vivid greens

yummy vegetarian meals on the fly

Quinoa Goodness September 12, 2011

Filed under: CSA,Favorite Meals,Meals,Recipes,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 8:25 pm

This is one of my very favorite summer salads.  It’s quick, easy and tastes great!  A good friend has adopted it as her own favorite meal ever.  Now she makes variations of the original salad for me and I’m always impressed with its versatility.

To start with cook 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water in a pot.  Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.  Or until the quinoa seeds are translucent.  Drain the quinoa and fluff with a fork.  Then mix in a cup of rinsed beans.  A handful of tomato chunks.  Perhaps some corn.  A little cilantro is nice.  Top off with the juice from 1/2 a lime.  Add a little hot sauce if you’d like.  Really, any favorites that you have on hand will probably go nicely with this one.


Spicy Corn Chowder August 16, 2011

Filed under: CSA,Dinners,Favorite Meals,Meals,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 7:11 pm

Yum.  This is a seasonal favorite at our house.  It’s a perfect fit for late season vegetables.  Do you have an excess of sweet corn at your house, a few potatoes, a couple of peppers?  If so, that’s pretty much all you need for a fabulous little chowder.  I first found this recipe in the always fabulous Vegan With a Vengeance cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper (or a few small ones) chopped
  • 1 cup carrots chopped (but you can skip it if you need to)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • a bit of pepper
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 3 cups water
  • corn from six ears
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 1  bay leaf
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup plain soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

 Toss the olive oil in a big pot 0ver medium heat, then add the onions, bell peppers, carrots and jalapenos.  Let that cook for about 10 minutes or until everything is soft.  Add your spices and stir.  Then add the water, corn, potatoes and bay leaf.  Cover and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and let it cook for another 20 minutes.  The potatoes should be super soft at this point.  Uncover and let the soup simmer and reduce for about 10 more minutes.  Remove the bay leaf (or risk forgetting it completely!)

Next ladle half the soup into your blender and blend until smooth, then combine the two parts back together.  (Or, if you are lucky enough to have an immersion blender you can use that to blend approximately half the soup.)  Add lime juice to taste, soy milk, and maple syrup.  Let it cook for another 5 minutes, then stir it up, and serve it out!  Enjoy.


Lentil Sloppy Joes March 23, 2011

Filed under: Dinners,Favorite Meals,Meals,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 9:25 pm

This is an easy vegan meal that Dan loves.  It is a very basic recipe that you can dress up anyway you please.  I’ve got a group of friends that have been hosting meatless sloppy joe potlucks once a month for years and each month there is a new ‘secret’ ingredient to discover.  Be brave!  There isn’t anything you can’t throw in a sloppy joe.  Chocolate, pomegranates, okra and more can add a kick to your unique dish.


  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • chili powder & paprika
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • squirt of lemon
  • a little BBQ sauce

Start by making up the lentils, try 4 cups of water to 1 cup lentils.  I like to do 3/4 a cup of brown or green lentils and 1/4 cup of red lentils (to increase the sloppiness).  Heat until boiling then lower the temperature and allow the lentils to simmer until soft, about 30 minutes.  Then drain the lentils and put aside.

While the lentils are cooking you can go ahead and start sauteing the onion and let that cook for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and heat through.  Toss the lentils in and add the spices (a teaspoon or two depending on your taste).  Then add the tomato sauce, a squirt of lemon and some BBQ sauce.  See if you want to make and adjustments to the flavor.  Let it cook for another 10 minutes or until it smells so good that you just decide to eat.

This dish makes enough for two with lots of leftovers.  Enjoy!


Baked Falafel Treats March 13, 2011

Filed under: Favorite Meals,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 9:34 pm

These were so good and easy!  My two favorite things in the kitchen.

This recipe comes from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  I really can’t say enough good things about this cookbook.  Everything in it that I’ve tried has been packed full of flavor and just wonderful.  Not to mention that it’s a vegan cookbook that clearly marks which recipes are gluten-free and which are soy-free.  I’ve talked two people into purchasing this book and I hope to convince more of you that it’s worth the investment!


  • 1 can of chickpeas drained
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

First grind up the chickpeas and garlic, then add the onion, parsley, olive oil and hot sauce.  Blend the mixture into a tacky paste of chickpeas.

