Contest: Green eggs and no ham


With vegetarianism practically a sacrilege amongst our collective (don’t even mention it in front of some), and vegan being the dirtiest five-letter word around these parts, it might seem odd that we’re talking about a book on the topic.

Indeed, the cover just makes me crave another bowl of Moose Stew. I’m exaggerating a little here. I actually don’t mind not having meat seven days week. It’s probably better not to, and I’d much rather have better, organic and sustainable meat less often than junk every night. But what to cook on those non-meat nights, or for the very rare guest that we’ll let come over even though we know they are vegan (basically, we have to because she’s related)?

Well, what’s the real problem with vegetarian dishes anyway? For me, often it’s that they lack depth and complexity of flavour or compromised texture. Not always though. It’s usually when something vegetal is being passed off as something from the animal kingdom. Vegetarian and whole foods cooking that celebrates itself can often be quite surprisingly good–as a side dish (kidding!).

Enter Moosewood Restaurant, a collective of 19 members who share responsibilities and have grown this small natural foods restaurant into a greater concern. And hey, if they’ve been the recipients of three James Beard Awards they must know a thing or two about coaxing flavour out of a zucchini or eggs sans ham.

Moosewood Restaurant, Cooking for Health is their twelfth book, with carefully crafted recipes that celebrate local and environmentally sustainable food and that reflect the latest thinking on good nutrition.

I’m going to set aside a few prejudices and try out some of the 200 receipes on offer. We’ll see what my vegan sister-in-law has to say too. In the meantime, we’ve a copy to give away courtesy of the publisher. Simply comment with your favourite vegan or vegetarian recipe that doesn’t taste vegan or vegetarian. Or, to throw a twist into this, a meat recipe that you can’t tell has meat in it! We’ll pick a winner at random just before the great xmas turkey/tofurky carve up.


13 Responses to “Contest: Green eggs and no ham”

  1. Posted on December 7th, 2009

    Eggs in purgatory – either on polenta or homemade bread – would be my favourite vegetarian dish. Delicious.

  2. Posted on December 7th, 2009

    This is a recent favorite, but we’ve made it several times now.


    Intrigued? It’s a bell pepper stew (so nice and “sweet”) served with a still-soft-yolk egg in it. We add chickpeas in ours for extra protein. I guess you can do that if you plan on leaving the egg out (to make it vegan)!

    Or, to make it a meat dish, add a flavorful sausage like chorizo. ;)


    2 onions
    chili flakes/chili peppers
    garlic, as much as you want
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
    1 cup drained canned chickpeas
    4 to 6 bell peppers, large dice
    1/2 teaspoon cumin
    1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika

    In a pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Sauté onions, garlic and chili flakes until soft. Add tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes, until tomato paste has darkened in color. Add the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas and cook until the tomatoes have broken down. Add the diced bell peppers. Add cumin and sweet parpika into the pot as well. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the peppers are soft. Adjust seasoning with salt and sugar.

    To serve, scoop desired amount into a small pan. Heat over medium heat. Break desired number of eggs into the pan and cook until desired egg doneness. Serve with warmed pita or other flatbread.


  3. Posted on December 7th, 2009

    Here’s a picture!

    (Trying to see if I can insert a photo here.)

  4. Posted on December 8th, 2009

    Love the letter spacing in the photo for this post. Wicked…

  5. Posted on December 9th, 2009

    My favourite comfort dish to cook at home is actually vegetarian. Spicy, Garlicky Eggplant and Bamboo Shoots

    I, too, can often go weeks without meat and not even thinking about it. I enjoy vegetable and always introduce lots of flavour into my dishes so I rarely miss meat. Quality meat is usually a treat when I dine out.

  6. Posted on December 15th, 2009

    I LOVE Moosewood! Their cookbooks carried me through 7 years as a vegetarian and I still regularly pick them up for potlucks and general inspiration. One of my fave vegetarian dishes is from their Cooks at Home book – Tunisan Vegetable Stew. Add a little feta on top and you’re golden.

  7. Posted on December 28th, 2009

    Thanks for the recipes! Congrats to Melody who won the Moosewood cookbook!

