Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes

I love holidays that revolve around food. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, 4th of July. Each one has a specific food that I associate and love. And so while a football game may not necessarily be a holiday, it is definitely something that people celebrate and it has a lot to do with food. As I mentioned with these vegetarian buffalo bites, I was interested in testing out some meat-free options to see how they held up in comparison with their traditional counterparts.

I played around with the idea of a sloppy joe, since that always makes me think of sporting events. I’ve never really seen one served at a hockey game (the only event I’ll attend) but still, the image came to mind. And so I went with lentil sloppy joes. Lentils tend to have a really hearty, meaty quality to them. If you are looking to sub out meat but aren’t daring enough to try one of the standard substitutions like tofu, lentils are a decent choice. Mixed with tomato sauce and veggies and loaded with spices, these sloppy joes tasted pretty darned much like a real sandwich.

Now, I didn’t add cheese to mind mainly because I didn’t have any cheese on hand. it was a sad day. Had my fridge been well-stocked, I would have definitely added a thick slice of American cheese. It would have added something extra. I highly recommend, should your fridge be well-stocked, that you add cheese. Just because it’s cheese and everyone loves cheese, right?

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes
Recipe type: vegetarian, game day, healthy, dinner
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Serves: 5
 

Vegetarian lentil sloppy joes are a great, meat-free alternative to standard sloppy joes.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sliced rolls for serving

Instructions
  1. Place lentils in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and cover, cooking for 30 minutes until tender.
  2. In a large pan, heat oil over medium high. Add in onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in carrot and cook an additional 5 minutes until carrots are softened.
  3. Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and stir well to combine.
  4. Stir in chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and cumin and mix well to completely incorporate. Mix in maple syrup and apple cider vinegar and stir well.
  5. Turn to low and simmer until lentils have finished cooking. Once lentils are finished, place them in the sauce pan with the tomato sauce. Stir well to completely incorporate.
  6. Cook an additional 15 minutes to thicken. Use a spoon and heap a large serving onto your rolls immediately before serving.

 

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

When it comes to sports, I’m more of a hockey gal than football. And that applies to all iterations of hockey (field, ice, indoor). There’s just something about it that appeals to me. Still, I can usually get down with football once or twice a year. Games in person are always fun and when the Super Bowl is on TV, I’m likely to watch.

And of course, indulge in a lot of snacks. Even if you aren’t a football fan, the Super Bowl is a perfect time to celebrate and eat lots of fun and delicious foods. We always do something standard, like hot dogs. But this year, we are adding these buffalo cauliflower bites to the menu.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites2

I stumbled across these babies while looking for some vegetarian football foods for an article I was writing. Everyone has wings or burgers. But there is something to be said for vegetarian items that are equally as traditional and satisfying, right? I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Cauliflower does not equal chicken wings. But I was more than pleasantly surprised by the result. I couldn’t tell the different. These bites were hefty and spicy, perfect when dunked into a pile of blue cheese dressing. You wouldn’t miss the meat. I’m partially convinced that you could sub them out for regular chicken wings and no one would know the difference. I’d suggest, however, holding that experiment for another time. You’d likely insight a riot. That being said, consider adding them to your Super Bowl spread for a new twist.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites3

What are your favorite game day foods?

4.5 from 2 reviews

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Recipe type: appetizer, vegetarian
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Serves: 4
 

Spicy cauliflower bites are hefty and flavorful without including any meat!
Ingredients
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ¾ cup buffalo sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, water and spices. Toss the cauliflower pieces in the batter to get completely coated.
  3. Lay the pieces on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Combine melted butter and buffalo sauce until well mixed.
  5. Place the cauliflower in a large bowl. Toss with buffalo mixture then place back on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake 5 additional minutes. Serve with blue cheese dressing.

Recipe slightly adapted from Skinnytaste

 

Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

I never want to be that cliched food writer. You know the one, always sharing what’s super trendy or posting 2 million cookie recipes around Christmas or having million recipe collections of pumpkin recipes. But sometimes, you really just need to share something at just the right time. It makes sense and your readers will thank you for it. Hence this chili.

If you’re in my part of the country – or many other parts as well – then you know this week brought an extreme chill not felt for years. I was lucky enough to be inside for most of the time but there are others who aren’t as lucky. Kids walking to school, the guy I saw on the highway changing his tire, the dog who needs to take a good five minutes to find a potty spot. No matter how you’ve spent the last week, you still need something to warm up your bones. Chili is a great, hearty option.

I went for vegetarian chili mainly due to lack of thawed meat. But really, I didn’t miss it at all. Two different kinds of beans – both red kidney and black – make this soup incredibly hearty meaty without actually adding any meat. A great kick of spice lends tons of flavor and the quinoa? Well that might just be my favorite part. It adds a great heft, a nice filling quality, without making this chili heavy.

