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Vegetarians - Please help me with cool weather meals

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For the first time in about 5 years I broke down and bought my family [some kind of beef] roast. I baked it with herbs, red wine, and carrots and celery. On the stove top I made mashed red potatoes with garlic. And cremini mushrooms with garlic and onions sauteed in olive oil, butter and red wine, and rosemary, and topped them with parsley.


I ate the potatoes topped with the mushrooms and a salad.


The weather is cool. My body is screaming "Comfort"! I think I made the pot roast for the first time in about 5 years because I wanted to "feel" the warmth of the meal. I didn't eat any, of course (because the very thought makes me feel ill), but I did realize that most of my cooking has become so seasonal, that I don't know (being from a colder climate) what to make that elicits the same good, warm, comforting feeling that would equal that same awesome feeling of meat and potatoes in the fall.


What are your favorite comfort foods, sans meat? I've got a great mushroom barley soup, an Italian macaroni and cheese, a favorite chili...but after those...???

Edited by LauraGB
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I think you kind of touched on it. For me, most of my cold weather comfort foods are soups of some kind with some hearty bread. I had a great recipe for Hungarian Mushroom Soup. I'll see if I can find it again.


Since I'm the only veggie in the family, I'll still regularly make the full meals and just eat all sides. When I make a chicken pot pie for the rest of the gang, I make myself a small vegetarian one. I use the exact filling I made up, just minus the chicken. The same thing for Shepherd's Pie. The nice thing is, I make their fillings with more veggies and less meat also so they are getting a bit healthier meal in the bunch.


I also have a couple of seasonal vegetarian cookbooks I can check in if you'd like and see what they have. Moosewood cookbooks have been wonderful for me and they have many comfort food type recipes.

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I'm not a vegetarian, but baked squash soup screams cold weather comfort to me.


How to cook it:

Take one of those winter squashes, it doesn't matter which kind. Cut it in half. Take a bulb of garlic, separate the cloves, put them in the squash, you don't have to peel them. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake, cut side up, for one hour or so at 400 degrees.


In the meantime, saute a lot of onion--two Costco onions is about right--in olive oil. You want the onion to be almost but not quite caramelized. Toward the end of sauteeing the onion, add one entire bunch of sage, just the leaves, washed, separated, and cut up in chunks. Saute until it wilts.


Take out the squash. Scoop the meat out of the shells (it will be very soft) and put it into the pot with the onion. Squeeze out the roasted garlic from the skins and add as well. Then add some milk--I use nonfat. I hear that milk substitutes also work. Start with a cup or so. Blend with a stick blender. If it's too thick, add more milk. Heat to a simmer, do not boil. When it's hot, adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper if necessary (it doesn't need much).


This is very flavorful, and the flavor is not overwhelmingly squash-like, which is good because I hate squash. Instead it tastes all herbally/oniony, like really good stuffing that was roasted in the turkey. It's extremely healthy, too. Serve with a green salad or with bread. Ideally this would be hearth raised whole grain seed bread, but shoot, I don't make that stuff these days.

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We do lots of soups and stews in the cooler months. "The Voluptuous Vegan" (Myra Kornfeld) is one of our favorite cookbooks. The food is real (no processed or pre-fab ingredients or TVP/TSP). Just thinking about the chickpea crepes makes my mouth water! The recipes can be pretty time-intensive; but in chilly weather, that's a plus.


And, of course, if you have a pressure cooker (doesn't everyone?!), you can't go wrong with pretty much anything by Lorna Sass.

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Risotto! Wild mushroom risotto, pumpkin risotto with fried sage leaves, butternut squash and chard risotto. Lots of Parmesan on top. You can bake risotto in the oven -- don't have to stand over the stove, although on a cold evening that is nice to do too.

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I make a super easy black bean soup with quesadillas that we dip into it. It's a family favorite. :)


The soup is:


2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup any kind of salsa

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 tsp. cumin powder

1 tbs. lime juice


Throw all but one can of the black beans into the food processor and puree until mostly smooth. Pour into a saucepan, add remaining beans, and heat. Serve with the quesadillas.

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We do vegetarian frequently. The garden is overflowing right now (chard, cabbage, beans, kale, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cucs, squashes, herbs). So, pasta, stir fry, stuffed tomatoes, salads of all sorts, and a couple of meals I froze: Eggplant parm, veggie lasagna, sauce).



Tonight was your very basic penne pasta that I tossed with onions, garlic and many chopped tomatoes. I served with grilled zucchini and yellow summer squash. I added garden lettuce with peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.


Last week I did a peanut/coconut stir fry with a ton of rainbow chard, peppers, onions, garlic, and green beans.


One of my teens loves Amy's veggie burgers, so I do that about twice a week one the grill , which we eat with corn on the cob or bliss potaoes, and a giant salad. We also like portebella mushroom burgers, which is so easy.


I do frequent meals of Mexican foods with refried beans, corn, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, rice.


We have done tomatoes/mozerella with rice or cous cous , and giant salads.


