Vegetarian 101—Three Awesome Recipes for the urban vegetarian or vegan

Vegetarian Enchiladas with Homemade Red Chili Sauce


Red Sauce
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup Mexican chili powder
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
Garlic powder

1 can 15-ounce refried beans
4–5 medium-sized chopped white or crimini mushrooms
1/3 pack of taco seasoning
2 cups Mexican blend cheese
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded lettuce
10–12 corn tortillas

As a former vegetarian, one of the biggest problems I ran into was that I could never seem to stay full. I had a hard time finding meals that left me feeling full for any longer than an hour or two. It wasn’t until I came across this awesome, filling recipe that I walked away feeling full for hours.
Starting with the sauce, you’ll want to begin by heating oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft (this shouldn’t take more than a minute or two). Stir in the chili powder and add broth, water, oregano, garlic powder and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened—this process should take about 20 minutes. Don’t forget to stir occasionally!

While the sauce is cooking you’ll want to begin your enchiladas. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees and coating a medium-sized baking pan with oil or cooking spray. In another sauce pan add oil, mushrooms and onions, then cook over medium heat. Continue until both mushrooms and onions are soft (about 2–3 minutes). Next, add the taco seasoning and beans to the mixture, and cook until beans are smooth.

Next, pour about 1/4 of the red sauce into the greased pan. Arrange 4–5 tortillas on the bottom of the dish, allowing for some overlap to cover most of the bottom. Pour a third of the bean mixture onto the tortillas and spread evenly with a spoon, then top with cheese and lettuce.

Next, lay down another layer of tortillas, beans, cheese and lettuce. Finish with another layer of tortillas and the rest of the beans. Pour the remaining red sauce over the enchiladas and top with remaining cheese and lettuce.

Bake the dish until hot and bubbling, which should be about 15–20 minutes. After cooling, dig in!

Tips: If you don’t want to be bothered with making your own red sauce,  I would recommend a can of La Victoria’s red enchilada sauce. It is absolutely the best canned sauce out there.

Also, don’t be tricked into paying for vegetarian refried beans. Simply buy fat-free refried beans, which contain no bacon fat (the only source of animal in them). It’s usually a few cents cheaper.

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Homemade Sauce


The Sauce
1/4 cup vegetable stock
3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce or cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
The Fry
8-ounce dried pad Thai rice noodles
2 eggs
4 chopped green onions
1 teaspoon ginger root
1/3 head of chopped cabbage
2 cups bean sprouts
1/3 cilantro
1/4 unroasted, unsalted chopped peanuts or cashews
Garlic powder

Stir-frys have always been a vegetarian’s best friend. Usually, we can just throw whatever we have leftover in the fridge into a pan, top it with soy sauce, and enjoy the deliciousness. However, the king of all stir-frys ends with a flavor packed pad thai. Below is my favorite from-scratch recipe for an authentic pad thai experience.

Let’s start things off by bringing a pot of water to a boil, and then switching off the heat. Soak the noodles in the hot water for 4–6 minutes until soft and limp, but still too firm to eat. Drain and rinse the noodles in cold water. In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients for the sauce and stir until well-mixed.

Begin warming up a skillet to medium-high heat and add oil. Cook the green onion, ginger and chili. Fry for no longer than a minute. Add the cabbage and fry until slightly softened. Push ingredients aside and scramble the eggs. Then, add noodles and the set-aside sauce. Cook for 2–3 minutes while stirring, making sure that the noodles don’t burn or stick.

Turn off the heat and add the sprouts and cilantro, folding them into the noodles. Top with chopped peanuts and enjoy!
Tips: This dish can easily be made vegan by simply removing the eggs! Who knew?

Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash


2–2 1/2 lb butternut squash
Garlic powder
Onion powder
2–3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup roughly-chopped kale
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup pecans

For vegans, it’s all about balancing flavor with sustenance. While I never had much experience with a totally vegan diet, I did come across an amazing vegan squash recipe that worked as either a killer side or a filling main dish.

Start things off by preheating your oven to 400 degrees in a lightly greased baking dish. Peel the squash, cut in half, remove the seeds/gross middle, chop into one-inch cubes and place into the baking dish. Coat the squash in olive oil and sprinkle garlic and onion powder to taste, along with the parsley, salt and pepper. Cover the dish with a lid or tinfoil and let bake for about 45 minutes.

While baking, chop the nuts and kale. Once finished baking, remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Stir in the chopped kale and nuts and bake for another 5–8 minutes, until the nuts are lightly toasted. Watch closely to not burn the kale or nuts.