Tasty Simple Vegetarian dinner... help! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 04-15-2009, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was raised by meat eaters and became veg about 14 year ago when I met my now DH. I have never been an enthusiastic cook ... in fact DH is very surprised if he comes home and finds I have made dinner. :

Most things I cook come out not as tasty as I expect. Some of the things I enjoy the taste of and know how to cook are things we don't eat (fish!) ... and won't start eating, since DH and DS are Veg for religious reasons.

DH eats a rice-based diet, not my favorite thing at all. For something to "count" as dinner for him, it needs to be cooked - no salads! I am used to a carbohydrate-based diet (pasta) with lots of cheese. The main part of our diet ought to be veggies, fruits, and soy/nut ... not pasta and rice. I try to avoid potatoes because of the high glycemic index.

Lately I have been making home made ice cream, made with heavy cream. Since DH is trying to loose weight, this is probably a bad idea. He has just a tiny taste and has not complained so far.

I need some ideas, very badly, for dinners so easy even *I* can make them.
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#2 of 22 Old 04-15-2009, 01:08 PM
 
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I really like Nava Atlas's cookbooks. Lots of good options for simple, taste veg food. I learned a lot about cooking veg*n from her books. Maybe see if your local library has one and check out some of those recipes?

Also, in the frugality and finance forum, there are some 'meals on the cheap' threads that are mostly veg based and usually pretty tasty.

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#3 of 22 Old 04-15-2009, 01:37 PM
 
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Honey-baked lentils is one of my favorite easy recipes. I consider it a quick recipe when I'm going to be home because the preparation takes next to no time, but the cooking time is long. It is:

- 1 small onion
- 1 cup lentils (any sort works. Some varieties will end up being a bit more of a yummy mushy substance while others hold their form. Just experiment and see what you like.)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp soysauce or tamari
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Chop the onion and saute in the oil for a few minutes (I admit that I usually cheat and skip the sauteing so just toss the chopped onion in the dish raw with the oil for a bit of fat - it seems to work fine). Mix all ingredients in baking dish and cook covered for about an hour and a half.

I usually serve this over quinoa since that is quick cooking and healtheir, but rice woks too. I also use maple syrup in place of honey a lot for maple baked lentils. You can also chop up carrot or other root vegetables or whatever to cook in with the lentils. Or mix it up with some split peas or barley or whatever in place of some of the lentils. It is a very flexible dish and usually comes out good.

Beany soups are usually easy to prepare and yummy. There are tons of recipes out there. Most of my soups end up tomato-y as I follow my moms rule of adding a can of crushed tomatoes whenever a soup isn't coming out quite right.

Sweet potato and black bean enchiladas is one of my favorite foods ever. The cookbook it is from (Vegan Planet) is a good one. If you have access to it, check out the recipe for African sweet potato and peanut stew (very yummy, but the leftovers are even yummier the next day when the flavors have had a chance to mingle in the fridge overnight).
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#4 of 22 Old 04-15-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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One of my standby (fast and easy) meals is enchiladas. I use frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed to get rid of excess moisture, finely chopped onion, beans (usually black, but whatever will work), and some cubed, cooked potatoes (microwave them if you're in a hurry). Sometimes I throw in a teaspoon or two of cheese in each one, but it's fine without. Then I top it with enchilada sauce. Sometimes I make my own, but if I'm in a hurry, I'll just use canned (Hatch brand). I also pour some canned tomatillo salsa (Herdez) on top. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake until done. (I usually put something else in the oven too, so I vary the oven temperature anywhere from 350 to 450, and it comes out fine. These are also yummy with sweet potatoes inside.

Another standby for us is sweet potato tacos. Shred one or two orange sweet potatoes (I use the food processor. If you don't have one, you can just cube them instead.) and set aside. Chop an onion and saute it in a little olive oil over medium-high heat until it's starting to get brownish all over and the pieces are very limp. Add 2 teaspoons ground cumin and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute for a minute and then add sweet potatoes.
Stir, add about 1/4 cup of water, put the lid on, turn the heat down to medium and let them cook for about 15 minutes, or until they're soft and done (cubes will take longer). Check periodically during the cooking time and give them a stir to make sure they don't burn. Add a little more water if necessary to keep from burning. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, shred some cheese (sharp cheddar or monterey jack are good choices, but you can also use a Mexican cheese or skip the cheese all together). Serve with tortillas. If you want to get fancy, heat the tortilla in a skillet, sprinkle tortilla with cheese, spread sweet potato/onion mixture on top, and cook until tortilla is lightly browned in spots. Fold in half, and set in 200 degree oven to keep warm while you make the rest of them the same way.

