Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Finally a vegetarian dish you will be proud to bring to the party!  This nutritious dish is packed with protein and iron from the Quinoa (an ancient grain that is great for everyone from the gluten sensitive to the picky toddler).

Serves 8ish

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Butternut Squash (about 1.5 lbs), peeled, halved crosswise, and de-seeded
18 Fresh Sage Leaves, plus 1 tsp finely chopped sage
½ Onion, cute into ¼” dice (about 3/4C)
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 C Quinoa
2 C low sodium Vegetable Stock
1 ½ Ounces Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
1 tsp Coarse Salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
Vegetable Oil cooking spray

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 baking sheets with 1 tsp oil.
2.    Cut five ¼” thick rings of butternut squash, dice remainder of squash into ¼” pieces. Toss with 1 teaspoon oil. Place squash rings on one sheet and diced pieces on the other sheet. Sprinkle all squash with 12 sage leaves. Bake until tender and just golden, 15-20 minutes.  Let cool completely. Keep oven on.
3.    Heat remaining teaspoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, until translucent (3-5 minutes). Add quinoa and stock and bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat. Simmer until liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 2 minutes.
4.    Stir together quinoa, diced squash, chopped sage, parmesan, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
5.    Coat a 9” plate pie plate with cooking spray. Arrange 6 sage leaves face down in plate; top with squash rings. Press quinoa mixture on top.
6.    Bake 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter. Serve wedges warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from Martha Stewart.

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I was inspired by my last post on fiber to make this warm hearty soup with roasted carrots and onions and green lentils.  It is from the cookbook “Love Soup” by Anna Thomas and is fairly straight forward.  Green lentils (aka “Le Puy”) get tender in under half an hour but keep their shape and are still firm to the bite. Don’t forget to make enough to have for a few days.  You can also freeze this soup.

Did you know…a  cup of lentils have about 15 grams of fiber (~half your daily rec) and about 18grams of protein.

Serves 6-8


1 1/2 lbs carrots

1 1/2 onions

4 Tbs Olive Oil

1 1/2 tsp sea salt (more to taste)

freshly ground pepper

1 generous cup French green lentils (1/2 lb)

4 Cups vegetable broth

1 generous Tbs chopped fresh mint (or 1 1/2 tsp dried mint)

1-2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1-2 tsp Harissa/Chipotle Sauce or red chile salsa

Garnishes (optional): feta cheese or light sour cream


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Cut the carrots and onions into 1/2-1″ pieces, toss in 1 Tbsp of olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper and lay on two separate baking sheets/ pyrex dishes and roast till tender and browning, about an hour.  Onions will likely be ready before carrots. When ready, allow to cool and chop coarsely.

3. Meanwhile, combine the washed lentils in a large soup pot with 4 cups broth and a tsp on salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes or until lentils are tender but still firm.

4. Add the chopped roasted vegetables, mint, 1 Tbsp lemon juice and harissa/chipotle/salsa to taste a small amount at a time for a little kick but not so much as to overwhelm the other flavors. If you want a more soupy soup add water or more broth, otherwise this should be a rather hearty stew.

5. Simmer stew for about 10 minutes to marry the flavors then taste and adjust as necessary (more lemon? salt? spice?)

6. Serve with garnish of your choice and thick slabs of crusty whole wheat bread.

To download this recipe go here or my resource section. For more recipes from Anna check out her website.

I added Romanesco to the roast pan to serve as a side

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For me, wintertime means lots of things in the oven and while I was roasting up some root vegetables last night I decided to make these baked stuffed zucchini with some leftover brown rice thrown in as well.  The recipe is very easy and customizable to what you have (or don’t have) in the fridge.  Try it with carrots/celery, tomatoes, green onion, nuts (pine nuts sound nice), breadcrumbs, brown rice, kasha, barley etc.  I didn’t have mushrooms last night but like it that way best (but I am a mushroom lover). You can cover them with cheese or leave that off.  Kids especially love these zucchini “boats” or if you have a round zucchini that’s fun too!

