Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

Broccoli and Potato Pesto Fettuccine

When I make pasta for dinner at home, I have a tendency, like many people I think, to make tomato, cream, or tomato-cream pasta sauces. I’m not sure why this is. I guess I just like tomato-based sauces. Marinara sauce, meat sauce, vodka sauce (a tomato-cream sauce), etc. I love cream sauce, but I try not to make them too often, because, well, they’re cream sauces.

I really should experiment with more sauces, and there’s a lot of great non-tomato pasta sauces out there. Pesto, for example, is a classic, non-tomato sauce, and it’s about as easy as it gets. Cook pasta, drain pasta, and pesto, mix, serve. Bam. Even making pasta is really easy. You just throw all the ingredients in a food processor, whiz it up, and you’re done.

I realized recently that I hadn’t made any kind of pasta in pesto sauce in a long time, so when I found a recipe in one of my Jamie Oliver cookbooks for pasta in pesto sauce with broccoli and potato, I thought I would try it out. Plus potato with pasta sounds interesting, don’t you think? I’ve had pasta with meat sauce and potato before in Japan, but never with pesto.

This is about as easy as it gets. You boil the pasta, broccoli, and potato all together, then drain it and mix it up with the pesto, some chopped fresh basil leaves, and some grated parmesan cheese. Bam. It’s really good too! And the potato goes well with it! This is a great quick dinner. Bam.
How many times do you think I can say that in this post?

I’ll stop now.


Broccoli and Potato Pesto Fettuccine

(serves 4 – 5)

  • 1 medium potato, peeled
  • 1 head broccoli
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb. dried fettuccine
  • 1/3 c. green pesto
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan
  1. Grate the potato into thin shavings with a vegetable peeler. Peel and slice the large stalk of the broccoli, then cut the large florets into smaller ones.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tbsp. salt. Add the fettuccine and sliced broccoli stalk. 2 minutes before the fettuccine is done cooking, add the potato.
  3. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water, and return to the pot. Add the pesto, basil leaves, and parmesan. Toss everything well. If sauce too thick, and a little of the cooking water. Serve.

recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Broccoli and Pesto Tagliatelle


November 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Cauliflower Fritters

Okay, first of all, let me just say, these cauliflower fritters are awesome.

I know what you’re thinking. Cauliflower fritters? That sounds kinda…ew.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with these either, but they far exceeded  my expectations. These are delicious.
After making pizza with a cauliflower crust, I should have realized the wonders of cauliflower, but I was still a little wary.

These are great for dinner, but they would be equally great for breakfast as well. They taste for all the world like they’re made with potatoes. I thought they tasted like a cross between hash browns and potato pancakes. You could definitely feed these to kids as a way to get extra vegetables in them (they go great with ketchup). They would think they’re potatoes. They’ll never know….(insert maniacal laughter here). I don’t have kids (I need to work on that), but when I do someday, I will feed these to them. Amen.

I adapted this recipe from SkinnyTaste, but there are many variations out there if you search. Feel free to add other things to these (maybe more vegetables?!), but I recommend trying them out in their simplest form first. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


Serving Suggestion: Serve to unsuspecting children (and adults) who will think they are eating a delicious potato cheese patty sent down from the heavens.

Cauliflower Fritters

(makes about 12 fritters)

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, steamed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheese
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley, diced or 1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 c. hot water
  • dash of salt and pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Mix everything except the olive oil in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Heat 1 – 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Scoop out a heaping 1/4 cup of the cauliflower mixture for each fritter. Cook in the skillet (about four fritters at a time, or whatever your skillet will allow) until golden brown on one side. Flip, and cook on remaining side until golden brown. Serve immediately.

July 20, 2012 at 7:38 am Leave a comment

Japanese Tofu Hamburger Steak (豆腐ハンバーグ)

If there’s one thing I love, it’s Japanese tofu hamburger steaks (called “tofu hanbahgu” or tofu hamburg).