I tried to just throw everything in my fancy new blender at it turned out very messy – I recommend chopping up the onion first if you are trying to do this in a blender.  A food processor would probably be a better tool for this purpose.

Next scrape the mixture into a bowl and add the chickpea flour, cumin, coriander, paprika, baking powder, salt and pepper.  It should have the constancy of peanut butter.  Add more flour if it seems too smooshy or more oil if it seems crumbly.

You should be able to get 12 little falafel balls out of this batter.  Rub some olive oil on the baking sheet and lay the falafel out flattening each one a bit.  Then cook for 15 minutes.  Take them out and put a little more olive oil on top of each falafel and then flip them over for the final 10 minutes of baking.

These falafels would be perfect for wraps or salad toppers.  I must admit, they were so good that I ate several plain and unadorned right out of the oven.  Enjoy!


Broccoli Cheese Quiche December 16, 2010

Filed under: CSA,Dinners,Favorite Meals,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 1:51 am

Tonight I made one of Dan’s very favorite dishes, broccoli quiche.   We were celebrating him being home for dinner and cheesy goodness was definitely in order.  I defrosted the extra broccoli from our CSA a few weeks ago and was delighted to see that it had retained a bright green color and good flavor.

This is a simple quick dinner to throw together, but you have to remember that it needs one WHOLE hour in the oven before it will be cooked through.  The waiting was awfully difficult this evening.  Mostly because it smelled so good as it baked.


  • Pie crust
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 4 oz swiss cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • nutmeg
  • salt, pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start with a pie crust and add broccoli.  Then pile about four ounces of shredded swiss cheese on top of the broccoli.  Next mix up four eggs and a cup of milk and pour in to the pie crust.  It should fill all the little nooks and crevices but not spill over the pie crust.  Then sprinkle salt, pepper and nutmeg on top.

I choose to add a little parmesan cheese to the very top of the quiche and it crisped up quite nicely.  Toss it in the oven for one whole hour and this is what you’ll get:

The darker edges are a beautifully crisped cheese topping.  This is a family recipe (in that slapdash unwritten way we keep them). And, it has become one of Dan and my favorites.  There is enough for two people for a couple of meals.  


Three Sisters Vegan Holiday Casserole November 18, 2010

Filed under: Dinners,Favorite Meals,Meals,Recipes,Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 4:09 am

Oh, this one is so good…  That said, making double the recipe very nearly overwhelmed both me and my 3 quart pot!  Nothing about it is hard, it just has a couple of steps and a butternut squash to conquer.

I will be honest with you, I was going to cheat.  I had planned to buy frozen pre-chopped winter squash.  I just didn’t want to deal with the mess and the knife and all the chopping.  Only the fact that the grocery store had no frozen squash changed my mind.  So, here is the recipe and my favorite method for cutting up a butternut squash.

This recipe comes from an old copy of Vegetarian Times and I have made it many many times over the years for the holidays.  It has become a family favorite.


  • 4.5 cups of water
  • 1.5 cups of polenta
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 pound winter squash
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz can pinto beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander

First off, bring a good sized pot of water to a boil and add the grits and chili powder.  Stir well and bring the heat way down. You don’t want it to bubble and pop, it just needs enough heat to keep hot while the grits absorb the water.

Next preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Then I recommend attacking the squash.  My favorite way of cutting a squash is to: peel it, slice the skinny part into rounds, cut the bulb in half, scoop out the guts and then chop up the segments.  A sharp chefs knife is very important to this process.  If you don’t have one you can cheat by poking holes in the squash and microwaving it for a bit until it softens.  This gives you a better chance of being able to cut it up with a kind of dull knife.

Peel the outer skin


Scoop out the guts

After you have destroyed the squash (I like getting the hard part over with first!) move on to the onion and pepper.  Put a little oil in the bottom of a good sized pot and add the onions, once they start to soften add the peppers about 5 minutes later add the squash.  Give it another 10 minutes or so and then add the tomatoes, beans, garlic and spices.  At this point go ahead and taste it to see if you’d like to add a little salt or any cayenne to the mix.  Cook until the squash is tender.

