Category Archives: Vegetarian Main Dishes

Pesto & Garden Veggie Couscous Salad, with BBQ’d Tofu or Chicken

A slight bbq tang, plus the crisp crunch of fresh veggies means this summer salad is delish!

I was looking at Instagram the other day, and came across a mention of Pesto Couscous. My mind was instantly intrigued. Could a recipe be that simple? Take some couscous and add in some pesto? The answer, my friends, is yes! Heated, it makes a great side dish. Add in some protein and a colourful veggie, and you’ve got yourself dinner! Or…turn it into a salad! That’s this week’s recipe: Pesto & Garden Veggie Couscous Salad!

With the summer heat upon us, I’ve been feeling particularly like serving cold salads as a main course. Adding in garden fresh veggies and some chunks of BBQ’d protein, and you’ve got yourself a hearty main dish that won’t keep you in a hot kitchen, and can easily be packed up for picnics or lunches.

I used corn, tomato, and cucumber in this dish, but you can add in whatever veggies you have growing in your garden or can purchase fresh at a local store. For the protein, I added in chunks of tofu marinated in BBQ sauce and then baked and cooled. You could use chicken — in fact, I’m sure my darling meat-a-tarian husband would have preferred it, but hey, she who holds the ladle rules the world! Or menu, at least.

Want to make this easy dish yourself? Let’s get to it!

 

PESTO & GARDEN VEGGIE COUSCOUS SALAD

This easy yet hearty summer salad uses pearl couscous tossed with pesto and garden fresh veggies, topped with chunks of bbq'd protein, to make a refreshing but hearty summer dish. 

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 c. pearl couscous (uncooked)
  • 1 1/4 c. water
  • 2 heaping tbsp. pesto
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 pickling cucumber, chopped
  • 1 ear corn
  • 1/2 c. bbq'd protein (I used bbq'd tofu)

Instructions

  1. Boil pearl couscous in water for 10 minutes or until cooked to your taste (it's just like boiling pasta). Drain.

  2. Cook ear of corn (I cooked it for a few minutes in the microwave), and remove the niblets. 

  3. Add pesto to drained couscous and let cool. 

  4. When cool, add together pesto couscous, chopped tomato and cucumber, and corn niblets. 

  5. Stir, then top with chunks of bbq'd protein. 

  6. Chill to let flavours meld, and then serve. 

 

I strongly prefer to use pearl couscous in this salad, both for mouth feel and for presentation, but if regular couscous is all you have, you do you, boo. As with the veggies, it’s all about using what you’ve got! And what you’ve got with this dish, is a hands down hit for a potluck, work lunches, or dinner on a hot night. Even better is if you’re able to use pre-cooked protein, leftover from another meal, or even from a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Less cooking means less time in a hot kitchen and more time eating and socializing! And I’m all about the eating!

Next Post: Any requests? I’d give you my own version of fried green tomatoes, but I know many people have strong feelings on the subject. Maybe something with seasonal fruit? Mmm…fruit! I’m pretty sure fruit is my spirit animal. 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Happiness is Homemade, and Clever Chicks Bloghop! As well as Full Plate Thursday!

Shake n’ Bake Tofu (aka Tofu for Tofu-Haters)

Chunks of bbq’d and breaded goodness!

As a vegetarian, I’m always trying to make sure I eat enough protein, and as an expectant mum, I’m being doubly careful to feed my bebe-to-be all the nutrients she needs. So when I tried a tofu dish at a friend’s party…and LIKED it, I knew I had to develop my own variation. Basically, this is a tofu dish that will even convert the non-tofu-eaters in your life  to the realization that tofu isn’t all bad. I plan to eat all my tofu this way from now on!

This dish is pretty easy to make. All you do is chop up the tofu into cubes, marinate it in a BBQ sauce of your choice, toss the cubes in a homemade shake n’ bake mixture, and bake!

I’ve given you my homemade shake n’ bake recipe here, but as always, I encourage you to make it your own. Have some ground flax seed? Add it in! Have panko crumbs instead of breadcrumbs? Use those! Don’t have breadcrumbs but have some dried out bread husks? Toast and blend those up and use them instead! I’ve added in some psyllium husk to this mixture, but you could easily leave it out. Again, make it your own!

Let’s get to making, baking, and most importantly…eating!

