Tag Archives: vegetarian

Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup

7 Sep

Cooler days and school back in session means that the crockpot has returned to it’s semi-permanent position on my kitchen countertop.  Hungry for some flavorful, slow-cooked food and eager to have food ready with little effort, I started searching around for some new recipes to try in the crockpot.  I spotted a Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup on Pinterest that looked mighty tasty, the only problem of course, all that dairy.  Looking through the ingredients, I figured that it wouldn’t be very hard to substitute the dairy for non-dairy counterparts, and while I was at it I decided to reduce the calories from the original version.  With all new recipes, it feels like a real crapshoot whether anyone will eat it, let alone enjoy it.

This recipe?  Jackpot.  Jackpot in the Crockpot.

Creamy and slightly cheesy, the base of this soup tastes a tiny bit like the sauce in Chef Boyardee’s canned pasta, which normally would not make it a ringing endorsement in my book.  HOWEVER, the kids totally loved it.  And the more I had, the more I loved it too.  Slightly rich, hearty, and low in calories, this soup might be one of our new favorite things.

After replacing the dairy ingredients in the original recipe (butter, parmesan, half and half) with non-dairy counter parts (non-dairy butter, Daiya mozzarella, soy cream), I was worried that the resulting soup would not be thick and creamy enough.  To make sure that the soup was not too thin, I added ingredients in two batches, pureeing the first half to create a thicker base.  The resulting flavor and texture was terrific, helped to thicken up the soup, and allowed me to reduce some of the fat and calorie-laden ingredients (this recipe is about 35% lower in calories than the original).  This recipe makes a pretty big batch of soup, which worked out great here because it has been requested for dinner and lunch several times.  I’m not sure if it will freeze well, and this time, I won’t even have the chance to try.

Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup
Serving size: 1 c.
Serves: 11

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, divided
1-1/2 c. carrots, cut into bite-sized bits, divided
1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
1/4 c. onion, cut into big chunks
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. fresh herbs (mix of basil and oregano)
4 c. chicken broth
2 T. non-dairy margarine
1/4 c. flour
1 c. soy cream
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 c. Daiya mozzerella
Salt and pepper to taste

Add one can tomatoes, half the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, herbs, and chicken broth to a crockpot.  Cook on low for 5 hours.  After 5 hours, use a hand blender to puree the soup until no chunks remain.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter.  Add flour and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add cream and stir until the flour mixture breaks up into the liquid and becomes a thick sauce.  Add 1 c. of soup from the crockpot, stirring until well-combined.  Add another cup of soup from the crockpot if any doughy chunks remain.  When everything has been combined and the sauce has thickened, add to the crockpot and stir.  Add remaining tomatoes, carrots, cannellini beans, and mozzerella, then stir to combine.  Cover and cook for an additional hour.



Estimated calories:  143 cal/serving

Print it: Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup

– If you would like to replace my non-dairy replacements with dairy versions, I’d recommend using butter, shredded part-skim mozzerella, and half and half in the same amounts noted here.

Corn, Black Bean and Tomato Salad

29 Jun

The best thing about watching the kids play baseball four nights a week is that we’re outside watching baseball.  The worst thing is that we have a very small window to get home, ready for baseball, and eat dinner.  The eating dinner part of this is particularly tricky because it needs to be ready, quick to eat, and something everyone will eat because there’s no time for dilly-dallying at the dinner table while we have an EAT YOUR DINNER SHOWDOWN.  Last night I made a cold salad that I considered to be the ultimate meal – a base that everyone would enjoy, hidden protein, and lots of extra toppings to meet the needs of the picky palates at my table.  A cold salad featuring corn (everybody’s favorite), black beans, and tomatoes topped with a light honey-lime dressing.  The dressing is really nice, a little sweet and kind of tangy; it has the kid friendliness of French dressing with the added benefit of not being French dressing.  As I pulled out the bowls and encouraged everyone to DISH UP and ENJOY, I started to hear the words I dreaded most.

