This truly has to be one of the most frugal recipes we have ever shared. It wasn’t long ago that I posted a simple lentil salad using little more than caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar – and then I find out about this delicious staple dish, also using lentils and caramelized onions as the foundation, along with rice; omitting the balsamic and adding a bit of spice completes the flavor profile. Mujaddara is a Middle Eastern vegetarian/vegan dish which relies on pantry ingredients, with the exception of onions (which are quite economical anyway) and the optional fresh parsley. Perfect for a Meatless Monday.…
One of the ultimate comfort foods – slowly simmered stuffed cabbage rolls – has the power to take me back to the early 80’sÂ when I was a new bride learning to cook for my little family. So, I wondered if I could make a more enlightened vegetarian version that was just as tasty and comforting for Meatless Monday.
Cabbage seems like it was invented for making cabbage rolls – they have a perfect taste and texture for these. And a huge bonus: cabbage is packed with nutrients. Cabbage is one of the most versatile cruciferous veggies. We use it in so many strikingly different ways and transform it into so many different substances: raw cabbage in slaws, boiled cabbage with sausages, pickled for sauerkraut, and on and on . . . .
The secret to the success of this recipe is in the braising: I used a rich vegetable broth ( I like Kitchen Basics vegetable stock) with a little vinegar and brown sugar and My, Oh My! did my house smell yummy! These turned out glorious: sweet and tart and flavorful – they just melt in your mouth!Â I promise you won’t miss the meat – not even a little bit!
We at FFF have pledged to go meatless on Mondays!
The Meatless Mondays Movement is gaining momentum! Eating less meat makes sense in every possible way: health-wise, environment-wise and (note the emphasis of our blog) budget-wise!
We endorse Michael Pollan’s philosophy: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
To do our part, we will feature a delicious vegetarian recipe every Monday that traditionally was made with meat, but we will do a makeover and make it meatless: Meatless Monday Makeovers! Today we feature the classic meat pasta sauce – Bolognese.
Some more legume love coming your way – I eat lentils more regularly than just about any other pantry staple. Dahl, soups, and stews are the most common, but I’m always up for more.Â Of course, the Legume Love Affair event is the perfect excuse! (Thanks to Susan for the original concept!)…
Whatever your personal feelings might be re: Rachael Ray, particularly some of the nicknames and abbreviations she comes up with, honestly, I think this fits into the RayRay-invented category known as “stoup”, somewhere between a stew and a soup. …
Lo, I have discovered the World’s Easiest HEALTHY Casserole. I found it in La Dolce Vegan, a fabulous cookbook, and tweaked it a bit (added garlic and smoked paprika, changed the other seasoning amounts, but that’s it).Â Behold:
3/4 cup dried red lentils
3/4 cup brown rice
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable stock
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1Â teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated parmesan, soy parmesan, or nutritional yeast (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients BUT cheese in large casserole dish. Stir, cover and bake for and hour and a half, stirring once halfway through. If using cheese, sprinkle on top. DONE!
It does take a while to bake but it’s totally inactive time. It’s a perfect pantry raid dish too! This is all stuff I have on hand 99% of the time; the only fresh produce you need is onions and garlic, and I’m good about keeping stocked on those (it helps that they don’t go bad for quite a while). If you don’t have smoked paprika, regular would be fine, and if you don’t have fresh garlic, I think powder would work here – in other words, it’s very open to experimentation and substitution. Go nuts! Then kick your feet up until it’s ready.
— posted by Anne
Itâ€™s another pantry kinda day, but since things are getting springier and springier around here, I thought Iâ€™d lighten it up a little. I love lentils, as well you know, but rather than my usual soups and stews, hereâ€™s a nice versatile salad, good on its own or as a template for your own tastes. Try adding your own favorite raw diced veggies!
SPRING LENTIL SALAD
2 cups green lentils, sorted and rinsed
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 cup carrot, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
Cover the lentils with about 2-3 inches of water and boil until tender, approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt, pepper, parsley and thyme together in a large mixing bowl. Chop the veggies and herbs. Drain lentils when finished. Add the warm lentils, carrots and bell pepper, and any other veggies you fancy, and stir to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.
If youâ€™re feeling like a splurge, I like to top each serving with a dollop of goat cheese. To stretch this more indulgent item out, try blending it with equal parts much-less-expensive cream cheese. You still get the tang of the chevre, which pairs well with the flavors of the salad, and the creamy texture is a nice contrast to the texture of the lentils and vegetables.
— posted by Anne
This is a perfect side dish for just about any meal, very high in protein, iron and fiber. You can use whatever rice appeals to you most – I generally prefer short-grain brown rice, but in this recipe I used “forbidden” black rice and found it very visually appealing. I do recommend it if it’s available to you. This does involve a few separate preparations, but though it takes a little time, it’s nothing difficult.
You can also experiment pretty broadly with seasoning. I recently tried finishing it with rice vinegar and a touch of sesame oil and thought it was terrific; I may go with even more Asian in flavoring for this in the future, perhaps adding some toasted sesame seeds and scallions as well. As it stands, it’s mild – perfectly nice on its own or as a template for other flavors.
MIXED GRAIN & BEAN SALAD
1 cup brown rice, black rice, or other rice of your choice
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 cup quinoa
1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (sherry is also good if you want to splurge)
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, minced (about eight)
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
coarsely ground black pepper to taste
The first few steps can be cooked simultaneously, provided you have three pots and three timers.
- First, get the rice going. In a medium pot, bring the rice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 45-55 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork and let rest until ready for use.
- In another medium pot, cover the lentils with 2-3 additional inches of water, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until tender. Drain & set aside.
- In a third pot, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, covered, and cook for 15 minutes – the germ will be visible as a ring around the grain when done. Fluff with fork and let rest for 5 minutes.
Whew! While you have all those balls in the air, saute the shallots in the olive oil for 5Â minutes. Strain out the shallots and set aside. Put vinegar in a large salad bowl and whisk in the shallot-flavored oil. Add the sundried tomatoes and chickpeas. When the rice, lentils and quinoa are done, add them to the large bowl along with the parsley and toss everything together! Add additional salt and pepper as desired, and possibly a touch more vinegar.
I like this slightly warm but not, with the leftover heat from the cooked grains, but it’s also just as good chilled the next day. It makes a good amount, so unless you’re feeding a big crowd, you’ll have some leftovers – always a bonus in my eyes.
–posted by Anne
I admit it, I’ve been cooking rather heavy stuff of late, even if they are healthy – lots of soups and stews and hearty fare. I can’t help it, it’s the hibernation impulse. And since I try to avoid driving in the snow whenever possible, I rely heavily on bulk items in the pantry – which is also a very economical way to go. This particular stew is a great one for cleaning out the pantry & tossing in whatever extra root veggies you like. Today I added a sweet potato and a celery root (celeriac), the latter of which added a nice, sweetish, clean taste into the mix. A parsnip would have been nice if I had one, too. Go crazy!
SPICY LENTIL STEW
5 cups vegetable broth
1 pound lentils, rinsed and sorted
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato, diced*
1 celery root, peeled and diced*
1 tablespoon chili powder
t teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
coarse black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Bring broth to a boil in a stockpot. Add lentils, return to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.Â Add tomatoes, vegetables, spices, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered and stirring frequently (you want it to reduce a bit and thicken up) for 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and vegetable tenderness – cook longer if needed for vegetables (adding water if it becomes too thick).
Finish with the balsamic vinegar. Top each bowl with sour cream if desired.
*Or any other root vegetable you have on hand and like!
— posted by Anne