Category Archives: Vegetarian

Veggie Gumbo

So the farm produces a lot of okra. We’ve roasted it and that’s pretty good, but my husband keeps saying “gumbo!”

Now the truth is that my husband loves me, but he’d love me a whole lot more if I ate a steak once in a while, or loved chicken every night. And the truth is that I used to eat chicken, but then my daughter and I went vegetarian. I’m not going to say it’s been easy, but we make it work. Still, he was aghast when he saw I made gumbo without any seafood.

I would have thought about that, but I knew the soup was going to be sitting around for more than a few days, and I was worried that the shrimp would turn before the veggies. Besides, I had enough chopping facing me as it was.

I turned to my trusty friend Vegetarian Times for a recipe and they did not disappoint. This recipe was my starting point.

  • ½ cup vegetable oil (yes, it is a lot of oil, but it really does make the soup worthwhile. Just use a good oil. I went with grapeseed.)
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 1 onion, chopped (Vidalia, what else?)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh green beans
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 1 cup fresh or sliced okra
  • 1 ear corn, kernels removed from cob
  • Box of veggie broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs. paprika
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1. Stir together oil and flour in Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot until smooth. Cook over high heat 10 minutes, or until roux turns a dark caramel color, stirring constantly.

2. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 40 minutes, or until carrots are tender.

Between the okra and the barley, this makes a fierce, thick stew. My husband bought some sausage and ate that along with it and that seemed to work. This made an enormous amount of stew, so if you make it, get ready to enjoy it a lot!

Baba Ghannouj

Baba Ghannouj

With feta and olives!

Last week, I had a zucchini and an eggplant and was wondering what I should make. So, instead of heading to the internets, I started at my bookshelf and found The Balanced Plate, by Renee Loux, which is a book I got from McClure’s here in town, which sells used (and new) books.

When I bought this book, I didn’t know much about it and it was a little too green for my tastes. Now that I’m a vegetarian, I love it! It’s one of these books that gets in depth about basic ingredients, how it is made, what to look for and what nutrients or benefits you get from eating said basic ingredient.  Bonus: this one had a recipe for Baba Ghannouj that needed one eggplant and one zucchini. (Well OK it called for two each, but I halved it.)

The family LOVED it, with a few critiques and when I got the farm share this week, again I had an eggplant and a zucchini. Why not do it again?

In part, because I forgot where I got the recipe and had to wing it. Still, that turned out OK again. So, merging what I did the first time with what I did the second time, you get this recipe:

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika

Cut the zucchini and the eggplant in half lengthwise and  brush with olive oil and salt. Put face down on a baking pan with parchment paper and bake for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees. (The first time, we did this on the grill, which worked ok. Oven is better.) Take the chopped onion and the garlic bulb (just chop off the top) and put that in a foil pack with a little olive oil and put that in the oven with the eggplant and zucchini.

Remove from oven and let rest until you can pick it up. In the meantime, heat a skillet and add the sesame seeds and cumin seeds (the second time, I forgot the cumin and used walnuts, which was OK but the cumin will give it flavor) until fragrant. Add those to the food processor and process until ground.

Scoop out the eggplant and the zucchini from the rind and put in the food processor. Peel the garlic (I usually just squeeze the garlic out the top) and add that with the onion,  paprika, lemon juice and salt. Puree until smooth.

Serve with flatbread and feta and maybe even olives!

Next week, I am not cooking because I’m getting a new kitchen. I’ll post pix when it’s done. Wish me luck! In the interim, I found a few recipes hidden in drafts that I’ll publish at some point.