Red Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Gruyere Bake
Ellie Krieger’s recipes are some of the best things on the planet. We love her creations, and use them whenever we see them. We found this one thanks to the Washington Post.
There’s a lot going on here, but I promise, it’s well worth the effort. It’s actually not all that much effort, just a lot of prep involved—mostly prepping vegetables and cooking the quinoa ahead of time.
Considering how cheesy and delicious this casserole dish is, it’s remarkably healthy—low-fat milk, only a bit of AP flour, a little Gruyere cheese, and lots of grains and veggies. The flavor comes from a wonderful seasoning combination and a little bit of creativity. She recommends red quinoa (available at Wegman’s) for its deep flavor, but any quinoa (and, I suspect, just about any grain) will do. But try the red quinoa. And when you prepare it, do it in stock, not just water (you’ll thank me later). I used Better-Than-Bouillon seasoned vegetable base to make the quinoa, and I used twice the recommended amount. It really rounds the flavor up. I guarantee you’ll be happy if you make it this way.
This is not just another veggie casserole. It is just bursting with flavor. And if a nice meaty bite is something you crave, include some cremini and shiitake mushrooms to the veggies. They will add a nice earthy and “meaty” note to this wonderful dish.
It’s a keeper!
- Olive oil, for greasing the baking dish
- 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 1/4 cups (4 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups cooked quinoa, preferably red (from about 3/4 cup/4 1/2 ounces uncooked)
- 4 cups roasted mixed vegetables (such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, squash, assorted mushrooms…), coarsely chopped
Roast the vegetables—whichever ones you choose—according to your favorite recipe, until lightly golden brown and beginning to soften.
Prepare the quinoa per package instructions, adding vegetable cubes or stock base to the water. We use “Better-Than-Bouillon” seasoned vegetable base—the best product available (IMHO) for quick stocks.
Position a baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Brush a 1 1/2- to 2-quart shallow baking dish with oil.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Add the garlic, mustard and paprika and, whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring a few times, until the mixture has thickened to the thickness of cream, about 2 minutes.
Add half of the cheese, the salt and pepper, and stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth, then remove from the heat. Add the quinoa and vegetables to the pot and stir until combined.
Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Hearty Country Vegetable Soup with Ravioli
It’s a working vegetarian’s dream!
Oh, and it’s just about the easiest soup you could make; I made it the other night, start to finish, in just about 15 minutes, with minimal prep, little more than just stirring the pot, and a little seasoning.
This soup–I hesitate to call it a soup, because with just a few minor alterations it could be a wonderful vegetarian or seafood stew. It’s hearty, flavorful and, made with fresh vegetables, just about perfect.
If you’ve followed this space at all, you know that what I am all about is simple; both of us work, and often supper comes down to what is easiest. Well let me tell you, this is easier than defrosting something you made last Sunday while watching the football games.
The recipe I post here is for a vegetarian version, but let me suggest to you that a simple addition of about three quarters of a pound of shrimp or a nice white fish like cod or haddock–or both–would make this a dream come true.
A couple of preparation notes: this would work really well with a bag of chopped onions and peppers from the freezer aisle of the grocery store–in fact the original recipe called for just that–but don’t. Use a fresh onion and a bell pepper or two (I used mini peppers–red, orange, and yellow), and fresh garlic cloves. The recipe calls for two 15-oz. cans of diced tomatoes. I suggest Muir Glen Fire-Roasted tomatoes–find them at a store near you–we found them at Target–they’re worth the difference. It might be even better if you have tomatoes from your garden that you put up over the summer–I do, and I fire-roasted them, but these canned tomatoes are fabulous. Try them. You’ll be glad you did.
So here’s the roadmap:
Vegetable Soup with Ravioli
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions and bell peppers–about half of each
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (don’t skip this!)
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes (fire-roasted is best)
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 tsp. dried marjoram (or basil if you prefer)
9 oz. fresh or frozen cheese (or meat, if you must) ravioli
2 cups zucchini, small dice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Over medium heat add the oil in a heavy enamel or stainless-steel soup pot (not aluminum–tomatoes and aluminum don’t play well together). Add onions, peppers, garlic, and pepper flakes and saute. stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Don’t overcook here–you want the veggies to feel like they’re still fresh.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, water, and dried herbs, plus 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper; stir well and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add the ravioli, give it a stir, bring the soup back to a boil and cook, stirring, just until the ravioli begin to float, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, stir, and return to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini are just getting tender–3 to 4 minutes. NO MORE!
- Adjust the flavor with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
NOTE: You can turn this into a bangin’ seafood soup by adding about 3/4 pound of 26-31 shrimp and/or white cod or haddock at the same time as the zucchini and cook just until the fish is turning from translucent to opaque. Want a stew: After cooking the onions and peppers for a minute, add 2 TBSP olive oil and 2 TBSP all-purpose flour, and stir well to combine, until there is no more white flour showing. Stir another minute, until the mixture begins to brown and the oil and butter are well incorporated. Then proceed to step 2, adding the tomatoes and the stock, but don’t add the extra cup of water. For an extra jolt of goodness, add a teaspoon or two of Cajun seasoning.
TIP: You can make this ahead and keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days–it gets better. but if you do and want the seafood variety, don’t add the fish until you’re ready to heat and serve.
Original Source: Nancy Baggett for EatingWell
Red Lentil Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk
It’s become a thing in our house, like, I suppose, some of yours.
