Tag Archives: vegetarian recipes

Lentil mac and cheese with mushrooms and thyme

If you’re a mac and cheese purist, this post is likely going to make you very sad.  And if I’m being honest, I didn’t really know what to call this dish, but “lentil mac and cheese with mushrooms and thyme” sounded decidedly better than “baked pasta with some lentils, ricotta, parmesan, maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes, you know…”  

lentil mac and cheese

And a bit more honesty: I fully intended to sprinkle this ol’ thing with bread crumbs before putting it in the oven, but I got distracted by a French bulldog running through the kitchen with what appeared to be a pair of my underwear.  Life is rich these days.

When we first moved to Southie, we lived across the street from a now extinct restaurant that had the best seasonal menus.  And we’d know… because we ate there, like, three times a week.  That first fall/winter, there was a baked macaroni with mushrooms on the menu, and it changed my life.  Granted, it was a relatively minor life change (I thought I hated mushrooms, turns out… I didn’t).  Eight years later, I’m daydreaming about that pasta and snacking on leftover ‘shrooms.  Or whatever.

Let’s get down to business.

LENTIL MAC AND CHEESE WITH MUSHROOMS + THYME

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb your choice of pasta (roughly half a regular box) – I used rigatoni but I think I might try Banza shells next time, just for the heck of it.
  • 1 c dry lentils (I used this medley from Daily Pantry)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Approx. 2 tsp fresh thyme (I used 4-5 sprigs of lemon thyme from our deck garden)
  • 2 c cremini mushrooms (aka baby Portobello), cleaned and sliced
  • Pinch each of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  • 1 c shredded parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese
  • Optional-ish: 1/4 c breadcrumbs, additional thyme for garnish
lentil mac and cheese

…time for some thyme

Instructions:

  1. Position your oven racks to accommodate your dutch oven/casserole pan
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F
  3. Cook lentils per instructions (I usually do 1 part lentils/2 parts water, boil for 2 minutes and simmer for 10) and cook pasta until just al dente
  4. Meanwhile, in a dutch oven or similar pot (this is the one I have, currently on sale for $50), warm butter and sauté onions until translucent 
  5. Add garlic and sauté for another minute or two
  6. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, along with mushrooms and thyme
  7. Sauté mushrooms for 10-15 minutes, stirring often
  8. Once cooked, add lentils and pasta to the mushroom mix, and combine
  9. Add shredded parmesan and gently fold in ricotta cheese, a teaspoon at a time (placing it, rather than mixing it in)
  10. Top with breadcrumbs, if desired (and you’re not distracted)
  11. Bake for 20 minutes
  12. Allow to cool for several minutes before serving

Notes: It tastes better than it looks… you’ll need to trust me on this one.  Lentils do not photograph well… You can easily adapt this recipe for those with gluten allergies, by using gluten free pasta and breadcrumbs (both readily available these days).  I know less than zero about vegan cheeses (I believe Kite Hill makes an almond milk ricotta?), but I dare say this pasta with lentils could hold its own without the parmesan and ricotta.  

lentil mac and cheese

This makes for a hearty vegetarian dinner and would be perfect for sharing during football games or over the holidays.  And I can attest to the leftovers being just as good as the first serving.

Okay.  Back to daydreaming and mushrooms laundry and getting the car inspected I go.

SHOP THIS POST:

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the one (or two, or nine) really great meal you still find yourself thinking about?

 

Feta, lemon + dill dip | Labor Day Weekend recipes

When I dip, you dip, we dip… our cucumber slices into a big bowl of feta, lemon and dill dip.  Okay?  Okay.

This dip came to be much in the way anything I make does… I surveyed my pantry and fridge, got a little heavy handed with the garlic, threw everything in the blender and hoped for the best.  And I got just nearly that.  I brought some to my nephew’s first birthday party (he preferred cake and I don’t blame him) and will be making another batch for Labor Day Weekend.

