Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna Soup

The weather is giving me whiplash. We keep going from unseasonably warm to snowstorm and back. Yesterday, we were at the park in light sweatshirts. Today, it’s snowing.

Luckily, that means it’s soup weather – and I just happen to have a great meatless soup to share as part of the Lenten dinner series!

This soup is pretty much veggie lasagna in a bowl. I’ve tried a bunch of lasagna-type soups and they never quite hit the spot because they lack the cheesy goodness that is lasagna. This version features an ingenious dollop of cheese on top. I love it!

VeggieLasagnaSoup

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna Soup
(from Foodie Crush)
Serves 10

1 yellow onion, diced
2 zucchinis, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/8  tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. lasagna noodles

 

For the ricotta cheese topping

1 8 oz. container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4  cup basil leaves, chopped
Generous pinch of salt

Add the onion, zucchini, garlic, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

While the soup cooks, mix all ingredients for the cheese topping together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When the soup is done, prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, chop them up, and add to the soup.

Serve the soup topped with a dollop of cheese topping.

Pinto Bean Burritos

Welcome to the 2017 Lenten dinner series! Every Friday during Lent I’ll be posting a meatless meal idea. This series was born out of my desire to do something other than order pizza on Lenten Fridays, and it’s resulted in some of our favorite meals.

I picked a really quick and easy meal for our first Friday because, if you’re anything like me, this totally snuck up on you and you’re scrambling. These are perfect for nights like that – they take about 5 minutes to prep and only 15 minutes to bake. I threw some chips and salsa with this and it was a great, no-fuss meal.

PintoBeanBurritos

Pinto Bean Burritos
(slightly adapted from Aggie’s Kitchen)
Makes 4-6

I can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Whole wheat tortillas
Shredded cheddar
Salsa

In a bowl, combine the pinto beans, onion, bell pepper, vinegar, salt and pepper – gently mash until the ingredients start to come together.

Divide the filling between tortillas and top with cheese and salsa. Roll up, and wrap in a piece of foil sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until heated through.

12 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday – the start of Lent – which means I’m kicking off my annual Meatless Meals for Lenten Fridays series. As usual, you’ll find a great meatless meal here every Friday until Easter!

To kick things off, I’m sharing a dozen ideas below. You can also check out my previous roundups – 16 Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent, 16 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent and 9 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent.

2017MeatlesMeals

Mashed Potato Waffles

Honey Lime Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

Guinness Pizza Dough

Jerk Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Buffalo Chickpea Burgers

Kung Pao Chickpeas

5 Minute Pad Thai Fakeout

Chili Cornbread Waffles

Chickpea Puttanesca

Hatch Chili Mac ‘n Cheese

Caramelized Onion Tart

General Tso’s Cauliflower

Guinness Pizza Dough

I never make it through Lent without doing one pizza Friday so it seems fitting to finish out this year’s Lenten meal series with a pizza. I originally started this series to get away from just ordering a pizza every Friday – it was a bad habit and something we’d do so often it didn’t feel like anything special. Things have really swung the other way – breaking out this Friday pizza was such a treat.

My go-to pizza recipe is on the plain side. It works perfect on the grill or paired with lots of toppings (which we usually load on) but falls a little short for a plain, oven-baked pie. I ran across this recipe when we still had a bottle of Guinness left from St. Patrick’s Day so it was meant to be. The beer adds just the right amount of flavor to this dough to make it perfect for a more plain pie.

GuinnessPizza

Guinness Pizza
(from Baked By Rachel)
Makes 1 12″ pizza

1/2 cup Guinness
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a small saucepan, heat the Guinness to 115F degrees. (I used a candy thermometer to keep track.) Stir in the yeast and sugar until dissolved and let stand for five minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt. On low, mix in the Guinness, followed by the olive oil. Add additional olive oil or flour as needed to get a dough ball to form.

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

To bake: spread into a 12″ circle, top as desired and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 425F degree oven.

General Tso’s Cauliflower

Another Lenten dinner, another vegetarian take on Chinese takeout. I actually liked this a little better than the Kung Pao Chickpeas I shared few weeks ago for one reason – it’s a from scratch sauce. There is nothing that annoys me more than finding a bottled sauce you like only to have the company discontinue or change the recipe a few months later. Falling in love with a from-scratch sauce is easier. It will never desert you.

I’ve tried a few General Tso’s sauces before, but this one comes closest to the Chinese takeout we’re used to. I’ll definitely be trying this again with chicken at some point.

