Sabrina's Tacos, courtesy of Mark Bittman: Soft corn tortillas stuffed with creamy potatoes, corn and poblano peppers.
I was in Cancun on vacation last week and you’d think that after a week of tacos, quesadillas, tamales, enchiladas and margaritas I’d be sick of Mexican food, but I’m not. Instead, I’m craving more. Mexican is the one cuisine I never tire of — maybe that’s because Mexican dishes are so easy to make meatless? Rice and beans are a staple, of course (if you’re at a restaurant, make sure you ask for vegetarian beans, sometimes they’re made with animal fats) but you can substitute the meat in almost any dish for vegetables. My favorites are enchiladas stuffed with spinach or mushrooms, fajitas made with sauteed or grilled vegetables, or tacos (I prefer soft) made with just about any vegetable.
Mark Bittman’s meatless tacos are filled with a creamy mixture of potatoes, corn and poblano peppers. They’re filling (so your meat-loving friends won’t complain) and ready in 30 minutes (so ideal for weeknight cooking). Serve them with Spicy Black Beans and Yellow Rice, or just heat up a can of (vegetarian) refried beans and open up a bag of chips and your favorite salsa for the perfect Meatless Monday meal.
Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Potato and Corn Tacos
You can (literally) whip up Dave Lieberman's hummus in 10 minutes.
Once a mispronounced hippie food, hummus is now so mainstream that there are several competing brands in the dairy aisle. It’s so ubiquitous that even babies and grandmas love the stuff. But for good reason. It’s vegetarian but not weird, so even carnivores love it. (In fact, you can spread it on meat; if you don’t believe me, smear some on your next grilled chicken sandwich.) It’s packed with protein and healthy fats so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating a bunch of it at a party, the way you would with, say, spinach-artichoke dip. And hummus is really versatile; it’s a dip for crudites and pita, a sandwich spread, you can use it to make not-so-dry turkey burgers, add a dollop to grilled portobello mushrooms or use it as a salad dressing, thinned with some fresh lemon juice. When you need a break from traditional hummus, start adding extra stuff in, like sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts or chopped dill. And you don’t even have to stick to chickpeas when you’re making hummus — try white bean hummus, black bean hummus or Ellie Krieger’s Edamame Hummus.
No matter how many brands show up at the grocery store, homemade always tastes best to me. If you’ve never made it before, don’t be scared. All it takes is 10 minutes and a food processor — you basically throw everything in, press a button and wait, with a pita in hand, for it to be done.
Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Homemade Hummus
- Bobby Flay’s Poached Eggs in Mole Sauce With Creamy Green Rice
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow but since February is basically a month-long excuse to eat a whole bunch of chocolate, don’t wait till tomorrow to indulge. If you haven’t already been eating chocolate daily, start today, and have some for dinner. Now, don’t go all crazy and eat cake for dinner; there are plenty of savory recipes that call for cocoa, like Chocolate Pasta and mole sauce.
Mole is a dark, rich, traditional Mexican sauce (mole means “concoction” in the Aztec dialect Nahuatl); it varies in color and flavor based on the recipe or what the cook has in their kitchen, but it’s generally made with onion, garlic, chilies, ground seeds (like sesame or pepian) and a bit of bitter chocolate. The chocolate adds depth to the sauce without over sweetness, since unsweetened or Mexican chocolate is used. Mole sauce is usually served with chicken, so you won’t find too many vegetarian mole dishes at Mexican restaurants. But just like tomato sauce isn’t just for meatballs, mole isn’t just for chicken. Make it at home and serve it over nachos, slathered on top of spinach or black bean enchiladas, or with poached eggs and creamy rice, like in Bobby Flay’s Poached Eggs in Mole With Creamy Green Rice. Bobby serves his meatless mole dish for brunch in an episode of Brunch@Bobby’s dedicated to chocolate, but this savory dish would make a great dinner, as well.
Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Chocolate For Dinner
You won't believe there's a serving of vegetables in here.
There’s no way I’d be caught making a recipe that requires more than 10 minutes of prep time on a weeknight. When I get home from work, I eat really simple things like leftovers from the weekend, or easy-to-throw-together soups, salads and omelets.
But weekends are a different story. I like to cook up a storm on the weekends, eating and serving all kinds of fancy stuff on Saturdays and Sundays, usually big-batch recipes like casseroles and soups that I can refrigerate or freeze for busier days. Last night I made Ellie Krieger’s Macaroni and Four Cheeses (cheddar, jack, ricotta and Parmesan), which doesn’t actually take that long to make (43 minutes from start to finish) but it makes for good leftovers to take to lunch. It’s made with pureed butternut squash (use frozen or if you happen to have leftover roasted butternut, mash that up and put that in there) so you can feel good about getting a serving of vegetables with your mac and cheese — and it won’t taste all squashy, I swear — it’s creamy and cheesy with a crunchy top, just the way mac and cheese should be. The recipe calls for elbow macaroni; I like to use whole wheat elbows or small shells, but you can use whichever you prefer.
Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Macaroni and Four Cheeses
Bal Arneson's Kidney Bean Stew
I cleaned out my kitchen this weekend — the ‘fridge and cabinets and everything. When I did, I discovered that I had about 100 pounds of dried beans. Some I bought in bulk and stored in glass jars because I like the way they look, and I assumed I’d use them up quickly. And more still came from a bean share I get through my CSA; we’re able to order grains, beans and flour from a small organic farm in western New York called Cayuga Pure Organics. My intentions were good when I placed the order, but when I received the beans, I got lazy and stashed them instead of cooking them. So now I’m faced with enough beans to run me out of my apartment. I’ve vowed to cook every last one.
Last night I made a giant pot of Bal Arneson’s Kidney Bean Stew (1 bag of beans down, about 45 to go). The recipe calls for canned beans and you can well use those, but since I possess so many dried beans, I used those and added them after the spices but before the sweet potatoes (I simmered the stew for about 40 minutes to cook the beans before adding in the sweet potatoes, then followed the rest of the recipe as written). My plan was to make a big pot of beans and eat some for dinner over rice (I’m a huge fan of this Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley), then bring the rest for lunch on (Meatless) Monday, and Tuesday, too. So far, the plan is working well.
Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Kidney Bean Stew With Sweet Potatoes and Oranges
I’m so into soup right now. If soup isn’t the perfect food, it’s certainly in the running for the title of Perfect Winter Food. It’s easy to make, travels well, it’s usually pretty healthy, and it’s easy to throw a bunch of additional stuff into a soup recipe, either to clean out your fridge, or sneak in a couple of extra servings of vegetables. I make a big pot of soup at least once a week in the winter and take the leftovers for lunch or reheat some for dinner. I’m in the habit of finding a favorite recipe then making a few variations of it till I’m ready to move on to a new recipe. Right now, my habit is butternut squash or pumpkin soup.
David Rocco’s pumpkin soup is a simple, basic recipe that’s easily customized and takes kindly to substitutions. You can use pumpkin instead of butternut squash in this recipe, or a mixture of both.
Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Warm Butternut Squash Soup
Even meat-lovers need to eat something tonight that's not turkey.
Thanksgiving is in 4 days. This means I’m crazy busy with prep work: making pie dough, roasting squash for butternut squash soup, running back and forth from the grocery store because I always underestimate the amount of heavy cream I need. It also means I don’t have any time to cook anything that won’t be served on Thursday. But I still need to eat. And preferably something that’s not Thanksgiving-y.
Pasta with a quick marinara sauce is the perfect pre- or post-Thanksgiving meal. It’s fast and easy, I’m always craving it, it won’t add too many dishes to the pile mounting in the sink and it doesn’t compete with the foods I’ll be eating too much of in a few days — stuffing and green beans and sweet potatoes. And while I might be out of heavy cream, I’m always stocked up on cans of tomatoes and dry pasta.
Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Marinara Pasta
Calzones: They're not just for pizzerias anymore.
Everyone knows that you can make pizza at home; you can make your own crust or take a shortcut and use store-bought. But calzones remain a comfort-food delicacy only to be obtained from a pizzeria. This needn’t be so — calzones and pizza are made with basically the same stuff, so both can be made in your very own kitchen.
Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Three Cheese Caprese Calzone
A sandwich covered in blood is frightening, even to meat lovers. Thankfully, raspberry puree makes a gory enough stand-in so you don’t have to use actual blood and guts to make Nadia G’s scary sandwich. If you left it plain, it would be a fancified cheese sandwich, but with a few slashes of the knife, this sandwich gets dressed as a blood-drenched coffin for Halloween.
Continue Reading Meatless Monday: Double-Decker Coffin Sandwiches
Meatless Monday breakfast-for-dinner.
Breakfast for dinner feels special for reasons I’ve never been able to figure out. It seems frivolous or rebellious to eat meals out of order, but it’s nonetheless a great idea. I mean, if it’s a balanced meal and you’re satisfied after eating, why shouldn’t pancakes and omelets be on your plate at dinner? Bobby’s Carrot Cake Pancakes With Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle and Toasted Pecans feel a bit more decadent for a weeknight meal than, say, a Bisquick-made short-stack. But this recipe is easy enough to make, and homemade pancakes trump a boxed mix any day. Especially when there’s cream cheese frosting involved — it’s a delicious way to skip meat this Monday.
Continue Reading Bobby’s Carrot Cake Pancakes for Meatless Monday