  8. Posted on December 28th, 2009

    Oh, and I meant to mention, that in Mel’s dish you can also drop in ground pork or even prawns if you are an ardent meat eater! When I’ve made variants of this dish I’ve skipped the noodles she recommends and served on Jasmine rice. I’m going to give this recipe a whirl as it is though. Looks delicious.

    If you are in Vancouver, South China Seas is a good place to pick up the ingredients.

  9. Posted on January 3rd, 2010

    Yay :) I’m so happy with the book. It’s very practical. Thank you so much!

  10. Posted on January 23rd, 2010

    Ah, isn´t it just sad that people think a dish without meat misses depth and complexity or flavour?

    What a pity that these people are so limited in their gastronomic experience.
    And shame to all the ‘chef de cuisine’ who are the reason for that.

    It is just like knowing only one sexposition, only haveing sex on their bed…one can have fun with that, but oh..when you know more positions and places where you can have that i would call fun.

    Maybe someone has to be openminded about sex to be open minded with the food…oh the suggestion

    And how can anyone truly call him/herself a gourmet if one has never had the pleasure of real good, wide ranged cuisine.

    My condolence to all the people who never tasted good indian or asian dishes.
    Not as if there would not be good dishes in other cuisines, but india and other parts of asia truly have the most.

    Damn, now i have a craving for one of these sinfull delicious currys..eggplant or lady fingers..or chickpea curry.
    Not one tastes similiar to the other and no one would miss meat in these dishes

    I really wish i had the experience of these people in the restaurant i love so. It just tastes the best there.

    But the recipes here are also not so bad

    The indian spinach curry is the reason why i now like spinach..and cauliflower.Before i had known the indian cuisine i detested these vegetables

    Hope you have some fun with it

  11. Posted on February 15th, 2010

    Any spinach and chickpea recipe from spain. It has everything I ever want, has to be healthy for you, and I get cravings for it. Particularly after a bender of an opening ceremonies/olympics weekend. Spicy, vinegary, and awesome. I like mine with a poached egg on top.

    It works with spinach, but is also good (but different) with kale.

    1 bunch spinach: trimmed, washed, thrown into a med-high pan and cooked for 2-3 minutes until wilted, cooled, squeezed of water, chopped, and set aside
    4-5 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced
    1 teaspoon chili flakes. I’ve been known to squirt a few dashes of good hot sauce as well
    1 – 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
    1 teaspoon oregano
    1/2 teaspoon sweet (not smoked) paprika
    1/2 teaspoon sweet (smoked) paprika
    2-3 roma tomatoes
    100g of day old bread, torn into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces
    1 can of chickpeas – 1-2 tablespoons of liquid reserved
    1 tablespoon (or more to taste) sherry vinegar

    Add olive oil to a pan and toss in the bread chunks. Once they start to crisp up nicely add the garlic and cumin. Once it just begins to color, add the chile, sweet paprika, and oregano and cook for a minute or so longer. Remove to a mortar and pestle, add sherry vinegar, and grind to a smoothish paste (the the bread should be quite fried so it breaks up nicely). In the pan, add the tomatoes and cook them for 5-10 minutes with the juice from the the chickpea can. Add the chickpeas, the bread crumb paste and cook for 5 or so minutes to meld the flavors. If it’s looking a bit dry, add some (but not much) water or juice from chickpea can. You don’t want it to be bone dry, but this isn’t a stew either. Check salt levels. Add smoked paprika and spinach. If it isn’t spicy enough for you, dash in some hotsauce. More vinegary? more vinegar! A squidge of lemon can also be nice. Serve with a bit of crusty bread or maybe a poached egg on top.

    Mhm. I think I will make that tonight.



  12. Posted on February 15th, 2010

    Thanks for the new recipe to try PG!

  13. Posted on December 2nd, 2010

    Thank you, very useful. I wasnt actually a big fan of Spinach for many years ( lie, I hated the stuff), but after marrying a vegan I kind of had to put up with it, and have slowly come to totally love the stuff. Spinach curry is undoubtedly my absolute favouritest! I even found adedicated spinach recipes website which is my new favourite site now, you should take a look!

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