You've gotta love it when a cookbook follows through on the promise delivered in its subtitle. In the case of Everyday Vegetarian, "Meat-Free Meals in Minutes" ain't no lie.
Written by Brenda Stanley, a former cooking-show host who lives on a small ranch in Idaho, the cookbook is loaded with recipes that will help you avoid the dread that sometimes accompanies 5 o'clock, when you realize all of a sudden it's almost dinner time, the kids are starving, and you have no idea what you're going to serve.
The most extreme example of just how fast a meatless meal can be thrown together is Stanley's Five-Can Stew. Take a can of diced tomatoes, corn, minestrone, mixed vegetables, and black beans (rinsed). Mix and serve.
You might want to check those cans to make sure the linings don't contain BPA, of course, but still, some nights just call for easy-as-can-be, and you could do a lot worse than preparing an entire supper out of non-perishable goods you happen to have on hand.
Stanley mostly sticks to fresh ingredients, however, in dishes ranging from Broccoli Cheese Chowder and Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine to Eggplant Rigatoni and Zucchini Enchilada Casserole.
I'm always looking for new vegetarian recipes; even better when they're quick and easy. Brenda Stanley shares one with us below.
Hearty Spinach and Chickpea Salad with Yogurt-Mint Dressing.
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1⁄2 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
1⁄4 tsp. sea salt or salt
1⁄8 tsp. black pepper
1⁄2 cup quick-cooking couscous
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
5 cups baby spinach or torn spinach, rinsed
1 cup coarsely chopped apple
1⁄2 small red onion, thinly sliced, separated into rings
In a medium saucepan combine broth, bulgur, cumin, salt, and black pepper.
Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until bulgur is
nearly tender. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
Using a fork, fluff grain mixture. Transfer to a large bowl; cool slightly. Add chickpeas.
Cover and chill 2–24 hours or until completely chilled.
Meanwhile, prepare dressing by mixing ingredients in a small bowl, adding lemon
juice to thin until desired consistency is reached. To serve, arrange spinach on a large
serving platter or in individual bowls. Spoon grain mixture on top of spinach. Top
with apple and onion. Drizzle dressing evenly over salad.
1⁄2 cup yogurt
1–2 tsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
salt and black pepper