When it's not steaming out, I love to make soup and stews. I haven't done that for a bit, as it's still summer here.

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Would you happen to have a recipe for this, by chance? I've toiled over the "pot pie" for years. I've had a few near misses, but have never actually nailed it. I would be forever in your debt...


Pot pie is basically veggies in a white sauce with pastry or potatoes or biscuits on top.


Saute onion, garlic (if you want), celery, and carrots in 3 tbsp olive oil. The amount of veggies isn't important, the amount of oil is.


You can add some raw meat at this point and cook it through. Or add cooked meat later on. Or skip the meat altogether.


When onions are translucent, stir in 3 tbsp flour. Cook for about a minute. Stir in 2 cups of either milk (for a white sauce), chicken broth (if making chicken pot pie), beef broth (if making beef pot pie), veggie broth (if you're a vegetarian and aren't into milk), or coconut milk (if you want to get exotic, and you have some experience) - you get the idea.


Stir the sauce over gentle heat until it thickens. Add frozen peas or whatever other veg you fancy. Add cubed cooked meat (beef, chicken, etc.) if desired.


Pour into glass casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes, or biscuit dough, or pastry dough, or perhaps bread crumbs dotted with butter.


Bake until your topping is done.




Veggie versions might include lentils or beans instead of meat.


A nice wartime recipe is Mrs. Harwood's cheese and lentil pie, which I ate in the Imperial War Museum's cafe this summer - it was wonderful, and very much comfort food.


Mrs Harwood’s Lentil and Cheese Pie

Boil lentils and an onion in some milk. When everything’s soft, pour it through a sieve. Pull the onion apart and layer it up with the lentils and some cheese, salt and white pepper. It must be white pepper. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top and put it in the oven. Use the milk to make mashed potatoes.

Serves 4

300 g red lentils

1 medium onion

30 g butter

850 ml milk

120 g cheddar

150 g fresh breadcrumbs

Salt and white pepper

Soak the lentils in warm water for about half an hour, then drain.

Dice the onion and fry gently in the butter until very soft, about 20 minutes.

Add the lentils and milk, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are soft. Top up with water if necessary, so that it ends up oozy.

Remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese. Season with salt and white pepper.

Transfer to a gratin dish, toss together the rest of the cheese and breadcrumbs and spread over the top. Bake in a medium-hot oven until golden and crispy on top.

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Oh, definitely all things squash!!! Wonderful spaghetti squash, buttered and salted... Butternut squash soup (and ditto on the thick, crusty bread--if it's smothered in garlic butter, so much the better). And I love very few things as much as a platter full of roasted, carmelized veggies served with cheese fondue.


And, mmm, a good ol' fashioned eggplant parmigiana.

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Stuffed squash or zucc. Grow the zucc very big, halve, scrap out the seeds and discard. Scrape out all but 1/2 inch of meat, put those boats, greased, upside down and bake at 350 until 1/2 done. Meanwhile, take some minced onion, browned, saute the scraped out meat, chopped, and whatever else you'd like to add. Mix this with a wild rice blend and some parm, if you like, restuff the boats, cover with au gratin or cheddar slices and bake until done. Keeps well. Cut into slices to serve. Yum.


Pumpkin sabji, my second most favorite food in the world (my first it tabboli). Here is a paste of an old post of mine:


Mummyji's Pumpkin Sabji

5 lb pumpkin, peeled and cubed into 1 1/2" cubes

3 cloves garlic (minced)

a small onion or less (small dice)

10 fenugreek seeds

one small hot pepper (serrano)

2 med-large toms (small dice)

1/4 t. turmeric

1/8 C sugar

2 (or more) TABLE oil

Make a masala of the garlic, onion, fenugreek seeds, some salt and chili

in the oil. After 'the return of the oil', add the tomatoes/tumeric and

mash etc. until the 'return of the oil' happens again.

Add the pumpkin cubes. Stir and saute' until thoroughly warmed. Stir in

the sugar, lower heat, cover and cook until tender, but not falling


Mummyji said over and over: "No ginger. No garum masala."

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Thanks so much! Some great suggestions and yummy looking recipes to boot! Can't wait to try them out :). The temperature has dropped significantly and quickly and has been hovering around 60 ish and I'm so in my Get-Out-The-Sweater-And-Eat-Like-A-Pig mode. Seriously, all I can think about is food (not that that is unusual or anything, but I've had to shift gears quickly).

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Ahem, Helena. You know the rule. Recipe...please. I always thought pozole was pork based.



You're right it's usually made with pork, but it can easily be made without.

I make 3 different kinds: red, green and brown.

I have to run out the door right now, but I'll post the recipes tonight.

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Jane Brody's Good Food cookbook has an incredible vegetarian lasagna (and you don't even have to precook the noodles!) Basically, it's pureed pinto beans in a tomato sauce, with the lasagna layered the regular way with risotto or cottage cheese, mozarella, noodles, sauce, topped with Parmesan.

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