetarian.  I love a good pork banh mi or bbq pork sandwich and other non-pork meats that I can’t seem to recall at the moment. Despite my devotion to formerly breathing dinner items, I find myself making quite a few vegetarian and (gasp!) even vegan dishes every week.

Temperatures started dropping in Chicago last week.  While I’m not ready to bundle head-to-toe and slog through snow just yet, I don’t mind the foods that go along with cooler weather.  Soups, stews, slow-cooker meals and casseroles always seem to take the edge off when the mercury plummets.

My inaugural cold-weather meal this year was this Moroccan-style Vegetable + Chickpea Stew by The First Mess. It’s flavorful, hearty and full of wonderful fall roots and spices. Feel free to serve it to your animal activist vegan friends – it’s totally vegan! Who knew their food could be edible? (I kid, Jenny & Lauren.)

I'm a big fat copycat who is pretending to be a famous food blogger who beautifully arranges all of her ingredients beforehand.
I’m a big fat copycat, pretending to be a famous food blogger who beautifully arranges all of her ingredients beforehand.

moroccan-style vegetable + chickpea stew
serves: makes a big pot
notes: I like to slowly cook the onions and spices out in the oil before I add everything else, almost stewing them in a way. The raw-ness of the spice goes away and the onions melt into the soup in a special luxurious kind of way.

stew ingredients:
big knob of coconut oil
1 medium onion, small dice
2-3 tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp ground coriander
chili flakes (optional)
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 dates, pitted + chopped
2 carrots, chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled + chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
3 cups vegetable stock (or more, depending)
1 yellow pepper, stemmed and chopped (1/2 inch pieces)
2 cups (or a 14-15 ounce can) cooked chickpeas
salt + pepper
couple handfuls of chopped greens

to serve:
chopped flat leaf parsley/cilantro
fine grated lemon zest
extra virgin olive oil
cooked brown rice/quinoa/millet/couscous

Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and lower heat until they are sizzling kind of quietly. Once the onions are a bit soft and translucent, add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander and chili flakes. Slowly sauté and stir this mix until the onions are really, really soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped dates, carrots and sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables in the spices and oil. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add the vegetable stock. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer until the sweet potatoes are just tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Add the chopped yellow peppers and chickpeas and stir the soup. Season the whole thing again with salt and pepper. Simmer until the yellow peppers are tender and the sweet potatoes are quite soft, about 5 minutes. Add the greens to the pot (and more stock if necessary) and cook for 1 minute, or until just-wilted. Check the soup for seasoning and serve it hot with cooked grains, drizzles of olive oil, lemon zest and chopped herbs.

I’m posting her recipe verbatim because I didn’t change a dang thing about it. Except I garnished with fresh mint and basil.  And shortly thereafter learned that Christian has some sort of genetic mutation (there’s no other explanation) that causes him to dislike the taste of fresh basil.

You're obviously not here for the fine photography.
You’re obviously not here for the fine photography.

Where do eggs fall on the vegetarian/omnivore scale? Are they okay to eat because they’re not technically meat yet? Or are they taboo because they’re potential meat that hasn’t been fertilized? I clearly don’t follow vegetarian doctrine. If eggs are cool, this tasty ramen is another hearty Fall/Winter recipe to keep handy. I found the original recipe here and the extra crispy is below.

Simple Miso Ramen – with some additions

Makes 4 large servings 
4 package instant ramen noodles, toss the flavor packet. Or save it for something? I can’t imagine what.
8 cups boiling water
3 T miso paste 
4 eggs at room temperature
1 bunch, fresh spinach
8 oz sliced mushrooms
3/4 c shredded carrot
4 T sliced green onion, chopped
First boil eggs. Bring a pot of water—enough to cover eggs by 1 inch—to a rolling boil. Gently add eggs to water and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from boiling water and put into a bowl filled with ice and water to stop cooking time. Rest for 1-2 minutes in ice bath then crack eggs in half. Using a small spoon, round edge of shell and spoon out egg. Set aside. (These directions are directly from Foodie Crush. My eggs were boiling so vigorously, one of them cracked and some brains leaked out. It was both gross and cool. I had a hard time getting beautifully halved eggs, too. Oh well, they tasted good.) In another saucepan while eggs are boiling, bring 2 cups water to boil. Once water has come to a boil, mix in miso paste and stir until dissolved. (This could take some time. ) Add ramen noodles and cook 2-3 minutes until noodles have separated and have become al dente. Put noodles in serving bowl, reserving broth in pot. Add mushrooms and carrots.  Allow them to cook for another 2-3 mutes or until they mushrooms are tender. Place spinach leaves in pot with miso broth for 30 seconds. Once wilted, scoop noodles into serving bowls and top with mushroom-spinach broth. Garnish with egg halves and green onion. Drizzle with Sriracha if you know what’s good for you. Slurp unattractively while you warm your cockles. 
Total calories (pre Sriracha): 289
tl;dr dump that meathead

One thought on “Recipe Box: Vegetarian Edition

  1. i love to see all of your deliciously different healthy recipes. Sure beats endless meals of dry baked chicken breast with a side of broccoli!


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