Tag Archives: vegetarian

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers

I’m a big fan of burgers– meat and vegetarian. I see the latter as a separate food entirely, and not a replacement for the former, which I think makes me love them even more. Try these simple vegetarian burgers on toasted English muffins with ketchup or any other topping you love.

Ingredients (for six burgers)

1 sweet potato

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 egg

1/2 onion, chopped finely

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp fresh ginger

pinch of salt

Make Em:

Rinse the quinoa well, or else it will be bitter. Bring the water to a boil, then add the rinsed quinoa and cook over low heat 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, grate your sweet potato. You need about 1-1/2 cups of grated sweet potato for six burgers. Place the grated potato in a colander and press on it with a spatula to release as much liquid as possible– if it’s too wet, your burgers will fall apart!

Combine your shredded potato, quinoa, onions, bread crumbs, and spices in a bowl. Beat the egg separately and fold in. Using your hands, form six patties, about one inch thick and roughly uniform so they cook evenly. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with a teaspoon or two of cooking oil with a high smoking point (I use safflower.) Cook the burgers 5-8 minutes on each side, flipping halfway in between.

These keep well in the fridge– you can microwave them to reheat without any sacrifice in flavor or texture.


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Black Bean Soup

Beans are pretty much magic. They’re full of fiber AND protein, and they’re inexpensive. I cook with them all the time, and this is one of my favorite things to do with black beans.

I use canned tomatoes, beans, and other products, but there’s a lot of fear about BPA poisoning, so if you like, prep some dried beans and use fresh tomatoes and tomato juice. This recipe comes from the fantastic Moosewood Cooks at Home.


10 sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped
3 minced garlic cloves
1 jalapeno chile pepper, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup water
28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, with the liquid
2 14-ounce cans of black beans, with the liquid
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Make It:

Put your sun dried tomatoes in a bowl with boiling water to soften them for ten minutes. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat, and add the onion, cooking for five minutes, then the garlic and pepper. Cook another two minutes, then add the water, cumin, tomatoes, and black beans. Bring to a boil and then simmer. Chop the re-hydrated sun dried tomatoes and add them to the soup. At this point, you have a choice: You can puree half the soup in a blender and return it to the pot, or enjoy the soup as is. I usually do the latter, letting it cook for an hour or so to break down the beans. Stir in cilantro one minute before serving.


Filed under Soups and Salads, Vegetarian.

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello!

Hi friends! Semester’s over. MCATS are done (hopefully). And I’ve moved into a new place with a cramped but lovely kitchen– with windows. Yep, time to start blogging again.

Tonight I’m cooking dinner for the boyfriend, who is going away for a time to work on his doctoring skills. And what better way to say “safe travels” than with vegetarian lasagna?

And not just any lasagna. The BEST lasagna. Loaded with broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, and fresh basil.

I don’t really have a lasagna recipe– more like, I know how to make it roughly and I improvise. So I will lay out a plan of attack for you here, with some ingredient suggestions, and show you how to do the layers.

You Will Need:

Sauce, either store-bought or homemade. I made my own with diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oodles of basil, oregano, salt, lots of crushed red pepper and garlic. You will need a LOT of sauce. At least a quart. Maybe more.

Noodles. Cook them until they’re just about edible. You want them tough still, but at the point where another few minutes would render them al dente.

Cheese. In two forms. First, you need a few cups of mozzarella. Then, you need a container of ricotta, with an egg and at least a cup of parmesan mixed in. You could throw some feta in there, too. I like to saute some frozen chopped spinach (just to dry it out a bit) and put that in, and some salt.

Veggies. Saute some broccoli florets, stick-thin carrots… you could use peppers, too. You want them dehydrated so they don’t make the lasagna mushy. I like also to douse them in red wine, to tie them into the dish some more.


Turn your oven on to 350. First, you put a little bit of sauce on the naked pan. Then you lay down a layer of noodles. I use a scissors to make sure they fit right. Then, dollops of the ricotta cheese blend. Some mozzarella if you want. Then veggies. Then sauce. Then start over with noodles– but this time, go in the other direction so your layers are perpendicular; this will keep the lasagna together. When you’re out of space, top with mozzarella. Stick it in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Then, VERY IMPORTANT: Resist the urge to jump right in while it’s hot out of the oven. The lasagna needs to sit at least 10 minutes or it will fall apart and all your beautiful layers will devolve into a mass of noodles, broccoli, and cheese…. then again, there are worse things.

Lasagna is one of my favorites because, although it takes some prep work, it serves as great leftovers for the rest of the week. Once I’ve eaten it all, though, we’ll get down to business with some thai-inspired carrot soup….


Filed under Meals, Vegetarian.

