Archive for the ‘Meal Time: Side Dishes’ Category

Lentil Soft Tacos


I actually made my own tortillas for this.  It’s fun, but it really, really takes a long time.  (I’ll share a recipe for that later.)  Assuming you buy premade tortillas, this is an easy recipe.

Lentils (or black or pinto beans if you prefer them)
Crushed black olives
Sliced hot peppers (habanero in the picture)

Mexican food is great because you can really mix things around!  For example, you can use all different kinds of lettuce (romaine, butter, iceberg and even venture out into escarole, cabbage, frisee, and radichio).  You can also vary the types of beans you use (and also the types of faux meats you use).

For this, if you’re using dried lentils, wash.  I usually don’t make less than 1 cup (dry).  If you try to make less than that, it doesn’t seem to cook evenly.  Cook per the instructions on the packaging, but this is an opportunity to use some homemade broth, if you have some!  It adds an extra element of flavor.

Place the lentils and liquid into a pot and then turn on the heat.  You want to start with cold or room temperature liquid.  When it comes to a hard boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, vent the pot, and cook for about 30 minutes.  Make sure to check it so that it doesn’t cook off all of the water and burn the lentils.  If it’s looking like it’s getting low, just add a small amount of water (or broth) to cover and check it again in a few minutes.  (Nice thing about lentils is that you can really set them to go without paying too much attention to them if you have enough liquid.)

Once they’re cooked, just drain, and they’re all ready to go.  Note, this will make *way* more lentils than you need for the tacos, but lentils keep and re-heat well.

Dice up your tomatoes and tear up your lettuce.  Slice your peppers (careful not to touch your eyes… heck, ever again).  Open your can of crushed or sliced olives (I’m not usually a proponent of canned stuff, but it’s always nice to have canned olives on hand).

Heat the tortillas individually and carefully on the stove top, flipping to heat evenly.

Top the warm tortillas with the other ingredients and enjoy!  (You can also add shredded cheese, salsa/hot sauce, cilantro, onion, or any number of other delicious things.  I was just trying to describe what’s in this specific picture.)

Done! : )


Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

My mom often made mashed carrots when I was a kid, this recipe by Shanti Ellis brings a fun variant to them…

Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

I came up with this last night when looking through the fridge for an after-dinner snack.  I saw some things that needed to get used up soon and made this.  (I’ll submit a better picture the next time I make it, which will be soon!)

1 medium russet potato
3 medium (or 2 large) carrots
margarine (if you want a vegan version) or butter
prepared horseradish
green onion

Cube the potato.  I left the skin on for more of a rustic element, but you can peel it if you don’t like the skin.

Cut the carrots into about 1 and a half or 2 inch segments.  I usually don’t peel these either.

Boil until very soft.  About 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain and return to the pot, which should still be hot.  Add butter or margarine in small amounts as you are mashing until you get the desired creaminess.  Also add the prepared horseradish.  Make sure you use the jarred horseradish that’s not the beet colored one since I suspect that will make the color look really off.

Once your preferred texture is reached, top with sliced green onion and a small amount of black pepper.

Done!  : )

Gardein Breast Salad

This is a yummy salad by Shanti Ellis.  We don’t have Gardein brand out here, but Quorn makes a really good fake chicken breast that I often have on salad that would go very well.

Gardein Breast Salad

This is another really hearty salad.  Hopefully they carry Gardein products in your local store, because they’re awesome!  If not, an veggie burger patty could substitute or even a portobello mushroom.

1 Gardein breast (or similar veggie patty)
lettuce (in this picture it’s romaine and frisee… ’cause it’s fun to switch up your greens)
1/2 avocado
red onion (sliced into 1-inch segments)
bell pepper (sliced into 1-inch segments)
turnip slices (optional)
olive oil
barbeque sauce or a relatively thick hot sauce

Saute the onion and bell pepper in a pan with the olive oil.  In the same pan cook the “meat” since it will likely either be from the fridge or frozen, depending on which you end up using.

While this is cooking, tear up the lettuce of choice (you couldn’t also theoretically do raw kale or Swiss chard or pretty much any other leafy green).

This is a great time to use the mandolin.  Making the turnip discs is super fast and easy, and it makes a neat decoration.  No need to cook them.  They’re a lovely, crunchy, slightly spicy niblet.  (You can also cut into cubes if you prefer to incorporate them into the salad more.)

When the patty or breast is cooked and the onions are a bit translucent, transfer to the top of your salad.  Put as much sauce as you prefer.

