BERNIE MASON For Lee Montana Newspapers
Soy food products are fast and easy to cook with and are an excellent source of high quality protein, as complete as the protein found in meat.
Try this easy to prepare lasagna made with tofu and you will save the time it takes to brown the ground beef you might normally use, plus save on the cost. Cooked mushrooms and zucchini add some texture and nutrition.
1¾ cups zucchini, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
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4 cups fat-free marinara sauce
8 oz. lasagna noodles, uncooked
6 oz. Mozzarella cheese, grated
½ cup Parmesan-style cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté the mushrooms and zucchini in a nonstick skillet until tender, adding a little water if needed. Set aside. Mash the tofu in a small mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, dried parsley flakes, Italian herb seasoning, and pepper. Mix well. Combine the water and marinara sauce. (The extra water will be absorbed by the noodles.) Assemble the lasagna: Put about 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Top with half of the uncooked noodles, half of the tofu mixture, half of the Mozzarella cheese, and all of the mushrooms and zucchini. Put another 1/3 of the sauce on top, the remaining noodles, the remaining tofu, and then the last 1/3 of the sauce. Top with the remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cover the casserole with foil. Bake at 350 for one hour. Remove from oven and let sit 10 to 15 minutes to make serving easier. Cut lasagna into 18 pieces. Source: “Soy foods – A Healthy Profile,” Soybean Research & Promotion Council.
Black Bean and Corn Burritos
Burritos are a favorite meal choice and your family won’t miss the meat in this recipe that uses nutritious and low-cost beans as a meat substitute. The recipe has the advantage of being prepared in a slow-cooker so the filling is ready-to-go when needed. If desired, the mixture can be cooled after it is cooked and then frozen for future use.
2 cans (15 oz.) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 package (16-oz.) frozen whole kernel corn
1 can (14.5 oz.) no-salt-added fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 cup reduced-sodium sauce
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground chipotle chili pepper or chili powder
16 (8-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas, warmed
1 cup shredded taco cheese blend or cheddar cheese (6 oz.)
½ cup sliced green onions (opt.)
Low-fat Greek yogurt (opt.)
In a 3½- or 4-quart slow cooker combine the beans, corn, tomatoes, bell pepper, salsa, jalapeno, chipotle pepper and garlic. Cover and cook on Low 5 to 6 hours or High 3½ to 4 hours. Using a slotted spoon, spoon bean mixture onto each warmed tortilla, just below center. Top with lettuce, cheese and, if desired, green onions. Fold bottom edge of each tortilla over filling. Fold in opposite sides, roll up tortilla. If desired, serve with yogurt. Source: “Slow Cooker Favorites, Volume 8,” 2020.
Lynne’s Linguine With Pistachio Pesto
Different kinds of nuts can also be used as a meat substitute and protein source. Lynne Rossato Kasper, former host of the radio show “Splendid Table,” turns frequently to this recipe, which uses toasted pistachios and pine nuts, as her comfort food.
1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
3 large unpeeled garlic cloves
1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves (or a mix of spearmint, peppermint, and basil)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound dried linguine or spaghetti
1 pound assorted cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
Heat a large heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat. Pile in pistachios and pine nuts. Cook, stirring frequently, until light brown and incredibly nutty smelling, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Add garlic to skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until softened and browned in patches, about 5 minutes; remove to a plate to cool. Peel and add to the food processor, along with basil, and process. With the blade still running, drizzle oil in through the chute. Once incorporated, transfer to a large bowl. Stir in salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Meanwhile, cook linguine according to package directions until al dente. Reserve about ¾ cup pasta water. Drain remaining water from pasta and give the colander a good shake or two. Add pasta and tomatoes to pesto. Give it all a good mix and drizzle in enough of the reserved pasta water to get the nutty pesto to coat the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano. Source: “AllRecipes,” February/March 2022.
Black Bean and Pepper Jack Burgers
With the addition of fresh scallions, cilantro and spicy pepper jack cheese, these zingy burgers are a more tasty choice than the regular veggie burgers you have tried. The rolled oats help to hold them together.
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 oz. finely grated pepper Jack cheese (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon olive oil, more for the plate
4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
Jarred sauce, per serving
Sliced avocado, for serving
Put the oats in a food processor and pulse three times to roughly chop. Add half of the beans and press into a coarse paste, about 6 pulses. Add the egg, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt and process to mix well, about 1 minute. Transfer the bean mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining beans, the cheese, cilantro, and scallions. With wet hands, form the bean mixture into four ½-inch patties and transfer to a lightly oiled plate. Refrigerate for 15 to 18 minutes for the burgers to set up. Heat a large heavy-duty skillet (preferably a cast iron) on high heat until very hot; add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Cook the burgers until browned, with a good crust, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the patties and cook, flipping again if necessary, until the burgers feel firm when pressed with a fingertip, another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve the burgers in the buns topped with the salsa and avocado. Source: “Fine Cooking,” June/July 2012.
Bernie Mason writes the Local Flavor column for Lee Montana Newspapers. She was a Yellowstone County extension agent for 24 years. Mason grew up in Sidney in a family of German and Danish ancestry.