Thursday Recipe Exchange: Vegetarian Delights

Cross posted at Balloon-Juice

I’m travelling, en route to San Diego, so you’re on your own – no keggers and try not to riot. Tonight we’re going vegetarian with two recipes. I’m often asked for vegetarian recipes, so I’m always on the lookout for good ones, can’t wait to see what you guys come up with. Next week: Fruit Desserts

I love black bean burgers, but the frozen ones can leave a lot to be desired.  So I’ve been looking around for a good recipe.  I found this one, but cannot tell you where, sorry to say. I’ve changed up few things, made it a bit spicier and a bit moister.  Grill or fry on medium heat to keep the burgers from drying out.  Makes 4 good sized burgers, though you may want to double the recipe to serve 6-8 people.

Black Bean and Cheddar Burgers

  • 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained, or dry equivalent
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (about 1-1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs soaked in 1 to 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped, pickled jalapeno
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsps minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Serve with:

  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Tomato and avocado slices for garnish

In a mixing bowl, with a potato masher, mash half of beans into coarse puree; add remaining ingredients.  Work mixture together by hand until it holds together easily. Shape mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties. Oil a large piece of aluminum foil, place on a grill set to medium heat and place burgers on the foil. You can also fry these on medium heat in a covered, well oiled skillet.  Cook for about 8 minutes per side or until browned on outside and heated through to center. Serve on buns, topped with tomato and avocado.

The pasta caprese has appeared here before.  I make it both vegetarian and gluten free, so it’s my go-to recipe for company.  From one of our Thursday Night Menus (link includes my favorite chocolate cake):

Pasta Caprese

  • 9 oz dry pasta
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 oz cubed mozzarella
  • salt & pepper to taste

saucepan and large serving dish

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While it’s cooking, mix remaining ingredients together. Drain pasta completely (dab with paper towels, if necessary) then add to tomato mixture. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to let flavors blend. Serve warm or you can refrigerate and serve cold. Add a nice loaf of bread for a complete dinner.

I use a fairly expensive mozzarella for this dish because it’s softer, tastier and absorbs more flavors. Any locally produced mozzarella would work. Also, my local farmers’ market has a pasta vendor, who hand-makes many flavors of pasta. This dish works very well with flavored pastas – fire roasted chili, lemon pepper, tomato basil, red bell pepper – the list goes on. You can also change-up the cheese to a Queso Blanco (again, use a fairly expensive or locally produced one), use cilantro instead of basil and use a chili flavored pasta for a whole new dish. The possibilities are endless.

Broiled Tomatoes

A friend brought me two large tomatoes from her garden this past weekend.  They were heirlooms and they weighed in at over a pound each.  What to do, what to do?  I decided on a variation of this recipe for one, though instead of slicing it in half, I did several thick slices instead.  Yummy.  (Thanks Lari!)

Broiled Tomatoes

  • 3-4 large tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 oz parmesan cheese

baking sheet, foil or parchment lined

Line tomatoes on baking sheet – cut side up. Mix spices and oil, brush on each tomato half. Add parmesan. Broil until cheese is golden brown. Watch carefully.

Melon Balls with Lime Syrup

I’m back.  Looking to get back in the swing of things and start cooking some fun stuff.  Until then here’s a nice melon recipe to get us started.

This summer has been about melons for me. I just can’t get enough. Sweet, cool and light, perfect for what has been a rather hot few months. Here’s a nice little dessert idea in that vein:

Melon Balls w/Lime Syrup

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh limejuice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 small seedless watermelon
  • 1 cantaloupe, seeded
  • 1 small honeydew melon, seeded
  • 1 liter lemon-lime soda
  • ¼ cup coconut (opt) (really is coconut ever optional?)

saucepan and large bowl

In saucepan, mix together sugar, limejuice, water, zest & vanilla. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Chill completely. Ball or cut melons into large chunks and add to large bowl. Toss gently with soda and let marinate (macerate) at room temperature for 30 minutes. Chill. Serve with lime syrup and coconut.


Mediterranean Pizza

The weekend is the perfect time for pizza. This is a nice mix of flavors for a more sophisticated pizza. Maybe Jeff will make one and take photos for you….

Mediterranean Pizza

  • 2 frozen or refrigerated rolls of pizza dough*
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 12 oz marinated sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 2 oz feta, crumbled
  • 2 oz fresh basil
  • 4 oz fresh spinach, washed, dried & torn
  • 8 oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cookie sheets or pizza pans

Pat out pizza dough according to package directions. For each pizza: brush with ½ olive oil, sprinkle with ½ oregano. Add ½ of garlic, 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes, 2 oz of feta, 2 oz of spinach, 1 oz basil, top with mozzarella. Bake for 15 minutes at 400° or until crust is golden and cheese is melted and golden.

*you can substitute frozen bread dough or make your own pizza dough.  Here is a trusty recipe:  King Arthur Pizza Crust  (thanks to Indylib for turning us on to this website).

Mexican Broccoli & Carrots

Here’s a vegetable side that kicks it up a notch.  I paired it with a garlic shrimp recipe that I will post later.

Mexican Broccoli & Carrots

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz broccoli crowns
  • 8 oz sliced carrots
  • 1 large green chili, sliced into strips
  • ½ onion, sliced into rings
  • 2 mushrooms, washed & sliced
  • ¾ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
  • ½ tsp garlic, crushed

wok or skillet

Heat oil in wok, add broccoli, carrots, chili, onion, & mushrooms and stir constantly until carrots are tender. Reduce heat, add broth & spices and let simmer 5 minutes.

Squash and Apple Soup

The farm stand was overrun with apples and a variety of squash when I went there this weekend.  That means it is time to dig out this recipe.  Serve with fresh bread.

Squash & Apple Soup

  • 1 large, fresh butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp oil (keeps butter from burning)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large Macintosh apples, cored & chopped
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3 cups water (reserved from boiling squash)
  • 3 tsp vegetable bouillon (opt)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon + additional for garnish
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup whole milk (or cream)
  • 4 oz sour cream
  • salt & pepper to taste

large saucepan, blender

In saucepan, cover butternut squash with water and cook until tender. Drain, reserve liquid and set aside. In saucepan, add oil and butter, sauté onion and apples until tender. Add cider, water, bouillon, cinnamon & cloves. Simmer for 5 minutes. In a blender or food processor begin to blend squash. Add apple mixture, blend until smooth, add milk and additional water if needed. Transfer back to saucepan, let simmer for additional 5 minutes until heated through. Serve with dollop of sour cream, and additional cinnamon.

Chunky Vegetable Soup

The rain continues, so soup sounds good for the weekend. I’m also going to make a batch of skillet biscuits to go with this. I think the weekend will consist of rain, old movies, a good book and a very warm comforter. The bedding plants will have to wait.

Chunky Vegetable Soup

  • 6 mushrooms, washed & sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled & sliced
  • 2 red potatoes, cubed (peeling opt)
  • 8 oz baby carrots
  • 1 turnip, peeled & cubed
  • 15 oz can white beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp basil, crushed
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ to 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp marjoram
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 oz Ruote (wheel shaped pasta)
  • 4 oz shredded mozzarella

Saucepan or Slow-Cooker

In saucepan, sauté mushrooms and onions in 1 tbsp of butter. Add all ingredients, except cheese, bring to a low boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer on medium to medium-low for 20-30 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese.

If you are using a Slow-Cooker, add all ingredients, except pasta & cheese, to Slow-Cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours (check manufacturer’s directions). Add pasta 20 minutes before serving, turn up to high and let boil, uncovered. Once pasta is tender, serve with shredded cheese.