Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hot Meals to Warm You Up

For some reason, when it snows, I get the urge to cook (even more so than usual). Today I'd like to share with you some of my favorite cold weather recipes that have been warming us up this winter.

The first is a Vegetable Curry recipe from How It All Vegan! by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. It is divine! I like to serve it over brown basmati rice or brown jasmine rice. I always add plenty of fresh spinach to the basic recipe. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. I sometimes leave out the mushrooms and increase the amounts of the other vegetables or substitute zucchini. It is a very adaptable recipe. I use either coconut milk (reduced fat works fine) or almond milk for the liquid, but coconut milk makes it especially awesome, in our opinion! I also like to sprinkle a few cashews and some fresh cilantro on top.

Click HERE for the recipe.

Next is Black Bean Chilaquile from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook. This is what I cooked up during the snowstorm last night. It consists of alternating layers of crushed tortilla chips, seasoned vegetables (onion, corn, tomato) and black beans, spinach, salsa, and cheese. Click HERE for the recipe.

Although the recipe is excellent as written, I always omit the salt. There are a few other modifications I usually make that you may or may not want to consider. One is substituting Lisanatti Almond Cheddar Style "cheese" when I have it on hand. It is available in natural foods stores and is the best cheese substitute I have found (although it contains casein and therefore is not vegan if that's of concern to you). In recent years, I have had trouble finding baked tortilla chips and usually make my own by putting corn tortillas in a 350° oven until they are crisp (but not brown) and then crumbling them for the recipe. Also, a 1-lb. bag of frozen spinach can be substituted for fresh.

Staying with the southwestern theme, Tamale Pie is another favorite casserole. It's from Jeanne Lemlin's cookbook, Vegetarian Classics. It consists of a spicy bottom layer of onions, peppers, corn, and kidney beans, followed by a layer of cheese, and a delicious cornbread-like topping. Click HERE for the recipe. I follow it exactly as written, although you can substitute a 4-oz. can of chopped green chilies (undrained) for the jalapeno.

Finally, here is my time-tested recipe for Vegetarian Chili. Sorry I don't have a photo for this one. It's superb. The bulgur gives it a very meaty texture. I can't remember where I found this recipe (which I've adapted slightly), and I haven't found an exact match here goes:

Vegetarian Chili
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 chopped onions
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or ground chipotle pepper, or 1-2 teaspoons of canned chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped and seeds removed for less heat
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 28-oz. can tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 15-oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped cilantro (optional, for garnish)
  • Shredded, reduced-fat cheddar or Monterey jack cheese (optional, for garnish)
Sauté the onion and spices in a large pan. Add peppers and garlic for one minute. Add cocoa powder, tomatoes, and water; bring to a boil. Add beans, corn, and bulgur; reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until bulgur is cooked. Add salt and pepper. Serve with fresh cilantro sprinkled on top.

This is really good on its own or over brown rice. It's a hearty meal when served with brown rice and topped with a sprinkle of cheese. It's also great served over cornbread - a new favorite combo!

I must have had food on my mind when I was outside photographing snowflakes yesterday afternoon because the thick, slushy, lacy flakes reminded me of a bowl of stellini pasta from back when my children were little!

Two more posts to go in my winter food series, so stay tuned! 

© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss ( with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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