Vegetarian Meals

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

pasta salad in stone colored bowl, on white table with basil and sun-dried tomatoes

 

 

Need a quick side dish for your next dinner party?!  Look no further my friends!  The longest part of making this pasta salad is just waiting for the pasta to cook ( and if you like your pasta al dente, then you don’t even have to wait the full time on that)!

I love this pasta salad, because the dressing and mediterranean veggies give this it a fresh and light flavor.  Although this recipe doesn’t call for cheese, don’t be afraid to add some goat or feta cheese if you really want to take it to the next level!

In order to make the best use of your time, chop veggies and prepare the dressing while pasta is cooking.  Dump all ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and then stir in dressing right before serving (to avoid getting everything too soggy).

 

Mediterranean pasta salad in stone colored bowl, topped with grilled artichoke hearts

 

For this recipe, I used Banza Pasta, a gluten free alternative to regular wheat pasta, so I wouldn’t feel all that guilty going back for a second serving!  You could really add any of your favorite mediterranean inspired veggies…my opinion is, the more the merrier!

For me…nothing beats fresh chopped basil (cue romantic background music).  Sun-dried tomatoes add a deep savory flavor, while grilled artichoke hearts give it an awesome salty and smoky flavor.  Add any sort of nut for crunch (a good crunch in any dish is a totally underrated quality) and call it a day!

The dressing is super easy, just a combination of 2 parts extra virgin olive oil, mixed with 1 part balsamic vinegar, along with dried Italian spices.  If you’re feeling really fancy and have lemons on deck…don’t be afraid to throw some of that in too!

I think the best thing about this dish is that it looks super fancy, but really only requires you to have the right ingredients on hand, that can then be dumped in a bowl and mixed together.  Give it a try, you guys will love it!

 

close up picture of large bowl filled with mediterranean pasta salad

 

 

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Gluten free pasta filled with basil, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and onion!  Mixed with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette and packed with vitamins, flavor, and healthy oils!
Prep Time13 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: appetizer, artichoke, basil, mediterranean, pasta salad, sundried tomato
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 bag or individual box, Banza GF Pasta
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 2 tbsp red onion chopped
  • 3 halves marinated artichokes pulled from stem and chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • Cook pasta on stove top until soft, then rinse under cool water.
  • Transfer pasta to large bowl.
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Add goat cheese or feta for added flavor!
Vegetarian Meals

Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna

black skillet with eggplant lasagna on white table, spinach and sweet potato pictures next to skillet

 

Public service announcement: NO NEED TO BE A VEGETARIAN to totally fall in love with this eggplant lasagna!  If my meat-lover husband can devour this lasagna in one sitting and not notice the meat is missing, then that tells me we’re in good shape for the blog!

My idea behind this dish is that I wanted to make it simple and healthy.  So let’s start with simple…

I used raw ingredients, that only required slicing, and baked them all together in a skillet (or casserole dish).  There is no need to pre-cook anything or get out a million pots and pans (which means less dishes…yay!).

For this recipe, I would highly encourage the use of a mandoline to slice your “layers”.  It is one of my favorite kitchen appliances, and can cut you a whole veggie in about 30 seconds flat!  (click the link below for more information on mandolines!)

 

 

cutting board with sliced eggplant, sweet potato, and chopped onion

 

I used a mandoline to thinly slice a sweet potato, and then a sharp knife to cut the eggplant approximately 1/4 in. thick width wise.  Chop an onion, grab some spinach, mix spices, and layer as follows:

  • sweet potato
  • eggplant
  • spices
  • onion
  • spinach
  • sauce
  • cheese

(repeat one more time) 

 

black skillet on white table, with eggplant lasagna
Lasagna before baking

 

Second, I didn’t want to use meat, or pasta, because I love eggplant and strongly believe it should get its time to shine every now and again!  Therefore, I substituted pasta with sweet potatoes, and meat with our star of the show…eggplant!  

The sweet potato acts as a low carb substitute for pasta and gives the lasagna structure, while the eggplant provides high fiber content and is rich with nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).  Instead of using traditional mozzarella, a cheese derived from cow’s milk that causes inflammation, I used goat cheese crumbles which contains less lactose and is typically easier to digest.

 

eggplant lasagna in a black skillet surrounded by green spinach

 

Once all of your layers are assembled, cover in foil, bake for 50 min, then remove foil and bake for another 25 min.  You can serve as a single dish, or with a side salad!    