Serves 4
* 2 medium zucchini (or 4 small round zucchini)
* 12 large fresh mushrooms, finely chopped (or substitute with other vegetable)
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 1 tablespoons olive oil
* Splash of white wine or low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
*  1 Cup Grain of choice (optional)
* Salt & Pepper to taste
* 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese or other cheese (optional) per zucchini

1. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, or cut off top if using a round zucchini.
2. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-in. shell. Chop pulp; set shells aside.
3. In a skillet, saute the zucchini pulp, mushrooms and onion in olive oil for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add grain ,wine or broth. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Stir in salt and pepper.
4. Fill shells with mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake for 20 min and the then broil 3-4 in. from the heat for 3-4 minutes or until cheese on top is lightly browned.


To download a copy of this recipe click here (also posted on our Resources page)

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A cozy hearty dish which provides 18g of protein per serving (see last blog post on how much protein you need a day) and has a meaty feel because of the bulgur. Double the recipe (that’s what we did here) for a gathering or to freeze for easy lunch/dinners.

Serves: 6
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
* 1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
* 3 large jalapeño chilies, seeded, minced (about 4 1/2 tablespoons)
* 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree (ideally with no added salt)
* 3 cups water
* 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained (or soak dry beans the night before)
* 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed, drained (or soak dry beans the night before)
* 1/2 cup bulgur**
* 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
* 5 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tablespoons chili powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* salt to taste (we used “smoked salt”, my new favorite for adding a subtle richness)

** Also called cracked wheat; available at natural foods stores and supermarkets.


1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion, carrots, red bell pepper, and jalapeños and sauté until onion and carrots are almost tender, about 8 minutes

3. Add tomatoes, 3 cups water, beans, bulgur, white wine vinegar, garlic, and spices.

4. Bring to boil.
5. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until bulgur is tender and mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 minutes.
6. Ladle chili into bowls and serve. Can add low-fat cheese (cheddar is nice) or low-fat sour cream and/or chopped scallions

I made up a batch of home-made corn bread to serve with it also and if I had been serving this for a smaller affair I would have included a big leafy green salad as well.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Click here to download a paper copy, and I always post my downloadable recipes in the resource section too.

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When I decided to become a vegetarian when I was 15 years old, the most common question people would ask me was….how will you get enough protein?

While vegetarians (especially the carb-loving kind) do have to be more aware than their meat-eating counter parts, for the most part, most people in America are getting more than enough protein without even trying.

That said, if you are vegan or vegetarian, an intense athlete, recovering from surgery or at a time in your life (adolescence, pregnancy, older than 65 years old) with increased needs, then you do want to be more mindful that you get your required amount daily. Additionally if you have diabetes or kidney issues you may have to limit your protein- your MD would tell you if this was the case.

Some protein basics…

Protein is needed for growth and repair in the body.  It is the main component of muscles and is used within cells for a variety of functions including structure. These “building blocks” of protein are continuously being made up of “Essential” (which must be consumed from the diet) and “Non-Essential”(your body can produce them) Amino Acids.  When people are concerned about vegheads or vegans not getting enough protein it is because most plant based proteins (soy is an exception) are considered “Incomplete” as they do not contain all of the essential amino acids and a person must eat several “complimentary” proteins together to get a full amino acid set.  A classic example of complimentary proteins are beans and rice and we now know that you don’t even need to eat the “missing” amino acid sources at the same meal to be complimentary as long as you get ingest them within a 24 hour period. If you are vegan you can meet your needs easily by consuming a variety of soy or legumes, whole grains and veggies daily. If you are eating dairy you don’t have to worry about this since dairy is a complete protein. Animal based proteins (meats, poultry, fish, dairy etc) are considered “complete” protein because they contain all of the essential amino acids.

In general you should aim for 10-35% of your total daily calories to come from protein.

General Guidelines for Protein:
For 0- 6 months the recommended intake (DRI) is 9g a day
7months-1 year  DRI is 11g a day
For Pregnancy add + 10-25 more grams to the below depending on your age and health condition.

Again, be aware that some people have protein restrictions and should not adhere to this guideline but rather work with their MD and RD to figure out their needs.

Here are some common protein sources…








Are you surprised?

If you are eating meat at each meal (and most people eat more than 3 oz at a serving) you may be getting TOO much protein!

Try adding up your protein grams one day (using a online food tracker, food labels or the USDA food composition database listed in sources below) and make sure you are on track with your protein intake (too much is not better).

The key here for ALL eaters is variety of copious amounts of vegetables, whole grains, legumes and other lean proteins daily.  We all love a routine but don’t get stuck in a rut and try a new source of protein today or this week!



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