Welcome to Romeo's Food Lady! This blog contains recipes for delicious vegetarian food. Most of these are not recipes authored by me. Rather, this is just a compilation of great veggie food I've found from all over the place, usually tweaked just a little. It's intended to be a reference FOR ME so I don't lose great food I've found nor the changes I've made to suit my tastes, but I'm happy for you to use it, too. After more than 25 years of being a vegetarian, I know what tastes good.
Romeo's Food Lady is named after my friend and cat, Romeo. Romeo is not a vegetarian, but his Food Lady is!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chocolate Sorbet

The following recipe is really too good to be true. Delicious vegan ice cream! And no “weird” ingredients! I got the original recipe from Southern Living magazine. This is my version.

5 c. water
2 ¼ c. sugar
1 c. cocoa
1 bag vegan chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips with great results. The bag says it “may contain trace amounts of milk,” but milk is not a listed ingredient. I assume the disclaimer is just due to processing on machinery used for other, non-vegan products. If that doesn’t work for you, just pick a chocolate chip that does.)
about 15 lbs. ice for the ice cream freezer
rock salt

1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan. Boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved (about 1 minute). Whisk in cocoa until blended (no lumps). Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Gradually add the chocolate chips, whisking until smooth after each addition. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
2. Pour the chocolate mixture into the freezer container of a 4-quart ice cream freezer. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions, about 45 minutes.
3. Move the ice cream to your kitchen freezer, and let it “cure” in the freezer overnight.

This makes about 5 cups of unbelievably delicious ice-cream-like sorbet.

Fruit Smoothie

Here's a light, easy breakfast for people on the run. I made this one up. It's easy to modify - substitute whatever fruit and juice you like best!

1 medium banana, peeled and frozen (Do this ahead of time so it's ready when you're ready. Peel the banana, wrap in plastic wrap, and put it in the freezer.)
1/2 pint strawberries, washed and hulled
orange juice
handful of raw sunflower seeds, shelled

Cut the banana into 1-inch pieces. Put the strawberries in the blender, then the bananas, then pour in a little orange juice to give it some liquid to keep things moving. Be sure to put the non-frozen fruit in before you put the frozen fruit in. If you put the frozen pieces in first, the blender sometimes just cuts a path through them, and nothing moves around in the blender jar. Once everything is getting liquidy, toss in the sunflower seeds while it's still moving. Add enough orange juice to make the consistency you like. Pour it in an insulated to-go cup, and you're ready to hit the road, breakfast in hand!

Roasted Cauliflower Pizza

I know this is a little unconventional, and I admit that I was skeptical when I first saw it. But it was so vegan and coming from a magazine and article that were not catering to vegetarians, much less vegans, so I figured it must be good. I mean, they expected regular omnivores to try it and like it. And it IS good! It’s good right out of the oven, but I thought it was even better after being in the fridge overnight. Your call.
The original recipe is from
Country Living magazine.

4 cups finely chopped cauliflower florets (This is about one head, and the finely chopping of the head into florets is the most tedious part of the recipe.)
¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ t. salt
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
¼ c. bread crumbs
1 recipe vegan pizza dough, enough for one 14-inch or 15-inch round pizza (If you don’t have a recipe you like, I highly recommend the pizza crust alternative recipe in Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville. I omit the rye flour from her recipe.)

Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Roast the cauliflower mixture in a baking pan in a 400-degree oven until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the oven, and increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14- or 15-inch circle. Transfer the rolled dough to a pizza pan. Top the dough with the roasted cauliflower, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the cauliflower. Bake the pizza until the dough is golden and crispy, about 12 – 15 minutes. The tips of the cauliflower will brown.

Mushroom Risotto

This is my adapted version of a recipe from Martha Stewart's Living magazine. It's an elegant, impressive dish that would be perfect for a romantic dinner (I'm talking to you, lover!) or an intimate dinner party. It would do well served with a romaine salad, crusty European bread, and a bottle of wine.

