Category Archives: Vegetarian
Most of the recipes I looked at used Italian Breadcrumbs. But I really feel these need fresh breadcrumbs, so I’ve included instructions for making your own. I didn’t season mine because I didn’t want them to overpower the delicate flavors of the cheeses. Fresh breadcrumbs absorb flavors and moisture more than packaged ones, so I thought it gave the whole meatball a better, lighter texture. I added a bit of garlic powder (fresh garlic did not work with this, it was overpowering and a touch bitter), basil, oregano and fennel. The fennel really took it up a notch. I think next time I might add a bit of red pepper flake.
Spinach and Ricotta Vegetarian Meatballs
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (instructions below)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese mix
- 1-1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
- 2 tsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- Salt and pepper
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese
- Olive oil
Breadcrumbs: this took a full 1-lb loaf of day-old Italian or French bread. I bought it from the day-old rack for cheap. I tore it into small pieces, spread out on a baking sheet and dried it in a 200 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. I didn’t want them toasted or seasoned because I thought it would overpower the delicate flavors of these meatballs. Once they were dried, I ran them through the blender. I reserved 1/4 cup for rolling the balls in before cooking.
Meatballs: Mix together ricotta, grated cheeses, spinach and spices. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup at a time. You want it to come together to form soft balls, but you don’t want it to be dry. Once you can form a soft ball with some structure, you don’t need to add more breadcrumbs.
Scoop up a heaping tablespoon (I used my cookie dough scoop) and roll the mixture into balls.
Mix together 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated cheeses in a bowl and roll each meatball in the mixture, coating on all sides.
You can bake or pan fry these. I chose to pan fry, it used a bit of oil, but it gave them a nice flavor. Baking them would be my option if I was doubling the recipe.
To fry: heat olive oil in a skillet on medium and add the meatballs, leaving enough space between them to easily turn them. They are soft, so it’s a delicate process. The good news is, if you really want them round (instead of kind of flattened) you can reshape them after they come out of the pan. Turn them until they are golden brown on all sides.
To bake: place them on a well oiled baking sheet or use parchment paper. Brush them with a bit of oil if desired. Leave space around each one so they brown evenly and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. You can turn them halfway through if desired.
Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce
- 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes or better yet, click here to make your own.
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped)
Add ingredients in saucepan, bring to a low boil, reduce to low and let simmer while prepping meatballs.
Serve sauce and meatballs over your favorite pasta.
Well it’s been a whirlwind of activity here and I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress with the house and garden. Lots of cooking going on for friends and family because I love working in my new kitchen. It hasn’t left a lot of time for blogging. But dinner is in the slow-cooker and I have a moment before it’s time to walk Bixby, so tonight there is a recipe exchange.
JeffreyW and I once again had a mind-meld moment and both made a batch of Beef and Barley Soup this week. His yummy photo is pictured above. My recipe is here and JeffreyW’s recipe is here, accompanied by great photos.
Chuck roasts were on sale this week, so I stocked up. I love a good pot roast and have a few recipe variations. I have a recipe for a Tangy Pot Roast here. For a more traditional take on a yummy Slow-Cooker Pot Roast including a full menu and recipes, click here. My new favorite ingredient is a dash of good whisky to deepen the flavors. One of the roasts will be cut up and frozen for soup or stew.
The garden is still producing an abundance of ripe tomatoes, so I made a batch of Tomato-Spinach Soup, recipe here. For a vegetarian version, just omit ground beef. I make it both ways depending on my mood. Serve with grilled cheese sandwich on Easy Slow Rise Crusty Bread, pictured below and recipe here.
Another batch of tomatoes, along with zucchini, green peppers and eggplant (all garden fresh) went into a fresh dinner for guests this week, Garden Fresh Pasta, recipe here.
What’s on the menu tonight? Any fun plans for this first weekend of October?
Tonight’s featured recipe is what we’re having as part of a get-together tomorrow night. It’s simple, hearty soup that we can put together earlier in the day for a quick dinner. Then we’ll be heading out to the local historical farm for Wildlife Night. There will be owls.
Cranberry beans are usually easy to find, but if not, substitute cannellini white kidney beans – you can use dry or canned.
Turkey Bean Soup
- 1 lb smoked turkey sausage, diced (or ground turkey, browned)
- 1 lb dried cranberry beans (soaked overnight, drained)
- 8 cups of water (or 6 cups water, 2 cups chicken broth)
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 tsp dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Chili powder
- 1 tsp Cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to the slow-cooker and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low. Serve with fresh hot bread and salad for a complete dinner.
That’s it for this week. I’m heading out to buy paint…starting on the living room this weekend. Have a great weekend – TaMara
Looking for something a little different for your cookout this weekend? I’ve compiled some fresh favorites.
I’m making my favorite slaw for this year’s 4th of July cookout. Jicama Slaw, recipe here.
You’ll find a great guest recipe here for Corn and Black Bean Salad.
And a fresh take on an old standby, Spring Potato Salad, recipe here.
I chose to use mint because it’s what I had handy, but I’ve seen it with basil or oregano and white wine vinegar instead of limejuice. For a spicier version, try limejuice and Pico de Gallo.
- 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (if using unwaxed, no need to peel)
- 2 tbsp limejuice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- mint leaves, torn into small pieces
- Pecorino Romano, feta or other similar cheese, cut into small chunks or crumbled
Add watermelon and cucumber to a serving bowl, drizzle with limejuice and oil, add mint leaves, then toss to combine. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, sprinkle with cheese just before serving cold.
This works well as a side or a nice, fresh main course.
Grilled Vegetable Salad
- 1 large red onion, quartered
- 4 red potatoes, quartered
- 8 oz baby carrots
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp rosemary, crushed
- 1 tsp sage, crushed
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 8 oz bag spinach leaves or spring greens
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp melted butter
serving bowl, large bowl, grilling basket or foil
Mix oil and spices, toss with onion, potatoes and carrots in a large bowl, until well coated. Place in a grilling basket or wrap in foil and grill for 20 minutes, stirring or turning frequently. Mix together lemon & butter. In serving bowl, add greens, grilled vegetables and toss with lemon butter
I LOVE spring rolls and they are so easy to make. And you can fill them with a variety of items, so use the recipe below as a starting point, but let your imagination run wild. This recipe is simple but full of flavor. It’s quick and you can buy shredded carrots and shredded lettuce to save even more time
Thai Spring Rolls
- ¼ tsp crushed garlic
- 1 tbsp fish sauce (or white wine vinegar)
- 8 spring roll wrappers
- 1 ½ cup shredded leaf lettuce
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
Mix together fish sauce and garlic. In a bowl of cold water (I actually use a large, deep sided plate), soak 1 wrapper, until limp. Lay out flat on a plate, add 1/8 of each of the ingredients, in order, then drizzle with fish sauce mixture.
Fold ends up and roll like a burrito. Moisten seam, press close and set seam side down on plate. Repeat for all wrappers.
Cover with a moist paper towel and refrigerate until ready to serve, with dipping sauce.
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or fish sauce or rice vinegar)
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (or more as desired)