Archive for April, 2009

Easy Vegetarian Fried Rice

Easy Vegetarian Fried Rice
Easiness: **
Greenness: vegan (vegetarian with egg)

vegetable oil
Jasmine rice (cooked according to package directions)
Bag of mixed stir-fried vegetables
Grated ginger
diced onions
diced garlic
green onions
lemon juice
cherry tomatoes
tofu crumbled
soy sauce or “Kwang He Sung” sauce
Optional: egg and oyster sauce

Directions: Fry the tofu in a wok or saute pan until cooked, then remove and reserve on a separate plate. Fry the vegetables until crisp tender, remove and reserve. Quickly beat and then fry the egg, remove and reserve *omit this step for vegan recipe. (Add more oil whenever you need to.) Fry the ginger and garlic for just a minute in hot oil, stirring the food around so that the oil is flavored. Add onion, fry, then add the rice. Add more oil and sauces and any other flavorings you want, until the rice tastes good. Throw in all the reserved ingredients, mix it all together, then add diced cherry tomatoes, sliced scallions, and a splash of lemon juice.
Recipe from LJ User Newbia


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Black Beans & Brown Rice

Black Beans and Brown Rice Recipe
Easiness: **
Greenness: vegetarian (can be made vegan by omitting cheese)

2 cups uncooked rice
1 can black beans
1/2 an onion
1 tbsp oil, canola or olive
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
your choice of salsa
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (more if you like things cheesy, I am lactose intolerant so I keep it to a minimum)
green onions, chopped, to taste
fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste

Cook the rice, according to package directions.
While the rice is cooking, sautee garlic and onions in oil until they smell fragrant and are starting to brown. Open the can of beans into a colander and rinse well. (This reduces the extra sodium that canning adds.) Dump beans into sautee pan with onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until beans start to split.

When rice is finished, stir in beans, onion and garlic. Add cheese, cilantro, green onions, and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything well and then serve, topping with salsa.

Recipe from LJ User Rasputin Fish

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Tofu Enchiladas

Tofu Enchiladas Recipe
Easiness: ***
Greenness: vegetarian (can be made vegan by omitting cheese or using vegan cheese)

1 lg. yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks of green onion, sliced into rings (use both the onion part and the green part)
1/4 c. oil
1 portion tofu
Pepper to taste
Salt (optional)
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 can black olives, sliced
4 yellow corn tortillas (increase the number if you want more enchiladas!)
1 c. Cheddar cheese, grated
1 can enchilada sauce (or you can make your own by combining 1 can crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic, onion)

Slice tofu into 1/2″ slices. Fry in a pan with a small amount of oil until lightly browned. Add salt and pepper, chili powder. Remove from heat, slice into cubes and set aside.

Add oil to a pan and cook the onions (use the onion part of the green onion not the chive part) until onions are translucent. Combine with the onions and sprinkle with the olives. This will complete the enchilada filling.

Cook the tortillas slightly in a pan in order to soften them and make them easier to work with. Fill tortillas with the tofu mixture and roll them up. Place them side by side (it’s okay if they touch) in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Cover them in enchilada sauce and sprinkle them with cheese then the green onion stems (chives). Heat at 350 degrees in the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden and slightly crispy at the edges. Devour!

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All About EGGS – An Easter Article

While this may not be about vegetarian cooking, per say, I feel it is important to say something on the subject of Easter eggs. Many holidays in the U.S. and elsewhere are focused around food, many times around foods that are not entirely in keeping with the vegetarian or vegan diet (Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ham, and, of course, Easter eggs). In this blog I’ll be posting some vegan and vegetarian options for Easter and other holidays. Feel free to share your creations with your family and friends!

