Kitchen Sink Vegetarian Chili

Chili

The great thing about this chili is that you don’t like one of the ingredients? Leave it out! Add something else! Play around with it! Want it spicier? Up the chili powder or hit it with some Tabasco sauce. This really acts as more of a guide to let your inner cook out to experiment and see what happens. You can always add meat if you wish. If you do, brown off the meat first, then follow the rest of the directions as listed below. Serve this chili up over rice or on top of baked potatoes for a great filling meal. This recipe makes 6-8 servings.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup onions, diced small
¾ cup carrots, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
¾ cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 ½ cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 (796 ml) can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
1 (540 ml) can kidney beans, drained
1 (540 ml) can black beans, drained
1 (341 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, and garlic until tender. Stir in green pepper, red pepper, celery, and chili powder. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, and cook 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and corn. Season with paprika, salt, cumin, oregano, and basil. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium. Cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once all the vegetables are tender and cooked through, and remove lid and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes to reduce the liquid in the chili as needed. Serve over rice or baked potato.

To make this into Cincinnati Chili, serve the chili on top of cooked spaghetti and top with shredded cheese and raw diced onions. To make this into a Frito Pie, line a pie or casserole dish with corn-chips, then top with the chili. Top the chili with shredded cheese, raw diced onions and a few slices of jalapeno and bake in the oven at 350 for 5-10 minutes, until the top is browned and melted.

Vegetarian Week Day 4 – Meatless Mondays

Meatless Monday

Yes, I know today is Thursday! But I wanted to let you know about the Meatless Mondays movement that is spreading across the globe. People all over the world are taking one day a week to go meat-free, and they’re doing it for a whole host of reasons. There are those who look at it as nice change to their diet, or those that want to eat more veggies, but don’t want to convert to full vegetarianism. There is the health factor of cutting back on animal based protein to help lower your cholesterol and trans-fat intakes, as well as boosting your vitamin and fibre allowance. There is the economic viewpoint as well… eggplant is cheaper than ground beef! Finally, for my earth-loving readers, there is the environmental impact as well. We can cut down on our water usage, as the water needs of livestock are much greater than those of vegetables and grains.

– Approximately 7000 litres of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef.
– Approximately 148 litres of water are needed to produce a pound of vegetables.

Americans consume nearly four times the amount of animal protein than the global average. When compared with current food intake in the US, a vegetarian diet could reduce water consumption by up to 58% per person.

So, you can join the movement, and make your Mondays meat-free, or any day of the week… give Bessy the cow the night off and go hunting for some carrots!

To read more about Meatless Mondays check out their website at www.meatlessmondays.ca

Butternut Squash and Orzo with Fresh Sage

Butternut

This milchig side dish is delicious enough to be a main when served with a big salad and some crusty bread. Fresh sage really makes this dish, and I would not recommend using dried. Refer to the produce checking page to learn how to check sage for insects. You can sometimes find frozen diced squash in the freezer section at the grocer. If so, this is a huge time saver; not only in the prep but in cooking time as well.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter/margarine
1 cup onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups butternut squash, cubed
4 cups vegetable stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup orzo
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add squash cubes and stir to coat. Add ½ cup broth and wine. Cover and simmer until squash is just tender and liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Bring remaining 3 ½ cups of broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo. Boil uncovered until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain if necessary. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in squash mixture, then cheese and sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Vegetarian Week Day 3 – Mythbusters!

Vegetarian Myths

There tends to be a lot of confusion out there when it comes to the Vegetarian diet. Well, it’s time to separate fact from fiction and bust a few veggie myths!

1. You aren’t getting certain nutrients, particularly protein.

Fact: The average woman needs 46 grams of protein a day, and a one-cup serving of chickpeas gets you about a third of the way there. Problems creep up when you let simple carbs (white bread), sugars, and trans fats crowd out healthier choices. In fact, vegetarian diets tend to have higher levels of fibre, magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and E , folate, carotenoids, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals.

2. You need to eat “fake” meat if you’re forgoing the real deal.

Fact: People were eating healthy vegetarian diets long before soy-based “hamburger” and other knockoffs came along. Mother Nature knows how to provide what you need.

3. It’s a repetitive, carb-rich diet.

Fact: Because they have to think outside of the meat-and-potatoes box, many vegetarians eat a wider variety of foods than their carnivore counterparts. Plan meals from the full spectrum of the food rainbow—veggies, fruits, grains, legumes, and nuts—and you’ll never be bored.

4. You never really feel full.

Fact: If you’re eating plenty of plant foods, you’re loading up on fibre, the stuff that fills your belly and stifles the need to nosh soon after eating. And again, consuming legumes gives you enough hunger-satisfying protein.

5. It guarantees weight loss.

Fact: Not all vegetarians are slim—or healthy for that matter. Vegetarians who eliminate meat, but continue to eat highly processed foods are not getting the benefits of a plant-based diet, so when you sub out meat, make sure a plant, not processed junk, takes its place.

6. Vegetarian eating is expensive.

Fact: Sure, produce comes with a price tag, but at three-plus bucks per pound, meat is one of the priciest groceries money can buy, making vegetarian eating by and large less expensive. If your fresh produce is getting pricey, consider buying it frozen.