1/2 c. pine nuts
1/2 c. fresh basil - Dried herbs will not work for this recipe.
1/2 c. fresh parsley - Dried herbs will not work for this recipe. You can omit the parsley and use 1 full c. of fresh basil instead.
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 t. salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 c. and 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups arborio rice - This is an expensive rice, but it cooks to a creamy risotto. It is the traditional risotto rice.
1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 c. dry white wine, like Chardonnay
5 1/2 c. vegetable broth (I used vegetable boullion.)

1. Toast the nuts by placing them in a small, nonstick skillet over medium heat. They should be in a single layer. Shake the pan around while toasting to move the nuts across the surface and prevent burning. When you begin to smell the nuts (just a few minutes), they are ready. Remove them from the heat.
2. Make the pesto by first pulsing the nuts in a food processor until they are coarsely ground, then adding the herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper. Process until everything is ground. Pour the oil in while the machine is running until everything is puréed. Set aside.
3. Bring the rice, mushrooms, wine, and 2 c. of broth to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until liquid has been absorbed. This takes about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Continue this cycle with 1/2 c. of broth at a time: add broth, cook and stir until the liquid is absorbed, add broth, cook and stir, etc. It will take 20 - 25 minutes to get all liquid absorbed. Once all liquid has been cooked in, remove the risotto from the heat. Stir about 1/2 of the pesto (more if you like) into the risotto, then serve the risotto immediately, topped with the remaining pesto.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tuscan Beans with Tomatoes and Sage

 This is a recipe I adapted from Ursula Ferrigno's Truly Italian cookbook - an excellent Italian vegetarian cookbook. It is highly recommended not only for the recipes, but for the beautiful photographs of Italy.
This particular recipe is deceptively simple. Eat as a side dish, over gnocchi or polenta, or atop crusty European bread as a snack. YUM! 

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance.)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 t. dried/rubbed sage
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Heat the oil and butter together in a medium saucepan. Add the sage and garlic and fry in the oil/butter mixture for 1 minute.
2. Add the tomatoes and tomato juice, the beans, the salt, and the pepper, and simmer together for 5 minutes until heated through.

Pasta e Fagioli (Italian pasta stew with beans)

This is a recipe I modified a little from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant by The Moosewood Collective. It's a really cool cookbook with recipes from various ethnic regions (including the Southeast US!) and countries, and the original recipe that I modified is in the Italy section. Don't let the kale turn you off. It actually MAKES the dish.

3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons

2 stalks celery, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed, and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 28-oz. can CRUSHED tomatoes (and with basil, if available), with liquid
1 can cannellini or Great Northern beans, with liquids

2 T. chopped fresh basil or 1 T. dried basil
oregano, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. pasta (short, chunky variety, like penne)

Start cooking the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot, and sauté the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic for a few minutes until the celery is tender. Add kale. Stir until the kale is wilted down but not drying out. Add tomatoes with liquids, beans with liquids, and herbs. You can add water to make it thinner if you like.  Simmer until the pasta is ready.

When the pasta is done cooking, drain and mix with the bean and tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn out into a serving bowl, and serve hot.

Tempeh Fajitas

Here is a vegan version of fajitas that even omnivores will love.

1 8-oz. package tempeh (I like LightLife's garden veggie tempeh.), sliced into fajita-sized slices
juice of 2 limes
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. salt
1/2 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, deseeded and deveined, sliced
3 t. canola oil plus 1 t. canola oil
flour tortillas (no lard ingredients)
fixin's (chopped tomato, salsa, pickled or fresh jalepenos, chopped green chiles, guacamole or avocados, chopped lettuce, pico de gallo etc.)

Mix the lime juice with the chili powder, cumin, and salt. You can also substitute the fajita-seasoning packet of your choice for the spices and salt. Marinate the tempeh slices in the lime juice mixture overnight.
Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and warm them in the oven on low heat while the fajitas are cooking.
In a non-stick pan, heat the 3 t. oil over medium-high heat. Put the tempeh slices in the oil, and let them fry in it until they have soaked up the oil. Add enough water to coat the bottom of the skillet, and let the tempeh soak that up, too. (It will also evaporate some.) Once the water is gone, add the remaining 1 t. oil, the onion, the bell pepper, and any leftover lime marinade. Sort of stir-fry everything together until the onion and bell pepper are cooked but still slightly crunchy. I have even been known to add one julienned carrot to the veggie mix here.
Once the veggies are cooked, load tempeh, veggies, and fixings onto the warmed tortillas, and enjoy!

