Updated: Aug 16, 2019
When I think of vegetarian foods, the only thing that would come to my mind was "BLAND," right? Wrong! I am excited to report that I have figured out the secret. Since there is no animal protein, I have found that cooking certain ingredients separately really lends itself to a much more flavorful dish at the end. This is a technique that I have been incorporating into my cooking for years but I am finding extra helpful in my vegetarian dishes
Now for the other challenge, how to satisfy my boys with a vegetarian dish. Well for the past year and half I have been trying to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into our diet but it either ends up not being all that satisfying or just blah. I have been looking for inspiration and inspiration I got. I was at a photography workshop a few weeks back and all the meals served there where all vegan. I could not believe how satisfying and delicious a meal can be. I came back from that trip inspired and determined to come up with new recipes. This is not to say I have gone completely vegetarian but I am pretty determined to incorporate more of these meals into our diet.
So now more than ever I am determined to come up with vegetarian dishes that will even have your toughest critic asking for seconds. I am on a mission to bring deliciousness to your vegetarian dishes.
What better time is there than now, with SPRING in full swing and our local farmers market providing such beautiful produce it has proven to be the best time for this experiment to take off. I am excited to report that I have come up with my first recipe of the season.
Serves 4-5 (depending on portions)
Ingredients for Swiss chard pesto:
Swiss Chard 2 cups (roughly chopped)
Mint (only leaves) 1/2 cup
Fresh Garlic (or 2-3 cloves of garlic) 1 bulb OR 2-3 cloves of garlic
Parmesean 1 cup
Roasted whole almonds 1/4 cup
Extra Vigin Olive oil 1/3 cup plus as needed
Juice and zest of one lemon
salt/red pepper flakes
Directions: Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until finely chopped. Keep in mind you may have to add extra olive oil to the mixture. When ready, set it aside for later use.
Directions: Preheat your oven to 400 F (Roast). Thinly slice the eggplant and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. Season and drizzle oil on the eggplant and roast for 20-25. They should be softened and golden brown.
Things to look out for: every oven is different, so be on the look out so you don't end up with burnt eggplants. If you want even browning, turn the eggplant slices at the half way point.
Oyster Mushrooms 3/4cup
Shitakee Mushrooms 3/4cup
olive oil 2-3 TBS
sumac 1/2 TSP
freshly ground black pepper/ To taste
salt To taste
mushroom substitutes: It can also be combination of Bella mushrooms and Shitakee.
Directions: Thinly slice the mushrooms and start heating (medium) up your pan. Place the mushrooms in the pan and then drizzle the oil on top. Let it cook for about 5 min, but keep and eye on it and stir once in a while to get even browning.When your mushrooms have gotten some color, add the seasonings. Stir to combine and cook for another 1-2 min. When ready place in a bowl for later use.
Leek 1(use the white portion only)
Olive oil 1 1/2 TBS
Directions: Heat up your dutch oven on medium heat. Now add the oil and your thinly sliced leeks. Cook and stir for about 2 min, then place the lid on your dutch oven and turn the temp down to low. Cook until it has softened and caramelized. It can take up to 10min but keep an eye on it and stir frequently.
Crispy Bread :
Butter & Olive oil
Directions: get your pan heated up and start by adding 1/2 TBS of butter and about 1TBS of olive oil and place your bread of choice on to the pan. If you are placing two slices of bread at time, keep in mind you may need to add additional oil. Mine got nice and crisp due to the quantity of oil and the flavor is beyond delicious.
Finally deliciousness is on the way. Get your FRESH MOZZARELLA or choice of cheese ready and start assembling. This is the order:
Bread, pesto, caramelized leeks, alternate your roasted eggplants with mozzarella and top it off with the crispy mushrooms.
Extra garnishes: micorgreens, finely diced tomatoes(no seeds) and more seasoning if needed.