Posts tagged with Vegetarian

Strawberries sans shortcake

Strawberries are great on their own, but add in a few extras and you have yourself one powerful snack.

Strawberries are great on their own, but add in a few extras and you have yourself one powerful snack. by Sarah Henning

It’s not that often that I write about snacks on this blog, and I’m trying to make up for that this year, with a few more ideas on what to eat when you’re hungry but not eating a meal proper.

Today’s particular snack is one I’ve been having after a run. It’s just enough to help me recover without making me so full that it’s hard to have lunch or dinner a few hours later.

It’s got fresh fruit for vitamin C and potassium, healthy omega-3 fatty acids a bit of medium-chain fatty acids — all great post-run for recovery and fighting inflammation.

Though, of course, you don’t need to go for a run to enjoy this. Any old time between meals is a great time. That said, you might want to eat this with some floss handy. Chia and hemp love to grunge up a perfectly good smile (be we won't hold it against them because they're so good for us).

Strawberry-Banana Power Bowl

5-7 strawberries, quartered

1 banana, sliced

1/2 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 tablespoon hemp seed

Coconut milk, to taste

Maple syrup, to taste

Layer strawberries and banana in a bowl. Drizzle with coconut milk and maple syrup. Top with chia and hemp. Serves one.

Tip: I like to buy one of those miniature cans of coconut milk and put it in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to make your power bowl, open the can, pour the milk into a small bowl and then stir the cream and the liquid together. You’ll get something about the consistency of yogurt.


The perfect pad thai

Homemade pad Thai, straight from the wok.

Homemade pad Thai, straight from the wok. by Sarah Henning

I’ve been a longtime lover of pad thai.

A connoisseur, really.

It’s one of my go-to treat foods after a marathon or ultramarathon. I’ve devoured it in probably every state I’ve ever visited. Honestly, if a restaurant has it on its menu, I’ll try it at least once, no matter where we are or what kind of restaurant it is.

Basically, the sweet and salty mixture is my idea of comfort food.

Thus, it was years ago that I first tried making it at home. I started using those pre-made kits you can buy of sauce and noodles.

But then I put on my big girl pants and started testing various recipes I found both online and in cookbooks. Some had a bazillion ingredients, including ones that are sometimes hard to find (aka fresh lemongrass). Others were so simple it seemed like the flavor might be lacking.

After years of trial and error, I’m happy to report that I finally have a favorite recipe.

Purists might balk in that this one doesn’t have the traditional fried egg and instead is full of veggies that aren’t typically part of the meal. That said, I can tell you that the combination of the sauce plus the noodles and the veggies is a totally perfect blend of taste and additional health benefits. And if you like the fried egg? Add it. Same goes for the mung beans often seen as part of a restaurant presentation.

Now, this makes a TON, but if you’re like me, you’ll keep going back to the wok for just a little more and just a little more until you really just need to stow away the leftovers, like, NOW.

Pea and Broccoli Pad Thai

14-ounce box of rice noodles

16-ounce bag frozen peas, defrosted

1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped

½ cup coconut palm sugar (You can sub brown sugar but it will be sweeter)

½ cup tamari

6 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Lime wedges, for garnish

Peanuts, for garnish

Boil rice noodles according to the package directions. When they’re draining, heat coconut oil in a wok or large sauté pan. Once the oil is melted, dump in peas and broccoli.

In a small bowl, whisk together coconut palm sugar, tamari and lime juice to create the pad thai sauce. Pour over the vegetables in the wok. Add in rice noodles and heat through.

Serve warm. Garnish with lime wedges and peanuts. Serves 6 to 8.


That’s a wrap, winter

A wrap (unwrapped) to straddle that weird period at the beginning of spring.

A wrap (unwrapped) to straddle that weird period at the beginning of spring. by Sarah Henning

Sometimes, especially times like these when we are just starting a new season (hello, spring!), I end up taking an old favorite and changing it up a bit. You know, so it looks all fresh and shiny but pretty much tastes the same (because, as you know, I’m a rut girl).

