Posts Tagged 'meatless Monday'

Strawberry Fields Salad

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Strawberry Fields Salad

Whereas most people think of strawberries as desserts, these juicy berries can add a delicious sweetness to a savory dish. This fresh and bright salad has the perfect combination of tastes and textures. Each element of the combination … the sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the baby lettuces, saltiness from the cheese, and crunch from the nuts … compliments the others.

The blush wine vinaigrette is a homemade version of a popular store-bought dressing. Making homemade dressings is very simple since most dressings, like this one, use ingredients most people already have in their pantry. Don’t be surprised if you prefer homemade versions of dressings better than their grocery store counterparts. This one for example has a brighter flavor (thanks to the freshly squeezed lemon juice), has no preservatives or MSG, and costs so much less than the bottled original.

Add sliced chicken or a salmon filet and you have a complete meal.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Fields Salad

For the blush wine vinaigrette:
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
5 tbsp. canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
6 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
2/3 cup green or red grapes, halved
3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the blush wine vinaigrette:
In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
In a large salad bowl toss together the salad blend, strawberries, grapes, chives, almond slices, and crumbled goat cheese. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Cooking Tip: Mix and match this colorful salad using your favorite ingredients. Try substituting spinach or dried cranberries. Goat cheese is also a nice substitute for the blue cheese.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

 

Grilled Bok Choy with Ponzu Ginger Sauce

Bok Choy 0408

Grilled Bok Choy with Ponzu Ginger Sauce

Looking for a different side dish?

Try grilled bok choy!  This Asian cabbage is in season in the summer months and it truly is delicious.  I prefer to use baby bok choy because it is more tender than the regular size. That said, you can use the larger heads of bok choy for this recipe if you prefer.

When cooking or grilling it, I find that the toasted sesame oil adds a nice flavor to this Asian-inspired dish. For a more neutral flavored bok choy, substitute olive or vegetable oil.

Drizzle a simple but flavorful Ponzu Ginger Sauce  over the top for the finishing touch!

Enjoy!

Grilled Bok Choy with Ponzu Ginger Sauce

For the Ponzu Ginger Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh peeled ginger
1 scallion, thinly sliced

For the Bok Choy:
Vegetable oil, for the grates
4 heads baby bok choy (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the Ponzu Ginger Sauce: In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, ginger, and scallions. Reserve.

To make the bok choy: Preheat a clean grill to medium with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Cut the bok choy heads in half lengthwise. Brush the bok choy with the sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the bok choy on the grill, cut side down. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until tender and lightly charred, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Place the bok choy on a platter and drizzle with ponzu sauce to taste.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The Ponzu Ginger Sauce can be made the night before. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

This recipe is from my book Simply Grilling.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Food styling by me.

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Spinach & Mushroom Quesadilla _4082

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Like most weekdays … it’s often a busy night with the kid’s sports practices so I often need a quick and easy option for supper.

Quesadillas are always a good option for a super fast dinner.  I always have tortillas and some type of cheese in my fridge.  They are a great way to use up leftover veggies.  If nothing fresh is in the fridge, grab some frozen spinach or corn or canned black beans. This recipe is from my cookbook Simply Grilling.  I love the smoky flavor a grill gives a quesadilla … but they can easily be made indoors on a grill pan or in a skillet.

Enjoy!

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Cooking quesadillas on the grill gives them a deliciously smoky flavor.

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound white button mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bag (6-ounce) fresh baby spinach
8 fajita-size (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Vegetable oil, for the grates

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and set aside.

Return the skillet to the stove top and add the remaining olive oil. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until just wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Place 4 tortillas on a work surface. Evenly sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of the cheese, 1/4 of the spinach, and 1/4 of the mushrooms. Cover with the remaining tortillas.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Place the quesadillas on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

To serve, cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve warm.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: The varieties of quesadillas that can be prepared are endless—the only requisite ingredient is cheese. Have fun experimenting with your favorite ingredients.

Grill Pan Friendly: This recipe can easily be made indoors on a grill pan or cast iron skillet.