Do you like Indian food? Manjula has a fabulous website with very easy-to-follow directions (and videos!) of a wide range of Indian foods. I particularly love her chole (chickpeas) which are really easy to make and really yummy.
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#5 of 22 Old 04-15-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kalisis View Post
I really like Nava Atlas's cookbooks. Lots of good options for simple, taste veg food. I learned a lot about cooking veg*n from her books. Maybe see if your local library has one and check out some of those recipes?

Also, in the frugality and finance forum, there are some 'meals on the cheap' threads that are mostly veg based and usually pretty tasty.
Which books do you like? Is there one in particular that's good because I have one and it's very bland and boring.
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#6 of 22 Old 04-15-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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I'm not much of a cook either, although I'm trying to learn and am getting better. One of the first meals I made that actually came out good was the following....

Pasta with Spinach and Beans
  • Pasta (any kind, I usually use penne... I use 3 cups uncooked which makes HUGE servings for me and DH)
  • 1 can of cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bag of fresh baby spinach
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese if you want

Boil Water. Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet and then add the garlic. After a minute or so, add the beans then some salt and red pepper flakes (or regular pepper). After another minute or so, start adding the spinach, bit by bit, adding more as it wilts until all of it is added. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon as you go. There's really no exact science to any of this. When the pasta is done, drain it, return to pan, then add spinach/bean mixture. You may need to add a little bit more olive oil to the pasta at this point. I usually add more salt and pepper here too, and you can do parmesan if you want, then mix it all up well.

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#7 of 22 Old 04-15-2009, 03:13 PM
 
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CHILI

In a crock pot, combine:
A few cups of kidney beins
1 chopped medium onion
1 or 2 chopped bell peppers, depending on how much you like them.
1 large chopped tomato
Enough plain, unsalted tomato sauce to coat everything but not drown it or make it soupy
A little bit of salt
A few dashes each of pepper, oregano, basil, and chili powder
Optional: Corn and/or soy meatballs
If you like it HOT, add a few red pepper flakes. They're VERY HOT so be careful!

Set the crock pot to cook for 6 hours and enjoy 6 hours of free time. I like this best with a little grated cheese. Chris is a picky meat lover and even he prefers this over regular meat-based chili!

CHUNKY SPAGHETTI SAUCE
In a pot, mix unsalted tomato sauce, pepper, oregano, and basil. I always measure these out in my hand instead of spoons and the amount of oregano and basil is a pile about the size of your thumb nail. Sitr, cover, and cook on low heat.

In a skillet, sautee minced garlic, onion, zucchini, bell pepper, yellow squash, and mushrooms in olive oil. When the veggies are cooked, add to the sauce and continue cooking on low heat. Serve with cooked spaghetti!

If you want to serve a salad on the side, this is my personal favourite:
Chop up: 1 bunch of romaine lettuce, 2 avocados, 1 or 2 tomatoes, 1 red bell pepper, half a purple onion, mix together with a can of mixed kidney, black, and pinto beans. Mix some lemon juice and garlic salt and sprinkle over the salad. Enjoy!

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#8 of 22 Old 04-15-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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I absolutely love this yellow split pea dal from Mollie Katzen's Still Life with Menu cookbook. It is beyond easy. Even though it takes a while you tend to it very little. Serve it in a bowl over a little rice :

Beth

Beth wife to Tom and mommy to Therese 11/4/04 Anna Mary 6/15/07 and Veronica 10/20/09
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#9 of 22 Old 04-15-2009, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much ladies!
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#10 of 22 Old 04-15-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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Do you ever eat meat-substitutes? We don't eat them often but I LOVE the LifeLight Italian sausages. I use them in this easy recipe:

Spinach Lentil Soup

INGREDIENTS

* 1/3 cup uncooked white rice (next time I may add 1/2 cup)
* 2/3 cup water
* 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
* about 1 1/2 veggie sausages, crumbled
* 1 onion, minced
* 1 carrot, chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 6 cups water
* 2 cups vegetable broth
* 1 cup dry lentils
* 1 (10 ounce) bag fresh spinach, torn (I used frozen)


DIRECTIONS

1. In a pot, bring the rice and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and cook the sausage until lightly browned. Mix in onion and carrot, and season with red pepper. Cook and stir until tender. Pour in the water and broth, and mix in lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 25 minutes.
3. Stir the cooked rice and spinach into the soup, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.
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#11 of 22 Old 04-15-2009, 08:08 PM
 
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I made coconut curry lentils the other day and they were simple, quick and tasty. There are many versions online that will help you figure out how to make it with what you have.

Lentils are one of my fav. foods. I do lentil "meatloaf", lentil tacos, honeybaked lentils, lentil shephards pie, lentil stew. Just pretend that lentils are hamburger. Anywhere you put burger, you can put lentils.