FETA, LEMON + DILL DIP

feta lemon dill dip

Vegetarian, gluten free.  Serves a crowd.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crumbled feta
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • zest from 1 lemon (like, the same one you juiced…)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cucumber, sliced

Directions:

  1. Set aside half of the lemon zest.
  2. Combine feta, garlic, lemon juice and red pepper flakes in high speed blender, adding olive oil slowly, and blend until smooth.
  3. Put your dip in a bowl and garnish with fresh dill, remaining lemon zest, additional red pepper flakes (and more olive oil, if desired).
  4. Serve with cucumber slices or other veggies or a good, sturdy pita chip.
  5. Enjoy.
  6. Yes, it’s that easy.

I use this crinkle cutter for cutting crudite and kind of love it.  It’s one of those things you don’t know you need (though, honestly, you don’t) until you have one (taking up extra space in your utensil drawer).  

Here are a few more recipes you might enjoy for Labor Day Weekend:

And last, but not least… S’mores on a Stick.  Maybe make those first.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you making this Labor Day Weekend?

Farro salad with tomatoes + herbs

Sometimes (like… very rarely) I make something worth sharing with both my family and the entire internet.  This farro salad with tomatoes + herbs is one of those things.  I planned to make tabouli the other day, but was missing 80% of the ingredients.  So, I threw this together instead and the rest is history in my fridge.

Cooking farro does require the use of the stove, which I know is not ideal when it’s 900 degrees out… but hey.  Grab a wooden stirring utensil with one hand, and an ice cold beverage with the other and you’ll be just fine.

This farro salad makes a great (and easy, per usual for my recipes) side dish for summer parties and I can personally attest to its worthiness as a leftover lunch.  Nick and I split a serving at the beach today and it was really good… until he reached a very sandy little hand directly into the bowl.  Related: His new favorite phrase is “a bite please, mama!”

farro salad with tomatoes + herbs

FARRO SALAD WITH TOMATOES + HERBS

This recipe is vegetarian and serves 8 (-ish).  Substitute quinoa for farro to make this salad gluten-free and omit the feta to make the recipe vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic farro
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (or more… YOLO)
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Rinse farro under cold water.
  2. Combine water, farro and salt in a medium saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for approximately 20 minutes (until the farro is tender), stirring occasionally.  
  4. While the farro is cooking, combine tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, feta and olive oil in a large serving bowl.  
  5. Sip your cold beverage.
  6. Add farro and additional olive oil and/or lemon juice, if needed.  Add freshly cracked black pepper and salt, if you wish.  Chill or serve warm.

I hope you and yours are enjoying plenty of summer fun + plenty of delicious summer food.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Celebrating the 4th …with gratitude to everyone who is working to make our country a kinder, more peaceful, more inclusive place to raise our children.
  • Making tie dye shirts with Grace (there is a reason why the kit included gloves… and I have the tie dyed hands to prove it)
  • While you’re in the kitchen: 29 things to get rid of (donate, if possible!) from Apartment Therapy

What ingredients do you always have on hand?

 

What to eat when it’s freezing.

The Polar Vortex is baaaa-aaack.  So I made it some chili (vegetarian, obvi).  In my opinion, it’s what to eat when it’s freezing.

what to eat when its freezing

You can find my original recipe (a term I use lightly, mostly because it’s just like… sauté onions and garlic, add beans, add tomatoes, add whatever spices you have on hand, simmer, eat) here: vegetarian chili for lazy people.  

I topped today’s piping hot bowl with a handful of tortilla chips, some Fire Roasted Corn + Black Bean Salsa from Nola’s Fresh Foods.  Nola’s is made minutes from our place in Southie and is a 2015 Martha Stewart American Made award winner.  After receiving a complimentary sample a few weeks ago (delivered to my doorstep, no less), their salsa keeps ending up in our shopping cart.

As for the lime wedge and the useless miniature wooden spoon… they’re mostly there because chili looks like, you know… chili.  And I wanted to distract you from this.  Did it work?

But seriously.  Make yourself a bowl.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you showing the Polar Vortex who’s boss?  Or like… what’s for dinner tonight?