Thea Tasia’s macaroni or greek pastitsio: vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

2 large onions diced
box of veggie crumbles
1/2 stick of butter

6 eggs
3 cups milk (I use 2%)
1 stick of butter
3 tbsp flour

1 lb macaroni (tubular pasta) cooked and rinsed in cold water
16 oz of grated parmesan cheese 

Directions:

Sauté onions until brown in 1/2 stick of butter, add veggie crumbles and just mix until they are slightly browned. Set aside.

Cook macaroni just one minute short of instructed timing and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

For creamy topping: in a medium sauce pan mix milk, 1 stick of butter and three egg yolks. Save the whites for later. Stir until milk is just starting to heat and butter is melting, then mix the flour with a couple tbsp of water to a thick paste getting out all the lumps, and stir into the milk mixture. Cook stirring pretty constantly until it thickens on medium to low heat. Once it starts to coat a wooden spoon you can turn off. 

Heat oven to 350˙

Put the macaroni, egg whites, three other whole eggs, parmesan cheese and cooled onion/crumble mixture into a large casserole pan. Stir until all ingredients are throughly mixed. 

Carefully ladle on top the creamy sauce making sure you get some on every inch of the macaroni. 

Bake uncovered for 1/2 to 1 hour depending on how deep your pan is and when the topping should get some lightly browned areas. 

Let rest for 10 minutes and serve. 

Serves: 9: 698 calories each serving. 

This recipe originally calls for 1 lb. of ground beef in place of the veggie crumbles. If you are a meat eater, go ahead and make it with beef, but for vegetarians, the crumbles are very delicious and give the right mouth feel and texture. 

This is definitely not a food for dieting. It’s dense in calories and fat, which is what makes it so delicious. 

It was my favorite meal at my Thea Tasia’s house and this is her recipe turned vegetarian.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Rice and peas: vegan

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion cut in small chunks
1 c rice
2 cloves of garlic chopped

8 oz can of tomato sauce
2 c water
bag of frozen peas

1 jar of roasted red peppers sliced into ribbons
micro cilantro or regular cilantro chopped
salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

In a large sauce pot sauté onions, garlic and rice in olive oil till onions start to turn translucent.

Add tomato sauce, water and frozen peas, stir and bring to a boil covered. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir, turn off the heat and let sit for another 10 minutes.

Dry the roasted red peppers with some paper towels and add them to the mixture. Serve topped with the micro cilantro. Add salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

Serves 4: 327 calories per serving.

This dish is perfect on a cool weather day, it’s hearty and you get a lot in one serving.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Pasta: vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

2 c flour
2 c semolina
pinch of salt
6 eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water

Note: I bought my pasta maker from Williams Sonoma and I am very happy with this machine. Here is a photo from their website to help you see what it looks like.

Directions:

You can make this in a bowl, but traditionally you mix semolina, flour and salt on a table, mound it up into a mountain shape, make a deep hole in the center, like a volcano, then add the rest of the ingredients slowly, while mixing gently with a fork. If the sides of the mountain start to collapse, don’t worry, just push the flour around and keep stirring. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Add more water if dough is feeling dry.

A lot of cooks stop here and let the dough rest. I am too impatient, so I just keep moving on.

Cut into 4 pieces and sprinkle with some semolina, start by flattening the piece with your fingers until you can fit it into the pasta maker slit. Take the dough and run it through the largest section on the pasta maker.

It helps to have a partner. One person feeds and one gently guides the pasta out.

Continue with each piece, switch to next smallest section of the pasta maker and repeat. If pieces of dough start to seem sticky sprinkle with semolina. keep table sprinkled too so pieces don’t stick to it. You will need a lot of room for this. I have a long table out in my yard where I make the pasta. If the piece you are rolling through get too long, just cut it in half.

Once I get to two notches from the end, I stop flattening and attach the spaghetti cutter. Run each piece through the cutter and lay the spaghetti flat to dry a little. Sprinkle again with semolina. If you are going to make this right away, just boil your water and cook the pasta for about one or two minutes.