The coconut curry lentils recipe:
2 cups lentils (I like the big greenish ones but any will work, but take diff. amts of time to cook)
4 cups broth
one small onion
2 or 3 cloves garlic
some ginger (powder or fresh 1")optional
2 to 2tbs curry powder
1can cocunut milk

Saute onions until soft, then add garlic and ginger and saute until all is slightly brownish. Add curry powder and stir, then add coconut milk (not light). Then add lentils and broth. Cook until lentils are tender (30min?) Taste often during cooking to see if sauce is tasty enough. It will get thicker and should be like a thick stew consistency when done.

Serve over brown basmati rice

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#12 of 22 Old 04-16-2009, 08:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post
I made coconut curry lentils the other day and they were simple, quick and tasty. There are many versions online that will help you figure out how to make it with what you have.

Lentils are one of my fav. foods. I do lentil "meatloaf", lentil tacos, honeybaked lentils, lentil shephards pie, lentil stew. Just pretend that lentils are hamburger. Anywhere you put burger, you can put lentils.

The coconut curry lentils recipe:
2 cups lentils (I like the big greenish ones but any will work, but take diff. amts of time to cook)
4 cups broth
one small onion
2 or 3 cloves garlic
some ginger (powder or fresh 1")optional
2 to 2tbs curry powder
1can cocunut milk

Saute onions until soft, then add garlic and ginger and saute until all is slightly brownish. Add curry powder and stir, then add coconut milk (not light). Then add lentils and broth. Cook until lentils are tender (30min?) Taste often during cooking to see if sauce is tasty enough. It will get thicker and should be like a thick stew consistency when done.

Serve over brown basmati rice
I am like you when it comes to lentils...I am a total addicted. If DD proves that she is ok with coconut, then I am soooo making these ASAP!! Thanks for the recipe :

Beth wife to Tom and mommy to Therese 11/4/04 Anna Mary 6/15/07 and Veronica 10/20/09
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#13 of 22 Old 04-16-2009, 09:58 AM
 
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Some simple meals I make for the family are hashbrown burritos with ketchup, (I just eat the hashbrowns with ketchup, but add eggs to the hashbrowns for the rest of the family) vegan fettucini alfredo with broccoli on the side (from the urban vegan blog, the fam loves it but I don't eat it due to the fat content), enchiladas (from the fatfree vegan blog) and a skillet gardeners pie (from the fatfree vegan blog). If you don't want potatoes with it, I bet the veggies made would go nice over brown rice)
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#14 of 22 Old 04-16-2009, 01:06 PM
 
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I'd go ahead & work with the rice preferance. Maybe use quinoa sometimes, or short grain brown rice for vaiety. Soups (minestrone and vegetable soups are fine with rice instead of pasta), stir frys, burritos and enchiladas are all easy and fast and count as dinner because they are cooked. :

I love everything in Vegan Planet. It's a little bit of an older book, but I use it all the time (we're ominis who eat lots of meatless meals). The sweet potato chili gets better every time I make it. lol Borrow it from the library first to see if it's something that will work for you.
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#15 of 22 Old 04-16-2009, 05:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pers View Post
Honey-baked lentils is one of my favorite easy recipes. I consider it a quick recipe when I'm going to be home because the preparation takes next to no time, but the cooking time is long. It is:

- 1 small onion
- 1 cup lentils (any sort works. Some varieties will end up being a bit more of a yummy mushy substance while others hold their form. Just experiment and see what you like.)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp soysauce or tamari
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Chop the onion and saute in the oil for a few minutes (I admit that I usually cheat and skip the sauteing so just toss the chopped onion in the dish raw with the oil for a bit of fat - it seems to work fine). Mix all ingredients in baking dish and cook covered for about an hour and a half.

I usually serve this over quinoa since that is quick cooking and healtheir, but rice woks too. I also use maple syrup in place of honey a lot for maple baked lentils. You can also chop up carrot or other root vegetables or whatever to cook in with the lentils. Or mix it up with some split peas or barley or whatever in place of some of the lentils. It is a very flexible dish and usually comes out good.

Beany soups are usually easy to prepare and yummy. There are tons of recipes out there. Most of my soups end up tomato-y as I follow my moms rule of adding a can of crushed tomatoes whenever a soup isn't coming out quite right.

Sweet potato and black bean enchiladas is one of my favorite foods ever. The cookbook it is from (Vegan Planet) is a good one. If you have access to it, check out the recipe for African sweet potato and peanut stew (very yummy, but the leftovers are even yummier the next day when the flavors have had a chance to mingle in the fridge overnight).
This sounds really good. We can't do soy, though. Any ideas on what to sub in its place, or can I just leave out the soy sauce?
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#16 of 22 Old 04-16-2009, 07:35 PM
 
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Which books do you like? Is there one in particular that's good because I have one and it's very bland and boring.
Yes, some of her recipes are bland, but for ideas and bases to start with, I learned a lot about what kind of veggies work well together.