5 from 1 vote
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SHAKE N' BAKE TOFU

These easy marinated, breaded, and baked tofu chunks will convert even the pickiest of eaters to the tofu side!

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pkg. firm tofu (must be firm. Silken or soft tofu won't work in this recipe)
  • 1/2 bottle BBQ sauce (or make your own!)
  • 1/2 c. breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsps. psyllium husk
  • 2 tbsps. flour
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Chop tofu into cubes, and marinate in BBQ sauce overnight.

  2. Mix up all remaining ingredients, including the oil, to make the shake n' bake mixture. 

  3. Individually roll the marinated tofu cubes in the shake n' bake mixture, and place on a foil-lined baked sheet. 

  4. Bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, turning once at the 10 minute mark. 

  5. Eat and enjoy!

I love this recipe because not only is the shake n’ bake mixture easily customizable, but you can use the final product in so many recipes! I plan to use the breaded cubes in any dish that normally would have called for chunks of chicken: to top a salad with, to use in a wrap, as chicken nuggets, and so on. It’s an easy way to get a vegetarian protein into a picky eater! Try shake n’ bake tofu out and you’ll love it too!

True conversation with the DH, the guy who grew up on a cattle ranch:

Me: So, do you like the tofu? 

DH: It’s ok. I prefer real meat. 

Me: Well, I love it. I’m only making tofu this way from now on! 

DH: *goes to kitchen to get another helping of tofu* WHAT!?!!! There’s no more?!!???? Whyyy????

The moral of the story is…even my darling meat-a-tarian husband ate it and liked it! You will too!

Next Post: Maybe Pesto Couscous. Or…something baked with fruit? Another yummy recipe, at any rate!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and Inspire Me Monday! As well as at The Clever Chicks and Happiness is Homemade! Plus, at Full Plate Thursday!

This-and-That Veggie & Goat Cheese Quiche: Dinner in a Jiffy

Melted goat cheese is the best!

I’ve been ill recently and to amuse myself while I lie on the sofa, I’ve been scrolling through random Instagram feeds from across the world. Today I came across someone who lives in the French Alps, and I saw a picture of a quiche that she had made. I thought…oooh, that would make great lunches for the week!

I’ve been eating my Greek Salad almost every day for at least the past 3 weeks (possibly 4 weeks), and I am finally ready for a change. But a vegetable-rich change! So I looked through my fridge and pantry and pulled out some veggies. I had some baby tomatoes, a few baby carrots, some onions, some dried arugula (if I can’t eat my greens fast enough, I’ll just dehydrate them to throw in my cooking or smoothies at a later date). I also had half a package of goat cheese, some eggs that were getting a bit old, and the last of some milk and cream. In other words, I tossed together bits of this and that! (Hence the name, this-and-that quiche.)

You can make this quiche too! I’ve put down the amounts of the vegetables that I used, but you can easily substitute in whatever  veggies you have on hand. You could even use frozen vegetables that you’ve cooked and drained, and of course you can use whatever cheese you have on hand (just grate it or cube it).

Let’s get to making some quiche!

 

5 from 2 votes
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This-and-That Veggie & Goat Cheese Quiche

A great dish to use up bits of veggies and whatever you have in your fridge! 

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 3/4 c. baby tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. dried arugula (or any greens you have on hand)
  • 1/2 pkg. goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp. sliced baby carrots
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. cream
  • 4 tbsp. milk
  • 1 pie crust (I used my favourite vodka pie crust)

Instructions

  1. Slice the onions and saute on low medium heat for 15 minutes or until mostly golden and translucent. Add the baby tomatoes after you've pricked them with a fork (this helps the juices escape and caramelize) as well as the carrots. Saute all together until the carrots can be easily pierced with a fork, and the tomatoes are more wizened than plump. 

  2. Mix the eggs, milk, and cream together. Stir in the arugula.
  3. Place the crust in a pie pan. Sprinkle the goat cheese in crumbles on the pie crust. Cover with the sautéed vegetables. Pour the egg mixture over everything, and baked in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the egg mixture is golden and top and fully set when pierced with a fork.

Recipe Notes

This is the best pie crust to use: my vodka pie crust! Buttery and flaky and just plain yummy! 

