Veggin’ Cookbook Chronicles: Cannellini Salad

June 19, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Salads, Side Dishes

New Vegetarian Cuisine features “250 low-fat recipes for superior health” and is compiled by Linda Rosensweig and the food editors of Prevention magazine. My edition is from 1994. That said, this cookbook touts healthy eating and food choices using vegetarian cooking to bring the point home.

There is an interesting section that debunks myths that seem to come straight from my conversations with people when they find out that I’m a vegetarian – how do you get protein?, don’t you risk anemia?, what about calcium? The editors provide extensive answers with facts and sources. The next chapter then dicussus the vegetarian diet as a weapon against disease. The subsections go over various diseases and conditions (arthritis, cancer, diabetes, etc.) and how elements of the vegetarian diet can ease symptoms. Finally, the editors discuss how to make the transition to a vegetarian diet.

The recipes in the cookbook generally take up only one page and are not complex. They provide tips and hints for each recipe along with nutrition information. There are some color photos of final dishes but they are lumped together in four sections. Fortunately, they put the page numbers along with the photos so it’s easy to track down each recipe represented.

The index is thorough and includes not only recipe titles and ingredients but also nutritional keywords as well as diseases and conditions discussed in the cookbook. There’s also a little symbol that appears if the recipes is good to “make ahead.”

The recipes are simple to make but don’t skimp on uniqueness and flavor. In fact, this cannellini salad was bursting with a unique, almost smoky, taste.

Cannellini Salad
New Vegetarian Cuisine, Linda Rosensweig and the food editors of Prevention magazine, 1994

  • 10 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cans (19 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • spinach leaves

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes and water. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Drain, reserving the soaking liquid.Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

In a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, parsley, sage, pepper, tomatoes, and the reserved tomato soaking liquid. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly.

Place the beans in a large bowl. Add the tomato mixture, toss gently to mix. Serve warm or chilled on the spinach.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

Vegetarian Slow-Cooked Refried Beans (Without the Refry)

April 04, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Side Dishes


Refried Beans Without the RefryThis is one of those sinfully easy recipes that tastes like you put a lot more work into it than you actually did. And, best of all, you won’t miss the lard and fat that is normally put into refried beans. I did, however, have some trepidation about throwing the big hunks of onions in at the beginning. But, like magic (or rather several hours stewing in the slow cooker) those big pieces of onion mashed right up.

My beans were done at about the 6 1/2 or 7 hour mark, but I think that my slow cooker’s high setting is actually “super high” as I had some boil over. After the beans are done cooking, taste them and add some more spices at the end such as more cumin for smokiness or cayenne for a bit more bite.

By the way, this recipe makes a rather big batch. But, that’s ok,  you can come up with a lot of uses for these beans like enchiladas, nachos or just as a side dish all its own…

Refried Beans Without the Refry
Adapted from AllRecipes


  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
  • 2 cups strong vegetable broth
  • 7 cups water

Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker.

Pour in the water and broth and stir to combine.

Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency. (Note: I found it a little easier to scoop the beans out with a slotted spoon and put them into another bowl for mashing.)

34 Simple (Vegetarian) Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less

October 05, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Article, Main Dishes


In 2007, the New York Times wrote an article called Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less. I’ve held on to the article (yes, from the actual newspaper) and just came across it again in a massive desk clean-up. So, rather than hiding it back into a deep dark drawer, I figured I’d list some of the ideas here.

In the original, the majority of the dishes included meat (mostly fish), but there were many on there that are vegetarian or vegan. I’ve also included several that were easy to substitute with a faux meat. Many of these dishes can be prepared if you are good about keeping the basics in your pantry. (For a refresher check out my list of what every vegetarian should have in their kitchen.)

So, without further ado, here are 34 simple vegetarian meals ready in 10 minutes or less.

