Category Archives: Vegetarian

Mini Feta & Olive Quichettes

This is absolutely one of my favorite appetizers to make, for just about any occasion. I found the idea in a cookbook, and once I made them and found out how easy they were, I started making them all the time! These are always a huge hit! Enjoy!

Mini Feta & Olive Quichettes
Adapted from Hors D’oeuvres Cookbook
Serves: 24

24 mini phyllo shells
2 egg yolks
6 Tbsp fat free half & half
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled fat free feta
6 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced into 4 pieces
24 rosemary sprigs (3-5 rosemary leaves, attached)

Place phyllo cups into mini muffin tins. Fill with feta (equally divided).

In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, half & half, and pepper. Distribute among phyllo cups.

Add 1 slice olive and 1 rosemary sprig to each phyllo cup.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until filling is set. Enjoy!!

Nutritional info:
Calories: 28.2
Total Fat: 1.5 g
Saturated Fat: 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3 g
Cholesterol: 17.1 mg
Sodium: 73.8 mg
Potassium: 10.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 2.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Sugars: 0.2 g
Protein: 0.8 g


Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

If you’re looking for a perfect 4th of July appetizer, look no further! This will please *everyone* at your party (well, except the mushroom-haters!). I made this up in order to have a fun appetizer when my vegan friend came over for dinner recently, and it was a hit! You could also make this non-vegan (but still vegetarian) by subbing goat cheese, since the vegan cheese can be a bit pricey. These are fantastic! Enjoy!

Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms
A Karen original recipe
Makes 12 appetizers

12 baby bella mushrooms (about 1 lb)
5 Tbsp vegan sun-dried tomato pesto (I used Taste Elevated)
2 oz vegan cheese (I used Kite Hill original)
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Wash and pull stems from 12 baby bella mushrooms. Fill each mushroom cap with 1 tsp sun-dried tomato pesto. Cut cheese into 12 portions, top each mushroom with cheese.

3. In a small bowl, mix panko, olive oil, salt & pepper. Distribute evenly on top of the mushrooms.

4. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Nutritional info:
Calories 45.1
Total Fat 3.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 86.8 mg
Potassium 57.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 2.8 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Sugars 0.7 g
Protein 1.5 g

Sauteed Corn and Red Bell Pepper

Now that corn is in season in Texas, it is *everywhere*! So, in order to avoid boredom with grilled corn (our usual manner of cooking corn), I came up with this recipe. I usually have red bell peppers and cilantro on-hand in my fridge, so this came together so easily! Enjoy!

Sauteed Corn and Red Bell Pepper

A Karen original recipe
Serves 2

2 ears of fresh corn
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp sunflower oil
dash of salt
dash of freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

1. Cut corn off the cobs. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add corn and bell pepper, and season with salt & pepper.

2. Cook until corn and pepper is tender and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Top with cilantro to serve.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 102.8
Total Fat: 3.4 g
Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 91.5 mg
Potassium: 292.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 18.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.9 g
Sugars: 3.8 g
Protein: 3.1 g

Pasta with Arugula Pesto

I love arugula in recipes, but I usually only need a small amount for a salad or pizza (or something similar). So, I usually need to make something with the rest of the arugula, since at my stores they sell it in 5 oz bags (which seems to be WAY too much for a typical recipe). A few years ago, I came across this recipe in Cooking Light. The great thing about this pesto is that you can freeze it (I tend to freeze all pesto!), so you can always make it and freeze the extra before the rest of the arugula goes bad in the fridge! Enjoy!

Pasta with Arugula Pesto
Adapted from Cooking Light, Linguine with Arugula Pesto, April 2009
Serves 6

1 tablespoon walnuts, toasted
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cups loosely packed arugula
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 oz freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

12 oz whole wheat pasta, cooked according to package directions.

Place 1 tablespoon walnuts and garlic in a food processor; process until minced. Add arugula and the next 6 ingredients (through cheese), and process until well combined. Toss with pasta and serve hot.

