Do you enjoy any foods from other countries? There are tons of good vegetarian Indian dishes, and some of them are actually pretty easy... if you mix up a couple of different spice blends and keep them on hand, you can whip up dinner quickly...
Here's a (non-Indian) family favorite in our house...
RED BEANS AND RICE
This dish goes well with almost any kind of meat, and can be a meal by itself.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 16-ounce can dark red kidney beans
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste
5 drops Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dired oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Saute the onion until barely translucent. Drain the kidney beans, and rinse gently. Add beans, garlic, salt, pepper, Tabasco, thyme, oregano, sage and basil to the pot. Saute, stirring carefully, until beans are heated through.
Stir in lemon juice, then add the broth and cold water to the pot. Bring to a boil. When liquid is boiling, pour in the rice. Stir, allow contents of pot to resume boiling, then cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
Stir and adjust seasonings to taste.
Here's another... this is an Indian dish called "Muttar Paneer," which means "Peas and farmer's cheese." It's pretty mild (you can heat it up by adding more cayenne pepper), comes together easily, and you can find everything you need for it in a regular grocery store...
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup large-curd cottage cheese, drained
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
2 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a blender or food processor, grind together the cashew nuts, cayenne pepper, tumeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, and garlic to make a smooth paste (add a little water if you need to, but not much).
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until they are golden. Add the frozen peas and saute until they turn bright green -- about a minute. Add the nut paste, stir to combine, then turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.
Add the drained cottage cheese, stir, and allow to simmer, covered, for about 2 more minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve with flat bread (if you can’t find Indian Naan, thick wedges of pita bread work well) or plain white rice.
OK, last one... but if you (or anyone else) want more, please send me a message! I cook to relax, so recipes are fun for me...
I wasn't sure if you were vegetarian, vegan, or if you just don't eat red meat. This version of Pad Thai is much less complicated than it looks, and it's very flexible -- you can use firm tofu, scrambled egg, sliced chicken, or cooked shrimp or scallops in it if you want to change it up a bit.
Flexible Pad Thai
3/4 pound tofu, chicken, shrimp or scallops, if desired.
1/2 cup dry, fruity white wine (like a pinot grigio)
5 Tablespoons plum sauce, divided
2 Tablespoons Mango Chutney (Patak brand makes a great Major Grey's)
1/2 tsp. white pepper (black is fine, too)
salt to taste
1-1/2 tsp. Arrowroot or corn starch
1 package Pad Thai rice noodles (about 6 servings worth)
1/2 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 large yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium sweet onion, cut into thick half-moons
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
2 scallions, chopped (including green parts)
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
8 or 10 fresh basil leaves
1 Tablespoon canola oil
Set a large pot of cold water to boil.
In a large bowl, combine the wine, 2 Tablespoons of plum sauce, the chutney, and the lime juice. Stir well.
If you're using chicken, shrimp, or scallops, rinse them under cold water and drain. Add them to the wine/plum sauce mixture and stir well. Pour into a shallow pan and poach over medium-low heat for about 7 minutes, or until meat is barely cooked through (You can also pour it all into a microwave-safe bowl, cover it, and nuke it in the microwave for about 4 minutes, or until the meat is barely cooked through). Set aside
If you're using tofu, drain it and slice it into bite-size pieces. Add it to the wine/plum sauce, and stir well. Set aside.
If you're using eggs, break them into a bowl and mix them with a fork to break the yolks. Heat a medium-size non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add about a teaspoon of vegetable oil, tilt pan to coat it with the oil, then add the egs and either scramble them or make a plain (no-filling) omlette out of them. (Cut the omlette into bite-size strips.) Set aside.
In a large, non-stick skillet, heat the oil until it shimmers.
Add the onion, and cook until translucent (about 4 minutes).
Add the carrots, and continue to cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until the carrots are tender but still bright orange.
Add the chicken/shrimp/scallops and their poaching liquid to the pan (or the tofu and it's marinading liquid, or the cooked eggs and the wine/plum sauce mixture).
Stir in the remaining 3 Tablespoons of plum sauce. Heat to a gentle simmer.
Place the rice noodles into the pot of boiling water and stir once. Wait for the noodles to soften, then turn off heat.
Push the vegetables and scallops to one side of the skillet and stir the Arrowroot or corn starch into the liquid in the pan until dissolved. Mix the vegetables and meat/tofu/egg into the sauce.
Stir in the bell peppers and scallions.
Using tongs, transfer the wet, softened noodles from the hot water into the skillet. Toss to coat with sauce and distribute vegetables and scallops. If there doesn't seem to be enough sauce to coat everything, add a tablespoon or two of the hot cooking water from the noodles.
Stack the basil leaves on top of one another and roll into a cigar shape, then cut into thin shreds. Sprinkle them over the pad thai, and serve.
Vegetarian Crockpot Chili
Use your favorite combination of beans in this super easy five ingredient chili.
15 oz. can spicy chili beans, undrained
15 oz. can black beans, drained
15 oz. can pinto beans, undrained
14 oz. can spicy diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 onion, chopped
In 3-5 quart crockpot, combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours until mixture is blended and thickened. Serve with sour cream and grated Jalapeno cheese, if desired. 6 servings
Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole Recipe
28 ounces crushed tomatoes, undrained
14 ounces chunky salsa
6 ounces tomato paste
30 ounces canned black beans, rished and drained
15 ounces whole kernel corn, drained
4 ounces diced green chiles
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
5 corn tortillas
2 ounces sliced ripe olives, drained
Combine all ingredients except tortillas and olives in a large bowl. Spread 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the crockpot. Top with 1 1/2 tortillas, cutting to fit as needed. Spread 1/3 of the remaining sauce over the tortilla layer. Repeat layering twice, ending with sauce. Sprinkle olives over top. Cover; cook on low for 5 hours, serves 4.
Thanks, Nataly! I hope you like the beans and rice... I made some the other day, and my 10-month-old was actually eating it (the rice part, not the beans... ye gods, can you imagine the diapers if he ate the beans too? Hahahahhaha).
When I was in college and constantly broke, I'd make that receipe because it reminded me of home -- my dad, who is from Haiti, makes a version of it that is one of my favorite comfort foods. Plus, it's dirt cheap, low fat, high fiber, the beans and rice together make a complete protein, it actually freezes pretty well, and tastes even better the next day. Win-win-win-win-win-win.
Mommy2kiera, thank you for posting the vegetarian crockpot chili! It sounds great ...
Crock pot spare ribs
spare ribs for 4 - 6
1 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard
1 small chopped onion
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons steak sauce
Boil or bake ribs 30 minutes to render fat. (You can do this the night before.)
Put ribs in crock pot.
Mix all other ingredients and pour over the ribs.
Cover. Cook about 8 hours on low. Sooooo good. Dinner's ready when you come home, and your whole house smells amazing!
For this, you need a cast iron frying pan.
4 - 6 eggs (depends on the size of your pan and your family!)
1 - 2 slices whole grain bread
1/2 cup milk
heap of grated cheese
Cut bread into small cubes. In small bowl, pour over milk. Set aside for a minute or two.
Preheat pan to medium, with a tablespoon or so of oil in it.
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat the eggs. Pour soggy bread into the egg mixture.
Put bread and eggs into heated pan.
Cook for 10 - 12 minutes, until brown and bubbling around the edges.
Cover with grated cheese and pop in the oven for another 15 minutes or so, until the top is nice and crusty.
It's a simple meal. Can be eaten hot or cold. Can be taken and eaten with fingers in lunches.