Saturday, September 28, 2013

Veggie Burgers with Mushrooms, Peppers, and Provolone

This is one of my favorite ways to serve purchased veggie burgers.

I like this recipe best using hamburger-style veggie burgers. Mushroom/grain-based burgers work well also.


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh white or crimini (brown) mushrooms, or a mixture, sliced
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and cut into julienne strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 veggie burgers, preferably hamburger-style
4 slices provolone cheese
4 hearty round sandwich rolls, preferably whole grain

In medium to large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and bell pepper, along with salt and pepper to taste. Saute for 6-10 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through and most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated. Keep warm.

Cook the veggie burgers according to the package directions. Top each veggie burger with a slice of provolone at the end of the cooking cycle, so that the provolone starts to melt but doesn’t get too runny.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Split the rolls, and lay them open - cut side up - on a broiler-proof pan. Broil until lightly toasted. Remove from heat.

Place one of the veggie burgers on each roll. Top evenly with the mushrooms and peppers.

-- 4 servings

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Potato, Bell Pepper, and Green Bean Stew

This vegetable stew is hearty and satisfying, yet light and healthy. Paprika adds a Spanish flair.

Serve with some crusty bread to soak up all of the delicious broth.


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound red potatoes, or other waxy potatoes, peeled or unpeeled as desired, cut into 1/2-inch dice
12 ounces fresh green beans, ends trimmed, and beans cut into 1-inch pieces (or slightly longer as desired)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes (preferably petite-cut), undrained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus additional for garnish as desired

In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and saute for 2-3 minutes, until soft.

Add the garlic and paprika, and saute for another minute or two. Do not let the garlic burn.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for another minute.

Add the potatoes, green beans, broth, and diced tomatoes, along with salt and pepper to taste. Raise heat to high, and bring almost to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 60 minutes, or longer as needed, until the potatoes and green beans are tender.

Uncover, and stir in 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes, or longer as needed, to blend all the flavors and reduce the sauce to a nice stew consistency.

Sprinkle with additional parsley, as desired, and serve.

-- 4 servings

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Eggplant Stuffed with Veggie Sausage Parmesan

In this variation of Eggplant Parmesan, eggplant halves are stuffed with a vegetarian sausage mixture, and then topped with sauce and cheese and baked.

It makes for a satisfying entree, especially with a green salad on the side. Or cut it into smaller pieces and serve as an appetizer or snack.


1 large eggplant (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 links (2 individual-size portions) Italian-style vegetarian sausage, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons Italian-seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 1/2 cups Classic Marinara Sauce or your favorite plain red pasta sauce, divided
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice eggplant in half lengthwise.

Using a tablespoon or soup spoon, scoop out the flesh of each eggplant half, leaving enough around the sides and bottom to form a sturdy shell.

Coarsely chop the eggplant meat and set aside.

Brush the eggplant shells with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, place them cut side up in a in a deep oven-proof baking dish or pan, and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute the sausage and the chopped eggplant flesh for 3-5 minutes, until they start to turn lightly golden.

Remove the sausage mixture from the heat. Stir in the breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

Stuff the eggplant shells with the sausage mixture.

Cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove and discard the foil.

Top the eggplant with the remaining 1 cup of marinara sauce, the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella, and the Parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for another 15-20 minutes until the eggplant is tender and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley.

If using as an entree, serve 1/2 eggplant half per person. If using as an appetizer or snack, cut each eggplant half crosswise into 2 or 3 pieces.

-- 2 entree servings or 4-6 appetizer/snack servings

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Penne with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Peppers

My Italian grandmother used to make a dish very similar to this using fresh vegetables from her garden. This is my version of that old family classic. It's light and healthy, and yet very tasty and satisfying.


8 ounces dried penne pasta
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total), halved lengthwise and then sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 small to medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into julienne slices
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes (preferably petite-cut), undrained
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, shredded or coarsely chopped, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook the penne according to the package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini, bell pepper, and garlic, along with salt and pepper to taste. Saute over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

Add the tomatoes and basil, along with additional salt and pepper as needed. Simmer, uncovered, over medium to medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes to heat the tomatoes and blend all the flavors.

Add the penne to the veggie-tomato mixture, toss lightly, and serve.

-- 3-4 servings