Source: Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Black Bean Burgers

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Black Bean Burgers

Forget the veggie burgers in the frozen food section of your supermarket! Homemade black beans burgers are so much tastier and better for you.

I featured this Black Bean Burger in my cookbook Simply Grilling.  It originated in the kitchen of  Nevada Presley (my dear friend and chef/owner of Get Fresh Memphis).  I so appreciate her always sharing flavorful vegetarian dishes with me.

This version is made with black beans and oats. A dash of cumin gives it a southwest spin.  Sometimes I serve it as a burger and others I serve it bun-less and topped with a spoonful of guacamole.

When making this recipe, do not be tempted to skip the step of draining the pureed vegetables. That extra moisture makes the black bean burgers too sticky to be grilled.

Also, the black bean burgers are refrigerated for an hour before cooking to help them keep their shape. To get ahead of the game, the burgers can be assembled as long as 24 hours in advance. Just be sure to cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

Lastly, Nevada added the egg to help the burger stay together better. But for a vegan version, just omit the egg and add a tablespoon of veganaise.

Black Bean Burgers

1 can (15-ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper (about 1/2 green pepper)
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion (about 1/2 small onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup rolled oats
Vegetable oil, for the grates
4 hamburger buns, split
2 ripe avocados, pits removed and sliced

In a medium bowl mash the black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.

Place the green bell pepper, onion, and garlic in food processor and process until pureed. Place the mixture into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and press to strain the liquid. Add to the beans and stir to combine.

In a small bowl stir together the egg, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce. Add the egg mixture and the oats to the beans and stir until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide into four patties, each about 3/4-inch thick. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and chill for at least an hour and as long as overnight.

Preheat a clean grill to medium high for 8 to 10 minutes with the lid closed. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Place the burgers on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until golden brown and warmed through, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side. About 1 minute before the burgers are done, place the buns, cut-side down, on the grill and cook until lightly toasted.

To serve, place each burger inside a bun and garnish with avocado slices. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Grill Pan: These burgers can easily be made indoors on a grill pan.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

SW Pinto burger

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

When I was doing my 30-day vegetarian challenge back last Fall, my friend Ellen shared a bunch of her favorite recipes.

While one of Ellen’s daughters has been vegetarian for several years, the rest of her family still eats meat.  She explained that it can be hard preparing meals that everyone at her table will eat.  Since I was in the same situation trying to feed my non-vegetarian family too, she kindly shared several dishes that consistently pleased everyone at her table.

This bean burger was a huge hit when I made it.  No one complained … and in fact, everyone asked for seconds! The chipotle mayonnaise really makes the burger stand out.

Most of the ingredients I already had in my pantry.  The only thing I needed to pick up was the cilantro and canned chipotle peppers.  You might be just as lucky.

A helpful hint (or two!) when cooking these burgers. They tend to be a little moist, so be sure to take the time to let them refrigerate for 10 minutes before cooking.  This little step really helps them stay together better. I also recommend using a non-stick skillet to cook them in for easy flipping.

Enjoy!

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine. Click here for the original recipe.

For the burger:
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained

For the Chipotle Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon canned minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce

Remaining ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 (1 1/2-ounce) whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
4 romaine lettuce leaves

To prepare burgers, combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. Add pinto beans and corn; partially mash with a fork. Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 3 1/2-inch patty, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

To prepare chipotle mayonnaise, combine mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon chipotle in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until thoroughly heated. Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top each patty with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 lettuce leaf, and top half of bun.

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

 

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan can be made in a multitude of ways.  Sometimes the eggplant is fried, other times it is baked.  Sometimes the eggplant is served over a bed of tomato sauce, other times it is baked in a sauce.

Personally, I like it best baked in a tomato sauce with lots of cheese.

I love the texture of a crispy eggplant that is fried, but for everyday meals, frying is just too messy and who needs that extra fat?  In my version, I use Panko breadcrumbs to give the eggplant that same crispy coating you would get by frying … but instead the eggplant is baked in the oven.

