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The Part-Time Vegetarian

You won't miss the meat with these vegetarian recipes and meal ideas.

Sausage & Saffron Rice

Journal as: 1 cup "hearty stew, chili, bean soup" + 1/4 cup "starchy foods and legumes without added fat" OR 1 "frozen dinner light, pasta or rice dish with meat or fish or vegetarian with light sauce"

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red chili, stemmed, seeded, and finely minced, or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1 pinch saffron threads (find these in jars in the spice section)
5-6 ounces vegetarian sausage of your choice, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup diced, vine-ripened tomato (or use drained chopped canned tomatoes)
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped green onions (the white and part of the green)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Heat oil in a medium, nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chili or red pepper flakes, if desired, and sauté for exactly one minute. Stir in the brown rice and let brown in oil for a minute. Stir in the broth, saffron, sausage pieces, tomato, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer; cover saucepan and cook 35-40 minutes (rice should be tender).
  • Let the rice mixture sit in covered saucepan for 10 minutes. Stir in green onions, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving (using Whole Foods brand Vegetarian Sausage Links: 291 calories, 13.5 g protein, 43 g carbohydrate, 7.4 g fat, 0.7 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 620 mg sodium (depending on the sodium in the broth and sausage). Calories from fat: 23%.

Portabella Tacos

Journal as: 1 cup "entrée salad with starchy foods light salad dressing" OR 1 portion "frozen dinner light, pasta or rice dish with meat or fish or vegetarian with light sauce" OR 2 slices "bread, toast, whole grain bread" + 2 ounces low-fat cheese + 1/2 cup "vegetables with 1 tsp fat maximum"

4 medium portabella mushrooms, stems removed and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 teaspoons dried oregano flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks (about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch thick)
1 medium red onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
8 corn or flour tortillas
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded, reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup salsa of your choice

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add mushrooms, oregano, oil, salt and pepper (if desired), zucchini sticks, and onion slices to large bowl. Toss to blend well.
  2. Spoon mixture evenly into a jellyroll pan (line it with nonstick foil if you have it). Place pan in oven and let vegetables roast, tossing occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
  3. Soften tortillas by wrapping them in a damp cloth and heating in the microwave for about a minute. Or you can warm them in a nonstick frying pan (use a little canola cooking spray if you like).
  4. Fill each tortilla with mushroom mixture, some shredded cheese, and salsa.

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