Done!  : )

Dice the avocado and place on the greens.


I love coleslaw, it’s one of my favorite ways to pretend I’m being healthy =p

This is my moms recipe, it will make quite a bit of salad, which I never find to be a problem, but if you don’t have the fridge space, you might want to do a half recipe at a time =) If you do a whole recipe, you’ll need a really big bowl!


1 cabbage
4-6 carrots
1-2 cups of raisins
1 tsp white vinegar
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup sugar

I don’t have a food processor big enough for a cabbage, so I just chop up the cabbage with a large knife, first into quarters so it doesn’t all fall off the board while I’m working =p

After chopping up the cabbage, grate the carrots and put the cabbage, carrots and raisins in the big bowl.  Mix the vinegar, mayo and sugar together, then mix it into the veggies.

Seal up and refrigerate any that you don’t eat right away =)

Vegetables and Rice Dish

Let’s see if I can remember what went into this =p made it fir lunch today… sometimes the best things come from tossing everything that sounds good at the time into a pan

Veggies and Rice… thing =p

Basmati rice medley (I get this at Trader Joes, but any rice and vegetable soup mix could substitute)
olive oil
mozzarella cheese
artichoke hearts (canned or frozen)
mustard greens (I buy chopped frozen)
white corn (I buy it cut and frozen)
Morningstar grillers
garlic powder
celery salt

I prepared a half cup (before cooking) of the rice, while it cooked I mixed the rest of the ingredients in a pan and fried them up with a little olive oil…

The veggies and grillers were about 3/4 of a cup each.

I don’t know the measurements of the spices, but I was quite generous, probably in the two teaspoon range for the garlic powder and salt, 1 tsp of pepper and closer to a tablespoon or two of basil.


Once the rice is done, mix it into the veggies and heat it all together.  After that I turned off the heat, topped it with cheese, mixed it in quickly and dished it out =)

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Okay I have to admit I love the idea of super tiny coleslaw, but really this one by Shanti Ellis looks amazing!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad


A lot of people (I think) don’t know that you can actually eat Brussels sprouts raw, but you totally can!
3 Brussels sprouts (or more if they’re babies)
handful of dried cranberries (or raisins or other dried fruit)
Parmesan cheese
toasted almond slices (optional)
black pepper
rice vinegar (or wine vinegar)
olive oil (optional)

Remove any yellowed leaved from the outer layer of the sprouts.

If you have a mandolin (and chainmail glove to protect your fingers), this is a great time to use it.  If not, just slice the Brussels sprouts thinly, like you’re making super tiny coleslaw.  (Cute; right?)

Just add your shaved Brussels sprouts to a bowl and mix in the cranberries and Parmesan cheese to taste, toss with a splash of rice vinegar (which I suggest because it’s a mellower vinegar and not going to overpower the rest of the ingredients), black pepper, and olive oil if you want to add it.

Done!  : )


Who says being a vegetarian means having to give up the staples from childhood? A little playing around with ingredients made for a good vegetarian meatloaf =)

This one has tons of wiggle room, and I encourage experimenting!


Okay, so I made this tonight, and realized how small the portion is for this recipe, and how much I didn’t want to go to the store for onion soup mix, so here’s  tonight’s version which is a great side for four or entree for two:

3 eggs
1 packet of grillers
About 2 cups of oats (I used quick oats since it’s what I had on hand)
Ketchup (probably a little more than 1/2 cup)
1 tsp celery salt
Barbeque sauce, around 2 Tbsp
dried onion flakes, around 2-3 Tbsp
Around 1/3 cup Bisto (a vegetarian gravy mix from England, available in English and Indian goods stores, just make sure you get the basic one, the new special one isn’t vegetarian) or any vegetarian gravy mix or bouillon

Basically mix it all together till you get almost a cookie dough consistency, add more oats if it’s too sloppy or more ketchup if it’s too dry.


Spray a loaf pan with pam or any other grease, and spoon the mix in, I use the back of a spoon to pack it in then smooth out the loaf since it will be flipped.


Bake at 350 for around 50-60 minutes, until firm, heated through and a bit dry on top
(my Grillers were still frozen, if you thaw them first the baking time will likely be less)


I like to serve it like my mom always made real meatloaf, flipped onto a dish, with ketchup on top to make it pretty =)

The original recipe:

1 or 2eggs
Around 1-2 cups Morningstar Grillers or any fake ground beef
About 1 cup of oats
Onion soup mix

Mix, put in loaf pan, bake at 350 degrees, until firm and heated through