Vegetarian Side Dishes
I made this vegetarian stuffing on Thanksgiving, and it was a big hit. I definitely will not wait for the next holiday to make it again.
This recipe, minus the dried cranberries, is also great for the vegetarian stuffed mushrooms below.
1 cup Rice a mix of wild and brown rice is best
2 cups water
1 small, diced onion or 1/2 medium onion
1/2 cup chopped Celery
2 Vegetarian Sausages out of casings
1 cup sliced Mushrooms (Cremini or Button)
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Add water and rice to the pot. Bring to simmer, cover and cook (follow package directions).
- While rice is cooking, heat olive oil and slowly sauté onions until transparent.
- Add vegetarian sausage and cook until brown.
- Add diced celery and mushrooms. Cook for a couple of minutes, until mushrooms are soft, but celery is still crunchy. Add salt and pepper to taste and pull off heat.
- Once the rice is cooked, combine it with the cranberries and vegetarian sausage and mushroom mixture. You can serve this as is, or bake it. To bake, place the mixture in a lightly oiled or buttered baking dish, and bake at 325degrees for about 20 minutes.
- This stuffing is great in the mushroom recipe below.
Stuffing (see recipe above)
4 portobello mushrooms or large button mushrooms
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (or your favorite grating cheese)
Directions for Portobello Mushrooms
- Stuffing: Follow instructions above, but leave out the dried cranberries.
- Wipe mushrooms with damp paper towel to clean off surface dirt.
- Cut off stems and scrape off gills inside the portobello mushrooms.
- Place stem side down in the baking pan, and cook at 375degrees for approximately ten to 15 minutes, depending on mushroom size.
- Remove from oven, stuff, and sprinkle top with grated cheese.
- Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Directions for Button Mushrooms
- Remove entire stem so that you have a deep cavity to stuff.
- Stuff mushrooms and top off with grated cheese.
- Place in lightly oiled or buttered baking pan. Bake in preheated, 375degree oven for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, depending on mushroom size.
Goat's Cheese, Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
with Three Herbs
Goat's Cheese, Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are delicious and quick to prepare. The smell of the herbs roasting in the oven make your mouth water and the kitchen smell fantastic.
Extra-virgin olive oil
Two large or four small portobello mushrooms
Dried oregano (approx. 1/4 teaspoon per mushroom)
Dried Italian parsley (approx. 1/4 teaspoon per mushroom)
(approx. 1/4 teaspoon per mushroom)
Salt & Pepper
Wipe the portobello mushrooms clean. Use a small spoon to carefully scrape out the gills, and baste with olive oil.
- In a 375°, preheated oven, bake the mushrooms with the stem sides down for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on mushroom size.
- Once the outside is cooked, liberally sprinkle the three herbs into the cavity. While adding the herbs crush them between your fingertips to release their oils.
- Sprinkle a teaspoon of olive oil over herbs, and add a light sprinkling of salt and pepper.
- Stuff with crumbled goat's cheese, and cook until the cheese is soft.
Serving Suggestions: You can serve the mushrooms as a side dish or as a main course on top of a bed of salad or egg noodles.
Make your own Goat's Cheese
If you have some extra time and want to experience fresh, homemade goat's cheese, it's easy to make. And you don't need special equipment. There are online articles that show you how.
Another advantage of home-made goat's cheese is it's rennet free. Most of the rennet added to cheeses are made of the enzymes from an animal's stomach.
Roasted vegetables are a great vegetarian side dish or main course. All you need is salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, and your favorite vegetables. Of course, you can easily add some extra pizzazz with herbs and cheese, which I'll get to below. First, let me explain . .
The Secret to Perfectly Roasted Vegetables
Perfection, of course, depends on personal taste. If you like your vegetables caramelized.
What is Caramelization?
The natural sugar in the vegetables caramelize (turn into caramel) and coat the vegetables.
Cook them at a high heat (up to 425 degrees F).