 

eggplant lasagna in a skillet on white table with spinach in background

 

 

eggplant lasagna in a black skillet surrounded by green spinach
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan

A one-pan, healthy, vegetarian, eggplant parmesan made with sweet potato, spinach, onion, and spices!  Creamy goat cheese used in place of traditional mozzarella, on top of a basil marinara sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: eggplant, gluten free, parmesan, sweet potato, vegetarian
Servings: 6 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large eggplant skinned
  • 1 large sweet potato skinned
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 36 oz jar marinara sauce
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a large skillet or baking dish.
  • In a small mixing bowl, mix all spices and set aside.
  • Using a mandoline, slice sweet potato into round, thin pieces and set aside. Using a knife, cut the width of the eggplant to approximately 1/4 in. thick, set aside. Chop onion and set aside.
  • Take greased baking dish, and line the bottom with half the amount of sweet potato slices. Then layer half of the eggplant pieces directly on top.
  • Take spice mixture, and evenly sprinkle half the amount over eggplant.
  • Take half of chopped onion, and 1 cup of spinach and sprinkle over eggplant. Spread half of marinara sauce overtop and spread using a spatula.
  • Evenly sprinkle half of goat cheese over top marinara.  Repeat the same process again, starting with a layer of sweet potatoes.
  • Wrap tinfoil over top and bake for 50 min.  remove tinfoil and bake for another 25 min.  Let cool, garnish with extra herbs (if desired), and serve!
Appetizers, Vegetarian Meals

Greek Mini Bell Pepper Boats

multi color baby bell pepper boats filled with greek filling

 

To keep this mediterranean vibe going, here is a little somethin somethin for you to serve up as a healthy and fun appetizer!  These mini bell pepper boats are so fun, colorful, and of course…hella YUMMY.  But be careful, because from what I experienced they go fast, so don’t be afraid to make extra!

As you can see, these little lovelies are beautiful to look at, and make your spread look like something out of a magazine, but they are totally healthy for you too!  Gluten free, vegetarian, heart healthy, and filled with greek goodness…and if you aren’t already sold, there is no cooking required!  These little boats are easy to make and take very little time.  All ingredients are raw, which means just some chopping and mixing are in order.

 

tray of baby bell peppers filled with greek salad mixture

 

This recipe includes olive tapenade and olive oil, a component of the mediterranean diet that makes it so good for you!  Oil from olives has shown to reduce risk of periphery artery disease, decrease blood pressure and inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.  Making this appetizer heart healthy!

For preparation of this appetizer, you will need a large bag of mini bell peppers rinsed, and cut down the middle long ways.  For this recipe I used 25 peppers.  The best way to do this is to dump the peppers on a table to see where they lay naturally.  Take the side of the pepper facing up and cut above the stem all the way down to the bottom (this will help them lay better when they are filled with veggie mixture). 

 

orange mini bell pepper cut long ways to create a boat

 

Once you remove the top, set aside for later use, and proceed by scooping out the seeds and insides of your “boat” under running water.  Do this to all of you pepper boats and then set aside.

 

red, orange, and yellow baby bell peppers cut into boats laying on a white table

 

Take the tops from your pepper boats and chop into small pieces, before throwing into a large mixing bowl.

 

tops of baby bell pepper boats chopped and in a mixing bowl

 

Add the rest of your finely chopped veggies, EVOO, tapenade and cheese.  Mix together, add some spices, then scoop into your boats before serving!

 

chopped bell peppers, onion, cucumber, basil, feta, and tapenade in mixing bowl

 

I eat mine like sushi…all in one bite, but my husband is more civilized than I am and will eat over a few bites.  Whichever level of sophistication you are, I’m sure you will very much enjoy!

 

greek baby bell pepper boats with empty bell pepper boats in background on white table

 

Baby Bell Pepper Boats

Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: appetizer, bell pepper, gluten free, mediterranean, vegetarian
Servings: 5 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 25 mini bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup cucumber chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive tapenade
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • Take 25 mini bell peppers and slice in half, starting above one end of the stem, and slicing all the way down to the bottom, creating a "boat". 
  • Spoon out seeds and interior of bell pepper, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  • Take leftover tops of bell peppers, dice them and throw into a mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Spoon filling from mixing bowl into bell pepper boats, plate and serve!