Serve with a big salad or sautéed spinach.

Enjoy!

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
4 cups marinara tomato sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a shallow bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. Place the beaten egg in a third shallow bowl.

Generously season both sides of the eggplant slices with salt and pepper. Next dip the eggplant in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off. Then dredge the eggplant through the Parmesan breadcrumbs, evenly coating on both sides.

Place the eggplant slices on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes.  Turn slices over and bake until browned on the other side, about 20 more minutes.

Spread 1 1/3 cups tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange the eggplant in an even layer in the dish. Cover with another 1 1/3 cup of sauce and 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, sauce, and cheese.  Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top.

Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 6.

 

 

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

With Halloween this week, I thought my Meatless Monday recipe should be pumpkin-inspired!

Pumpkins and winter squashes like the butternut and acorn varieties are both of the gourd family and can be used interchangeably in most cases.  I love the flavor of the sweet “meat” of Butternut squash.  It’s my favorite of the winter squashes. I use it in soups, salads and dishes like this one.

Risotto sounds complicated, but it is actually very easy to make. All it takes is a little patience to wait for the rice to absorb the liquid.

This is the basic recipe for making risotto. Once you have mastered this simple recipe, you can make any flavor combination you are craving.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Risotto

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 pound)
5 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion (half a small onion)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel, halve, and remove the seeds from the squash. Cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. In a medium saucepan place the squash and enough water to cover by 1-inch. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until fork-tender, but not too soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepot over high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to low.

In a large saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter and oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure all the grains are coated. Cook until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the white wine and simmer uncovered until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup of the stock. The risotto is done when the rice is tender, but still firm.

Stir in the cooked squash and the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the squash is reheated and the cheese is melted, about 2 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Recipe from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Collyn Wainwright was the first person to introduce me to grilled pizzas. It was close to 10 years ago and I still remember it.  Sautéed wild mushrooms and smoked mozzarella on a slightly charred pizza crust. Heaven!

The sky is the limit on variations you can make, but this is a good starter recipe. The smoked mozzarella and the kalamata olives add great flavor to a “not-so-traditional” pizza margarita.

You can use this same technique with your favorite pizza toppings. Since the crust cooks rather quickly, it is best to use toppings that are pre-cooked or thinly sliced.

If you choose to add tomato sauce, be sure to lightly sauce your pizza. Too much liquid will result in a soggy crust.

Also when grilling pizzas, the lid is your best friend. Use the lid to control the heat as well as to help your toppings to cook and melt more quickly.

You have lots of options for the pizza dough. You can always make you own – click here for my recipe. For a short cut, you can now find pizza dough in the refrigerated section of most markets. Gourmet varieties are available, but to be honest, that first  delicious grilled pizza I had years ago at Collyn’s house was made on Pillsbury canned pizza dough! Definitely not gourmet but definitely a great short-cut option! Another route is to pick up dough from your neighborhood pizzeria. I often get dough at my local Whole Foods store from their pizza station.

Enjoy!

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Vegetable oil, for the grates
Unbaked pizza dough, enough for a 12-inch pizza
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound smoked mozzarella, coarsely shredded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Preheat a clean grill to medium with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Let the pizza dough come to room temperature. Place the dough ball onto a baking sheet. Using your hands, gently flatten, and pull into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Brush the crust with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the dough to the grill, oiled-side down. Close the lid and cook until the dough begins to bubble on the top, about 2 minutes. Working quickly, brush the dough with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn and top with the mozzarella, tomatoes, and olives. Close the lid again and cook until golden and crisp on the bottom and the cheese is melted, 4 to 5 minutes more.

Remove the pizza from the grill. Evenly sprinkle the basil over the top of the cooked pizza. Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Cashew Noodle Salad with Miso-Ginger Grilled Tofu Skewers

Cashew Noodle Salad with Miso-Ginger Tofu Skewers

I am a huge fan of the Cashew Noodle Salad at Whole Foods.  It is super delish.  That said, I think this homemade version is even better!

