On the Bright Side

Vibrant veggie entrees

The bad news: Summer’s almost over.

The good news: There are vegetables galore at farmers markets, roadside produce stands and even your neighbor’s backyard garden.

Tomatoes, summer squash and peppers all burst with flavor this time of year. Take advantage of August abundance by trying some lively vegetarian dishes.

The following seven cookbooks offer veggie entrees so tasty you won’t even miss the meat.

Veggie “Chick” Burgers
Mushroom Stroganoff With Herbed Pasta Web Extra!
Lasagne Rolls
Cabbage Roulades With Lemon Sauce Web Extra!
Raw Vegetable Wrap With Feta
Huevo Ranchero Web Extra!
Ugly Tomato Pie
Grilled Veggie Hero With Roasted Garlic Spread Web Extra!
Mexican Stuffed Peppers
Mock Spaghetti Web Extra!
Zucchini, Thyme and Bocconcini Pizza
Eggplant and Mushroom Skewers with Tomato Concasse Web Extra!
Vegetable Gratin
Spinach Cheese Custard Web Extra!

“Not Just for Vegetarians: Delicious Homestyle Cooking, the Meatless Way”
By Geraldine Hartman
Published by Centax Books

Veggie “Chick” Burgers

1 cup uncooked chickpeas (or canned, rinsed and drained)
1 teaspoon vegetable soup stock powder (or 1 cube)
1-1/2 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard
1 medium carrot, finely grated
1 onion, finely grated
3/4 cup finely crushed whole-wheat cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 - 1 tablespoon crushed dried thyme
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Original Blend or Spike Seasoning blend
2 eggs, beaten
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying

Soak chickpeas overnight in enough cold water to cover. Rinse and drain.

In a medium saucepan, cook the chickpeas in just enough water to cover, adding soup stock powder.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat, but leave the covered pan on the burner 30 to 40 minutes (chickpeas will continue to soften).

Drain the chickpeas and chop them in a food processor to a coarse, mealy texture.

Transfer chickpeas to a large bowl, add all the other ingredients in the order given, except the oil for frying. Combine thoroughly.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to firm up.

Form the mixture into 8 large patties, about 1/2 inch thick.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.

Fry the patties until golden brown, turning once, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Serve immediately on whole-wheat or multi-grain buns with toppings of your choice.

Makes 8 large patties.

Note: If using canned chickpeas, omit cooking instructions. Just rinse and drain them thoroughly. Chop in the food processor with soup powder dissolved in 1/3 cup water.

Mushroom Stroganoff With Herbed Pasta

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely diced
4 cups small, whole mushrooms (or equivalent amount large sliced mushrooms)
2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
3/4 cup vegetable stock
3 tablespoons light or regular sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Herbed pasta (see recipe below)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add the onions and sauté 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms; cover and reduce heat to low and steam 5 minutes.

Add the flour and stir to coat mushrooms and onions.

Add stock and simmer, covered over low heat 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove stroganoff from heat and stir in sour cream and spices.

Serve immediately over herbed pasta.

Makes 6 servings.

Herbed Pasta

7 ounces broad noodles
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Original Blend or Spike Seasoning Blend

Cook the noodles in a large quantity of boiling, salted water about 8 to 10 minutes, to desired tenderness.

Drain well. Toss with remaining ingredients and serve.

“Vegetarian Classics: Recipes Made Easy”
By Roz Denny
Published by Southwater

Lasagne Rolls

8 to 10 lasagne sheets
Lentil Bolognese (see recipe below)
8 ounces fresh spinach leaves
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
4 ounces Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Bechamel sauce

Scant 1/2 cup plain flour
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2-1/2 cups milk
Bay leaf
Salt and ground black pepper
Fresh nutmeg, grated
Freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese,
to serve

Cook lasagne sheets according to instructions on the pack, or about 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.

Cook the spinach in the tiniest amount of water 2 minutes, then add the sliced mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes. Drain very well, pressing out all the excess liquid, and chop roughly.

Put all the béchamel ingredients into a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil, stirring continuously, until the sauce is thick and smooth.

