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Published: Tuesday, 10/6/2009

Vegetarian fare expands repertoire

This is National Vegetarian Month, and it's easy enough to make a few meals each week without meat. Classic meat dishes that can be “remade” into vegetarian fare include Eggplant Parmigiana using a marinara sauce, pasta al fredo (skip the chicken), and a vegetable pot pie.

Even college students can prepare satisfying affordable recipes. College Vegetarian Cooking by Megan Carle and Jill Carle (10 Speed Press, $19.95) has some interesting recipes, including the potato and sweet potato tart and the vegetable empanadas, both made with prepared pie crust. The authors, who are graduate students at Arizona State University, make pizza from scratch with a variety of toppings such as pineapple, olives, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach. The chile relleno casserole with Spanish rice can be made ahead, as can the vegetarian chili, which uses textured vegetable protein as a substitute for ground beef.

The Modern Vegetarian by Maria Elia (Kyle, $24.95) offers world flavors in recipes such as Sumac-Spiced Eggplant “Schnitzel” with Tabbouleh, using the Middle Eastern spice sumac ground from dried berries. Butternut Squash and Ricotta Samosas made with phyllo looks and sounds so good. For dessert there are Coffee Tuilles — the crisp little cookies — and Fruitcake Brulee with Caramelized Blood Oranges. That is a great holiday recipe.

The 30 Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray (Life Long, $18.95) has two complete holiday menus created from the recipes in the cookbook. Vegetarians don't eat meat or other animal foods; vegans also refuse to eat animal-derivative foods, including butter, cheese, eggs, and milk, according to the Food Lover's Companion.

The Thanksgiving menu includes spinach-herb stuffed portobellos, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, tofu or tempeh cutlets with mushroom-onion gravy, green bean almandine, salad with dressing, and baked apple crisp.

For a spring or summer feast, consider Mango Gazpacho, Greek Salad, Macadamia Nut-Crusted Tofu, Southwest Roasted Asparagus and Corn and Chocolate Mousse.

Not included in the book is the meatless Tofurky Roast & Gravy, which is sold locally at Phoenix Food Co-op for about $14.69. The mushroom and “giblet” gravy is $3.99. “We also sell Tofurky lunch meat,” says Helen Elden of the Co-op. Turtle Island Foods, the makers of Tofurky also make a Tofurky Feast with vegan wild rice and mushroom stuffing, gravy, and cranberry apple potato dumplings to go with the Tofurky.

Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy and Creative African-American Cuisine by Bryant Terry (Life Long, $18.95) includes recipes for Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux made with extra virgin olive oil; black-eyed pea fritters with hot sauce, and roasted sweet potato puree with coconut milk (the sweetener is agave nectar).

Vegan Lunch Box Around the World by Jennifer McCann (Life Long, $18.95) has international foods. A Caribbean lunch menu is plantain wraps with tangy black bean spread, salsa for dipping, and Caribbean coleslaw. A German lunch is cabbage rolls filled with a vegan meatloaf, beet salad, applesauce, and a German cookie.

The Australian lunch is Vegemite Sandwich, baked potato chips, papaya, and lamingtons, which are cubes of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut. Vegemite is the brand name of Kraft Foods' yeast extract product that is popular in Australia, according to the Food Lover's Companion. It is a thick, dark brown, salty paste flavored with a variety of ingredients, including celery and onions and is used as a bread spread and a favorite on toast.

Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor.

Contact her at: food@theblade.com or 419-724-6155.



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