Category Archives: burger/sandwich/burrito

Delicious and delightfully different: Mollie Katzen’s Polenta Pie

This was a fantastic meal. EPC and I both loved it.

A crunchy cornmeal crust topped with vegetables, tofu and cheese.  It is a lot like pizza, only different.

With a cornmeal crust how could it not be different, but different in a very, very good way.

It is nice to have few celiac-friendly recipes under your belt and knowing that I have at least a couple of readers who need gluten-free meal ideas, I try to pick out at least one interesting option each month.

This particular recipe is adapted from Mollie Katzen’s The New Moosewood Cookbook and surprising enough this is one cookbook I do not own. A friend from work lent it to me last week. She figured I would enjoy it and she was right. I love flipping through her cookbook and seeing all the stains and marks on the pages where her favourite recipes are.  Apparently the hummus is exceptional!

Mollie is certainly a big name in vegetarian cooking and the first edition of this book came out in 1977! I was first introduced to this cookbook almost 20 years ago and back then I remember not being too impressed by it. Of course at the time I was not as crazy about cookbooks as I am now and to be quite frank the version that I perused back then was the original edition. She made a considerable amount of changes to the cookbook since then and added some new recipes, making this cookbook a very impressive collection of vegetarian recipes.

I will definitely be making this recipe again and I can’t wait to try a few more before I return this cookbook to my friend.  In fact, I may have to pick up a copy for myself.

Polenta Pie

1 1/2 cups of cornmeal (I used medium)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of cold water
2 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
5 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Freshly grated black pepper
salt to taste
1/2 block of firm tofu, grated (optional)

2 cups of grated provolone cheese
1 medium tomato, sliced, seeded and diced

First get the crust started:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°C
  • Add cornmeal, cold water and salt to a small bowl and stir to mix.
  • Have the boiling water in a pot on the stove and add the cornmeal mix while whisking to avoid any lumps.  You need to stir almost steady for about 10 minutes until the polenta is nice and thick.  Remove from heat and cool.
  • Oil a 9 x 13 casserole dish and add the polenta.  Smooth the polenta over the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
  • Brush or spray the crust with oil and bake at 375°C for 45 minutes.

While the crust bakes make the topping:

  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the onions for about 10 minutes until soft.
  • Add the bell pepper and zucchini and saute for 3 minutes more.
  • Add the garlic, basil and oregano and saute for a few more minutes.
  • Then add the grated tofu (if using) and stir to coat.
  • Remove from heat and wait for the crust to finish baking.
  • When the crust is ready remove from the oven and turn the oven on broil.
  • Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese on the crust and top with the diced and seeded tomatoes. Slather the vegetable topping on top of the crust and top with the remaining cheese.
  • Broil for about 5 minutes until brown and bubbling

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Quick and Easy Veggie Burgers

I absolutely love homemade veggie burgers!

Store bought ones are nice too – especially if you are in a hurry.  But how would you feel about quick and easy homemade veggies burgers?

I have been looking around for good veggie burger recipes, some good and some not so good.  The good news is these veggie burgers are extremely quick to make, easy  to put together and they hold their shape.  They taste great too!  The chipotle chile powder adds more flavour than it does heat without making the burgers taste overly smoky.  It might be worth trying some cheddar cheese in place of the parmesan.  We paired the burgers with guacamole and fresh tomato, forgoing the mustard and ketchup, and it worked wonderfully with the burger’s seasonings. These burgers are easy enough to have come under my “do not have a lot of time to cook on a weeknight, because we have somewhere to go afterwards” meal category, and tasty enough for me to make them again.

Tonight we took the in-law’s dog Murphy for a walk.  They are out of town and he is being boarded at a kennel.  We figured it would be nice for him to a see a familiar face or two during his sojourn.

So, I got home from work, got the burgers started, ate and headed off to meet Murphy all before 6:30.  That is fast!

I should mention that I adapted this recipe from the fantastic new cookbook that EPC and I picked up a couple of weeks ago,  Lukas Volger’s Veggie Burgers Every Which Way.    The book has received rave reviews and I am excited to try other recipes such as  Beet and Brown Rice Burgers and Smoked Tofu Burgers. There are over 30 different burger recipes, many of which are gluten-free (12), vegan (15) or both (9).


