Five tasty, low-calorie (and meat-free) dishes that are easy to make
Humans are becoming more health-conscious all the time. As we learn more about the health benefits of plant-based diets, and the detrimental effects of diets high in red and processed meat (obesity, heart disease, cancer, etc.), this means more and more people are turning to vegetarian and vegan options. The impact of meat production on the environment (methane, one of the most potent and destructive greenhouse gases, comes mostly from livestock) is yet another reason to cut back on meat consumption, or cut it out altogether. What follows is a list of five great vegetarian recipes that, in addition to being easy to prepare, will make you feel better both physically and morally.
Vegan Collard Greens Burritos (from Minimalist Baker)
2 cups Raw Walnut Taco “Meat” *
3/4 cup Mexican Cheese Spread * (or something similar store-bought)
4 large collard greens* (as big and fresh as possible)
1 cup alfalfa, broccoli, or radish sprouts
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 small ripe avocado
1/2 cup pickled red onion (or thinly sliced radish)
1/2 cup Red Salsa (or store-bought)
Prepare vegan taco meat and cheese spread if you haven’t already. For the cheese spread, we used the recipe for the spread and added a little hot water to thin. Be careful not to get the cheese too thin or it will make for extra-messy burritos.
Place washed collard green leaves on a cutting board and cut off the large stems at the base. Then use a knife to thinly shave along the remaining stem at the base of the collard green to thin until pliable (this helps ease the rolling process).
Place a collard green leaf on a cutting board and top with 1/2 cup raw taco meat, 1/4 cup sprouts, 1/4 cup cilantro, a couple slices of avocado, pickled onion (or radish), and a few spoonfuls Mexican Cheese Spread and Red Salsa (see photo).
Roll one end of collard leaf over the fillings lengthwise. Then fold the ends in, roll again, and place wrap seam-side down on a serving plate. Repeat previous step with the remaining collard leaves and fillings. Best when fresh. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator up to 2 days.
Cucumber Salad (from Chelsea’s Messy Apron)
1 pint ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
5 small Persian cucumbers, coined
2 large avocados, diced
1 large corn on the cob, corn cut off the cob
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
If desired, grill the corn on the cob (we love it grilled or added raw!) For grilling directions see post.
In a large salad bowl, combine the halved cherry tomatoes, coined Persian cucumbers, diced avocados, and the corn cut from the cob.
For the vinaigrette add all the ingredients together in a mason jar. Add salt and pepper to taste; I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and then add more to the salad overall. Shake the dressing well right before pouring over the salad.
Pour the dressing over the salad, toss, and enjoy immediately! This salad doesn’t sit well with the avocado and dressing so don’t add either until right ready to eat!
Balsamic Roasted Veggie Wraps (from The Toasted Pine Nut)
2 red bell peppers
1 sweet onion
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 garlic clove, minced
4 oz honey goat cheese
4 of your favorite wraps, I used a coconut wraps (linked in blog post)
1 cup baby spinach or your favorite greens
Preheat oven to 400F.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a large bowl.
Cut the pepper into thick 1 inch strips and then coarsely cut into 2 – 3 inch pieces.
Put the peppers into the bowl with the eggplant.
Coarsely chop the onion into about 4 inch pieces and then put into the large bowl.
Add the avocado oil, sea salt, and minced garlic to the bowl and toss until all the veggies are coated.
Transfer the veggies to the lined baking sheet and spread out in a single layer.
Roast in oven for 40 minutes.
Place 1 oz goat cheese in each wrap along with about 1/4 cup of the baby spinach.
Add a scoop of the roasted vegetables and fold in the corners of the wrap.
Warm a pan or skillet to heat and toast the outside of the wrap -you can also use a panini press. Place the folded side on the warmed pan and flip after a few minutes or once that side is golden brown.
Serve with some balsamic vinegar for drizzling or dipping!
Crispy Peanut Tofu and Cauliflower Rice Stir-Fry (from Minimalist Baker)
12 ounces extra-firm tofu (organic & non-GMO if possible*)
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 small head cauliflower
2 cloves garlic (minced // 2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp or 6 g)
1 1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce (tamari for GF eaters)
1/4 cup light brown sugar (or honey if not vegan)
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
2 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter or almond butter (natural, salted)
Veggies: baby bok choy, green onion, red pepper, broccoli
Toppings: fresh lime juice, cilantro, sriracha
Begin by draining tofu 1.5 hours before you want your meal ready. If your block of tofu is larger than 12 ounces, trim it down. You don’t need a full pound for this recipe (see notes).
Roll tofu in an absorbent towel several times and then place something heavy on top to press. I use a pot on top of a cutting board and sometimes add something to the pot to add more weight. Do this for 15 minutes.
Near the end of draining, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and cube tofu. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes to dry/firm the tofu. Once baked, remove from oven and let cool.
Prepare sauce by whisking together ingredients until combined. Taste and adjust flavor as needed. I often add a little more sweetener and peanut butter.
Add cooled tofu to the sauce and stir to coat. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes to saturate the tofu and infuse the flavor.
In the meantime, shred your cauliflower into rice by using a large grater or food processor. You don’t want it too fine, just somewhat close to the texture of rice. Set aside. Mince garlic if you haven’t already done so, and prepare any veggies you want to add to the dish (optional).
Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat (6 out of 10), and if adding any veggies to your dish, cook them now in a bit of sesame oil and a dash of soy sauce. Remove from pan and set aside and cover to keep warm.
Use a slotted spoon to spoon tofu into the preheated pan. Add a few spoonfuls of the sauce to coat. Cook, stirring frequently for a few minutes until browned. It will stick to the pan a bit, so don’t worry. Remove from pan and set aside and cover to keep warm.
Rinse your pan under very hot water and scrape away any residue. Place back on oven.
Add a drizzle of sesame oil to the pan, then add garlic and cauliflower rice and stir. Put cover on to steam the “rice.” Cook for about 5-8 minutes until slightly browned and tender, stirring occasionally. Then add a few spoonfuls of sauce to season and stir.
Place cauliflower rice and top with veggies and tofu. Serve with any leftover sauce. Leftovers reheat well and will keep covered in the fridge for up to a couple days.
Zucchini Pizza Boats (from Well Plated)
4 medium zucchini
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup pizza sauce — or similar prepared marinara sauce
1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese — or a blend of shredded mozzarella and provolone
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4–1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes — optional
1/4 cup mini pepperoni — or mini turkey pepperoni or regular-size pepperoni, sliced into quarters
2 tablespoons freshly ground Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, thyme, or other fresh herbs
MORE OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:
Sliced baby bella mushrooms
Diced red onion
Veggies of choice! — sauté if they are watery or very firm
Place a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet or 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
Halve each zucchini lengthwise. With a small spoon or melon baller, gently scrape out the center zucchini flesh and pulp, leaving a border of about 1/3 inch on all sides. Arrange the zucchini shells on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the insides of the zucchini with salt.
Spoon the pizza sauce into each shell, dividing it evenly. You may need a little more or less, depending upon the size of your zucchini. Put a generous amount, but don’t feel like you need to fill it all the way to the very top.
Sprinkle the mozzarella over the top, then evenly sprinkle with Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes (if using). Scatter on the pepperoni and any other desired toppings. Last, sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is hot and bubbly and the zucchini is tender. If desired, switch the oven to broil and cook the zucchini for 2 to 3 additional minutes, until the cheese is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped fresh basil. Serve immediately.