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lazy vegetarians are everywhere. this is a collection of easy recipes and tips for dining out for vegetarians with little time or effort.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin pancakes are irresistible

Rich fall foods get you ready for the winter, since we all like to pack on the warmth for the coming sub-zero weather.

This vegan variation of pumpkin pancakes will do the trick since you won’t be able to stop eating them.

Made with soy milk and applesauce, they are lower in fat than when using eggs and whole milk, but they don’t taste like it.

And as simple as they are to make, you’ll be doing this all fall.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices (but not the brown sugar).

In a separate bowl, measure out the canned pumpkin. Be sure to use the 100 percent pumpkin instead of the pie mix in a can.

Stir in the wet ingredients and then the brown sugar. Mixing the brown sugar in with the wet first and dissolving it prevents the problem of the hard little clump of brown sugar hiding in the dry ingredients.

Pour the liquid mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.

The batter might seem a little thick, but resist the urge to thin it out with more soymilk.

Scoop about a quarter cup of batter onto a lightly greased skillet or griddle. These turn out great on a cast iron griddle if you happen to have one of those.

Serve like any normal pancake, with some margarine and syrup.

An easier, but less tasty version would be to prepare Bisquick and add the canned pumpkin to the batter, but they are so easy from scratch that it is well worth the little extra effort.


2 cups flour

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 1/2 cup soy milk

1/4 cup applesauce

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tbsp vinegar

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mashed potatoes are worth the effort

Mashed potatoes are not exactly the laziest recipe out there, so this week is more about the herbivore than the lazy.

Choosing high quality potatoes is one of the most important parts of the process.

I like using organic red potatoes when I can find them, but russet work well, too.

The next step is deciding if you want to have skins or not in the final product. What seems to be the lazier option, keeping the skins on, is actually not that much easier, since you have to then wash the potatoes really well since they come from the dirt.

So either wash your potatoes or peel and rinse them, then cut them into rough chunks.

Boil the chunks until they are soft, testing a larger one after they start to float, and allowing them to cook for longer until they are soft all the way through.

Drain well and put into a large bowl while still very hot.

Add butter right away to let it melt. It is a good idea to let butter or margarine sit at room temperature for a while to soften it so it will melt quicker.

I use an electric mixer because it’s so much easier, but hand mashing works as well.

As you mash, add the sour cream and cheese, allowing them to incorporate well and then add the milk slowly until the mashed potatoes are the level of creaminess that you want.

Add the garlic and other seasoning to taste. Below are some amounts for everything, but adjust levels according to your taste. I don’t think I have ever measured anything when making mashed potatoes, so these are all estimates.

More butter means better mashed potatoes, but less healthy ones as well, so take that into consideration.

The option of making vegan mashed potatoes is easy by just using dairy free versions of the milk, margarine and sour cream.

The key to good vegan mashed is Tofutti brand vegan sour cream. That is the best vegan version that I’ve found and is crucial to making the potatoes creamy without real butter.

Daiya cheese is a great vegan cheese that melts well, but for mashed, most vegan cheeses work pretty well when shredded.

Vegan or dairy, mashed potatoes are easy, but time consuming. I will usually make a whole five-pound bag of potatoes when I’m making mashed just to make sure there are leftovers. Real mashed potatoes reheat well and also work well breaded and pan fried for potato pancakes.


Potatoes, 5 pounds

1 stick of butter or margarine

1 8oz container of sour cream

½ cup milk or soy milk

1 cup shredded cheese or Daiya

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp Cajun seasoning

1-2 tsp coarse salt

Pepper to taste

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

gnocchi made easy.

Making gnocchi seems like a daunting task, but it is actually way simpler than it really seems.

Start by boiling the potatoes in some salted water until they are soft all the way through.

Check them with a skewer to make sure you are not trying to mash up undercooked potatoes.

Mash the potatoes well while they are still hot. Allow them to cool a bit before proceeding, but just enough that you can comfortably handle the potatoes to knead the dough.

Start by adding the flour slowly, about a half cup at a time.

Knead the flour and spices into the potato to form a soft dough.

Adding the flour slowly will allow you to get the dough to a good consistency without over drying the dough with too much flour.