Simmer 2 minutes with the bay leaf, then season well and stir in grated nutmeg to taste.

Lay out the pasta sheets and spread with the Bolognese, spinach and mushrooms and mozzarella. Roll up each one and place in a large, shallow casserole dish, seam-side down.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and then pour the sauce over the pasta.

Sprinkle on the cheese and place under a hot broiler to brown.

Makes 4 servings.

Lentil Bolognese

1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, coarsely grated
2 celery sticks, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup red lentils
14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 cups stock
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
Salt and ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, gently fry the onion, garlic, carrots and celery in the oil about 5 minutes, or until softened.

Add the lentils, tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, marjoram and seasoning.

Bring the mixture to a boil, cover partially and simmer 20 minutes until thick and soft.

Use the Bolognese as required.

Makes 6 servings.

Cabbage Roulades With Lemon Sauce

12 large or chard leaves, stalks removed
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
2-1/2 cups stock
1/2 cup long-grain rice
4 tablespoons red lentils
1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
Ground black pepper
3-1/2 ounces soft cheese with garlic


3 tablespoons plain flour
Juice of 1 lemon
3 eggs, beaten

Blanch the leaves in boiling, salted water until they begin to wilt.

Drain, reserve the water and pat the leaves dry with a paper towel.

Heat the oil and lightly fry the onion, carrot and mushrooms 5 minutes, and then pour in the stock.

Add the rice, lentils, herbs and seasoning. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.

Preheat the oven to 357 degrees.

Lay out the chard or cabbage leaves, rib-side down, and spoon on the filling at the stalk end.

Fold the sides in and roll up.

Place the seam side down in a small roasting pan and pour in the reserved cabbage water.

Cover with lightly greased foil and bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until the leaves are tender.

Remove the cabbage rolls from the oven, drain and place on a serving dish.

Strain 2-1/2 cups of the cooking water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Blend the flour to a runny paste with a little cold water and whisk into the boiling stock, together with the lemon juice.

Beat the eggs in a heatproof jug and slowly pour on the hot stock, whisking well as you go.

Return to the stove and on the lowest heat, stir until smooth and thick.

Do not allow the sauce to boil or it will curdle.

Serve the rolls with some of the sauce poured over and the rest served separately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

“12 Best Foods Cookbook”

By Dana Jacobi
Published by Rodale

Raw Vegetable Wrap With Feta

1 (10-inch) sprouted wheat or whole-wheat tortilla
2 romaine lettuce leaves, cut crosswise in 1/2-inch strips
6 watercress sprigs
1 scallion, green part only, cut into 6-inch lengths
1/4 cup broccoli sprouts
4 thin, seedless cucumber slices
1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon tahini
Pinch powdered red pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lay the tortilla on the counter. Arrange the lettuce strips down the center third of the tortilla.

Tear the tough bottom part off the watercress and arrange the sprigs on top of the lettuce.

Lay the scallions on top of the watercress. Arrange the sprouts over this.

Arrange the cucumber and tomato slices in 1 layer over the greens. Sprinkle the cheese over the tomatoes.

For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk the tahini and red pepper with the lemon juice until creamy. Add cool water just until the dressing is thin enough to drizzle (about 1 tablespoon).

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drizzle the dressing over the filling. Fold in the 2 sides of the tortilla, making a fat roll. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.

Note: This wrap keeps 24 hours, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator.

Huevo Ranchero

1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, drained
2 to 5 serrano chile peppers, stemmed and coarsely chopped, seeding optional
1/2 small yellow or white onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
Refried Black Beans, recipe doubled (see recipe below)
4 large eggs
2 cups yellow corn tortilla chips, baked or regular
1 roasted poblano chile for rajas
2 tablespoons queso fresco, queso anejo or feta cheese, crumbled

For the sauce, place the tomatoes, Serrano chiles, onion and garlic in a blender. Whirl until the tomatoes are pulpy.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When it is very hot, pour in the pureed sauce, which should sizzle.

Cook, stirring to prevent sticking and reduce splattering, until the sauce is orange-red and has the consistency of pizza sauce, 5 minutes.

