Posts tagged with Vegetarian

A jewel of a seasonal side dish

Red, red, as far as the eye can see.

Red, red, as far as the eye can see. by Sarah Henning

Given it’s the week before Thanksgiving, chances are you’re thinking a bit about the big ol’ dinner that we all have on the final Thursday of the month.

My husband and I host Thanksgiving each year at our house, but the cooking is left to my dad, who ties on an apron and takes over all the duties that day. Basically, the rest of us clear out and let him do his thing.

That said, I like to contribute something aside from my kitchen and a fridge full of ingredients. So, I tend to make a side or dessert ahead of time to add to the heap of traditional fare my dad pulls out of his hat.

Last year, it was these awesome Sneaky Pumpkin Pie Bars. And they were so fabulous, I’m sure they’ll be hitting the table yet again this year.

But I also wanted to make a little something else as a side. This desire, plus the fact that I actually got to go to the grocery store by myself, led me to a moment where I could just wander the produce aisle, dreaming up Thanksgiving Day combinations to my heart’s content.

The result of this kid-free bit of peace was the following recipe, something I’m calling Garnets and Rubies.

It makes use of two of the season’s best fresh ingredients and is so pretty you might not want to eat it.

But you should, because it’s mildly addictive. In fact, I posted the above photo of it to Instagram, and one of my followers tagged me back with a picture of her own version that night. In her words, “It’s weird at first, and then suddenly I’m devouring it.”


So, if you’re still looking for a side to bring or make for Thanksgiving, or just in the market for something fun to have with dinner, definitely give this one a try. It’s simple, looks elegant and the amount of folate and vitamin C here is off the charts.

Garnets and Rubies

2 bunches red beets

2 large pomegranates

Red wine vinegar

First, roast the beets: Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut off greens and use for another recipe or discard. Scrub beets clean and dry. Wrap unpeeled beets in foil and place on a cookie sheet. Roast for 45 minutes. When they’re finished, pull them out of the oven and use an oven mitt to open the foil packages to help them cool off. When completely cool, use a knife to skim off the stem and the ends, then chop into half-inch to quarter-inch pieces.

Next, seed to pomegranates: Fill a medium mixing bowl about halfway with water. Score your pomegranates four or five times and then cut off the very top of the fruit. Plunge each pomegranate in water and work open each of the scored sections. Began seeding the pomegranate. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the water and the bitter pith will float. When all your seeds have been removed, rinse them in a colander and remove any remaining pith.

To assemble: Place cooled beets in a medium serving bowl. Top with pomegranate seeds as artfully as you can. Splash on red wine vinegar to taste. Serves four.


A simple, hearty, handheld meal

Quick and easy dinner in the palm of your hand.

Quick and easy dinner in the palm of your hand. by Sarah Henning

Life with a new baby is always a lot harder than you’d think it would be, even when you’ve already been through the ringer as a new parent before. It’s kind of funny, actually, that an infant that sleeps for 20 hours a day could take up so much time, but they do, in all their adorable glory.

Since my baby girl arrived at the end of September, my days have been a whirlwind of making sure she’s fed and happy (and usually asleep), while trying to be a functioning adult. You know, the kind who has her stuff together and, therefore, can parent her other child and shower and do basic things like that.

Because of this, I’ve made exactly one in-depth meal since becoming a mom of two. And that was this week (butternut-apple soup — delightful). The rest of our dinners since we came home from the hospital have been a mixture of gifted meals from friends and neighbors (we’re so lucky!), takeout and slap-dash dishes like the one I’m about to share.

Not that there’s anything wrong with slap-dash dishes. Though sometimes it seems that anything that takes no time at all has to be unhealthy, that’s not the case. With a little planning and mise en place, a hearty meal can go from bare ingredients to your dinner table in five minutes or less, without the use of a microwave or overly processed ingredients.

In this case, I decided to use simple pita bread, fill it with veggies and then top it off with a bit of store-bought Mediterranean spread and Lebanese beans from the Lebanese Flower.

The result is easy, delicious and as quick to eat as it is to make — perfect for new moms or pretty much anyone.

Hearty Veggie Pita

Per serving:

1 pocket pita, sliced in half

Baby spinach

1/4 avocado

A few cherry tomatoes, quartered

Two spoonfuls of Lebanese beans, chickpeas or other beans of choice

Hummus or baba ghanoush

Spread hummus or baba ghanoush inside each half of pita pocket. Layer in spinach, tomato, avocado and beans. Chow down!


Blueberries get a faux summer treatment

Summer, are you there? It's me, Sarah.

Summer, are you there? It's me, Sarah. by Sarah Henning

I keep pretending the glimpses of warm weather we’ve been getting will actually last. And then Mother Nature comes in and rains (or snows) on my parade.

She might have control over the weather, but I have control over the kitchen. And this week I wanted a summer dessert.

That said, I wasn’t about to buy some anemic, out-of-season fruit to get there. Rather, my lifesaver was one of my favorite go-tos: frozen fruit. In this case, blueberries.

