Victoria's Vegetarian Victuals

Nobody wants to cook in summer heat, and August is a hot month, but nobody wants to stop eating, and somehow, cooking out-of-doors is part of what makes summer.

Picnics and barbecues abound in our neighborhood, and arriving home, I am overcome by the smell of good things cooking.  Because of the availability of those lovely meatless products that I told you about last month, by Morningstar Farms, Green Giant and other companies, we vegetarians can still enjoy the smell and appearance of meat product, as well as the taste, without compromising our principles.

Here are three easy meatless summer recipes that I have put together (and tested on my mom) that should make you life a little easier on August evenings when you don't feel like spending much time in the kitchen.  You can also do most of this cooking out of doors, if you wish.

Elbows With Meatless Sauce

  • 1 lb of meatless sausage, ground (Morningstar Farms, frozen)
  • 1 box of elbow macaroni
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of grated cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Thaw the meatless sausage, and break it up in a microwave bowl.  Cook it in the microwave for 4 minutes on high.  Add the tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and oregano and mix well.  Set aside.  Cook the pasta in boiling water to your own taste.  Drain.  Place the elbows on a large serving dish and pour the thick meatless sauce over it.  Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Baked Cavatelli

  • 1 lb Morningstar Farms sausage substitute (frozen)
  • 2 1/2 cups wagon wheel macaroni, or corkscrew macaroni
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14-oz jar spaghetti sauce with mushrooms (or without, if you don't like them)
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Drain.

Cook sausage substitute in a large skillet until it browns completely.  Remove from skillet. 

Sauté green onions in vegetable oil, until tender.

Combine cooked pasta, substitute sausage, onion mixture, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, Italian seasoning, pepper and half of the shredded cheese. Toss gently to combine.

Bake, covered, in a casserole pan in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella.  Bake for 8 minutes more.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Herbed Vegetable Combo

  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 cup zucchini squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup celery, cut into 2" strips
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/3 cup green pepper, cut into 2" strips

Heat water in a large frying pan.  Add squash, green pepper, celery, and onion.  Cover and cook over moderate heat, until vegetables are tender crisp (about 4 minutes).

Sprinkle seasoning over vegetables.  Top with tomato wedges.  Cover and cook over low heat until tomato wedges are heated (about 2 minutes).

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time:  20 minutes