Aloo Gobi with Chana Dal (Indian potatoes and cauliflower with chickpeas)

This is my version of the recipe in Madhu Gadia's New Indian Home Cooking. When I moved to Hot Springs, AR, there were NO Indian restaurants in town, and I was devastated. I decided it was time to learn to cook some Indian dishes to keep from going mad! Here is one I rely on.

2 T. expeller-pressed canola oil
1/2 t. cumin seeds (not ground)

1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 can petite-diced tomatoes
1/4 t. turmeric
1 t. salt
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (optional)

10-oz bag of frozen cauliflower
1 t. fresh ginger (not dried!), peeled and chopped
2 t. ground coriander seed
1/2 t. garam masala (Indian spice mix - McCormick makes a version)
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, and fry until they are golden brown (just a few seconds). Add the onion, and sauté until transparent (3-5 minutes). Add the potatoes, tomatoes (including juice), turmeric, salt, and cayenne (if using), and stir to combine. Cover with a lid, reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes to give the potatoes a head start on the cauliflower.

Add the cauliflower and ginger to the pan, stir to coat everything again. Re-cover, and cook an additional 8 - 10 minutes, until the potatoes and cauliflower are both easy to pierce with a fork. Add the coriander and garam masala. Stir to combine.  Stir in the chickpeas.

Serve hot, garnished with cilantro.

I like to serve this over basmati rice.

Lemon-Drop Sipper

Ok, I know making adult beverages doesn't really count as "cooking", but this is a recipe I modified and love. The original was from The Ultimate A-To-Z Bar Guide by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. This cocktail recipe book is so fun! It has zillions of recipes, advice on all the proper barware and glasses to use for each drink, toasts, and witty drinking quotes. I modified this recipe to be weaker, because I'm kind of lame with drinking hard liquor. Make it stronger if it suits you.

juice of one large lemon
1 T. sugar
1/4 c. vodka
2 ice cubes

Put the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake like mad to try to dissolve the sugar. Strain it out into a cocktail glass (think martini glass), leaving the ice behind. Yum!

Vegan Lasagna

Ok, I tried a LOT of vegan lasagnas trying to find a good one. Believe me - there are a lot out there, but they really don't take the place of a good lasagna. This is good. This one works. I got the original recipe online, and it was called, "Destiny's Vegan-licious Lasagna." This is my version of Destiny's lasagna.
Lasagna is nice, because you can make it ahead of time, put it in the fridge, then entertain effortlessly when the time is right.

1 box lasagna noodles (Some boxes have more than others. You need more than a skimpy box.)
2 jars of your favorite prepared tomato sauce for pasta (I like Fra Diavolo from Newman's Own.)
1 lb. tofu, roughly chopped (not the silken kind)
1/2 c. vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance. It does not have hydrogenated oils or trans-fats.)
1/2 c. rice milk (You can use soy milk, but I think soy milk lends its characteristic soy taste to anything made with it. Your choice, but rice milk stays neutral and does not lend a specific flavor to the dish.)
1 T. dried parsley
1 T. dried basil
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 c. chopped fresh vegetables, your choice (Be creative here. Think of thinly sliced carrots, chopped onion, chopped garlic, chopped jalepenos, corn kernels, green or black olives, capers, green or colored bell peppers, artichoke hearts, asparagus, pimentos, and on and on and on)
1 or 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced (optional for the top of the lasagna)

1. Combine tofu, margarine (I usually melt it in the microwave first.), rice milk, parsley, basil, salt, oregano, and black pepper in a food processor until smooth. (You can do this in a blender, but you may need to do it in 2 batches.) Set aside.
2. Sauté the chopped fresh vegetables in the olive oil until they are soft with only a slight crunch to them. Set aside.
3. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions. (Slightly - SLIGHTLY! - undercooked is okay.)
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While it is heating, get a huge baking dish (I use a 9.5 x 13.5, and it is a tight fit with sauce bubbling over during cooking!), and layer like this: tomato sauce, 1/3 of the noodles, 1/2 of the tofu mixture, all the sautéed veggies, tomato sauce, 1/3 of the noodles, 1/2 of the tofu mixture, all of the spinach, tomato sauce, 1/3 of the noodles, tomato sauce. If you are using the sliced tomatoes, cover the top with them now.
5. Bake lasagna 1 hour. Let stand 20 minutes after removing from the oven to set up, then cut and serve hot. Don't worry - it won't get too cool to eat during that 20 minutes! Enjoy!