I hate black beans.
Are the tomatoes already mixed in?
Is there anything else?
Why isn’t this a pot pie?

Using the words that I knew their baseball coaches would later in the night, I told them to HUSTLE and GET GOING and NOT EVERYTHING IS A POT PIE (okay, no baseball coach is likely to say this, but they could because it is totally true).  I loved the dish, adding radishes and Sriracha to mine.  Martin said that it was edible, and liked the dressing even though the tomatoes contaminated the rest of his food.  And Sophie begged me to never to make it again.

Corn, Tomato and Black Bean Salad
Serves: 8
Serving Size: 1/2 c.

15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz bag corn, steamed, rinsed, and drained
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 T. lime juice
2 T. olive oil
1 T. honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Diced avocado
Chopped cilantro
Thinly sliced radishes
Sliced green onions
Shredded lettuce
Corn chips

In a large bowl, mix together black beans through salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine.  For best flavor, refrigerate for an hour before serving.

As is, this makes a nice side dish.  Add avocado, cilantro, radishes, green onions, or jalapenos if desired.  If serving as a main dish, serve in a bowl, over lettuce, in tortillas, or with corn chips.  Top with salsa or sriracha for extra kick.

Estimated Calories:  138 cal/serving

Print it: Corn, Tomato and Black Bean Salad

Vegetarian Samosas

19 Oct

A few weeks ago, I had the most delicious samosas at the White Horse.  In the days after, I couldn’t stop thinking about how tasty they were and set out to try to recreate them at home.  Once I got going, I realized that I hadn’t paid very close attention to what was actually IN the samosas or its chutney companion, making recreation a difficult task.  Instead, I decided to use fillings that I thought would be tasty and easy.  While they were not THE SAME as those at the White Horse, they were still mighty delicious.

This recipe covers the basics of samosas – a flavorful combo of peas and potatoes, spiced, and tucked into a pocket or turnover.  To make things easier, I decided to use puff pastry dough.  While this is a great shortcut, puff pastry is not super low in calories.  Still, for a weeknight dinner, convenience sometimes wins.  To add a bit of protein, I went with garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) instead of meat.  If you prefer, a bit of spicy sausage instead of the garbanzo would be a good substitute.  The filling only takes a few minutes to make and assembly is easy.  This is a recipe that requires little prep work and tastes delicious.  I’ll definitely make them again.

Vegetarian Samosas
Serves: 6

1 potato, peeled and cubed
2 t. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. water
1/2 t. sweet curry
2 sheets puff pastry dough, thawed and cut into quarters (this will make 8, you’ll only need 6)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a microwave safe bowl, add potatoes and cover with water.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Remove from microwave, drain, and mash with a fork.  Set aside.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.  When oil is hot, add onion and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes until onions start to turn transluscent.  Add potatoes, garbanzo beans, frozen peas, water, and curry.  Reduce heat to low and cook until most of the water has evaporated.

Take a square of puff pastry dough and place 1/4 c. of the samosa filling in the center.  Wet the edges of the pastry dough with a little water, then fold over to form  a triangle.  Press the sides together to seal.  Repeat with remaining pastry squares, placing each one on the baking sheet.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is light golden brown.

Estimated Calories:  312 cal/serving

Print it: Vegetarian Samosas

– I would highly recommend serving the samosas with a side of chutney.  I used the Apple Chutney I made a few weeks ago and it was a delicious side (68 cal/quarter cup serving).  Store-bought chutney would be totally fine and would save you some effort.
– I was starving and baked this batch until they were done, but not totally golden.  While I ate one, I baked the others a bit longer and they looked better.  This photo shows them a bit on the pale side, I’d wait until they are a bit more golden than that before removing them from the oven.
– While these don’t fit my rule for low-calorie (300 cal/serving or less), they are *close*.  The filling  makes up about 25% of the total calories per serving, so until I find a better substitute for the puff pastry, this will have to do.  [Super important note: dude, if you have a suggestion, be sure to let me know]