Category Archives: Vegetarian

Cauliflower Green Curry

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On this wonderful snowy day in Colorado, what better way to keep you warm than a delicious soup.  Nothing warms your insides like a spicy curry.  I fell in love with this soup when I realized how healthy and low fat you could actually make a coconut based curry.  By using a light coconut milk and cauliflower for the base you add all the flavor minus the huge dose of fat and calories.  I would say this is a huge score on the healthy scale.   Eat to your hearts content and still wear your skinny jeans.

Also, I used Doterra lemongrass oil in this recipe, because it makes the flavor outstanding.  Besides, whenever I have bought lemongrass in the store, it always looks like its been sitting there for a month.  Anyone else feel this way?  By having the lemongrass oil on hand, I have immediate access to the most amazing flavors.  It lasts forever, maintains it potency and is cost effective.  However, if you have not yet gotten on the brilliant essential oil bandwagon you could always substitute 1 tablespoon fresh chopped lemongrass.  So go ahead and enjoy, even get a second bowl without feeling guilty.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped leeks, white and light green parts only, washed well.
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped cilantro stems (You can use leaves too if you like)
  • 1½ pounds cauliflower, chopped into little florets (about 1 large head cauliflower)
  • 1 tablespoon raw white rice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
  • 3 drops DoTerra lemongrass essential oil
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • Cilantro leaves and red pepper flakes to garnish

Instructions:
1.  In a large soup pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks, cilantro stems, cauliflower, rice and salt; stir to coat. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.  Place green curry paste, lemongrass essential oil and ginger in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Next add the coconut milk and vegetable broth, then using a whisk stir until combined. Pour this mixture over the sauteed vegetables, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer, cover with lid and cook until the cauliflower is tender.  About 20-25 minutes.

3.  Allow the soup to cool slightly then scoop a few cups of the soup into a blender and process until smooth then return to the pot. Place pot back on stove and reheat slightly.   Add the lime juice and season to taste with salt.

4.  Serve in bowls and top with cilantro and red pepper flakes.

 

If you would like more information on essential oils for cooking or for health please feel free to email me or visit my site.  http://www.mydoterra.com/insightfulgirl/

Adapted from: BeardandBonnet

Caprese Salad

Simple ingredients equal delicious results in this recipe.  Pasta, fresh basil, garlic and olive oil sound so simple, but together they are heaven.  This is a great dish to make ahead of time for a BBQ, pot-luck or even a super bowl party.  All I can say is GO BRONCOS!!!!  Keeping my fingers crossed they stay in this thing.  Every game is such a nail biter, don’t fail me now.  I’m even wearing my orange shirt and I hate orange.  It’s all for the sake of football.

Ingredients:

  • 16oz rotini pasta
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 36 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 16 oz block mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/4 cup creamy balsamic dressing, I used Newmans Own

Directions:

1.  Cook pasta according to package directions. Once cooked al dente, place in colander drain all water and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

2.  In large mixing bowl toss pasta, olive oil, salt, garlic, tomatoes, basil and cheese. Toss until evenly coated on all pasta.

3.  Finally,  drizzle creamy balsamic dressing onto pasta and mix thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Cover and store in fridge until ready to serve.

* side note:  if it chills for a length of time, you may want to add a bit more dressing or olive oil.  The pasta tends to soak it up a bit.

Adapted from:  chef-in-training

Quinoa with Edamame and Eggs

I hope everyone had a happy and safe New Year.  I found myself surrounded by wonderful friends, eating delicious food and drinking amazing wine.   I watched the fireworks show downtown and it felt perfect.  However, with the new year comes all those new years resolutions.  I have never been a big believer in waiting for the perfect date to make a healthy change.  However, I do know that there are a lot of you out there.  The reason I know this is because every January 2nd, the gym looks like it the most happening place on earth.  Not that having healthy goals to bring in the new year is bad, it’s just that come February 15th, the day after everyone has overindulged for their Valentines day dinner, the gym seems to become a ghost town.  This is the way it remains until the next January when the cycle begins again.  Well, cheers to all those venturing into the gym for the first time this year.  I will see you until February and then we will meet again in 2015.

So hear is a healthy recipe for all those new years resolutions for weight loss and getting healthy.  A good source of protein, healthy fats and delicious taste.  Go ahead enjoy.  You won’t need to feel guilty about this one.  Happy 2014!!!

Serves 1

Ingredients:

•  1/2 cup cooked quinoa
•  1/2 cup shelled, cooked edamame
•  1/2 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
•  1 large egg, fried
•  1 teaspoons olive oil
     •  salt and pepper to taste
•  1/4 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
•   hot sauce if desired

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl mix together the quinoa, edamame and olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.
  2. Spray a small frying pain with nonstick cooking spray.  Cook egg until whites are set, but yolk is still a bit runny.  The yoke will make a nice sauce for the quinoa.
  3. Place quinoa mixture in bowl, sprinkle Parmesan over quinoa and top with hot fried egg.  Serve with sliced avocado.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Adapted from:  thesepeasarehollow

White Bean, Spinach and Couscous Bake

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I was craving something vegetarian when I came across this delicious sounding recipe.  However, when I do choose to make anything vegetarian it has to be packed with flavor, so my husband forgets that the meat may be missing.  It is all about the art of distraction.   Flavor punch = Meat amnesia.  Also, with this recipe feel free to change up the type of cheese used.  I think next time I will try using feta. I think its creaminess would put this dish over the top.  Go ahead, challenge the meat-eaters with this dish and see if you can win them over.  Plus you get to learn to chiffonade.  I embedded a link on the word within this recipe in case your not sure on this cutting technique.  