Heck, there’s a lot of things I love from Japanese cuisine. Teriyaki salmon, inari sushi, sushi in general, grilled eel, curry rice, korokke, tempura, chestnut rice, kabocha… I could go on and on, but I’d probably start to drool. And then I would probably drive to the other end of Houston to the Japanese grocery store, buy half the store, rush home, and spend the rest of the day creating an elaborate over the top feast with enough food for 10 people… for my husband and I. So, I shall desist…

The best way to eat tofu hamburger steaks, in my opinion, is with daikon oroshi (simply, grated Japanese radish) and ponzu (a citrus-infused soy sauce condiment). If you’ve never seen a Japanese radish, they look like this…

They’re generally about a foot long, but their size and shape can vary immensely. You can find daikon at most Asian supermarkets. To make grated daikon, wash your daikon, peel off the outside layer like a carrot, and then….grate it….with a grater. Easy right? Just kidding. You don’t want strips of grated daikon like grated cheese, you want a finely minced daikon mush. Sounds yummy, right? Trust me, it is.
I use my Microplane zester, which works great, but you could even throw some daikon in your food processor and whiz it to a pulp (literally).
Once you’ve successfully grated as much daikon as you think you’ll need, drain off some of the excess liquid, and you’re done.

If you can’t find Japanese daikon, or you don’t want to be bothered to go to an Asian supermarket (or if you don’t have an Asian supermarket), you can use regular ol’ American radishes. Just be very careful when grating/zesting them, as they’re so small, you run a much larger risk of accidentally zesting your fingertips (yes, it can be done). Not a pretty picture. Exercise caution.

OK! First things first! Here’s the ingredients you need: 1 block of firm tofu, 1/2 onion (which I forgot to put in the picture; he’s anti-social), minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil (also anti-social), ginger paste, an egg, salt and pepper, and panko bread crumbs.


Mince the onion as finely as you can (you can even whiz it in the food processor to a pulp; that seems to be a theme today…), and saute it in a skillet over medium heat with the olive oil. After 2 – 3 minutes, add the garlic and continue sauteing until the onion is translucent, another 2 minutes or so.


Meanwhile, swaddle wrap your tofu block in paper towels, place it on a plate or in a bowl, and place another, heavy dish on top, like so. Microwave it all for 3 – 4 minutes. This will help get rid of the excess water in the tofu.


Carefully unwrap the tofu, as it will be very hot by this point, and add it to a large bowl. Add the cooked onion and garlic, the ginger paste, the soy sauce, and a light dash of salt and pepper. Mix everything, crumbling up the tofu as much as possible. The best way to do this is with your hands. Go on. Get in their and get dirty! Just make sure you wash your hands before and after the tofu mushing. And make sure the tofu is sufficiently cooled, so you don’t burn your hands in your eagerness to smoosh it.


Once everything is well mixed, and the tofu is well smooshed and crumbly, add the egg, and mix it in. Then, add the bread crumbs, and mix it yet again. A spoon works fine for these last two additions.
Now, at this point, you can either cover and refrigerate the mixture for an hour; form it into patties, place those on a baking sheet, cover and refrigerate that for an hour; or form it into patties and and cook them immediately. I recommend one of the first two methods. By refrigerating it for an hour or more, it really allows the flavors to be absorbed into the tofu and will taste better as a result. If you’re in a hurry though, by all means, go for it!

Once you’re ready to cook the patties, add a little olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Form the mixture into patties (if you haven’t already), and cook them, about four at a time, until browned on one side. Flip them, and continue cooking until they’re golden brown on that side as well. Remove the patties to a serving plate, and repeat with the remaining patties.


After cooking, they should look something like this.


To eat, spoon some of that delicious daikon oroshi you worked hard to get on top of a patty, then pour a little ponzu over the top (not too much, as it’s strong stuff). Then, enjoy.


Serve with Japanese steamed rice, miso soup, and any other Japanese side dishes you want.

Japanese Tofu Hamburger Steaks

(makes about 10 patties)

  • 1 (16 oz.) block of firm tofu
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking the patties
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • light dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 – 1 c. grated Japanese daikon (optional)
  • Ponzu (optional)
  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Wrap tofu in paper towels and place on a plate. Place a heavier dish on top of the tofu, and microwave it all for 3 – 4 minutes.
  3. Carefully unwrap tofu and add it to a large bowl. Add the cooked onion and garlic, ginger paste, soy sauce, and a light dash of salt and pepper. Mix everything well with a large spoon or your hands. Add the egg and mix again, then add the bread crumbs and mix again. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for one hour.
  4. Heat 1 – 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Form the mixture into patties and cook, about four at a time, until browned on one side. Flip the patties cook on the remaining side until well browned. Remove to a serving plate, and repeat with the remaining patties.
  5. Serve with grated daikon and ponzu.

