Mint (a-rific) Recipe Links

I was a cooking fool all weekend. In fact, I will be posting a couple of New Orleans recipes before the week is up. My favorite is a yummy soybean gumbo.

I’m posting on another blog for the next 2 weeks. It’s called ChowSpice. If the next couple of weeks go well, I’ll actually get paid to blog there. It’s very exciting to me. So please take a look over there from time to time. I will be posting different recipes than I do here. Right now I have a recipe for a Summer Orzo Pasta Salad I made to take to a friend’s bday party on Saturday. I made it with a combination of Italian basil, cinnamon basil, and lemon basil.

Also having goo-gobs of mint at my disposal I made a yummy Mint Simple Syrup and had a tasty mojito while I was making the pasta salad!

Here are a few mint recipes I may be trying out this weekend:

What things are you guys making with mint? I’d love some new ideas!


Vegetaran Black Bean Burger Veggie Burrito Filling

Yes, I have been on a quick and easy kick lately. And you could use this filling on nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, or even over rice. I used the Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean burgers because they were left over from our cook out last weekend. They are not vegan, but you could substitute another vegan burger and add some black beans and corn if you wanted to.

This is the week of hiding veggies for me, so if you don’t need to hide yours by all means use larger pieces of vegetables. All you’ll have to do is cook it longer.

Vegetaran Black Bean Burger Veggie Burrito Filling – serves 4

  • 2 Spicy Black Bean patties
  • 1 tomato minced
  • 1 zucchini minced
  • 1 small eggplant minced
  • 1 handful mushrooms minced
  • 1 handful collards minced
  • 1 green pepper minced
  • 1/2 onion minced
  • big handful fresh cilantro minded
  • 4 Tortillas preferably whole grain

In a non-stick pan cook onion until it’s translucent. Since everything is minced you’ll need to keep a closer eye on it and stir more often. Add green pepper, mushrooms, tomato, eggplant, collards, zucchini and cook until all veggies are softened. You may need to add a couple of Tbl. water and cover your pan if it’s taking longer than you want it to.

In a separate non-stick pan cook burgers and chop into crumbles with your spatula in the pan as it cooks. Add cooked burger crumbles and cilantro to the veggie mixture.

Most store bought tortillas will tear if you try to fold them unless they are warmed. You could warm them in the oven or microwave if you like. I usually warm theme by putting them one by one on top of the pan I have my heated filling in.

Fill the warmed tortillas with the mixture and fold into a burrito shape. Put the filling in the center and fold the tortilla in half. Next fold about an inch of both ends towards the middle, then roll it in half again.

After they are filled, I like to put them on a cookie sheet and bake them. They become a little liked their fried cousins the chimichanga.

Vegan Slow Cooker Veggie Mole Chili

Slow Cooker Thursday

It’s slow cooker Thursday!
See other great recipes at Diary of a SAHM

A great way to hide veggies from the haters! If you have a household of veggie lovers you don’t have to mince all the veggies, it’s just to allow them to disappear more in the chili.

Also if you don’t have any kidney beans, black or pintos would work too. You could also cook your beans in the slow cooker overnight to use in this recipe instead of canned.

Vegan Slow Cooker Veggie Mole Chili – serves 8

  • 1 large (20 + oz) can of Trader Joe’s cooked kidney beans or 2 regular cans
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 yellow squash, minced
  • 1 small eggplant, minced
  • 1 handful kale or other greens chopped finely
  • 1 handful mushrooms, minded
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used one with lime and green chilies)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 t powdered chilies or cayenne – if you don’t like spicy foods start with less
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t orange rind, finely grated
  • 1 Tbl. good cocoa powder or grate some unsweetened chocolate

Ok, put all of the above into your slow cooker. You may want to add about 1/2 cup filtered water if the mixture looks too dry. Remember that the veggies will put out some of their liquids as it cooks.

Cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.  try this as a filling in burritoes or enchiladas to hide the veggies even more.

I hope you enjoy it!

Vegan Polenta with grilled eggplant and heirloom tomato sauce

I decided to invite some people over this weekend and grill out. So that meant that we needed to get out the grill and do a trial run. This was pretty easy, though more time intensive since we use charcoal. But charcoal tastes so much better to me.

