April 8th, 2010 - Scott Shaffer
Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein has fanned the flames of discontent. In a post yesterday Klein recounted a tale where he asked for a vegetarian option at a Washington, DC restaurant and they offered him a “grilled vegetable plate,” or GVP. He rejected the dish as tasteless, uninspired, and offensive. Here’s the peroration of his manifesto:
Vegetarians of the world need to stop accepting the GVP. It’s an insult, both from the kitchen to the diner, and from the kitchen to itself. It’s not that hard to cook without meat, and choosing to eat less meat shouldn’t result in a form of culinary punishment for diners. We can do better. Change is possible. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. So say it with me: “No. The grilled vegetable plate is not acceptable. Do you have pasta? Or pizza? Or salads? Or an employee trained in the art of putting different kinds of foods together on a plate in order to create a satisfying dining experience for customers? Because if not, my party and I will go elsewhere.”
Organic Authority supports Klein’s campaign for great-tasting vegetarian meals. In this spirit, we offer some of our favorite organic vegetarian recipes below. Enjoy, and fight on!
Read More:Ezra Klein’s Crusade Against the Grilled Vegetable Plate
November 14th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Blood oranges are my favorite citrus fruit, largely because they’re a seasonal treat.
First grown in Italy and Spain, they’ve made their way to the United States and are now grown in California and Texas. Peak season is November to May (California) and December to March (Texas).
Our weekend recipe combines blood oranges and red beets for a savory, yet sweet, salad. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store. If you have trouble finding blood oranges, you may substitute navel oranges.
Red Beet and Blood Orange Salad
Serves 4 (about 1 cup salad per serving, plus 1/4 cup dressing for later use)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup berry-infused red wine vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1½ tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 medium fresh beets (about 10 ounces total), stemmed and scrubbed
4 large Romaine lettuce leaves or 4 cups loosely packed field greens (about 4 ounces total)
2 blood or navel oranges, peeled and cut into sections
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 ounce chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Peel beets under running water to prevent staining of fingertips. Drain on paper towels, and cut each beet into eight wedges.
- Place beets on foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil (from the dressing ingredient list), and toss to coat well. Arrange in a single layer. Bake 10 minutes.
- Stir beets and cook 10 minutes longer, or until just tender. Remove foil and beets from baking sheet, and place on wire rack to cool at least 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine salad dressing ingredients in a jar or container with lid.
- Arrange lettuce on a large platter; top with remaining salad ingredients and beets.
- Shake jar vigorously, and evenly drizzle one half of the dressing over salad. Refrigerate remaining dressing up to 3 days for later use.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Pompeian
Read More:Red Beet and Blood Orange Salad
September 18th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Cauliflower is usually served with butter or oil. Today’s recipe substitutes Dijon mustard, which lowers fat content and adds a nice flavor.
Be sure to use Dijon mustard, which is more refined than traditional yellow mustard. I recommend Annie’s Naturals’ Organic Dijon Mustard.
All of the ingredients in today’s recipe should be available at your local natural and organic food store. Tune in Sunday for another fab recipe: Curried Cauliflower.
Cauliflower with Mustard and Minced Dill
Makes 4 servings
1½ cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dill seeds
3 bay leaves
1 pound cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1–2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried dill)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
- Pour broth into 10-inch skillet. Add dill seeds and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a simmer.
- Add cauliflower. Cover and continue to simmer for about 5–6 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
- Uncover skillet and place in the refrigerator. Let cauliflower chill in its stock for about 30 minutes.
- Drain cauliflower, reserving stock, and place in a serving dish.
- Strain the stock, and combine 1/4 cup of it with mustard, lemon juice and dill.
- Drizzle sauce over cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Per serving: 35 calories, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 150 mg sodium
Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research
Read More:Cauliflower with Mustard and Minced Dill
September 16th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower is one of those misunderstood vegetables. It’s certainly not the prettiest veggie on campus, but it’s one of the healthiest.
When properly cooked and seasoned, cauliflower is delicious—one of my favorites. I buy it at least once a week, usually to steam or roast as a side dish.
These days, cauliflower is available year-round. A member of the Brassicaceae family (broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens), it delivers a cancer-fighting compound called sulforaphane. A half-cup of cooked cauliflower provides 45% of your daily vitamin C requirement, as well as 2 g fiber, while weighing in at only 15 calories.
When choosing an organic cauliflower, look for a head that’s white or creamy, firm, compact, and heavy for its size. Toss aside heads that have dark spots, brown patches or other discolorations.
When you arrive home, place your cauliflower (stem side up) in your refrigerator’s crisper, where it should last for up to five days. If you buy precut florets, eat them within a day of purchase, as they don’t store well.
The most exciting development on the cauliflower front is the range of colors available—from green (often called broccoflower) to orange and purple. If you’re a cauliflower neophyte, start with the green variety, which has a milder taste. Regardless of color, cauliflower may be eaten raw, so add some small florets to a salad for added crunch and nutrients.
When you’re ready to cook your cauliflower, peel off the stem leaves, turn the head upside down, and cut the stem at the point where the florets begin to meet. They will then start to separate on their own, and you can help them along with a few knife cuts.
