Banana and bean dip: vegan

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion cut into small pieces
2 vegan Italian style sausages cut into rounds
3 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 cup prepared pasta sauce
1 can kidney beans with some of the liquid from the can

2 ripe bananas cut into rounds

1 tsp fennel seeds crushed if you like the flavor
salt to taste

tortilla chips for dipping

Directions:

In a heavy sauce pan, on medium heat, sauté the onion in olive oil till light brown, add the sausage and cook for about three minutes, add garlic and stir for a few seconds until flavor is released.

Add the pasta sauce and the beans, and fennel if desired, stir well until heated through. 

Turn off heat and add the bananas, stir, then with a potato masher mash the mixture until it’s roughly mashed. It should have some chunks of everything showing. 

Add salt if needed and serve with tortilla chips.

Makes about 7 half cup servings: 165 calories each, 1155 calories for the whole batch. Tortilla chips calories should be added separately. Roughly 8 chips equals 120 calories. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I used to eat this dip with real sausage meat and was hesitant to try it with veggie meat. This actually came out really good. I used Rao’s arrabbiata sauce, which has a bit of heat, so if you like it spicier, add pepper flakes, or hot sauce. 

 

Irish soda bread: vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

5 c all purpose flour
1 c sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt (preferable coarse)
1 tsp baking soda

1 stick of room temperature butter

2 cups of raisins
2 tbsp caraway seeds

16 oz of greek yogurt
1 large egg

milk as needed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the first 5 ingredients with a fork. Add butter and work into mixture using your fingers until it forms small crumbles. Add the raisins and caraway seeds and stir.

Mix the yogurt with the egg and add to the dry ingredients until it’s just blended, then add milk as needed to make the batter sticky and soft using a wooden spoon.

Butter a 10 or 12 inch iron skillet. Spoon the batter into the skillet leaving it higher in the center. With a sharp knife cut through almost all the way down to the bottom into 4 quarters.

Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes or longer until pick or knife inserted in highest point comes out clean. Cool in the skillet for about a half hour, then remove it from the skillet and cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 32 slices: 150 calories per slice, 4725 for whole loaf.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have made many versions of soda bread before, but this one is the best. It’s moist on the inside and crusty on the outside and I love the raisins and caraway seeds in it.

If you don’t have a heavy skillet, a pie plate will work. Just keep an eye on the baking as it may brown sooner.

I cut the bread into 4 quarters, then each quarter into about 8 slices. You don’t need to butter this bread, it’s delicious just toasted and plain.

 

Garam Masala with chickpeas and spinach: vegan

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion chopped in medium pieces
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 c spinach

1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 lite coconut milk

2 tbls garam masala mix
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ginger

1 can chick peas drained and rinsed

Directions:

Sauté onions in olive oil till translucent, add spinach and wilt it down, add the garlic and stir for just a few seconds on medium heat.

Add the tomatoes and the coconut milk and stir. Add all the spices and lower to a simmer, cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the chick peas, stir and turn off heat. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4: 190 calories, 760 for whole meal.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is the first time I made anything with garam masala spice mix. It was very fragrant and tasted delicious. I mixed in two cups of leftover spaghetti that had some rao’s sauce already on it. that added about 135 calories per serving. It would also be great with a side of rice.

 

Orzo with lemon and peas: vegan

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion chopped in medium pieces
1 lemon, pitted and sliced in small pieces
2 c spinach

1 bag frozen peas (14 oz)
1 c Smart Ground Original Veggie Protein Crumbles
2 oz. white wine

3/4 c orzo

Directions:

Sauté onions and lemon in oil till onions turn light brown, add spinach and wilt down, add crumbles and peas and stir occasionally to prevent sticking for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Deglaze the pan with white wine and turn off.

In the meantime cook orzo according to package directions and drain. Add to the vegetable mixture and serve.

Serves 4: 350 calories, 1400 for whole meal.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Well, this was an experiment and I would do it a bit differently next time. I think that the flavors are very good together, but it needed some sauce or liquid to make it more palatable.

Next time I will top it off with some tomato sauce, or the tahini sauce from the gnocchi and mushroom recipe.

 

Sweet potato medley: vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

4 sweet potatoes

1 tbsp butter
1 eight oz. carton of sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic diced
2 oz. white wine

1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/3 c chopped parsley
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Bake sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Let cool just enough to handle. Cut into small cubes.

Sauté mushrooms and onions in butter till browned, add garlic for a minute and deglaze with white wine and turn off.

Add to the mushroom mixture, potatoes and chick peas. Add parsley, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Mix and serve.

Serves 4: 311 calories, 1244 for whole meal.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a hearty meal with lots of flavor. Baking the sweet potatoes makes the sweetness come through, but in a pinch you can microwave them.

Note: If you cut off any spots of the potatoes before baking make sure to use tinfoil under them as they will leak while baking.

 

Trahana soup: vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp butter
1 c trahana
6 c vegetable broth

feta cheese

Directions:

Melt butter in a sauce pan and sauté the trahana for a couple of minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil then let simmer for about 15 minutes.

Serve it with lots of crumbled feta cheese, salt and pepper.

Makes about 6 servings: 100 calories per cup 600 for whole meal
Calories for feta cheese: about 70 per ounce

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I have never had trahana before, so I did not know how to cook it, so I read some recipes online and decided to go with something simple. Also there are two kinds of trahana, one made with milk (sweet), one made with yogurt (sour). I have the sweet kind. It’s an ancient pasta from Greece made to preserve milk and yogurt. Combined with wheat flour or semolina it is dried and formed into irregular crumbs. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it tasted OK. I asked my mom how she would cook it and she said in Greece they made it the same as they made chicken with orzo. That would be roasting the chicken, then adding water and tomato sauce to the pan, garlic and olive oil, then adding the pasta. I think the next time I make it I will just add it to a soup recipe.

