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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.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spicy potato salad

Summertime means standard lighter fare that most vegetarian cans get behind, because other than the grilled meats, most things everyone serves at their cookouts are veggie sides.

You can get tired of the standard mayo-based potato salads, so an oil based spicy version might be the answer to put some variety into the summer menu.

This recipe is easy, but takes a little prep, since the flavors should be allowed to mingle over night in the fridge.

Boil the potatoes until tender, and set aside to cool.

Chop and dice the celery, pepper, onion and carrot and set aside.

Defrost the peas, but don’t cook them.

The peas and shredded carrots are not really integral to the salad, but add to the flavor and texture.

In a large bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, garlic and spices.

Allow the potatoes to cool somewhat, but not completely, a little warmth in the potatoes can allow the spices to permeate the potatoes better than if they are cooled all the way.

If they are too hot, it will cook the veggies and lose the crunch of the celery and peppers.

After the spice mixture has coated the potatoes, let them rest for a few minutes and soak.

Next you’ll mix in the chopped vegetables and stir them thoroughly.

Cover and put in the refrigerator at least until it is chilled. Leaving it alone overnight will allow the flavors to blend better and give you a better salad.

This recipe is not only a variation on the typical potato salad, it is completely vegan without the use of any expensive substitutes like the fake mayonnaise that often runs twice the price of regular mayo and is sometimes difficult to find.


4-5 pounds of red potatoes, roughly cubed with skins on

2 stalks of celery

½ cup shredded carrots (optional)

1 bell pepper, diced

½ onion, diced

1 cup frozen peas

4 tbs olive oil

4 tbs vinegar

2 tbs hot sauce (more for extra kick)

2 tbs brown mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vegan pasta salads

Recently I have been making more vegan foods rather than just vegetarian.

For those of you who don’t know the difference, it is simply that vegans do not eat anything that comes from an animal, where vegetarians don’t eat anything that is made from dead animals.

So vegans don’t use cheese or eggs, but vegetarians do.

Most traditional pasta salads are made with eggs and mayo, which is made of eggs as well.

I adapted an old recipe for an Amish-style macaroni salad, making it a good amount healthier by changing it to a vegan dish.

You start by cooking the pasta.

Drain it, rinse with cold water and let it cool off.

As the pasta cools, mix the vegan mayo, sugar, vinegar, mustard and spices in a large bowl big enough for all the pasta eventually.

Once this is all mixed well, stir in the chopped veggies.

Last, mix in the pasta and make sure that all the pasta gets a good coating with the dressing.

Before serving, let this sit in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the flavors to mingle better.

If you have the time and foresight, make this the night before you want to serve it so it can rest in the fridge overnight.

Subbing vegan mayo into most recipes for pasta salads will usually work just fine to make it vegan, but some times the salad tastes different with the substitute.

The ones that work best are the ones that don’t rely on the mayo as the only source of flavor for the dressing.


1 box of pasta, shells or elbow

work best (16 oz.)

1 cup vegan mayo (like Nayonaise)

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

2/3 cup white sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 med. onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup grated carrot

Hash browns

This recipe evolved from many attempts, and failures, at making hash browns over the years.

My usual method for breakfast potatoes was home fries because that is so simple, so I finally set out to try making hash browns instead.

A lot of people just do a simple shredded potatoes fried in oil with some salt and pepper.

This is the easiest way, but it is not as good of an outcome as when you put a few more ingredients into the mix.

I’ve got two different cooking choices for this recipe.

Frying will give you a delicious, quick and more traditional hash brown patty, but baking will give you almost the same taste, just a good bit healthier.

The best tip when making hash browns, no matter what method you use, is to soak the potatoes after you shred them and then drain as much of the liquid as you possibly can.

One way to get this done is to drain them in a colander and then squeeze them out in a clean kitchen towel.

Getting as much water out as possible will make the patties stick together better and give you less splatter when you drop them in the oil to fry.

Start by cleaning and skinning a few potatoes. Each large potato will give you almost a cup of shredded potato, so for this recipe, 2 or 3 potatoes should do.

The easy way is in the food processor, but you can use a hand shredder if you’re feeling ambitious.

Soak the shreds in water and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

Drain and squeeze out the water after they’ve soaked for a while.

You can skip the soaking if you want to, but the results will be better if you soak. Still get as much of the moisture out as possible before moving on.

Mix the cheese into the potato shreds, setting a little aside if you’re doing the baked method.

Mix the eggs in a separate bowl with the salt, pepper, garlic and hot sauce.

Pour the egg mix over the potatoes and stir throughout.

If you want to bake them, spray a muffin pan and preheat the oven to 400.

Scoop the mixture into the cups, filling each to the top. This is enough for about 6 cups, just double the amounts if you’re serving a bunch of people or if your family is Irish.

Top with some shredded cheese and bake for about 35 minutes or until the tops are brown.

For the less healthy method, pour about a quarter of an inch of oil in a heavy-bottom pan and place large spoonfuls of the potatoes into the oil once it’s hot.

Turn them over when the bottoms get browned.

Set them on paper towels to drain a bit.


About 2 cups of shredded potatoes

¾ cup shredded cheese

1 egg or egg substitute equivalent

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp of hot sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Oil for frying or non-stick cooking spray

Four cheese baked ziti

Baked ziti is a traditionally vegetarian dish, but you just have to watch the cheeses you use.

Most cheeses in this country are made without rennet, but a lot of imported cheeses still have it.

Rennet is not vegetarian, it is used mostly for harder cheeses and is made from the lining of a cow or sheep stomach and is used in some part of the the cheese making process to curdle the milk.

Aged provolone and the real Italian imported cheeses mostly have rennet, so check the packaging when you’re buying. I have read a lot of labels, so I tend to buy certain brands that I’m familiar with already.

I also like to buy the fat-free ricotta cheese to fool myself into thinking this recipe is a little healthier.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Start by boiling the pasta until it is al dente. Drain it and let it cool just a little so it is easier to handle.

Mix together the mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan cheeses in a bowl.

Stir in the spices and if you want to, put in some ground style veggie crumbles. For those not familiar, in the freezer section, with the veggie burgers, several companies have a ground beef style of meat replacer that work great in any recipes that call for ground beef. I usually have a bag or two in my freezer at all times because they are a quick and easy way to add protein to an all vegetarian diet.

Put down a layer of pasta in a long casserole dish. Top with a layer of the cheese mixture, then a layer of the sauce.

Repeat until the dish is full and make sure the top layer is sauce.

Then finish off with the sliced provolone over the sauce.

Bake at 375 for about 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese on top has started to brown.


1 box of ziti or penne pasta (16 oz.)

1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup of ricotta cheese

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

6-8 slices of provolone cheese

1 jar of marinara sauce (20-24 oz)

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tsp of oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1-2 cups of veggie crumbles (optional)