My Vegetarian Kitchen

Stories of a vegetarian food snob in Northern California


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You might be able to call these enchiladas…or not

I don’t know about you, but I always have leftover tortillas in a pack where there isn’t quite enough for a meal.  I used to buy more tortillas to resolve the first problem, but it would perpetuate, and at the end, I would end up having to throw away some tortillas anyways.  Never fear though! I have a solution for you :).

My go-to recipe when I want to use up the last few tortillas in the pack is to use them as if they were lasagna noodles and layer up some veggies and cheese…here’s what I put together tonight.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1/4 onion
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed well
  • greens from the tops of 3 beets (or choose your favourite greens instead)
  • 1-2 tbsp of Rancho Gordo Chile Powder (I bought some at the Ferry Building market recently)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Building the Enchiladas

My favourite tortillas these days are plain corn with a hint of lime.  I pick these up at Whole Foods fairly regularly.  My CSA have fresh tortillas as an option as well, so I generally mix it up. The ones in the picture below are the Whole Foods 365 brand.

I usually like to make a quick enchilada sauce, but I was short on time tonight, so I poured some salsa into a nonstick pan until it heated up and then soaked the tortillas until they were soft, moist and flavoured all the way through. I use this trick when making enchiladas as well – it makes all the difference.

I then placed a layer of the tortillas in a 9×9 Pyrex dish (I cut them into smaller pieces so they would cover the bottom of the dish), layered on the vegetable mix and then repeated until I used up the tortillas and veggies (in this case, it was just two layers).  I topped it off with some Daiya cheddar shreds, which in restrospect, I wish I had not used.  I can officially declare that I am not a fan at all.  The shreds have an odd smell to them, and for those who know me, they know I don’t enjoy weird-smelling dairy products…why would I enjoy weird-smelling fake dairy products?  But I said I’d give Daiya another chance, and I did…sorry Daiya…I wanted to love you just because you were Canadian…

Here’s the finished product with a dollop of avocado with lime juice and cilantro.


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Vegan Experiment – Week One Complete

So, it has been a week since I started my vegan experiment.  I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far – but before I get into this post, I must confess that I have cheated (I accidentally had spot of milk in my earl grey tea out of habit, I had a cookie that had butter in it, and I did have some items during the celebration of our local Gurdwara opening – the Mercury News covered this event).

  1. It would be easier if I had gotten rid of all cheese and dairy from my home prior to this trial, but I’m not imposing my experiment on my husband, nor was I about to throw away perfectly good food.  Those cheese strings can be so tempting sometimes!
  2. I agree with the folks that say becoming vegan is really an ethical choice – I’ve had many moments where I have had to force myself to avoid cheese.  I could see this being a continuous battle.  My choice to be a lacto-vegetarian is a religious one, so I don’t have any qualms about cheese and yogurt, especially since I am pretty particular about where I source these items from.
  3. I miss yogurt…desperately.  I refuse to eat soy yogurt or any other substitutes – I was already extremely particular about how my yogurt tasted and smelled, so trying out a fake option is just not for me.
  4. You have to be very disciplined about how well your refrigerator is stocked with fresh produce items.  I’ve had a couple of busy weekends and did not get a chance to head out to the farmers market.  Also, my CSA was not delivering last week as they were doing a season changeover.  Without proper ingredients in the refrigerator, it is really easy to begin considering the cheese items.
  5. Hummus on toast is a great alternative to cheese on toast – just as tasty and incredibly satisfying.
  6. I tried making quesedillas with Daiya’s cheddar style shreds, and again, I can understand how someone would be willing to have this as a replacement to cheese if their vegan choices were for ethical reasons, but I did not enjoy it at all.  I’d rather not have cheese at all.  That being said, I will try out other Daiya products in other recipes before I completely write them off.
  7. I have not consumed any processed “fake meat” options – I don’t eat meat for a reason, and I don’t need to be eating these factory-made items made to look and taste like something I would otherwise not eat.

All that being said, I’m not giving up and am going to continue to my adventure for the rest of the month.  Wish me luck!