I have this one: http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-5-I...9921066&sr=8-3

And I like it ok.

This one is my standby tho: http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Fam...9921268&sr=8-5

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#17 of 22 Old 04-17-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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This sounds really good. We can't do soy, though. Any ideas on what to sub in its place, or can I just leave out the soy sauce?
1 tsp of salt should do the trick.
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#18 of 22 Old 04-17-2009, 01:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post
I made coconut curry lentils the other day and they were simple, quick and tasty. There are many versions online that will help you figure out how to make it with what you have.

Lentils are one of my fav. foods. I do lentil "meatloaf", lentil tacos, honeybaked lentils, lentil shephards pie, lentil stew. Just pretend that lentils are hamburger. Anywhere you put burger, you can put lentils.

The coconut curry lentils recipe:
2 cups lentils (I like the big greenish ones but any will work, but take diff. amts of time to cook)
4 cups broth
one small onion
2 or 3 cloves garlic
some ginger (powder or fresh 1")optional
2 to 2tbs curry powder
1can cocunut milk

Saute onions until soft, then add garlic and ginger and saute until all is slightly brownish. Add curry powder and stir, then add coconut milk (not light). Then add lentils and broth. Cook until lentils are tender (30min?) Taste often during cooking to see if sauce is tasty enough. It will get thicker and should be like a thick stew consistency when done.

Serve over brown basmati rice
I make something similar -

one onion, diced
1 tbs olive oil
1-2 tbs hot curry powder
One can "light" coconut milk, plus water to total 3 cups,
1 cup red lentils
2 cups frozen mixed veggies- I like carrots, peas, and cauliflower
1/2 pound frozen spinach
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
big handful of raisins
fresh garlic to taste

Heat the curry and the oil together for a few minutes, until it gets bubbly and fragrant. Add the onion, and possibly a little water, if it is sticking. Cook until the onion is softened, then add the coconut milk/water mixture and the lentils. If you like, you can add about 8 ounces of diced raw potato here, too. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the veggies, the raisins, and other remaining ingredients, and heat through. I usually dig through the fridge and throw whatever leftover veggies I've got into this, too. Serve over rice or couscous. I like chopped roasted almonds on top of mine.

Sweet curry glazed tempeh

1 8oz package tempeh
3 tbs prepared mustard (I used half yellow and half spicy brown)
1 clove garlic crushed (ok, I used 3, but they were tiny and I garlic)
1/4 tsp minced ginger (omit this if you want, I have prepared ginger in the fridge)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup apricot jam

Preheat oven to 350
Slice the tempeh in half across the length, and then split it so it is thinner. I then cut mine into triangles, but I'm weird. Mix together all of the other ingredients, and dip the tempeh into the sauce, coating it on all sides. Lay the tempeh into a parchment lined pan (you don't want to have to try to clean this glaze off your pan. Trust me) and bake for 25 minutes total, flipping it twice, and adding part of the rest of the sauce each time you flip it.

Serve over rice.
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#19 of 22 Old 04-17-2009, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you ladies I made chili last night and it was great!
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#20 of 22 Old 04-17-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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I have lots of mostly simple recipes here and here. A particularly simple one that goes well over rice is Lazy Loubie.

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#21 of 22 Old 04-17-2009, 08:39 PM
 
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mexican lasagna is one of my new favorites.
basically, i dice whatever veggies we have. onions, garlic, red pepper and any leafy green are the main veggies, but i add whatever else we have too.
mix those veggies with two cans of black beans, a jar of salsa and a teaspoon of cumin. simmer it all until it's cooked through.
layer 6 corn tortillas, the veggie mix and a cup of chedder/jack shredded. then another 6 tortillas, veggies and cheese. put it into a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. very tasty and a good way to get those important greens. :
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#22 of 22 Old 04-17-2009, 09:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pers View Post
Honey-baked lentils is one of my favorite easy recipes. I consider it a quick recipe when I'm going to be home because the preparation takes next to no time, but the cooking time is long. It is:

- 1 small onion
- 1 cup lentils (any sort works. Some varieties will end up being a bit more of a yummy mushy substance while others hold their form. Just experiment and see what you like.)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp soysauce or tamari
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Chop the onion and saute in the oil for a few minutes (I admit that I usually cheat and skip the sauteing so just toss the chopped onion in the dish raw with the oil for a bit of fat - it seems to work fine). Mix all ingredients in baking dish and cook covered for about an hour and a half.
Thank you so much for posting this. I made it tonight and served over brown rice. Not only did my kids eat it, they had seconds! It was delicious. One of my kids claims he doesn't like lentils at all and always groans when I make them, but he ate this!
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