Mediterranean Rice

November 24, 2012 By: Megabeth Category: Side Dishes

You can make plain rice any day of the week, but with a few extra items (many you probably already have in your pantry) you can take an ordinary side-dish and turn it into something a bit more interesting.

Cooking the rice in tomato juice adds a deep flavor to the base of this recipe. Add to that the salty capers and robust sun-dried tomatoes so it takes on a lighter note. And, finally, who can resist the taste of an artichoke heart, which rounds out this dish.


Artichoke and Chickpea Chipotle Chow

July 01, 2012 By: Megabeth Category: Sandwiches, Snacks/Appetizers

This recipe was inspired a shopping trip to the local organic market. I found a jar of organic spicy chipotle relish and I really, really wanted to make something good with it.  The original recipe that I found, from A Veggie Venture, used little tiny pickles, so I substituted the relish for them. And, double bonus points, I had to do less chopping as a result.

This recipe can be easily changed to perhaps an Old Bay Seasoning or Lawry’s Season Salt flavor profile. Just adjust the type of relish and seasonings you use. I also used a soy mayonnaise to make it vegan.
It’s a versatile and spicy chow – spread it on crackers, sandwiches, tortillas…you name it.
Artichoke and Chickpea Chipotle Chow
Inspired and Adapted from A Veggie Venture

16 ounces canned artichokes, drained
16 ounces canned chickpeas, drained
1/2 a small onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup spicy chipotle relish
1/3 orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon capers
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup soy mayonnaise
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon good mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Process until mixed but still chunky. Refrigerate for a few hours preferably overnight to let the flavors meld.


Vegetarian Vuelta a España: Paella!

September 01, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Vegetarian Vuelta a España

We’re entering into the long Labor Day weekend here in the States, so I’ll be disappearing a little bit for a few days. I’ve somehow gotten myself talked into heading down to the woods in North Carolina for some rustic camping and cycling. It seems innocent enough, but the many of the folks I’m going with are hoodlums from the cycling fan site Podium Cafe. So, wish me well on this adventure…I hope to come out alive on the other side.

Featured Recipes

In the meantime, I leave you with a classic Spanish recipe – Paella. The origins of this dish brings up images of Spanish workers in the fields, cooking over open fires and serving straight from a communal round flat pan called La Paella. Fortunately for us, the main ingredients have evolved from the 18th century staple in paella – the marsh rat.

This post originally appeared on Veggin’ in July 2009 during my Vegetarian Tour de France, but it’s so good, it bears repeating. Enjoy!


It may be the Tour de France but some stages do dip into other countries…as shall I. I’ve been focusing on French dishes but today’s stage ended in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. That means, it’s time to whip up a Paella!

There are literally thousands of ways to make paella. I used a lot of the vegetables that I received in my weekly vegetable delivery (including a lot of the green onions!) Feel free to throw in whatever vegetables you may have on hand beyond what I have listed below – carrots, asparagus, peppers, capers, whatever. The key is throwing it in at the right times so you don’t end up with a squishy vegetable mess. The more delicate the vegetable, the later you throw it in. Be sure to let the cover sit on the pan to let everything steam and cook, but check to make sure the liquid isn’t burning off too quickly or the rice won’t be able to cook very well.

Paella is actually very easy to make and it becomes a really hearty dish with not a lot of added extra fat.  It’s a great dish to serve to a crowd and doesn’t require a lot of babysitting while it cooks. (And, if you ask nicely, perhaps someone will get up and check on the paella when it’s cooking so you don’t have to…)

Megabeth’s Paella

  • 4 green onions, white parts minced
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 – 3 cups vegetable stock (Go here to learn how to make your own…)
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice (if you use brown, increase the cooking time
  • 3 corn cobs, cut into thirds
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon saffron, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper

In a small bowl, put crushed saffron in 1 Tablespoon of water and set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat olive oil on medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent and softened.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Add white rice, stir to coat with the oil, and cook until beginning to brown.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Add one cup of vegetable stock and tomatoes.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Add saffron and the water it was soaked in, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Turn heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to low. Add zuchinni, yellow squash and corn. Cover with a tight fitting lid and let simmer for 20 minutes on low.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Life cover, stir, and add artichoke hearts, and more of the vegetable broth. Replace cover and continue simmering until rice is cooked through – another 20 – 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add additional broth or water if rice begins to dry out in the cooking process.

Warm Cottage Cheese, Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Dip

July 29, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Snacks/Appetizers

This recipe almost turned me off with the thought of “warm cottage cheese”. I’m a purest when it comes to cottage cheese. I like a little salt and a little pepper on my cold cottage cheese. Warm cottage cheese gives me the willies. But, for the sake of adventure, I figured I’d try this appetizer dip…and I’m glad I did.

The original recipe also called for marinated artichokes and regular sun-dried tomatoes. Since I was on a binge of cleaning out my larder, I used marinated sun-dried tomatoes and regular artichoke hearts soaked in water. I also did a little tinkering with the ingredients to cut down some of the fat.. I opted to use both a fat-free cottage cheese and a fat free Greek yogurt. I knew that the oil from the sundried tomatoes and the cheddar cheese would help keep the dip moist.

Finally, we have another bumper crop of herbs growing. When they get too bushy for my kitchen counter, I cut pieces off and save them in my handy-dandy herb mill. I currently have a nice mix of parsley, basil (both regular and red leaf), thyme and oregano in mine. I supplemented the flat leaf parsley in this recipe with a few turns of the mill.

My fears of having to munch on “warm cottage cheese” were assuaged after my first bite. Depending on how much you blend the rest of the ingredients, you can end up with a smooth texture or you can keep some of the texture. The brightness of the sundried tomatoes paired nicely with the mellowness of the artichoke hearts. I’ve also had a chance to eat this cold as a spread on crackers. It’s tres good.

All in all, this was a very easy dip to whip up. It cooks very quickly so if you have something else in the oven that needs more time, you can throw this in there with it and have something to serve to tame the hungry crowd in your living room.

Warm Cottage Cheese, Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Dip
Adapted from Imagelicious

  • 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons fat free greek yogurt (you could also use sour cream or mayonnaise)
  • 5-6 artichoke hearts packed in water
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves (or a variety of other fresh herbs to your liking)
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 6 halves, marinated sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

– Process the cottage cheese in a blender or a food processor until it becomes smooth and not grainy anymore.

Warm Cottage Cheese, Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Dip


Warm Cottage Cheese, Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Dip

– Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the desired consistency.

Warm Cottage Cheese, Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Dip

– It can be processed into a very smooth paste or left a little bit chunky. Season to taste. Pour the dip into an ovenproof dish.

Warm Cottage Cheese, Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Dip

– Bake at 350F (180C) for about 15 minutes until the dip is warm and melting.

– Serve with toasted bread or crackers.

Warm Cottage Cheese, Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Dip

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