By Susan Lane of Susan A. Lane Events
This past week, I was lucky enough to see Mark Bittman, the famous food writer, speak at the Natural Products Expo at the Boston Convention Center. Mark Bittman is the popular New York Times food columnist and the bestselling author of Food Matters– a revolutionary examination of the connection between global warming and our consumption of animal products and processed food(this includes organic processed food!). I’m hearing some very large sighs from some of my closest friends right now, but bear with me!!! I have an overweight child (can’t imagine why!!) and I am constantly struggling to help her eat better. I’m sickened by the menus that come home from her school and am trying to become locally involved with initiating some changes there. At home, I am guilty of feeding both of us too much meat and dairy. Mark Bittman had a perfectly reasonable solution. Overweight for some time, his doctor recommended that he try being a vegan before 6 every day- in other words, only eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes until dinner time. At dinner, one could then satiate those cravings for meat, fish, processed foods (in moderation) and dairy products. Well, I have instituted this program at home and we are sticking with it. Being a single mom with my own business makes it challenging to prepare fresh foods every day, but I know that it’s more important than a lot of other things I waste my time on every day. That and sitting down to dinner with my daughter every night are two things that make me feel more grounded.
Here are some of my favorite vegetarian recipes. Make them ahead of time if possible so you’re not running around when you get home from work or a busy day. In addition to making these yummy things for your family, keep a huge bowl of steamed green beans and zucchini in your fridge so that when hunger strikes, you don’t reach for the cheese or snack items. I sauté them with some olive oil and sliced garlic and sprinkle with kosher salt. Take advantage of the farmers markets. Fill your fridge up with fresh, local produce every week. You can’t beat the flavor of local beets, green beans, peaches, apples, pears, lettuces, corn, sugar snaps. So superior to any supermarket produce.
If you’re struggling to figure out what to eat for breakfast on this plan, consider this. At the expo, they were serving steamed spinach! Yummy! Mark Bittman eats oatmeal with soy and scallions, or with tapenade. Or try one of the lentil burgers below. Believe me, they are delicious. Get out of the habit of eating mass marketed cereals or breakfast bars. Use your imagination. Sliced banana with peanut butter on whole grain bread. Warm applesauce on toast. Sliced avocado spread on half a bagel and topped with sliced tomato, red onion and s & p.
Please offer up your own vegetarian recipes for all of us to enjoy and help to make us a healthier planet.
Cup cooked lentils
½ c. cooked brown rice
¼ c. peanut butter
1 clove minced garlic
1 chopped scallion
s & p
1/2 minced celery stalk
pinch of paprika
bind with a little flour
Form into patties
Fry in veggie oil
Fabulous on a whole wheat bun with local boston lettuce and a fresh slice of tomato!!
Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms – 4 mushrooms
4 large Portabella Mushrooms- rubbed with olive oil
1 Eggplant halved, & rubbed with olive oil, salt & pepper- Roast; scoop out of skin; remove seeds if possible. Chop up.
Roast and chop: Brush first with olive oil, salt & pepper, crushed garlic
1 Red peppers
1 Summer squash
In bowl, mix eggplant and chopped vegetables.
1/2 cup Bread crumbs
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese- grated
1/2 cup Chopped parsley
Cup Toasted pine nuts
Tiny bit of Olive oil
Stuff good amount onto oil rubbed portabellos and bake on cookie sheet for 25 minutes.
Suzy’s Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil (not virgin)
1 cup chopped white onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (28 oz.) imported Italian Tomatoes, whole (they will say “packed in Italy”) Purée them gently in food processor or in can with a stick blender. Muir Glen whole tomatoes are excellent as well.
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. ground fennel (can grind seeds in a coffee grinder or mini-chopper)
4 leaves of fresh basil or 1 1/2 tsp. dry basil
2 T. chopped parsley
2 T. sugar
Heat the olive oil in a six quart pan. Add onions and sauté for around 5-7 minutes or until they are translucent. Add garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add puréed tomatoes and stir.
Add oregano, salt and pepper, red pepper, fennel, basil, parsley, and sugar. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. Stir frequently. Can cool sauce and freeze at this point in individual containers (1 1/2 cups for 2 people)
Serve over whole wheat pasta or regular pasta.
– In large mixing bowl, cover 2 cups of coarse bulgur wheat with two inches of cold water and let soak over night.
drain and squeeze water out with hands
In large mixing bowl, mix the bulgur with:
-2 cups diced cucumbers- I use pickling cukes- the tiny ones with the skin left on
-1 cup diced tomato- I leave this in separate container and mix in when I eat it, otherwise it gets mushy.
-½ cup or more of diced red onion
-two very large handfuls of Chopped flat parsley
-2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice ( can also add some yellow zest to the bowl)
-2-3 cloves of minced garlic
-½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
-1 Tablespoon of kosher salt
-Fresh ground pepper
Can also add in a ½ can of Garbanzo beans and some pitted greek olives that have been chopped. The beans would make the dish a full protein.