Nutritional info (pesto alone, per serving):
Calories: 76.1
Total Fat: 6.9 g
Saturated Fat: 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3.9 g
Cholesterol: 3.7 mg
Sodium: 381.7 mg
Potassium: 106.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 1.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Sugars: 0.2 g
Protein: 2.7 g

Nutritional info (plus pasta):
Calories: 266.1
Total Fat: 7.9 g
Saturated Fat: 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat:1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3.9 g
Cholesterol: 3.7 mg
Sodium: 391.7 mg
Potassium: 106.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 35.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.8 g
Sugars: 0.2 g
Protein: 11.7 g

Tomato, Watermelon, and Basil skewers

What do you take to a summer picnic, especially when it’s too hot to cook? These tomato, watermelon, & basil skewers, of course! They are so easy and delicious, and they are devoured in minutes whenever I take them to a party! Enjoy!

Tomato, Watermelon, and Basil skewers
Adapted from “Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites”
Serves 8 (2 skewers per serving)

1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar (or 1/2 cup regular balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/4 cup)
1 small seedless watermelon (need about 1/2 of the melon to make cubes)
48 small basil leaves (or torn larger leaves)
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
olive oil (in a misto or simliar product)
coarse kosher salt

Equipment: 16 6-inch wood skewers

1. If using regular balsamic vinegar, add 1/2 cup vinegar to small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and reduce liquid by 1/2. Set aside to cool.

2. Cube watermelon into 1.5 inch cubes. Assemble the skewers by pushing a basil leaf to the end of one skewer. Then skewer a cube of melon, then a tomato half. Continue with another watermelon cube, basil leaf, and tomato half, ending with a basil leaf. Repeat to make 15 more skewers.

3. Spritz the skewers with olive oil (from a misto), then drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 31.5
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 41.0 mg
Potassium: 138.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 6.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.7 g
Sugars: 5.4 g
Protein: 0.6 g

Vegetarian Curry with Butternut Squash, Eggplant, and Chickpeas

I was looking through my food photos, and I realized I never posted this recipe from this winter! It’s almost too late in the season for recipes with butternut squash, but I thought I’d go ahead and post it before I forgot!

We found this recipe (that goes with our Cuisinart Multicooker) on the Williams-Sonoma website when we were in the mood for a cozy vegetarian meal, and it was fantastic! Next fall & winter when we have butternut squash around, we will be making it again! And it also freezes well, too! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Curry with Butternut Squash, Eggplant, and Chickpeas
Serves 8
Slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma website

2 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
3 Tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 can (14.5 oz./455 g) no salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups chickpeas, no-salt added, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 can (13.66 fl. oz./403 ml) light coconut milk
8 oz green beans, trimmed and halved
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat a Cuisinart multicooker on the brown/sauté setting to 400°F (200°C) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Warm the oil in the multicooker. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, curry powder, cayenne, sugar and salt andrcook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, chickpeas, cauliflower, potato, squash and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. **Alternatively – this step can be done on the stovetop in a large skillet, then transferred into the slow cooker.**

2. Set the multicooker (or a slow-cooker) on the slow cook-high setting. Cover and cook until the cauliflower and potato are almost tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Stir in the green beans and bell pepper, cover and cook until tender, about 45 minutes more. Stir in the lime juice and the 1/2 cup cilantro. Serve the curry over rice and garnished with cilantro.

Nutritional info (not including rice):
Calories: 238.1
Total Fat: 8.1 g
Saturated Fat: 3.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 620.2 mg
Potassium: 820.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 39.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 10.6 g
Sugars: 4.0 g
Protein: 7.2 g

Caprese salad

A simple, yet amazing summer salad.  When tomatoes are amazingly ripe and the basil plant is growing out of control, there’s only one thing to make – caprese salad!  Now that our tomatoes in the garden are finally ready to eat, we’ve started making this regularly again.  This is one of our all-time favorites, and it’s basically a make-as-you-go recipe – use as many tomatoes as you’d like, and go from there!  Enjoy!