I’ve been avoiding regular flour, trying to figure out some stomach issues, so I made what I’m calling a "faux crumble” using almond flour and a bunch of other goodies. The result is something I think is pretty healthy as far as dessert goes. Plus, it’s super easy and quick to make, and tastes great straight out of the oven or leftover and chilled.

Blueberry Faux Crumble

2 8-ounce bags frozen blueberries, thawed to room temperature

Lemon juice

1 cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350. Spread blueberries evenly across a 7x11-inch glass baking dish. Squeeze a good bit of lemon juice on top.

In a small bowl, mix almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and a little more lemon juice. Once combined, spread over blueberries as evenly as possible.

Bake 35-40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping has browned. Serve warm.

Note: Make sure all your ingredients are warm or room temperature. If they’re not, your melted coconut oil will start to harden again before baking. It will still bake properly, but the oil won’t be as evenly distributed.


Dreaming of June with beets

Can't hardly wait until these are local beets...stupid winter.

Can't hardly wait until these are local beets...stupid winter. by Sarah Henning

I’ve been in the mood for beets lately. Like lots and lots of beets. Maybe it’s just my appetite’s way trying to get me to think warm thoughts. You know, because the local beet crop will kick in in June.

Ah, June.

Do you guys remember what June feels like? All warm and sunny and pretty?

Very much unlike what’s going on right now, unfortunately.

Luckily, roasted beets are earthy and hearty in ways that make them especially delicious in the dead of winter. Sometimes, I just eat them straight. Sometimes I roast them with other vegetables and a balsamic dressing. But lately, I’ve been roasting them without oil, letting them cool and then tossing them into salads. (For the roasting, I’ve been using this method I mentioned back when local beets were a thing.)

I usually like to have my roasted salad beets with other root vegetables like sweet potatoes. But one night when we were out of sweet potatoes (oh, the horror), I made a salad from a few random things we had on hand for the kiddo’s dinner.

I believe we paired this with leftover spaghetti squash (which clearly wasn’t memorable enough for me to photograph), and the dinner as a whole was hearty, delicious and extra healthy thanks to all the good extras the beets added to the show.

Beet and Spinach Side Salad

1 cup roasted beets, chopped

Hilary’s Eat Well mini veggie burgers (I posted about them here)

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced (optional)

Baby spinach

Olive oil and balsamic to taste

Bake the veggie burgers about 400 degrees for 18 minutes on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Divide spinach and beets among two bowls. Top each bowl with burgers (pulled into quarters), egg slices, if using, olive oil and balsamic vinegar or dressing of your choice. Enjoy.


A drink of this per day can help keep the flu away

It's mean, it's green, it's the flu's smelly, savory nightmare.

It's mean, it's green, it's the flu's smelly, savory nightmare. by Sarah Henning

I’m probably jinxing myself by writing this column, but: So far, I’ve avoided the flu that has claimed so many of my friends and family this year.

Of course, the second after this appears in front of other eyeballs, I’ll probably come down with the dreaded illness, but until that happens, I’ll share my secret. Of course, I’m careful to wash my hands and not touch my face, and I’ve probably just gotten lucky, too, but I really do think I have a kitchen remedy that’s helped me stay in the clear.

Any night I’ve come home not feeling 100 percent, or just whenever I’ve had the time, I’ve made this green juice and chugged it down. It contains several illness-fighting ingredients: kale for vitamin A and overall leafy green awesomeness, cucumber and celery for extra special hydration, garlic (aka the inflammation killer also known as Italian penicillin), lemon for a bit of vitamin C, and the added benefit of a probiotic to keep the gut flora healthy.

Now, it’s not the tastiest juice ever (you might have guessed that already), but it’s actually kind of addictive. The garlic, lemon and sour probiotic help cut the “green” flavor and leave you with a savory drink that hits the right notes. You may want to add extra lemon or probiotic at first, or juice in some carrots or an apple or two to help with the flavor, but if you can go with the original, do. I actually like to savor it over 10 minutes or so, but there’s nothing wrong with splitting this serving in two, giving the other half to your significant other and seeing who can down it the fastest.

Don’t have a juicer? You can try chopping up and adding the same ingredients (though maybe not the full amount) to your blender with enough water to get it going and make an unsweetened green smoothie. You’ll get the added benefit of fiber, even if you can’t get in a full head of kale or celery in a single serving.

If I do end up with the flu just for having the audacity to say this juice helped me through the season, I’ll take the punishment fate deals out, just so that you all my have another secret weapon in your arsenals. Clearly, I'll do anything for you people. Now, bottoms up!

Flu Shot Green Juice

1 head celery, base removed

1 head kale

1 cucumber

2 cloves garlic

1 lemon, rind removed

1 tablespoon (or more) liquid probiotic (I use coconut kefir)

Run all ingredients except the probiotic through a juicer. Stir in the probiotic. Chug it down (serves 1 to 2)

Alternatives: use 1-inch piece of fresh, peeled ginger instead of garlic. Add an apple or a couple of carrots for sweetness.


