Recipe Swap: Vegetarian dishes for a healthy new year

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cheryl Mothes of Cape Girardeau is trying to help us all start off the new year on a healthy note, after all the food we have eaten over the holidays. She has contributed a few vegetarian recipes for us to try. I have tried several of them, and they are all delicious. She always says they are so packed with flavor you won't even know they are vegetarian, and she's right. Give these recipes a try to kick your new year off right.

Vegetarian Sausage and Bean Cassoulet

3 cans of different beans (black beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, kidney beans, whatever you like)

2 boxes of Morningstar Farms sausage patties, broken into pieces

1 can tomato sauce

3 medium carrots, sliced thinly

2 small onions, diced

1/2 cup vegetable broth or vegetable bullion cubes dissolved in water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients in a 3-quart casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes until bubbling, or microwave until heated through.

Note: Schnucks has a large selection of Boca and Morningstar Farms vegetarian substitutes. The sausage patties are really good.

Butternut Squash with Tomatoes and Leeks

Serve this on a bed of brown or wild rice for a wonderful vegetarian main dish.

1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 leek, including green tops, washed and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cans diced tomatoes, Italian seasoned, drained

3/4 cup vegetable broth, or 3/4 cup water with one vegetable bullion cube

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds and any fibers, peel it and cut it into small cubes, about the size of the diced tomatoes. Warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a wok or frying pan, add the squash and stir and toss every 15 to 20 seconds until lightly browned (3 to 5 minutes) and transfer to a dish. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, then leeks, tossing every 15 to 20 seconds until softened (2 to 3 minutes). Add the garlic, tomatoes and stock and simmer for 1 minute. Return the squash to the pan and stir and toss all ingredients together. Cover and cook over medium high heat until the squash is tender (7 to 10 minutes). Uncover and add the basil, stirring and tossing to combine. If any excess moisture remains, cook uncovered until it evaporates. Serve immediately.

Holiday Veggie Salad

This "red and green" salad, with the almonds and edamame, has lots of great protein and crunch. You can use any color of pepper and any nuts, or substitute other dried fruits for the cranberries. You can also use ranch dressing or any other dressing that's a favorite.

1 cup chopped fresh broccoli

1 cup chopped fresh cauliflower

1 cup thawed edamame (available in frozen foods section)

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup sweet Vidalia onion salad dressing

Mix all in a large bowl, chill and serve.

Roasted New Potatoes with Blue Cheese-Ranch Dressing

Jodi Thompson of Jackson sent in this recipe using small new potatoes, which are available all year long.

2 pounds new red and/or yellow potatoes, halved

1/4 cup canola oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup real mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

4 green onions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss potatoes with oil on baking sheet, then season with salt and pepper. Roast 25 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Arrange potatoes on serving platter. Meanwhile, whisk buttermilk, mayonnaise, mustard and garlic in medium bowl, then season, if desired, with salt and pepper. Gently stir in cheese and green onions. Spoon sauce over potatoes and serve.

Sparkling Kumquat Salad

1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted

1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons snipped fresh fennel leafy tops

1 recipe sparkling vinaigrette (see recipe below)

12 cups torn mixed salad greens

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1/2 cup kumquats, seeds removed and thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine walnut pieces, pomegranate seeds, fennel tops and 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette; set aside. In a large bowl, combine salad greens, sliced fennel, kumquats, salt and pepper. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss gently to coat. Sprinkle the salad with the walnut mixture. Makes 10 side-dish servings.

Sparkling Vinaigrette: Combine 1/2 cup coarsely chopped and seeded kumquats, 1/2 cup chilled sparkling white wine or chilled alcohol-free sparkling white grape beverage, 1/4 cup walnut oil, 1 quartered shallot, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander or ground cardamom. Cover and blend or process until nearly smooth.

Have a great rest of the new year week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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