Polenta with grilled eggplant and heirloom tomato sauce – serves 2 as a main course

  • 1 package trader Joe’s precooked polenta sliced thick (or your own made from scratch, chilled and cut into rectangles)
  • 3 large tomatoes (I used Purple Cherokees from my garden!) – cut in half width-wise
  • 1 small eggplant sliced thin
  • 1 medium zucchini sliced thin
  • Handful fresh basil chopped
  • A couple of sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbl. tomato paste

Make sure your coals are hot, but not all flamey and get ready to grill! First we’re going to grill the tomatoes, so we can use them and make our sauce. Spray a little oil on the cut side of the tomatoes and place cut side down on the grill. You will cook this a couple of minutes until they are cooked through to almost the top end. Once you take them off the grill they will cook the rest of the way.

the veggies:

Mix the eggplant and zucchini slices with some salt and oil then put on the grill in singles layers.  You won’t need to cook these long, plus we want to achieve a meaty texture with these veggies. After they are cooked on both sides remove from grill and mince them. Sprinkle the slices with fresh ground pepper. Set aside for now.

the sauce:

  1. Heat a non-stick pan
  2. Scrape out the insides of the grilled tomato into a food processor with basil and oregano – puree
  3. Pour into the hot pan
  4. Add tomato paste
  5. Cover partially, and cook over low heat until it thickens a bit.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste

the polenta:

Slice in thick slices, oil the surfaces that will be exposed to the grill, and grill on both sides until it is done enough for you.  Mine tried to let the grill cut into them, and I’m not quite sure why.  I just flipped them if they looked like they were starting to sink in.

put it all together:

Lay a few slices of polenta, cover with the eggplant/zucchini mixture, cover with your thickened sauce and a couple of small basil leaves.

I really liked the smokey flavor the grill gave the veggies. I’ll be making this again. It’s easy and looks impressive.

Vegetarian Slow Cooker Pumpkin White Bean Lasagna

Insanely easy. In fact people will think you made a gourmet lasagna from scratch. It takes about 15 minutes to put together in the morning. But it’s worth it to come home to a healthy tasty dinner that’s not your everyday lasagna.

This is a quick and dirty recipe, but if you have more time you can certainly cook your beans, marinara sauce, and pumpkin from scratch.

Vegetarian Slow Cooker Pumpkin White Bean Lasagna

  • 1 15 oz. can cooked pumpkin (organic if possible)
  • 16oz. ricotta (low fat) (substitute pureed tofu for a vegan option or use Pumpkin Tofu “Ricotta” – recipe below)
  • 3/4 package of whole wheat lasagna (I got my at target – it cooks up really well)
  • jar organic marinara sauce (I used Bertolli’s and it was really pretty good)
  • 1 can cooked white beans (low or no salt is best, and organic if you can find it)
  • Handful of sun dried tomatoes minced

You can skip oiling your slow cooker if you’re brave, but it would be best to put a spray or two of olive oil to make the clean up easier later on.

In one bowl mix the ricotta and the entire contents of pumpkin. It will look a little odd, but I promise you it tastes great!

You are going to need to break off the corners of one side on each piece of the lasagna noodles so that they fit snuggly in the crock pot. You can do this now, or as you go – which either one is easiest for you.

You will repeat the following layers until you get about 2 inches from the top of the slow cooker. You can make fewer thicker layers or more thin layers depending on your preference. I like lots of layers myself.

  1. Spread thin layer of sauce covering the floor of the slow cooker
  2. Put in a single layer of whole wheat lasagna noodles
  3. Now spread some of the cheese pumpkin mixture
  4. Spread another thin layer of sauce
  5. Put on some of the white beans, trying to keep them spread out instead of clumps
  6. Sprinkle some of the sun dried tomatoes on top of the beans

Repeat above ending with a last layer of lasagna noodles and top that with sauce.

Cook on low for about 8 hours. It’s ok to leave it longer if you need to.

If you want to top it with shredded mozzarella don’t do it now or it will cook hard and nasty on top. Instead, once the lasagna is ready to eat, top it with shredded cheese and put the whole slow cooker in the oven to melt it.

For a vegan version you can use this as a filling:

Pumpkin Tofu “Ricotta”

  • 1 container tofu
    (soft or firm)
  • 1 15 oz. can organic pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    (optional, adds a more cheesy flavor)
  • 1 Tb. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
    (or 1/2 tsp onion salt and leave out the extra salt)
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
    (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 3 sun dried tomatoes, re-hydrated
    (pour boiling water over them and let them sit for a few minutes)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor blend the olive oil and sun dried tomatoes until you have a paste. (It’s ok if there are still some lumps in it). Add the rest of the ingredients, blend until creamy. Add a little water if you need to thin the mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings.