Vegetarian recipes: Soup, burgers and lasagna

Vegetarian lasagna.
Vegetarian lasagna.

A rising number of black Americans are becoming vegetarian and vegan, eating a plant-based diet as well as grains, fruits, nuts, and seeds and excluding red meat, poultry, and seafood.

RELATED STORY: Love those veggies

Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped carrot

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed

1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes

2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise

Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, and salt and heat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin, and grains of paradise and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

Approximate values per serving: Calories: 372; total fat: 8 grams; saturated fat: 1 gram; protein: 24 grams; total carbohydrates: 55 grams; sugar: 5 grams; fiber: 13 grams; cholesterol: 0 milligrams; sodium: 762 milligrams

Source:, Alton Brown

Black Bean Veggie Burger

16 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 onion, cut into wedges

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 egg

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce

1/2 cup bread crumbs

If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Stir into mashed beans. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.


Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash, cut in half with the seeds scooped out

Marinara sauce, Morning Star brand meat substitute crumbles, and chopped onions and bell peppers to taste

Place the cut sides of the squash face down on a greased lasagna pan and put in oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until squash can be pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and scoop out the squash with a large spoon. Add marinara sauce, Morning Star crumbles, and chopped onions and bell peppers.

Source: Ishmael Shakur

Menu idea: For breakfast, Mr. Shakur adds a wheat bagel with fresh avocado spread and Morning Star breakfast sausage.

Vegetarian Lasagna

1 plastic produce bag stuffed tightly full of spinach (preferably not baby spinach)

1 lb. ricotta cheese

2 eggs

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large (28 oz.) cans plain tomato sauce

Zest from 1 lemon

1 1/2 pounds no-boil lasagna noodles

Salt, pepper to taste

1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese

4 oz. grated parmesan cheese

Clean the spinach well and wilt it, cool, squeeze out all water. Stir it into the ricotta. Add salt and pepper to taste, then beat in the eggs.

Saute the onion and garlic in a good amount of olive oil for 5 minutes; add tomato sauce and lemon zest, simmer 5 minutes, and salt to taste.

Oil an 11x13-inch pan (at least 2 inches deep). Build up layers of noodles, sauce, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella. Be sure to get the noodles quite wet because they are the no-boil type and need plenty of moisture. You'll have about four layers total. Add sauce on every layer, but alternate ricotta and mozzarella on others as desired. Finish with a heavy layer of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, mixed together.

Bake at 375 degrees, covering with tin foil part of the time if needed to avoid over-browning. It is done when internal temperature is 170 degrees (check a few spots) or when you can easily pierce the noodles with a fork, and the sauce is bubbling around the sides. If the cheese isn't crispy and brown enough, finish judiciously with the broiler. Allow to rest at least 15 minutes before serving so it has time to set up a bit.

Source: L'Tanya Hague

Cornmeal Pie

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup boiling water

4 cups water

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup jalapeno jack cheese

1 cup chopped onions

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 16 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 14 3/4 ounce can cream-style corn

1 4 1/2 ounce can chopped green chilies

6 tablespoons low-fat sour cream

Combine tomatoes and boiling water; let stand 20 minutes. Drain tomatoes in a sieve over a bowl; set aside, reserving 1 Tbs tomato-soaking liquid. Combine 4 cups water, cornmeal, and salt in a large saucepan, and bring mixture to a boil. Cook cornmeal mixture over medium heat 5 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in cheese. Pour half of cornmeal mixture into a lightly greased 13x9-inch pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, saute onion in olive oil until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, reserved tomato liquid, chili powder, beans, corn, and chiles, and cook 1 minute. Spoon bean mixture evenly over cornmeal crust. Drop remaining cornmeal mixture onto bean mixture. Bake pie at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until set. Serve with low-fat sour cream.

Source: L'Tanya Hague