Yield:  4 servings
 
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice couscous
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of fire roasted tomatoes, drained but juice reserved
  • 1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced, plus additional 3 tablespoons basil for garnish, chiffonade
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 5 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Lightly spray a shallow baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2.  In large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat.  Saute onion for 4 minutes, add garlic and saute for 3 more minutes or until onions are translucent.

3.  Add drained tomatoes and crush any remaining large chunks with the back of a fork.  Add white beans and cook for 5 minutes.  Next fold in spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes or until spinach begins to wilt.

4.  In a large sized mixing bowl, combine precooked couscous, reserved tomato juice, minced basil, pine nuts, salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly. Fold bean/tomato mixture into the couscous mixture until well combined.

5.  Spread half of the mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.  Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese over mixture.  Top with the remaining couscous mixture and then sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cover dish with foil and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 2-3 more minutes.

6.  Dish into bowls, garnish with chiffonade basil and serve warm.

Adapted from:  beardandbonnet

Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas

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This recipe is the product of asking my husband what he wanted for dinner and he simply said, “enchiladas.”  It isn’t my fault he didn’t specify what type he preferred.  So in my endless attempts at eating less meat, I decided to make vegetarian enchiladas.  I came across this one containing one of my favorite veggies, zucchini, and decided to give it a whirl.   I did add extra enchilada sauce to the dish once it was done baking; otherwise it was a bit dry for my taste.  I also drained the zucchini after cooking it, to avoid having soggy tortillas.  With these simple tweeks it was yummy.  My husband topped his with a few slices of avocado to add a bit more protein.  Hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:
cooking spray
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
2 medium zucchinis, grated
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups grated reduced fat Mexican blend cheese (Sargento), divided
4 large low carb tortillas
1 (10-oz) can red enchilada sauce

For Garnish
chopped scallions (optional)
chopped cilantro (optional)


Directions
:

1.  Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.  Preheat oven to 400 °.

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2.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Saute garlic and onions for about 3 minutes.

3.  Next add zucchini, salt and pepper.  Cook another 4-5 minutes.

4.  Remove skillet from heat, drain excess water from skillet.  Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese and mix well.

5.  Divide zucchini between each of the 4 tortillas.  Roll and place seam side down into baking dish.

6.  Pour 1/2 can enchilada sauce over tortillas and top with remaining cheese.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Serve topped with extra enchilada sauce, cilantro and scallions.

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Adapted from:  skinnytaste.com

Marinated Cheese

 

I know you may have thought I fell off the face of the Earth; but the truth is life got crazy busy.  My husband and I moved into a new house; well new to us, but old in age (built in 1896).  It is a super cute old Victorian, but it needed a lot of TLC.  Including new hardwood floors, painting every square inch, electrical, appliances and new toilets.  The house is now sparkling, but during this time it consumed every spare moment of my time.  So, as you can tell cooking was not at the top of my list after a long hard day of work.  Besides there were moments in the process that I didn’t even have appliances, making it tough to whip up much of anything.  But here I am, don’t worry.  Back from the depths of house remodeling.

What I have decided to restart my cooking adventures with was a recipe I used for a “get-to-know-the-neighbors” potluck.  I wanted to bring an appetizer, something simple yet could sit out on a counter and not go bad.  Voila, behold marinated cheese.  Delicious.  Hello, it’s cheese can you really go wrong?  I served it with crackers and it was a total hit.  Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.  Also, it looks so pretty on a serving dish.

Yields:  approximately 16 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 (2-oz) jar diced pimentos, drained
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 (8-oz) package Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, chilled

Directions:

1.  In a a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine first 10 ingredients.  Tighten lid and shake vigorously; set aside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Cut the block of cheddar cheese in half lengthwise.  Then cut crosswise into 1/4″ slices.  Repeat with cream cheese.  Arrange cheese slices in a shallow baking dish, standing slices on edge, alternating cheddar cheese with cream cheese.

 

3.  Pour the marinade from the jar over the cheese slices.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

4.  To serve move cheese slices to a serving platter so they are still arranged in an alternating pattern standing on their edges.  Spoon some of the extra marinade over the cheese.  Serve with your choice of crackers.

