Tag Archives: Zucchini

Pollock Potluck

Inspired by this photo of me at the Chicago Art Institute:

…my awesome neighbor across the hall suggested a POLLOCK POTLUCK.  We decided to skip the cigarettes and beer.   And went with veggies instead.  I know.  I know.  A vegan tribute to Action Jackson.  The man is rolling in his grave.  We spent more time talking about Peggy Guggenheim, Gertrude Stein, Frida Kahlo, Emily Dickinson, and Hatshepsut than Pollock.  But we ate some really good spaghetti squash that kind of looked like his famous paint splatters.  It was pretty much amazing.

Jenny made a delicious salad of cold steamed green beans, apples, oranges and walnuts over a bed of lettuce with citrusy vinaigrette.

I made Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragout from a cookbook called The Gluten-Free Vegan Cookbook by Susan O’Brien.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place 1 spaghetti squash (about 2-3 pounds) directly on the oven rack and bake until soft, about 1 hour.  Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  • While squash is cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add 1 large onion, medium zucchini, and 3 cups chard, all finely chopped, and saute for 8 to 10 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, and 4 cloves garlic, chopped.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  Add 1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, 1 tablespoon capers, and cook for another minute or 2.  Add some fresh or dried basil and 1/8 cup red wine (or red wine vinegar) and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Cut the squash in half.  Scoop out the seeds and discard.  Then scoop out the noodly flesh and place it in a large bowl.  *Note: I will probably drain the squash halves upside-down on some paper towels before scooping next time.  Mine came out a bit soupy.*  Toss with the vegetable mixture.

  • 1 spaghetti squash: $3.98
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil: $0.05
  • 1 large onion: $0.33
  • medium zucchini: $0.70
  • 3 cups chard: $0.89
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper: $0.76
  • 4 ounces cremini mushrooms: $0.99
  • 4 cloves garlic: $0.20
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes: $0.89
  • 1 tablespoon capers: $0.50
  • dried basil: $0.05
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar: $0.10

=$9.44/6 servings = $1.57/serving!

I also made some vegan parmesan to sprinkle on top.  This was inspired by my friend Kristin’s recipe.  She had told me the ingredients but not the amounts, so I winged it.  I just put the following in my food processor:

  • 3/4 cup raw cashew pieces: $1.13
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast: $0.60
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder: $0.05
  • a pinch of dried crushed red pepper: $0.01
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper (add some salt too if your lemon pepper is the salt-free kind): $0.15

Then pulsed it until it resembled the texture of parmesan.  EASY!

=$1.94 for about 1 cup of faux parmesan

I would say that this meal qualified as a masterpiece.



Nine-A-Day Salad

I don’t normally use a recipe when I make salad, but it’s definitely worthwhile in this case: http://www.food.com/recipe/nine-a-day-salad-382136

This salad is chunkier and heartier than what I usually come up with on my own.  It’s a real crowd pleaser, my go-to salad for parties/potlucks, so I knew exactly what to do when my Aunt Julie asked me bring a salad for a family dinner.

I always double the recipe for a crowd.  This time around I used tarragon instead of basil, doubled the olive oil (oh yeah!), and used one whole yellow bell pepper instead of two different colors.  I also subbed sunflower seeds for the almonds because that was what I happened to have.  I like to let it marinate in the dressing for a couple of hours before serving.  Everybody always asks me, “What kind of dressing did you use?”  and I take pleasure in responding, “homemade.”  The truth is, though, that vinaigrette is super, super simple to throw together.


  • 4 tablespoons cider vinegar: $0.32
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice: $0.24
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon: $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano: $0.02
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped: $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon salt: $0.01
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil: $0.20

=$0.91 for about five ounces of salad dressing or $0.18/ounce

Newman’s Own dressing is $3.99/16 ounces on their Web site, or about $0.25/ounce.


  • 2 cups broccoli florets: $0.90
  • 1 yellow bell pepper: $1.26
  • 4 slices red onions: $0.12
  • 1 can chickpeas: $0.89
  • 1 cup carrot, sliced: $0.16
  • 1 zucchini, sliced: $0.70
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced: $0.50
  • 16 cherry tomatoes: $0.66
  • 4 cups spinach: $0.99
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower seeds: $0.16

=$7.25 for a gigantic bowl of salad with dressing/7 servings

= $1.04/serving

…or I imagine it could feed 4 people as an entree, which would be $1.81/serving.

Julie set up a pasta bar, which was a fun idea.   She had different fresh chopped veggies and meats set out and let each person make a bowl of raw ingredients, which she sauteed, then added pasta and (choice of red or white) sauce: kind of like a Mongolian barbecue restaurant!  She very thoughtfully cooked mine first to avoid meatamination.
I chose garlic, red onions, yellow squash, and two(!) kinds of mushrooms.  She also made yummy garlic toast.
It was fun to catch up with the ladies over some comforting food.

Chili Verde

There’s no doubt that chili (sin carne) is a vegetarian staple.  Without the meat it’s still hearty enough and recognizable enough to please omnivores and vegans alike.  But, of course, variety is the spice of life, so I’ve been thinking about developing a veggie version of a white chili or green chili recipe for some time.  When I had some friends over for my birthday this week, it was the perfect chance to test my idea, and I was happy with the results.

Before leaving for work I threw the following into my crock pot:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 2 cans green chiles
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 fresh jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

I let that cook on low for about 7 hours (or you could cook it on high for just a few hours).  When I got home, it was a bit soupy, so I added:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa

…and let it cook for another hour.  That soaked up the extra broth and added exactly the textural dimension it needed.

Feel free to garnish it with fresh cilantro, lime juice, crushed tortilla chips, Tofutti sour cream, etc.

  • 1 can chickpeas: $0.89
  • 1 can cannellini beans: $0.89
  • 1 can corn: $0.49
  • 2 cans green chiles: $1.58
  • 1 onion, chopped: $0.25
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped: $0.10
  • 4 fresh jalapenos, chopped: $0.80
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed: $1.40
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced: $1.99
  • 4 cups veggie broth: $1.99
  • 1 teaspoon oregano: $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon cumin: $0.02
  • 1/2 cup quinoa: $0.67

=$11.09/8 servings


PS: Kudos to my friend Kate for bringing over homemade guacamole and pico de gallo.  They were delicious!!!

Ratatouille in the Crock Pot

Another recipe from the beginning of the summer (too good not to post):

I’ve been looking for some vegetarian crock pot recipes that aren’t soup.  Although by now you surely know how much I LOVE soup, it’s nice to have other options, and this recipe did not disappoint.  The addition of chickpeas made it a complete, hearty meal.

This recipe came from:


  • 1 onion, chopped: $0.64
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced: $0.20
  • 6 cups eggplants, cubed (one large): $4.19
  • 2 teaspoons basil (dried): $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (dried): $0.05
  • 1 red pepper: $2.66
  • 2 zucchini: $2.34
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste: $1.49
  • 1 (19 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed: $1.49
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes: $3.39
All of the ingredients (except for the dried herbs) were organic.  I bought them at the local co-op.
=$16.50/8 servings

=$2.06/serving! (or $2.17/serving with brown rice)

The recipe called for cooking the onions, garlic, and eggplant in a skillet first. Some reviewers had complained that the eggplant came out mushy, so I opted to skip that step.  It seriously only took me 10 minutes to chop the veggies and throw everything in the crock pot.

Then I cooked it on low for about 4 hours and threw some fresh basil on top before serving.

I served it over brown rice.  My BFF brought over some nice crusty bread, and, of course, a lovely bottle of red wine.  Perfection.