Because the thing about entering a new season is that it doesn’t automatically come with new seasonal produce. Well, not initially. It’ll be at least another month before the early spring produce is available from local farmers. And I like to adjust what I’m eating based on what’s in season.

That said, I decided to turn a staple salad of mine into a wrap for dinner one evening. It just seemed like the type of night to avoid a fork. Plus, I’d already made sweet potatoes and had a perfectly ripe avocado. The husband approved and the kiddo threatened to eat all of our ingredients (without actually saying yes to a wrap). Go figure.

Yep, that's one giant wrap.

Yep, that's one giant wrap. by Sarah Henning

Start of Spring Wrap

1 large sweet potato

1 avocado

Baby spinach

Peppadew peppers, sliced in half


Coconut oil



2 wraps of your choice (I used gluten-free spinach)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and slice sweet potato into 1/4-inch rounds, and place them on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Rub coconut oil on each slice and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Flip the sweet potatoes and place them in the oven for 10 more minutes.

When the sweet potatoes have 5 minutes left, place each of your wraps flat on their own plates. Spread hummus on each wrap, top with spinach and peppadew peppers. Next, slice up the avocado and place half on each wrap.

Top off your wraps with fresh-from-the-oven sweet potatoes. Eat while warm. Serves 2.


Mini polenta pizzas a quick alternative to the real thing

Polenta, topped with pizza implements, and served alongside sauteed Brussels sprouts.

Polenta, topped with pizza implements, and served alongside sauteed Brussels sprouts. by Sarah Henning

A few weeks ago, I wrote about National Pizza Day. And while our family loves making homemade pizza so much that we probably do it once a week, sometimes you just don’t have the time to do it.

I mean, if we don’t give the dough time to rise, it won’t be good. And, sure, we have often grabbed a ball of dough from 715 when times are tight, but we can’t do that all the time. And I’m not about to buy store-bought pizza crusts. That just isn’t my style.

A shortcut we’ve been trying? Polenta.

Long ago, when the kiddo was a baby, we’d made pizza with polenta. But we hadn’t done it in years. And as with most things that get out of the rotation, it’s so easy to forget how tasty and easy it was.

And it is. Long ago, we’d slice up the polenta into rounds of similar thickness (1/4 inch), arrange them together on a cookie sheet in the rough shape of a circle, pour on the sauce and cheese and bake it for 10 minutes.

But, because the kiddo is sooooo big on making things himself, this time we arranged the rounds like cookies on a parchment-covered cookie sheet and let him dress five rounds himself, just like he wanted. Then, we dressed the rest. It was a little more time-intensive but worth it. And rave-worthy, if the fact that we’ve had it twice in two weeks is any indication.

One night, I served them with sauteed shredded Brussels sprouts (above) and another with sweet potatoes. The result is something hearty and a little out of the ordinary, but “normal” enough that our 5-year-old accepted it without a challenge.

Mini Polenta Pizzas

1 tube polenta, any flavor

Pizza or marinara sauce

Cheese (we used goat cheese)

Toppings (we sauteed bell pepper, mushrooms and onion in olive oil and balsamic and topped the pizzas after they came out of the oven).

Set oven to 375 degrees. Cut tube of polenta into similar-thickness rounds, about 1/4 of an inch, and arrange in rows on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Top with desired toppings. Bake for about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

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Cooking away the CSA: 2013 best recipes recap

Fruit on salad was a big hit this CSA season.

Fruit on salad was a big hit this CSA season. by Sarah Henning

To start things off, let me just say that 2013 was a pretty darn good year to be a member of one of the many CSAs in the Lawrence area.

Unlike the past two summers, which were so hot things couldn’t grow, this one was varied enough that nearly every crop seemed to thrive, or at least produce a little bit.

When you’re buying a weekly share from a farm or a collective of farms like the one I subscribe to, Rolling Prairie, that sort of variety is exactly what you’re looking for.

