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Jazzy Vegetarian: Blog

Mother’s Day Menu…JAZZY STYLE!

Posted on May 9, 2012

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Here is my delicious Mother’s Day Menu to prepare and share this weekend! This elegant, four-course meal is filled with great taste and features my crowd-pleasing recipes that’ll impress everyone you are are cooking for this Sunday!

In this Italian-inspired, vegan meal, my easy-to-make lasagna rolls stand front and center. They’re backed up by a harmonious menu that showcases a delicate soup, crisp green salad, Italian-inspired broccoli rabe, scrumptious garlic bread and a decadent tasting chocolate pudding. Let’s get cooking!

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Jazzy Vegetarian Mother’s Day Menu

(Please scroll down to see all recipes below)

STARTER

Velvety Carrot Soup

SALAD

Easy Elegant Green Salad

MAIN

Quick Lasagna Rolls

Nino’s Broccoli Rabe

Grandma’s Garlic Bread

DESSERT

Pots De Crème

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Velvety Carrot Soup

4 to 6 servings

I love to serve this stunning, colorful soup as an elegant first course for any festive meal. The vegetables are blended to produce a thick, smooth soup that’s low in calories and high in nutrition. It’s very tasty as is, but if you make it a day in advance and store it tightly covered in the refrigerator, the flavors will meld and develop even more. Just note that you may need to add a bit more broth or nondairy milk if you reheat the soup before serving. Any leftovers make a perfect lunch entrée the next day!

5 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 medium white potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk, plus more as needed

1 cup vegetable broth, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon italian seasoning

1⁄2 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Steam the carrots and potatoes until soft but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the nondairy milk, broth, brown sugar, italian seasoning, and tamari and stir to combine. 

Put half of the mixture in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a soup pot. Repeat with the remaining mixture, then stir the two batches together.

Put the pot over medium-low heat and simmer, stirring often, until heated through, about 10 minutes, adding more broth or nondairy milk to achieve the desired consistency.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with the parsley if desired.

From EPISODE #112 of Jazzy Vegetarian on Public Television and in THE COMPANION COOKBOOK: JAZZY VEGETARIAN, Lively Vegan Cuisine That’s Easy and Delicious © LAURA THEODORE 2011

Easy and Elegant Green Salad

Makes 4 servings

This is my basic go-to salad whenever I have guests for dinner. The flavorful balsamic dressing adds a touch of elegance to the delicate baby greens. This is the perfect first-course dinner salad to serve at any festive meal. You can make this recipe your own by mixing and matching additional ingredients. Try by adding: nuts, seeds, olives, grated carrots or peppers to the salad.

Simple Dressing

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Salad

8 ounces (10 cups, lightly packed) mixed baby greens

20 grape tomatoes

1/2 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

1 medium avocado, sliced thinly into 12 slices

 To make the dressing, put the oil, vinegar, garlic and mustard in a small bowl and briskly whisk until smooth and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

            To make the salad, divide the greens among four salad plates. For each serving, top with 5 tomatoes, one-quarter of the cucumber and three avocado slices. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the dressing over each salad. Serve immediately.

Note: The dressing makes more than you’ll need for this salad, but it’s a great basic dressing to have on hand and is used in other recipes in this book. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, leftover dressing will keep for about 2 weeks. Just whisk it briskly before using.

Quick Lasagna Rolls

Makes 4 to 6 servings

If you’re in the mood for lasagna but not in the mood to spend over an hour putting it together, try this simplified version. Because no sautéing is required, these fancy rolls are ready for the oven in less than thirty minutes.

8 whole-grain lasagna noodles

41⁄2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 jar (about 25 ounces) marinara sauce

14 to 16 ounces firm regular tofu, drained

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1⁄2 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari

5 to 6 large green olives, preferably queen or sevillano, pitted and chopped (optional)

5 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ

2 cups shredded vegan cheese (optional, see note)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the noodles. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are almost tender. Drain and rinse under cool water, then drain well. Transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the oil and gently toss to coat. Allow the noodles to cool.

Meanwhile, stir 3 teaspoons of the oil into 1 cup of the marinara sauce. Spread the mixture in the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking pan. Put the tofu, 1⁄2 cup of the basil, and the parsley, tamari, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon of oil in a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher until the mixture has the consistency of ricotta cheese. Add the optional olives and the garlic and stir until thoroughly combined.