If you add too much flour, the dough becomes crumbly and will not hold shape.

This recipe is for basic potato gnocchi, but can be adapted to be any type of gnocchi by adding ingredients into the dough before rolling and cutting into small pieces.

Adding parmesan or Asiago cheese will give more flavor, but be sure to add that before all of the flour, since grated cheeses can make the dough drier, meaning you will need less flour.

After the dough is solid, but not crumbly, kind of like a soft cookie dough, start rolling portions of it into snakes about ¾ of an inch thick.

Cut the rolls into small pieces about an inch long, the using the tines of a fork, press a ridge into one side.

Drop several of the gnocchi at a time into boiling water.

Once they start to float, let them cook for about two more minutes, then remove and drain. They are pretty delicate, so use a spoon to scoop them out of the water and place into a strainer.

Serve with your favorite sauce as a main dish or a side.

This dough is easy to make and add to, so spinach gnocchi or asparagus gnocchi are simple, just cut the veggies up fine and incorporate into the dough, more flour might be needed since the moisture of the veggies will probably soften the dough.


2 1/2 pound of potatoes, peeled

1 to 2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Homemade pizza dough is simple stuff

Pizza is one of those universal meals that most people love.

Making it at home is easiest when you just buy the pre-made dough, spread a little sauce, sprinkle on some cheese and bake according to the package directions.

Not as easy, but still pretty simple is making your own dough.

This can be made in advance and frozen for quick and easy dinners throughout a busy work week.

This recipe will make two small pizzas that are each enough for two people to eat.

Start by mixing the sugar into a cup of warm water, not hot, but warm.

Add the yeast into the water and allow it to sit for about ten minutes.

While the yeast is prepping, mix the salt and flour into a large bowl. I use white whole wheat flour to give it a little more health value, but not as much of the whole-wheat taste as regular wheat flour.

Most people use regular unbleached all-purpose flour, that will work as well.

After ten minutes, the yeast should have created a foam on the water. Mix the yeast-water and two tablespoons of oil into the flour and mix thoroughly.

Once the dough forms from this mixture, sprinkle some extra flour onto a clean countertop or cutting board.

It’s time to start kneading the dough.

Every recipe will try to tell you a technique that works better for kneading, but just knead the dough however works for you for about ten minutes.

Pounding, squishing, rolling, grabbing, and rubbing all work. Just make sure all of the dough becomes a consistent color and texture.

Spray or brush some olive oil into a large, clean bowl and place the ball of dough into this and then get the oil on the top and bottom of the dough as well.

Let it rest for an hour, covered with a damp cloth, then knead it again for a minute or two. There will be air released in this process, so don’t be gentle and don’t think you messed up when you plop down the dough and it deflates. That’s what you want it to do.

Let it rest again for another hour.

Freeze it now if you want to save it for later.

When you’re ready for pizza, either defrosted or immediately, start by pre-heating your oven to 475.

Stretch the dough by hand or rolling pin by starting with a ball and pushing outward.

Once the dough is in your nice, perfectly circular crust shape (which mine never seems to be, but you’re probably better at this than I am with my lack of patience) put on whatever toppings you want.

I like to throw a pinch of cornmeal onto my cookie sheet or pizza pan before placing the dough on it, but this is optional.

I use whatever pasta sauce I have sitting around, some shredded cheese and fresh cut veggies.

When I feel like treating myself, I get a package of the Light Life veggie pepperoni slices. They aren’t cheap, but they are delicious and packed with protein.

The dough is already vegan, so to make this meal vegan, just use non-dairy cheese or leave the cheese off all together.

Brushing the edges of the crust with olive oil and garlic will help keep it from drying out while you cook and add a little extra flavor.

Cook for about 10 minutes or until the crust has started to get golden brown and the cheese is melted and starting to get brown as well.


3 cups of white whole wheat flour

1 tsp. salt

2 1/4 tsp. active yeast (or 1 packet if you buy the 1/4 oz. packets)

1 cup warm water

1 1/2 tbsps. sugar

About 3 tbsps. olive oil, 2 for in the dough, 1 for coating the bowl

Tomato sauce

Shredded cheese