Because we had such great weather, this year we received everything from okra to tat soi to melons to mushrooms from our CSA at various parts in of the season, which started in late spring and roared through October.

Just as I did last year, I tried to find my favorite recipes of this season.

It was tough to pick, but I went for a top five (in no particular order) plus two bonus cookie recipes I threw in during the season just to shake things up. The recipes range from a delicious double squash dish to an eggplant lasagna that was a lot of work but totally worth it.

Honestly, though they are things I made during the spring, summer and fall of 2013, I'm pretty sure they could be satisfying year-round.

Fruity Starter Salad

Pizza-Tinged Mushrooms

Lasagna made with eggplant as the noodles was totally worth every minute spent in the kitchen.

Lasagna made with eggplant as the noodles was totally worth every minute spent in the kitchen. by Sarah Henning

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Lasagna

Roasted Beets

Double Squash Skillet

Bonus cookie recipes:

Local honey works perfectly in these flourless peanut butter cookies.

Local honey works perfectly in these flourless peanut butter cookies. by Sarah Henning

Honeyed Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

What was the recipe that became your favorite over the 2013 CSA season?


Cooking away the CSA, week 30: Leeks and onions, oh my

Leeks and green onions have cancer-fighting properties and taste delicious.

Leeks and green onions have cancer-fighting properties and taste delicious. by Sarah Henning

This past week was officially the last week of our CSA season. Though, because you’ll have to pry my fresh, local vegetables out of my cold, dead hands, it’s actually not the last week for us.

Rolling Prairie has a “late” bag and we’re signed up. Meaning, we’ll be getting veggies until Thanksgiving.

But, because I know most of you who come to this space for CSA cooking inspiration are finished, we’ll be moving on to your regularly scheduled program of recipes and cooking inspiration for the remainder of the fall, winter and part of spring. That is, after this blog and next week’s which will be a roundup of our favorite recipes from the 2013 CSA season.

So, how’d we use our “last” week of Rolling Prairie produce for 2013? We made a twist on something we’ve been making all summer: spaghetti squash topped with delicious sauteed items.

Last week we got eggplant, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, leeks, green onions and kale. The leeks and green onions were perfect for dressing our spaghetti squash, so we did that while snacking on cherry tomatoes.

The results were really, really tasty.

Green Onion and Leek Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash

2-3 green onions, chopped

2-3 leeks, chopped

1-2 bell peppers, chopped

1 tablespoon oil for the frying pan, plus a little to rub on the squash (we used coconut oil)

Marinara, as needed

Cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Halve your spaghetti squash lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and rub a little oil on the cut side. Place cut side down on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake 30 to 45 minutes, until the squash is soft and ready to be scraped into noodles with a fork.

Once the spaghetti squash has finished in the oven, heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan/skillet/wok.

Add green onions and leeks, stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the peppers and stir until they’re heated through.

Split spaghetti squash into serving bowls, top with onion-leek-pepper mixture, marinara sauce and cheese, if using. Enjoy. Serves: 4.


Cooking away the CSA, week 28: Soup and salad

Don't go, leafy greens! Don't go!

Don't go, leafy greens! Don't go! by Sarah Henning

Last week, I hit the major personal parenting goal of getting the kiddo to eat salad. It was marvelous.

While I basked in the glow of that achievement for the rest of the following week, I also tried to recreate it. And I did. Multiple dinner times in a row.

Because, even though it finally got cold enough to turn on the heat, I really don’t want to believe summer’s over.

My strategy for this? Salads for everyone! All the time! Salad, salad and more salad.

I might be in denial.

So, anyway, my possible denial turned into a soup and salad night, using nearly all local ingredients.

We made our favorite butternut squash and apple soup using Rolling Prairie CSA squash and local apples from the Lawrence Farmers’ Market and then pieced together a delicious salad using delicate CSA salad greens plus local clover sprouts.

It was a delicious pairing, even if those lovely greens are about to go on hiatus.