- Use one layer of vegetables. Don't crowd the roasting pan. The edges of the vegetables need to be exposed to the surface areas of the pan to brown. If they're piled up or too close together, this can't happen.
- Cut the pieces smaller.
Or, for just a roasted flavor without much caramelization, turn the heat down and cook larger pieces.
Don't know where to start, try one of my favorite combinations below:
4 - 5 small red potatoes (cut in half or quartered)
2 red bell peppers (cut into large cubes)
1 green bell pepper (or yellow)(cut into large cubes)
1 medium Spanish onion (cut into thick slices)
2 - 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
For best results, use organic or locally grown vegetables.
- Wash and cut vegetables.
- Grease the bottom of a sheet pan with the olive oil and preheat over to 400 degrees F (again, more or less depending on the amount of caramelization and browning you want).
- Lightly toss vegetables in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Or, place the vegetables in the sheet pan and sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of the oil.
- For this mixture of vegetable, bake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes.
- Add vegetarian sausages.
- Before serving add shaved parmesan, sprinkle with fresh, chopped Rosemary and Thyme, or sprinkle with Balsamic Vinegar (or your favorite)
- Use leftovers to make omelets
Instructions for Roasting Potatoes
Roasted potatoes are hardy and everyone loves them. The problem is, they take much longer to cook than most vegetables. So what's the solution?
Before roasting the potatoes, steam or boil them until your fork goes in easily (do not peel the potatoes). I prefer to steam them because they retain more of their vitamin content.
Kale chips are so easy to make you'll probably never buy them ready-made again. But watch out, these healthy chips are addicting.
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Optional: 2 cloves finely chopped garlic or other spices of your choice (chili flakes, paprika, etc.)
You can fry or bake the Kale. If calories are a concern, by all means, bake it.
Directions For Frying
- Wash, devein, tear, and dry Kale well.
- Heat oil and drop in garlic (or spices of your choice). Let spices cook for a minute.
- Drop in Kale. Let Kale cook for a while before turning. The trick is not to overcrowd the pan. If you do, the kale will never crisp up and will steam instead.
- Once the Kale is crispy, flip it over to let it crisp up on the other side. The Kale will turn slightly brown when it crisps up.
- Remove from heat, salt to taste.
Directions for Baking
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Wash, devein and dry Kale well.
- Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, or lightly grease sheet with olive oil.
- Spread Kale on a cookie sheet or slightly grease sheet with olive oil. Do not crowd sheet.
- Drizzle Kale with a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Bake until Kale starts to brown approximately 20 minutes. Turn over after first ten minutes.
Sweet Potato Pancakes
This baked, Sweet Potato Pancake recipe is a healthy alternative to the fried version. I love sweet potatoes for a number of reasons: they're a low GI food, high in vitamin B6 and sweet. Eating sweet foods like sweet potatoes can help reduce your cravings for sugary, processed foods.
Plus, you don't have to buy organic. According to the Environmental Working Group, Sweet potatoes have a low amount of chemicals.
3 medium sweet potatoes (or two large), peeled and coarsely grated
1/2 cup, 100% applesauce (preferably organic and no sweeteners.)
4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat over to 400 degrees.
- Lightly grease a cookie sheet with olive or coconut oil
- Grate potatoes into a large bowl. Add applesauce, flour, salt, and pepper.
- Mix thoroughly be hand
- Take a mound of the mixture (about 2" diameter), make into a pancake shape, and place on cookie sheet. Repeat until done. Will make approximately 7 to 8 pancakes.
- Bake for 20 minutes and flip with a spatula. Bake on the other side for another 20 minutes or until golden brown
- Serve with a side of applesauce and grated horseradish
Make plenty. Leftovers freeze well. Just slide the baked, cooled pancakes into freezer bags, and pull out what you need the next time you crave these healthy goodies. I heated them up for five minutes on each side straight from the freezer.
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