You don't have to be a vegetarian to love vegetarian food.

Baked bean and veggie burgers

Filed under: Other's Vegetarian Recipes — Tags: , , — Sarah Jayne @ 3:45 pm September 29, 2009

Beans, beans, the more you eat the more you….erm, feel full? When I decided to start eating less meat, I knew that I still had to get my protein from somewhere if I was going to be eating a healthy diet. This is where my love affair with beans and other legumes began.

I quickly discovered that if I made beans and pulses the main feature of my evening meals that I would feel satisfied and full all the way through the evening and feel no need at all to snack or nibble for the rest of the evening. The reason for this is because they are slow burning and low gi which means that it takes your body longer to break them down for digestion. All of this regulates insulin levels and helps you to feel fuller and sustain energy for longer. All of which is fantastic for me since I am insulin resistant.

Something else I discovered was that beans and other legumes are very flexible and you can get really creative with them in your cooking. Everything from a bean casserole to a bean burger can be whipped up and be both tasty and healthy. What’s more, is you don’t have to be an actual vegetarian to enjoy these dishes, either.

When I saw the My Legume Love Affair food blog event, it sounded like a perfect event for me and the Weekend Carnivore blog. The event is run by The Well Seasoned Cook and is this month hosted by Monsoon Spice.

I thumbed through my cooking magazines looking for a legume based recipe to make and the veggie bean bakes found in a recent copy of BBC Good Food Magazine caught my eye. In the past, my husband has been really receptive to bean burgers and so I was fairly sure he would eat these without much complaint.

I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter apart from using panko breadcrumbs instead of fresh ones. That did indeed work well but I think next time I would try the fresh breadcrumbs to see if it makes any difference. I also chopped up some fresh parsley and added it to the mix. For the mixed beans, I used a can of mixed beans that included adzuki beans,cannellini beans and a few other types.

Once the potatoes are boiled, the rest of the bean and veggie patties recipe comes together very quickly. At the stage in which I was forming the patty, I thought that this would actually make a really tasty mashed potato. In the patty form, it wasn’t dissimilar to a bubble and squeak cake. Nothing that I am going to complain about!

The original recipe, calls for them to be served with salsa. We didn’t have any in the house, so I simply served them with a green salad and they went down hubby’s hatch without complaint. Next time, I will try putting some spices into the bean and potato mixture to try to pep them up even more.

Fresh pesto and tomato salad

Filed under: My Vegetarian Recipes — Tags: , , , , , — Sarah Jayne @ 3:29 pm September 28, 2009

Often it is the recipes with the most simple of ingredients that really pop. I came up with this zippy fresh vegetarian salad idea nearly straight after I made a homemade pesto recipe for the first time ever in my life. Honestly, I don’t why I waited this long to learn  how to make my own pesto sauce. I guess, I am conditioned to think that sauce you buy in a little jar on the supermarket shelf is going to be too complicated to make at home.

Fresh pesto tomato salad

Boy, is that wrong when it comes to making your own pesto recipe ! For guidance, on how to make my own pesto sauce, I went to the recipe collections of one of the cooking gurus of Recipezaar – Kittencal. As well as having nearly 4,000 (!) recipes posted on Recipezaar, Kittencal also has her very own Kittencal’s Kitchen blog.

I knew she had a pesto recipe, so I went looking for it on her blog and found Kitten’s Best Pesto recipe. It was only me in the house and I wasn’t sure if I would mess up making my own pesto sauce. So, I decided to only make a half batch of the pesto. I followed her recipe to the letter with the only difference being that I toasted my pine nuts in a pan just before putting them into the recipe.

Want to know how easy it was to make my own pesto? I stuck the basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil into my mini chopper. Yup, I didn’t even have to get the actual food processor out. Which is great because I truly hate cleaning up my big food processor after I use it. Then I wizzed it up for a bit before opening it up and chucking in the cheese, some salt and some pepper and giving it maybe about 30 seconds of whizzing. Done! I mean, seriously that was too easy.

Of course, the proof is in the tasting. So, I dipped my spoon in and tasted my first ever homemade pesto recipe. I swear, as the pesto sauce hit my tongue it was as if my taste buds came alive and started to dance the can-can. No store bought pesto sauce ever tasted that good. The only problem was that if I was going to stop myself eating the whole batch of pesto sauce with a spoon (which I totally would have done!) then I needed a recipe for it.

I took a look in my veggie drawer and really, I couldn’t get past wanting to pare the fresh pesto sauce with the ripe vine tomatoes I had. For a while, I was leaning towards doing a tomato and pesto sandwich on granary bread. I still think that would taste really good but instead I went for this super fresh tasting pesto and tomato salad.

Try this but really, if you don’t make your own fresh pesto for it then you aren’t getting the full impact of the recipe. Try making your own fresh pesto recipe. It really is stupid easy!

Fresh pesto and tomato salad

fresh_pesto_tomato_salad_recipe_2

Ingredients:

1 medium tomato, sliced fairly thickly
1 tablespoon pesto sauce, fresh is best
1/2 teaspoon pine nuts, toasted

Directions:

1. Lay the tomato slices out on a plate with the ends just overlapping.
2. Drizzle the fresh pesto liberally over the tomato slices.
3. Scatter with your toasted pine nuts and enjoy.