Season to taste with salt. This sauce can be made a day ahead and reheated.

Make the refried beans or reheat them if previously prepared.

To fry the eggs, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil.

One at a time, add the eggs, leaving enough space between them so that they don't run together. Cook until they are done the way you like fried eggs.

Meanwhile, divide the beans equally among 4 plates.

With the back of a large spoon, make a slight indentation in the beans.

With a spatula, place an egg on each bed of beans.

Scatter the tortilla chips around the beans, dividing them evenly.
Spoon the sauce generously over the egg and beans and arrange 2 or 3 rajas over each.

Sprinkle on some of the cheese and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Refried Black Beans

1 teaspoon canola or extra-virgin olive oil
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained, or 2 cups soft-cooked
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Using a fork, mix in the beans, coating them with the oil. Add the cumin and oregano and mash about 1 minute, until the beans are creamy but some are still whole or partially mashed, or to the texture you prefer.

Season the beans to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 2 servings.

“The Real Food Revival”
By Sherri Brooks Vinton and Ann Clark Espuelas
Published by Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin

Ugly Tomato Pie

1 recipe Basic Pie Dough, defrosted if frozen
(see recipe below)
2 large tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (about 10 slices)
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Press the pie dough into a 9-inch pie pan and prick all over with a fork. Bake 10 minutes, or until partially cooked through and just beginning to turn golden.

Meanwhile, place the tomato slices on paper towels and let sit 10 minutes to absorb excess juices.

When the pie crust is ready, sprinkle a third of the cheese on the bottom of the crust, followed by half the tomato slices, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle half the basil over the top.

Press down lightly with the back of a spoon.

Repeat layers of cheese, tomato slices and basil, ending with the rest of the cheese.

Return to the oven and bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly on top.

Cook 10 minutes before serving, or serve at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

Grilled Veggie Hero With Roasted Garlic Spread

1 head garlic
Olive oil for drizzling and brushing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Portobello mushroom caps
2 to 3 zucchini or yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into thirds
1 Vidalia or red onion, thickly sliced crosswise
2 red peppers, cut in half, stems, ribs and seeds removed
1 (7-ounce) log goat cheese
2 tablespoons whole milk or sour cream
1 loaf rustic bread, such as ciabatta
1 tomato, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 bunch arugula or 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut off the top quarter of the garlic head to expose the cloves. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place on a cookie sheet and bake until soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Preheat the broiler.

Brush the mushrooms caps, zucchini or squash, onion and peppers with oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the element until tender, about 10 minutes, turning once. Set aside to cool.

Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin into a small bowl and mash with a fork.

Add the goat cheese, milk or sour cream, and slat and pepper to taste, continuing to mash well with a fork until blended.

Cut the bread in half and open it like a book. Spread both sides of the bread with the goat cheese mixture.

Slice the roasted vegetables into strips and layer them on one side of bread.

Top the vegetables with tomato slices. Drizzle with vinegar.

Top with arugula or spinach and replace the top half of the bread to make a sandwich.

Press the length of the sandwich firmly with the palm of your hand to compress it slightly.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and press under a weight (2 cans of tomatoes on top of a cutting board works well) 2 to 3 hours t combine the flavors and improve the sandwich texture.

Cut into portions and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: The vegetables can be grilled a day ahead and the roasted garlic spread can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

“The Complete Book of Raw Food”
Edited by Lori Baird
Published by Hatherleigh Press

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

For the filling

1 cup almonds, soaked 12 to 48 hours
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 6 to 8 hours and rinsed
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked 6 hours
1/2 cup lentils, sprouted
1/2 cup finely grated carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

4 Anaheim chilis or red bell peppers, rinsed, seeds removed

For the sauce

2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 to 3 dates, pits removed, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon carob powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Dash cayenne

To make the filling, process the almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and lentils through a juicer fitted with the blank plate or in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade.

In a large bowl, combine the processed nuts, seeds and lentils with the carrots, celery, cilantro, lemon juice, chili powder, cumin and sea salt. Mix well.

Stuff the peppers with the filling and serve on a bed of sprouts.
To make the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a blender. Process well, adding water, until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.