Now you want to spread about 2 cups worth of polenta on the bottom of the 8 x 12 pan.  Then add the vegetable mixture and finish it off by spreading the rest of the polenta out on top of that.  You will want to put it in the oven for about 30 – 45 minutes so that the top can crisp up and brown a bit.

This dish is excellent served fresh and hot from the oven, but is also a tasty as leftovers.  I think it’s one of those special recipes that only gets better with time.



Favorite Tempeh with Kale and Grits November 9, 2010

Filed under: Favorite Meals,Meal Planning,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 1:01 am

This is one of my tried and true recipes that has evolved over time.  It has been many a friend and loved one’s introduction to the wonderful world of tempeh.  I make it this way often enough that Dan actually thought that tempeh tasted like the simple marinade that is featured below.

Have you ever tried tempeh?  If you haven’t, please give some serious consideration to trying this recipe.  In my opinion it is insane that tofu is the star of the veggie protein family.  Tempeh is a half fermented soybean cake that is full of protein,  fiber and vitamins!  Even better, it’s not nearly as processed as tofu.  How did tofu ever become more popular than this hearty bean cake?  I think that it has something to do with the ‘fermented’ part…  Regardless, be brave!  Try tempeh and I think that you’ll like it.  Keep in mind that you might need to shop at your a local health food store or a whole foods to find it.

There aren’t a whole lot of ingredients involved in this recipe either.  You can mix up what vegetables and what grains you cook it with too.  I recommend also trying it with broccoli instead of kale and rice instead of grits.  I went with grits today based solely on the fact that it felt cold and dark when I got home (dang daylight savings time!) and I wanted something more comforting for my evening meal.

  • 2 Tablespoons Cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • 1 Package Tempeh
  • Bunch of kale
  • 1 Clove Garlic (pressed or minced)
  • 1/2 Cup Grits
  • Butter/Olive oil
  • salt as needed

All you need to do put the vinegar, soy sauce and water in a bowl with the tempeh to marinate.  I usually cut the tempeh into slices shortwise and then half those to get bite size chunks.  Let that soak for a bit while you start the grits.

For grits we use a 4:1 ratio of water to grain.  That means bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add a little butter, then add the grits and stir well.

Next clean the kale and tear it in to smaller pieces.  I usually remove the thickest part of the spine and figure the rest just adds fiber.  Once the kale is ready I put some oil into the skillet and add the tempeh to the hot oil, I cook each side of the tempeh for about 5 minutes or until nicely browned.  Keep stirring the grits every couple minutes as you work.

Once the tempeh is done scoot it off to one side and add the wet kale to the skillet with the garlic.  If the pan seems dry, sprinkle a little water over the kale.  Cook the kale until it turns bright green and softens.  Now turn the heat off.  Grab your plate and add the grits first, then the kale and finally top it off with the tempeh.

This meal makes enough for two people or for one with leftovers for lunch the next day.


Vegan Chili Mac November 7, 2010

Filed under: Favorite Meals,Meal Planning,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 12:18 am

So, maybe you remember the brief meal plan that I posted on Tuesday night that was to carry me through to Friday evening?  I actually did pretty well this go around.  Wednesday and Thursday went as expected – and then Friday hit.

My morning was different than usual, in that Dan needed the car to go to Indiana at 5 am, so I needed to catch the 8:35 bus off Bardstown Road.  I slept in a little bit too long and then discovered we were out of coffee, and all the sudden a stop at the local coffee shop was absolutely essential.  So, that blew the peanut butter toast plan.  I did take the cheesy grits and veggie sausages to work with me for lunch, but a quick glance at my planner proved that I had a previously planned lunch date with a friend. Lucky me! Then I missed my proper bus home and ended up walking a mile to catch the next best bus to go home.  Basically, my cheesy grits and veggie sausages had quite the Friday adventure with me.

I was able to redeem myself by sticking to this lovely little recipe in the evening.  It is one of Dan’s favorites and a creation totally of my own making with a mere 8 ingredients.

Well, there are two ‘optional’ seasonings, so 10 ingredients – tops!