The facts
Even if you’re a lacto-ovo vegetarian, consider giving up eggs on Easter in order to make a statement.
Every Easter, the sales of eggs in the US spike higher than the last. People purchase the eggs for decorating and eating.
The egg was chosen to represent Easter as a symbol of re-birth. It is ironic considering that the eggs you buy in the supermarket represent quite the opposite.
What many don’t realize is that the egg industry, which benefits from these holiday sales, is one of the cruelist animal-related industries in the United States.
U.S. grocery-bought eggs are the product of over 300 million laying hens, most of them (approx. 95%) kept in battery cages- confined spaces where three to ten hens at a time are grouped together with little room to move. The life of a battery cage hen is a sad one. It begins with having their beak sawed off with a hot blade, often suffering multiple illnesses due to poor living conditions while they are forced to lay eggs, and ends with them being starved, shackled and hung upside down until they are numb enough to have their throats cut. This kind of treatment is considered fair and humane in many US states, although many European countries have forbidden the use of battery cages.

If you choose to stop eating eggs, there are a number of vegan products and egg alternatives available to help you make the switch. Your feathered friends will thank you! See below for a list of egg alternatives.
If you do continue to buy eggs, please please buy free range, certified organic eggs. Although this label does not protect the hens from certain practices like forced molting, it does ensure that they are fed a vegetarian diet and allowed room to roam. Buying from a farmer’s market is often a good option as you can ask the farmer directly how the hens are kept.
For more information about the egg industry, visit

Photo by WasabiNoise, Flickr User:
Vegan and Cruelty Free Alternatives
1. Make Your Own CLAY Easter Eggs – Not only do these allow you to express your creativity while shaping them, but you can paint them when they’re dry! A bonus is they last longer than the shell kind and you can keep a collection of them year after year! PETA has a great recipe for the clay if you don’t want to buy it in the store. FIMO is a great, air-drying clay that comes in many colors!
2. Papier-Mâché Eggs – Fun to make and simple too! Also paintable! Check out the PETA page for a recipe and instructions.
3. Chocolate Eggs – Make your own following a recipe from PETA. Or you can buy some vegan chocolate eggs from A Lot of Chocolate
4. Plastic Eggs – Great for hiding treats in! Have an Easter egg hunt!
5. Wood Eggs – Available at your local craft store! Great for painting!

Egg alternatives for cooking
Ener-G –A great egg alternative.
Orgran No Egg – Available online & at many health food stores.
Dixie Diner’s Club Egg NOT! – An egg alternative that is recommended for cooking. Buy from the manufacturer or in your local vegan-friendly store.

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BBQ – Vegetarian Style!

Fourth of July Vegetarian Options
When I first became a vegetarian, I was pretty vexed by cookouts. I would show up to the big 4th of July or Labor Day BBQ with a patriotic appetite, only to find my stomach still grumbling by the end of the day for lack of a satisfying meal (the only vegetarian options being Kettle Chips, potato salad, and watermelon). Meanwhile, my meat eating friends would have their bellies stuffed full of hamburgers, hot dogs and so on. I eventually figured out that the best way to cope with this sort of situation is to bring something you want to eat, and grill it yourself!

Vegetarian BBQ Ideas and Options
While Garden Burgers may not make for the best grillables, there are lots of other vegetarian burger options that taste great after a good grill.
1. Boca Burgers – Boca makes some great soy burgers that taste pretty darn good after a good char! Try basting the burgers with a marinade (teriyaki for example) and adding grilled onions on a toasted sesame bun! They even make a soy burger especially made for the BBQ- The All American Flame Grilled!
2. Soy Hot Dogs – While these little fellas taste far from an actual hot dog, they’re delicious after a quick sizzle on the grill. Be careful when turning and picking up. These guys cook fast and will sometimes pop, blister, or even break in half if not watched closely! Wrapping in aluminum foil may help with this. Add vegetarian chili and cheese to make a chili dog, or chopped onions and tomatoes!
3. Baked Potatoes – An easy and inexpensive option! Wrap the potato in foil or place directly on the grill. Add sour cream and sliced green onions for a delicious snack!
4. Grilled Vegetables – The following vegetables are excellent for grilling: onions (red, yellow, or white), mushrooms, tomato, bell pepper, leeks, potato, yam, eggplant, turnip, carrot, zucchini, okra, asparagus, and more!