Caprese Salad
servings vary (therefore nutritional information will vary)

Ripe tomatoes, sliced into rounds
Fresh basil leaves, torn if large
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Good quality balsamic vinegar
Good quality extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Flaky sea salt

Place sliced tomato rounds onto a serving plate. Top each tomato with a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf. Grind pepper and sprinkle salt evenly over the the tomatoes.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Pureed Broccoli Soup

This is definitely one of those recipes that qualifies as “looks gross, but tastes great!” I almost didn’t want to try this recipe, but I had quite a bit of extra broccoli in the fridge, and I wanted to do something different with it. So I gave it a try, and it was fantastic! Enjoy!

Pureed Broccoli Soup

From Eating Well, Jan/Feb 2011
Serves 8

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
8 cups chopped broccoli (stems and florets)
2 cups water
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1. Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme (or parsley); cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.

2. Stir in broccoli. Add water and broth; bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook until very tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Puree the soup using an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 67.7
Total Fat: 3.5 g
Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.6 g
Cholesterol: 3.9 mg
Sodium: 258.1 mg
Potassium: 335.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 7.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.6 g
Sugars: 1.0 g
Protein: 2.9 g

Artichoke Turnovers

I love having fun appetizers that can be on-hand at all times!  I always have cheese available (if not, there is *definitely* something wrong with me!), but sometimes a real appetizer is great to have around for last-minute guests, busy weekends, or something fantastic to bring to a party.  I love these because they go well with champagne or cocktails, and they freeze well, so they can be made well in advance. These are the perfect appetizers to have for spring gatherings, since artichokes are such an early spring/summer vegetable! Enjoy!

Artichoke Turnovers

From Martha Stewart Living, Dec 2010
Makes 40

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 3 small cloves)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup 2% milk, warmed
1/2 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, warmed
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 pound frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped (3 cups)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (1 ounce)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 packages (14 ounces each) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, lightly beaten for egg wash

1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallot and garlic for 1 minute. Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add wine, and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Whisk in milk and stock. Bring to a boil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, some pepper, and the cayenne. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in artichoke hearts, cheeses, thyme, zest, and mustard. Let cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out puff pastry to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into forty 3-inch squares (you will have pastry left over).

3. Arrange 1 tablespoon artichoke mixture in center of each square. Brush 2 perpendicular edges with egg wash, and fold over to form a triangle with remaining edges, pressing to seal. Brush 1 corner of triangle with egg wash and join it to the opposite point. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

4. Brush turnovers with egg wash. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

**Note** These freeze well. After cooling, place in a single layer on waxed paper, stacking with additional waxed paper in-between. Warm at 350 for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

Nutritional info:
Calories 105.1
Total Fat 6.7 g
Saturated Fat 2.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 8.8 mg
Sodium 137.4 mg
Potassium 14.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 8.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
Sugars 0.7 g
Protein 2.3 g

Cauliflower Alfredo

We found this recipe recently, and I was intrigued… I’m not usually a fan of substituting traditional ingredients by “hiding” cauliflower in a recipe, but this recipe also featured both cauliflower and broccoli, which we both like. So, we decided to give it a try. The result? This was fantastic, and we will definitely be making this again! We made it by itself this time, but I’m sure that chicken or shrimp would work well with it, too! Enjoy!

Cauliflower Alfredo

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light, April 2016
Serves 4

8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat fettuccine
3 cups chopped broccoli
3 cups chopped cauliflower, divided
1 1/4 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
3 garlic cloves
2/3 cup skim milk
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add broccoli and 1 cup cauliflower during last 2 minutes of cooking; drain.

2. Place flour in a large saucepan. Gradually add stock, stirring constantly with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add remaining 2 cups cauliflower and garlic. Bring to a boil; cook 15 minutes or until very tender. Add milk, butter, pepper, juice, salt, and 1 ounce cheese. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce until smooth.

3. Return cauliflower mixture to pan over low heat. Add pasta mixture and lemon rind; toss well to coat noodles. Sprinkle with remaining 1 ounce cheese. Serve immediately.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 361.2
Total Fat: 9.5 g
Saturated Fat: 5.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.4 g
Cholesterol: 22.1 mg
Sodium: 464.2 mg
Potassium: 538.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 54.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.6 g
Sugars: 5.4 g
Protein: 18.5 g