Be prepared for a sulfurous smell when you cook cauliflower. Yes, it usually stinks when cooked, but that odor will not influence its taste. Be patient! After steaming florets for 3 to 5 minutes, you’ll be able to serve them.
Here are some final cooking tips:
- If water touches cauliflower during steaming (or boiling), the veggie may turn yellow. To preserve whiteness, add a tablespoon of milk or lemon juice to the water.
- Don’t cook cauliflower in an aluminum or iron pot. The veggie’s compounds will turn it yellow or greenish-brown when exposed to aluminum and iron, respectively.
Tune in Friday and Sunday for some weekend cauliflower recipes. In the meantime, try this Roasted Vegetable Medley.
Read More:Organic Cauliflower
August 21st, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
As summer picnic and barbecue season winds down, make your next seasonal dish stress-free with a no-cook appetizer that’s perfect for potlucks or cookouts.
Our weekend recipe comes from Ingrid Hoffmann, host of Simply Delicioso on the Food Network and author of Simply Delicioso: A Collection of Everyday Recipes with a Latin Twist.
“Entertaining doesn’t have to be a time-consuming and tiresome process,” she says. “With a few ingredients, you can create simple and tasty recipes.”
Best of all, this healthful recipe will appeal to both children and adults. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Black Bean and Corn Scoops
1 bag tortilla chips
1 cup salsa
2 cups frozen sweet corn, thawed
1/2 cup canned black beans (rinsed thoroughly)
1 bunch green onions, diced
1/2 avocado, sliced
Juice of half a lime
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Combine all ingredients, except chips, in a glass bowl and toss well. Refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour to meld flavors.
- Spoon mixture onto chips, and place on a serving dish.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Tostitos
Read More:Black Bean and Corn Scoops
June 26th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Many people think of sweet potatoes as a winter vegetable reserved for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners.
In truth, these golden gems are available year-round, and they hit the nutritional jackpot: One half-cup of sweet potatoes contains 90 calories, no fat or cholesterol, 380% of your daily vitamin A requirement, 35% of your vitamin C requirement and 3 g fiber (about 11% of your daily requirement).
Our weekend “steak” recipe replaces meat with sweet potatoes. Prep time is only 10 minutes, and cook time is just shy of 90 minutes.
All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Grilled Sweet Potato Steaks with Maple Pecan Butter
Makes 6 to 8 servings
4 large sweet potatoes
Salt and pepper
Maple Pecan Butter
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons chopped pecans
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
Wash sweet potatoes, and wrap each one in a single sheet of aluminum foil.
Preheat your grill to approximately 400°F.
Place wrapped sweet potatoes on the grill. Close lid; cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes with indirect heat, or until sweet potatoes soften.
While potatoes cook, prepare Maple Pecan Butter. Melt butter in small saucepan. Add maple syrup, pecans, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt. Heat mixture on low for less than 1 minute or until a layer of bubbles forms over the surface. Remove from heat, and set aside until needed.
Remove sweet potatoes from grill. Unwrap and halt cooking process by dipping them into a bowl of cold water. Place sweet potatoes on a countertop and let them cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into 1/2-inch thick medallions.
Coat each sweet potato steak with olive oil, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Grill each steak for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove potato steaks from grill and serve drizzled with warm Maple Pecan Butter.
Recipe created by World Champion Pitmaster Chris Lilly. Photo courtesy of Kingsford.
Read More:Grilled Sweet Potato Steaks with Maple Pecan Butter
June 24th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Brooklyn’s Isa Chandra Moskowitz hosts the online Post Punk Kitchen video series, which offers great vegetarian cooking lessons. She’s also the author of the highly acclaimed Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock.
The cookbook is divided into nine sections:
- Brunch (Sweet Potato Hash with Five-Spice and Watercress, Ginger-Pear Waffles)
- Muffins and Scones (The Best Pumpkin Muffins, Glazed Orange Scones)
- Soups (White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup)
- Little Meals, Sammiches and Finger Food (Parsnip-Scallion Pancakes, Fresh Corn Fritters)
- Sides (Balsamic-Glazed Portobello Mushrooms, Coconut Rice with Toasted Coconut)
- Pizzas and Pastas (Homemade Gnocchi, Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Tapenade)
- Entrees (Pumpkin Seed-Crusted Tofu with Baked Pumpkin and Cranberry Relish, Moroccan Tagine with Spring Vegetables)
- Cookies and Bars (Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, Macadamia Blondies with Caramel-Maple Topping)
- Desserts (Coconut Heaven Cupcakes, Gingerbread Apple Pie)
Rocker Joan Jett added her review to the book’s back cover: “This fun and creative book is delicious for people like me, who don’t eat pets!”
Vegan with a Vengeance retails for $17.95, but the current price on Amazon is $14. Use the recipes to jump-start your organic Meat-Free Monday meals.
Read More:Vegan with a Vengeance
June 16th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Singer Paul McCartney yesterday launched a Meat-Free Monday campaign, which encourages consumers to help slow climate change by avoiding meat one day a week.
