#20: Wondrous Quinoa

To this day, rarely but consistently, I am asked: “So where do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat?” I have to say I’m amazed that this is still a concern at all, since there are so many, many people now who eat vegetarian and vegan diets, and so many who show up in the news as having had life-changing experiences from changing their eating habits.

However, I do respect the question, especially since it means one more person is not only interested, but also getting educated, and who knows, might give vegetarianism a try.

Continue reading “#20: Wondrous Quinoa”

#17: Southwestern Falafel

Another veg recipe you’ll love!

Here’s one more recipe to keep you eating yummy vegetarian stuff while I’m busy writing up another more literary post…

Southwestern Falafel with Avocado Spread (Adapted from Cooking Light)


  • 1 15-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ c. Monterey Jack cheese (or Veggie Shreds)
  • ¼ c. finely crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 T green onions
  • 1 T finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 t ground cumin
  • 1 large egg white (or egg replacer)
  • 1½ t canola oil (we use olive)


  • ¼ c. mashed, peeled avocado
  • 2 T finely chopped plum tomato
  • 1 T finely chopped red onion
  • 2 T fat-free sour cream (Tofutti works, too, but honestly, we leave this out!)
  • 1 t lime juice (fresh, if you’ve got it)
  • 1/8 t salt

2 small pitas, each cut in half crosswise

This is soooo easy:
For patties, place pinto beans in a medium bowl and partially mash with a fork. Add cheese and next 5 ingredients (through egg white); stir until well combined. Form into 4-6 patties. Heat oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties; cook 3 minutes per side or until patties are browned and thoroughly heated.

For spread, while patties cook, combine all spread ingredients in a small bowl. Place two patties in each pita half, and add spread. YUM!

#16: Lentil Burritos

A little something to help you with your meatless meals.

Lentil Burritos (adapted from a recipe in Southern Living)

  • 1 cup dried lentils (OR make things MUCH easier by getting the pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s in the produce section. Voilà! Half the work is already done!)
  • 4 cups water (if using dried lentils)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 T olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese (or Veggie Shreds or other vegetarian/vegan cheese)
  • Package of 7-inch tortillas
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce (with roasted garlic if you like)
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 T green taco sauce (no big deal to leave out)
  • 1 t cornstarch
  • 1 c vegetable broth (if using TJ’s lentils)
  • Avocado slices, sour cream for topping

If using dried lentils, simmer in the water over medium heat 20 minutes or until tender; drain, reserving 1 cup liquid. If using Trader Joe’s lentils, cut open the package!

Saute´ onion and bell pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; stir in lentils and cheese. Spoon mixture evenly down center of each tortilla and roll up. Place tortillas in a 13×9-inch baking dish.

Bring ¾ cup reserved liquid (or veggie broth), tomato sauce, cumin, and taco sauce to a boil in a saucepan. Stir together remaining ¼ cup reserved liquid (or veggie broth) and cornstarch until smooth. Stir into sauce mixture, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, 10 minutes. Pour over burritos.

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with desired toppings (we love sliced avocado!).

#14: Black-Eyed Pea Cakes!


Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Adobo Cream (from Cooking Light magazine)

  • ¼ c fat-free sour cream (or Tofutti sour cream)
  • 1 t adobo sauce
  • 1 (15.8 oz.) can no-salt-added black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ c dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 T finely chopped onion
  • ½ t bottled minced garlic
  • ½ t ground cumin
  • ½ t salt
  • ¼ t black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (or egg substitute)
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ t olive oil
  • ¼ c shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or shredded rice cheese)
  1. Combine sour cream and adobo sauce in a small bowl.
  2. Place beans in a medium bowl; partially mash with a fork. Stir in breadcrumbs and next 7 ingredients (through egg white). With floured hands, divide pea mixture into ½-inch-thick patties.
  3. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties; cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden and thoroughly heated. Remove from pan and top each cake with a sprinkling of cheese. Serve with sour cream sauce.

#11: Sweet Potatoes–Enchilada Style

Here is a recipe to help you eat what’s in season

Here’s something so yummy and easy that it’s become a winter staple in our house.

Baked Pinto Beans and Sweet Potatoes, Enchilada Style

The following ingredients are for a vegan recipe. If you’d like to add cheese, get 1 cup of cubed Monterey Jack cheese ready, too.

  • A little EV olive oil
  • Your favorite salsa
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • A little cilantro for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Use a tablespoon or so of oil to grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Spread the potatoes and salsa in the dish, cover the dish with foil, and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the foil, and add the beans and some salt and pepper (and cheese if you like). Sprinkle the tortilla crumbs.
  4. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the tortilla chips are browned (or cheese is melted), 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the cilantro.

Voila! Easy and delicious…and family-friendly!

(Recipe is thanks to Mark Bittman.)

#5: Nut Burgers!

A high point in our quest for a kinder diet.

If you haven’t already heard me raving about these, hear me now. These nut burgers are fantastic (thank you, Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian!). As Mike said, “I can’t believe how long this recipe has been sitting in our house unmade!!”

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews—whatever nut tickles your fancy (we use walnuts and they are awesome)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice or raw rolled oats
  • 2 T ketchup, miso, tomato paste, nut butter, or tahini (we use tahini)
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2T EV olive oil (or other neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn)

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Chop the onion in a food processor. Add the nuts and rice or oats and pulse to chop, but not too finely. Add the binder (ketchup, etc.), spices, and egg. Process briefly. Add a little liquid (e.g., water, stock, soy sauce, or wine) if necessary; mixture should be moist but not loose.
  2. Let the mixture sit a few minutes if you have the time, then shape it into 4 to 6 patties. Put the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the burgers to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, more or less undisturbed, then turn. Lower the heat a bit and cook on the other side 3 or 4 more minutes, or until firm.
  3. Serve on buns, with your sauce or fixings of choice! (We use a raspberry chipotle sauce—yum!)

Vary these by substituting up to ½ cup sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds for half of the nuts. Or make it vegan by omitting the egg and adding a ½ sheet of crumbled Nori Chips to the food processor (use miso or nut butter instead of ketchup, and soy sauce for the liquid).


Recipe for Kale & “Sausage”

Here’s one of our favorite fast and hearty weeknight meals.

We love us some kale in this house, and what a powerhouse of a food it is. It’s got tons of Vitamin A, plenty of C, fiber, protein, iron, calcium…and it works perfectly in this dinner Mike and I make about once a week.

Kale & “Sausage”

  • 2 vegetarian sausage links (such as Tofurky Italian Sausage), sliced (like coins)
  • 1 small-to-medium-size onion
  • 1 large bunch of kale, rinsed, pulled from stem, and torn into pieces
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T olive oil
  • (Optional: We serve this over brown rice.)

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Thinly slice onion and add it to the oil with about 1/4c water. Cover and let onion cook, stirring frequently. When onion is transparent but not browned, add sausage. Allow sausage to heat through, then add kale. Cover skillet to allow kale to wilt a bit–just a minute or two. Sprinkle red pepper flakes to taste, then salt and pepper. Serve over brown rice. Yum!