Quick and Easy Veggie Burgers

1 1/2 cups of black beans
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
Freshly ground pepper, 4 or so turns of the pepper mill
3/4 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs

  • Mash the beans with a potato masher, add the eggs, cilantro, cheese, spices and salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°C
  • Add the bread crumbs and stir to mix.  Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes so the breadcrumbs can soak up the moisture.
  • Moisten your hands and shape the burgers into four patties.
  • Lightly spray your oven proof fry pan (I used cast iron) with oil and saute the burgers for 5 minutes or so on each side.  You want them to brown and form a nice crust
  • Transfer the pan into the oven and bake for 10 -15  minutes until heated through.

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Dosa with Chickpea, Potato and Yam

As I type this the taste of tonight’s dinner is still lingering on my tongue.

A blend of indian spices, fried bread, and zesty coconut chutney are making me feel quite content as I contemplate the end of another weekend. We went to see The Flaming Lips in concert on Friday night (amazing!), picked up some carrots and Macintosh apples at the Farmer’s Market, hung out Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria with friends for dinner on Saturday evening, and ran errands today. The weather was fantastic this weekend and it made it up to 27°C yesterday.   I am glad I made time for a walk Saturday afternoon, because you can be certain this will be our last nice weekend. Although we were not too busy and managed to get lots of sleep, I was feeling low on energy when the time to cook dinner rolled around.

I like to make something a little special for Sunday’s supper, but today I did not want to make the effort. Luckily, I know myself enough to be in tune when laziness strikes and I had an easy dinner planned. Of course, once you taste it, you would have no idea it came together so quickly.

I also cheated a bit. I could make the wonderful Indian pan-fried flat bread from scratch, but why bother when I can pick up an instant dosa packet (they are gluten-free) at the Indian Grocer or Superstore and have the batter ready to go in about 5 minutes. I suppose if you were feeling extra lazy you could serve the filling rolled up in a tortilla, but it wouldn’t be the same. The delicious blend of lentil and rice flour is something that you don’t want to miss!

Dosa with Chickpea, Potato and Yam

1 potato, peeled, diced and boiled until tender (about 1 cup)
1 yam, peeled, diced and boiled until tender (about 1 cup)

1 small to medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne chili powder
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 19 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

  • Peel, chop and boil the potato and yam for 15 minutes until tender. Drain and reserve.
  • Saute onion and garlic on medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes
  • Add cumin, coriander, garam masala, and cayenne and stir to coat
  • Add tomatoes and cook,  stirring occasionally for 5 minutes
  • Add chickpeas, potatoes and yam. Mash the potatoes and yams while cooking for about 10 minutes until heated through.
  • Stir in the yogurt, salt and cilantro. Remove from heat and set aside while you make the dosas.
  • Dosas are easy, just follow the instructions on the box. Please use a non-stick pan and cook each dosa in a cooled pan. I run my pan under cool tap water between each dosa.
  • When each dosa is ready spoon a couple spoonfuls of filling down the centre, roll up the sides and secure with a toothpick.
  • I like to serve it with Aki’s Brand Coconut Chutney

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Beets and more beets: Beet Burgers and Beet Salad

The weekend is coming to a close and, although the weather was downright nasty for August (with the daily highs just above +10°C),   when I look back over the last two days I can conclude that it was one of the best weekends of the  past month.

You can’t beat brunch at Culina Highlands with friends Saturday morning (even though their vegan option was far too salty), freezing to death at the downtown farmer’s market (and lugging home beets, banana potatoes, carrots, corn, Macintosh apples and Concord grapes), freezing to death again at our yearly condo BBQ, making fantastic blueberry lemon jam, taking a walk to Paddy’s Cheese and putting together a delicious Sunday night supper!

Yes, all in all, it was a great two days!

I decided to cook up all the beets I picked up on Saturday and make Beet Burgers from Toni Fiore’s Totally Vegetarian plus a Beet Salad with Herbs from Habeeb Salloum’s Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middles East and North Africa.

The Beet Burgers were delicious.  I will certainly make these again.  However, it make take a while. Toni’s cookbook features two more tasty looking burger recipes that I need to try first.  Her burgers held together while cooking and didn’t fall apart after the first bite;  I lost a few  pieces of my burger as I munched away, but for the most part this burger held its own – without the addition of eggs!  As well as being found in her cookbook, the recipe is also on the Delicious TV website (Toni Fiore is the host).  I figured that I would take peak to see if it was online to save me from typing it out 🙂  (FYI:I did not add the pumpkin seeds and I substituted 7 fresh basil leaves for the beet greens).

Delicious as they are, this certainly is not a weeknight meal, but you can easily make them up on a weekend afternoon and freeze them uncooked for another day (I did that with the 2 of the burgers).  EPC can always eat two burgers and, of course, I packed my second burger for tomorrow’s lunch.

