I need recipes. While I refuse to use the word d _ _ t, I am embarking on a more, er, stringent eating plan.

Ben and I are both vegetarian, and we generally eat pretty healthy. But I think I need to cut back on a few things for some extra assistance. (read- beer, cheese, sweets, fried stuff) So, here is the general idea. I try to eat salads and soups at lunch. Or leftovers. We have good healthy dinners at home. Then when we go out, or are feeling naughty we eat whatever the eff we want.

For dinner I want to mostly stick with whole grains. Preferably not wheat. Ok, let's just come out and say this is a big fat {skinny?} hippie diet. I want brown rice, quinoa, lentils and other healthy things that grow and are not processed with lots of vegetables. Steamed NOT fried.

And as for breakfast? I am at a total loss. I have never been much for cereal. Or yoghurt. I tried having hard boiled eggs this morning, but I wasn't sure if that fit with the new diet. Plus? They gave me gross little egg burps. I need something that I can eat at work {prepared in the toaster over or microwave or brought in a tupperware} and I would really like something warm and savory. {savory, as in not sweet} Am I asking too much???

So I ask you- RECIPES? I can only do tempeh and brown rice with steamed veggies and braggs so many times a week.

Favorite book? Favorite blog? Please? Do you all think I am crazy and know of no tasty delights without rich, wonderful delicious, perfect cheese? Mmmmmmmm. Cheese.

Also- weeknights, we can be kind of lazy when it comes to making dinner. Minimal steps, people. Hey, I work long days.

***ahem. I would be a vegetarian, *not* a pescatarian. {grin}


  1. breakfast burritos! you can make everything on the weekend.

    but honestly my favorite easy breakfast is : irish oats, big batch made sunday divided into morning portions for mas and myself and then fruits etc added later. but that is sweet, not savory.

  2. Breakfast: Oatmeal. Or peanut-butter English muffins and a banana. Or eggy English muffins. I keep hard-boiled eggs around for when I'm running late and need breakfast, or for when I need mid-day protein.

    Other: Do you do fish? I like quinoa and garlic-y sauteed spinach and fish. I like polenta. I like ratatouille. I like whole-wheat pizza with goat cheese and roasted red peppers and squash and pine nuts. La salade nicoise. Zucchini and black-bean quesadillas. Squash and onion quesadillas. Lentil soup and good bread. Vegetarian Chili with avocados. All of these things are easy, and all of them delish.

    I like Bittman, mostly. He has good, very *basic* ideas, if you're looking to start basic.

  3. i'm veg as well, but i'm a trashy veg (my favorite food after artichokes is, um, sour patch kids), so i can only be half-helpful. my old roommate swears by 101 cookbooks for veg recipes. in my archives (scroll down to 02.02.09) i wrote out a recipe for spicy lentils with salsa and raw carrot, which sounds weird but happens to be crazy-tasty and crazy-healthy; give that a try. also try i love you but i've chosen chili, which is the very best vegetarian chili ever (have i ever pimped it to you? at some point i pimp that chili to everyone, it's amazing). for quinoa, give this salad a try; it's nice and spicy and can work either as bring-along cold lunch or a good side to keep in the fridge.

  4. Breakfast: Oatmeal with dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and slivered almonds (and brown sugar if you like). Has hella antioxidants and enough protein to keep even ME full until lunch.

    Dinners: I have a good garbanzo bean thing I made up. Do you like garbanzo beans?

    I also like cooking quinoa and then stirring in kale at the last minute, just until wilted. With a little sea salt. It's simple, but it's healthy and filling and tastes fresh. And there's a kickass minestrone soup I like that will last you guys a week: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Winter-Minestrone-351167 ((Just ignore the pancetta part and use olive oil.))

    One other thing: if you're up for it, a cedar plank thingie will expand the number of times you can eat salmon without getting tired of salmon. Plus, it smells like a sauna.

  5. P.S. Does anybody know a good way to make savory oatmeal without adding butter?

  6. honestly, i felt very confused and scared reading this post (what with all the whole grain/steamed veggies only talk), but i am going to try to help you anyway.