GeneralTsoCauliflower

General Tso’s Cauliflower
(from Bakeaholic Mama)
Serves 3

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 egg
1/3 cup corn starch
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
Oil for frying

2 1/2 tsp. minced ginger root
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. garlic chili sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
White rice, for serving
Green onions, for garnish

In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 tsp. sesame oil, egg, 1/3 cup cornstarch and 3 Tbsp. soy sauce until well combined. Add the cauliflower florets and toss until thoroughly coated. Set aside to marinate for about 20 minutes.

After marinating, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet and add cauliflower. Fry cauliflower until evenly browned on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate pan, add the 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and olive oil. Over medium-high heat, sauté the garlic and ginger until fragrant, about a minute. Add in the vegetable stock, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, chili garlic sauce and brown sugar. Cook until it comes to a low boil and has thickened.

Add the sauce to the cauliflower and toss to coat evenly. Serve over rice, topped with green onions.

Honey-Lime Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

We’re two months into “real food” with Jake. So far he hates every green vegetable we’ve tried but will happily eat his weight in bananas, peaches and pears. It also means that Jake-friendly ingredients are making it into our menus more frequently. It’s a lot easier to cook up some sweet potatoes for him when I’m already prepping them for us – or mash up some avocado while I’m dicing it for dinner. Can you guess what he had for dinner the night we had these tacos?

These are pretty similar to the Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Burritos that I love. These ebb on the side of sweet instead of spicy (honey instead of jalapeno) so I think they’d be a little more kid-friendly. And adding fresh avocado and pico de gallo on top made them feel more fresh and almost summery. Definitely one of my favorite meatless meals this Lent!

SweetPotatoBlackBeanTacos

Honey-Lime Sweet Potato Tacos
(from Cooking Classy)
Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed and drained
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Tortillas, for serving
Feta cheese, diced avocados, pico de gallo, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 3 Tbsp. olive oil to coat evenly. Add in the spices and toss to coat. Spread out the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, until tender, tossing halfway through.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes, until beginning to brown on the edges. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds, until fragrant. Reduce heat and add in black beans, corn, honey and lime juice. Heat until warmed through and add in sweet potatoes.

Serve in tortillas topped with feta, avocado and pico de gallo.

5-Minute Pad Thai Fakeout

Also known as: fancied up ramen, my favorite Lenten lunch.

I first tried this recipe when we were dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. She left us with a flooded basement and no power for a week. It was awesome. Since a fast majority of the stores and businesses were in the same boat, it was an exercise in working with what you had – and what we had was ramen. Since then, I keep the ingredients in my emergency stash – just in case. It’s a great one for that – not something I plan to make but something I can say, ah! I can whip that up instead of another grilled cheese!

I don’t think it’s technically vegetarian since it uses chicken-flavored ramen as the base, but since there’s no actual meat in it, it’s Lent-friendly.

PadThaiFakeout

5-Minute Pad Thai Fakeout
(from Martha Stewart)
Serves 1

1 pkg. chicken-flavored ramen with seasoning packet
2 Tbsp. chunky peanut butter
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. sriracha
Green onions, sliced

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain most of the water off. Stir in peanut butter, soy sauce and sriracha until peanut butter is melted and everything is well combined. Top with sliced green onions and serve immediately.

 

Chickpea Puttanesca

I think eggplant parmesan is the default vegetarian option for most American-style Italian meals. More often than not, that’s what you’ll find alongside trays of baked ziti and chicken parmesan at parties. So, when I start seeking out new meatless meals for the Lenten dinner series, I tend to avoid Italian-inspired searches. It’s not that I don’t love eggplant parmesan, I do, it’s just that it sort of feels overdone.

I was searching for something else entirely when I came across this recipe – and it made me realize how wrong I was to discount Italian options for this series. This was so, so good. Comfort food at it’s finest! And easy enough that I didn’t feel overwhelmed making it after a busy week.

ChickpeaPuttenesca

Chickpea Puttanesca
(slightly adapted from Mountain Momma Cooks)
Serves 4

1/2 cup polenta
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. butter
2-3 Tbsp. half & half
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered
2 Tbsp. drained capers
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried crushed basil
1/8 tsp. dried crushed red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans
Fresh basil, for serving

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil and stir in polenta and salt. Return a boil then turn to low and let simmer for about 30 minutes. If it gets to thick, stir in an additional 1-2 Tbsp. water. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, butter and half & half.  Keep warm until serving time.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add in onions and cook about five minutes, until soft. Add the olives and capers and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, basil, red pepper flakes and salt and stir to combine thoroughly. Let simmer until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes. Stir in garbanzo beans and let heat through.

Serve sauce over polenta, topped with fresh basil.