My favorite cooking pastime is to take old family recipes, both mine and TJ’s and transform them into Vegan ones. As I’ve shared before, I don’t like ‘fake’ meats or seafood which are nothing but highly processed plant proteins made to look like the original.
In many recipes, simply leaving out the animal proteins or substituting ingredients such as mushrooms, beans and legumes is sufficient. Stuffed vegetables are common all throughout Eastern Europe and the Middle East. This recipe is a little labor intensive but worth the effort.
Stuffed Summer Bounty
Line a large pot with grape or lettuce leaves and set aside. Prepare peppers, squashes, onions, tomatoes, kohlrabi, potatoes or any combination of veggies for stuffing by carving into vessels. Sauté a chopped onion in a tbsp of oil. Cut up the removed veggie pieces and add to the onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add 2 cups cooked rice or cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup of cooked lentils and 1/4 cup of golden raisins. Add 2 tbsp of chopped dill and the zest of a lemon. Mix well. Stuff each vegetable with the rice mixture and arrange them in prepared pot. Mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of tomato sauce and the juice if a lemon and pour over stuffed veggies. Cover and steam on low for 30-45 min. With the tip of a long knife, check if veggies are cooked but firm. Do not disturb arrangement till ready to serve then gently lift each vessel onto a platter and drizzle with sauce. Add more dill if desired.
Cooked quinoa is a great protein addition to any veggie dish. It has a nutty yet neutral flavor and it is lighter than rice. It comes in many varieties with little difference in taste.
Tabuli with Quinoa
Finely chop a red onion, 2-3 ripe tomatoes and a small cucumber, a cup of parsley and a 1/2 cup of mint and place in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, the juice of one lemon and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add 2 cups of cooked quinoa and stir well. Taste and re-season. Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce or stuffed inside tomatoes for a nicer presentation.
Asian Style Zucchini with Pasta
Cook one pound of asian glass noodles, drain and set aside. Using a veggie peeler, cut 3-4 zucchinis into ribbons resembling the pasta. In a large pot, sauté one chopped onion till golden, add 2 crushed garlic cloves, one tsp of grated ginger and the zucchini ribbons. Cook for 5 minutes and season with salt, pepper and chopped cilantro. Toss with pasta and drizzle with toasted sesame oil. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.
Saute one chopped onion, one chopped green pepper and one chopped red pepper till golden. Clean and chop 2-3 pounds of mushrooms, such as Cremini, Oyster or White button and add to pot. Stir in 2-3 chopped tomatoes and cook for 5-6 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and sweet paprika. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and serve over brown rice, pasta, quinoa or potatoes.