Recipes for the Vegetarian (Aug 2012)

As summer starts winding down, we are finding the harvest season kicking into high gear. In southern CA, where I am currently, the farmers markets are crammed with produce and other fresh, organic, health-conscious foods. Here are some great vegetarian recipes to try and enjoy.


Spiced Oatmeal with Bananas and Almonds, in Eat-Taste-Heal: An Ayurvedic Guidebook and Cookbook for Modern Living by Yarema, Rhoda, and Brannigan.

1/3 c. sliced soaked almonds

4 c. filtered water

1 c. rolled oats (if gluten-intolerant, use certified gluten-free oats)

2 Tbsp. raisins

1/4 tsp. allspice powder

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

1/4 tsp. ginger powder

1 banana, peeled and sliced

1/3 c. organic whole milks or cream

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

1. Place the almonds in 1 cup filtered water overnight. peel off the skins and slice. (I also use sliced almonds and soak them in warm water for several minutes, until softer).

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Stirring continuously, pour in the oats and then add the raisins and spices.

3. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a smooth, creamy consistency, 7-9 minutes. Stir in the banana and sliced almonds.

4. Serve in a bowl with cream/milk and maple syrup.

*Consider substituting 1/4 tsp. cinnamon powder for allspice and ginger for an alternative (or Pitta dosha); alternately, substitute tapioca for oatmeal, using 2 cups water and cooking slightly longer (or Kapha dosha) and top with honey instead of maple syrup.


Tofu Salad with a Sesame Dressing, in Everyday Harumi: Simple Japanese food for Family and Friends by Harumi

10 oz. soft/silken tofu (I prefer firmer tofu)

3.5 oz. bag mixed salad green

1 c. toasted sesame seeds

1/2 c. soy sauce

scant 1/3 c. superfine sugar

4 Tbsp. sesame sauce (see ingredients above)

1-2 Tbsp. rice vinegar, unseasoned

1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped leeks, washed and dried

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger

1. to make the sesame sauce: Grind 2/3 c. of the toasted sesame seed in a mortar until sticky. then add the soy sauce and sugar and combine. Finish by lightly grounding the remaining 1/3 c. toasted sesame seeds. Add them to the first mixture and mix into a smooth paste.

2. Drain the tofu. Cut it in half and horizontally then into four, making eight pieces in total.

3. Put the salad leaves into a bowl of iced water to crisp. Drain, dry, and refrigerate.

4. To make he sesame sauce dressing: Put the sesame sauce in a bowl, add the rice vinegar, and mix. then add the finely chopped leeks and ginger.

5. Place the tofu on a plate, pour over the sesame dressing, put the salad leaves on top, and serve.

*Tofu and sesame are ingredients that really compliment each other and once made, this simple sesame dressing can b used with a variety of dishes. You can buy prepared sesame sauce in most Japanese supermarkets but it is easy and rewarding to make yourself. Be careful when preparing the tofu. If it is drained too much it will lose its soft texture but too little and it will be watery. Don’t assemble this salad until just before you are ready to serve.


Spinach Dhal, in Best Ever Indian Cuisine by Baljekar, Fernandez, Husain, & Kanani

1 c. chana dhal or yellow split peas

3/4 c. water

1 Tbsp. oil

1/4 tsp. black mustard seds

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic

1 inch piece fresh ginger root, grated

1 fresh red chili, finely chopped

10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. garam masala

1/2 tsp. salt

1. Wash the chana dhal/split peas in several changes of cold water. Put into a bowl and cover with plenty of water. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.

2. Drain the pulses and put them in a large pan with the water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until soft.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large heavy pan and fry the mustard seeds for 2 minutes until they begin to splutter. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and chili, and fry for 5-6 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for 10 minutes or until the spinach is dry and the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the remaining spices and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes.

4. Drain the split peas, add to the spinach and cook for about 5 minutes. Serve at once.


Toma con Cugna (Toma with Nutty Fruit Chutney (Piedmont)), in The New Regional Italian Cuisine Cookbook by Hess, Schinharl, and Salzar

2 c. white grape juice

1 firm pear

1 peach

2 fresh figs

2 Tbsp. each hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts

1 lb. fresh toma cheese (see Tip)

Lemon balm leaves for garnish

Preparation time: 35 minutes

Cooling time: 1 hour

Per portion: ~405 calories

1. Bring the grape juice to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan and cook until it has reduced by half for about 10 minutes.

2. Peel, core, and dice he pear; peel, pit, and dice the peach. Rinse, trim, and dice the figs.

3. Toast the hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts in a dry skillet; remove the nuts from the skillet and chop them coarsely. Add the fruit and nuts to the grape juice and let the mixture simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Set aside to cool for about 1 hour.

4. Either slice or spoon the cheese into dessert bowls; top the cheese with the fruit chutney and garnish with the lemon balm.

TIP: Toma is made from either cow’s milk or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk; it has a semisoft texture. It is a regional favorite either plain or with dessert specialties. It is rarely available in the USA; substitute with Brie or Camembert if you can’t find it. Cugna, also called cogna, is also available in a savory mustard variation that is usually served with meats.

*For those who do not eat cheese, consider substituting toma for a form of soy/vegetarian cheese that is similar.


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