5. Grilled Eggplant Sandwich – Slice some eggplant slices into rings. Place directly on the grill. Turn over midway through cooking to make sure both sides are cooked. You can add a marinade of olive oil and oregano for extra flavor. When done, place between two slices of ciabiatta bread and add some mayonaise or veganaise, mustard, and arugula. Salt and pepper can be added to taste.
6. Grilled Bell Pepper and Feta Sandwich – Another tasty sandwich option. Grill the bell pepper, then slice into strips. Sandwich between two slices of ciabiatta bread with some feta or arugula!
7. Vegetable Kebabs – Not only are kebabs easy to cook, but they’re easy to eat! Chop up some veggies into “chunks” and skewer on a wood skewer. Place on the grill and rotate until all the veggies are cooked. You can also baste them with a marinade of oil, garlic, lemon, and herbs for extra flavor. Make sure it’s cool before you devour! Here are some excellent veggies for kebabs: onions (red, yellow, or white), mushrooms, tomato, bell pepper, leeks, potato, yam, eggplant, turnip, carrot, zucchini, okra, asparagus, and more!
8. Corn on the cob – An old favorite! Just make sure you bring extras because your meat-eating friends will undoubtedly want to try some! Add salt and / or butter to taste.
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Grilling Tips & Ideas for Vegetarian Cookouts
-If you don’t want to bring your own grill, and you don’t want your veggies to taste like meat, try wrapping your veggies in aluminum foil before placing them on the grill.
-Veggies tend to cook quicker then meats, so make sure you keep an eye on them and don’t wait until your friend says the burgers are ready to remove your treasures from the grill!
-Try different marinades and glazes to baste your veggies with for extra flavor. Olive oil, herbs, garlic, and lemon makes a zesty combination while chili pepper, cumin, black pepper and paprika turn up the temperature.
-Bring along some dips to dunk your veggies in! Ranch dressing (or vegan ranch) is great on cooked carrots and zucchini. Tzatziki (a greek yogurt sauce), hummus or pesto also make excellent dips.
-Try turning your grilled veggies into a sandwich or kebab.
-In the mood for something sweet? Try grilling up some fruits! Peaches, apples, and pears taste excellent post-grill! And if you’re up for something a little more elaborate, go here for some vegetarian grilled dessert options, many vegan and vegetarian:

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Egyptian Koshari

Easiness: ***
Greenness: vegan

1 cup basmati rice
1 cup red lentils
1 cup elbow macaroni
0.5 cup chickpeas

For the sauce:
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 cup water
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, more to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
0.5 onion, diced

Pre-soaking the lentils and especially the chickpeas is recommended before cooking them. Alternately, canned chickpeas can be used. (Drained, one third of the can.) Cook the rice, chickpeas, and lentils until tender, the macaroni until al dente.

In a sealable container (I use a large Tupperware), layer the rice, the lentils, and the macaroni, and then the chickpeas. To make the sauce, mix the tomato paste and water in a saucepan, put on medium low heat, add the cumin, black pepper and vinegar, mixing them in well. Heat the sauce for approximately 5 minutes. Saute the diced onions in olive oil until crisp, drain off the excess oil.

To serve, scoop 1.5 cups of the koshari into an individual bowl, pour the sauce over the serving, and garnish with 1 tablespoon of the onions. Add vinegar and black pepper to taste. Makes about 7 servings.

Recipe by LJ User Lydia_Golis. Thanks!

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Black Bean-Smothered Sweet Potatoes

Easiness: **
Greenness: vegan

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 medium tomato, diced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (can be omitted)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (can be omitted)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (can be omitted)
Optional 2 tablespoons sour cream

1. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork in several places. Microwave on High until tender all the way to the center, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425ºF until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.)
2. Meanwhile, combine beans, tomato, oil, cumin, coriander and salt in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave on High until just heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, heat in a small saucepan over medium heat.)
3. When just cool enough to handle, slash each sweet potato lengthwise, press open to make a well in the center and spoon the bean mixture into the well. Top each with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Recipe from:

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