Otherwise, roll it into a swirl and save in a container to make later or the next day. Or if you have a drying rack, dry the pasta on the rack.

Serves about 12: Total calorie count is 2690. A cup of cooked pasta is about 200 calories give or take your generosity with your measuring.

There is nothing better than fresh pasta with just some sauce and parmesan cheese for me.

This is a tricky recipe to make as the dough has to be just right or it will either split apart as you try to flatten it in the pasta maker, or it will be mushy and stick to the rollers. You’ll have to experiment until you find the right consistency. But I have to say, each time I make it I have to fuss with it a bit to get it right.

You can also make this pasta without a machine. Just roll thin and cut it with a scissor or sharp knife. you can use wide noodles for lasagne or any other width you like.

I am attaching this video link, he makes his pasta differently but he uses the same pasta maker that I have, so I thought it would be helpful to watch.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Spanish rice: vegan

 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion cut in large chunks
medium bag of small peppers cut into fourths
1/4 c white wine

2 c water (or appropriate amount for 1 c uncooked rice)
1 c rice

large package of grape tomatoes halved
one can of kidney beans drained and rinsed

Directions:

Sauté onions and peppers in oil till browned and then deglaze with wine.

add water and bring to a boil, add the rice, simmer for 10 minutes, turn off and let sit for an additional 10 minutes.

Mix in the tomatoes and beans and serve.

Serves 8: 311 calories per serving.

I learned how to make this recipe in home-economics class in high school and it has continued to be a favorite since. I do vary ingredients and I have to admit the original recipe was made with ground beef instead of beans.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Puff pancake: vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter

1/2 c milk
2 eggs
1/2 c flour
2 tsp sugar
ground nutmeg
pinch of salt

optional toppings:
confectioner’s sugar, blueberries and lemon juice
maple syrup and strawberries

Directions:

Turn oven on to 425˙ and in an 8 inch cast iron (or heavy skillet) put the butter, place in oven and let melt.

Mix all other ingredients till smooth, open oven and pour into skillet. Close oven and bake for about 16 minutes, until pancake puffs up and browns slightly on edges.

Remove from skillet to a large plate.

Serves 2: 335 calories per serving.

This is an old recipe I got from a photographer friend in New York, it’s been a favorite ever since.

I really love it with the lemon juice and blueberries, but it’s pretty ok just with some lemon and sugar too.

To make a serving for 4, change the eggs to 3, the milk to 3/4 c and the flour to 3/4 c. everything else can remain the same. Use a larger skillet.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Zucchini caponata: vegan

 

Ingredients:

4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion cut into bite-size pieces
4 garlic cloves chopped
4 zucchini cut into bite-size pieces
4 to 5 small tomatoes cut into bite-size pieces

4 tbsp capers
24 pitted black olives

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Sauté onions in olive oil till just transparent, add garlic and stir for about a minute till garlic flavor is released. Add zucchini and keep cooking until zucchini start to break down and get soft. Add tomatoes and keep cooking uncovered to release the liquid it forms, and cook on simmer till mixture gets a soft and very mixed texture, like a very soft stew. This could take about an hour all together.

Turn off heat and add the capers and olives. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4: 248 calories per serving.

I had extra zucchini this week and was tired of my other methods to cook it, so i thought, why not make what is traditionally eggplant, using zucchini? And it worked.

We ate this on pasta (an additional 200 calories per cup) one day and with crusty bread the next. It’s even good cold.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Easy tomato soup: vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

10 to 20 tomatoes chopped
1 onion sliced
2 bay leaves
1 c veggie broth

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add first four ingredients in a large dutch oven and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for about an hour, till the onions become soft and clear and tomatoes start to break down. Turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaves. With an immersion blender, puree the soup.