Serve on the side with stuffed peppers.

Makes 8 servings.

Mock Spaghetti

Summer squash, such as zucchini, crookneck or sunburst
Fresh squeezed lemon juice, or any pasta sauce or dressing of your choice

Shred the squash lengthwise into long "spaghetti" strands using a V-slicer or other shredding device.

The longer the squash is, the longer the "spaghetti" will be.

Sunburst squash makes shorter strands, more like "noodles."

Eat as is, or top with lemon juice or any sauce or dressing you like.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

“Veggie Food”
By Kay Scarlett
Published by Laurel Glen

Zucchini, Thyme and Bocconcini Pizza

Pizza crust

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8-ounce package dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil


8 zucchini, cut into fine rounds
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound, 2 ounces bocconcini (fresh mozzarella) cheese, finely diced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

To make the pizza crust, mix together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1-1/4 cups lukewarm water into the well and mix until the flour is incorporated and a soft dough forms.

Turn onto a floured countertop and knead 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place about 40 minutes or until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down, then knead 1 minute.

Divide in half and roll each half out into a 1/4-inch-thick circle.
Transfer the crusts to two round pizza trays.

Place the zucchini rounds, lemon zest, parsley, thyme, garlic and the 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl and mix together.

Top each crust evenly with half the bocconcini and half the parmesan, then top with the zucchini mixture.

Evenly distribute the remaining cheese over the top, season well with salt and pepper, and drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil.

Cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until the base is crisp and the topping is warmed through and golden.

Makes 2 pizzas.

Eggplant and Mushroom Skewers with Tomato Concasse

12 long rosemary sprigs
18 Swiss brown mushrooms
1 small eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon sugar
Olive oil, for brushing
Sea salt, to sprinkle

Tomato Concasse

5 medium tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

Remove the leaves from the rosemary sprigs, leaving 2 inches on the tips. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the leaves.

Cut the mushrooms in half, stems intact.

Place the mushrooms and eggplant in a nonmetallic bowl. Add the combined oil, vinegar, garlic and sugar, then season and toss. Marinate 15 minutes.

Score a cross in the base of each tomato. Put in a bowl of boiling water 30 seconds, then plunge into cold water.

Peel away the skin from the cross.

Cut in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

Dice the flesh.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic 2 to 3 minutes or until soft.

Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar and parsley.

Simmer 10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Keep warm.

Thread alternating mushroom and eggplant pieces onto the rosemary sprigs (three mushroom halves and two cubes eggplant on each sprig).

Lightly oil a grilling pan and cook the skewers 7 to 8 minutes or until the eggplant is tender, turning occasionally.

Serve with the concasse and sprinkle with salt and rosemary.

Makes 4 servings.

“The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook”
By Andrea Chesman
Published by Storey Publishing

Vegetable Gratin

2-1/2 cups Basic Cheese Sauce (see recipe below)
4 cups diced or chopped, blanched mixed vegetables, such as artichokes, asparagus, Belgian endives, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, chard, corn kernels, fennel, leeks, okra, snap beans, spinach and squash
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Swiss, Gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter or oil. Spread a little cheese sauce in the dish.

Layer the mixed vegetables and onion in the dish. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover with the remaining sauce.

Top with the grated cheese and bread crumbs.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes, until heated through and browned on top.

Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Basic Cheese Sauce

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 to 1-1/2 cups grated Cheddar, Fontina, Swiss, Gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan.

Blend in the flour with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Stir in the milk, a little at a time, until the sauce is thick and smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Stir in the cheese and cook until smooth and melted, about 2 minutes longer.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Makes about 2-1/2 cups.

Spinach Cheese Custard

1-1/2 pounds fresh spinach, tough stems removed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 egg whites
1 egg
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup grated Gruyere
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain well.

Press out the excess moisture. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and finely chop.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until fragrant and softened, about 2 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 7-by-11-inch baking dish with oil.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until smooth. Add the spinach, onions, milk and Gruyere. Season with the salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish and top with the Parmesan.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until the custard is set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings.