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Help Veggie PDDers!!!

I am having a friend for dinner. She is a vegetarian (not vegan). I want to make a meal for her that will impress her palate. Gardenburgers, I believe, do not qualify!

What are some of your favorite meals, and where can I find a recipe?


Vegetarian or not, there are a lot of great meatless dishes. Some I like? A good hearty Lasagna. I make my chili with lots of vegetables, corn and sometimes even potatoes, but no meat. I don't eat much in the way of dessert prefer to fill up on the main course, but apple pie comes to mind right now. In fact, you can probably find a good supply of fresh apples from right in your neighborhood ... fresh homemade apple pie, that would be impressive, don't you think?

Some veggie dishes I adore: Polenta with a good hearty homemade tomato sauce, a creamy Risotto (mushroom, artichoke, whatever as long as it has lots of cheese), vegetable stir fry, falafel, soup, spinach and cheese stuffed pasta shells, veggie enchiladas....the possibilities are endless. You could stop at the library and pick up a vegetarian cookbook.

I would stay away from meat substitutes in this instance though - it's less impressive if you just try to fake a meat dish with soy.

Use fresh ingredients and try any of the following:

fresh basil pesto with pine nuts/ walnuts, olive oil and cheese

fresh salsa on black bean and chesse burritos

Pumpkin and carrot curry soup

Pumpkin ravioli are awesome

I made all of the above this week fresh from my garden.

Try Moosewood cookbooks or online at epicrious, recipezaar.com et al

regardless of what you serve for the main course, knock her socks off with a curry butternut squash soup. i like this recipe and just substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock. also, cook the onions until they are practically see through. that makes it mucho better.

WOW!!! Thank you! Everything sounds SO good! Help me, though, what is Polenta? Is it corn based?

HI, Zoe,

I made this (courtesy of Allrecipes.com) for Mark, a friend of mine that never eats anything with a face, and he wasn’t the only one that was impressed.

The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World
“Break out your soup pot and fix up a batch of this delicious, spicy vegetarian chili today! It’s ready in no time, and packed with vegetables, beans - and flavor!”
READY IN 1 Hr 15 Min

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 medium onion, chopped
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons dried oregano
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 2 stalks celery, chopped
• 2 green bell peppers, chopped
• 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
• 2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
• 3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
• 1/4 cup chili powder
• 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
• 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
• 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
• 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
• 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
2. Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy. ☺


Thank you, Camila!

Swan, where can I get those Pumpkin ravioli??? Is there a recipe?

jp, I think I will make an apple pie and serve it ala mode! Hope the cinnamon ice cream is out by now.

Dang, I need to eat lunch!

Daal -- can't beat Daal.

(This recipe is from the “Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant” cookbook)

1 1/2 cups red or brown lentils, yellow or green split peas or split and hulled mung beans (I usually use yellow split peas)
4 cups water
2 dried chiles, whole
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
2 T ghee (that’s melted, clarified butter) or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup chopped onions
1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger root
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 tsp garam masala (get this in an Indian/Asian grocery store or the herb/spice department of one of the better-stocked general grocery stores)
salt to taste

Wash the lentils, peas, or beans in several changes of cold water. In a medium pot, cover them with the water and add the whole dried chiles, turmeric, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring often, until very tender. This will take about 30 minutes for red lentils, 45 minutes for peas, or an hour or more for mung beans. It may be necessary to add more water to prevent sticking, but only 1/2 cup at a time, because the final consistency should be fairly thick. Use a heat diffuser if necessary.

When the lentils are almost cooked, heat the ghee or oil in a small pan, add the cumin seeds, and cook for 10 or 15 seconds. Stir in the onions and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 5 or 10 minutes until most of the liquid from the tomatoes has been absorbed.

When the lentils are tender, remove and discard the hot peppers. Stir in the onion mixture, lemon juice, garam masala, and salt to taste. Serve, passing additional garam masala to sprinkle on top if desired.

We usually eat this with rice. Put a cup or so of cooked rice in a bowl and pour the daal over it. Mmmm. Another good choice is to serve the daal with naan–an Indian flat bread. You can dunk the bread in the daal. Equally Mmmm.

OOH. And I've never met anyone who didn't like spaghetti squash. Another option for you.

• 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
• 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
• 3 tablespoons sliced black olives
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
2. Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.
4. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sauteed vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.

pumpkin ravioli recipe:
Google it, there are dozens but make sure to use fresh pumpkins, substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock, use fresh herbs and a bit of nutmeg even if the recipe does not call for it. Fresh pasta is easy and better with real farm fresh eggs.

