New meatless favorites

Every time I transfer all the pictures from my camera to my computer (which I no longer do on a daily basis!), I’m reminded of how wonderful some of the meals have tasted. It’s amazing how an image can instantly bring back the taste, the smell, and often even the emotions associated with, a particular meal. My next task is then to decide how I’d like to share these experiences with you. So many meals… so little time. :)

For this post, I decided to group all of my recent favorite meatless meals. Really, that’s the majority of my cooking these days. We signed up for a meat CSA and get 5lbs of meat per month, and I’m trying to limit any additional meat purchasing. So far so good. :D I’m sure my vegetarian readers will appreciate the links to some of the recipes I’ll share below (you really should try them!!) but to my omnivore friends (or those with hardcore omnivore significant others), I want to tell you that these were all Adam approved. These meals were not only meatless but also incredibly satisfying. A winning combo in my book. Without further adieu, let’s get to it!

ELOTE + TOMATO BASIL TOPPED GRILLED AVOCADO

I have been seriously obsessed with fresh corn lately and could be happy eating it every day of the week this summer (prepared different ways of course… variety is the spice of life ;) ). With that said, this first recipe was inspired by our brunch at Toro a few weeks back. Adam LOVED their maiz asado (claiming this was the best corn on the cob of his life!) so when I saw Chels post a recipe for elote (which looked very similar to it) I couldn’t take it off my mind until I finally recreated it. Feast your eyes on this beauty:

I used nonfat greek yogurt instead of sour cream and scaled down a bit on the mayo so as you can see my corn is not completely covered in the cheese mixture. I enjoyed the creaminess of the mayo/yogurt, the mild bite of the cotija cheese (if you’ve never had it, it tastes similar to ricotta salada if you’re familiar with that… or a much milder feta) and of course the sweetness of the corn. Oh corn. <3 Adam said it wasn’t quite as good as Toro’s (I’m sure copious amounts of butter were involved there) but satisfied his craving for it nonetheless. I’ll take it! :)

Since corn (even cheesy corn) does not make dinner, we also grilled some avocado on the side. For that, just brush the halves with a bit of EVOO and brown them on the grill. Easy!

To cut the creaminess, I topped these with some leftover tomato/basil bruschetta topping, which was a fabulous move. The tomatoes added so much freshness to this dish! Let’s get closer…

Mmm. Great dinner!

GRILLED EGGPLANT AND TOFU WRAPS

I subscribe to Cooking Light and love browsing through the magazines I receive in the mail on a monthly basis. I always mark the recipes that sound good… and then promptly forget about most of them. What a shame! Last July (that’s July 2009!) I was feeling particularly organized and input all the names of the marked recipes into a spreadsheet with their respective page numbers. For some reason the past few weeks I’ve decided to finally take a stab at going through that list. It’s been a great move because otherwise I’d never taste the amazingness (is that a word?) of the phyllo pizza with tomatoes, feta and basil or the next 2 dishes. Let’s start with this recipe for grilled eggplant pita sandwiches with yogurt-garlic spread. I decided to convert it into a wrap, replace the onions with tomatoes and added some zaatar rubbed pan fried tofu for some staying power (and deliciousness!). Here are the wrap insides:

Quick side note – I still get quite a few questions about pressing tofu so I took some photos for you. Here is what the process looks like…

Slice the tofu block down the side so you get 2-3 thinner blocks. Lay them flat over some paper towels.

Top with another layer of paper towels and a protective layer (I use another cutting board).

Top with something heavy, like a cast iron grilling pan (a few heavy books or cans of beans works too).

Let it do its thing for at least 30 minutes. Your paper towels will be soaking wet by the end and the tofu should be a lot more dry (great for getting that nice crust on the outside!). As mentioned, I rubbed mine with some zaatar thereafter and pan fried it with maybe 1t of EVOO. Enjoy in your favorite sandwich. This wrap was pretty awesome (the garlic yogurt spread was fantastic – cool, creamy, very flavorful).

