Vegetarian

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

To me, the ultimate telling of a great salad is that it doesn’t seem like you are eating a salad. It doesn’t taste diet-y or as though all you’re doing is consuming a large bowl of raw vegetables like a rabbit raiding the produce aisle.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

It simply tastes like a really delicious dish. The flavors are well-balanced and the textures vary. Extra bonus points if there are both hot and cold components.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

This warm lemon and mustard potato salad hits all the marks on my great salad scale. The key to this meal-worthy salad is that the potatoes aren’t just average roasted potatoes. Before being placed in the oven to get nice and crispy, the potatoes are tossed with a lemon and mustard vinaigrette.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Tart, tangy and creamy, these potatoes are even better when combined with the freshness of the salad greens and the nuttiness of the walnuts. This dish is great for a vegetarian main dish or an elevated first course that will have your guests requesting the recipe.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the dressing
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
for the salad
  • 1½ pounds baby red-skinned potatoes, halves
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • ¼ cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the dressing
  1. Whisk together the mustard, parsley, zest, juice and olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place 3 tablespoons of the dressing in a small bowl and set aside.
for the salad
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add the potatoes to the large bowl with the dressing and toss until coated. Place the potatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked through and crispy.
  3. When ready to serve, toss the bell pepper and greens with the reserved dressing. Place on the serving dish then top with the roasted potatoes and toasted walnut pieces.

Recipe from Giada’s Feel Good Food.

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes I’m in the mood to just go to town on a big plate of food. I don’t like feeling guilty about it though so I recently came up with this easy stuff-yourself-silly dish:  spaghetti squash with spinach and mushroom marinara. Are you familiar with spaghetti squash? When baked the squash’s strands resemble angel hair pasta in appearance and texture. The taste is pretty mild and is a great pasta substitute. Plus one cup of cooked spaghetti squash has only 42 calories. Yes I typed that number accurately.

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara  |  Lemon & Mocha

When you get home from the grocery store with this huge oblong squash your first challenge will be breaking the sucker open. Do not underestimate this task! You will need a large sharp knife and a level cutting surface. It may take a few tries and certainly will not be perfect, unless of course you are skilled in the art of slicing large hard objects in half lengthwise, but try your best.

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara  |  Lemon & Mocha

Once the spaghetti squash is cut in half you will shake your head and think I’m playing an early April Fool’s Day joke on you as you wonder how in the world is that solid hunk of squash ever going to resemble spaghetti strands. Well you just have to trust me on this! It is purely amazing food magic. Scoop out the seeds then bake the squash until tender. Once it’s cool enough to handle a simple scraping with a fork transforms the squash into thin strands. Mix with some marinara, cooked spinach, sautéed mushrooms and fresh Parmesan and you’re ready to indulge!

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package sliced cremini mushrooms, about 5 ounces
  • 1½ cups preferred marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces frozen spinach, prepared according to package instructions
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the spaghetti squash on a baking sheet flesh side up. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Scrape the tines of a fork along the cooked squash to create the strands. It sounds weird, but as soon as you do it you will understand what I mean. Continue scraping until you reach the skin and all the flesh has been turned into strands.
  4. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds then add the sliced mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked then add the marinara and prepared spinach.
  5. Add the spaghetti squash strands and toss well with tongs until well combined with the sauce and spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot topped with the Parmesan.

 

Mini Eggplant Pizzas

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

I can’t believe I waited so long to share this recipe. Matt and I love these eggplant pizzas so they get made quite often in our apartment. Aside from being out-of-this-world delicious, they are perfect for vegetarian nights, quick weeknights and carb-free nights.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Carb-free pizza, you ask? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Slices of melt-in-your-mouth roasted eggplant serve as both the base and the topping for these individual pizzas. The first time I came across this idea I was extremely skeptical. I am a pizza fiend and seriously doubted that anything could compare to chewy, crispy pizza dough. Well, my friends, I am here to let you know that I doubt no more!