It’s something Ellen has instituted here, and it happens most of the time (except when it doesn’t). The kids often object, but not all that strenuously unless I produce something with bulgur or faro or some other grain that they perceive tastes like packing peanuts.
So we’re constantly challenged to come up with vegetarian offerings that are packed with nutritional value and interesting genealogy and, oh yes, flavor.
Such is the case with this tasty and fragrant Indian-influenced soup adapted from a recipe taken from the pages of Vegetarian Times. It’s loaded with flavor—it will perfume your whole house as it cooks—and protein and fiber, and will gain props all round as you serve it up with an interesting hunk of artisan bread or pita wedges or toasted naan, or a scoop of brown rice on the side.
Try this one. It’s simple to make and memorable, too.
By the way, if you’ve avoided getting an immersion blender, this is the perfect excuse to get one, or ask Santa to deliver one to you this holiday season.
Red Lentil Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups cold water.
2 cups sweet onions, chopped
1 cup red lentils
3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 14-ounce unsweetened (light if possible) coconut milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon finely round white pepper
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, roughly minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly minced
1 tablespoon Indian (or try Jamaican) curry
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add water, lentils, carrots, coconut milk, salt, pepper, and the bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small non-stick skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, curry, and cilantro. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 2-3 minutes, then add to the soup. Remove the bay leaf.
Puree the soup, either in the food processor or blender in batches, or in the pot with an immersion blender, until velvety smooth. Taste and add a bit more salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve hot with fresh sautéed vegetables, brown rice, and/or a nice fresh bread.
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie (Really!)
Children hate the idea of “Meatless Monday.”
Truth be told, I’m not so crazy about it either. Butcher’s son, you know.
On the other hand, my wonderful life partner puts up with most of my foibles, so I figure the least I can do is humor her in her craving for “meatless Monday.”
I try all kinds of ways to deal with the concept—I’ve done risottos, pasta dishes, bean burritos, vegetable pot pie—and I haven’t even scratched the surface of the Moosewood empire, where meatless is a way of life.
So when my beloved handed me a recipe for vegetarian shepherd’s pie (which, I think, is an oxymoron—I mean, have you ever heard of a shepherd rounding up his—or her—lentils at the end of the day?
I mean, “Git along, little legume?”
Somehow it just doesn’t ring right.
On the other hand, I’ve made a bunch of shepherd’s pies over the last few weeks, and I think I’ve got the flavor profile down pretty well, and I have, after all, been making my shepherd’s pies from ground turkey (“Git along, little turkey?”), so why not vegetarian. I have been fairly successful making dishes using lentils of a variety of colors, and the recipe appeared to me to be reasonably open to experimentation, so Lentil Shepherd’s Pie it is.
It turned out to be really good. As most of you vegetarians will attest, lentils can be (a) healthful; (b) tasty; (c) brown; and (d) flexible. And pretty easy to work with, too, taking on the flavor of whatever seasonings one might be tempted to use.
I highly recommend this recipe, and I will actually make it again, amending it as I go to see what other interesting taste profiles I can come up with.
Here, then, is my version of Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie. Adapted from a recently posted recipe from Eating Well, I’ve changed it up some to suit my and my family’s taste buds, and while getting the children to eat it was somewhat of a challenge (getting my children to eat anything beyond mac-n-cheese is somewhat of a challenge), any families whose kids are open to this sort of thing will, I think, actually like this recipe a bunch.
Here it is:
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
1 ½ pounds Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes
½ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons margarine or butter spread (I use Smart Balance)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
¼ teaspoon fine-ground white pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Olive oil spray
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
½ cup baby peas
1 teaspoon fresh (or ½ teaspoon dried) thyme
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup red table wine
1 ½ cups cooked brown lentils
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the lentils in a small saucepan and cover with water, at least 1 inch over the lentils; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and set aside.
Cut the potatoes into 1- to 2-inch cubes and place in a pot of boiling, salted water, turn the heat down to medium and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Add the buttermilk and butter spread, mash with a potato masher and whip until smooth. Set aside.
While the potatoes are boiling, spray an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with olive oil spray. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil, add the onion and carrots, and sauté until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add the thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir to combine. Add the broth and cook, stirring, until the sauce begins to thicken, about three minutes. Add the Worcestershire Sauce, tomato paste, and wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Drain the lentils and add, along with the peas, and stir to combine completely.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Spoon the lentil filling into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Top with the mashed potatoes, spread evenly, and draw lines into the potatoes with a fork to create ridges. Spray the top with olive oil spray and bake for 30 minutes. Then turn on the broiler and brown the top lightly, rotating once to brown evenly, 6-8 minutes.
Vegetable Pad Thai — Weight-Watchers Style
Here is a vegetarian version of Pad Thai. It is wonderful, slightly different, and tasty nonetheless.
4 oz. flat rice noodles
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Thai chili peppers or 2 teaspoons Asian red garlic-chili paste
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced fine
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 container extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped and divided
2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1. Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water; let stand until noodles are soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
2. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, carrots, scallions, chili peppers, and garlic, and stir fry until the vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes. Add fish sauce, brown sugar, and soy sauce, stir fry until the sugar dissolves, about 30 seconds. Add noodles, sprouts, half the cilantro, and tofu. Toss gently to mix all the ingredients and coat everything with sauce and heated through, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat to a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining cilantro and peanuts.
Serve either hot or at room temperature.
Serving: 1 cup