1. Make six-minute eggs: Simmer gently, run under cold water until cool, then peel. Serve over steamed asparagus.
2. Toss a cup of chopped mixed herbs with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a hot pan. Serve over angel-hair pasta, diluting the sauce if necessary with pasta cooking water.
3. Make pesto: put a couple of cups of basil leaves, a garlic clove, salt, pepper and olive oil as necessary in a blender (walnuts and Parmesan are optional). Serve over pasta (dilute with oil or water as necessary).

IMG_89184. Gazpacho: Combine one pound tomatoes cut into chunks, a cucumber peeled and cut into chunks, two or three slices stale bread torn into pieces, a quarter-cup olive oil, two tablespoons sherry vinegar and a clove of garlic in a blender with one cup water and couple of ice cubes. Process until smooth, adding water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, then serve or refrigerate, garnished with a little more olive oil.
5. Soak couscous in boiling water to cover until tender; top with tomatoes, parsley, olive oil and black pepper.
6. Chinese tomato and eggs: Cook minced garlic in peanut oil until blond; add chopped tomatoes then, a minute later, beaten eggs, along with salt and pepper. Scramble with a little soy sauce.
7. Cut eggplant into half-inch slices. Broil with lots of olive oil, turning once, until tender and browned. Top with crumbled goat or feta cheese and broil another 20 seconds.

IMG_35388. While pasta cooks, combine a couple cups chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon or more minced garlic, olive oil and 20 to 30 basil leaves. Toss with pasta, salt, pepper and Parmesan.


9. Egg in a hole, glorified: Tear a hole in a piece of bread and fry in butter. Crack an egg into the hole. Deglaze pan with a little sherry vinegar mixed with water, and more butter; pour over egg.
10. Quesadilla: Use a combination of cheeses, like Fontina mixed with grated pecorino. Put on half of a large flour tortilla with pickled jalapenos, chopped onion, shallot or scallion, chopped tomatoes and grated radish. Fold tortilla over and brown on both sides in butter or oil, until cheese is melted.
11. Fast chile rellenos: Drained canned whole green chilies. Make a slit in each and insert a piece of cheese. Dredge in flour and fry in skillet slit side up, until cheese melts.
12. Saute 10 whole peeled garlic cloves in olive oil. Meanwhile, grate pecorino, grind lots of black pepper, chop parsley and cook pasta. Toss all together, along with crushed dried chili flakes and salt.
13. Cold soba with dipping sauce: Cook soba noodles, then rinse in cold water until cool. Serve with a sauce of soy sauce and minced ginger diluted with mirin and/or dry sake.

IMG_099514. Fried rice: Soften vegetables with oil in a skillet. Add cold take-out rice, chopped onion, garlic, ginger, peas and two beaten eggs. Toss until hot and cooked through. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil.
15. Taco salad: Toss together greens, chopped tomato, chopped red onion, sliced avocado, a small can of black beans and kernels from a couple of ears of corn. Toss with crumbled tortilla chips and grated cheese. Dress with olive oil, lime and chopped cilantro leaves.


16. Migas, with egg: Saute chopped stale bread with olive oil, mushrooms, onions and spinach. Stir in a couple of eggs.
17. Saute shredded (or sliced) zucchini in olive oil, adding garlic and chopped herbs. Serve over pasta.


18. Not takeout: Stir-fry onions with cut-up broccoli. Add cubed tofu along with a tablespoon each minced garlic and ginger. When almost done, add half cup of water, two tablespoons soy sauce and plenty of black pepper. Heat through and serve over fresh Chinese noodles.


19. The Waldorf: Toast a handful of walnuts in a skillet. Chop an apple or pear; toss with greens, walnuts and a dressing made with olive oil, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and shallot. Top if you like, with crumbled goat or blue cheese.
20. Put a stick of butter and a handful of pine nuts in a skillet. Cook over medium heat until both are brown. Toss with cooked pasted, grated Parmesan and black pepper.
21. Put a tablespoon of cream and a slice of tomato in each of several small ramekins. Top with an egg, then salt, pepper, ad grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees until the eggs set. Serve with toast.
22. Make a fast tomato sauce of olive oil, chopped tomatoes and garlic. Poach eggs in the sauce, then top with Parmesan.


