Crash Test Vegetarian

Vegan to Omnivore outreach program

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Hash

A long, long time ago (The song “American Pie” comes to mind),  I made Black Bean and Soyrizo hash and heard of other people using different things like kale and sweet potatoes so I was on a mission to make another – just as easy – version.  Things didn’t work out, exactly as planned.  I spent a week looking for Kale at my local supermarkets and produce stand, and I have yet to find any.   My husband didn’t care for this recipe, cause he’s not a sweet potato fan, and after accidentally mixing stuff up on my plate, I decided that the best way for me to enjoy this was topping my favorite salad greens and drizzled with the cilantro-lime dressing I also tried that also failed the hubby test.

So the instructions include the sweet potato – if that’s your thing, but I highly suggest making a big ol’ tex-mex salad out of it all.

Incidentally, a few of the recipes I found included coriander – which if you don’t know is the seed counterpart to cilantro.  I get ALL my spices from the local natural food store (I highly suggest this, it’s waaaaaaaaaaay cheaper and fresher), and my husband and I smelled coriander for the first time and decided that it absolutely did NOT belong on any food products in our home.  I even gagged a little.

So um, if you like coriander, add some.  Maybe I’m just not ready for it.  Granted, the first time I tried cilantro I spit it out…. guess tastes change.

For the Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:

In a food processor whip together

1 cup cilantro leaves (or more to taste)
1/4 cup orange
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
pinch or two dry mustard (optional) to emulsify – this adds no flavor

For the hash:

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  When warm, add a drizzle of oil and heat until shimmering. When the oil is shimmering, add
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced

Cook until the onion and green pepper are browning, about 3-5 minutes or so.  Meanwhile, peel and cut 1 medium to large sweet potato into 1/2 inch cubes.  Add sweet potato to pan when the onions have browned.
Continue cooking until sweet potato has browned a bit, about 3-5 minutes.  You can also skip this and just move on to the next step.

Add to the skillet
1 1/2 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder (again, or more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
2-4 cloves garlic, minced

Stir around and cook for about a minute or so, then add
3/4 cup chicken flavored (I used Better Than Bullion No Chicken Base) or vegetable broth

Scrape the pan to make sure there’s nothing sticking and let the potatoes cook in the broth.  The broth will completely cook down while the potatoes cook, but be sure to test them when the pan gets dry to make sure you don’t need to add some more in.  Continue cooking until all the liquid has evaporated then add in
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup corn (if using from frozen, no need to defrost first)

Cook until heated.  Serve topped with cilantro and lime, or drizzled with the vinaigrette in a salad.

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Lentil Chili with Roasted Red Pepper and Black Olives

I actually have a number of other recipes that should be posted before this one, but this ended up being somewhat of a rare occassions when the sun and the moon and the stars and Jupiter and Mars all aligned, so it gets to jump the line.

Why?  Let me count the ways.  But first, have a gander.

Lentil Chili

So every week I make 1-2 “pot meals,” as I call them.  Basically something that makes a large portion of food that we eat for lunch the day I make it (usually) then we pack them away for lunches for the week.  We make two so we can alternate.

Well this week my husband and I recieved some significantly devastating news that we can’t even really talk about because there’s still 5 more months until the outcome is certain, and unfortunately even then it may be dragged out more…. but I digress.

The point is, our routine got knocked off kilter a bit by a wave of depression which was subsequently followed by take-out Chinese and Subway.  No pot meals were made, and over the weekend I (my husband doesn’t work on the weekends) ate off leftover chinese.

So here Sunday rolls around and I’m still wondering WTF I’m going to make for the week.  It’s really difficult for me to cook on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so I needed to figure out something – fast.

While I was looking for recipes, Kalyn posted one that sounded interesting for her Meatless Monday recipe.  But after reading the ingredients list I realized that I literally had all the ingredients on hand – which has never happened.   So this morning I made it and I didn’t change a thing other than I only had not-chicken bullion, so I used that rather than vegetable broth.

Everything about it is brilliant, and it hit number 3 on my omnivore husband’s favorite soup list.  It was easy, I was able to prep the cooking while the foster baby was noshing on some cheerios.