The Beet Salad was just as tasty.  I have contemplated picking up Habeeb Salloum’s  cookbook for the past year, so I finally signed it out from the library to give it a try.  I have a made a few recipes and enjoyed them all.  There are a few more that I am looking forward to trying.  After tasting a few selections, EPC declared that we have to get this cookbook and I would have to agree.

Anyway, I hope your weekend was as good as mine, but if not, don’t worry we have a 3-day weekend coming up!

Another winner by Jack Bishop: Tempeh, Spinach and Onion Quesadillas topped with Avocado Chipotle Salsa

I managed to squeeze one last recipe out of Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen before I had to return it to the library.

Once again, the recipe turned out to be delicious. I think my husband might be starting to like Jack Bishop as much as he likes Peter Berley and Lorna Sass (maybe not as much as Lorna Sass – I think she is his favourite cookbook author of all time).

The successes I have had with Jack Bishop‘s recipes have led me to conclude that I will be ordering a copy of this cookbook and his Italian vegetarian cookbook in the not too distant future.  I always (except in very rare occasions) order new cookbooks online. It is considerably cheaper and you are not limited by the often meager bookstore selection.

For any of you that wish to take an in-depth look at Bishop’s interpretation of Italian vegetarian cuisine, a limited preview of this cookbook is available at Google Books.

Guess what!  When I was looking up the link for the book preview I noticed that A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen is featured there as well.

How exciting is that!

Google Books and the local library are two great resources for test-driving cookbooks.  After all, cookbooks are quite expensive and do take up a bit of room, so it is important that they fit the bill and provide interesting and inspiring dishes for you to cook (and eat).

Well, I won’t be cooking too much over the next 10 days.  We are taking some deserved summer holidays.

Until then…

Tempeh, Spinach and Onion Quesadillas with Avocado Chipotle Salsa

1 medium ripe avocado, cubed
1 tablespoon of cilantro, chopped
1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce minced, with 1 teaspoon of juice (these are available canned in the Mexican aisle at the grocery store)
2 tablespoon of fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 8 oz package of tempeh, lightly steamed or sautéed until heated through ( I use Green Cuisine smoked tempeh)
2 cups of spinach, packed
4 flour tortillas
Monterey Jack cheese, grated (enough to please)

First, the salsa:

  • In a small bowl combine avocado, cilantro, chipotle chiles and sauce, lime juice and salt.
  • Stir to combine.

Next, the quesadillas:

  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
  • Add the onions and cook until lightly browned (this will take about 15 minutes)
  • Add the cumin and stir.
  • In the last few minutes of cooking add the tempeh cubes and stir to coat with onions
  • Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
  • Lay 1 tortilla in a large skillet and top with cheese, add a thin layer of the tempeh spinach mixture and top with more cheese.
  • Top with a tortilla and cook on medium heat until brown.  Flip, and repeat on the second side.
  • Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Slice each quesadilla into quarters and top with salsa.

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Tostados with Black Beans, Jicama Slaw, Carrot Salsa and Feta.

After having jicama at a friend’s house last weekend, I thought I should make something with this seldom used (at least in my house) root vegetable. I found a recipe for Jicama Slaw in my latest library acquisition: The Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry. She also has a recipe for Carrot Salsa that I adapted for tonight’s dinner. I figured it would be a pleasant departure from tomato salsa.

I’ll get straight to the point, the tostados  were fantastic. In fact, when EPC saw me putting them together he remarked that he could already tell that dinner was going to be amazing.

It was amazing: a crisp oven baked corn tortilla, topped with black beans, crumbled feta cheese, jicama slaw, carrot salsa, and a dollop of guacamole. All the flavours and textures worked really well together, plus it was a fun casual dinner – perfect for a Friday night.

The only thing that went wrong (other than forgetting to make the guacamole until the last minute) was that all 6 limes I bought produced a few meager tablespoons of juice between them.  Certainly, not enough to add the amount of tang needed.  In the recipes below I have suggest 3 tablespoons, but feel free to add more if you like.  Anyway, lesson learned. I picked up a bottle of Real Lime this weekend in case I need saving in the future.

Kelley’s Black Beans

1 19 oz can of black beans, undrained
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Cayenne pepper, crushed red chilies, or a jalapeno to taste(I did not add any heat this time)

  • Saute the onion and garlic for about 5-7 minutes until soft (add jalapeno now, if using).
  • Add the seasoning and stir to coat.
  • Add black beans and their liquid and the tomatoes.  Increase heat until beans are bubbling.
  • Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
  • For tostados, remove from heat and let cool before assembling.

