Friday, June 09, 2006

Green Lasagna

This is our standard lasagna. I just made it, it's really easy, I promise. Once again, Julie Jordan is to thank.

1 quart tomato sauce
1 pound lasagne noodles
2 10-oz. bricks frozen chopped spinach
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
grated parmesan or romano cheese

If you're not using no-cook noodles, cook them according to the package. Thaw and squeeze the spinach. Add the eggs and nutmeg and mix well. In a glass or ceramic baking dish, make layer: tomato sauce, noodles, spinach mixture, ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan. I can usually get 3 or 4 layers, starting with a really thin layer of sauce under the first noodles. Try to finish with mozzarella or parmesan as the top layer. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.

Birthday Party Stuffed Mushrooms

There's a very good reason "Wings of Life" is at the top of our cookbook list. Another time-intensive-but-totally-worth-it hippie food.

2 pounds large white mushrooms
3-4 cloves garlic
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, scallions or cilantro
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper

Gently wash the mushrooms, then pull the stems out of the caps. Put the caps upsidedown into a greased baking pan, packed close together so they can't roll around, and set them aside for now.

Chop the stems and fry them in olive oil. Add garlic and fry a little more. Remove from heat and add everything else: bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, and cheeses. Add a bit of salt and fresh black pepper. Mix together well and fill each mushroom cap with the mixture. (My father, being the practical man that he is, has determined that this is easiest to do with a pastry bag, aka a ziplock bag with one corner cut off.)

Sprinkle with paprika and more parmesan cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Best Guacamole Ever

It's true. More yummy goodness from Ms. Julie Jordan.

1 ripe avocado
1/4 medium tomato
1/4 small onion
1 T sour cream or ricotta cheese
1/2 t ground cumin
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 t salt (or less)
a little lemon or lime juice

Finely chop the tomato and mince the onion. Press or mince the garlic. Mash everything together, then beat until fluffy.

Spinach Salad

This recipe is from our friend Lee Erikson. She's part of our group who gets together every month or so for the "Liberal Vegan Luncheon." Anyway, good simple salad, don't add the dressing til you're ready to serve it or the spinach shrivels and the apricots reinflate and it's just not the same..

2 10-oz. bags baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
2 apples

Rinse the spinach, chop up the apples, throw everything in a bowl. Ta-da, there's your salad!

3 T sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup garlic salt
1/4 cup celery salt

Mix everything together til the sugar and salts dissolve. Ta-da, there's your dressing!

Black Bean Salad

This is a bean salad recipe that my mom developed when trying to replicate a salad she had at a restaurant. The amounts are pretty flexible, so play around with what you like.

15 oz. can black beans
1/2 t pressed garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced green pepper
1 tomato
1/8 t cumin
1/2 t dry cilantro
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and peper

Drain and rinse the black beans. Chop the tomato. Mix everything together in a bowl and let sit at least an hour before serving.

Party Spinach Dip

Apparently from a Jenny Craig cookbook, this dip is my mom's trademark dish and everyone's favorite at potlucks. Best part is, it's even pretty healthy.

12 oz. 1% cottage cheese
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
8 oz. can chopped water chestnuts
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup dry vegetable soup mix (Knorr)
2 t onion, grated or finely minced
1 t lemon juice

Thaw and squeeze the spinach dry. Drain and chop the water chestnuts some more. Blend the cottage cheese in the food processor until smooth. Put everything together in a bowl and mix well. Cover and chill at least 3 hours before serving.

Serving ideas: party rye and pumpernickle slices, water crackers, melba rounds, hollowed bread bowl with cubed bread, Fritos (seriously, they are kinda perfect)

1 T has aprox: 9 calories, .3 gram fat

Quick Black Bean Dip

Exactly what it sounds like. Quite good!

15 oz. can black beans, drained and rised
1/2 cup mild salsa
2 T fresh lime juice (aprox 1 small lime)
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 t cumin

Throw everything in the food processor and blend until smooth. Serve with baked tortilla chips to not destroy the healthy-ness of the dip.

1/2 cup serving contains aprox: 100 calories, 5 grams fiber, 6 grams protein, zero fat

Szechuan Cold Sesame Noodles

My sister's graduation party tomorrow, so while we've got party food on the brain, here's some of our favorites. This is an excellent noodle/sauce recipe from the book "One Pot Vegetarian Dishes". It's really good & easy, and we usually make it in a double batch.

img via: foodzings

1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 T hot water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T soy sauce (tamari)
2 T sesame oil
1 t vegetable oil
1 t chili oil
2 t sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz. sesame noodles or spaghetti
2 medium carrots, shredded
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Start boiling water for the noodles. In a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter and water until well blended. Gradually whisk in vinegar, soy sauce, oils, sugar, and garlic. Cook the noodles as directed, drain and rinse. Add the noodles to the sauce, toss to mix well, and serve cold with carrots and scallions as garnish.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Sunburgers are one of these hippie foods that my parents have had around forever but we don't make much anymore, with soy products being much easier to find and cook. There's a fair amount of prep time involved to chop all the veggies and form the patties, but I remember them being pretty good, so make it if you have the time sometime.

1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 T finely chopped onion
1 T finely chopped parsley
1 T finely chopped green pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 T oil
1/4 cup V8 juice
1 cup ground sunflower seeds
2 T wheat germ
1/2 t salt
1/2 t basil

Combine all ingredients. Divide and shape dough into patties (6-8). Arrange patties on a greased cookie sheet or baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on each side.

