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Shift your focus to veggie dinners for something different

By Deirdre Parker Smith

deirdre.smith@salisburypost.com

After those big heavy meals of the holidays, usually centering on meat, it’s time to take a break and replenish your body with something other than starch (potatoes, corn, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, rice casseroles, rolls etc.) and sweets (candied yams, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, coconut cake, chocolate candy, etc.)

And it’s going to be a chilly week, so a salad is not the most welcoming thing when you get home from a long day.

You can have veggies and protein, too, if you use beans as your protein source. Think about beans and greens soup, or beany nachos or a sheet pan dinner of roasted veggies augmented with kidney beans.

These dinners are satisfying without being heavy. If you’re starting a diet or just planning to eat healthier, these are good paving stones for your new path.

This one should appeal to the young members of the family, too, since you are turning a snack into a filling dinner. It’s not light on calories, but the full flavors are guaranteed to please.

Loaded Black Bean Nachos

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 medium red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup water

1 (8 oz.) bag tortilla chips, divided

2 cups grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, divided

1 cup pico de gallo, divided

3 green onions, green parts only, sliced, divided

1/2 cup pickled jalapeños (optional)

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 cup guacamole

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400 degrees.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder and salt. Stir to coat with the oil and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash the beans in a large bowl with a fork, keeping them a little chunky. Stir the beans and water into the saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Spread half the tortilla chips in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Dollop half of the bean mixture evenly over the chips and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with half of the pico de gallo and half of the scallions. Repeat the layers with the remaining tortilla chips, black bean mixture, cheese and pico de gallo, but do not top with the remaining scallions.

Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Top with the remaining scallions, pickled jalapeños, yogurt and guacamole. Serve immediately.

the kitchn

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bowls with Avocado and Hummus

1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds) cut into bite size florets

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup hot sauce

2 cups cooked brown rice

6-8 ounces coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage

1 medium avocado, quartered and thinly sliced

Thinly sliced radishes, for serving

1/2 cup hummus

1 cup cilantro or parsley

Arrange oven rack in the lowest position and heat to 475. Place the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and season with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss to coat and arrange in an even layer. Roast, tossing halfway through, until brown and crisp, 13-15 minutes.

Remove cauliflower from oven. Pour the hot sauce over the cauliflower and use a spatula to toss and coat. Return to the oven and roast 5-7 minutes more, until crispy.

Meanwhile, place the cilantro or parsley in a food processor or blender and add the hummus. Pulse several times until well mixed, adding the juice of a half a lemon if needed to thin it slightly. If it is still thick, add a few teaspoons of water.

Place the slaw mix in a bowl, drizzle with the herbed hummus and toss to combine. Divide the slaw and brown rice among four shallow bowls. Top with cauliflower and sliced avocado. Drizzle with remaining sauce and serve with sliced radishes, if using.

Adapted from the kitchn

Squash & Red Lentil Curry

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1  1/2 cups diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger

2 tsp. curry powder or garam masala

1 (20 oz.) package cubed, peeled butternut squash

1 cup red lentils

1 cup chopped fresh tomato or 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained

1  1/2 tsp. salt

4 cups water or vegetable stock

1 (14-oz.) can lite coconut milk

5 lime wedges

Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and curry powder (or garam masala); cook, stirring often, until the onion is starting to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add squash, lentils, tomato and salt; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and the lentils are mostly broken down, about 20 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk and simmer until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro.

Some tasters served it over brown rice.

Eating Well

Easy Portabello Mushroom Fajitas

8 ( 8-inch) flour tortillas

3 medium portabello mushrooms

1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced

1/2 large yellow or red onion, sliced

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 medium ripe avocado, sliced

1 fresh lime, cut into wedges

Cotija cheese, to taste

Optional toppings of lettuce, tomato and cilantro

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Wrap tortillas in foil and place in oven to warm.

Remove stems from mushrooms and wipe caps with a damp paper towel to clean. You may removed the gills by using the tip of a spoon, but it is not necessary. Cut caps into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place in a medium bowl and drizzle with 2 Tbsp.  olive oil, sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt. Toss to coat.

Place a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add mushrooms, being careful not to crowd, cook for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender. Do this in two batches, if necessary. Transfer to a plate.

Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to skillet. Add onion and peppers and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring until tender and browned in spots, 7-8 minutes.

Place a few slices of portobello along with onion and peppers in a tortilla. Top with avocado, cotija cheese and a squeeze of lime.

Adapted from Kitchen    Treaty

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