SPINACH, RICOTTA, TOMATO PIZZA

This was another gem from the same July 2009 issue (recipe here).  both Adam and I agreed it was out of this world. I’ve been a fan of ricotta in my pizza for a while but this was the recipe that finally made Adam a convert too. I used TJ’s pizza dough (I always use 2/3 of it and freeze the rest), 4oz of organic skim mozzarella but whole milk ricotta instead of part-skim – the two cheeses worked so beautifully together. The mozzarella melted into the crust while the ricotta added that creamy feel. I prebaked the crust before adding the toppings for a few minutes, then baked the pie with the cheeses for another 8 minutes or so and finally topped the pizza with the tomatoes and let them bake into the cheese for a few more minutes. The result:

That’s a meatless meal my husband will never complain about! (He said to give this recipe an “unlimited number of smiley faces” lol)

I had some lightly dressed greens with pine nuts on the side for some brightness and bulk. :)

So much good stuff, I want to have all these again this week. :lol: What are your favorite meatless meals?

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17 comments to New meatless favorites

  • Since I saw Food, Inc, I’ve been mostly meatless too. I’ve been kind of obsessed with homemade veggie burgers- I think my favorites are these mushroom ones (which I think are manly tasting enough that you could serve them to a boy, too :D )

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mushroom-Pecan-Burgers-354089

  • Can I come over for dinner?! Your meals are looking restaurant-worthy! Gorgeous, healthy, delicious meatless meals :) .

    I also have been eating less meat – it was Mark Bittman’s book Food Matters that clinched the decision for me. He’s not a vegetarian, but promotes eating less animal products both for our health and that of the planet’s. I think you’d really like the book – it comes with a bunch of recipes at the end. A lot of his recipes use meat more as a flavor element, rather than the star of the meal.

  • I just made meatless lasagna and enchiladas so I think pretty much every meal is better meatless!

    That pizza looks incredible!

  • I’m not a vegetarian, but I LOVE vegetarian foods! All of these things look absolutely delicious. YUM :)

    Jenn

  • I was a Vegetarian a few years back. It was great, but I really struggled with my proteins. But meatless meals, I still adore/love/crave. As for meatless, I do really love love stuffed peppers. They’re so easy to make.

  • I try not to eat meat so some of these ideas are really inspiring xx

  • Hooray for meatless meals! :)

    My recent favorite is garbanzo bean tacos. We either bake or pan-fry them with Mexican spices and then serve with taco fillings. Soooo tasty.

    -Lost

  • Mmmm the Toro corn is SO amazing. . . I love veggie stir fries, tacos, big salads, and veggies all by themselves!

  • ooh, that corn at toro is amazing. must try your version! love the tomatoes on the avocado :)

  • Thanks for a great roundup of meatless meals. I have never heard of elote – and now of course, it’s at the top of my list to try! Though sadly, I still haven’t gotten around to trying the other corn recipe you shared a while back – the lemon-garlic glazed corn. Looks like I will be eating a lot of corn soon!

    The eggplant with yogurt-garlic sauce is exactly what I’ve been craving lately. Seriously.

    And speaking of meatless meals, I have to say, I’m really proud of my father lately. He’s recently started taking a greater interest in eating healthy and trying new things. As the resident junk food eater and carnivore, he’s been none too pleased when my mother has cooked a meatless meal, yet now his new favorite dish is the black bean & feta tacos I posted recently! My mother made them last week, and he’s requested them again this week!

  • These are all great meals!! I can’t wait to try the eggplant and tofu wrap. I usually do roasted tofu and roasted veggies, but when I’m feeling lazy, I just make a hummus-avocado and cheese sandwich :)

  • Those all look fantastic. I have a similar strategy with my eating. I hardly EVER purchase meat. I think I can count two times that it has happened since I have moved to Chicago because I am still feasting on my CSA. It would have ended in May (I took all the goodies with me when I left) but shockingly I still have lots of meat left. Theses meals look great.

  • And now I know what to do with the eggplant I have in the batters box known as my fridge. Thanks for the step by step tofu pressing process. It doesn’t look all that intimidating after all!

  • I cannot believe I have never thought to grill avocado. It’s one of my favorite foods ever and to use it as the base for bruschetta is genius. My favorite meatless meals would have to be either eggplant parm or hummus pitas. My workplace made a really tasty hummus with a whole wheat pita they served to vegetarians, and I would get that sometimes just because I liked it so much!

  • wow, grilled avocado. it is like i just had a revelation. what a great idea! i HAVE to try it ASAP! mmm.. smoky guacamole.

    marshall is really into meatless, so thanks for the great ideas.

  • [...] It’s important to press water out of your tofu if you want crispy results. Thanks, Lindsay, for sending me this awesome press!! The tofu pressis not a must though. Here is my previous “tofu-pressing system.” [...]

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