Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ask the Internet: Grain Recipes for Vegetarians? (No Beans.)

Today’s question comes from longtime reader Liz. She writes:

Q: I've been cooking for many years in an eco- and frugal-conscious way, and I'm trying to shift to vegetarian or vegan cooking once or preferably twice a week. However, I have a problem: my DH can't tolerate much in the way of beans. (Or peppers, cabbage, brussels sprouts, or any kind of cured meat such as bacon, ham, or corned beef.) He'll eat limas, and modest servings of kidney or white beans, but absolutely won't touch lentils or chickpeas, two of my favorites. He also doesn't like eggs very much, though he can tolerate them fine. He's really putting a crimp in my style! Fortunately he has other redeeming qualities.

Do you know of any tasty, vegetarian main dishes that are not bean-based? Grains and potatoes would be good. We love kasha, and we also like quinoa, as well as rice of all kinds, and bulgur.

A: Thanks for writing, Liz! I’m a big pasta fan myself, but will try to stay away from that starchy goodness for the sake of the question. (So … hard …)

Grain salads are always reliable, and this article from the yesterday’s Kitchn has nine great ideas. Sandwiches, veggie-based stews, and soups are excellent options, as well, and any stir fry will go far. (Granted, there are only so many stir fries you can eat in a week.)

Beyond that, these recipes seem to fit the criteria, and I can vouch for all of them:
Beyond beyond that, I leave it open to you, sweet readers. What are your favorite grain-based veggie entrees? Do you have a fallback grain? How do navigate a vegetarian diet with someone can’t eat beans? When you say “quinoa,” does everyone assume you’re speaking Klingon? Fire away in the comment section.

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to Cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

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Anne said...

This is one of my favorite recipes, and it makes great leftovers: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/orzo-super-salad-recipe.html

I imagine the orzo could be swapped in favor of quinoa.

Grilled tofu/tempeh served with a salad is a quick, easy meal, especially in the summer.

craftevangelist said...

My husband is not much for vegetarian fare, either. It's not a lot cheaper, but we make homemade pizza and leave the meat off. It's hardly a sacrifice!

LC @ Let Them Eat Lentils said...

I am SO excited for this question! I dislike almost all beans and have been eating mostly vegan for a few months now - it's not easy! I'll definitely be trying the orzo recipe suggested.

I try to make brown rice a main staple - definitely a lot of Asian stiry-fry. What about a Spanish-style paella with veggie sausage and lots of veggies? Or you can easily do taco night and layer avocado slices instead of beans. Put some saffron in the rice to make it taste more Spanish-style.

Anonymous said...

After seeing craftevangelist's comment, it reminded me. Last night I made a homemade pizza with pesto sauce, and carmelized onions and mushrooms. Totally vegetarian and a very tasty meal. Even my husband who believes every meal should have meat, when back for seconds.

I also make Ellie Krieger's Tuscan Vegetable soup with vegetable stock (instead of chicken) and I add garlic and tomato paste, and my hubby never knows it is meat free either. The tomato paste gives it a real richness. It does use beans, but you can replace some of those with orzo, and you don't miss much in content.

amybee said...

This is one of my favorite quinoa recipes:

Breanna said...

From www.cookusinterruptus.com (or actually, from her cookbook, "Feeding the Whole Family), I like the Quick Lemon Garlic Quinoa salad.

Cook some quinoa.
Toss it with two cloves of minced garlic, a couple good shots of lemon juice, some olive oil, parsley, chopped or shredded carrots, and a handful of sunflower seeds. Voila.

Also quinoa chili is very good; you might try adding some cooked buckwheat to the chili to give it a little more heft in the mouth.

Tofu stir-fried with coconut milk, veggies (no cabbage? :( ) and curry is nice.

Erin said...

I really like this recipe for israeli couscous with butternut squash, kale and white beans. I've substituted the couscous for barley, too. A more hearty/wintry meal, but for me, it hits the spot anytime! http://raspberryeggplant.blogspot.com/2008/01/israeli-couscous-with-kale-butternut.html

Rebecca said...

The Diner's Journal just posted a recipe that fits the request today. It's Arroz de Verduras. It sounds delicious.

wosnes said...

I have just the opposite problem. I love beans but dislike grains, especially whole grains.

The other night I made egg rolls, vegetable stir-fry and fried rice -- all vegetables. No beans. No tofu, either.

Pam Anderson has a recipe for a Vegetarian Skillet Dinner at USA Weekend which uses grains or beans. She gives four examples of how to use it, but it's only limited by your imagination: http://www.usaweekend.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200990917005

I'd also suggest Spanish Tortilla which uses eggs but is mostly potatoes along with onions and sometimes peppers. Also I frequently make Green Potatoes -- twice baked with broccoli and cheese. It's from Laurel's Kitchen. You could probably make a vegetarian version of colcannon.

Just about any potato dish you can imagine can be served as a main dish along with salad or other vegetables for a satisfying meal.

mollyjade said...

You should try this vegetarian sausage recipe made from gluten. My (picky) husband loves these. http://www.everydaydish.tv/index.php?page=recipe&recipe=109

Bulgur makes a good meatless, beanless chili.

Ricki said...

Thanks for this! I love grain-based salads and meals. Two of my favorites are Berry-Grain Salad (buckwheat and quinoa) and Barley Hazelnut Salad. (There's also a quinoa and roasted beet w/ walnuts on my blog--terrific, too!)

Evelyn said...

Potatoes and kale are friends, and I find that the kale helps the potatoes keep me full longer. I often make something along the lines of:

Saute some onion and potato in oil (I parboil the potatoes first). Add some mustard, beer, malt vinegar, salt, and pepper and a bunch of kale. (Wash the kale, remove leaves from thick stems, and coarsely chop leaves.) Put the lid on until the kale is wilted. This is good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Avocados are also good at keeping me full, so maybe work some of those into salads, sushi, or spring rolls. I really like grapefruit and avocado simply dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.

This is my favorite quinoa recipe: http://evel8yn.blogspot.com/2009/10/quinoa-salad-with-peas-and-pine-nuts.html

Francie said...

One of my summer favorites is white bean bruschetta. Take a can of drained and rinsed white beans, add 2T balsamic vinegar, 2T olive oil, 2T chopped basil, 1/2 t chopped rosemary, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, a pinch of hot pepper flakes and a little salt and pepper. Mix together and allow to sit for about a half an hour. Mash lightly with a fork or potato masher, just to keep the beans from rolling off the toast. Spoon onto toasted bread. Yum. You could also eat this mixture over salad greens.

Mattheous @ Menu Musings said...

I have one problem with this post: I could eat stir fry for every single meal, 365 days a year (366 days on leap years!). I adore Asian-style food.

Anonymous said...

make him pay and cook for his damn meals.

But then my radfem street cred kicks in on these kind of posts.

You are not his mom, he knows how go to the store, pick things out, and read a recipe book/directions on the back of the box.

problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this question and all of the answers. We used to have a lovely diet that included meat and beans, but my child can't eat any legumes (including soy and all its variations), and I've been missing meat-free meals.

Thanks for the great ideas!