    -i've always loved a bowl of rice with a poached egg on top. you can use brown rice and i *think* you can poach and egg in the microwave. not as good as doing it in the pot, but it will do the trick.
    -hippie mash; we make this for lunch and dinner all the time, but i don't see why it wouldn't work for breakfast. take whatever veggies you have that are on their way out, saute in garlic oil (you would of course, steam the veggies), top with your favorite salsa and a poached egg. can you tell i love poached eggs? the veggies can be steamed the night before and taken to work in a tupperware.
    - sometimes i like broth for breakfast. you can make a homemade mushroom broth; add onions and garlic for flavor. make sure you keep the mushrooms in the broth because they are filling and full of protein. you can make a huge batch of this and freeze it in individual containers and thaw the night before, heat in the morning.
    -strata or frittata/crustless quiche. the strata can be made with whole grain bread instead of the traditional white. these can be made in baking dishes, cut into slices and you can take them to work and heat the up there.

    the only vegetarian blog that gets me excited is fresh 365. it focuses on seasonal cooking. they do do the fried/cheese thing, but remember that cheese can be omitted most of the time. for added flavor, fresh herbs can really go the distance. and GARLIC. garlic should go in everything, as far as i'm concerned.


    oh, and if you guys ever find yourselves in napa, YOU MUST EAT HERE (will change your life)...


    good luck!

  7. http://www.101cookbooks.com/

    One of my favorite food blogs. The focus is primarily on natural, whole foods and ingredients - vegetarian recipes that are good for you and for the planet.

    Definitely a great place to start recipe hunting!

  8. Breakfast: on the easy savory side are mini frittatas - you could make a batch over the weekend and then just pop one in the microwave each morning to eat on your way out of the house

    dinner: here are my favorite vegetarian recipes to make at home

    and i know you're not vegan but since you said you want to avoid cheese, i think you might get a lot of ideas at http://veganyumyum.com/
    and maybe this blog which is veganish

    also i'm looking forward to reading everyone's comments because i've been thinking i need some more vegetarian meal inspiration lately so i can cut down on meat.

  9. I like avocado, fake bacon (homemade tofu/tempeh or the soy stuff) and tomato on ezekial bread toast.

    I also like eggwhite frittatas: mix some eggs/whites/eggbeaters broccoli, asparagus, pepper... really whatever you like (I usually cook till crisp tender), you could put a little brown rice in it, and I usually sprinkle just a little cheese on top, cook in a pie pan in the oven and you can reheat for a couple days.

    cream of wheat is pretty tasty savory, i think... make with milk instead of water and sprinkle some salt on top.

    my favorite hippie breakfast is muesli, but its sweet. The night before put 1/4 c oats, 1/2 c milk, a sliced up apple, and about a tablespoon of nuts/dried fruit/coconut in a bowl and keep in the fridge till in the morning.

  10. To get you started try this recipe for curry-lentil dahl-type dish:


    I'm not much of a cook, but it is a delicious and so simple to make. Mmm, lentils!

  11. someone already beat me to suggesting 101cookbooks, but I will second that and say that this is the most delicious recipe ever over there: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/carrot-dill-white-bean-salad-recipe.html

    super easy to make, and SO yummy.

    I can't help you in the breakfast department though, as I am guilty of eggs and bacon horridness.

  12. sweet potato with salt and pepper is one of my favorite breakfast items, also oatmeal, mini whole wheat bagel with a little real cream cheese and lots of different veggies, hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese and ex fiber crackers

  13. thanks for this post. i'm pretty much in the same boat. i'm not a vegetarian - i tried and failed a few years back - but we decided to really lower our meat intake and i'm trying to get healthier (i.e., tighter) in the next few months. so i'm kind of at a loss for how to stop drinking so much beer and eating so much cheese and other bad stuff.
    i was gonna suggest egg white omelettes with veggies for breakfast and for dinner, our healthy go-to is a tofu stirfry with brown rice. i also like this quinoa medley from trader joe's and i'll make it with sauteed onions and mushrooms. but the above recipes sound way more yummy.

  14. srsly. what do non bloggers do? i would have to call *everyone i know* to get such a great response. it would take all day.


    keep em comin!

  15. My boyfriend & I are constantly referring to Vegetarian Times magazine for recipe inspiration (especially for salads), & Emeril's show on the Green Network has also given us a few gems, even though they can skew a bit on the labor intensive side occasionally. We make Indian food ALL the time... Cheap once you have the spices on hand, easy (as long as you have a food processor) satisfying & totally healthy. We make soy chicago style hot dogs. And soy brats with kraut & Brussel sprouts. Chili. Good lord, the amount of chili. So, yeah. Hope this is helpful!

  16. I second cevd's genius breakfast burrito idea. You could make them on Sunday and wrap them up, stick them in the fridge and just nuke them at work. Black beans + eggs + salsa = yum.

    Or you can make a omelette or fritta (lots of veggies, little to no cheese), cut it into pieces and pack it to take to work for breakfast.

    I love steel cut oats, but I find that nothing keeps me full like an egg for breakfast.

