Tag Archives: what to make for vegan guests

Guest Blogger: V is for Vegetables – Lentils and Basmati Rice with Caramelized Onions and Spiced Pita

15 Nov

Please welcome back Vanessa, author of V is for Vegetables. You can read her previous post here a recipe for Zucchini Boats. Check V is for Vegetables on Twitter as well. Please welcome back Vanessa!


My new iPhone finally arrived in the mail. Can you believe the camera on it? I love how many different uses the iPhone has and the camera might be my favorite part on the new one. The camera has facial recognition technology on it which is nothing new but I loved how it kept finding faces in the rice. Do you see a man’s face to the left of the center onion ring? I didn’t see it at first until I realized my phone was trying to tag him as a person. The phone is almost too smart.

This Middle Eastern dish is often called Mujadarah which is a fancy way of saying “rice, lentils and onion.” I adapted this dish from Veganomicon, the excellent cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. The one downfall of this cookbook is the lack of pictures. When I first made this dish, I thought, “No wonder there are no pictures… This looks like kitty litter.” With a little garnish, this dish ends up looking as delicious as it tastes.

Ingredients for rice, lentils and onion:

  • 3 large red onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup long-grain basmati rice (brown or white), rinsed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • Basil leaves for garnish

Directions for rice, lentils and onion:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Lay the onion rings flat and separated in a large roasting pan. Toss in olive oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes until translucent and slightly burnt.

3. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add rice, cinnamon, allspice, and cumin. Return to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Uncover and gently stir in the lentils. Bring to a boil again then lower heat, cover and simmer. Cook until all water is absorbed. For me, this takes 12-15 minutes. Allow the dish to cool for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork.

5. Fold in the caramelized onions, garnish with basil leaves and serve with pita bread.

Ingredients for spiced pita:

  • 4 whole wheat pitas
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil for brushing
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions for spiced pita:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Slice the pita bread into 1/8ths like a pizza.

3. Combine olive oil with the seasonings. Brush the mixture onto the insides of each pita crisp.

4. Spread the pita crisps out on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until light brown.

Serves 4-6

Slightly adapted from: Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook


Guest Blogger: Rubber Cowgirl – Enchillasagna with Cauliricotta

28 May

Our latest vegan guest blogger is Rachael, otherwise known as Rubber Cowgirl, with a recipe all her own.Here she is in her own words, “I have been Vegan for six years now! In 2006 I read the book Skinny Bitch and decided to take the plunge. I had considered it for some time; living vegan seemed the logical choice for my own health and the planet. Having examined the facts of factory farming and conventional agriculture, there was only one choice I could make. I became a healthier, skinnier, more compassionate person. Go Vegan today! We can change the world one bite at a time!” Please welcome Rachael!

That’s Enchilada-Lasagna with Cauliflower Ricotta. Specialty of the house! I can’t take the credit for inventing taco pie, but I did invent a vegan ricotta, and the name “Enchillasagna” is mine. It was such a hit with our friend Hopeless when he visited last fall, he asked me specifically to make it again.

To create this fabulous fusion one stacks layers of vegetables, beans and vegan cheeses between soft corn tortillas. The ingredients are up to you – whether you want to lean toward the lasagna style, with zucchini, fresh basil and marinara; or go the enchilada route with peppers, sweet corn and cilantro. Black beans and fresh tomatoes are a must, as well as my special Cauliflower Ricotta.

To make the Cauliricotta, purée one head of raw cauliflower in a food processor. Add olive oil as needed to blend. In a large bowl, mix the cauliflower purée with one 8oz package of vegan cream cheese, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and salt to taste. It’s fluffy and creamy at the same time!

Gear and I made a HUGE batch that filled three baking dishes. Here are the ingredients we chose:

Marinara sauce
Corn tortillas
Black beans
Grape tomatoes, halved
Pineapple chunks
Sweet peppers, sliced in rings
Tomatillos, sliced in half-moons
Yellow courgette, sliced in 1/4″ thick roundsGreen onions, sliced in rings
Daiya pepper jack shreds

Cilantro, minced
Sliced avocado
Sliced mango
Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
– Preheat your oven to 375F
– Spread a few spoonfuls of sauce (marinara or enchilada) on the bottom of a deep baking dish.
– Cover the sauce with a layer of tortillas.
– Cover the tortillas with a layer of ricotta, yellow squash and tomatoes. Reserve a little of the ricotta for garnish. (Zucchini and sliced heirloom tomatoes are also great in this layer.)
– More tortillas. More sauce.
– Next layer is black beans and peppers and pineapple (or black olives) and onions.
– Sprinkle generously with Daiya.
At this point, you can decide whether or not you want a third layer. If you have enough veggies, throw some more tortillas on there and go for it!
Finish off with dabs of ricotta, a drizzle of hot sauce and any extra tomatoes.
Bake until the cheese melts and toasts a tiny bit, about 30 minutes.
Allow the Enchillasagna to cool a bit before slicing and plating, so that all the layers stick together. It will be hard to wait, because it will smell so good, so get your knife back out and slice up your avocado and mango garnishes. Sprinkle with minced cilantro (or basil), give a lemon a good squeeze over the whole thing and then…grab a fork!
I think I shall have to host more dinner parties! We fed four hungry people with one pan, and Gear and I feasted on leftovers for the next two days. It was so good!