Archive for Vegetarian

Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

When I was trying to figure out what type of vegetarian chili to make for New Year’s Day, none of the recipes I saw completely appealed to me. So what did I do? I combined several recipes and threw in a few extra ingredients for fun! The result was delicious…and spicy!! Consider yourself warned! What I love about this dish is that you can very easily make it your own depending on your specific tastes. Since it was New Year’s Day, I threw in some black-eyed peas and greens. When I make it again throughout the year, I likely won’t use the black-eyed peas and will add more of another type of bean. 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 30 min; Cook Time – 3 hours


6 T. olive oil (better yet, garlic infused oil if you have it)

2 onions, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

5 celery stalks, chopped

2 green peppers, seeded and chopped

2 red peppers, seeded and chopped

4 zucchini, cut into cubes

1 can chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped

2 T. chili powder

2 T. dried oregano 

4-28 oz. cans diced tomatoes with liquid

1 can black beans, drained

1 can red kidney beans, drained

1 can chiles

1 can sweet corn, drained

1 can black-eyed peas, drained

2 bags baby kale

Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Large Pot

Preparing Vegetarian Chili:

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and next 5 ingredients. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the chipotles AND the adobo sauce, oregano, and chili powder. Mix well. Add the tomatoes and simmer, uncovered for 60 minutes. Add all of the beans, corn, chiles and kale. 

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

Simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Serve hot. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired. 

Vegetarian Chili


You can use whatever beans and greens you like. I used the black-eyed peas since it was New Year’s Day and every good Southern knows you need black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day for good luck! 

Got Leftovers?:

Double bag the leftovers in freezer safe resealable bags and it will last through the winter! 

Inside Out Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Inside out grilled cheese sandwich

A friend of mine shared a video on Facebook the other day about a chef making a new version of  the traditional grilled cheese sandwich. It was posted in the San Francisco Globe newspaper. I watched the video and came up with my own version of this Inside Out Grilled Cheese Sandwich!

Level of Difficulty: Easy 
Time Required: Prep Time -5 min; Cook Time – 5-10 min



2 pieces of whole wheat bread (or your bread of choice)

2 slices of sharp cheddar cheese (or your cheese of choice)

1/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Non stick skillet or pan

Preparing Inside Out Grilled Cheese Sandwich:

Melt about 1 T. of butter in a non-stick skillet or pan over medium-low heat. Place both slices of bread on top of the melted butter, with a slice of cheese on each piece.

Inside out grilled cheese sandwich

Once the bread has started to crisp, put one piece of bread on top of the other. Add some shredded cheese on top of the bread.

Inside out grilled cheese sandwich

Flip. Let the melted cheese cook into the bread. Add shredded cheese to the other piece of bread. Flip. Let the melted cheese cook into the bread. Serve hot! 

Inside out grilled cheese sandwich

Important Tips:

You have GOT to cook this on a medium-low temperature, otherwise, you will burn the cheese!

Meal Ideas:

Clearly this goes great with a nice bowl of Roasted Tomato and Tarragon Soup!


Grilled Eggplant Pasta

roasted eggplant pasta

Ok, so I know Denise will never try this with her family but I’m just saying that my 5 year old, who had no idea what she was eating, loved it! It’s simple and tasty and beautiful. It could be a main dish or a side dish, your choice.

Level of Difficulty:Easy
Time Required:Prep Time – 10min; Cook Time – 20 min


1 lb spaghetti rigati (I like the grooves)

2 medium sized eggplants

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Fresh thyme

1 t garlic powder (if I wasn’t cooking on the grill, I’d just roast some garlic cloves with the eggplant in the oven)

Zest of 1 lemon


Feta Cheese

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:


Preparing grilled eggplant pasta:

Get your grill ready for direct heat. If you don’t want to use the grill, you can roast it in the oven too.

Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and garlic powder. Grill flesh side down for about 15-20 minutes.

 grilled eggplant

While it is cooking, cook your pasta. If you need to know the best way to make the best pasta, check out this article.

When the eggplant is done, use a spoon to scrape out the cooked flesh from the skin. Place in a bowl. Add the thyme, lemon zest and parsley. Stir together and mash up the eggplant as you go.

When the pasta is done, drain and add to the bowl with the eggplant but leave a little bit of pasta water too (maybe 1/4 cup). Stir together. Add salt, pepper and olive oil as needed. At the last minute add the feta and serve.

roasted eggplant pasta

 Cut me some slack. Eggplant is probably the one vegetable I am not a huge fan of. If I won’t eat it, my family surely won’t. It’s a texture thing…like seafood! ~Denise

Eggplant Parmigiana

eggplant parm

So we have a light chicken parmigiana and a traditional chicken parmigiana. There is a another great ‘parmigiana’ and that is eggplant. It is great as the star of the meal or as a side dish. Even if you don’t like eggplant, you are likely to really enjoy this!

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 20min; Cook Time – 30 min

Ingredients for 4 servings:

1 large eggplant (or 2 if this is the main course)

1 cups flour

1 eggs

1/4 cup water

1/2  cup regular Italian bread crumbs

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Olive Oil to coat the bottom of a pan

1 lbs fresh buffalo mozzarella

2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or your favorite jarred sauce)

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

12×9 Baking Dishes

How to make eggplant parmigiana:

Wash your eggplant and then cut it into about 1/2 thick slices. Salt and pepper both sides and then let rest for about 15 minutes. This will pull some of the water out of the eggplant so it is not mushy when you cook it. This is an important step, so don’t skip it.

While you are waiting, you can prepare your battering table.