    Our new plan? Quick discussion on Sunday afternoons to figure out what we're going to eat for the week. We plan to cook three times (meals that make 4 servings each) and we eat leftovers on alternating days. Whoever gets home first starts cooking the meal. It gets shifted around a bit, because one of us always ends up making plans in the evening, but we manage to coordinate pretty well.

  17. rachel, this is what i mean about you being so good about everything.
    i would like to be a fly on the wall when you & d have your planning sessions. (for little dailies *and* big goals) but, if you have leftovers for dinner, what is for lunch???

    i just made a quick egg white scramble, no cheese, lots of veggies and it was TASTY. i think i actually like it better without the yokes. i think a cheese free fritatta with a ton of veggies is going to be the way to go.
    alternated with the occasional other stuff, when i am in the mood. oats, yoghurt, etc.

  18. Smitten Kitchen has a ton of vegetarian-friendly recipes, though it's not a vegetarian blog. And this one looks pretty delicious:


  19. I got one; grab a grape leaf and stuff some mushy white rice inside. One of the best textures I've ever had.

  20. I have a great recipe book recommendation, if you don't already have it. It's the Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special book, from a restaurant in Ithaca, NY.
    There are so many tasty soup and salad recipes and they give recommendations as to what salad to pair with which soup. I use the "North African Roasted Cauliflower" recipe all the time.
    For breakfast, I don't have much advice because I love cereal. I think getting protein for breakfast is key... so PB on bread, an egg, or even a shake with protein powder in it. I know, gross, but I've realized that I need to do this sometimes.
    Getting dinner done mid-week is so hard for us too. And we rely on a lot of Trader Joe's frozen goods, but I'm going to try using the crock-pot more often.

  21. It's so important to get enough protein. I dunno if egg whites is the way to go.

    I'll tell you what though, I lost a lot of weight when I cut out wheat and started eating meat again. This is probably not what you want to hear.

  22. Best vegetarian cookbook I ever had, when I used to need one, was the Greens cookbook by Deborah Madison. Except - most recipes are a lot of work. It's good to get ideas of flavors.

    Another helpful thing is that they finally make whole wheat pasta that doesn't taste like styrofoam. Whole Foods has some good stuff. If you are going to make brown rice, I REALLY recommend that you get a good rice cooker with fuzzy logic. Makes all the difference.

    I empathize. I'd be a goner were I vegetarian. Chicken breasts save my butt, literally and figuratively.

  23. I can't wait to try some of these recipes. I'm a meat-eater but one of my new year's things is to try to eat veggie twice a week and fish twice a week. (We probably managed about once each average last year.)

    Mouse - I wanted to stop putting sugar in my porridge (which is like oatmeal) so I replaced it with chopped nuts. Today I'm having brazil nuts and almonds. (Chop them yourself right before stirring in for best flavour.)

  24. I like this food site, here is their best of vegetarian/vegan: http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/best-of-2009/25-vegetarian-and-vegan-meals-from-2009-best-of-2009-104841

  25. Buy the Rebar Cookbook -- it's the best for big (and interesting) flavours, healthy veg food and has a sweets section that might wean you off the bad stuff. Maybe. Otherwise, the love of my life is this vegetarian chili recipe:


    Doubles and freezes easily...serve over quinoa, in a tortilla, even with a little bit of cheese ;-)

  26. I love using Quinoa for breakfast. If you make it with milk instead of water and add some cinnamon, toasted almonds, dried cranberries or blueberries (or fresh ones!). I add some stevia or brown sugar because I like it sweet, but it certainly doesn't have to be! And Quinoa is the perfect food. Add some goji berries and it's basically the best breakfast you can eat!

  27. i find a lot of good recipes via vegetarian times. i have a subscription and try to make at least two recipes from each issue. you can find the printed recipes on their website. i am also a huge fan of my favorite vegan restaurant. i took one of their cooking classes and their recipes are super easy. one that i make a lot is chili. basically, saute onions and garlic then throw in one can each of black beans, red beans and a can of crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups of TVP with chili powder and cumin and 2 to 4 cups of water. bring to a boil and then simmer for half an hour. i like to add a little bit of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for more heat. it is super easy and super tasty.

    i agree with you about how tasty cheese is but it is possible to have delicious meals sans cheese.

  28. I've been a strict vegetarian for 15 years, and my husband eats very little meat these days. I cook ALL THE TIME, so I thought I'd share a few of my faves, they may not all fit with the "whole grain" edict, but they're effing tasty and relatively healthy:






  29. Here's one from Sustainable Pantry:


    There's a lot of stuff over there worth looking at too!