Tag Archives: colorful meal

Day 11 – Tortilla Casserole & Almond Cheeze

16 Jan

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Song of the Post – Municipality by Real Estate

Happy MLK Day!

Martin Luther King day has a special place in my heart.  My brother’s birthday is January 15th, and it was so unbelievably cool to have the Monday following his birthday off from school.  So now, a decade or so later, I still think of being so psyched to play in the snow with my little brother.

With those cozy thoughts in mind, let us dive into a warm and toasty meal!

My original aspiration for dinner night with the guys was lofty.  I’ve been craving a big juicy burger ever since day 1 of this vegan challenge, so I suggested homemade veggie burgers.  Upon realizing I had absolutely none of the ingredients necessary, I switched to a much more low-key recipe: Tortilla Casserole.  Also, when I showed up with to the guys’ house I couldn’t find the recipe online – it was bookmarked on my laptop but nowhere to be found on the world wide web!  Overall, it’s pretty difficult to mess up a black bean/tex mex casserole.  It turned out excellent, without the dang recipe!

So, this is the original recipe from VegKitchen.com.  I added sautéed onions and mushrooms to the mix.  The result was a fantastic, low maintenance casserole perfect for any spontaneous get-together.  Also, when the fellas were dressing up the casserole with cheese, Stephen surprised me with a stash of almond cheez!  My meal was indeed vegan, and I lived happily ever after!

We all enjoyed this dish very much, and I hope you do too!

Best,

Lauren

Super Easy Tortilla Casserole

  • One 16-ounce can pinto or pink beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • One 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies (optional)
    or 1 to 2 small hot fresh chilis, seeded and minced
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced small
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups grated nondairy Monterey Jack, cheddar, or jalapeño cheese
  • Salsa for topping
  • Vegan sour cream for topping, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Sautee onions and mushrooms until soft.

Combine both kinds of beans, tomatoes, chilies, corn, scallions, cumin, and oregano in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Lightly oil a wide, 2-quart casserole dish and layer as follows: 5 tortillas, overlapping one another; half of the bean mixture; half of the cheese. Repeat layer, adding the onion mushroom mixture on top.

Bake the casserole for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Let stand for a minute or two, then cut into wedges or squares to serve. Pass around salsa and optional vegan sour cream to top each serving.

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Do not be alarmed!  The white cheese is provolone, and the carrot-looking stuff is actually almond cheez.  It didn’t taste like much, but I was happy to be included in the cheese gang!

Days 9 & 10 – All Around the World

13 Jan

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Song of the Post – Portrait in Black and Blue by King Krule

Hello to all! I hope everyone’s long weekend is off to an amazing start.

Once my conquering-tofu high subsided, I turned to my newly vegan-ized Pinterest page. It was time to start experimenting again! I searched high and low for the perfect recipe (read: one that lacks crazy veg ingredients) and decided on an incredibly flavorful one that would warm me up. Tortilla soup! This particular version includes all types of vegetables, creating an absolutely beautiful and colorful meal. The variety of veggies also keeps this soup from being monotonous – every bite is different. Yellow and red peppers, green celery, fresh cut tomatoes and corn… my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Next time I have to cook for someone, I’m pulling out this recipe.

Another obvious addition to this dish is tortilla chips! After five weeks (when I’m not on this anti-flour diet) I’ll be sure to whip up some tortilla strips. For now, I’m perfectly content with just this piping hot bowl of goodness.

Notes: I switched out zucchini for mushrooms and threw in a coarsely chopped tomato – it did not disappoint. I also added sriracha to the list of ingredients, because I live for spicy!

Tortilla Soup

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cups chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 ear fresh corn (or half cup – 1 cup frozen corn)
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp crushed red chili pepper
  • One 15-oz can crushed tomatoes (or 2 medium tomatoes, diced)
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 1 can chopped green chili peppers, drained (optional)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1.5-2 cups cooked black beans (or beans of choice – I used a tri-color blend)
  • salt & pepper, to taste

In a large pot over medium to low heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the peppers, zucchini, green onion, and remove corn from cob. Add the veggies into the pot and sauté for another 5-10 minutes.

Add in the crushed tomatoes, cumin, broth, and chia seeds. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low-medium heat for 25-30 minutes.

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This next recipe comes from a lovely girl who sits next to me in my Jan term class. Molly’s blog wannabetrending.wordpress.com is super helpful – she recounts the top 5 trending topics of the day and informs all of us why they’re so important. Check it out!

With all the enthusiasm in the world, Ian (from Young and Hella Vegetarian) and I embarked on another culinary exploration. This time our mission was Palestinian Lentils and Rice. What I didn’t realize is that our mission involved feeding us and five more dudes! These are college boys, mind you, and man are they hungry. Luckily we had plenty of supplies, so we doubled the recipe and ended up more than enough. Let me tell you – cooking for a ton of people can be intimidating, but it’s very inspiring when everything comes together. The boys loved this dish, and I never got tired of all the ‘compliments to the chef’!

We all agreed: the key to this meal is ONION. Lots and lots (and possibly even more) sautéed onion is what makes this dish pop. The rice and lentils combo is hearty, just what we needed on a below-freezing winter night. Mix in some nice, big onion chunks and you’ve got yourself heaven in a bowl. Enjoy – there’s no way you can’t love this meal!

Palestinian Lentils and Rice

  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Sauté onions in oil until translucent, or very brown and crisp. Remove onions to a bowl and set aside.

Turn heat to med-high and add lentils and rice; sauté quickly in oil, add cumin and salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of water to rice and lentils and bring to boil. Cover tightly and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes. Fluff up rice and lentils and top with onions.

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One more thing – the title of this blog post brought me right back to 1997. That’s right baby, I’m talking Sugar Ray.  Have a blast this weekend everybody, and remember that Iiiiii just wanna fly!