Makes 8. Aprox 125 calories, 11 grams fat each.


This is a very easy dinner, good with rice. You can make it with pretty much any vegetables you have around. We usually use thawed frozen spinach or steamed broccoli, but experiments with asparagus, tomatoes, bell peppers, and avocados have gone well too.

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3 T flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg or dry mustard
1 pie crust
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cups vegetables, chopped

Beat together eggs, milk, flour, salt, and spices to make the custard. Put the crust into a pie pan and cover the bottom with the cheese. Lay the vegetables and onion into the crust. Pour the custard over the top. Bake 40-45 minutes at 375 degrees.

Soda Bread

This one probably came from my parents' Irish dance friends. It makes cute round loaves that are chewy and studded with raisins.

5 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 T baking powder
2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped raisins
3 1/2 cups nonfat buttermilk

Combine all ingredients. Mix until a ball forms. Turn onto a floured board and knead gently. Divide into four balls, shape into 6"x6" disks. Cut an X into the top of each and brush with buttermilk. Bake on a sprayed cookie sheet 40-50 minutes.

Makes 4 loaves. 1/8 loaf has 103 calories, 2 grams fat.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Marinated Tomato Sauce

Only make this in the summer when you've got really good, ripe tomatoes and fresh basil avaliable.

4 large ripe tomatoes
12-15 large basil leaves
1 large clove garlic, pressed
3 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
6 oz. mozzarella cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Cut tomato and cheese into 1 inch cubes. Mince basil. Combine all and let stand 1 hour at room temperature. Serve over pasta.

4 servings: 687 calories, 23.5 grams fat
6 servings: 458 calories, 15.6 grams fat
8 servings: 343 calories, 12 grams fat


We love this stuff, it's from Julie Jordan's first cookbook, Wings of Life. Eat hummus with pita bread, carrots, celery, cucumbers, crackers, whatever makes you happy!

15 oz. can chick peas (drain, but reserve liquid)
2 cloves garlic (or more)
1/2 t salt
1 T tahini
juice of 1 lemon (or more)
2-6 T chick pea canning liquid
optional: chopped parsley, shredded carrot

Put everything in the food processor and grind until smooth. Add more canning liquid if necessary to unthicken and anything else to taste. Let sit to blend flavors before serving.

Serves 4. Aprox 121 calories, 3.5 grams fat per serving.

Idaho Chili

An easy potato-based vegetarian chili, good for the winter.

4 cups V8 juice
2 cups water
2 potatoes
15 oz. chick peas
1 cup dried lentils
1 onion
2 carrots
2 T chili powder
1 t basil
1/2 t garlic powder

Chop potatoes, onion, and carrots. Put everything in a big pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer 30 minutes. Garnish with yogurt, sour cream, or chopped onions and tomatoes.

Serves 6. Aprox 295 calories, less than 2 grams fat per serving.


This is my mother's recipe, developed through some trial and error. She wanted a denser, less sweet bread with more corn and whole grain than most commercial breads or mixes. It can hold its own with Idaho Chili or Mexican Beans without any trouble.

img via: the fresh loaf

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups nonfat buttermilk (or combine 1 1/2 cups skim milk and 1 t vinegar)
3 T melted butter or oil
1 whole egg
2 egg whites

Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Add wet to dry. Bake in sprayed pan 30-45 minutes.

Serves 9. Aprox 220 calories, 6 grams fat per serving.


An easy summer soup. Served cold, it's great for parties or picnics! (Vegan note - contains honey.)

4 cups V8 juice
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup minced green pepper
1 t honey
1 clove garlic
1 diced cucumber
2 chopped scallions
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1 lime
2 T wine vinegar
1 T olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 t tarragon
1 t basil
salt and pepper
dash tabasco

Combine all. Blend half of bulk and recombine. Chill.

Serves 8. Aprox 100 calories, 2 grams fat per serving.

Split Pea Soup

A thick winter soup good with salad and crusty bread. Takes a while to make, but totally worth it, and only gets better as leftovers.

1 pound washed split peas
3 quarts water
1 1/2 t salt
2 T butter or oil
1 1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped
1 cup sweet potato, finely chopped
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
3/4 t ground marjoram
1 t basil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup white wine
ground black pepper

Bring to a boil the water, peas, and salt. Lower heat and simmer 1 hour, skim foam from top as needed. Saute vegetables in butter or oil for 10 minutes. Add herbs and cook 5 minutes more. Add vegetables to peas and simmer 1 hour. Puree half and recombine. Add wine and pepper. Reheat.

Serves 8. Aprox 275 calories per serving.

Mexican Lasagna

An interesting change from your usual Italian lasagne!

1/2 T oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 green pepper, chopped
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
dash cayenne
1 cup corn
16 oz. kidney beans, drained
1 cup tomato sauce
6 corn tortillas
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In oil, saute onion, garlic and green pepper for aprox 5 minutes, until soft. Add spices and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Add corn, beans and tomato sauce. In a microwave-safe dish, layer tortillas, beans, and cottage cheese 2 or 3 times. Top with cheddar.

Cook, uncovered on High in the microwave 10-15 minutes, until heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4. Aprox 460 calories per serving.