Happy Earth Day to you! Today my sons and I celebrated by learning how to grow vegetables and fruits and how vegetables and fruits help us grow. They each planted tomato seeds and both cannot wait to see the seeds sprout. They were also able to learn how plants help the Earth’s environment stay healthy.
In honor of Earth Day and my sons and I’s lessons on fruits and vegetables, I want to share with you some great vegetarian recipes. Instead of Meatless Monday, we could call today Meatless Wednesday. Here are two recipes that my family and I have made and loved every time. And yes, this means we sometimes simply have veggies for dinner and no meat.
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Crispy Goat Cheese – Recipe adapted from Blogging Over Thyme
Homemade Tomato Sauce:
(Or you can use your favorite Tomato Sauce. When I made this I used our favorite marinara sauce with basil. It sped up cooking time, but I wanted to include the homemade tomato sauce option as this was included in the original recipe.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can chopped plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, finely sliced
1-2 garlic cloves chopped
6 ounces baby spinach (you can also use frozen chopped spinach)
Panko Bread Crumb Topping:
(You can omit this or use almond meal if you do not incorporate grains in your diet.)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
8 large portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed
4 ounces soft, young goat cheese
- Using large saucepan, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the oil is warm, add the chopped garlic, stirring continuously for 30 seconds, making sure that the garlic does not brown (this is essential). Add the bay leaves and the dried oregano to the pan and stir continuously for a minute.
- Add tomato paste and canned tomatoes, stir together, and bring to low simmer. Cover and simmer sauce for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent.
- Add the baby spinach and sauté until just wilted, stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. (If using frozen chopped spinach…Defrost the spinach, remove access moisture and then add to the pan. Cook until cooked through.)
- Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Once the butter is just beginning to sizzle add the panko breadcrumbs and toast for three to four minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the breadcrumbs from burning–or until the breadcrumbs become lightly golden.
- (You can omit this or use almond meal if you do not incorporate grains into your diet.)
Prepare the Mushrooms:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with foil and wire rack.
- Trim the portobello mushrooms and drizzle them lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a grill pan over high heat. Grill the portobello mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Place the grilled portobello mushrooms gill-side up onto the wire rack as they are ready (the mushrooms will give off a lot of liquid as they cook and sit, and this will prevent them from sitting in any of their juices).
- Top the mushrooms with a large spoonful of tomato sauce and then top with spinach mixture, distributing it evenly among the mushrooms.
- Slice the goat cheese into 1/2″ thick slices (roughly half an ounce). Bread the goat cheese slices lightly in the panko breadcrumb topping and place on top of each mushroom. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the remaining breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until heated through and the breadcrumbs are golden brown and goat cheese is jut beginning to soften. Serve immediately.
Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach – Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste.
2 medium Italian eggplants, cut lengthwise into 10 (1/4-inch thick) slices
Sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups quick marinara sauce
1 large egg – this is a binder, so if you cannot have eggs then try chai seeds or almond flour
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese (You can sub for cottage cheese or mix the two. I mixed ricotta and cottage cheese to make it creamier.)
8 oz frozen spinach, heated through and squeezed well
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup (4 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella (Polly-O)
- Cut the 2 ends off the eggplants. Cut the eggplants lengthwise, into 1/4-inch thick slices until you have a total of 10 slices about the same size. It’s easiest to do this with a mandolin. My mandolin is from OXO. If you do not have a mandolin, you can easily use a knife.
- Sprinkle the eggplant with kosher salt to help remove excess moisture and bitterness from the eggplants. Set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes. Pat dry with a towel.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Season the eggplant with a little more salt and pepper, then arrange on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover tightly with foil and bake until eggplant is tender and pliable but NOT fully cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg then mix together with ricotta, spinach, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.
- Pat eggplant dry with paper towels. Dividing the ricotta-spinach mixture (about 2 generous tablespoons each) evenly and spoon onto one end of each eggplant slice, spreading to cover. Starting at the short end, roll up slices and arrange them each seam side down in the prepared dish. Top with remaining marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and tightly cover with foil.
- Bake until the eggplant is very tender, about 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving with additional cheese if desired.
I hope you enjoy these amazing vegetarians dishes. Do you have any favorite vegetarian dishes you would like to share?