Jake likes to eat it cold.

 

Farina cookies (Greek halva): vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

1/2 stick of butter
1 c 2 1/2 minute* farina (cream of wheat)
optional 1/4 c pine nuts or 1/4 c slivered almonds

1 c sugar
1 c milk
1 c water

cinnamon for topping

*Do not use instant farina, it has a different texture and will not cook up the same way. Almost all farina sold in Mediterranean markets are good to use.

Towel placed under lid to absorb steam after cooking

Directions:

Melt the butter in a heavy pot and add farina and nuts. Stir constantly over a low to medium flame until the farina and nuts lightly brown. Watch carefully, you don’t want to burn it. Turn the flame off.

Warm the milk, sugar and water together in a separate pot or in the microwave. Warming it prevents the farina from having to cool down and then heat up again.

Pour the liquid mixture into the farina pot, it may splash, so be careful, and turn the fire back on. Stir constantly over low flame until the farina gets really think. Turn the flame off.

Put a towel or a couple paper towels over the top of the pot and put the lid on, that will absorb some of the steam while it is cooling a bit. Then uncover in about 10 minutes and spoon shape the “cookies” onto a tinfoil or wax paper and allow to cool.

Sprinkle with cinnamon if you like it. Store left overs in the refrigerator.

Makes 28 cookies: 78 calories each with the nuts, 70 without
Makes 4 servings: 550 calories per bowl with nuts, 494 without
Total calories: 2204 with nuts, 1977 without

Rating: 5 out of 5.

So simple to make. The “cookies” are a traditional favorite in our family, everyone loves them. Instead of making cookies you can just scoop some into a bowl and eat it hot, it’s really just breakfast cereal. The Greeks call this halva, not to be confused with the sweet sesame type you can buy in stores.

You can make it with semolina too, but I find 2 1/2 minute farina to be perfect. You can also shape it in a mold, or just pour it out into a log and slice it to serve.

I love to eat it with lots of cinnamon on top, but anyway you serve it, it’s so good.

If I have some the second day I do warm it up in the microwave to take the chill out.

 

Pumpkin mushroom risotto: vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp butter
1 onion chopped
1 container of baby bella mushrooms sliced
1 container of white mushrooms sliced
10 sage leaves (fresh) cut in ribbons
1 tbsp olive oil
1 c arborio rice

1/2 c white wine
2 c vegetable broth

1 15 oz.can of pumpkin puree

grated rind of one lemon
juice of one lemon
tabasco sauce

pumpkin seeds
raisins

Directions:

Sauté onions and mushrooms in the butter till tender and browned. Add the sage for just a quick minute, add the oil then the rice and stir for about two minutes to bring out the flavors. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, stir constantly. Lower the heat to medium. Add the broth about 1/3 a cup at a time, Stir continuously till broth gets absorbed and rice mixture looks thick, then add more broth and repeat, about 4-5 times, until all broth is added and mixed in. Stir constantly, slowly.

When you are done and the mixture is thick and creamy looking, add the can of pumpkin, stir until pumpkin is mixed and gets warmed. Turn off fire.

Add the lemon juice, rind and tabasco sauce, stir till mixed in. Salt and pepper to taste.

When serving top with about a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds and a tablespoon of raisins.

Serves 4: 384 calories per serving, 1536 for whole meal.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This risotto is a great fall recipe and it is delicious. The sage adds to the flavor of the season without overpowering the delicacy of the rice. The pumpkin seeds add a perfect crunch.

 

Butternut squash and bean stew: vegan

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped into medium size pieces
2 bags of frozen shiitake mushrooms sliced (or any fresh mushrooms)
3 cloves of garlic minced

1/4 c white wine
1 c tomato sauce (i like rao’s)
2 c water
2 bags of frozen butternut squash
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 tsp paprika

1 can of beans drained and rinsed (i like this with black beans)

Directions:

Sauté onions, peppers and mushrooms* in the olive oil till tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic for just a quick minute then add the white wine to deglaze the pan.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the beans. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 15 minutes until veggies are soft. Take out the bay leaves. Turn off the heat and add the beans, stir and serve. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4: 283 calories per serving, 1132 for whole meal.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a hearty meal for a cool winter evening. It makes a lot of food and is fine served plain, but a side of rice or a cup of pasta would also extend it and add some extra calories.

*When using frozen mushroom I put the mushrooms in the pot first, until they start to water up, then I take that mushroom water and use it in place of the water in the recipe. Of course, if there is not enough mushroom water add water to make two cups later. After you have drained the mushrooms, add a little more oil and the onions and peppers and sauté all.

 

Broccoli curry: vegan

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 c chopped pumpkin
1 yukon gold potato cut in cubes
1 onion chopped in large chunks
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1/4 c white wine

1 bag frozen broccoli
1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
1 tbsp red curry paste
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of ginger
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 c tomato sauce
1/2 c coconut milk
2 c water

2 tbsp shredded coconut
2-3 tbsp fresh basil cut in ribbons
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Sauté onions and potato in coconut oil in a large dutch oven or sauce pan till just browning. Add pumpkin and stir, wait about a minute, add garlic and chopped ginger and stir till flavor is released, about a minute or so. Add white wine to deglaze the pan.

Add broccoli, beans, spices, sauce, coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes. Potatoes should be soft when pierced with a fork. Turn off flame and add shredded coconut, basil, salt and pepper.

Serves 4: 305 calories per serving, 1220 for whole meal.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The first time I made this I did not put as many spices in it, only red curry paste. Afterwards I added the other spices and it made all the difference. I also use Rao’s Arribiatta for the tomato sauce.