Though many vegetarians have a signature vegetable burger, I'm not one really to serve patties in bread typically. Sure, I do make little bites all of the time, usually served with some chutney or sauce, alongside a meal. Often they even make up the entrée, paired with rice, a vegetable side and perhaps a flat bread. But somehow I got to thinking that maybe I did want to come up with a "veg burger" and, after much thought, I am now sharing a vegetable burger that, in all modesty, I will assert is probably the best that I have ever eaten.
Everything is here. Legumes, grains and vegetables. On top of that, they are baked rather than fried. I served them in a toasted English muffin, with some spinach leaves and a simple spicy tomato chutney, with a pickle on the side. So excited was I with the result that I called up my best friend Basil to drop over for a little bite. The verdict was a positive one, echoing my husband's rave review.
As much as I enjoy a simple pot of fresh cooked and buttered white rice to go along with my meals, I'm always on the hunt for other quick and easy ideas for rice. That's why I zoomed in almost immediately upon this ridiculously simple but wonderfully inventive recipe for peanut butter rice when I recently received a copy of A Taste of Tanzania: Modern Swahili Recipes for the West by Miriam Rose Kinunda. Why had I never thought of this before? Just stir in some natural peanut butter and salt into the rice cooking water, and you've got a pot of delicately flavorful rice that not only adds a little protein to your dinner but also quite nicely tempers the heat of a spicy curry if you happen to be serving one. This easy idea is in my permanent repertory of rice dishes now. I'm interested to try it with other nut butters like almond or cashew, but I do find that the peanut butter has a much more pronounced taste that will go along with other stronger flavored meals.
This easy and attractive chutney was made up to go along with curried quinoa and wild rice savory cakes. Bold and assertive, with a layering of intriguing sweet, tart and peppery flavors from the mango, coconut, fresh orange and lime juices, dried apricots, chilies and cilantro, this a refreshing accompaniment to Indian savories. Also consider serving alongside basmati rice and a soup or dal curry for a most satisfying meal.
After successfully baking falafel instead of frying them, it was time to take things further with a twist. This time I used quinoa in place of the chickpeas. The rather unauthorized mixture of nutty quinoa and tahini was nearly authentic in taste in texture, sans chickpeas. Go figure, but it worked perfectly. The lemon tahini sauce I served them with was the bomb. If desired, you can serve them in pita pockets with the sauce.
Thankfully, I rarely dine alone, but on this occasion, I almost wished I did because I wanted to keep them all to myself. Well, that is a bit of an exaggeration, as I always enjoy serving food to my husband and best friend Basil. However, they are really easy to make so surely these are now a frequent addition to the table. I am one of those grazers that likes to snack on various things throughout the day, rather than to eat large meals and these are simply ideal. Certainly, this is a new healthy favorite.
It may not be berry season, but I've been eating a lot of fresh blueberries lately, often just with a bit of yogurt. Well the craving hit for something sweet, and so this moist ricotta pound cake bursting with berry goodness was formed. I am sharing this just in time for Valentine's Day. It is satisfying anytime of year, any day of the week of course. My husband and I enjoyed it for breakfast, lunch, dessert and for a late night snack. It's really not too sweet either, with most of the sweetness coming from the berries. Stored in an airtight container, it stays fresh for a few days.
One of the earliest Greek dishes I made at home, after mastering Greek salad, was baked Gigantes in a rich, herbed tomato sauce. I've since explored the delights of Greek cuisine in more detail and I've yet to be disappointed. The Mediterranean diet is often considered to be one of the healthiest on the planet, so why not explore.
Craving Greek fare again, I made this stovetop version with gigantes and tomatoes as part of a Greek themed meal. It was an ideal accompaniment to a cauliflower gratin with Feta and olives and a Greek-style rice. I'll be sharing those recipes over the next little while.
I've been noticing quite a few recipes for easy lemon dal dishes floating around and on a night when I really didn't feel like cooking but needed nourishment, I whipped this up in hardly any time at all. Thanks to Siri for the inspiration. There is minimal prep — the whole process is complete in under an hour. It's an especially soothing curry too, for it has a bit of warming kick, although the flavors come together in an elegant way. The fresh lemon juice really brings everything together. It is very easy to digest as well. All you need to complete your meal is rice or bread and a vegetable side if desired.
