Saturday, July 20, 2013


I like veggies. Always did. And, it's a good thing, too, since for most of my adult life I've been a vegetarian. Perhaps, for this reason, I'm totally captivated with side dishes. In my experience, veggie side dishes are good substitutes for meat-based main courses and usually easier to prepare.

Thankfully, I’m most of the time at home and love to experiment with veggie dishes in my own kitchen. I make them as hearty as I can so that they can be main courses on their own. (When you don’t eat meat, you go to a lot of dinners with friends or family knowing that the very best you can hope for is a simple soup, a garden salad and a dinner roll.)

I strive to make these veggie recipes - that I bring to the table and share with you, here - to be as important and well made as meat-based main dishes. In this way, meatless meals can still produce raves.

Even, if you’re not a vegetarian, challenge yourself at least once a week with "Meatless Mondays". And I hope these tasty veggie recipes help convince you to try several meals-minus-the-meat during the week. It’ll grow on you as a cook and, soon, you'll be as proud of your veggie dishes as you are of what were your best meat-based dishes. And you'll know that you're doing your part to save the planet, one-meal-at-a-time - all this, while preparing real, sustainable food that satisfies the taste buds and nourishes the body.

I served this potato-mushroom dish with white rice and a green salad.
Recipe for potato-mushroom all-in-a-skillet dish
Here's a recipe that I've made in many different ways over the years. You'll like this one. It's my last variation, served up just this week.  Try it out. You'll find that it's elegant enough for an evening meal - even with company. 

It's totally doable in a stove top skillet or can even be done in a slow-cooker (if you have a lot more time). You won't have to light your oven - a plus in these hot summer months. The top and edges get a bit crispy, but the middle is creamy.

Organic vegetables are the best choices for freshness and for nutrition. For those who want to be even more careful, try the non-dairy substitutes that are mentioned.

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 medium potatoes, sliced
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar or 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. sour cream or unflavored yogurt (for non-dairy, try unsweetened cultured coconut milk)
2 tsp cilantro, minced
4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 tbs. butter or non-dairy margarine
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup regular or non-dairy Parmesan cheese
Sprigs of cilantro

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil a couple of minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 more minutes.

In the same skillet, cover the onions and garlic with a layer of potato slices, overlapping them. Sprinkle with the cilantro, and then with salt and pepper. Add all other ingredients except the Parmesan.

Cover with a lid and cook stove top over low heat for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Best if served immediately. Top with fresh cilantro sprigs and Parmesan cheese.

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