Daal and Pumpkin Soup

It’s starting to get warm here in Virginia, so let’s work in one last soup recipe while we still can.

This one looks absolutely fabulous: pumpkin and red lentils, ginger and cilantro… I know this is a wintry recipe, but it looks so GOOD!


2 onions, chopped

1/2 tsp minced garlic

“a walnut-sized knob of ginger,” minced (I used a cheese grater)

1 tsp tumeric

1 tsp chili powder

2 cups water

4 cups vegetable broth

8 ounces (a cup, roughly) red lentils

9 oz pumpkin puree

2 T chopped cilantro

salt to taste

Make It:

Saute the onions in a saucepan with a little butter on lower heat so they brown– not quite carmelizing, but just so they get translucent and soft and delicious. Add the garlic and ginger and stir to heat– your kitchen should start to smell pretty good! Pour in water, broth and lentils, add tumeric and chili powder, then cover. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer for twenty minutes so the lentils can absorb the water and broth. Once the lentils are soft (they won’t absorb all the water, test some to make sure they’re edible) stir in the pumpkin puree and cilantro. Heat to boiling then reduce, stirring. Salt as needed. Puree in a blender until smooth, serve.

I really do love soup… it makes me sad it’s not a “warm weather” food… except gazpacho! We’ll have to make some of that, too, once it gets good and humid. Something to look forward to!

What sorts of seasonal foods do you like year-round?


Filed under Soups and Salads, Vegetarian.

Spinach, Mushroom, and Sun-dried Tomato Frittata

Breakfast of champignons!

It’s going to be a busy week, but in the best of ways: doing all sorts of interesting things, spending time with friends, and staying on top of work and other commitments. So, I am making breakfast in advance. In the form of a frittata.


This is relative, of course. A frittata is glorified scrambled eggs; put in whatever you like. I like my eggs salty, so in go the sun-dried tomatoes. I am trying to eat more greens, too, and this is a good way to get in some spinach before I’m even fully awake.

But, essentially, for 2 servings:

– 4 eggs

– 1 T milk

– 1-1/2 T Parmesan cheese

– salt and pepper, to taste.

– butter to grease the pan

Not so essentially:

– one cup of mushrooms, chopped

– 1/4 tsp minced garlic

– 2 cups spinach, rinsed and torn into pieces

– 4 sundried tomatoes, cut into strips

– 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

-1/4-1/2 tsp oregano

If you have any vegetables involved, sautee them in a buttered pan with garlic, starting with those that contain the most water. In my case, mushrooms first.

Meanwhile, combine your eggs, milk, and parmesan with salt and pepper and whip with a fork until frothy. When the mushrooms are cooked, throw in the spinach to wilt

— it will reduce down to almost nothing so don’t worry if it overflows from the pan at first. Then drop in the sundried tomatoes. Finally, pour the egg mixture on top.

Turn on your broiler. Your stovetop should be heating at medium-low, so that most of the frittata cooks up without the bottom burning. When only the top layer is uncooked (you’ll know if you jiggle the pan handle), sprinkle with mozzarella and oregano. Broil, watching– staring!!– until the top is just beginning to show brown spots. If you look away, it will burn.

Remove from heat, remove from pan. Marvel.

I like frittatas for breakfast, but they make an excellent dinner when combined with a salad and good crusty bread. Enjoy!

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Asian Cabbage Salad with Cashews

I am trying really hard to get into salads.

It’s not that I don’t like them, per se. If you put one in front of me, I will eat it– even enjoy it! But I can’t seem to make a good one. The proportions are wrong, or the flavors are uninteresting, or there’s too much/little dressing.

That said, after an exam yesterday I indulged in a little culinary recreation, and this is what I came up with:

Now, besides being really colorful and appealing, this salad is also busting with antioxidants– thanks to the red cabbage and red pepper– and rounded out with some healthy fats and protein from some cashews. This might be more of a slaw, since there’s chopped cabbage involved, but let’s just call it a salad so I can say I finally made one I like. 🙂

Asian Cabbage Salad with Cashews

1/2 head red cabbage, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 carrot, julienned (I highly recommend buying a julienne peeler. Life is just better that way.)

2 tbsp peanut butter

1/4 cup sesame-ginger dressing (I picked mine up at the grocery store. Busy week!)

1 tsp hot sauce, such as Sriracha

1/2 tsp honey

squeeze of lemon juice

1/2 cup cashews

Combine chopped veggies in a bowl. Combine peanut butter, dressing, hot sauce, and honey in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour over vegetables. Squeeze lemon juice over vegetables; toss to coat. Sprinkle with cashews. Makes 2-3 servings.


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Filed under Soups and Salads, Vegetarian.