July 18, 2012 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

I’ve always been a fan of veggie burgers since I discovered them.

I do love my hamburgers (homemade, not fast food burgers. Bleh), but sometimes I just want a veggie burger.

When I was a college student, one of the restaurants on campus had these really good veggie burgers and curly fries. *sigh* I used to get those all the time as a student. They were great. At least in my memory they are, lol.

I’ve tried various veggie burger/black bean burger recipes in the past, and they were okay, but not fabulous.

I found this recipe for black bean burgers on Annie’s Eats, and I was impressed with the result! These were really good southwestern style black bean burgers. They hold together well, have great flavor, and will please even the meat eaters of one’s family I believe.

They’re easy to make to. You just mash your beans up, and the rest of the ingredients, form them into patties, refrigerate them for awhile (to help them firm up and absorb the flavors), and then cook them on a skillet. I recommend making these in the morning or the night before you want to serve them. Then all you have to do is pop them out of the fridge, and cook them. Fast

I served these with baked sweet potato fried, but they’d go great with normal french fries, cole slaw, potato salad, tossed salad, etc.

recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats

Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

(makes 8 – 9 burgers)

  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 3/4 c. panko bread crumbs

To serve:

  • Hamburger buns
  • lettuce
  • sliced tomato
  • sliced onion
  • pickles
  • sliced cheese
  1. Pour beans into a large bowl. Mash until somewhat smooth, but some whole beans still remain.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, and mix well.
  3. Form mixture into patties of desired size, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours (optional).
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Cook burgers until browned on one side (about 5 – 8 min), then flip and cook on remaining side until browned (5 – 8 min).
  5. Serve with toasted hamburger buns, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, sliced cheese, etc.

April 26, 2012 at 9:29 am Leave a comment

Scalloped Potatoes With Onions

If you’re cooking dinner for a crowd, or want something classic and delicious that everyone will like to take to a potluck dinner; you can’t go wrong with scalloped potatoes with onions.

I made this for Easter to go with our Easter ham, and they were soooo good.

It’s hard to go wrong with potatoes, onions, cheese, and cream though.

Everyone loves potatoes, and it’s a fact of the universe that cheese and cream make everything better.

Don’t question it. Just accept it.

Feel the balance of the universe aligning as you accept this universal truth…



Scalloped Potatoes with Onions

(serves 8)

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
  • 3 lb. russet potatoes, peeled, washed, and thinly sliced
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 c. shredded cheese (I used a cheddar jack mix, but use whatever you like)
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9 x 11 in. baking dish.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions until translucent, 4 – 5 minutes.
  3. Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the baking dish, slightly overlapping slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then 1/2 the nutmeg. Add 1/2 the onions followed by 1 c. of the shredded cheese.
  4. Repeat with 1/3 of the potato slices, salt and pepper, the remaining 1/2 of the nutmeg, the remaining 1/2 of the onions, and 1 c. shredded cheese.
  5. Finish with the last 1/3 of the potato slices, this time arranging them in a spiral (if you want to be fancy). Sprinkle the last 1 c. of cheese on top.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the cream and chicken broth. Pour on top of the cheese and potatoes.
  7. Cover baking dish with parchment paper and then aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Increase temperature to 425° F. Remove parchment paper and foil, and cook for another 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender.
  9. Let rest for 15 – 20 minutes before serving.


April 19, 2012 at 9:15 am Leave a comment

Roasted Vegetable & Pesto Pizza

I’m writing this post from my new desk at my mom’s office, where I’m helping out for the next few weeks.

It’s interesting to be working again. I haven’t worked full time in quite awhile now. I’m finding it difficult to fit in my workouts, cooking, and of course, blogging!
I got up  at 6:30 am yesterday morning, and did my workout before work, and today I got up at the same time and went to swim laps. 6:30 am wasn’t too bad for lap swimming really, as Hisa and I usually get up at 7 am, so it wasn’t that much of a difference. The main difference was I had to swim faster than usual, and I had to keep checking to clock to make sure we left in time, so I would have plenty of time to get ready when we got home.

Anyway, enough talk!
On to the pizza!

This is a great vegetarian pizza that’s a nice change from your regular tomato sauce pizza. Instead of tomato sauce, I used pesto as the base sauce on the pizza crust. Then I spread the shredded cheese over that, and roasted zucchini, onion, and green bell pepper on top.