They are a labor of love and take awhile to prep, but worth it. I love this time of year because I use local cheese and all the ingredients from my garden, topped with our homemade red tomato sauce. Delicious.

I'll check my notes and cookbooks at home and get a recipe.

Thanks, Swan. My hubby and I actually had some friends over this last weekend and we made homemade pasta. Our friend had purchased a pasta attachment to the Kitchen Aid mixer. I was very surprised how easy it was. Oh, now I need to borrow her attachment to make pumpkin ravioli! Yes, we only use farm fresh, organic eggs. I, too, love using the ingredients from our garden. We just finished making our last batch of garden salsa last night. It tastes better when you grow it.

Zoe - Polenta is basically a corn meal mush. But you can purchase it in tubes, cut in slices, and serve it w/ sauce over the top. They sell it in the organic or pasta section at all the local grocery stores.

Also last year I made sweet potato potstickers and a homemade sauce (can't remember what now, but does it really matter?) Those were great, too! Fall is here, sweet potatoes are IN!

these will go great with any meal

Wild Rice Breadsticks
•2 cup cooked wild rice (add 1 cup well-rinsed, uncooked rice to 2 1/2 cup water.
Add 1 tsp. salt if desired) and boil until rice is tender and has absorbed the water.
(Rice should be tender but not mushy, and kernels should not be "rolled back").
• 2 tsp. salt
• 1 1/2 cup water, 105 to 115 degrees F
• 1 Tbsp. sugar
• 2 packages active dry yeast
• 1/4 cup good quality vegetable oil, grape-seed oil or olive oil
• 4 to 4 1/2 cup all-purpose flour oil for baking sheet
• 1 egg white, beaten with 1 Tbsp. water
• coarse salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In bowl, combine rice, 2 tsp. salt, water, sugar, yeast. Stir to blend. Let stand 5 minutes until yeast foams. Stir in oil and flour one cup at a time until mix is stiff. Let rest 15 minutes. Turn on to board; divide into 16 pieces. Roll each piece to make a rope 16-20 inches long. Roll sticks in oil and place on baking sheets. Brush with egg mixture and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes until browned and crisp.

I think PDD needs a food section!

No need to buy polenta already made, it's super easy from scratch and takes only a few minutes(like, 5) and tastes way better than the stuff in the tube. You can get uncooked polenta in the bulk section at the co-op. It's basically just corn that's ground a bit more course than normal cornmeal. It's cheap, too. You can add anything to it that your heart desires, such as cheese, butter, pine nuts, spinach, even honey. I heart polenta.

We had "real" polenta tonight. Mmmmm. Buy it in bulk at the co-op - the tube stuff doesn't even compare.

I make the best tofu fajitas. Even those who did not like tofu before, like it after the fajita experience. Shoot me an email if you want the recipe.

Ginger - 5 minutes? Uncooked polenta has to cook for about 45 minutes, stirring constantly. Are you using partially-cooked polenta?

Also, it has the consistency of mush, if you want it in slices you will have to bake it and slice it.

Anyway, I still recommend it. Not only is it tasty but most of the people you cook it for will ask "what the heck is polenta?"

Oh melt swiss on it, too. Yum!

You guys are all fantastic! You have made me salivate this entire day. We should Potluck Veggie-style, except I don't live in Duluth anymore (badge-o-shame)! I love learning about new and interesting foods.

Wrong! Heat milk/water/soy milk/parm/spices/whatever on stove, add raw polenta, stir, let sit 5-10 minutes, stir again, eat.

Takes alomst no time and no stirring.

I still think you are sorely mistaken - and I'm not trying to argue, I promise, I just don't want someone to buy raw corn polenta thinking it's going to be fast. Instant polenta cooks up in about 5-10 minutes, but it is already partially-cooked and doesn't have the best flavor it could. Raw polenta (such as Bob's Red Mill, etc) takes 30-45 minutes to cook properly. Just be sure to check the package your buying, or if you're buying raw bulk be sure to cook check a recipe for traditional polenta. It can thicken in about 10-15 minutes & look finished, but it's not ready to eat until it's creamy & really thick.

Then again, I buy the instant & pre-cooked most of the time because I'm lazy ;-) but I do always have a bag of uncooked in my pantry.

vicarious, could you be thinking of coucous?

Nope. You're talking about instant polenta. :)

Check this out.


Now, we can all sleep in peace. :)

There's another good one - cous cous! Delicious AND fun to say!

I am occasionally wrong. I assumed the bulk polenta at the co-op is "raw", but perhaps it's "pre-cooked".

The funniest vegan recipes on your computer.


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