joy of nesting

joy of nesting
California designer Shiree Hanson Segerstrom's weekly tips for decorating, gardening, and stylish living

Vegetarian Cravings...Links to Some of the Best Veggie Dishes Ever!

























Pizzetta with Asparagus and Goat Cheese

For dinner last night, I decided to make twice baked potatoes. I went to my Pinterest boards for recipes and while there was inspired by all the vegetarian dishes I had collected throughout the year. The images were positively mouth watering.

I hope you're inspired by these dishes and will consider trying one or two of them soon. Since becoming a vegetarian two years ago, I've opened up a whole new world of cooking possibilities. I love the diversity of this style of cooking. Once I got past my initial intimidation, I became a more versatile, flexible cook.

 I've provided links to the recipes whenever available.
























Crunchy Cole Slaw with Avocado



















Crispy Black Bean Cakes with Cilantro Dipping Sauce
























Grilled Green Onions, Cherry Tomatoes and Asparagus
























Grilled Potato and Cannellini Beans



















Grilled Eggplant and Tomato Stacks with Feta Cheese
























Mexican Veggie Soup with Lime, Cilantro and Avocado

Sorry! I couldn't find this soup recipe on the Sacramento Street blog. Perhaps you'll have better luck. It looks well worth a few minutes of searching.
























Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans
























Coconut and Red Lentil Soup

From Scaling Back Blog. Requires a bit of searching, click on the link above.

For more great vegetarian recipes, see what you can find on Vegetarian Dishes at Pinterest. I hope they inspire you to delve into the healthy vegetarian lifestyle.

A Healthy and Unbelievably Delicious Lifestyle Change...Big Dish Salads

Cooking with any new ingredient takes more preparation time but once you've learned it, it becomes second nature. For me, the idea of adding beans to my salad was a little intimidating but once I found organic canned beans without added chemicals I was fine. I like to use O brand organic beans from Safeway. Now when I make a pot of beans I use the more economical dried beans. For my salads, I use the canned.

Switching to the vegetarian lifestyle is a matter of stepping outside your comfort zone. In truth, it's a much more diverse form of cooking not to mention better for the planet, your health, and above all a more humane way to live.

Here's the "kicker" that few of us realize about a plant based diet: you get all the protein you need from a wide variety of (key words here, wide variety) fruits, vegetables, healthy fats (avocado, walnuts, and olive oil), beans, sprouted grains and Quinoa. There will be arguments stating that many vegetarians and vegans don't look healthy or have enough energy. That's because the bulk of their diet is packaged and convenience foods. If you eat the foods I've listed here and drink lots of water you won't look unhealthy or feel tired like they do. Other benefits are beautiful skin and reduced weight, particularly mid-section fat.

For an easier vegetarian meal, I've found that virtually everyone loves the tried and true "big restaurant salad" with greens, black beans, flavorful fruits, and toasted walnuts. I do one of these every day, usually at lunch time since I normally work from my home office. But they're great for dinner too.

For days when I'm out of the office, most restaurants have a full meal salad on the menu. Once you've disciplined yourself to eating restaurant salads it eventually becomes your preferred meal of choice when dining out. They are high in calories and nutrients so if you're a calorie counter be sure to have the dressing on the side. Dip your fork into the dressing first, then the salad. Understand the price for your salad will be the same as a burger if not more. I've made peace with this fact and it doesn't bother me a bit. At the end of the meal, I'm very satisfied with  my choice flavor wise, and knowing I've gotten my needed nutrients of the day as well as enjoyed the dining out experience. It's a win-win.

For my big, "meal-in-one" salads, the best fruits to choose from are flavorful oranges, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, apples, mango, or pear. For dressing I always use olive oil, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lots of sea salt (you need lots of sea salt for flavor, but don't use regular table salt which has unhealthy, anti-caking ingredients), lemon juice or lime juice. I never use creamy dressings or packaged seasonings. These are bad habits to get into because they are quite bad for you and the flavors don't satisfy you the way vinegars, healthy oil and citrus juice do. It's a subtle form of satisfaction at first but once you are accustomed to real dressing ingredients you'll understand. I also love to add any one or more of these ingredients: red bell pepper, cucumber, onion, craisins, cilantro, kalamata olives, honey, and avocado. My favorite cheese options are Parmesan, Feta, Chevre or on special occasions, Gorgonzola.

My family and dinner party guests love these salads. They're amazingly flavorful, filling and satisfying. They fulfill much of your daily need for fruits and vegetables. You can feel good the rest of the day knowing you have much of what you need taken care of in one big dish!

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