Straight-Forward Seasonal Salad

Per each salad:

Two handfuls microgreens/baby salad mix

Several slices cucumber

Handful chopped carrots

10 olives

10 almonds

Sprouts (to taste)

Balsamic vinegar (to taste)

Mix all the ingredients together and serve.

What’d we get this week? One giant sweet potato, cucumber, peppers, bok choy, salad mix, green beans, eggplant.

One giant sweet potato, cucumber, peppers, bok choy, salad mix, green beans, eggplant.

One giant sweet potato, cucumber, peppers, bok choy, salad mix, green beans, eggplant. by Sarah Henning


Cooking away the CSA, week 27: Salads for the whole family (including the kiddo)

A boy and his salad.

A boy and his salad. by Sarah Henning

My kid really does eat amazingly well for a pre-K child. I’ve discussed many times that he does a pretty good job, even if he’s just like any other kid in that he’d take cookies over carrots any time.

That said, if there’s one thing I’ve barely ever gotten him to try, it’s salad.

I’m sure most parents have this problem. In fact, I’m pretty sure if I had a salad before age 13, it was probably just iceberg lettuce drowning in Dorothy Lynch. Totally healthy, of course.

So, I’m not one to expect a 4-year-old to eat salad. Even mine, who, like I said, does a really good job of eating his fruits and vegetables.

Therefore, I was quite surprised when the kiddo wanted to make salad as part of his dinner this week, we were all for it. His version of salad? Sliced CSA cucumbers, carrots and celery. Not a single leafy green in sight, but I’ll take it. His quote, while making sure I tried it: “Don’t put dressing on it, Mommy, it’s delicious.” And it was.

Meanwhile, we made our own Mommy/Daddy salad using more goodies we got from Rolling Prairie last week: Roasted sweet potatoes over CSA salad greens, topped with CSA roasted peppers, garlic olive oil and a bit of Landeria goat cheese.

The roasted CSA peppers really made this one.

The roasted CSA peppers really made this one. by Sarah Henning

What’d we get this week? Butternut squash, salad greens, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes and bell peppers

Butternut squash, salad greens, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes and bell peppers.

Butternut squash, salad greens, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes and bell peppers. by Sarah Henning


Cooking away the CSA, week 26: When seasons cross, and the dinners they bring

A salad for summer and fall.

A salad for summer and fall. by Sarah Henning

We’ve come to the time of year where winter squashes and tubers are sharing table space with tomatoes and cucumbers at local CSAs and the Lawrence Farmers' Market.

For instance, we got eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, tat soi, lettuce mix and peppers last week from Rolling Prairie.

It seems totally odd, right? Even though these items share shelf space in the produce department of nearly every grocery store in America year-round.

Makes you think about our industrial food system a bit, eh?

And you know what? There’s nothing that says we can’t enjoy some of these summer-fall goodies in the same meal, or even in the same dish.

This week, I was so intent on achieving that goal that I made a salad that included not only roasted sweet potatoes but also tomatoes (yep) and delicate baby greens.Probably could’ve thrown some tat soi and cooked eggplant in there, too, if I’d had my wits about me.

Yes, it sounds strange, but if you find your kitchen full of these seemingly incompatible items, give this dish a try — if you can actually make the potatoes and not eat them all off the pan by themselves while waiting for them to cool enough not to wilt your lettuce.

I love sweet potato season.

I love sweet potato season. by Sarah Henning

Slightly Sweet Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2 medium to large sweet potatoes, sliced into quarter-inch rounds, skin removed

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place sliced sweet potatoes on one to two cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper. Using a clean finger, rub a little coconut oil on the top side of each sweet potato slice. If you don’t use all the coconut oil, that’s OK.

Next, combine coconut sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle onto oiled potatoes.

Roast potatoes for 15 minutes. Flip. Roast for another 15 minutes or so until soft and browning.

Enjoy alone or on the salad below.