You can make your own pesto in a food processor (which I really want to do, but have yet to try!), or just use the stuff in a jar like you buy in the grocery store.
You can also make the crust ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, and then stick it in the fridge 24 hours before you’ll need it. Pizza crust is pretty forgiving stuff. And tasty too. 🙂

I used a pizza stone to bake this. If you use a pizza stone (and I highly recommend you do, but it isn’t necessary), stick it in your pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes before you bake your pizza. This will get the stone really hot, bake your pizza fast, and make your pizza crust wonderful! Basically, the hot stone mimics the hot bricks that bake the pizza in a brick pizza oven.
You don’t have to use a pizza stone for this. If you don’t have one, you can bake your pizza on a regular baking sheet. Pizza stones aren’t expensive though, so I recommend trying one out. 🙂

Roasted Vegetable & Pesto Pizza

(makes 2 round pizzas or 1 large rectangle pizza)

For the crust:

  • 2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. warm water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. corn meal
  • 2 1/2 – 3 c. bread flour

For the pizza toppings:

  • 1/2 c. pesto
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (or whatever cheese you like on your pizza)
  • 1 green zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F (200° C).
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Let sit for 10 min.
  3. Add salt and oil, then stir in corn meal and 2 c. bread flour.
  4. Turn out dough onto a floured surface. Knead, adding flour until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place dough into a well oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour, or until double in size.
  6. Place sliced zucchini, onion, and pepper, in a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat the vegetables. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Remove from oven.
  7. Punch down dough, roll out dough into 2 round crusts or 1 large crust. Place in an oiled baking sheet and let rise 10 – 20 minutes.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 425° F (220° C). If using pizza stone, place dry stone in oven to heat up for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove pizza stone from oven. Carefully place rolled out pizza dough on stone. Spread pesto on pizza crust. Sprinkle cheese on top of that, and then place the roasted vegetables on top of that.
  10. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until pizza crust is golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven, cut into slices with a pizza cutter, and serve immediately.



April 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

Grilled Veggie and Pesto Sandwiches

It’s been unusually warm here in Oklahoma lately.

Well, actually yesterday and today have been a little cooler, and by that I mean more along the lines of normal April weather (temps in the 70’s).

Last week, the high temperatures were generally in the 80’s, and on Sunday it even got into the 90’s. Very weird for the end of March, beginning of April, no?

At our house, we just with it. Preview of summer? Okay then! Let’s crank the A/C and fire up the grill! And fire up the grill I did.

I wanted something quick, healthy, and tasty that wouldn’t heat up the kitchen any more than necessary. Grilling is great when it’s hot for that very reason. It’s usually easy, often tasty, and it won’t heat up your kitchen at all (unless for some odd reason your grill is in your kitchen, which is probably a huge safety no no, and generally just a bad idea).

I decided to make grilled veggie sandwiches on ciabatta rolls, which ended up being really really good. For my vegetables, I grilled sliced onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and eggplant (but feel free to use whatever you like). I cut the ciabatta rolls in half, buttered them, and toasted them on the grill as well. To serve them, I put pesto and mayonnaise on the rolls, some of the grilled veggies, and mozzarella cheese (again, use whatever cheese you want/have).

These were really simple and fast, but oh so good! I will definitely be making these throughout the summer!

 Serve them with your favorite salad or vegetable. Cole slaw and grilled corn on the cob come to mind.
After 4 years of not being able to have a grill in Japan, I’m looking forward to grilling everything I can this summer! Bring it on!

Grilled Veggie and Pesto Sandwiches

(serves 5 – 7)

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • ciabatta rolls
  • butter
  • pesto
  • mayonnaise
  • mozzarella cheese (or any sliced cheese of your choice)
  1. Heat up grill on high for a few minutes, then lower heat to medium.
  2. Slice eggplant and zucchini. Chop onion and green bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill vegetables until tender, flipping eggplant and zucchini slices once, and stirring onion and bell pepper around. Remove to a serving plate.
  4. Cut ciabatta rolls in half, and butter each half lightly. Grill, buttered side down, until slightly brown and toasted. Remove to a serving plate.
  5. To serve, spread pesto and mayonnaise on ciabatta rolls. Place grilled veggies and sliced cheese between rolls halves and enjoy.

April 5, 2012 at 8:58 am Leave a comment

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About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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