Carrot Salsa

2 cups approximately 4-5 medium carrots, coarsely grated
1/4 cup of cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup of red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of lime juice, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon of salt

  • Put the carrots in a bowl and mix with cilantro, onion,  lime juice and salt.
  • Let sit 20 minutes

Jicama Slaw

2 cups of jicama, peeled and coarsely grated.
3/4 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons of lime juice, or more to taste

  • Squeeze the grated jicama to reduce its water content so it can absorb the lime juice (you will be surprised by how much water is in this vegetable!)
  • In a bowl combine the lime zest, lemon zest, lime juice and salt, and mix well.
  • Add the jicama and stir together
  • Let sit 20 minutes before serving

Oven Baked Tortillas

8 6-inch corn tortillas

  • Preheat oven to 350°C
  • You will need to do this in batches or use two cookie sheets.
  • Spray both sides of 4 corn tortillas lightly with oil, lay on a cookie sheet.  It is ok if they overlap.
  • Bake for 5 minutes and turn.  Bake another 3 minutes, or until crispy.
  • Let cool before topping

Tostado Assembly

  • Top cooled oven baked tortilla with a couple of spoonfuls of warm black beans.
  • Follow with crumbled feta cheese, a couple of spoonfuls of the jicama slaw and carrot salsa.
  • Finish with a dollop of guacamole.
  • Serve 3-4 tostados per person

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Chipotle Lentil and Tofu Burritos from Antia Stewart’s Canada

Anita Stewart’s Canada, what a fantastic cookbook!  I have  my best friend to thank for introducing me to this wonderful cookbook.  And what are friends for, if not for introducing you to great food, or in this case a tool to make great food!

Twice a year my friend heads out to Ontario for a trade show and stays at a wonderful bed and breakfast in Elora.  A recipe from this bed and breakfast is featured in the cookbook, so my friend decided to pick up a copy as a souvenir.  After flipping through it and tasting the fantastic Oatmeal and Whole Wheat Waffles that she and her husband whipped up for breakfast one weekend, I decided to pick up a copy for myself and another as a gift.

This cookbook is probably one of my favourites, not solely for the recipes (I have only tried three), but because of the wonderful stories within.  In fact, after I have gone to bed for the night you can often find this cookbook on the floor beside the bed.  The cookbook contains a wonderful representation of Canadian recipes from coast to coast that Anita has picked up, searched out and compiled with their corresponding stories.  There is a fair bit of meat, seafood and fish featured in the book, but it also showcases fruit, vegetables, legumes, quick and yeasted breads and wonderful desserts.  For example, a recipe for The Best Perogies, Nova Scotian Rhubarb Cobbler, Coconut Roti, and Nettie Stanoyev’s Fabulous Fresh Bean Soup are just a few of the gems found within.

Of course, the Soy and Lentil Burritos is another great recipe sure to please vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.  My husband loves burritos, so I knew that I had to try this dish.    They turned out wonderful with a bit of Monterey Jack cheese and guacamole.  Fresh tomatoes or pico de gallo would have been a nice addition as well.  They also taste really great the next day for lunch!

With regard to the canned chipotle pepper, I added one with the required amount of adobe sauce, but found that it needed a few shakes of chipotle chili powder and cayenne to raise the heat to our liking.

Oh, I almost forgot!  Make sure you follow the recipe and use frozen tofu.  It adds an interesting texture to the dish, quite unlike fresh tofu.

Chipotle Lentil and Tofu Burritos

1 package of firm tofu, frozen
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 19 ounce can of lentils, rinsed and drained
1/4- 1/2 cup water
1 cup of canned diced tomatoes, drained
1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, seeded and chopped plus 2 teaspoons of adobe sauce.
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
6 large whole wheat tortillas, warmed in a skillet

garnish: cheese, guacamole, salsa, cilantro, lettuce, tomato, etc.

  • Bring 1 inch of water to boil in a saucepan, remove the tofu from its packaging and add to the pot.  Cover and reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Drain the tofu and let it cool.  Cut the tofu into quarters and squeeze firmly to get rid of excess water.  Crumble tofu with your hands into small pieces.
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chili powder and cumin and stir to coat the onions.
  • Add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add lentils, 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water, tomatoes, chipotle and adobe sauce and stir well.
  • Heat until bubbling and reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add coriander before serving.
  • Spoon into the centre of a skillet warmed tortilla and top with garnishes of your choice.

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