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Homemade Personal Pizzas

This recipe is relatively easy to make and does not require obscure ingredients. The bread flour is optional -- it creates a slightly better texture, but all-purpose flour would also work fine. The cornmeal adds an extra crunch, but isn't necessary either.

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (or 1 package)
½ tsp sugar
1 ½ cups warm water
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornmeal
3 - 5 cups bread flour
Rosemary, basil or Italian seasoning (optional)

Topping ideas:
Cheese -- cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella, etc.

Put yeast, sugar and warm water in bowl; let sit 20 minutes until yeast forms thick layer of bubbles on top. Add salt and oil; stir. Add all-purpose flour, cornmeal, herbs if desired, and 2 cups of bread flour; stir thoroughly. Add more bread flour gradually until dough is thick and not visibly sticky; knead for a few minutes. Lightly grease bowl and turn dough around a few times to coat. Cover with damp towels and let rise 1-2 hours until dough has risen to top of bowl. Punch down and peel off sides of bowl. Sprinkle cornmeal or flour over sheets of foil; roll out small balls of dough into pizzas. The thinner they are the better they'll cook (they get considerably thicker while rising & baking). Preheat oven to 425°. Let the first one you roll out rise 20 minutes before baking -- then bake the others in the order they were rolled. Cook until spots of brown appear in center (about 15 minutes). Peel off foil, top and bake on oven rack until crisp on bottom and topping appears done. Freeze any extras in a jumbo ziploc between sheets of waxed paper.

Potato Pie

potato pie.jpgThis pie is easily adaptable and very filling. Plus, you can keep it interesting by experimenting with broccoli, different cheeses, or herbs. Although store-bought piecrusts work fine, the homemade crust comes out crisper and more flavorful.

To make the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
Big pinch salt
½ cup vegetable shortening
¼ cup cold water

Combine salt and flour in mixing bowl. Add shortening and crumble into flour, using your hands, until the mixture resembles small crumbs. Add the water and form into dough; transfer to pie pan and spread it out as evenly as possible. Prebake at 400° for three minutes before filling.

For the filling:
4 medium-sized potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup milk
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
About ½ cup cheese -- cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan work well
¼ cup broccoli florets (optional)
Small sprig of rosemary, diced (optional)

Scrub the potatoes and cut into pieces. Boil for 15 minutes or until soft. Remove skins and mash with fork until relatively smooth. Add melted butter, milk and egg; beat well. Add salt and cheese. Then stir in any extras -- broccoli, rosemary, etc. Transfer to pie crust and bake at 400° for about 30 minutes, or until the top is browned. Cool for five minutes and serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for several days.

Easy Vegetarian Stir-Fry Wraps

1 small zucchini
3 stalks celery
5 oz. black beans
2 tortillas
4 oz. frozen corn
Shredded cheddar cheese
Pinch salt
Dash seasoned salt

1. Wash and slice the zucchini, cut off both ends, and (if necessary) cut horizontally in half. Vertically cut both halves into quarters. Cut lengthwise parallel to the skin, leaving a strip about ⅓ of an inch wide and eliminating all of the seed pulp.
2. Cut each strip vertically in half.
3. Rinse the celery and slice it horizontally, each cut about a centimeter apart.
4. Pour the corn (approx. 1/3 of a 12-oz. package and 1/4 of a 1-lb. package) into a microwaveable bowl. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes on high.
5. Wash and open a can of black beans. Rinse until water is clear. Strain.
6. Turn the stove dial between 4 and 5, or on moderate flame. Heat frying pan and spread small amount of butter in the base.
7. Place tortillas in the pan, warm them, and remove them onto plates.
8. Pour all the vegetables into the pan, and fry until hot.
9. Spread shredded cheese on the tortillas.
10. Place vegetables in the tortillas and wrap them. If necessary, hold with a toothpick.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe: The Creation of a Classic

Ever wondered how chocolate chip cookies originated? One popular story says that the owner of an inn in Massachusetts, Ruth Wakefield, was making a batch of homemade chocolate cookies. Just as she was reaching for the baker's chocolate, which mixed evenly throughout the dough, she realized that she had run out. As a substitute, she broke some pieces of semi-sweet chocolate, thinking that they would melt into the batter. They didn't, and the first chocolate chip cookie was baked.

Ruth sold her recipe to Nestle in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate chips. Want to try that recipe? It's easy to find -- all you need is a bag of chocolate chips. A variation on the original is printed on every bag. This recipe is altered from that famed formula to exclude eggs and substitutes soymilk for other milk.

  • 1 and ¾ cups flour
  • 2 eggs or 1.75 tablespoons soymilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons soy or other milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 and ½ cups oats
Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in one bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the eggs or soymilk, soymilk, vanilla, white sugar and brown sugar. Pour dry formula into the wet batter and stir well. Add in oats, chocolate chips, and nuts. Bake at 375° for 9 minutes for chewy cookies or 12 minutes for crunchy cookies.

Easy Turnover Recipes


pastry.jpgYou can find vegan pastry dough in many stores, and if you stock up when it's on sale it can even be inexpensive. By experimenting with the dough, we invented many kinds of turnovers.

To make the traditional triangle-shaped turnover, cut the dough into even squares about three inches long. To get rectangle-shaped pastries, you can cut the dough into four-inch by three-inch rectangles and fold it over. Then, you can slice the dough on top for ventilation -- or to make the pastries seem more professional. Note: Line the cookie sheet with foil, as filling often comes out during baking.