Serves: 1

Creamy parmesan polenta with garlic kale

Filed under: Other's Vegetarian Recipes — Tags: , — Sarah Jayne @ 3:14 pm September 25, 2009

One of the things I love the most about cooking vegetarian food is that there is always some new ingredients to explore. Until I started to follow a largely vegetarian diet, I had never had or cooked with polenta. I am not even really sure that I knew that it was actually cornmeal. Yet, now I love the stuff. I dig how you can have it all mushy like porridge or if you let it sit for a bit it gets nice and solid but tastes just as yummy.

When I saw this recipe over at Recipezaar, I knew I had to give it a try because I had never had polenta combined with parmesan cheese. For some reason, I have mostly kept it sweet. The recipe was posted by Sharon123,  a Recipezaar regular who has tons and tons of very good vegetarian recipes amongst her collection. Really, she is the one that should be doing a vegetarian cooking blog!

creamy parmesan polenta with garlic kaleA

I wasn’t sure about some aspects of the recipe when I first read it. In particular, I wasn’t sure how the raisins would play with the other savoury ingredients. They really did work though to balance out all the rich tasting ingredients that went into the dish. A bit like how it is always nice to add a little something sweet to a curry to balance the spice.

The original recipe – Polenta With Garlicky Greens – called for Swiss chard. I have never been able to find chard in any of the British supermarkets I visit unless it is as part of a pre-packaged salad bag and then only in very small amounts. I did, however, have some curly kale and so I used that instead and I have to say it was a good choice because the dark leafy green really carried the garlic very well.

Truly, this is a great vegetarian comfort food dish and isn’t too dissimilar to eating a big batch of cheesey mashed potatoes topped with rich garlic greens. Mmm!

Mexican bean stuffed baked potatoes

Filed under: My Vegetarian Recipes — Tags: , , , , — Sarah Jayne @ 2:58 pm September 23, 2009

The times when it gets difficult to stick to a vegetarian diet comes when I just have no energy to get into cooking a meal that takes a long time to prepare. It is also exactly these times when I am starving and need something that is really going to fill me up. It was just one of these moments when I came up with these Mexican bean stuffed baked potatoes.

I have always loved how a good twice baked potato recipe is an easy recipe but looks really impressive. The problem is though that so many twice baked potato recipes are usually rather high in fat and calories from all the butter and cheese that usually goes into making them. Anything that high in fat is a no no for me these days.

I am always looking for something else to put refried beans into. I know they don’t look pretty but I just love them and with vegetarian and low fat versions of refried beans now readily available in British supermarkets I pretty much always have a can in the cupboard. I usually have a bit of salsa in the house and we are never without some potatoes. So, this really is the sort of recipe that comes more out of a cupboard than a cookbook.

You can control the spice levels by picking the intensity of salsa that your family enjoys. I am a total spicy heat wimp. So, I used a mild salsa and then the two of us topped our Mexican twice baked potatoes with chillies. I went for the really mild banana peppers. These are fantastic and now sold as part of the Discovery brand’s range of Mexican foods. They aren’t in every supermarket but I usually can find them in Morrisons. My husband has much more of head for spices. So, he topped his with Jalapeños.

Mexican Bean Stuffed Baked Potatoes

ngredients:

4 baked potatoes, freshly baked
1 (435 gram/15 ounce) can fat free refried beans
1 cup salsa

Optional Toppings:

fat free sour cream
banana peppers
jalapeños
chives

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees or gas mark 6.
2. Cut off most of the top of the baked potatoes and scoop out the majority of the insides leaving just enough not to break the skins.
3. Put the potato shells into an oven proof dish and the insides into a large bowl.
4. Gently mash the potato insides but don’t mash so much that they are fully smooth.
5. Empty the can of beans and the cup of salsa into the bowl and gently mix so that everything is combined but not over mixed or it will get really loose.
6. Spoon the mixture back into the potato shells and bake for 20 minutes.
7. Top with any or all of the optional toppings and serve with a green salad for a low fat and healthy vegetarian meal.

Serves 4

Incredible lemon pepper nuts recipe

Filed under: Other's Vegetarian Recipes — Tags: , , , — Sarah Jayne @ 2:44 pm September 20, 2009

Every month, I take part on a vegetarian recipe swap over at Recipezaar. The basic idea is that everybody interested in the vegetarian recipe swap puts their name in and at the start of the month you adopt one of those chefs and somebody in turn adopts you. Over the following month you agree to make two vegetarian recipes from that person’s Recipezaar recipe collection. I love this because it is a great way to discover new vegetarian food and you don’t at all have to be a vegetarian to take part. In fact, I think that most people that are involved aren’t actually vegetarians but are just enjoying learning how to cook vegetarian dishes. That can never be a bad thing.

This month, I adopted January Bride. I must have been in a lemon mood because the two recipes I decided to make both had some lemon element to them. The first was the lemon garlic green beans that I blogged about earlier in the month. The second were these amazing Lemon Pepper Nuts .

lemon pepper nuts recipe

If I am honest, when I selected this recipe I wasn’t sure if it would work. I love candied nuts and have had salt and pepper cashews before which I enjoyed. However, lemon pepper on nuts was something totally new.

I am so glad that I tried them though because they were super easy to make – simply put the nuts, sugar and lemon pepper into a pan and heat and then cool down. On top of that, they were just incredibly tasty! There was a background of sweet heat that was perfectly balanced. I am glad I only made the one batch or I would have for sure eaten the whole nut recipe! It is even a vegan recipe so it doesn’t get much better when it comes to snack food recipes.

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