Top if all off with a helping of jalapeno cornbread and you are set. The cornbread is essential here. You could skip it but why?

Vegetarian Chili
Recipe type: vegetarian, dinner
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Serves: 10
 

Vegetarian chili will warm you to the bone, even on the coldest of days.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1½ Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups frozen corn
  • juice of one lime
  • optional: shredded cheese, sour cream, diced red onion for topping
  • For cornbread:
  • 1 cup white cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

Instructions
  1. In a large sauce pan, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  2. Add onions and toss to coat. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, sugar, cayenne, water and quinoa and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.
  5. Add in beans, corn and lime juice and simmer an additional five minutes.
  6. Portion into bowls and top with shredded cheese, sour cream or diced red onions. Serve with jalapeno cornbread.
  7. To make cornbread, Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9X11 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  8. In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk together oil, milk and egg.
  9. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir just to combine.
  10. Fold in jalapenos. Pour into baking dish and bake 20 minutes until golden.
  11. Remove and allow to cool. Slice into squares.

 

Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Here’s the thing about spaghetti squash. You can’t go into it expecting it to taste anything like spaghetti. So get that thought out of your head now. In fact, stop calling it spaghetti squash. Just call it stringy squash because that is essentially what it is. Once you roast and cut open a spaghetti squash, you are left with stringy, somewhat crisp flesh that is delicious and totally adaptable to basically anything your heart desires. But it does not taste like spaghetti.

I think because it is called spaghetti squash, it is most often treated as such and served with meatballs and sauce. That is fine and dandy, since it is definitely tasty that way. I took mine, however, and turned it into a crustless pizza. I scooped all of the tender yellow flesh out and tossed it in a bowl with copious amounts of mozzarella and pizza sauce as well as a little basil and just a touch of red pepper flakes for heat.

And the result was excellent. I love the texture of spaghetti squash. It’s crisp and fresh. If you’re in that post-Christmas detox mode, this will fit the bill. It’s healthy while filling and incredibly flavorful. Give it a whirl if you’re still craving pizza without the added guilt!

Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Recipe type: dinner, vegetarian
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Serves: 2
 

Pizza stuffed spaghetti squash is a great, low-carb vegetarian alternative to classic pizza. All the flavor, no guilt!
Ingredients
  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Carefully slice the squash in half lengthwise. Place it in a baking dish, cut-side down, and fill the dish with about ¼ to ½ inch water.
  2. Bake for 60 minutes until the squash is tender. Allow it to cool until it can be handled.
  3. Once the squash is cool, use a fork and run the tines along the squash. The tender flesh will begin to pull away from the skin in ribbons, almost like spaghetti.
  4. Continue to score the flesh until it is all pulled from the skin. Take the flesh and place it in a bowl, reserving the skin for later.
  5. Add the pizza sauce, mozzarella, basil and red pepper flakes to the squash flesh and mix well to completely combine.
  6. Take the two squash skins and divide the flesh mixture between them. Top with an additional sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Place the squash halves on a baking sheet and place in the oven for an additional 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese has fully melted.

 

Root Beer BBQ and Caramelized Onion Crostini

Root Beer BBQ and Caramelized Onion Crostini

The Christmas season is definitely a time for appetizers. Flitting back and forth between parties leaves little time for full meals and lots of time for small bites. I’m perfectly content with that, since appetizers are my favorite. I like their ease, their versatility, their small size.

I made these apps a while back and I’m not sure I waited so long to share them. Remember the time I made that root beer BBQ sauce? I loved it and knew I wanted to use it in multiple dishes. I slathered it on pork, put a little on a grilled cheese. Then I thought, why not pair it with caramelized onions? Caramelized onions are one of my favorite foods but I was unsure how they’d work with the root beer. Well, the result was great! The root beer BBQ is a little sweet and the onions are a little salty. It’s that perfect sweet salty balance.

This recipe calls for root beer BBQ sauce, so I’ve linked back to that recipe here to make life a little easier for you. Consider serving these at one of your upcoming holiday bashes. They’re pretty quick to make and are a great one-handed appetizer!

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Serves: 6 to 8
 

Ingredients
  • 3 onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 loaf french bread, sliced into ½ inch thick slices
  • root beer barbecue sauce

Instructions
  1. Set the oven to broil. Place the bread on a baking sheet and broil 1 to 2 minutes until crisp. Set aside.
  2. Place the butter and olive oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Once the butter melts, add the onions to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until they soften.
  3. Add in 1 cup of beef stock, then cover. After five to ten minutes, check on the onions. Give them a stir then add another cup of stock.
  4. Cover again and let sit for five to ten minutes until the stock has absorbed. Add in the final cup of stock and cover.
  5. In ten minutes, check the onions. If the sauce has been absorbed, the onions will be finished. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Put a generous swipe of barbecue sauce onto each crostini. Top with a heaping spoonful of caramelized onions.