Black Bean Salad

I decided to make this recipe for a baby shower I was attending and the momma-to-be was a vegetarian.  I served it with tortilla chips and it was a hit.  Full of delicious flavors and colors, with a salt and lime kick.  Also, feel free to increase the seasonings, if your a big fan of lime flavor, add more lime or if you like a bit more dressing, increase the Italian dressing.  Get creative on this one, it would be hard to go wrong.   
Also, with Cinco de Mayo coming up this weekend it could be a perfect dish for the Mexican themed festivities.  Use it for an appetizer, as a filling for burritos, a side dish for a chicken meal or simply eat it with a spoon.  Either way it will be delicious. 
 


Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tortilla chips

Directions:
1.  In a medium mixing bowl combine, peppers, onion, corn, garlic and cilantro.  Add Italian dressing, vinegar and lime juice, mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve with tortilla chips.  For best flavor, place prepared salad in airtight container and place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours before eating.

Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Alfredo.  I can actually feel my waste band tightening just by saying the word.  Sticks of butter and cups of heavy cream, can you feel your arteries hardening?  Well, with this spin on a traditional Alfredo recipe, you no longer have to change into sweat pants after dinner.  I decided to make this with spaghetti squash to make it a bit more healthy and cut out some of the carbs.  It was delicious.  I tend to like spaghetti squash a bit crunchier when using it as a substitute for noodles, for added texture.  I finished cooking the spaghetti squash to the perfect crunchiness and by the time I poured the sauce over it and took my first bite, it had already become a bit softer.  So make sure not to over cook the squash or you will have more of a soup than a spaghetti dish.  Also, this is such a cute dish because the shell acts as a perfect bowl.    This is a great dish for entertaining, it looks like you puts hours into it by how cute it’s presentation is, when it really is quite easy and quick.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 Tablespoon light cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes and fresh parsley, for optional garnish

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds with spoon. Place spaghetti squash, cut-sides down, on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance.  Make sure to not overcook the squash for this recipe, because the sauce will continue to soften the noodles once you pour it over it.  Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.

2.  Once spaghetti squash has slightly cooled, scrape each half loosening the strands.  Keeping the spaghetti strands in the shell.

3.  For sauce, melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat.  Once butter is melted add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning.  Add milk and flour, whisk until no clumps remain.  Once milk is warm, add cream cheese and whisk until smooth.  Remove from heat and add Parmesan, salt and pepper.

4.  Place one half of spaghetti squash on a plate and pour desired amount of sauce over each half.  I used about 1/3 of the sauce for each half.  Top with more fresh pepper, red pepper flakes or whatever garnish you wish. 

Adapted from: easycookbookrecipes.com

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

 

So, I have to admit that I have a small love affair with cauliflower.  It is absolutely my favorite vegetable.  I can put it in just about anything.  So, with February as my self proclaimed soup month, I decided to make cauliflower soup. Why, not?  Cauliflower has an unbelievable amount of vitamin C, so with it being cold/flu season, the more vitamin C you can add to your diet the better.  I also learned what a roux was and how to make one.  It is a mixture of flour and butter used as a thickening agent for soups and sauces.  Voila, add it to your cooking dictionary.  Also, if you prefer this to be a vegetarian soup, substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth.  Both are delicious.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, washed and chopped into small pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter on low heat and then adding in the flour.  Stirring constantly for 1 minute.  It will be a paste consistency.

 

2.  Next add in chicken broth, onion, garlic, salt and cauliflower.  Bring mixture to a boil.
Once boiling turn heat down to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

 

3.  In small batches, puree mixture in blender until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

Adapted from: skinnytaste

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

So, to continue on with my February soup theme, I thought I would incorporate a little Valentine’s Day tribute.  I decided to make a red soup and tomato seemed the obvious choice.  Besides, I had never made home-made tomato soup and the pre-made ones in the store are full of sodium and chemical ingredients.  Then in a moment of genius (or so I thought) I threw in a little extra heart grilled cheese sandwich bonus.  Aren’t tomato soup and grilled cheese a perfect combo anyhow?  Whoever came up with this winning combination should be given an award.  It’s marvelous.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 large slices of sandwich bread, crust removed and torn into 1-inch pieces (I used a dense whole-wheat bread)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

1.  In a large stockpot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and bay leaf.  Stirring frequently, cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.

 2.  Add in tomatoes, including the juice and using a potato masher mash the tomatoes until they are broken down into smaller pieces.  Careful not to break up the bay leaf.  Stir in sugar and bread, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally, cook until bread is completely saturated and begins to break down, about 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf.

3.  Turn heat off under pot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and puree soup using a blender.  I separated the soup into 3 different batches, so as not to over fill the blender.  I always leave the slightest crack in the clear plastic topper of the blender to allow some of the steam to escape.  Do make sure you hold onto it TIGHTLY when mixing, otherwise you will have a big mess on your hands.

4.  Blend each batch for about 1 minute to get as smooth as possible.  After blending, place tomato soup back into stockpot, stir in chicken broth and salt.  Return soup to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in basil and serve.

As an extra bonus, I made grilled cheese and cut them into hearts using a large heart shaped cookie cutter.  It came out too cute for words.  Give it a try.  Show that special someone you care.

                                   

Adapted from:  browneyedbaker