Lentil Chili

Incidentally, this recipe contains black olives – which yes, sounds odd, but turned out to be REALLY good and, in my opinion, essential – even though I’m not a huge black olive fan.

In a small amount of oil in a soup pot or dutch oven, sautee until brown
1 medium to large (I used large) onion, chopped finely

Once the onion browns a bit add in
2-3 cloves garlic, minced

And continue cooking for about a minute ore until the garlic is fragrant.    Once the garlic and onion are cooked, add in the spices:
2-3 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp (more or less depending on taste) Chipotle powder

Sautee the spices for about another minute or two until the spices are very fragrant.  You may need to add a smidge more oil, or about a Tablespoon of water to make sure the spices don’t burn.

From there, you’re going to add the bulk of the chili
1 cup brown/green lentils, rinsed and drained
1/4-1/2 red lentils, rinsed and drained
6 cups vegetable broth, or equivelant water/bullion (I used not-chicken bullion cause that’s all I had)

Bring the entire mix to a low boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are soft.  The time will depend on the age of the lentils, mine took about 45 minutes.    Now’s a good time to taste to adjust the spice or add salt if you want.

Once the lentils are tender, add in
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz (I used more) can black olives, drained and chopped
1-2 jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onions

Continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes, or until the chili thickens.

Kalyn suggests serving with wedges of lime, but I did not test this suggestion yet.

5 Comments »

Chili Mac with Kale

It boggles my mind how food – when cooked by another party – is ALWAYS so much more scrumptious than if you were to cook it yourself.  I love it when my husband cooks, it really makes me happy and gives me a much needed break.

chili mac kaleYou know another thing I love?  Easy recipes.  You know – the ones that take less than 30 minutes and less than 3,000 steps.   This is one of those recipes.

Thanks to Susan from FatFreeVegan for posting this recipe.

Many people do not follow a low-fat diet, and I don’t as much as Susan does, but I have to eat fairly low fat because my gallbladder hates me.  And, since my husband and I work full time and have obligations outside of work as well – ease is of utmost importance.   I will be going back to school in just a few weeks, so being the amazing husband that he is – he’s promised to cook more to help out.

In a medium soup pot, cook
     2 cups elbow macaroni until al dente 

Drain pasta and set aside.  In the same pot, add a small amount of
     olive oil
and saute
     1 medium to large onion, chopped – until translucent
add
3 cloves garlic, minced
and cook until fragrant

When onion and garlic is cooked, add in cooked pasta and
     1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
     1 1/2 cups water
1 can corn, drained
4 tsp Chili Powder (not chili pepper)
     1 Tbsp chipotle Tabasco or 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper
     1 16 ounce can pinto or kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or, 1 can chili beans with sauce)
     4 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
     5 cups kale, thinly sliced (or one bunch)
     salt and pepper to taste

Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Feel free to add some additional heat as desired.

It doesn’t get easier than that!

8 Comments »

Black Bean Soup

Yes, I made this again.  I liked it so much that I made it twice in one week.  Don’t judge me.  Just look at the picture, then go see the recipe and make it.

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Black Bean and Couscous Salad


This colorful salad is refreshing and packed with protein and vegetables.  It’s equally delicious served chilled or at room temperature.  If you like cilantro, this is a must.

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while, and I wish I’d tried it sooner as it turned out to be a big hit with the hubby.  At first we both viewed the result of the recipe with concern, even suspicion.  All the worries were put to bed after the first bite of this salad.  All the ingredients came together to form a refreshing light salad. This would work well as part of a picnic or at a family dinner.

  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth (or water and bullion)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped (I used red)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup canned corn kernels, drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • dash ground mustard (optional)
  • salt and pepper to tasteWhile chopping vegetables, bring 1 1/4 cups broth to a boil and stir in 1 cup couscous.  Cover and remove from heat.In a large bowl,  mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 4 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and dash of ground mustard.Fluff ze couscous with a fork then mix in remaining ingredients and serve immediately or chilled.
Enjoy!
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Pico de Gallo

2 medium tomatoes, diced small
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1/2 to 1 serrano chile, minced
1 tsp coarse salt
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

In a nonreactive bowl combine all ingredients and let stand for 5 minutes.

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