New vegetarians are often intimidated by the "weird" ingredients found in so many recipes. Things like agar agar, tempeh, seaweed, even agave can be off-putting to omni's because they are unfamiliar. I am often asked if it's possible to be vegetarian without eating "weird" or hard to find ingredients.
Of course the answer is a resounding yes. But I remember the difficulties I faced when I first became vegetarian. Most of the cookbooks I could find back then contained recipes calling for "weird" ingredients like brewer's yeast ( not to be confused with nutritional yeast), soy flour, carob, and TVP granules. Everything was brown and vile tasting. Bland brown rice and TVP casseroles appeared in nearly every cookbook. The few recipes with any flavor were Asian or Mexican.
As time went on available recipes called for more and more highly processed ingredients. Soy "cheeze", mock "chicken", and " Tofurky" are a real turn-off to me. As is "vegan beefy" ( read TVP) anything. I wasn't giving up unhealthy meat in order to replace it with unhealthy, highly processed imitation food.
Judging from my email, many new and aspiring vegetarians have trouble sticking with it because they are frustrated with the lack of recipes for "normal" food. While we've come a long way since the 1970's, there is still a dearth of whole food vegetarian recipes.
Fortunately, Asian and Mexican recipes still fill vegetarian cookbooks. But whole foods vegetarian recipes are still rare for those of us who miss the flavors of our traditional European ancestry. So, per a request, today I am sharing my goulash recipe.
I made this with leftover cooked beans , but you can sub canned beans if you use them. I used home canned tomatoes, but I wrote the recipe for store bought, since that is what most people use. The caraway seeds in this are a traditional flavor, but they also help to prevent the unpleasant gastric effect that beans have on some people. This recipe serves 6, feel free to cut it in half if needed. To increase nutrition I serve it over spaghetti squash rather than noodles. The flavors really complement each other. Figure on 1/2 of a spaghetti squash per person. The recipe below is vegan, if you are vegetarian, serve with a tsp. of sour cream on top. This one makes my taste buds sing!
Vegan Bean Goulash
3 spaghetti squash, cooked ( directions below)
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 T. olive oil
2 c. vegetable broth
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. cooked kidney beans
2 1/2 c. cooked great northern beans
1 organic potato, skin on, diced
2 T. sweet hungarian paprika
1/8 tsp. basil
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. caraway seeds
To cook spaghetti squash:
Preheat oven to 375, cut squash in half, scoop out seeds. Place cut side down on oiled baking sheet and bake 30-40 min. till tender. Cool. Scrape with fork to remove squash strands.
Sweat onion and red pepper in oil 10 min. till tender. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 min. till potato is tender and goulash has thickened a little. Serve over spaghetti squash.
This is a great meal to curl up in front of the Olympics with ;-) It's also much easier to get my workout done with the inspiring athletes to watch while I'm doing it.