Vegan Chili

This is a recipe from The NEW Farm Vegetarian Cookbook that I modified. It is my standard vegetarian chili recipe now. I had a dedicated meat-eater tell me this is the best chili she had tasted in her life! So there you go!

2 cans of beans, rinsed and drained (I use 1 can of pinto and 1 can of red kidney beans, but you can use whatever you want. Black beans are supposed to be the least gas-producing beans, if that is a concern to you.)
1 c. TVP (This is Texturized Vegetable Protein. You can get it at Kroger in the health food section. I usually buy it in the bulk section of Whole Foods.)
7/8 c. boiling water
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. plus 2 T. chili powder
2 t. salt, divided
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. expeller pressed canola oil
3 1/2 c. tomatoes and tomato sauce and even water (You pick the combination, depending on how thick you like the chili. I use 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 can of petite-diced tomatoes, and a little water to wash the tomato residue out of the cans.)
1 t. cumin
pinch black or red pepper

1. Put the tomato mix, 2 T. chili powder, cumin, 1 t. salt, and black or red pepper in a large soup pot. Begin to simmer.
2. Add beans to the pot.
3. Soak TVP, garlic powder, 1/2 t. chili powder, and 1 t. salt in boiling water for 10 minutes, then add to the pot.
4. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add to the pot.
5. Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes before serving, to allow the flavors to "marry." It is my personal opinion that this is even better the next day, after it has been in the fridge overnight.

Pasta al Salsa

This is a recipe I got from a Wild Oats cayenne pepper bottle - modified for my tastes. It's easy, it's pretty, it's tasty.

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 celery rib, minced (I have been known to just throw in celery seed when sauté-ing the veggies if I'm out of celery.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced (I have been known to substitute 1/2 medium onion if I'm out of bell pepper.)
1 1-lb 12-oz. can chopped or crushed tomatoes (chopped tomatoes makes a lighter, hot-weather-style sauce...crushed tomatoes makes a heavier, saucier sauce suited to cooler weather)
16 pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced
1 t. capers
1 t. dried basil
1/4 - 1/2 t. cayenne pepper (depends on your tastes and those of your guests...more = spicier)
1 lb. spaghetti or other long-noodle pasta

Sauté celery, garlic, and bell pepper in olive oil over medium-high heat until soft. Add tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Add remaining ingredients, and simmer while cooking pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is done, drain it, toss with the sauce, turn into a serving bowl, and serve immediately.

Pico de Gallo

Here is a recipe I got from my "Granny" - my dad's mom. Of course, I modified it slightly. I have no idea where she got it, but this is perfect for picnics or alfresco dining during the summer, because there is no heating up the kitchen to make it!

1 medium onion, diced small
1 jalepeno pepper, deseeded and deveined, diced small
1/2 bell pepper, diced small
2 large tomatoes, chopped - squeeze out the seeds before dicing (Or you can just open a can of diced tomatoes if that is more your style! Granny was no-nonsense!)
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1.5 T. lime juice

Mix everything together in a bowl, and allow it to sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavors "marry." Serve as a condiment or dip.

Tofu Chocolate Pie or Pudding

This is a recipe I modified from Mori-Nu, the only company I know that makes silken tofu. You need to use silken tofu for this recipe - not the crumbly Chinese kind. If you don't tell people this pie has tofu, they will likely rave about it! If you tell them in advance it has tofu...the less adventurous ones will likely not try it. Their loss!