Crisp n’ Crunchy Stir-Fry

Stir Fry

Serve this with short grain brown rice which has a really nice nutty flavour and pleasantly chewy texture. Add tofu or shredded chicken if you like, though it will no longer be vegetarian if you do. Some tips regarding the ingredients listed: If you do not have rice wine, you can always use Gin or Dry White Wine instead. If you do not have Coconut Oil, you can use Vegetable, Canola or Olive; just as long as it doesn’t have a strong flavour. With regards to the broccoli, I do not recommend using fresh, as it is close to impossible to check for insects. Instead, frozen florets are available with reliable hechshers at your local grocery store.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup stock or water
½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 tablespoon coconut oil
½ cup raw cashews
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon chili flakes (more if you like it spicy)
1 cup finely sliced carrots (1-2 medium sized carrots)
2 cups broccoli small florets
1 stalk of celery, finely sliced
1½ cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
½ bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

Directions:

Remember the number one stir-fry rule: prepare everything before you start cooking. Wash, dry and trim all of the vegetables and then slice and chop them as described above, keeping them in neat separate piles, perhaps in small bowls. Portion out the cashews and chili flakes.

Make the sauce by combining all of the ingredients but the cornstarch. Mix a little liquid with the cornstarch to make a smooth paste before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. Set aside.

In a wide skillet or wok, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cashews and toss and stir until browned; remove pan from heat and cashews to a kitchen towel. Return the pan to the heat add the other tablespoon of coconut oil, when hot, add the garlic, ginger and chili; cook quickly for not even a minute, briskly stirring. Add the carrots, broccoli and celery, stir several times. Add the mushrooms and pepper; stir fry for a minute or two and then pour in the sauce; bring to a bubble and cover. Cook for about 3 – 5 minutes, until the liquid has thickened and coated everything well. Add the cashews back in, stir to combine and serve on rice.

Vegetarian Week Day 2 – You’re A What?

Food Question

In today’s modern world you don’t have to be just one thing anymore! You can be a complex mixture of different ideals and beliefs, and nowhere is this more evident than in your diet. No one these days is “just” a vegetarian anymore, there are so many subgroups, that at times it becomes difficult to keep track. So, for your education, and mine, here are just a few of the types out there:

Pescatarian (also spelled Pescetarian)
Usually used to describe those who abstain from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish.

Flexitarian/Semi-Vegetarian
A term recently coined to describe those who eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eat meat.

Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian
People who do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products are lacto-ovo vegetarians (“lacto” comes from the Latin for milk, and “ovo” for egg).

Lacto-Vegetarian
Used to describe a vegetarian who does not eat eggs, but does eat dairy products.

Ovo-Vegetarian
People who do not eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs.

Vegan
Vegans do not eat meat of any kind and also do not eat eggs, dairy products, or processed foods containing these or other animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin.

Raw Vegan/Raw Food Diet
A raw vegan diet consists of unprocessed vegan foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Macrobiotic
Revered by some for its healthy and healing qualities, includes unprocessed vegan foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and allows the occasional consumption of fish. Sugar and refined oils are avoided.

This is nowhere close to a complete list, but it gives you a glimpse into the wonderful world of Vegetarianism and how it’s grown and changed over the years.

Cheese, Red Pepper & Mushroom Strata

Strata

This strata (a fancy term for a layered bread casserole) makes a wonderful brunch dish or great for a milchig dinner. Serve with a nice salad and you’ve got a great meal. You can even prepare this dish the night before and let it sit covered in the fridge then bake off the night you wish to serve it. This tends to make an even better dish because it gives the bread more time to soak up all of the flavours! If you don’t have Shiitake mushrooms, any kind will do. If you don’t have your own roasted red peppers (though you should, see my recipe for them!) you can use jarred.

Ingredients:

¼ cup of butter
1 lbs. Shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
1 roasted red pepper, sliced into thin strips
12 slices of challah – cut into 1 inch dice
2 ¼ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups cream
5 large eggs
¾ cup fresh chives, chopped (same quantity dried)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped (2 teaspoons if using dried)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ cups goat cheese (soft)
1 ½ cups parmesan, grated
1 cup fontina, grated

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and set aside.

Melt butter in a medium sized skillet. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Add sliced red pepper to the mushrooms. Submerge challah cubs in a large bowl of the milk. The bread should absorb all of the milk.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, eggs, chives, thyme and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and add the crumbled goat cheese, and whisk together until fully incorporated.

In the buttered glass dish, lay half of the bread mixture down and don’t worry if it does not fill the entire base. Top with a layer of mushroom/pepper mixture. Add grated fontina and parmesan, then the cream/egg mixture. Repeat the layering process using the remaining ingredients. Bake strata uncovered for 1 hour or until golden brown and firm in the middle.

Vegetarian Week Day 1 – Herbivores Unite!

Heart Veggies

Yesterday I attended the 30th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival here in Toronto down at Harbourfront. Now personally I’m a carnivore. Give me meat, and lots of it! But I do see the lighter side of the food pyramid every now and then. While I may not be trading in turkey for tofurkey any day soon, I definitely enjoy a good salad and there are wonderful things that can be done with root vegetables. This week, to support the new friends I made, I will be posting vegetarian (okay, there will be dairy) recipes. So while there will be no meat, there will be lots of flavour! If you all like it, I may even do some vegan or gluten-free recipes one week as well, so drop me a line if you have special requests. In the meanwhile, let’s let our four-legged animals friends relax a bit and get our veg on!