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Monday, February 07, 2011

crazy good vegan eats for meatless monday

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No, don't worry, I'm not a vegan, nor am I likely to become one. BUT, meatless Monday is a movement that has been gaining momentum over the last decade. The tenet is pretty simple - don't eat meat on Monday, and it's better for the planet than eating meat on Monday. ;)

I actually didn't plan to make this today, as it was a bit more time consuming than I was wanting for a weeknight dinner, but as circumstance would have it, I was at home today, tending to a sick little kiddo, and I had a lot more time for prep than normal. Before I delve into this mysterious recipe, I also wanted to share links to a couple of recipes that you should also check out. They aren't vegan though - sorry. ;)

First, I was at a Pampered chef party last week, and while I'm not normally gaga over magical kitchen gadgets that will change your life, I tasted a recipe that totally shocked me with its deliciousness....when the PC consultant started talking about cooking pasta in the microwave, I was full-on skeptical. I'm pretty picky when it comes to my pasta, and I really didn't think it would be possible to have decently-textured pasta from the microwave.

I was so so wrong. While I don't have ANY of the PC goodies that are supposedly needed to make the recipe, I will say that I got great results with good old-fashioned corningware, a potato masher (to squash the tomatoes) and a plain old knife for slicing the garlic. ;) Check it out - Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco (btw, someone needs to tell them that al fresco simply means 'outside' and hence makes no sense in the title of the recipe).

Oh, and did I mention that I cooked a FROZEN CHICKEN IN A CROCKPOT and put some of that on top? This truly is an alternate universe. The chicken in a crockpot was pretty good - perfect for transforming a frozen chicken icecube long having lain forgotten in the freezer into something useful and edible. I wouldn't serve it as a main course, but for putting in pasta, pot pie, fried rice or burritos, it's perfect. And did I mention it was easy? Booyah.

Last couple of things I want to mention....while I know my fettucine alfredo has had my site listed on food porn aggregators and I do stand by the wonderful richness of occasional indulgence....I have an alternative for a delicious pasta carbonara that is absolutely delicious without being the least bit fake. It's still not super healthy, but it's a lot better for you than pure cream, butter and cheese. From Cooking Light, Spaghetti Carbonara with Leeks and Pancetta (I used shallots instead of leeks, along with whole wheat farfalle). It's awesome. You should make it. Also, since Z was feeling under the weather today and not really into eating anything, I made her a batch of this yummy vanilla rice pudding (made with coconut milk instead of heavy cream). It's super yum. Wish I could eat more of it - Z thought it was pretty tasty.

Grilled Mediterranean Pizza with Baba Ghanoush
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This totally rocks. It's rich and delicious and smokey and fabulous. I completely and utterly cheated on the grilled factor here - I used a stove-top cast iron griddle (in a perfect world, I would have one of those super fancy stoves that has a grill right in the middle....but alas, what I have is a slightly wonky ceramic top stove and a non-working exhaust fan. Awesome.) But I made it work.

There are a couple of tricks to smokey-tasting non-grilling on your stove. The first trick is cast iron. You can't get the same results with non-stick. And really, you don't want to, because it means you're heating up chemicals to crazy high chemicals. Not my choice. The second trick is a bit of a cheat - I like to use smoked salt. My grocery store carries it, but I imagine you could also find it in a specialty shop or buy it online. You could also use smoked paprika, chipotle powder or liquid smoke.

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* you can find the pizza dough recipe on the Clean Eating website - I made mine in my kitchenaid, (you could also use a breadmaker or just purchase dough)

Baba Ganoush 'sauce'
1 large eggplant (about 1 lb)
1/2 c flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped)
3 T tahini
3 T lemon juice (I just juiced a lemon)
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 t salt (I used smoked salt)
1/4 t cumin (I also added a bit of chipotle powder)

1. [Original instructions said to grill the eggplant for 15-18 minutes - I had to cook mine in the oven] I cooked it at 400F for 45 minutes. Pierce it with a fork, toss it on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook it until it starts to almost collapse. I also broiled each side for a couple of minutes to get a bit more charring.

2. Once eggplant is coolish, you should be able to peel the skin off, drain the flesh in a colander and then plop it in a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and whirl away. You could also use a blender, immersion blender or just mash it all with a fork.

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Pizza
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t chile powder
1/2 t each salt and pepper (I used smoked salt)
1/2 each red and orange pepper, cut in half, stem and seeds removed
1 red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2" rings [I think you could use less onion]
1/2 each green and yellow zucchini, sliced lengthwise in 1/4" thick strips (I couldn't get yellow, so just used a whole zucchini)
1 lb whole wheat pizza dough
cooking spray

1. Mix together oil, 1 T water, minced garlic, chile powder, salt and pepper. Brush peppers, onion and zucchini with the mixture. Grill until charred and tender.

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2. Remove veggies from heat and roughly chop.

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3. Divide dough ball in half and roll until thin. This could take a while, as the gluten flour causes the dough to contract. You may have to fight with your dough for a little bit, but it will eventually roll out thin. Just be patient.

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4. Spray one side of the dough with cooking spray. Place dough sprayed-side down on the grill [my stove top grill really only gets hot at one end, so I just cooked one at a time]. I also used a large (all metal) pot lid to trap some of the heat for a more bbq/oven like effect.

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5. After 2-3 minutes (it really doesn't take long), spray the uncooked side of the dough and flip it. Spread the dough with about 1/3 c of babaganoush. Toss about 1 cup of roasted veggies on it (more if you like). I covered mine with a pot lid to help make sure the veggies and babaganoush would get warm. Once you start to smell a bit of burning, the crush is pretty much cooked.

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And voila. There ya go - delicious indoor grilled pizza. Considering my bbq is under about 3 feet of snow, I'll take it.

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According to Clean Eating, 1/4 of each pizza has 174 calories, 8 g fat (1 sat), 22 g carbs (5 g fibre), 5 g protein and 241 mg of sodium. Yummy.




1 comment:

Cupcake said...

Hey Leslie this looks fantastic! Love your blog. I'm a local foodie too!
Cupcake
www.thefamily-table.blogspot.com

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