2 packages silken tofu, (extra-firm for pie, firm for pudding)
3/4 c. raw honey
1 T. almond extract
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 prebaked pie crust or graham cracker crust (if making pie instead of pudding)
2 T. chopped nuts (optional topping for pie)

In a blender, purée each package of silken tofu individually until really smooth. Do one package, then move the smooth, puréed tofu to a large mixing bowl, then do the next package, and move that to the mixing bowl, too. Add the honey, almond extract, and cocoa. First, mix with a spoon to get the cocoa wet to prevent it from flying everywhere when you start the mixer. Then use a hand mixer to thoroughly combine all ingredients into a smooth, chocolatey batter.

For pies, pour the mixture into a prebaked pie shell. For pudding, pour into individual serving dishes or a serving bowl. Sprinkle chopped nuts, if using, over surface of pie. For either pudding or pie, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Serve cold.

Serving Suggestion: I have put a thin layer of raspberry or other fruit preserves in the pie shell before pouring in the tofu batter. You could also top with chocolate shavings or confectioner's sugar. For pudding, you can use it to make parfaits or top with berries or other fruit.

One more note: You could probably adapt this to be vegan by substituting agave nectar or rice syrup for the honey. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cuban Black Beans

This is adapted from a recipe my friend Elaine gave me. I am not sure what cookbook she may have gotten it from. She has advised me that my topping of fresh tomatoes is not properly Cuban. If you want to be authentic, Elaine says to top with chopped fresh white onion. Thank you, Elaine!

1 lb. dried black beans
1 T. salt
2 T. plus 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, deseeded and deveined, chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 bay leaves
1 T. dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 c. prepared white rice (Ok to use brown if you're taking better care of yourself!)
chopped fresh tomatoes to garnish

1. Wash the beans well after picking through them to remove any stones. Put the beans in acovered pot with the salt and 2 T. olive oil and water to cover. Soak 8 hours or overnight.
2. Simmer beans in the same water. Add bay leaves, oregano, and ground pepper. Cook until tendter, 1.5 - 2 hours. Stir very little to avoid breaking the skins on the beans. Add additional water as they are cooking, if necessary. Cook the rice during this time so that it's ready to go when the beans are.
3. Sauté onion, peppers, and garlic in the remaining 2 T. olive oil until soft. Stir these into the finished beans. Remove the bay leaves.
4. Serve the beans over the cooked rice. Garnish with chopped tomatoes.

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I know what you are thinking. Brussels sprouts. EEeew! But if you like cabbage or broccoli, it's fair to try this out. They're healthy. They're good!
You may have noticed that I like to give credit where it's due, so for the record, the recipe that this comes from was from Wild Oats (before they got bought out by Whole Foods). It is, as always, modified to suit my tastes.


1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put Brussels sprouts in a roasting pan. I actually put mine in a cast iron skillet. I have read that it is beneficial to vegans and vegetarians (disclaimer: I am not a doctor!) to cook in cast iron, because the food picks up iron from the cookware. Either way, put the sprouts in there, and toss with the olive oil. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, turning once with a spatula, until tender and browning. Toss the sprouts (I do it right in the pan, but if you are doing it properly, it'd probably be in the serving bowl.) with the lemon juice and salt/pepper to taste.

Carrot Mashed Potatoes

Here is one of my own making. I'm so proud, b/c it is not only yummy, but it looks beautiful on the table, and it's healthy to boot. Pale orange mashed potatoes! Now...I'm really relying on you to be experimental and adventurous and have a sort of sense of what mashed potatoes are supposed to be like. Here goes...

* potatoes - You pick the variety and quantity. Peel them, and chop them into equal-ish sized pieces.
* carrots - about 1 carrot to every 1 medium-large potato, carrots peeled and chopped smaller than potato pieces, but not so small that your mixer's beaters will miss them
*garlic cloves - (optional) peeled - about 1 per every 2 potatoes used
*rice milk or reserved potato cooking water - Yes, you can use cow's milk or goat's milk or whatever you like. I use rice milk or reserved potato cooking water.
*vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance - no trans fats and no hydrogenated oils!) - Yes, you can use real butter, if you prefer.
*salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the carrots and garlic (if using) in a pot that will hold them plus the potatoes plus water to cover them plus another couple of inches to handle boiling over possibilities. [COOK'S TIP: If you are using butter, open a stick and, with the paper still on the half you're holding, run it around the rim of the pot. This will prevent it from boiling over onto your stove if you are not paying attention. I have not tried this with margarine, but I bet it would work.] Bring the water to a boil and boil the carrots about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, then boil everything until they are soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork (check a potato and a carrot). Once they are "done," take them off the heat, and drain out either (1) all of the water if you want to just use rice milk or another type of milk to obtain mashed potato consistency or (2) most of the water, leaving just enough [or slightly under enough, and you can use rice milk to add later, if necessary] to obtain the propr mashed potato consistency. Either way, it takes practice to know how much liquid you need in there to get the consistency right (for you). Leaving too little is better, b/c you can add later, but you can't take it back once you're mashing.