Celebrity supporters include Chris Martin, Alec Baldwin, Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow, Kevin Spacey, Kelly Osbourne, Gillian Anderson and Ricky Gervais.
Studies clearly show our food choices affect the environment. The UK’s Food Climate Research Network says food production is responsible for 20%–30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Farm animals, which release gases like methane and nitrous oxide, account for 50% of food-related emissions.
In fact, livestock production is globally responsible for more climate-changing emissions (18%) than transportation (13%), according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. And Compassion in World Farming says UK families that slash meat consumption by 50% would release fewer emissions than if they drove their cars 50% less.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Rajendra Pachauri, PhD, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said last year:
“IPCC found that changes in lifestyle and behavior patterns can contribute to climate change mitigation across all sectors. One area where individuals can make a difference in this regard is by altering their diets through consuming less meat, say by giving up meat at least one day a week. Reducing meat consumption in this manner will make individuals healthier, as well as the planet.”
“I think many of us feel helpless in the face of environmental challenges, and it can be hard to know how to sort through the advice about what we can do to make a meaningful contribution to a cleaner, more sustainable, healthier world. Having one designated meat-free day a week is actually a meaningful change that everyone can make that goes to the heart of several important political, environmental and ethical issues all at once. For instance, it not only addresses pollution, but better health, the ethical treatment of animals, global hunger and community and political activism.”
Organic Meat-Free Monday Playlist
- Amoeba’s Secret
- Unplugged (Official Bootleg)
Read More:Paul McCartney Calls for Meat-Free Mondays
June 10th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Hot dogs get a bad reputation, and deservedly so. They’re high in saturated fat, sodium, nitrates, cancer-causing compounds and pig parts I have no desire to eat.
But summer isn’t the same without a juicy, grilled frankfurter on a toasted bun. Fortunately, there are healthier, lower-fat natural, organic and vegetarian cures for your hot-dog cravings.
The Great Organic Uncured Hot Dog from Applegate Farms is made from organic grass-fed beef, as are Niman Ranch’s Fearless Franks and Organic Prairie’s Uncured Hot Dogs. Organic Prairie also offers chicken dogs and turkey dogs.
If you’re a vegetarian, check out the Lightlife line of Smart Dogs, Tofu Pups, Veggie Dogs and Pretzel Dogs. Another meatless option is the Yves line of Hot Dogs, Good Dogs, Tofu Dogs and Jumbo Hot Dogs.
Be sure to top your dog with organic condiments. I’ll show you some of my favorites tomorrow.
Read More:Hot Dog Stand
June 9th, 2009 - Laura Klein
“It’s 100% vegan, but it tastes like KFC.”
Welcome to a magical place where grab and go, decadent comfort food blissfully coexists with super high nutrition and globally good underpinnings…The Veggie Grill’s got it all.
“Our overarching purpose is to show people how delicious and enjoyable plant-based food can be when prepared the right way,” says T.K. Pillan, one of The Veggie Grill’s owners. Goodbye bland tofu, uninspired bean sprouts…hello Chipotle BBQ, Grillin’ Chickin’ and Carne Asada sandwiches…all of which are made from 100% plant-based, veggie protein blends.
“The Best Chicken Sandwich I Ever Had!” Veggie Grill converts regularly proclaim that The Veggie Grill’s Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ (crispy fried chillin’ chickin’, lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, southwestern spiced vegan mayo on a wheat bun with a side of red cabbage ‘slaw) is ‘the best chicken sandwich I ever had!” The irony? There’s no chicken in it!
By using its signature marinades and sauces, The Veggie Grill converts super nutritious plant-based proteins patties (which in their base form, are pretty much flavorless) into familiar and yummy all-American comfort food.
“There’s a certain stereotype about vegetarian and vegan food being boring and tasteless,” continues Pillan. The Veggie Grill busts through that myth, despite its cholesterol-, trans fat- and high-fructose corn syrup-free menu offerings.
Another amazing side effect? No bloating or sleepiness, as you might feel after a guilty indulgence in ‘conventional’ fast foods. What you eat affects your vitality, and The Veggie Grill is on the right side of your energy and nutritional levels.
Eco Bite The Veggie Grill takes a decidedly non-preachy approach to their vegan comfort food…but Pillan adds that 100% plant-based food is as sustainable as you can get.
The huge carbon foot print of cattle and other animals raised for food has a greater impact on the planet than even transportation, a little known fact.
“Meat is simply an inefficient use of the planet,” says Pillan, citing Brazilian rain forests that are currently being cleared to make room for raised-for-meat cattle grazing. You can get much more from land – and for people – by growing plant-based food versus animals raised for food.
Sourcing wise, The Veggie Grill strives for local and organic whenever possible, especially when it comes to produce.
Check out Fox’s Good Day L.A.’s recent visit to The Veggie Grill and plan your outing to this amazing eatery soon (there are two locations in Irvine and one in El Segundo, CA). Staying at home? Pick a new dish from Laura Klein’s huge offering of healthy organic recipes!
Know any other ‘comfort food’ vegan or vegetarian restaurants? Let us know!
Read More:Get Your Vegan Comfort Food On!