  • Onion
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper
  • dash of cinnamon
  • pasta (as much as you need)
  • salt & olive oil

    All you need to do is chop up the onion and throw it in the pot with some olive oil.  Let that soften up a bit while you start the pasta water. Now add the spices in with the onions and let them sink in a bit, finally add the drained beans and the tomatoes (with the tomato juice).

    By now the pasta water should be boiling, add a little salt to the water and then add your pasta.  When the pasta is just soft enough drain out the water.  The chili should be thickening and ready to eat.  Put a good amount of pasta in the bottom of your bowl, cover with the chili and enjoy!

    The optional ingredients are liquid smoke and hot sauce.  The first gives it a nice smokey flavor and the second adds just a touch more heat.  I only add a wee bit of each (literally about a drop of the liquid smoke is all you need) but then I serve Dan his chili and hand him the bottle of hot sauce so he can go to town.

    What is great about this meal is that it is so EASY.  And it’s what I consider a pantry dish, since all these ingredients are things that we keep around.

    I will add that I used whole stewed tomatoes this time and Dan strongly recommends that we use the diced tomatoes next time.  He felt that the tomato chunks were far too big.

    All in all, I did what I planned for 7 out of the 9 meals.

    That’s a 78% success rate!


    Breakfast-for-Dinner Tonight! November 5, 2010

    Filed under: Breakfast,Favorite Meals,Meals,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 2:12 am

    Oh my, we ate like queens tonight! The crepe batter behaved very nicely after it spent the night in the fridge. It had melded together and wasn’t sticky at all. I simply poured about 1/4 cup of batter into the crepe pan, spread it out and waited until the edges began to crisp and brown.  Then I flipped it over and waited for about two minutes for the other side to finish.

    Once all eight crepes were done we filled them with cheesy goodness and popped them in the oven.  The filing was super easy.

    Lumpy Filling

    First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

    Then stir together:
    1/2 cup of cream cheese
    1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
    1 teaspoon brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    It’s okay if it’s lumpy at this point – it will melt and be gooey fabulous when you take it out of the oven! After you’ve assembled the filling, take and put about a tablespoon of it down the center of each crepe.  I like to fold the top down, the bottom up, the right side over and then the left. When I’m done they look like a little crepe burritos.  Put all eight in a greased 8×8 pan and then add a little smear of butter on top. They go into the oven for about 10 minutes, just to get them warmed all the way through. I served the blintzes two to a plate and we had lingdonberries to go on top. The sweet/tart ratio was perfect.  Wow.  They really were so good.

    Let me know if you are inspired to get your crepe on!

    Breakfast-for-Dinner forever!


    Breakfast-for-dinner tomorrow night! November 4, 2010

    Filed under: Breakfast,Favorite Meals,Meals,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 1:53 am

    Seven Simple Ingredients

    Is there anything better than breakfast-for-dinner?  I mean really?!

    I am so excited to cook for friends tomorrow evening.  The welcome addition of crepes into my life has made this even better since you can make the crepe batter up to 24 hours before actually using it.  According to my crepes research it needs to sit in the fridge for at least a couple of hours for the flour and eggs to properly gel.  So making it the night before not only takes away half of the work the day of, it also makes it actually work better!  Amazing.

    I love that this recipe only calls for 7 little ingredients (and at least two of those you could totally skip).  I’ve made it before with out the maple syrup or the vanilla and they came out fine, though it is obviously not as sweet.

    To the left is a picture of the tidy little prep table at the beginning of the evening.  Do not be fooled by the illusion of neatness.  I did in fact make a horrid mess with these simple ingredients.  Trust me, Dan goes above and beyond in keeping up with the dishes after I ‘create’ our meals.

    This recipe comes from the book “Crepes, Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Home Cook” by Lou Seibert Pappas.  I did cut down the amount of sugar from 2 tablespoons of white sugar to 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and it is still plenty sweet.

    Forthy Crepe Batter

    It is super simple and goes like this:

    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 tablespoons melted butter

    I put all the ingredients in to my trusty blender then fit the lid on carefully and blend away!  After a few minutes it gets all light and frothy like the picture to the right.  Then I just pop it in the fridge until it’s time to pour ’em on the crepe pan.  I’ll post part two of this adventure tomorrow eve.  I think I’m making cheese blintzes.

    Any other suggestions?  I’d love to hear your ideas!