Perhaps because I am on the small side of the weight spectrum, or maybe because I adore small things and small meals, little bites of goodness often make their way to my dining table and I never seem to tire of such delights. Whether it be grain patties, legume cakes or koftas, or — in this instance — a savory fried goat cheese round, it's my idea of comfort food. Serve these soft creamy and tangy goat cheese cakes with a golden brown crispy outside as an appetizer or even as a side alongside dinner. For a light dinner, I served them up with marinated mushrooms. You might also consider making up a salsa sauce to go with them or this spicy sun-dried tomato paste.
My husband adores my Thai-style soups and curries nearly as much as he enjoys my Indian creations. I made this just as I was coming down with a cold (which I am still fighting) and it was just what I needed. The soup was soothing on the throat, warming and packed full of vital nutrients. Once everything is prepped, it comes together in no time at all and fills the kitchen with the lovely aroma of Thai flavors. The addition of coconut milk lends a delightful creaminess to the soup and surely adds to the elegance.
I was never really crazy about eggplant until a few years ago, but now I often find myself drawn to recipes that showcase this versatile vegetable. Although it doesn't have much flavor in itself, it becomes spongy when cooked and beautifully absorbs fragrant spices and melds well with the other components it's combined with. Those that think they don't like eggplant are very likely to change their mind after feasting on this casserole.
Essentially a vegetarian version of "Country Captain", a popular curried dish in the Southern states that usually contains chicken and is served with rice, eggplant is here used in place of the chicken. The Indian influence is obvious. How could I resist spiced up eggplant with loads of vegetables and chickpeas? Often made on the stovetop, this one is baked. As this is one of the coldest winters I can remember, I have been looking for lots of excuses to turn on the oven these days.
I am pleased to be hosting My Legume Love Affair this month here on this space. As many readers will know, this long running event is the creation of lovely Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook. It's been a popular destination for lovers of all things legumes since 2008. For a year now, I have been the "legume mistress" and will continue as coordinator. Already I have hosts booked up until July and a list of those who have expressed an interest. I will be sorting out that list soon and hopefully filling in the remaining spots for 2014. A special thanks to Susan for her gorgeous logos each month and also for sponsoring a prize. I hope that this event will continue to be a popular spot to share your treasured bean creations.
Now unto the details...
What you need to know to participate:
I own and maintain a vegetarian cooking site, so only entries that are free of meat, fowl and seafood will be accepted. Please only one submission per blogger. Recipes from your archives will be accepted if reposted and updated. You may submit your recipe to other events.
For your dish to be included in the roundup, it must contain more than just a few tablespoons of legumes. The slight exception to this are legumes such as fenugreek or tamarind that typically are used in smaller quantities. Fresh or dried beans, lentils, pulses, and the sometimes edible pods that contain these seeds, carob, peanuts and derivative products like tofu or besan are all acceptable. Please ensure that your shining ingredient is in fact a member of the legume family. All types of cuisines and courses are welcome, so long as the mighty legume is the key ingredient.
Simply showcase your legume-centric dish on your blog by the end of February,
link to this announcement and the ongoing MLLA page. Kindly send a nod to Susan, our beloved creator of MLLA. Use of the logo is optional but appreciated.
Email the following information to legume.lisa AT gmail DOT com:
1. Your name
2. Name of your blog
3. Title and url of your post
4. A photo (320 px wide or larger) - this is optional, but helpful
5. Location, for prize purposes
1) Susan is generously sponsoring a prize that she will ship worldwide, at her own expense. This month she is offering a silicone gel non-stick multi-purpose mould.
Hurst Beans continues as a sponsor meaning US residents have a chance to win a 6-pack assortment of products by the N.K. Hurst Company. Due to shipping restrictions, this prize is restricted to residents of the US.
If the random winner is a resident of the US, they will win both the Hurst Bean Prize and Susan's offering - otherwise a second draw will take place for the Hurst prize from the pool of US residents.
The winner or winners will be contacted via email once a random draw has taken place.
*Note: my immediate family and friends are ineligible to win a prize. Links to products are for non-commercial purposes and intended as prize descriptions. Neither Susan nor myself are receiving monetary or product compensation.