Meatless Dinners

It’s funny. Growing up in a Catholic family, we used to have meatless Fridays, and not just during Lent either. We were allowed to eat fish, rumor has it the pope back in the day, allowed fish because he wanted to help out the Italian fishing community. Who knows!

Either way, I always dreaded that rule. I disapproved of a church telling me what to eat or what not to eat on any given day. It was so old fashioned and UNCOOL!

Now it’s become COOL to eat vegetarian one or two days a week! It’s so funny how things have changed! Go meatless for the earth, but not for religion!

We try to eat meatless for dinner once or twice a week. I think tonight, I’ll make some pizza. I usually buy premade naan or flatbread, but hmm, do I dare making the dough myself tonight? Let’s see!

Fresh Roasted Tomatoes with Pasta

I had an amazing dinner tonight! I recently picked up the CSA share for the week and there was an abundance of wonderful tomatoes! I knew I had to roast some for pasta.

yummy fresh tomatoes from the CSA

I sliced the heirloom tomato we received, plus one roma and two slicing tomatoes, and I mixed them in a baking dish along with some chopped pepper, onion and basil leaves.

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Quinoa Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce

It’s Raw week over at the “I Heart Cooking Clubs” web site. Raw? Hmm, what kind of inventive dish could I make that’s raw?

I launched the Mark Bittman “How To Cook Everything” iPhone app and searched for “raw” – the first recipe that popped up was “Linguine with Raw Tomato Sauce” – oh that sounded good.

I was hungry for lunch this afternoon, so I decided to make one serving for me.

simple ingredients

The ingredients and cooking steps are so simple, it’s laughable!

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Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Apples & Almonds

UPDATED 2011-06-22:

I just made this quinoa salad for a reunion dinner tonight.

quinoa salad with tomatoes, feta, apples and almonds

Quinoa is a very small grain, actually it’s technically not even a grain, it’s a seed, but it’s always lumped into the hearty whole grain category. It’s gluten free and fairly quick to make. It smells earthy when cooking.

uncooked quinoa seeds

I found excellent cooking instructions for quinoa in the Lorna Sass book “Whole Grains Every Day Every Way“. Cook quinoa similar to how you cook pasta: use a large portion of boiling water and then drain.

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Zucchini Onion Pancakes Recipe

For the Summer Lovin week over at I Heart Cooking Clubs – Cooking through Mark Bittman recipes!

The cookbook “How to Cook Everything” authored by Mark Bittman is available in a handy, easy to use, full featured iPhone app. I have been browsing the recipes, getting to know the app and I am totally thrilled with it! Highly recommended if you have an iPhone. I would love to see more cookbooks available like this!

Anyway, I saw the recipe for zucchini pancakes, and knew I had to try them. We received a medium sized zucchini in our vegetable CSA share last week, so it was the perfect time to try it.

medium zucchini

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Meatless Monday – Quinoa Pasta with Tomato Puttanesca Sauce

Meatless Monday - quinoa pasta with tomato puttanesca sauce

We went meatless tonight (with a little bit of dairy) by eating a satisfying plate of quinoa pasta topped with tomato puttanesca sauce. I included some lovely kousa squash in the sauce, which was part of our CSA vegetable share this week. It’s a summer squash similar to zucchini.

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Meatless Meatballs – Polpette di Lupo Recipe

I am loving the new Cooking Channel and one of my favorite shows is Molto Mario with Mario Batali; I try to watch him every morning at 7:30!

I rarely watched him while he was originally on the Food Network, but I have found a new appreciation for his historic discussions of Italian way of life and what, how and why they cook. I borrowed three of his books from the library, so I can learn more; I really am intrigued by the simple style of Italian cooking!

Anyway, the other day, Mario cooked Polpette di Lupo. Translated to English, it means “Wolf Meatballs” – no, not meatballs made from wolf meat, but sneaky like a wolf, because there’s no meat in the meatballs! I knew I had to try this recipe!

Find the original recipe at the Cooking Channel web site:

My version is altered slightly.

baked meatless meatballs

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Flatbread Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes & Onions

Just made the most delicious flatbread pizza tonight, with freshly roasted tomatoes and onions.
flatbread pizza with roasted tomatoes and onions

I am obsessed with roasted plum tomatoes! Normally, roma plum tomatoes are dull and flavorless if eaten raw. But when they finish roasting, the flavor is intense! The only problem is, it’s best to cook them low and slow, so you need at least an hour or more of roasting time.

I roasted this batch for a total of about 3 hours @ 250° but you can reduce the cooking time if you increase the temp.

I found an interesting recipe in the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics book (borrowed from the library) for Roasted Tomatoes with Basil – here’s a similar recipe from her, sans the basil leaves.

I adjusted the recipe for my needs, but I was really intrigued by the addition of balsamic vinegar. I normally don’t cook with vinegar, but I see it in so many recipes, I was inspired to try it. It really adds a layer of flavor to the dish, without a strong vinegar taste. Don’t be afraid to try it!

First, here’s my recipe for the tomatoes. After, you’ll find my easy flatbread pizza recipe using the roasted tomatoes.

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