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IC-friendly vegetarian recipes

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  • IC-friendly vegetarian recipes

    Following the diet, especially in the beginning, is hard enough on its own. I can't imagine how much more overwhelming it would be for a devout vegetarian, especially if that person chose to be one out of moral, ethical, or religious reasons. It wouldn't be so simple, then, to just start eating meat to make up for the protein he or she wouldn't be getting from soy and other possibly irritating meat alternatives. For many of my vegetarian friends, it's an intense part of who they are, and not just a health choice. Eating meat, or even fish, isn't even an option, and no one should have to choose between his or her physical well-being verses spiritual well-being.
    Also, while the cookbooks offered on this website can help, I've noticed a lot of posters complaining that they have trouble with weight gain or feeling malnourished. Eating well is hard enough for reasonably healthy people as it is, and this makes things so much more complicated.

    Because of this, I'm going to try and come up with recipes for both vegetarians and for people who are looking for a lighter alternative to meat and potato dishes.
    I'll experiment with a new recipe each week, and then report back on it. When I whip up something for here, I'll make sure to try and keep it in the "mostly ok" territory. Maybe down the road I'll posts more adventurous stuff for those of us who can be more permissive with the diet, but for now, I want it to be as helpful as possible to the widest range of people.

    Here's the first installment:

    Quinoa salad
    (quinoa is a "grain" that is also a complete protein. It cooks a lot like rice and is very versatile. You may be able to get it at your local grocery store, or most definitely at the nearest health food place).

    You'll need:
    2 cups uncooked quinoa
    3/4 cup IC-friendly pesto (most pesto is made from basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pine nuts, which are all mostly IC-friendly, but make sure you avoid a brand with a lot of artficial preservatives, or you can also with a food processor easily make your own. It freezes well.)
    4-5 cloves of garlic
    1-2 tbs olive oil
    1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese or feta cheese
    1/2 cup raisins (if you can tolerate them)

    Rinse the quinoa off and place it in a large pot along with 2 cups of water. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes until the quinoa is tender. You can also use a rice cooker if you have one.
    While the quinoa is cooking, heat the 1-2 tbs of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and sliver the garlic cloves so that you have many thin slices. Add them to the oil and sautee quickly until the garlic is a light golden brown, but be careful not to burn it. Garlic turns bitter very quickly. Add the pesto and raisins (if using) and lower the heat so that you just heat the pesto through. By the time that's gently warmed up, your quinoa should be just about done.

    In a large mixing bowl, add the quinoa to the garlic and pesto and mix thoroughly. Break up any clumps that the quinoa forms. Allow the mixture to cool somewhat, and then add the cheese. Salt and pepper to taste, and adjust to add more cheese if needed. You can serve this either warm or put it in the fridge to chill. This will make enough to feed a family of four maybe with leftovers. It can be a meal by itself, or an excellent side dish. I took it to a party the other night, and all my non-IC friends loved it and begged for the recipe. The total cooking time is less than thirty or forty minutes. It can be fun for kids too, maybe, because quinoa just looks so cool after it's cooked - like little transparent beads with squigley tails. It keeps well in the fridge for several days afterwards, and can be adapted to fit any seasonings you're ok with. Plus, it's filling, unlike a lot of vegetarian food can be.

    Ok, that's it for this first week, I hope that might help some people out and challenge others to try something new!

  • #2
    Ok, here's round 2:

    Black bean and mushroom tacos with leeks
    (sounds like an odd combo, but were very tasty)

    You'll need:
    8-10 small flour tortillas (make sure to get ones with as few artificial ingredients as possible)
    1 can black beans
    1 tbs olive or canolla oil
    1 large leek
    2 cloves garlic
    1 cup cream of mushroom soup (preferably an organic brand, campbell's has msg)
    1 bag V&V brand Chihuahua cheese OR fresh mozzarella, shredded

    Optional toppings (for the less sensitive or non IC family members)
    2-3 cups shredded lettuce
    3-4 sliced jalapenos or 1 small can of chiles
    1 diced tomato
    sour cream or plain yogurt

    To Prepare:
    Peel off the outer layer of the leek and wash it thoroughly - dirt likes to get down in between where the blades separate from the stalk. Cut off the the root-end and the green parts and slice the remaining white piece very thin while heating the oil in a large skillet on medium. Add the leeks into the skillet and either slice the garlic cloves thin or crush them. When the slivered pieces of leek become soft and translucent, add the garlic and stir for a few moments. Open the can of black beans, drain well, and rinse before adding to the skillet. Once heated through, add the cup of mushroom soup and lower the heat while stirring until the soup begins to boil. Continue to stir and let the soup reduce until you've got a thick, but not runny mixture. Place the tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel to microwave for 20 seconds. Remove black bean mixture from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon bean mix onto individual tortillas and add optional toppings if desired (be careful if they are your personal IC triggers). Enjoy!

    This one is really quick and easy, and the bean mix keeps well in the refridgerator for leftovers for 3-5 days.


    • #3
      Numero 3

      Omelettes for dinner! (or any other time)
      If you're not an ovolacto vegetarian (meaning you don't eat eggs or milk products), then you can use your favorite egg substitute and slices of rice "cheese."