Mixed-Up Season Salad

Per salad:

Handful mixed salad greens

Handful cherry or grape tomatoes

¼ chopped avocado

5-6 roasted sweet potatoes (above) slices, halved and cooled

Throw all ingredients in a bowl. Cover with balsamic vinegar and olive oil or your favorite dressing. Enjoy.

This week's haul: Roasted peppers, salad greens, cooking greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and peppers.

This week's haul: Roasted peppers, salad greens, cooking greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and peppers. by Sarah Henning

What’d we get this week? Roasted peppers, salad greens, cooking greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, peppers.


Cooking away the CSA, week 25: Eggplant lasagna, hold the noodles

Such a pretty eggplant.

Such a pretty eggplant. by Sarah Henning

We’re almost to the end of the CSA season. Not totally there yet, but we probably have a month to go if we’re super lucky. So sad.

But we’re enjoying it while we can.

And we totally enjoyed this week’s Rolling Prairie CSA cooking experiment, which was basically an eggplant parmesan and cheese lasagna combined into one minus the noodles, minus the parmesan.

Say what?

I found a recipe on one of my favorite blogs that happened to use thinly cut eggplant as the noodles in a lasagna. It also included mushrooms and a sneaky bit of cauliflower in a way that I thought might entice the kiddo.

It took some work (I made it on a weekend night), but it was totally worth it and we had enough leftovers for two more dinners. Plus, not only did it use our CSA eggplant, but it used our CSA garlic from a few weeks ago and an onion and our mushrooms (plus more that we bought to make it work) from this week.

Thus, this one has all the markings of a new family favorite. The kiddo even tried a bite. Yay for small victories.

One finished serving.

One finished serving. by Sarah Henning

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Lasagna (from

For the “noodles”:

1 large eggplant A splash of balsamic vinegar

For the “cauliflower ricotta”:

1 head cauliflower, or about 4-5 cups of florets

2 eggs

1/2 cup soft goat cheese (chevre)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and pepper

For the mushroom “meat”:

1 teaspoon butter or coconut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

half of an onion, chopped

1 pound assorted mushrooms

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

salt and pepper

For Assembling:

A jar of your favorite marinara sauce

Goat mozzarella, shredded (we just used more chevre because we couldn’t find this)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then, like traditional lasagna, we must first prepare all of the layers.

For the noodles:

Using a mandolin, slice the eggplant lengthwise into thin strips. You may peel it first, if you like, but I took the easy route and left the skin on. Place the eggplant slices in a dish, and toss with a bit of balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice). Set aside to let marinate.

For the cauliflower ricotta:

Pulse the raw cauliflower florets in a food processor to make “rice.” Then steam, strain and squeeze out the excess moisture, leaving the cooked rice fairly dry. Transfer the strained cauliflower rice to a mixing bowl, and add in the two beaten eggs, goat cheese, oregano, and a dash of salt and pepper. Mix well, and set aside.

For the mushroom “meat” layer:

In a skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter or coconut oil and saute the garlic and chopped onions for about 5 minutes, or until translucent.

While the onions and garlic are cooking away, gently pulse the mushrooms in a food processor, until a “ground beef” like texture is achieved.

Add the ground mushrooms to the sauteed onions and garlic, and season with ground cumin, salt and pepper. Saute until tender. The mushrooms will release some moisture, so be sure to strain well after cooking, and set aside.

To Assemble:

Begin by adding a thin layer of marinara sauce to the bottom of your glass dish — this will prevent sticking.

Next, layer on the eggplant slices, followed by half of the cauliflower ricotta, followed by half of the mushroom meat, a drizzle of marinara sauce and a bit of shredded goat mozzarella.

Repeat the layers, then top it all off with a final layer of eggplant slices, topped with more marinara and shredded goat mozzarella.

A couple of layers...

A couple of layers... by Sarah Henning

Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

The finished lasagna should be firm, with a crispy layer of cheese on top!

Slice and serve hot! Serves 8.

What’d we get this week? More eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, tat soi, lettuce mix and peppers.


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