Lay a noodle on a large cutting board. Spoon about 1⁄4 cup of the tofu mixture along the length of the noodle, spreading it evenly with the back of the spoon. Gently roll into a spiral shape. Set the roll in the baking pan seam-side down. Continue with the remaining noodles and filling, arranging them snugly in the pan.

Set aside 3⁄4 cup of the remaining marinara sauce. Spoon the remainder over the rolls, distributing it evenly. Sprinkle 1⁄4 cup of the basil over the top.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven but do not turn the oven off. Spoon the remaining marinara sauce over the rolls, then sprinkle with the wheat germ, vegan cheese (if using), and remaining 1⁄4 cup of basil. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is slightly browned.

Put the pan on a wire rack. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve 1 to 2 rolls per person, spooning the sauce from the bottom of the pan over top of the rolls.

NOTE: If you do not want to use the vegan cheese, just add a bit more wheat germ to the top of the casserole.

From EPISODE #109 of Jazzy Vegetarian on Public Television and in THE COMPANION COOKBOOK: JAZZY VEGETARIAN, Lively Vegan Cuisine That’s Easy and Delicious © LAURA THEODORE 2011

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic

Makes 4 servings

The slightly bitter yet sweet taste of broccoli rabe makes this dish a great accompaniment to Quick Lasagna Rolls.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari (optional)

Sea salt (optional)

Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet, then spread half of the broccoli rabe over it. Scatter the garlic over the broccoli rabe, then drizzle with a bit more oil and sprinkle with the crushed red pepper flakes. Add a final layer of the remaining broccoli rabe and drizzle with the remaining oil. Press the broccoli rabe firmly into the skillet with the lid. Cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often and adding more oil or a bit of water as needed to prevent sticking. Season with the optional tamari, salt to taste, or both and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender and still bright green. Serve immediately.

From EPISODE #109 of Jazzy Vegetarian on Public Television and in THE COMPANION COOKBOOK: JAZZY VEGETARIAN, Lively Vegan Cuisine That’s Easy and Delicious © LAURA THEODORE 2011

Grandma’s Garlic Bread

MAKES 10 TO 12 SERVINGS

This recipe is based on my grandmother’s and mother’s version, which was always a favorite of mine. I’ve updated it to use fresh garlic and whole-grain bread, as it’s more nutritious and hearty. This tantalizing loaf, with its crispy crust and herbed, soft, and steamy inside, is bursting with flavor. In other words . . . perfection!

1 large loaf whole-grain italian bread

1⁄3 cup vegan margarine, at room temperature

6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon italian seasoning (see note)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the bread on a cutting board. Use a serrated bread knife to slice 1⁄2- to 1-inch-thick slices diagonally across the entire loaf, but don’t cut all the way through the bottom crust; leave the bottom of the loaf intact.

Put the margarine, garlic, and italian seasoning in a small bowl and mash with the back of a fork until thoroughly combined. Working carefully so as not to separate the slices, spread the margarine mixture on each side of each slice. Wrap tightly in foil, crimping the edges to form a tight seal (see note).

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is crispy and the interior is hot and steamy. Remove the foil and serve the bread in a bread-basket or large bowl, wrapped in a large cloth napkin to keep it warm.

NOTES

●          If you have fresh herbs such as basil or oregano on hand, feel free to substitute about 3 tablespoons of minced fresh herbs for the italian seasoning, or add them along with the dried herbs.

●          Once the bread is wrapped in foil, it may be stored in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours before baking

Pots de Crème

Makes 4 to 6 servings

This delicate, rich dessert is based on a recipe my grandma often made. When I was a child it was my favorite dessert, but it was packed with eggs and heavy cream. Here’s a fail-safe vegan version that faithfully reproduces the taste of Grandma’s specialty. Served in tiny espresso cups, it provides an elegant ending to any fancy meal. Plus, you can make it the day before serving if you wish—always a bonus when entertaining.

3⁄4 cup vanilla nondairy milk

12 ounces soft regular or silken tofu, drained and cubed

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

Heat the nondairy milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming hot but not boiling.

Put the tofu and brown sugar in a blender, then add the chocolate chips. Pour in the nondairy milk and process until completely smooth.

Spoon the mixture into tiny dessert bowls or espresso cups and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours. Serve chilled.

From EPISODE #108 of Jazzy Vegetarian on Public Television and in THE COMPANION COOKBOOK: JAZZY VEGETARIAN, Lively Vegan Cuisine That’s Easy and Delicious © LAURA THEODORE 2011