Archive for the ‘Vegetarian Recipes’ category

My First Vegetarian Recipe

January 21, 2008

One week ago, I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona with my parents and my friend Mel. Mel and I had trained to run the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, and my parents used the race as an excuse to escape to balmy Arizona for a weekend in the sun away from the harsh winter of Massachusetts. On the plane, Mel lent me the book “Skinny Bitch” (http://www.skinnybitch.net/) to take a look at after I told her I hadn’t eaten red meat since November. The choice not to eat red meat simply came because I no longer craved it and it was a fattier meat than the other types of meat protein I consumed (fish, chicken, and turkey). It always just seemed like I was eating pure felsh too (and I guess I was). After reading – and gagging – through “Skinny Bitch,” no form of meat, even fish, seemed appetizing to me. I figured this was just because I had read about the horrendous practices of slaughterhouses and the feelings and personalities that animals have, but nonetheless, I did not expect that in the next few days I would continue to be grossed out by meat.

 I was wrong. On the night before the marathon I ordered spaghetti, roasted vegetables, and a grilled chicken breast. I devoured the spaghetti and vegetables but had trouble stomaching the chicken. I forced about half of it down before covering the rest of it with my napkin. I couldn’t help thinking about the poor chickens that suffered so I could have this meal – not to meantion the less than humane slaughterhouse practice that went in to killing the bird.

Since I felt aboslutely fine during the marathon (and actually shaved 20 minutes off my Boston time from April 2007) I decided later that day over a post-race meal of rice, vegetables, and pita bread from a local Greek restaurant, that I would try to stick to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet for one week. I would consume dairy products as well as eggs (I was not ready to give up ice cream, chocolate, and egg white omelettes!) If, after that time, I was tired and all I wanted was meat then I would go back to eating my chicken, fish, and turkey.

The past week has been quite pleasant regarding my food! My lunches have mostly consisted of salads with baby romaine lettuce, balsamic vingegar dressing, and baby carrots with a “Mushroom Lover’s” veggie burger from MorningStar Farms. I’ve eaten ceral with yogurt for breakfast, lost of fruits and veggies throughout the day, and eggplant pizza, veggie stir fry, and egg white omelettes for dinner. I’m starting to make delicious food choices that I normally otherwise overlooked; for example, yesterday’s breakfast consisted of two pieces of Ezekial toast spread with hummus…YUM!

Since weeknight dinners are often a combination of leftovers and easy-to-make quick eats, I plan to create a deliciously vegetarian recipe every weekend. Whether you are new to the vegetarian lifestyle or have been eating meatless for years, I intend for these recipes to truly satisfy! Even if you eat meat but want some meatless aternatives, these recipes will do the trick! 

Today the Patriots played the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship game. What goes great with football on a bitterly cold winter day? CHILI! With no further ado, here is the first of my vegetarian recipes!

Hearty Vegetarian Football Chili!

  • 1 small eggplant
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4 large carrots
  • 5 stalks celery
  • 2 cups portabella muchrooms
  • 15.5 oz. can black beans
  • 15.5 oz. can chick peas
  • Two 15.5 oz. cans red kidney beans
  • Two 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Cumin to taste
  • Chili Powder to taste
  • Scallions
  • Contanier of Greek style yogurt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Slice eggplant into one inch cubes. Put in large mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt – mix well. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray (I used Pam – buttered flavor). Lay the eggplant out and and bake for 20 minutes. While the eggplant is roasting and absorbing the delicious olive oil and salt, crush three cloves of garlic into a large saucepan with a drizzling of olive oil. Finely chop the onion and peppers and set aside. Sautee garlic over low heat for about two minutes. Add the onion and peppers before the garlic starts to brown – you don’t want burnt garlic! Give these veggies a toss with a wodden spoon. Chop carrots into bite size pieces and add to the pan, stirring again. Chop celery and add to the veggie mixture. While that sautees over low heat, add another drizzle of olive oil  – enough to sautee the mushrooms – to a large pot. Add musrooms to the pot. These should only take a minute to brown up. CAREFULLY add the peppers, onion, garlic, celery, and carrots to the musrooms and mix eveything together well. One can at a time, add the kidney beans, chick peas, and black beans discarding only some of their liquid. At this point the eggplant should be finished so carfeully (it will be hot) add the eggplant. Add both cans of diced tomatoes with all of their liquid (this is essentially the broth!) Finally, add salt, cumin, and chili powder and stir well. Cover and let simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

Since sour cream is traditionally served with chili, I didn’t want to skimp out and not have a sour cream option; however, I couldn’t bring myself to add all that fat to this ridiculously nutritious meal. Here’s the solution: take a container of plain Greek yogurt which is much thicker than regular yogurt. Place a strainer over a large bowl so that the strainer’s bottom does not touch the bottom of the bowl but rests on the sides. Line the strainer with a paper towl (you could also use a cheese cloth). Scoop the yogurt over the paper towel and let the liquid drain out of the yogurt for about an hour. When you see a bit of liquid that has accumulated, your yogurt has reached its thick, sour cream consistency. You can even test it with a tortilla chip! Spoon a generous dollop onto your bowls of chili and finally garnish with some chopped scallion.

I served this to a room full of hungry football fans and everyone was quite sated.

***VEGAN alternative!*** If you skip the yogurt topping, this recipe is vegan friendly too!

The great thing about this recipe is that is makes a BIG portion. You’ll most likely have leftovers to bring to work for lunch and maybe even some for dinner. ENJOY!

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