Easter Vegetarian Italian Feast

Vegetarian Italian Feast

Since we had a three-day weekend for Easter, we went out on Friday and did a bunch of shopping so we could get a lot of cooking in this weekend. Tonight we cooked an Italian feast with lots of fresh and homemade food. Here is what our menu looked like:

  • Baked Sundried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Seitan Cutlets and Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce with Truffles on Whole-Grain Flax Linguine
  • Oven-Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic Bok Choy Cabbage with Capers
  • Garlic-Butter Whole Wheat Flatbread
  • Fresh Mixed Greens Salad with Thinly-Sliced Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion, Dressed with Balsamic

Except where noted, all these recipes are meant to serve two.

Baked Seitan Cutlets

Baked Seitan Cutlets

We learned this recipe at one of Emilie Hardman’s vegan cooking classes. Actually we learned it a while back and have been wanting to try it at home. It seemed it might go well with Italian so we went with it. It’s slightly modified to have less of a caloric hit (not that it was so bad in the first place).

This recipe makes 8 cutlets. Each of us had one cutlet and froze the 6 others for later use.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomato halves
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 teaspoon butter (we used Earth Balance vegan buttery spread)

Preheat oven to 375. Melt the butter – we put ours in an oven-safe ramekin for a minute or so. Mince one clove of garlic, reserving the rest. Mix your one minced clove of garlic in with the butter.

Process the water, peppers, tomato, pine nuts, garlic, oil, salt, and wheat gluten in a food processor until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Line a baking sheet with tin foil sprayed with olive oil or have a cast iron pan at the ready. Halve and re-halve the mixture until you have 8 balls of dough. Pat the dough balls into little patties and arrange them in your pan or on your cooking sheet. Brush with your garlic-butter mixture. Pop into the oven for 15 minutes, flip over, and bake for 10 more minutes.

Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce with Truffles on Whole-Grain Flax Linguine

Vegetarian Italian Feast

Ray has always wanted to try truffles and his brother Sam gave him a jar for Christmas. He’s been saving them for a special occasion and decided tonight would be the night to try one. We both decided after our meal, though, that truffles’ flavor is so subtle that it’s probably better to try to cook them in a dish where their flavor can really shine rather than mix them in a tomato sauce. So, we’ll have to try something a little different with the rest of the truffles. Trial and error, right?

Ingredients

  • 1 small Chinese black truffle, diced
  • 2 oz. whole grain and flax linguine, dry (we used Nature’s Path brand)
  • 1 cup garlic roasted tomato sauce (yes, pre-made! Sorry!)

This is very simple. First, boil a medium-sized pot full of water. When it’s at a rolling boil, put your pasta in and turn down the heat to medium, letting it cook for 5-10 minutes until the pasta is cooked to your preferred amount. While the pasta is cooking, dice the truffle, and pour the tomato sauce into a small saucepan, heating it on low, Toss the truffle into the tomato sauce. Serve the pasta and pour the tomato sauce over it. Simple.

Oven-Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Italian Seasoning

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomates

If you thought the last recipe was super-simple, well, this is even simpler. We bought a carton of grape tomatoes to have with lunch (rice and bean wraps with cucumber and mixed greens) and thought this would be a nice way to enjoy the rest.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil spray
  • Fresh oregano or dried Italian herbs (we used dried because our oregano plant isn’t substantial enough yet!)

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and spray lightly with olive oil spray. Line up the tomatoes on the sheet (see photo above) and once they are all arranged, spray more olive oil lightly on top. Shake some dried Italian seasoning (or place chopped fresh oregano and basil if you should be so lucky) on top of the tomatoes, rolling them around to coat if desired. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Garlic Bok Choy Cabbage with Capers

Mediterranean Bok Choy

We’ve had fresh baby bok choy in the refrigerator since Friday and it was starting to look sad so I promised myself we’d cook it tonight. Except… well… “Bok Choy” doesn’t make one think of Italy, does it? I figured I’d give it a quick stir fry with some onions and garlic and call it a day, though, but at the last minute decided to look through Mark Bittman’s wonderful How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and he has a recipe in there for “Mediterranean Bok Choy.” I adapted his recipe to the ingredients we had and it came out fine (not mind-blowing though, I think we may have overcooked it. :-p)

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of baby bok choy
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Olive oil or canola oil spray
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp capers

Wash the bok choy thoroughly, chop off the very end of each piece and toss it (the hard end of the bulb at the base). Chop the rest of the bok choy into pieces that are 1/2 to 1 inch long, taking care to keep the stalk/stem pieces separate from the leafy green pieces. Mince your garlic. Heat a skillet sprayed lightly with oil and toss the stem pieces of the bok choy in. Stir fry for about three minutes or so until the stems get soft. Once they are soft, put about 1/4 cup water in the pan and add the leafy bok choy pieces and the capers as well. Stir fry for another minute or so. Add the balsamic vinegar and garlic. Stir fry another minute or so. It’ll overcook easily, so watch it! 🙂 Enjoy.

Fresh Mixed Greens Salad with Thinly-Sliced Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion, Dressed with Balsamic

Fresh Spring Salad

The picture here’s not the best, but this salad made a great complement to the rest of the meal. We got a mandolin vegetable slicer this weekend and I was eager to try it on our plum tomato and cucumber, so this salad was the result. 🙂 Something about thinly-sliced cucumber makes me way more excited about eating cucumber than I normally am. Cucumbers are not in season now sowe normally do not eat them now, but I saw it in the store and somehow felt compelled to try it.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium cucumber, thinly-sliced
  • 1 plum tomato, thinly-sliced
  • 3 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • A few pieces of thinly-sliced onion

This is way simple. 🙂 Toss all ingredients together and enjoy.

Garlic-Butter Whole Wheat Flatbread

Vegetarian Italian Feast

I forgot to take a close-up of this one! It’s in the back right of the photo above. So we made this in a very non-traditional way. We have some pre-made Indian whole wheat chapati bread, so Ray made it into garlic-butter flatbread. It was very good and went well with the meal; it had a bit of crunchiness to it but still maintained a soft middle.

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces chapati
  • 1 Tbsp butter (we used Earth Balance vegan butter)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Melt butter. (We placed in the oven at 375 in an oven-safe ramekin for a minute or so.) Mix garlic in with butter. Brush garlic-butter mix on bread. Wrap bread in tin foil and toast in oven for about 5 minutes.

Seitan Cutlets and Bok Choy

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