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!



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).


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.



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.


Vegetable Coconut Curry July 24, 2011

Filed under: CSA,Dinners,Meals,Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 2:19 pm

I found this quick little curry recipe in the book, “Fast & Fresh Vegetarian” by Maire Simmons.  It was, as promised, both fast and fresh!  I was drawn to it because I have an over abundance of fresh vegetables in the kitchen this week (thanks to the CSA, my nephew, and my landlord).  I had to alter the amounts of vegetables I added in order to fit everything in my large skillet.  Feel free to do the same, it didn’t seem to hurt the flavor at all.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 cups diced eggplant
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 2-3 teaspoons jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon madras curry powder
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup cashews

Heat the oil until shimmering then add cumin seeds and cook until they are a bit darker.  Add eggplant and chickpeas and keep stirring.  I didn’t add all the oil at first (it seemed like so much) but then the eggplant really soaked it up, so I ended up adding more as it cooked.  Cook for about 5 minutes on medium high heat.  Then add all the other vegetables, ginger, curry powder, garlic, salt and turmeric and let it cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Add the coconut milk and bring it up to a boil then cook until the vegetables are tender.  This took a while, I let it cook for about 10 minutes and the vegetables were still a little crisp when I turned off the heat.

Sprinkle the finished curry with cashews and enjoy!  I liked this meal, but the earthy spicy flavors seem like more of an autumn dish.  Then again, Dan loved it.  If you try it out, let me know what you think.


Spicy Napa Cabbage and Bulgur Salad July 6, 2011

Filed under: Green Scene,Recipes,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 7:32 pm

Win!  I’ve been trying all year to come up with a cabbage dish that I enjoy, and this is definitely the best I’ve found.  Plus, it is horribly easy.  If you like mustard you are going to love this.


  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 2 cups cooked bulgur
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • salt/pepper to taste
To cook the bulgur, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Then turn off heat and add 1 cup of bulgur.  Stir and put a lid on it. Let it sit for about 15 minutes.  I recommend preparing the salad while you wait.
Chop the napa cabbage and onion into small pieces.  (I used the wet chop function on my Vitamix blender and was pleased with the results).  Set aside.  Mix the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil and salt/pepper to taste.  Fluff the bulgur with a fork and combine all ingredients.  Enjoy!

Homemade Tabbouleh June 10, 2011

Filed under: Green Scene,Recipes,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 9:35 pm

Wow, I can’t believe that I had never made tabbouleh at home before!  I love eating it out and I guess I just thought that there would be something complicated behind such a tasty dish.  Not at all.


1/2 cup bulgur

2 c of chopped parsley

2 tbs mint

1/3 lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

tomato chopped


First you need to put the bulgur in a pot of hot water and cover it.

Let it soak for about 20 minutes while you prep the other parts of the salad.

 Next chop the herbs and juice your lemon.

Combine all the ingredients except the bulgur and taste.  Adjust the lemon juice, salt and pepper to suit your preferences.

Finally, add the bulgur and enjoy!


Gardein mandarin orange not-chicken May 3, 2011

Filed under: Dinners,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 9:38 pm

This was a quick and easy dinner out of a bag.  I’ve been hearing good things about Gardein faux-meat products.  I don’t usually cook from the freezer section, but it is one of Dan’s dreams that we incorporate a few quick meals in to our rotation.  So here is attempt number one from the freezer section.

The ingredients in the Gardein package are as follows:

gardein™ : water, soy protein isolate*,vital wheat gluten*, expeller pressed/canola oil, organic ancient grain flour (kamut ®, amaranth, millet, quinoa), natural flavors (from plant sources), modified vegetable gum, yeast extract, potato starch, sea salt, organic cane sugar, vinegar,pea protein, carrot fiber, organic beetroot fiber, garlic powder, onion powder, extractives of paprika and tumeric. batter: wheat gluten, modified cornstarch, toasted wheat crumbs, soy protein isolate, wheat flour, cane sugar, salt, onion powder, soy lecithin, spices, cream of tartar, baking soda, garlic powder. sauce: water, evaporated cane juice, rice vinegar, less sodium soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt, alcohol), fruit puree (water, mandarin and tangerine juice concentrate, chopped orange peels, natural flavor), salted sake (water, rice, salt), corn starch, thai chili sauce (sugar, water, chili paste, garlic, vinegar, modified food starch, salt, fermented wheat protein, cayenne pepper, citric acid, xanthan gum), ginger, expeller pressed canola oil, white pepper. 

I started this meal with brown basmati rice.  I chose to make this with one cup of rice, one cup of coconut milk and a half cup of water.  I brought the rice to a boil, reduced the heat, covered and let cook for 40 minutes.  The rice turned out slightly sweet and held its shape nicely with out getting sticky or gummy.

The main course was frighteningly easy.  About 10 minutes before the rice was done I steamed the broccoli with a little orange juice and soy sauce in one pot, while cooking the Gardein in the other.  Then I added the little packet of ‘sauce’ to the faux chicken and added the broccoli.

It was a lovely little dish that tasted a lot like restaurant style orange chicken, with a bit of the texture of seitan.  Which makes sense, since one of the main ingredients is wheat gluten.  If I had prepared the rice the night before, it would have taken me about 10 minutes to get the meal warm and on the table.  Which is a compelling reason to keep a bag of this in the freezer.