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My Blog

vegetarian meal ideas

How to get more "Plant Based" in your Eating

Hi all.  Want to have a more "plant based" diet but not sure where to begin? 

Here is an easy way to start.  

Stock up on:  1 can of each- black beans, white beans, chickpeas
whole wheat tortillas (8-10 inch)
brown rice
quinoa or whole wheat couscous 
jar of pitted kalamata olives
sharp cheddar cheese
parmesan cheese
lettuce (dark green leafy- spinach, kale, romaine, red leaf)
fresh sliced peppers (red, green and/or orange)
rinsed, sliced and stemmed mushrooms
or any other vegetables

When you need a quick lunch or dinner, open a can of the beans, rinse them (to remove the sodium)
put in tortilla.  add 1/8 cup cheese, any leftover fresh or frozen veggies, 1/4-1/3 cup rice, top with salsa
roll up,  microwave for 2 minutes- done!

coat a nonstick pan with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 minced clove garlic, 1 can of rinsed beans (your choice) ,add 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning and 1/8 cup parmesan, and fresh or frozen veggies of your choice.  Sauté for about 5 minutes.  Serve over 1/3 cup brown rice. 

 open a can of chickpeas, rinse.  Cook quinoa or whole wheat couscous according to package instructions. 
Serve beans over a plate of salad greens and any other fresh chopped veggies.  Add 1/4 cup shredded cheddar or crumbled feta cheese, 1/3 cup quinoa or couscous.  You can even add 8-10 pitted kalamata olives.  Use a balsamic/olive oil dressing. 

If you always keep these ingredients on hand and replace after using you will always have these "go to" meals!


Vegetarian Recipe-Chimichangas with Salsa!

These were really tasty- made them last night.  This recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Times February 2000. 

Chimichangas with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Serves 6

1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs. fat free ground soy "meat" (i.e., Morningstar Farms)
14.5 oz. can low sodium diced tomatoes
2 tsp. chopped roasted jalapeno pepper (optional- I left out)
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (option: use reduced fat cheddar)
6 medium (7 1/2 inch) flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat baking sheet once with cooking spray.  Set aside.  

Coat large skillet with cooking spray and place over low heat.  Add onion; cook, stirring often, until just softened, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and stir 30 seconds.  

Add soy "meat", breaking it up with a wooden spoon.  Stir in tomatoes, roasted jalapeno, chili powder and cumin.  Mix well.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, stack tortillas, wrap in foil and bake until warm and pliable, 8 to 10 minutes.  

Place tortillas on work surface and spoon about 3/4 cup "meat" filling in center of each, top with 1/8 cup cheese.  Fold in sides and roll up, jelly roll style.  Place on prepared baking sheet, seam side down.  Bake until chimichangas are lightly browned, about 30 minutes.  Serve topped with salsa. 


Delicious vegetarian recipe- Tuscan Skillet Supper

Here is another great vegetarian recipe I like to make which can also be modified for vegan (just leave out the mozzarella- can substitute with a soy cheese if you like): 

 This is From Cooking Light.   

Tuscan Skillet Supper 
  2 tsp. olive oil 
 1 cup chopped zucchini 
 ½ cup sliced onion
 ½ cup sliced celery 
 ½ cup diced red bell pepper 
 1 tsp. dried oregano 
 2 garlic cloves, minced
 1 cup diced tomato
 1 (15 oz. can) cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
 2 rosemary sprigs
 1 cup chopped spinach 
 ½ cup (2 oz.) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
 ½ tsp. salt 
 1/8 tsp. black pepper 

     Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.   Add zucchini and next 5 ingredients (zucchini through garlic); sauté 2 minutes.  Stir in tomato, beans and rosemary; cook 2 minutes.  Stir in spinach and remaining ingredients; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts and cheese begins to melt.  Discard rosemary.  Yield:  4 servings (serving size:  1 ¼ cups).    Calories: 205 , fat 6.7g- (sat. fat 2g, mono-2.8g, poly 1.3g), protein 11.4g, carb: 27.1g, fiber 4.8g, sodium-932 mg; calc 170mg.  

I like to serve this over some brown rice.  1/2 cup would add another 15 g carb. 


Veg. or Vegan Recipe! Pasta Skillet With Tomatoes and Beans

Hi everyone!  I came across this easy, delicious recipe from Cooking Light that is tasty and easy to make.  It is a vegetarian recipe but can be easily adapted to make it vegan.  I adapted it slightly to fit my needs.

This one pot meal is great for a busy weeknight!

Pasta Skillet With Tomatoes and Beans

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups chopped tomato
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups hot cooked angel hair (about 6 oz. uncooked pasta)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15 1/2 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/2 cup (2 oz. ) grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese (leave this out for vegan recipe)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
basil sprigs (optional)

Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat.   Add tomato and garlic, and saute' 2 minutes.  Add pasta, basil, salt, pepper and chickpeas; cook 2 minutes.  Place mixture in a bowl; stir in cheese and vinegar, and garnish with basil, if desired.  Yield:  4 servings (serving size 1 1/4 cups)_

Calories:  376, fat 8.9g (sat. 3.1g,mono 3.4g, poly 1.6g) Protein 17.5g, carb 57.8g, fiber 4.9g, chol 15 mg, iron 4.3mg, sodium 624 mg, calc,211mg  Keep in mind taking away the cheese will slightly alter these numbers.  


Less meat?

Are you having at least one non-meat meal every week?  If not, you may want to consider it.  Why?  There are many health benefits to eating vegetarian, at least one day out of the week.  

How to do this?  Start small.  Replace one of your meat meals with 1/2 cup of beans- there are many varieties out there.  Some examples are black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), cannellini, small red, small white.    Canned is fine (and much easier) as long as you rinse them well in a colander under cold running water.  

Ideas:  Mix them in a pasta dish instead of using meat.  Or, put them on a whole wheat tortilla, add a little brown rice, reduced fat cheese, some veggies, some salsa, roll up and microwave for about 2 minutes (microwave times may vary).  And voila! Easy, instant bean dinner.  Also remember to drink extra water since you will be eating extra fiber in the beans (fiber attracts water in the body, so when you add fiber you need extra water to account for that process). 

Enjoy those beans!

More meatless ideas to come!

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