vivid greens

yummy vegetarian meals on the fly

Poblano Rice Gratin February 26, 2013

Filed under: Dinners,Recipes,Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 8:26 pm

Mexican month was a hit in our household.  The recipes were simple and flavorful, and were met with great gusto.  Our favorite new recipe was Poblano Rice Gratin from Marcela Valladolid’s cookbook “Fresh Mexico“.  It would be easy to change this recipe in a multitude of ways to suit your tastes.  Our only change was to add a can of black beans for extra protein.


  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup minced white onions
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 Poblano chilies seeded and chopped
  • Kernels from 2 ears of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, add the peppers and cook for a little longer.  Add the rice and cook for 10 minutes.  Add two cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Preheat the broiler.

Fluff the rice with a fork and add the corn and black beans.  Mix in the sour cream and sprinkle the cheese over the top.  Broil for 5 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.  Enjoy!



Mexican Month February 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 6:54 pm

Friday kicked off Mexican Month at our house.  Dan was very excited – Mexican food is his favorite.  First I hunted for some tempting recipes using a few of my cookbooks and a few library books.  Then on Saturday we went to the grocery store and bought the ingredients to make the following recipes:

  • Refried Bean Burritos – Viva Vegan pg 86
  • Jackfruit Tacos – Vegan Eats World pg 105
  • Vegetable Tacos – Amor y Taco pg 122
  • Grilled Tofu and Pepper Tacos – Herbivoracious pg 144
  • Soy Curl Pineapple Tacos – Vegan Brunch pg 73
  • Roasted Cabbage – Fresh Mexico pg 142
  • Butternut Soup – Fresh Mexico pg 69
  • Poblano Rice Gratin – Fresh Mexico pg 158
  • Cauliflower Enchilada – Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg 40
  • Tortillas with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Cheese – Fresh and Fast Vegetarian pg 96
  • Cuban Black Bean Soup – Viva Vegan pg 150
  • Swiss Chard and Tomatillo Enchiladas – Herbivoracious pg 236

Yum, right?  I can’t wait to see how the above turn out!  We’ve already made the refried bean burritos, the roasted cabbage, and the tortillas with mushrooms, spinach, and cheese.  These were all easy recipes.  It’s the first time I’ve made refried beans from scratch and they were delicious.  Image

The tortillas with mushrooms, spinach, and cheese were very versatile, I followed Marie Simmons directions this time but will probably deviate a little next time.  We liked that they are made in little individual corn tortilla stacks that you bake.  I could see doing a refried beans layer or adding corn or really any other ingredients to these for variety.


  • 8 Corn Tortillas (6 or 8 inch)
  • Jar of Salsa
  • 15 Cremini Mushrooms Sliced
  • Bag of Spinach
  • Monterey Jack Cheese

All you do is brush 8 corn tortillas with olive oil and put in the oven at 350′ for five minutes, then set aside.  While the tortillas are cooking sauté the sliced mushrooms with a little salt and pepper for about 10 minutes.  You want the mushrooms to be golden and cooked through, then add all the spinach and cover until it has cooked down.  Then set four tortillas aside and cover the other four with a layer of salsa, a layer of mushrooms & spinach, and a layer of cheese.  Top with the other tortilla, more salsa and the rest of the cheese.  Place these in the oven at 350′ until the cheese melts.  Then enjoy!


New Year/New Plan January 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 3:25 pm

Last year went by in a flash!  Dan took a contract job in New York city from February through December.  Eleven months of super commuting between Louisville and NYC took a lot of extra time and energy from both of us.  As a result, I don’t plan to enter an airport again until 2014.  I am planning an exciting year in the kitchen.  This year I’m going to divide the months up and focus on different cuisines.  

I’m thinking:

  • January – Indian
  • February – Mexican
  • March – Thai
  • April – Ethiopian
  • May – Greek
  • June – Chinese

So far I’ve gone to two Indian grocery stores in the Louisville area.  Subzimandi and Patel Brothers.  They were both full of new and different foods for me to explore.  I had made a list of ingredients that I needed, and spent $40 total.  I later split the bulk spices and lentils with my mom and sister.  We are all experimenting with Pigeon Peas, Black lentils, Chana Dal, Rasam Powder, Black Cardamom, Asafetida, and Tamarind.  

Another development in my kitchen is the addition of a slow cooker (thanks Uncle Bill!).  I’ve tried three soups in the slow cooker thus far.

Rasam – Which ended up way too hot.  Will definitely use less Rasam Powder next time.

Five Lentil Stew – This one was a little on the bland side.  I think I compensated too much for the spiciness of the first soup.

Chana and Split Dal – My favorite so far, but we did notice it was a little bland the first time and then quite spicy when I reheated the leftovers.  Not sure what caused the difference, but we’ll definitely try this one again soon.

It’s going to be a fun year full of new dishes to explore and share.  I think trying recipes from different cuisines will require me to pay a little more attention to the instructions.   Wish me luck!   


Soba noodle & snow pea salad February 28, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 9:01 pm

This was such an easy and great tasting cold salad.  I made it on Friday and had it for lunch several days in a row without getting bored.  So many bright flavors and lots of vinegar to keep your tastebuds happy.  