Serve with a side salad and enjoy! I’ve packed most of this for lunches for the coming week, but of course it’s just as yummy when served as dinner!

Next Post: Copycat Peach Yoplait, I think. High in calcium and yummy peach flavour!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday!

The Only Greek Salad Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Photo of my mother’s recipe card included. The hallmark of a good recipe are the stains on the recipe card!

And…I’m back! Where was I for the past month, when this blog was eerily silent? Well, I was actually off sick for three weeks. Too sick to work, so too sick to blog. I’ll tell more in an upcoming post, but for now I just want to talk about food! Specifically, this Greek Salad! It’s a recipe I got from my mom, and I’ve eaten 7 batches of this salad in the past month, and plan to make and eat three more this week. So, obviously, it’s a delicious recipe! And easy to make, because aside from a batch of blueberry pancakes that I made yesterday, it’s been the only thing I’ve cooked/made in the past month!!!

This super-Spring-like Greek Salad is easy to toss together, and can be made in less than 15 minutes. You could easily add some pasta to make a Greek Pasta salad, but personally, I love that it’s almost all vegetables (I’m counting tomatoes as a vegetable in this one instance). Mmm…my precious vegetablessssss!

Want to toss a batch together yourself? Let’s!

Greek Salad

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 8 oz. Feta cheese (I often use the stuff in containers in the dairy section, but the best stuff is the super creamy version from a good deli counter)
  • 1/2 c. black olives
  • 1/3 c. oil (I use vegetable, but olive would be more authentic)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (fresh makes it SO much better)
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

 Chop tomatoes and cucumbers. Add crumbled Feta cheese. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Serve chilled! 

I remember eating bowls of this as a child, along with super-fresh crusty French or Italian bread (there was a very authentic Italian bakery close by). A delicious way to get in your vegetables!

As I said, you could easily add some pasta to this to stretch it or to add some heft to the meal, with the salad dressing coating the pasta. But truly, this is a great meal all on its own. I’ve recently been eating bowls of this at midnight, and it’s just as delicious as when served at lunch or dinner! (Perhaps even more delicious when it’s extra chilled and eaten in bed while resting on plumped pillows and watching TV. Being an adult is so much fun!)

Next Post: Chocolate Ice Milk? Blue Velvet Pancakes? Copycat Peach Yoplait? It all depends on what I’m craving!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And again!

Goat Cheese & Arugula Pizza: Or How to Have your Pizza & Eat Salad Too

How to eat pizza and still be healthy!

Today’s recipe — Goat Cheese & Arugula Pizza — is misleadingly easy, and misleadingly delicious. Who would have thought that you could combine salad and pizza, and end up with a dish that is delicious, satisfying, and super-easy to make?

There’s the crispy crunch of the parmesan topped crust, studded with soft bites of creamy goat cheese, plus the peppery bite of arugula dressed with olive oil and lemon. Each slice goes down deceptively easy, and for me at least, guilt-free, because…salad! Except that it’s pizza.

Let’s get to making some!

GOAT CHEESE & ARUGULA PIZZA

  • 1/2 of this no-knead pizza dough recipe
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. shelf-stable parmesan cheese (if you’re a cheese connoisseur you could always use fresh parmesan)
  • 1/4 c. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. arugula
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 c. halved baby tomatoes

Flour a cookie tray, and spread out your dough in a rough rectangle. Let the dough rest for a bit if you want to stretch it out more (which is what I did). This will make for a thinner crust. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the dough, and then top with the goat cheese crumbles. Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until the dough starts to get some colour and the parmesan cheese is golden. Toss arugula and tomatoes with the olive oil and lemon juice. Spread vegetable mixture over the cheesy pizza. Cut into squares, and serve!

This is a relatively thin crust pizza — you could make it with twice the amount of dough if you prefer a thicker crust. And it’s easily customizable to the type of salad ingredients that you like. Want some sliced red onions? Add them in! Julienned pepper strips? Toss them on top! The customizations are endless!

You can serve this pizza as a lunch, or as a light supper. Think of it as having salad with a side of cheese sticks! I served it for dinner, and the DH and I ate the whole thing! This is definitely a dish that I will be making more often.

Next Post: I’m thinking the Blue Velvet Pancakes I talked about earlier. Or perhaps something else altogether?

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and at Happiness is Homemade! Plus, at Full Plate Thursday!