Using a hand mixer, add enough rice milk to get things going (if you did not leave potato water in there) along with margarine to taste. Use the mixer to get out all lumps. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep mixing. Taste it. Add more margarine if necessary. Add more rice milk if the potatoes are too thick. Add rice milk and mix and keep repeating until you have the right consistency.

Serve your beautiful (and don't forget HEALTHY) pale orange potatoes while still hot. Enjoy!

Roasted Asparagus

Seems obvious and simple, right? I agree! But sometimes we need someone to remind us how lovely the simple things in life can be. ... This recipe is from "The Commercial Appeal" (daily newspaper in Memphis). As you can see, it is so simple, there is nothing to modify!

1 lb. fresh asparagus
1 1/2 T. olive oil (I prefer extra-virgin olive oil. The really fruity kind.)
1/2 t. sea salt (Yes, any old salt will do.)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Wash asparagus and break off the tough (non-bud) ends. (The trick here is that the asparagus spear will do the work for you. Bend it, and it will pretty much break in the right spot for you.)

Put the oil in a 7 x 10-inch pain (or one close to that size). Put the asparagus in a single layer in the pan and sprinkle with salt. Shake the pan around to coat the asparagus.

Put the pan in the preheated oven, and cook for 15 - 20 minutes. Check asparagus every 5-ish minutes and shake the pan to recoat everything. When the spears are done, you should be able to bite through without it being stringy. Start checking at 15 minutes.

The Poor Man's Doctor

Did you know that cabbage has been called "the poor man's doctor?" It is THAT healthy! Here is a recipe that, in its original form, came from the very cool cookbook Down Home Wholesome by Danella Carter. If you don't think you like cabbage, at least give this one a chance. You might change your mind!

1 head cabbage, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled, bisected lengthwise, and sliced into half-moons
1 bell pepper, deseeded and deveined, thinly sliced
1 t. crushed red pepper (more if you like!)

In a large pot (enough to hold all that stuff!), sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until transparent (several minutes). Add carrots, bell pepper, and crushed red pepper, and sauté a couple of more minutes to let the crushed red pepper flavor the oil. Add cabbage, and cover. Cook until the cabbage is soft but slightly crunchy still (not wilted), 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally


This is a delicious recipe from Peta that I have modified to suit my own tastes. Feel free to do the same!

2 or 3 ripe avocados
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1/4 c. onion, minced
juice from 1 lime
1/2 t. garlic, minced
1/4 t. chili powder
1/4 t. salt (or increase chili powder by 1/4 t. if omitting salt)

Peel and mash the avocados. Mix all ingredients well, and enjoy with tortilla chips! Easy!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Roasted Root Vegetables

I don't even remember what magazine I cut this out of...maybe an old Vegetarian Times. This is a perfect earthy, autumn dish. Try serving it with a big salad or sauteed kale, crusty European bread, and glasses of red wine.

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 turnips (or rutabagas), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I sometimes skip this ingredient.)
4 beets, peeled and cut into halves or quarters, depending on size
2 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
6 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly mashed with the side of a knife
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

salt and pepper, to taste
fresh or dried herbs (like rosemary!)

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Put all root vegetables and the garlic cloves in an uncovered 9" x 13" roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil over all and sprinkle with 1/2 t. salt (or to taste) and pepper to taste; mix to distribute oil, then sprinkle with herbs. Cook in the lower 1/3 of the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until browned. (A fork should easily pierce the white potatoes.)  Don't be alarmed if the beets turn almost black...it's normal. Every 20 minutes or so during cooking, remove the pan from the oven and use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the starchy vegetables.  Adjust salt and pepper if needed, and serve.