23. Peel and thinly slice raw beets; cook in butter or oil with garlic; do not overcook. Finish with parsley, lemon juice and coarse salt; serve over toast.
24. Rich vegetable soup: Cook asparagus tips and peeled stalks or most any other green vegetable in [vegetable] stock with a little tarragon until tender; reserve a few tips and puree the rest with a little butter (cream or yogurt, too, if you like) adding enough stock to thin the puree. Garnish with the reserved tips. Serve hot or cold.
25. Brush portobello caps with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper and broil until tender. Briefly sweat chopped onions, then scramble eggs with them. Put eggs in mushrooms.
26. Near instant mezze: Combine hummus on plate with yogurt laced with chopped cucumbers and a bit of garlic, plus tomato, feta, white beans with olive oil and pita bread.
27. Sear corn kernels in olive oil with minced jalapenos and chopped onions; toss with cilantro, black beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped bell pepper and lime.


28. Pit and chop a cup or more of mixed olives. Combine with olive oil, a little minced garlic, red pepper flakes and chopped basil or parsley. Serve over pasta.
29. Grated carrots topped with six-minute eggs (run under cold water until cool before peeling), olive oil and lemon juice.
30. Cut off the top of four big tomatoes; scoop out the interior and mix them with toasted stale baguette or pita, olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs (basil, tarragon, and/or parsley). Stuff into tomatoes and serve with salad.
31. Pasta frittata: Turn cooked pasta and a little garlic into an oiled or buttered skillet. Brown, pressing to create a cake. Flip, then top with three or four beaten eggs and loads of Parmesan. Brown other side and serve.
32. Ketchup-braised tofu: Dredge large tofu cubes in flour. [Megabeth note: press and drain tofu to get excess liquid out before using.] Brown in oil; remove from skillet and wipe skillet clean. Add a little more oil, then a tablespoon minced garlic; 30 seconds later, add one and a half cups ketchup and the tofu. Cook until sauce bubbles and tofu is hot.
33. Veggie burger: Drain and pour a 14-ounce can of beans into a food processor with an onion, half a cup of rolled oats, a tablespoon chili powder or other spice mix, an egg, salt and pepper. Process until mushy, then shape into burgers, adding a little liquid or oats as necessary. Cook in oil about three minutes a side and serve.
34. So-called Fettuccine Alfredo: Heat several tablespoons of butter and about half a cup of cream in a large skillet just until the cream starts to simmer. Add slightly undercooked fresh pasta to the skillets, along with plentuy of grated Parmesan. Cook over low heat, tossing, until pasta is tender and hot.

Black Bean and Corn Stew

June 19, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Side Dishes

This is a very simple stew that I served with Oaxaca Tacos.The recipe comes from the Cafe Flora cookbook, but I will transcribe it here how I prepared it. For example, the original recipe gives instructions on what to do if you are using dried beans. I used canned instead. I omitted the cilantro and used flat leaf parsley. I also reduced the amount of salt. Finally, I cooked the stew in my cast iron skillet rather than in a pot.

The result? A stew that my in-house taste tester declared tasted like the “inside of a taco.” Not bad considering it was for a tex-mex meal I was preparing. This is a great condiment to a larger meal or a standalone dish served in a tortilla, on top of pasta, or eaten straight out of a bowl with a spoon.

Black Bean Stew
Adapted from the Cafe Flora Cookbook

Makes about 3 cups

1 15-oz can black beans (about 2 cups cooked)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped (used in place of cilantro)
1/2 teaspoon curshed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground (I used 1 t cumin powder)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional: 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar (I did not include this, but may the next time I make this)

Rinse black beans under cold water. Place beans in cast iron skillet with one cup of water.

black bean stew

Add remaining ingredients and spices. Stir to combine.

black bean stew

Heat stew on medium high until simmering. Reduce heat to llow and let cook for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors blend. Add more water if a more “soupier” consistency is desired.

black bean stew

black bean stew

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