Place 3 shallow bowls out and place flour (+salt and pepper) in one, beaten eggs (+water+salt and pepper) in another, and bread crumbs in the third.

chicken parmigiana

Take a paper towel and pat the eggplant dry. Then you will dredge each piece to coat it in flour, then the egg wash then the bread crumbs.eggplant parm


You’ll want to cover the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and turn over medium high heat. When the oil is hot enough, add 3-4 pieces of eggplant. Cook about 3 minutes on each until browned.


While the first batch is cooking, place about 1 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of each of your baking dishes. As the eggplant is done, set in the baking dish.

Repeat for all the eggplant.

Top each slice of eggplant with a piece of fresh buffalo mozzarella about 1/4 inch thick and a few tablespoons of marinara.

Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and bubbly.eggplant parmesan

Serve over some pasta and with a nice green salad!chicken parm

Shown here with some chicken parmigiana too!

Black Bean Burritos – Bush’s Cocina Latina

bush's cocina latina

Denise is always getting on my case about being too ‘fancy’ and laughing at me for making sauces, rubs and dressing from scratch. Well, here’s one for you that came right out of a can. Who says I don’t know how to rough it?!

bush's cocina latina

This summer I saw this product (Bush’s Cocina Latina) on my grocery store shelves. It was new, looked intriguing, so I thought I’d try it. When I was a teenager and would eat dinner with friends at one of those order by number Mexican restaurants (El Azteca in Sandy Springs ring a bell for any of you?), I used to think the refried beans looked like dog food.  In fact, I’m sure I tormented my friends who actually ate them, sorry about that. As a grown up, I have determined mashed beans are actually pretty good.  This is a great way to eat them and have the family enjoy a yummy, quick, super cheap dinner!

bush's cocina latina

Level of Difficulty: Easy – ri-donk-ulously easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 10min; Cook Time – 20 min

Ingredients for 6 burritos:

1 can Bush’s Cocina Latina Frijoles Negros Machacados (the pinto beans one is great too).

6 Tortillas


Mexican Cheese

Jalapenos, diced (optional)

Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt

Fresh tomatoes

Fresh avocados

How to make black bean burritos:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a few tablespoons of the salsa in the bottom of a large baking dish and move it around until the bottom is lightly covered (to help prevent the tortillas from sticking). Open the can of black beans and spoon 2-3 heaping tablespoons into the center of a tortilla. Top with some fresh jalapenos if you like and add a tablespoon of salsa on top.

Wrap up the tortilla by folding over one long side, then the bottom, then the other side and then the top. Place it seam side down in the baking dish on top of the salsa. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.

Top with some additional salsa and some cheese (however much you like). Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until hot and cheese is bubbly.

Place on plate and top with fresh tomatoes, fresh avocado and sour cream (or whatever parts you like).

Ta Da!! How’s that for great dorm room food!

Well done! I’m very impressed!! – Denise

Stuffed Zucchini

stuffed zucchini

A great vegetarian main dish

When I cooked for church this past Sunday, I added a vegetarian main dish in addition to the meat loaf for those who just did not want a hunk of cow on their plate. I was trying to decide what to cook when I remembered a dish served in The Coca-Cola Company’s headquarters cafeteria sometimes (I used to do some work for TCCC in a prior life). I decided to recreate it a bit on my own and it turned out well.

Healthy, vegetarian, gluten free and yet still tasty!! How about that!

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 20min; Cook Time – 25 min

Ingredients for 6:

3 zucchinis

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup lentils

14 oz diced tomatoes

4 oz diced green chiles

1 t garlic powder

salt and pepper

2 cups marinara sauce

1/4 cup cheese of your choice

How to make stuffed zucchini:

Add 1 cup of lentils to  3 cups of salted water or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to simmer until liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender but not mushy. Set aside.

Drain and rinse a can of black beans and add to a bowl. Add the diced tomatoes and some of their liquid. Add the lentils and the garlic powder. Stir. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon and scrape out some of the insides to make a little ‘boat’. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

vegetarian main dish

In a baking dish, add about 1 cup of the marinara to cover the bottom of the dish. Place the zucchini on top. Fill the boat with the black bean mixture. Top with a the remaining marinara and a little bit of cheese.

vegetarian main dish

Bake about 25 minutes until zucchini is at the desired level of doneness. I like mine a bit more crisp so 20-25 minutes works well.

stuffed zucchini

Stuffed portabella mushroom with spinach and feta

stuffed mushroom

Have you ever had one of those giant portabella caps stuffed with anything? I’ve only had it a couple of times and I love the concept. The stuffed portabella always tastes good.  I decided to experiment on my own and made this the other night.

Level of Difficulty: Easy Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min; Cook Time – 25 min


2 large portabella mushroom caps

1/4 cup onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3T extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

1/2 lb baby leaf spinach

1/4 lb feta cheese, crumbled (my favorite right now I get at Costco – TNUVA Feta, really good!!)

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Grill (could be done in oven too)

Preparing portabella stuffed mushrooms:

Start your grill over medium high heat. Clean the portabella (if you want to know how to properly clean mushrooms, check out this short video)

stuffed mushroom

In a large sauté pan, add olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until golden.

portabella mushroom recipe

Add spinach and sauté until wilted.

portabella caps

Season with salt and pepper. Place spinach in a bowl and let cool a couple of minutes. Add feta and fold in gently.

portabella recipe

Salt and pepper the underside of the portabella cap (where the gills are) and place on grill for about 5 minutes.


Remove from grill and brush the top of the mushroom cap with olive oil. Add spinach mixture.  Return to grill and grill for about 10 minutes or until mushroom is to desired level of tenderness.

stuffed mushroom

Meal Ideas:

You could make this into a meal if your mushroom cap is large enough. If I served it as the main course, I would add some sausage (chorizo preferably) to the spinach mixture. That would be awesome!!

Shown here with blackened tuna with cowboy caviar

seared tuna with stuffed mushroom