Szechuan Tofu

The original version of this recipe is from Molly Katzen's The Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook. This is my version. It is perfect over steamed white rice, so start cooking the rice when you start this. I always forget to and have to do it at the end!
Also, feel free to use whatever vegetables suit you - add bell peppers, baby corn, snow peas, etc.

lb. Chinese tofu - NOT the silken kind  (Tofu's texture improves if it has been frozen for 24 hours, then thawed.  Plan ahead.)
1/4 c. canola oil, separated
1/3 c. sherry or rice wine
soy sauce, shoyu, or tamari sauce (see step 4 for amount...If your food needs to be gluten-free, check ingredients.  Not all of these are gluten-free.)
1.5 c. water

2 T. cornstarch
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

20-oz. bag of frozen broccoli
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 c. sliced celery

Squeeze as much water as possible from the tofu, then cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes.  In a large nonstick skillet, cook the tofu over medium-high heat until water is no longer sizzling out of the cubes.  Drizzle with 2 T. canola oil, and toss to coat.  Continue cooking until 1 side is browned, toss again, and cook until a second side is browned.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a 1-cup measuring cup, pour the sherry or rice wine up to the 1/3 c. mark. Add enough soy sauce, shoyu, or tamari to make 1/2 c. of liquid. Add the water.  Put the corn starch into a medium bowl. Whisk in the tamari mixture. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.  Set aside.

Heat the canola oil in the skillet or a wok. Saute the broccoli, onion, carrots and celery until crisp-tender. Pour in the sauce, turn the heat up a little, and stir-fry/mix/whatever about 5 - 8 more minutes. The sauce will begin to thicken. Stir in the tofu Serve over your steamed white rice.

Garlic Pasta

This recipe came from Peta's The Compassionate Cook cookbook. This dish is deceptively easy, and it's perfect when there's almost nothing in the pantry. But you will be surprised at how tasty it is! The drawback, NOT low-cal!

1 lb. spaghetti, vermicelli, angel hair, or some other long narrow noodle
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 t. salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 c. toasted bread crumbs (And you can really do without these. I make this without the crumbs all the time.)

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/3 c. of the cooking water. Pour the cooking water into the oil sauce, and cook over low heat 1 minute.

Toss the pasta with the oil sauce. Serve each portion sprinkled with bread crumbs, if using.

Vegetable Lo Mein

I got this vegan recipe from www.cdkitchen.com and tweaked it...always got to put my own spin on them, but give proper credit where it's due!
1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. FRESH (not dried) peeled and grated ginger (This is so imperative, as it really makes the dish something special. You can substitute whatever you like for the veggies, but don't mess with the fresh ginger.)
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
2 T. canola oil
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 T. water
1 T. sesame seeds
1 pkg udon noodles, prepared according to package directions

Heat the canola oil to be hot in a large nonstick skillet or wok. Stir fry the bell pepper, carrot, and onion in the hot canola oil for 2 - 3 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp. Add garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Combine soy sauce and water, and stir into vegetables. Toss cooked udon noodles into vegetable mixture and serve hot.

Pasta with Corn Sauce

This is a vegan recipe from Peta...You want to serve this warm right after cooking it if you have guests, b/c the sauce is very starchy and will sort of gum up after it starts to cool. That is not to say it's not good that way, too.  It does not look as pretty, but I have been known to eat this cold right out of the fridge.

1 can corn kernels
1.5 c. soy milk
2 T. tahini (Tahini is to sesame seeds what peanut butter is to peanuts.)
1 T. onion, chopped (or dried onion granules)
1 t. salt
1 lb. pasta
freshly ground black pepper
fresh parsley, chopped, or dried parsley (optional)

Put the corn, soy milk, tahini, onion, and salt in a blender and process until completely smooth. (It may take several minutes to completely pulverize the corn.) Pour the blended mixture into a medium saucepan, and warm over medium-low heat. Stir often.

