When I have time, I've been trying to be more creative in the kitchen, especially with vegetarian meals. In an attempt to eat more beans, nuts, and seeds and less cheese and eggs, my meals are unintentionally becoming vegan or mostly vegan. The results have been great.
I stumbled across Herbivoracious the other day, an awesome vegetarian recipe website. The author/chef posts has a variety of recipes ranging from fancy French and Italian meals, to baked goods, and simple salads. He offers gluten-free and vegan suggestions/replacements and posts many Middle Eastern that look appealing to the novice, rather impatient cook like myself. Many popular Indian, Greek, and Middle-Eastern foods are vegetarian and I plan to prepare more of these meals to spice up my typical "home-style" diet.
Yesterday I was a little over-ambitious and prepared a meal of four different dishes: Tabbouleh, Mujadara, Chickpea Cakes, and Naan (the recipe of which wasn't on the Herbivoracious website). I spent four hours in the kitchen, which is certainly over-kill, but at least I have left-overs to last a few days.
The "real" tabbouleh is made mostly of minced fresh parsley and mint. I thought that it would taste overwhelmingly like parsley and mint, but it actually has a light and very refreshing taste. I scooped it up with the freshly baked naan, which was surprisingly good. I never knew until recently that naan could be baked at home; I thought that it was an Indian restaurant specialty item. Other than letting the dough sit for an hour, it was quick and easy to make and contains ingredients that most folks already have in their kitchen. This naan recipe contains milk, so it is not vegan and it not as good as you would get in a restaurant, but it is certainly worth making.
The chickpea cakes had excellent, subtle flavors and were crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. They also are not vegan- they contain one egg as a binder. These could be whipped up in an half an hour for a quick, protein-rich meal or snack. The mujadara, which is a dish made with rice, lentils, and caramelized onions, took the longest to make. Three pounds of onions are sliced and simmered for over an hour until they are very sweet and soft. The mujadara was disapointingly bland and unfortunately, the sweetness of the caramelized onions was not accented in the dish. Although mujadara is a very healthy meal, I'm not sure that I would make it again.
I'm looking forward to trying more Herbivoracious recipes (and hopefully not spend so long in the kitchen!). Do you have any easy, vegetarian Middle Eastern, Greek, or Indian recipes that you enjoy cooking at home?