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

These easy eggplant pizzas are so darn tasty that I don’t even miss the pizza crust for one second. Did I mention the ease of this meal? That is the second reason these bad boys are made so often in our place.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Thinly slice an eggplant. Drizzle with olive oil and season it up. I like to do a mix of salt, pepper, dried oregano and garlic powder to really take-home those Italian pizza flavors. Roast in the oven until tender, about ten minutes, then pull out of the oven. Top each roasted slice with tomato sauce and shredded cheese, usually mozzarella or whatever well-melting cheese you have on hand.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

I recently used Gruyere and oh-my-heavens! I’ll just leave it at that. Anyways, through the topped eggplant slices back into the oven for another minute or two so the cheese melts and voila! Dinner is served.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mini Eggplant Pizzas
 
Yield: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 eggplant, thinly sliced (about ¼” thick)
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Salt, pepper, dried oregano & garlic powder for sprinkling
  • ½ cup tomato sauce, more or less depending on quantity of eggplant slices
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, more or less depending on quantity of eggplant slices
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Place the eggplant slices on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to very lightly coat. Spread the slices out so they are evenly spaced with none touching. Sprinkle the seasonings over the top.
  3. Roast until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices.
  4. Carefully pull the pan out of the oven. Use a spoon to top each eggplant slice with tomato sauce then top each with shredded cheese. Return to the oven until the cheese melts, about 1-3 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

 

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Five minutes into making this soup I knew I had a winner sitting on the stovetop in front of me. Intense smells swirled around me while the softening onions took on a rich color from all the spices. I don’t get cravings for soups unless they pack a lot of flavor and this sweet potato and apple soup hits the mark so I am extremely pleased to be posting it for as the second post in my fall apple series.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

This soup does take a shortcut by using applesauce instead of whole fresh apples, but you could easily turn your apple picking finds into an impromptu applesauce by peeling, coring then crushing them. And then making this soup of course.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

The original recipe uses curry powder, but since I didn’t have any on hand I substituted with what was in my cabinet. Feel free to use my version or substitute with curry powder according to the notes in the recipe. The soup has that delicious warming quality that all fall soups should have as well as an exciting complexity of taste.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finishing the soup with a splash of curry butter really deepens this complexity. You might think, “Oh, it’s just a garnish, I’m going to skip the curry butter,” but do not make this mistake my friends! Although it’s just a simple concoction of butter, spices and apple cider vinegar, it adds a final richness and tang to the soup.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

The apple chip pictured in the soup photos is the perfect crunchy texture addition and I’ll be sharing the recipe later this week in my third apple post.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1¼ cups applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Directions
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl then set aside.
  2. Place the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once warm add the onions and garlic then cook until the onions are soft, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the ginger, additional nutmeg and 1¼ teaspoons of the spice mixture that was set aside in the first step. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and vegetable broth then cover and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the applesauce then let simmer, covered, on medium-low for 20 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are tender, puree the mixture until smooth with an immersion blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while you prepare the spiced butter.
  6. In a small skillet over medium heat melt the butter then add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of the spice mixture. Stir over the heat until browned, just a couple minutes, then remove from the heat. Mix in the apple cider vinegar then drizzle over each serving of soup.
Notes
If you are using curry powder instead, substitute 1.5 teaspoons curry powder for the first 5 ingredients.

Recipe adapted from September 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

Normally when I see a recipe I am just drooling over it takes me months, even years, to finally get around to making it. Then when I finally make it months later I eventually get around to posting it on Lemon & Mocha. Not this time, my friends!

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

I saw this glorious Thai stuffed sweet potato one week, made it the next week then made it again to photograph the week after. Now here it is on Lemon & Mocha. Unbelievable!

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

The reasons I made it so fast are the same two reasons you should make it this week:  1. The minute I saw it my peanut sauce loving self was instantly obsessed with the idea and I knew I had to have it and, 2. Reading the recipe I couldn’t believe how easy it was.

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

A third reason was also that I’m always looking for healthy vegetarian meals since Matt and I try to go meatless a couple nights a week. The flavor of the creamy sweet potato with the tender broccoli, crisp scallions and sweet edamame smothered in this peanut sauce is divine. It was so divine in fact that I ate it three nights in a row!

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

So get adventurous with your dinner this week and make this Thai stuffed sweet potato.

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
for the sweet potatoes
  • 4-6 sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets and steamed
  • 1 cup cooked edamame beans
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts
  • Salt and pepper
for the peanut sauce
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½” piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Directions
for the sweet potatoes
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pierce the potatoes 4-6 times with a fork and place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the potato.
  2. Let the potatoes cool slightly before handling then cut a slit in the top of each one. Stuff with the broccoli and edamame then drizzle generously with the peanut sauce. Garnish with the chopped scallions and peanuts. Serve hot.
for the peanut sauce
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or small food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. If you would prefer a thicker consistency add more peanut butter then remix. If you would prefer a thinner consistency add more coconut milk then remix.

Recipe from Shared Appetite.