While the sauce is heating, cook the pasta according to package directions. Add the hot sauce to the pasta, and toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately, topping each portion with freshly ground black pepper and parsley (if you're using it). SO YUM!

Cornmeal-Carrot Skillet Cakes

This is a vegetarian recipe that I tweaked from "Vegetarian Times". You can go two ways with this savory pancake-like entree. I like to go soul-food with it and serve it with beans and sautéed kale, but Scott likes it when we go Latin with it and serve it with beans, topped with salsa and avocado. It has cornmeal, onions, and cheese, so it makes sense both ways. Your pick!

3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 T. yellow cornmeal
1/2 t. dry mustard powder (optional)
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
2 carrots, grated (about 1 cup...Please use a food processor for the grating if you have one. It's exhausting doing it by hand!  Or better yet, buy pre-grated carrots.)
4 small green onions, thinly sliced

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c. plant-based milk (almond, soy, rice, whatever)

Combine flour, cornmeal, mustard (if using), salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add carrots, green onions, egg, and milk, and mix well.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. (Be sure the skillet is hot before you put batter in. I tried doing otherwise, and the cakes got gummy and stuck to the skillet.) Scoop about 1 - 2 T. of batter into the pan, and spread it flat with the back of your spoon to about 3 inches in diameter. Cook cakes 2.5 - 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Serves 2 - 3.

Vegetarian Paella

(This is a vegan dish I tweaked from a Peta's The Compassionate Cook cookbook...Is that how you spell tweak? Anyway...) This dish has a long list of ingredients, but it's very easy to make, and the result looks more wow-y than you expect. It's a rich yellow color!
I usually serve it with refried beans and tortilla chips.


1 cup white rice
2 cups boiling water
1 T. canola or olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 green bell pepper, sliced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups vegetable broth (or water if need be)
1 t. salt
1 T. paprika
1 t. turmeric

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (although I have just dumped a drained can of chopped tomatoes in when I didn't have any fresh)
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
1 small jar chopped or sliced pimentos (optional)


Mix the rice and boiling water, and let stand for 20 minutes. Then, pour off the water.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a large skillet (that has a lid) over medium heat. Saute the onion and bell pepper until the onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and sauté another 3 minutes. Add the rice and broth (or water), bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in the salt, paprika, and turmeric. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes (but check after about 15...different varieties of rice cook at different speeds).

Once the rice is tender, stir in the tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Turn out onto a serving dish and garnish with pimentos, if using.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Black Forest Cookies

Hello all! I made a new cookie recipe yesterday that I thought I'd share. I even like to think of it as somewhat healthy, since it has nuts and dried berries in it. It's super easy to make. Just a warning that the batter does not look like normal cookie dough. It just looks like melted chocolate. I was afraid it would not cook up into a cookie, but it did! Here it is:

Black Forest Cookies (I got this online at, I think, the Ocean Spray cranberry website .)

1 11.5-oz. bag chocolate morsels (I used a 12 oz. bag Ghiradelli semi-sweet with good results.)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. butter (I used Earth Balance vegan margarine with good results.)
2 eggs
1 t. almond extract
3/4 c. flour
1/4 t. baking powder (There is no salt called for in the recipe, which worried me. I thought that was needed to "activate" the baking powder. Worked fine with no salt.)
1 6-oz. package Craisins (dried, sweetened cranberries)
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour 3/4 c. chocolate morsels into an uncovered large microwave-safe bowl. Set remaining morsels aside. Microwave morsels 2 - 3 minutes on high. Stir until chocolate is smooth.

Stir in brown sugar, butter/margarine, eggs, and almond. Add flour and baking powder, mixing thoroughly until combined. Stir in remaining morsels (You may want to let it cool a little. If it is still hot, it will melt these as well.), Craisins, and nuts.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes (depending on how firm you like your cookies) or until cookies are puffed and set to the touch. Cool on cookie sheet 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies.

The calories are listed as 140 per cookie, but I made them bigger than 1 tablespoonful each, so I know mine were more! It actually also has a little protein, vitamin A, and calcium, per the recipe specs from online. I hope you enjoy it!

***Note: Use egg substitute to convert to a vegan recipe. :) I've used Egg Replacer in other recipes in the past. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!