Vegetarian, Part-time: Tips and Recipes (cont.)

Part-Time Vegetarian Recipes

Ready to give part-time vegetarianism a try? Start with a "meatless Monday," and work your way up to even more vegetarian meals each week. It might be easier than you think.

Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Vegetarian Sausage & Sage Gravy

You can use this gravy in all sorts of dishes, from vegetarian Shepherd's pie to vegetarian casserole to pot pie.

4 links vegetarian sausage links or patties, like Whole Kitchen brand from Whole Foods (about 3 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons Wondra quick-mixing flour (or all-purpose flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon dried ground sage

  • Heat the oil in a large, nonstick frying pan, then add the vegetarian links or patties and fry until done, crumbling into small pieces as it cooks.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth and the 2 tablespoons of flour to a small, nonstick saucepan and mix together to make a paste. Slowly whisk in the remaining vegetable broth.
  • Whisk in the salt (if desired), pepper, sage and cooked sausage pieces with oil. Bring mixture to boil and stir until it reaches desired thickness (about 2 minutes).

Yield: 1 1/4 cup gravy (about 4 servings)

Per serving: 93 calories, 6.5 g protein, 5.5 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1.6 g fiber, 410 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 48%.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

15-ounce can chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 cucumber, unpeeled and finely chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, finely diced or cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Add chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley, basil, and mozzarella to medium serving bowl.
  • Drizzle olive oil, vinegar, and salt over the top, and toss all ingredients well to combine.
  • Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 1 hour to let flavors blend.

Yield: 6 side servings

Per serving: 153 calories, 9 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 6.5 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 2.5 g fiber, 197 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 38%.

Sausage & Saffron Rice

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red chili, stemmed, seeded, and finely minced, or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1 pinch saffron threads (find these in jars in the spice section)
5-6 ounces vegetarian sausage of your choice, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup diced, vine-ripened tomato (or use drained chopped canned tomatoes)
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped green onions (the white and part of the green)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Heat oil in a medium, nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chili or red pepper flakes, if desired, and saute for exactly one minute. Stir in the brown rice and let brown in oil for a minute. Stir in the broth, saffron, sausage pieces, tomato, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer; cover saucepan and cook 35-40 minutes (rice should be tender).
  • Let the rice mixture sit in covered saucepan for 10 minutes. Stir in green onions, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving (using Whole Foods brand Vegetarian Sausage Links: 291 calories, 13.5 g protein, 43 g carbohydrate, 7.4 g fat, 0.7 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 620 mg sodium (depending on the sodium in the broth and sausage). Calories from fat: 23%.

Portabella Tacos

4 medium portabella mushrooms, stems removed and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 teaspoons dried oregano flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks (about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch thick)
1 medium red onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
8 corn or flour tortillas
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded, reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup salsa of your choice

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add mushrooms, oregano, oil, salt and pepper (if desired), zucchini sticks, and onion slices to large bowl. Toss to blend well.
  2. Spoon mixture evenly into a jellyroll pan (line it with nonstick foil if you have it). Place pan in oven and let vegetables roast, tossing occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
  3. Soften tortillas by wrapping them in a damp cloth and heating in the microwave for about a minute. Or you can warm them in a nonstick frying pan (use a little canola cooking spray if you like).
  4. Fill each tortilla with mushroom mixture, some shredded cheese, and salsa.

Yield: 4 servings (2 tacos each)

Per serving: 309 calories, 15 g protein, 40 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 370 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 33%.

Published April 20, 2006.


Recipes provided by Elaine Magee; © 2006 Elaine Magee

SOURCE:Environmental Nutrition,> August 2005.

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the "Recipe Doctor" for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.



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