Monday, August 20, 2012

Meatless Monday: Indian and Asian Inspiration

Last week I was given a copy of Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook — the companion to the hit documentary and a #1 New York Times best seller. This cookbook is published by our sister publishing company, The Experiment.

I will remind you that I am not a vegetarian and far from a vegan, but I eat a lot of plants and many meatless meals. Flipping through this cookbook got my tummy rumbling.

My post from this past Monday featured tomatoes and eggplant. I have not yet eaten the eggplant tomato stacks this season, but on Saturday I did have a fabulous vegetarian meal featuring eggplant: a whole-wheat sourdough pizza topped with grilled eggplant, pesto, and goat cheese; breaded-then-baked zucchini sticks; and garden salad. Even after this fab meal, I am still craving more eggplant.

Forks Over Knives has no lack of eggplant entrรฉes, but one recipe in particular got my taste buds in a tizzy. This one has made it onto my “must make” mental to-do list.

Indian Spiced Eggplant

Serves 4
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 medium eggplants, stemmed, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
3 tablespoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Pinch cloves
Salt to taste
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Place the onions and red pepper in a large saucepan, and sautรฉ over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Add the eggplant, tomatoes, ginger, cumin, coriander, crushed red pepper, and cloves, and cook until the eggplant is tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt, and serve garnished with the cilantro.

Eggplant not your favorite? Give this recipe, also from Forks Over Knives, a try.

Pad Thai

“This popular noodle dish,” the author states, “has as many variations as there are versions of pizza — and, like most pizzas, many of them are full of fat. My version is a a healthy variation on one I used to eat at a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant in my hometown; when you ordered it vegan there, they added fresh basil and tomatoes, and the end result was perfection.” 

Serves 2
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 dates, pitted
1 tablespoon tamarind paste*
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced small
2 tablespoons grated ginger
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
6 green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon Asian hot chili sauce, or to taste
1 cup mung bean sprouts**
1/4 cup Thai basil leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
8 ounces brown rice noodles, cooked according to package directions, drained, and kept warm
1 lime, quartered
1 ripe tomato, cut into small wedges

  1. Place the soy sauce, dates, tamarind paste, and 1/2 cup water in a blender, and process to a smooth paste. Add a little more water, as needed, to achieve a creamy paste. Set it aside. 
  2. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, and green onions and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the date mixture, chili sauce, mung bean sprouts, and basil, and cook for 30 seconds longer. Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta, and garnish with the peanuts  Serve with fresh lime and tomato wedges.
*Tamarind paste can be found in Asian grocery stores and online. If you can’t find it, subsitute a jar of prune baby food and a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice.
**To sprout the Mung Beans:
1/2 cup of mung beans
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste, optional

  1. Soak the mung beans  in 1 cup filtered water overnight. Spread a clean, damp cloth in a large bowl. Drain the water from the beans, and spread them on the cloth. Fold the corners of the cloth over the beans to cover them. Place the bowl in a cool place away from sunlight. Dampen the cloth every 6 hours. The beans will sprout to about 1/2-centimeter sprouts in 12 hours.
  2. Once the beans have sprouted, rinse them thoroughly in clean water. Boil the sprouts in 2 cups of water with the turmeric, and set for 10 munutes, or until the sprouts soften a little. Drain the sprouts, and set them aside. 

Get more recipes from Forks Over KnivesRaspberry-Hemp Mixed Green Salad, Raspberry-Orange Vinaigrette, Kathmandu Stew, and Raw Date Power Bars.


Meatless Monday posts are my effort to pitch the idea of eating meatless one day or one meal a week — for health, for the well-being of animals, and for the environment. I encourage you to give it a try. I also suggest trying variations of these recipes with the produce you have on hand. Additionally, if you are not yet ready to go a full day meat-free, try using these veggie-packed recipes as the focus of your meal.

Our Meatless Monday Archives:
Braised Chard Pizza and Farmhouse Salad
Mini Frittatas and Shaved Zucchini Salad
Beet Soup, Roasted Plum Quesadillas, and Peach Kuchen
Garden Vegetable Pasta and Grilled Eggplant-Tomato-Basil-Mozzarella Stacks

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