Dead meat: The New York Times’ terrible take on vegetarianism in Kansas City

Strawberry Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing is a simple combination
of romaine lettuce, strawberry slices and almond slivers.

Strawberry Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing is a simple combination of romaine lettuce, strawberry slices and almond slivers. by AP Photo

Earlier this week, I was somewhat livid. I'm not the type to get angry, and the source of my anger was kind of surprising, I suppose, if you know how journalists are: The New York Times.

More specifically, a story posted on Tuesday entitled "Meatless in the Midwest: A Tale of Survival."

In it, we read the story of A.G. Sulzberger, who in the year that he had been assigned to the Times' Kansas City bureau, had been, well, hungry.

And no wonder, by the sound of it, he'd spent a lot of time checking out the region's famed barbecue joints with colleagues and friends, all the while doing some really terrific coverage of the tornado in Joplin and the Iowa Caucus.

In reading his tale of "survival" at first I was really upset. Seething, I described it as not so much a tale of survival as a dated, elitist tongue-in-cheek painting of how the Midwest is still the frontier, devoid of culture. (See, I was MAD!).

His sources included a restaurateur who knows better (“The mentality of the Midwest is, green is garnish,” explained Heidi Van Pelt-Belle, who runs Füd.) and a guy who turned vegetarian in Omaha and then moved to New York, where, presumably, he could be with his kind.

I thought, "How could they print this?" Then, "Who is this article for?" When I thought about it, all I could come up with were New Yorkers who have never been west of the Mississippi, or possibly ex-Midwesterners (like the Brooklynite) who would relish the fact that they were smart to leave in the first place.

As someone born and raised in Kansas City, I went from upset to outright offended. I thought of all the eyes who'd seen that article before publication — editors, designers, web producers — and thought, "Really? No one thought, 'Hey maybe this is a bad idea?'"

Someone had to have thought about the fact that people in the Midwest read The New York Times. In fact, they had to have known we read the Times because they opened a bureau here. And there's no more sure-fire way to piss off your neighbors than by making fun of them and thinking they're too dumb to know about it.

And pissed off they were. Twitter blew up, Facebook, too, all with angry Midwesterners going on the defense.

So, I did something I never do. I emailed another journalist about the article he wrote. And not just any journalist — the SON of the publisher of the most powerful paper in the country. Yes, A.G. is Arthur, son of the publisher and, thus, the heir to the Times.

I was very cordial about it, introduced myself, told him I cover food and that I grew up vegetarian in Kansas City and told him that it was a crime that he hadn't seemed to have found Eden Alley or Mudpie Bakery. Both of which are completely vegetarian (in Mudpie's case, vegan) and hugely popular (Eden Alley has been my favorite restaurant for more than half my life). He had hinted that Kansas City had two fully vegetarian restaurants, meaning Füd and Eden Alley, but because he'd only talked to the owner of Füd, I figured maybe he wasn't in the know.

After I sent that message, I started to feel bad for Arthur. I know what it's like to be a vegetarian journalist in a strange place with weird hours, lots of stress and coworkers who'd rather power through lunch in an effort to save money and calories for later sustenance over pints and darts.

I also knew that though my message was in good taste and cheerful, his inbox was probably brimming with hate mail. Emails spewing rage and probably calling him out for being just another East Coast snob. Or picking on him for being born into power. Or chastising him for going against his people — how could he turn his back on other vegetarians? How?!

That night, I received a response from Arthur. Simple, professional and shocking, because I totally expected to be skirted away with the inbox riptide.

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for the note. I have actually been to Eden Alley a few times. As for the restaurant in Omaha, thats great news and I'll look forward to checking it out.

Best, Arthur

It's a nice note — short, to the point, and proves that he read my message and thought about it. (I had mentioned that Isa is opening a vegan restaurant in Omaha).

So, look, though I'm late to the party, I was asked by several people to write about the "tale" that upset both vegetarians and omnivores alike.

But I'm not going to go on about how it's all an elitist conspiracy from rich people on the coasts to look down upon the Midwest.

Because that's just as big a stereotype as saying that vegetarians are as rare four-leaf clovers once you land in the pastures past the Mississippi.

And it also feeds into another stereotype: That vegetarians are back-biters, eager to look down on everyone, even their own kind, for silly reasons like a personal preference for honey or subsisting on vegetarian (but not so healthy) deep-dish pizza.

So, I'm not going to do that.

Instead, I'm going to take my friend Christine's suggestion and make a list of some wonderful vegetarian options in Lawrence, should Arthur or any visiting vegetarian need to know.

In no certain order:

Honestly, this list could go on and on. Lawrence is rife with vegetarian options, and they're all wonderful.

I am aware this isn't the case everywhere in the Midwest. And, like Arthur, I have dined on what amounts to being iceberg lettuce salad. But we do have options ... and it would be nice to have more.

What's your favorite veggie meal in Lawrence?