Right after my daughter Sam announced over five and a half years ago that she was going vegetarian, I combed through my blog archives and was shocked that there were only about 25 meatless recipes after over eight years of food blogging.
For Sam’s sake, I learned to cook vegetables the way I never had before. At first, I was dousing her meals with cheese and butter. It took me a few months to discover and learn techniques for cooking vegetables.
Today, Sam is an occasional pescetarian but, most of the time, her meals still consists mostly of vegetables. I am proud to say that there are 235 meatless recipes in the archive. Some are vegan; the rest are lacto vegetarian (includes dairy), ovo vegetarian (with eggs) and ovo-lacto vegetarian (with dairy and eggs).
Many of these meatless dishes, we carnivores in the family have come to love. These are among our favorites.
Vegan crisp tofu skin fingers with spicy honey-lemon-ginger sauce – If you like munching, if you like something crisp to dip into a sauce, if you like an explosion of flavors and textures in your mouth, this is for you. Be warned though that it is unlike most munchies you may have tried in the part. These are tofu skins cut into “fingers” paired with a sweet-spicy-tangy sauce that screams Asia every which way.
Gising-gising (spicy mixed vegetables in coconut milk) – A medley of vegetables in various colors and textures, cooked lightly so that they retained their crispness then mixed with coconut milk to bring together all the flavors.
Chili relleno spring (egg) rolls – The immortal Asian spring rolls with a classic Mexican filling — whole chilies stuffed with cheese. And, yes, it is ovo-lacto vegetarian. These spring rolls were dipped in eggs and dredged in flour prior to frying to seal in the cheese and make sure it doesn’t seep out when it melts in the hot oil.
Mango and avocado salsa – This salsa is also great as a dip, as a garnish for grilled or fried meat or fish, or as a sandwich topping. Definitely something to make again and again. It’s easy, the dish is colorful and, oh, so festive and it won’t look out of place at a party or during holiday celebrations.
Shiitake mushrooms and green beans with teriyaki sauce – Three whole shiitake mushrooms and a dozen green beans plus a sauce that goes so well with just about anything make a wonderful vegan main course. Prep time was five minutes; cooking time, less than ten minutes.
Vegetarian stuffed bell peppers with fresh tomato sauce – I stuffed a huge green bell pepper with a mixture of cooked rice, mushrooms, chopped onion, minced garlic, paprika, grated cheese and parsley, put the pepper in the oven then smothered it with homemade tomato sauce. To finish it off, more grated cheese and chopped parsley.
Baked squash with butter, garlic and Parmesan – Panko was mixed with grated Parmesan, tossed with melted butter and spread over the slices of squash. Inside the oven, the melted butter turned the panko into tiny nuggets of crispiness.
Pan-grilled eggplant with kalamansi-chili sauce – In this vegan eggplant dish, a whole eggplant was diced, tossed with oil and grilled in a non-stick pan. When the eggplant was partially cooked, Vietnamese mixed fish sauce, nuoc mam pha, was added and the diced eggplant finished cooking in the liquid just long enough to soak up the flavors.
Stir fried mushrooms and broccoli. It’s vegan. – When Sam asked if I could cook beef with broccoli but with mushrooms instead of beef, I didn’t have to ask her to elaborate. I knew exactly what she meant — a stir fry with tender-crisp broccoli florets smothered with a sauce thickened with starch.
Vegetarian Teriyaki Noodles – Fresh ramen noodles, teriyaki sauce simmered until reduced, broccoli florets and diced cabbage. It’s richly flavored, the broccoli florets were lightly crisp and the cabbage leaves were wonderfully sweet.
Bok Choy and Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce – There are many Chinese recipes for bok choy and mushrooms. There are stir fries and soups while others simply require blanching. Some include oyster sauce among the ingredients; others do not. My recipe is a combination of two cooking processes. The bok choy was blanched in boiling broth while the mushrooms were stir fried with garlic. Vegetarian oyster sauce was used.
Sweet and Spicy Tofu – To sum up in one sentence, it is deep-fried firm tofu tossed in sweet chili sauce with additional chilies and finely chopped ginger thrown in. It’s simple and truly delicious.