Desserts are one of the easiest things to make. For nine simple apple turnovers, peel an apple and dice it, then put a small mound of pieces in the middle of each square. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top of the apple pieces, and fold each pastry into a turnover shape. Crimp the edges together and seal them with water. They are done when the pastry is golden-brown. (If you cut the dough into rectangles and fold those over, you could top the pastry with sugar so that it sparkles.)

To make nine baklava turnovers, pour about ¼ cup walnuts into a bowl and pour a little milk (soymilk works well) over them. Using a spoon, put some of the mixture on the pastry squares, and add sugar on top. A few cubes of butter in each pastry improve the taste, but than can also be omitted. Fold them over and crimp.

I experimented several times with bear claws, and although I never made the store-bought kind I found some other fillings. To make twelve "bear claws," mix 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup white sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and ½ cup ground almonds and walnuts together. Fill the pastry squares with the mixture, then fold them over and crimp. Before baking them, press sliced almonds into the top of each pastry. When they are done, they can be sprinkled with sugar.


Another time, I decided to try to make cinnamon rolls. They were not bad if you weren't expecting a... cinnamon roll? First, open the pastry sheet but do not cut it. Then, mix together some cinnamon and sugar (⅓ cup sugar and two tablespoons cinnamon is fine, but it doesn't have to be perfect) and spread it over the dough, pushing it in. (Leave about half an inch at one end of the pastry so that it will hold together. Then, carefully slice the dough into long, thin strips. (Where you would get three turnovers, you get four strips.) Next, scatter a few chopped walnuts on top. Roll up the strips and push the end in, to stick it to the pastry. Then, lightly dust them with cinnamon. After they've baked, they can be sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Jam turnovers are very easy. Simply put a spoonful of jam in each pastry and crimp. However, these always find a way to leak. Katrianna likes eating the crystallized jam that's been baked. Strawberry jam is our favorite, but any type will work.

Pastry is not exclusive to desserts. Salty or even healthy pastries can be made with equal success. Just filling the pastry with cheese (cheddar works best) makes a very popular snack. If you choose to make these in rectangles, you could put a little salt on top.

Trying to replicate samosas, we filled them with potatoes. Some also had peas in them and others included cheese. Additionally, we tried putting the yellow, mild turmeric, which fights cancer and other diseases, in the turnovers. They were surprisingly good. My sister often adds all sorts of other vegetables and herbs when she makes them (but her recipes are "top secret!").

Whatever you do with the pastry, it usually turns out well. It's also very easy to prepare and bake.

Variations On Banana Bread

These recipes have been adapted from the original, previously posted, banana nut muffin recipe. All of them work at high or low altitudes and are very adaptable, so experimenting is easy.

Carrot Cake
carrotcropped.jpg2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
¼ cup oil
1 ripe mashed banana
¼ cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cut carrots
Approximately 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 365 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in one bowl; whisk sugar and oil in another bowl. Stir the sugar mix thoroughly with mashed bananas, water and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, carrots and pecans, adding water if necessary. Pour into greased pan or muffin cups. Cook muffins for 26 minutes. Cakes, depending on the size of the pan, generally take longer, but they're done when a toothpick comes out clean. Makes approximately 22 muffins.

To make the icing, mix ½ cup softened butter with 4 ounces of cream cheese. Add a cup of powdered sugar and spread on the cupcakes. You can also sprinkle the cupcakes with coconut. If making a cake, top with coconut and press chopped walnuts onto the sides.

Banana Coconut Muffins
2 cups flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup olive oil
2 mashed bananas
½ cup water
¼ cup flax
¼ cup wheat germ
¾ teaspoon
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut

Mix together dry ingredients and set aside; combine sugars, mix thoroughly and whisk in oil until you have a filigree mixture. Add bananas, very well mashed. Stir in dry ingredients, adding water. Mix in flax and wheat germ, and then add the vanilla. Next, put the nuts in, stirring occasionally, and lastly mix in the coconut. Top with coconut and granulated sugar. Finally, bake at 365 degrees for about 26 minutes.

6fruitmuff.jpgSix Fruit Muffins
2 cups flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup olive oil
2 ½ mashed bananas
½ cup water
½ cup ground flax seed
½ cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 pear, peeled and chopped
1 tsp fresh orange juice
⅓ cup chopped dried dates
½ cup chopped carrots

Mix together dry ingredients and set aside; combine sugars, mix thoroughly and whisk in oil until you have a filigree mixture. Add bananas, very well mashed. Stir in dry ingredients, adding water. Mix in flax and wheat germ, and then add the vanilla. Next, put the nuts in, stirring occasionally, and add the fruits. Top with coconut and granulated sugar. Finally, bake at 365 degrees for about 26 minutes.

Going Bananas: Vegan Banana Nut Muffin Recipe

2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup oil
4 ripe mashed bananas
¼ cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Approximately 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in one bowl; beat sugar and oil in another bowl. Mix the sugar mix thoroughly with mashed bananas, water, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and walnuts, adding water as needed. Bake muffins 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes approximately 24 muffins; depending on how full you fill the muffin cups, it may be 22 or 23.

For Energy Muffins:
¼ cup wheat germ
2-4 tablespoons ground flax

Adding the flax and wheat germ makes the recipe healthier; I adjusted it so that it would be filling and wholesome enough to replace the power bars on road trips. It worked. Note that the ground flax seed can be used as a replacement for butter, so the wheat germ, which is dry, is essential.

For High Altitude Baking:
½ teaspoon baking soda
Under ¼ cup oil
3 ripe mashed bananas

Preheat oven to 365 degrees F.


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