In a small pan, melt butter and then add flour stirring constantly to create a roux. Add one ladle full of soup to the roux and mix well, then add the roux mixture to the pot of soup and make sure all the roux blends well into the soup.

Salt and pepper or red pepper flakes to taste.

Serves 4: 131 calories per serving.

We found a food surplus program that delivers food to Phoenix every Saturday and for $12 you get 70 lbs. of vegetables. I split it with my friend, but you cannot imagine how much we each get. This week it was about 40 small tomatoes plus other veggies, squash and peppers.

I used about 20 in this soup and I did not peel them.

The addition of the buttery roux gives the soup a rich texture. I think you can also add a bit of creme fraiche instead.

If you are vegan, just have the soup as is and skip the roux.

You can top with croutons, sesame seeds or a few ribbons of basil.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fennel, beans, and greens soup: vegan

 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 bulb of fennel cut into slices
1/2 sweet onion cut into slices
2 cloves of garlic minced

1 bag of frozen greens, collard, spinach, kale
2 c veggie broth
red pepper flakes to taste
2 cans beans, cannellini or red kidney, drained

juice of one whole lemon
salt and pepper to taste

optional to add grated cheese to each bowl when serving or sprinkle with nutritional yeast

Directions:

Sauté fennel and onions in oil till lightly browned, add garlic and mix quickly so not to burn the garlic.

Add broth, greens, pepper flakes and beans. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes.

Turn off heat and add lemon juice, salt and pepper.

When serving you can add some cheese.

Serves 4: 250 calories per serving.

This is a variation on a recipe from the NY Times. I cut back on the oil and garlic. It has a nice mild flavor and is very satisfying. We used mozzarella as suggested but added it to each bowl, about an ounce, then sprinkled with parmesan cheese too.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Pesto lasagne: vegetarian

 

Ingredients:

1 tub of whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 tsp garlic powder
8 oz mozzarella cheese sliced thin
jar of marinara sauce
no boil lasagne noodles, you may need two boxes
4 tbsp parmesan cheese

pesto recipe

Directions:

Mix ricotta cheese. eggs and garlic power together. Set aside.

In a large lasagne pan add about a half cup of sauce, place a layer of uncooked noodles on top. Layer more sauce, ricotta cheese mix and half the mozzarella. Add another layer of uncooked noodles. On this layer spread ricotta mix, then about half of the pesto. Add another layer of noodles, top with the rest of the ricotta and the rest of the pesto, add more noodles. On top of the noodles spoon on remaining sauce, parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella.

Bake covered in 400˙ oven covered with tinfoil for about 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 8: 465 calories per serving.

I thought this combination would be delicious. It wasn’t. It was just good. The pine nuts from the pesto overpowered the delicacy of the sauce, and the combination just did not work for me.

When making this again, I would eliminate the sauce altogether and add two more eggs to the ricotta mixture, along with a half cup of water. I would also add a half cup of water to the pesto, so there is something for the noodles to absorb. I would layer each level with ricotta, mozzarella and pesto.

Then to top the whole dish I would make a bechamel sauce to cover. If I make this again, I will include all the steps.

Also, use cheaper, harder mozzarella, the nice, fresh mozzarella loses its water and turns hard, not stringy.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

 

Pesto: vegetarian or vegan

 

Ingredients:

2 oz. pine nuts
4 tbsp parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon pitted and halved
2 cloves garlic
1 avocado
1 tbsp olive oil
basil and parsley

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to start mixing, use a spatula to push down sides and pulse until all ingredients are chopped and mixed. salt to taste.

Serve over pasta.

Serves 2: 350 calories each just for the pesto. 700 for whole batch of pesto. One cup of pasta adds 200 more calories per serving.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is my favorite combination for pesto. The avocado takes place of the heavy oils usually in pesto. I don’t measure my basil and parsley, pretty much an even amount of both, at least a cup full of each. But if I have less, it’s also ok.

You can split it into four servings as well, but I like it really creamy.