When I was writing my cookbook Simply Grilling, I asked my friend Justin Fox Burks (who was also my photographer for the book as well as author of the fabulous food blog www.theChubbyVegetarian.com) for a tofu recipe.  I knew tofu was tasty when grilled but I don’t have much experience cooking with it. Since Justin is my go-to guy for all things vegetarian, I knew he would have a great recipe for me. Little did I know, I would actually be getting two great recipes in one!

Let’s start with the Tofu.

Tofu on its own tends to be pretty bland.  Justin recommended that I marinate it in something very flavorful … like the Miso-Ginger marinade in this recipe. Other than the red miso paste and mirin, all the ingredients were items I already had on hand.  Luckily the miso and the mirin have a good shelf life, so I was able to find other uses for these Asian ingredients.  (Eggplant is excellent when marinated in miso by the way! There is a recipe for it in Simply Grilling.) A plus for this recipe, the marinade gets a second life as a sauce to brush over the cooked tofu. Nothing goes to waste.

Justin also passed along an invaluable tip about grilling and searing tofu … Lightly dusting tofu in cornstarch prevents it from sticking.  Worked like a charm!

Oh … and be sure to get the extra-firm tofu when grilling it.  Otherwise it will fall apart on the grill.

Now for part two of the recipe … the Cashew Noodle Salad.

As I mentioned before, I am a huge fan of the version at Whole Foods.  It’s a meal in itself or a tasty side. I had heard about Justin’s homemade version from friends, and was thrilled when I saw it in this recipe. It couldn’t be an easier to make and I think his version has more flavor and kick. (Must be that Sambal chili paste!) If it isn’t devoured right after making it, it does last for a several days in the fridge.

So, my first “Meatless Monday” recipe is really a two-for-one deal!  Make them together or separately.  But be sure to give them a try!

Enjoy!

Cashew Noodle Salad with Miso-Ginger Tofu Skewers

From Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

For the Cashew Noodle Salad:
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Sambal chili paste
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/2 pound spaghetti or soba noodles, cooked per package directions and cooled

For the Miso-Ginger Tofu Skewers:
1 tablespoon red miso paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
2  tablespoons water
Dash of sriracha
1 block (14-ounce) extra firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
Vegetable oil, for the grates
Skewers (if using bamboo, soak in water for 30 minutes)
Corn starch, for dusting

To make the Cashew Noodle Salad: Place the cashews, soy sauce, sambal, sesame oil, mirin, rice vinegar, and garlic into a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Place the noodles in a large bowl. Add the cashew sauce and sliced scallions. Toss to until well coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the Miso-Ginger Tofu Skewers: In a shallow nonreactive dish just large enough to hold the tofu in a single layer, stir together the miso paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, mirin, ginger, garlic, sugar, water, and sriracha. Place the tofu in the marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and marinate for at least an hour or as long as overnight.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Remove the tofu from the marinade. Shake off the excess and pat dry. Thread the tofu onto the skewers. Lightly dust with the cornstarch.

Strain the marinade and place into a small pot over medium-high heat to reduce.

Allow mixture to reduce by half or until slightly thickened.

Place the tofu on the grill. Close the lid and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes on the first side. Turn over and lightly brush with the reduced marinade. Cook an additional 4 minutes. Remove from the grill and brush again with the marinade.

To serve, place the tofu skewers on top of the cashew noodle salad.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: Lightly dusting the tofu skewers on both sides with corn starch will help prevent sticking and allow the reduced marinade to cling to the tofu.

Food Fact: Miso paste is a traditional Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans. There are two main varieties available: Red (aka) or White (shiro). Look for it in the Asian foods or refrigerator sections of your local market.

Do-Ahead: The cashew noodle salad will last up to a week covered and refrigerated. In fact, it is one of those dishes that some say tastes even better the second day.

Vegetarian and Vegan.

The photo was taken by the talented Justin Fox Burks.


Jennifer Chandler

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