Vegetarian Goulash

veggie goulash!

When I was a kid, my Mom used to make Goulash for dinner on a regular basis and it was always one of my favorite meals. For some reason, I was thinking about it the other day and felt a little homesick (and nostalgic). Maybe it’s because I’ve not seen my parents since Christmas (sad face here:___). I asked my Mom about the recipe and the spices and I tweaked it to make it vegetarian. I think it’s very close to what she used to make. Maybe the next time I’m visiting them I’ll make it for them for dinner.

Vegetarian Goulash

  • 2-3 Tb Olive oil
  • 1 small to medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pkg MorningStar Farms Grillers Crumbles
  • 1 1/2C cooked macaroni (al denté)
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes plus 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can tomato sauce
  • Dried Basil, Oregano, or an Italian blend of spices (to taste)
  • Hungarian (sweet) paprika, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf

A note on the spices: adjust them to your tastebuds. I don’t want to give specific measures because, well, I don’t measure when I cook; I just eyeball it, taste and adjust.

In a large soup pot, over medium heat, add oil, and sauté the garlic and onion, when translucent, add the veggie crumbles and turn down the heat (follow the package directions to cook crumbles). Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and then incorporate the cooked macaroni. Add all your spices, stir, cover and turn down the heat to low. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t stick, stir often. This will be ready in 20 minutes.

Brown Basmati Rice and Black Bean Salad with Tangy Lime Dressing

It’s finally getting warmer in Brooklyn, to the point I had to switch on the A/C for a few days (Con Edison loves me). For me, when it’s warmer outside, I’d rather eat lighter meals that can be served cold. This is a nice, light lunch or dinner option. I think you can add diced pepper and corn to this salad and that would work well too. Go on and make yourself a margarita too!

  • 2 C. cooked brown basmati rice, cooled
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 C. Bulgarian feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 2-3 TB mayo
  • 1/4 C. lime juice
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • dash of salt/pepper
  • dash of crushed red pepper flakes

Add all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth. Adjust accordingly, ie: if you want it tangier, add more lime juice, more creamy, add a bit more mayo. Note: I used bottled organic lime juice (Santa Cruz brand). It’s pure lime juice, no sugar or extra crap. I also use it to make margaritas [upcoming post!])

In a large bowl, add beans and vegetables to cooled rice. (you want to use cooled rice because you don’t want mushy tomatoes and cooked avocado, nor do you want the dressing warmed by the rice). Add dressing and mix until everything is coated. Add crumbled Bulgarian feta on top. Bam, you’re done. With this recipe, I’m pretty sure you CAN win friends with salad

Now, go do your laundry that you’ve been putting off for a few days.

Spring Avocado Basil Pesto with Pasta

I really love pesto of any sort: basil, kale, swiss chard, you name it, I’ll eat it. So, I decided to try a new recipe out that had been in my head for awhile and, lo and behold, it was delicious! Even G. loved it (he had two helpings of pasta). This dish just screams spring!

  • 1 avocado, seeded and halved
  • 1.5oz pkg of basil, washed
  • couple glugs of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated Pecorino Romano (optional)
  • cooked pasta of your choice

Cook your pasta, whatever shape you decide, (I used gemeli, about 2 cups uncooked), set aside in a large bowl. Add avocado halves, basil, olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Use your best judgment with the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bam, you’re done. Add pesto by spoonfuls to the cooked pasta (you don’t want to over-saturate it), and serve. I added a bit of grated Pecorino to our servings and halved grape tomatoes to mine. This goes well with red or white wine too.

Smoky Lentil Mushroom Soup

lentil mushroom soup

Nice and warm on a snowy February day.

I was in 70 degree and sunny temps in FL the other day…only to come back to 27 degrees and snow in NYC. So, why not make some soup? Not that soup fills the void of fresh Florida produce like tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes….Oh well. I think this soup would benefit from some homemade croutons sprinkled on top and a glass of red wine. Enjoy!

  • 2-3TB olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 package of white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/2C. red wine
  • 1 carton of vegetable broth
  • 1 14oz.can of diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
  • 2 cans of lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 1 container of spinach, rinsed
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoky paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

(Use a Dutch Oven or soup pot) Heat pot first, over medium heat, when pot is hot, add olive oil and then add shallots and garlic, sauté for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and yellow pepper and cook for another few minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add half cup of red wine and stir. Let the wine cook down, then add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and then the lentils and spices, stir. Then cover and let simmer for about 30-45 minutes. Add the spinach just before you’re about to eat and let that get wilted. Serve with crusty bread or, make some whole wheat bread croutons* and sprinkle on top of soup. Serves 4 with some leftovers.

*To make croutons: Cut two slices of whole wheat or whole grain bread into 1 inch pieces. Heat 2TB of butter in a pan, add bread and make sure the bread is coated with the melted butter. If bread isn’t coated, then add a little olive oil. Add some salt, pepper to taste.

Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” Bake

It’s 61 degrees today in Brooklyn. In January. Ummm, oookaaaay. My apartment is a tad bit warm from roasting the spaghetti squash and then baking the “pasta” dish. But, hey, my dinner is done and I just need to reheat it later on this evening. I love it when a plan comes together. Also, I realized that there is a better way to cook spaghetti squash. My friend, Molly and I were just talking yesterday about struggling to cut the squash in half and how comical it was. Newsflash: pierce squash all over with a fork and cook in the microwave for 12-15 minutes, or, in a baking dish in the oven at 400 degrees for 60 minutes. SO. Much. Easier this way! Also, I used my favorite jarred Muir Glen pasta sauce because it’s Sunday and I’m feeling a little lazy.

  • 1 cooked spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 the jar of pasta sauce
  • 1/2C panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2C (or more) of grated pecorino
  • Italian herb blend
  • Crushed red pepper

Let the cooked squash cool (or be a doofus and burn your hand like I did earlier), then use a spoon to scoop out the innards and seeds, discard those. Then, use a fork to scrape out the squash, add it to a large mixing bowl. Add the sauce and stir until combined. Add mixture to an 8×8 baking dish. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese and herbs, sprinkle on top of the spaghetti squash mixture. I added a bit more pecorino romanao cheese too Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or, until the topping is browned and bit crispy.