Dressing ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Other ingredients:

  • 6 oz of snow peas
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces of soba noodles
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 4 scallions cut thinly
  • 1 medium carrot shredded
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds

Wow.  So that is a pretty long list of ingredients for a salad – but I promise that it all goes together easily and with out stress.  I took the basic recipe out of Fast and Fresh Vegetarian by Marie Simmons.  The main difference being that she suggested sesame seeds instead of the almonds I subbed in.  I’m sure either would be good, but I really enjoyed the crunch of the almonds.


Bring a pot of water to boil.  While you are waiting, mix up all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  Once you get a good rolling boil add the snow peas and salt to your pot.  After about a minute use a slotted spoon to remove the snow peas and put them in a bowl of ice.

Next, add your soba noodles to that same pot of boiling water.  Cook until tender – about 5 minutes.  Then drain the noodles, rinse with cold water, and toss with the toasted sesame oil in a large bowl.  Next add all the other ingredients, including the dressing.  I broke out my food processor for the carrot shredding and almond grinding.  As always, I was impressed and how quickly and efficiently it did the job.  Mix the salad well and place the fridge to chill.

To give it a little more of a protein punch, I chose to lightly pan fry some tofu with a little soy sauce, and I thew that in as well.  This was a great little salad, lots of flavor, good crunch and fun ingredients.  I highly recommend!


Macadamia Encrusted Tofu January 2, 2012

Filed under: Dinners,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 7:35 pm

Yum.  This was a fun new dish to try.  Easy & flavorful, it was a nice addition to our dinner plates.  The recipe came from The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet  by Joni Marie Newman (thanks for the gift Dan!).  This cookbook has been critiqued for using too much TVP, which isn’t something that I usually cook with.  I’m happy to report that many of the recipes, especially the more creative ones, don’t have any TVP in them.  The recipe below is a good case in point.  Simple ingredients and assembly that yielded a tasty meal.

Main dish ingredients:

  • 14 ounces of extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons madras curry powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 can full-fat coconut milk

I halved the amount of coconut milk in this recipe because it is barely used to coat the tofu.  To reduce waste, and to increase the coconut goodness in the meal, I used the other 1/2 can of coconut milk in the rice.

Coconut rice ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger

Add the ingredients to boiling water, stir for 15 seconds, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 45 minutes.  Check it to be sure that the rice is soft before you turn the heat off.

To make the main dish:

Set the oven to 350 degrees and cut the tofu in to 1/2 inch thick slices.  Combine the panko, curry, macadamia nuts, paprika, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.  Stir the dry ingredients to form a crumbly mixture.  Dip the tofu slices in the coconut milk and then coat the tofu in the crumbles.  I worked to get as much of the breading on each piece as possible.

Place the encrusted tofu on parchment paper in a baking sheet and toss it in the oven.  Bake for about 30 minutes, flipping them once to get both sides crispy.  These little guys make a nice main entree or a good sandwich (with a touch of mayo).


Kitchen fail November 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 7:03 pm

Well, at least you can’t say that I don’t use my garlic press.  And I definitely put my muscles into it.  This is the second garlic press that I’ve broken in the last two years. The first one was a less drastic sort of break, I bent the two handles together until they would touch without actually squeezing any garlic at all.

Today’s break was wild.  The handle was a solid metal piece through to the head of the press, and it literally snapped off of the appliance.  I really liked this one too, it had little teeth on the flip side of the press that you could use to get all the garlic pulp out of the inside.

Does anyone have an amazing garlic press recommendation?  It’s two months until Christmas and I’m thinking I need to add this to my list (again).

I whipped up a little chickpea soup this evening that I was planning to write about, but it turned out more like chickpea broth. To save it, I boiled a sweet potato, a little white potato, added a lot of red pepper, and threw it in the vitamix blender with the broth.  It ended up nicely creamy and spicy as all get out!  I think that it will be a fine lunch for the new few days, but trust me, it wasn’t worth repeating.


Butternut Squash Soup November 1, 2011

Filed under: Dinners,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 6:56 pm

It’s officially fall here in Louisville – which means two things. It’s soup season, and I have a kitchen full of butternut squash. This simple recipe helps with both.  It is from the lovely Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and was featured in her first cookbook  Vegan with a Vengeance.  I highly recommend this book for the simple recipes and strong flavors that it features.


  • 2 good sized butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 hot pepper chopped
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • dash of smoked cayenne

First cut the butternut squashes in halves and drizzle a little olive oil on them.  Then place them facedown on baking sheets (I use parchment paper to avoid a sticky mess).  Cook them at 425 degrees for 45 minutes.  Then remove and let cool.

As the squash cools sauté the onion, pepper, ginger and garlic in a large stockpot with the remaining olive oil over low heat for about 10 minutes. When the squash has cooled enough to handle pull off the outer skin and pop in the blender with 3 cups of water.  Blend and add back to the stockpot.  Heat the soup through and add the maple syrup, lime juice and cayenne to taste.

I topped mine off with a spoonful of greek yogurt.