      You will need:
      1 cup frozen or raw cauliflower
      1 cup frozen or raw broccoli
      1/2 teaspoon garlic or onion powder (optional)
      1 tablespoon olive oil
      4 large eggs
      1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      2 teaspoons milk or water (optional)
      1/2 cup shredded cheese like chihuahua or mozzarella - something that will melt
      salt and pepper to taste.

      First, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the cauliflower and broccoli. Cook until tender, but not overdone. Strain the water out and then place in a bowl to roughly mash the pieces. You just want the broccoli and cauliflower to be soft, and you don't want huge pieces of it because you are going to stuff it into the omelette. Cover the bowl and set it aside to keep the veggies warm.
      Heat half the oil in a wide skillet over medium-low heat. Beat the eggs together with the optional garlic or onion powder, a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper, the baking powder, and the milk or water until well mixed. Swish your oil around the skillet until it is well coated, and pour in half the egg mixture. Let the egg "set" until it is partially cooked, then gently lift one side with a spatula and tilt the skillet so that some of the runny portions drain under it. Lower that side and repeat with the other, until there is no more runny egg left on and the omelette is cooked most of the way through.
      Now, add half the mashed cauliflower and broccoli near one edge and top with 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese - important - make sure that you leave 2/3 of the omelette empty. If you overstuff it, it will be harder to fold over and harder to flip. Go ahead and gently lift the edge of the empty portion and fold it over the veggies and cheese. Allow it too cook a few more moments so that the cheese starts to melt, and then gently lift the open side and flip it over the folded side so that the other half of the omelette can continue setting. Hopefully, if you've let everything set well, then you won't lose any of the toppings. In a few more moments, when all the egg has set, you can remove that omelette by gently sliding it out of the skillet onto a plate and cover it to keep warm. Then you repeat the above instructionswith the other half of the ingredients. The whole process can take less than 20-30 minutes and makes a decent meal for 2-4 people.


      • #4

        Boy all those recipes sounded so good, they made me hungry. Here is one of my favorites:
        French Bread Onion Mushroom Pizza
        Cut a loaf of french bread in half and remove the white part leaving a shell crust. Toast the shell and set aside.
        Put small amount of butter in skillet (some soy sauce if you can stand that)
        and add mushrooms (I use brown and ****ake), add onions or any other vegetables you like. Cook down until no liquid remains.
        Spoon mushrooms into french bread shells, top with cheese, put under broiler to melt cheese, enjoy.


        Meds: Melatonin 3mg @ bedtime if needed. Estrogen 1.5 mg troche and 0.1 mg Estrace cream.
        Diagnosis: IC, PFD (both in remission)


        • #5
          I've made something almost exactly like that before! It is really good. I usually use crimini/baby bellas, but any mushroom will do.


          • #6
            I had something I wanted to try out this week, but with the recent holidays and all, we were too busy getting rid of the leftovers in our fridge my parents kept sending home with me. Instead of this week's planned experiment, I'll post a quick recipe for a non-tomato sauce pizza that I like to make a lot.

            Spinach and feta pizza with pesto

            you'll need:

            1 cup traditional basil pesto (basil, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, salt)
            1 9 oz package baby spinach
            1 cup feta (even fat free feta works fine)
            1 large (14-16 inch) premade pizza crust. You may be able to get one from a bakery, or find a variety at the store without extra ingredients that bother you.
            Small amount olive oil

            Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place all the spinach in a colander and wash it well - we don't need anymore e. coli scares. Also, it provides a little extra moisture so the leaves won't become dry when baking. Place your crust on a pizza brick, pan, or even just some aluminum foil and slather it with the pesto. Don't be afraid to lay it on thick! Toss the spinach with the small amount of olive oil until it's all thinly coated, and then dump it onto the dough and arrange it so you have an even layer. Liberally sprinkle the pizza with the feta before placing it all in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Voila! The whole process takes less than 20 minutes.

            You can add sliced white or baby bella mushrooms, sliced bell peppers, whatever you like that doesn't irritate you. You can also use a cup of grated fresh mozzarella instead of feta, too.

            Next week: I might have a great substitute for tofu coming up. Invest in a cheese cloth because it might be time to make paneer!


            • #7
              Ok, again, this is a very busy week and so I haven't been able to do much at home cooking. I did make a vegetarian curry on Monday using pureed butternut squash as the base, but some of the spices I can get away with might not be good for ICer's in general. I will say, though, that my hunch about the paneer was correct, and so for those of us that miss tofu, I'm going to use this week's post to talk more about that.

              Paneer is also known as Indian "cottage cheese," but it isn't like what we call cottage cheese here. It's made similarly to mozzarella, but has a harder consistency and much higher melting point - making it an excellent addition to stir fries in place of tofu. It's consistency is very much similar to tofu, and it can be fried for crispy edges the same as tofu, or simply added in "raw." Keep in mind, though, that it is cheese - it has a much higher fat content than tofu does.

              I didn't have any problem finding paneer at my local asian grocer, and you can buy it already cubed or in a block. However, I know some of us might have trouble even finding an asian or indian grocer to begin with, so next week I'll post the recipe I have for making it at home. It's a very easy process, it just takes time.