Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

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What happens when you’re having guests for dinner and one or two of them are vegetarian?

Some preparation beforehand can ensure that your vegetarian guests will enjoy the evening as much as your other guests.

Ask your dinner guests exactly what they do or do not eat.There are different types of vegetarians. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions and what options are safe to serve.

Lacto vegetarians eat non-meat animal products, e.g. dairy (milk, gelatin-free yogurt, butter, rennet-free cheese) and honey, but no fish, chicken, meat, or gelatin.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat eggs in addition to dairy products, but no fish, chicken, meat, gelatin, or cheese that contains rennet.

Vegans avoid eggs, dairy products, honey, meat, gelatin and animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products.

Pescetarians aren’t vegetarians but eat seafood and a mostly vegetarian diet. 

Read the labels: Some curry pastes and pasta sauces contain meat or fish products (fish sauce or shrimp paste in the former, and anchovies or meat stock in the latter are common culprits). Always check the labels. Some recipes may already be acceptable, or could be easily adapted (for example, using soy milk instead of cow’s milk to make a dessert vegan). When purchasing products, look out for hidden animal ingredients such as meat broths, gelatin, casein or whey, lactose, butter, cheese, etc.

Do not assume that vegetarians will pick the vegetables out of a meat dish, or eat potatoes or vegetables that has been cooked in the same oil as meats or fish. Prepare a separate meat-free dish for them, without using the same utensils. Don’t assume that vegetarians just survive on tofu and lentils. Look to some of the great cuisines of the world, such as those of Asia, southern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, for inspiration.

Keep it fresh-avoid mock meat. When in doubt, simple is the way to go. Use seasonal produce – it will be cheaper, too. Remember that vegetarians eat what non-vegetarians eat, just without meat. Think basics such as pasta and risotto and you can’t go wrong. Make sure that the quantity and quality of food served to all the guests is similar. Don’t expect a vegetarian guest to feel satisfied with an iceberg lettuce salad or pasta in boring, basic tomato sauce while everyone else has a gourmet meal. It is a common error that restaurants also make. Don’t forget to include protein. Good protein sources are vegetarian bean or whole grain casseroles.

How to best accommodate vegetarian dinner guests:

An easy solution is to make two versions of the main dish; a meat version and a vegetarian one, and prepare vegetarian sides. That way you’ll satisfy all guests. The secret to making a vegetarian version of any main dish is simply substitute the meat with a meatless ingredient that will easily take the place of the meat. This way you can cook a balanced vegetarian version for any main dish without requiring any complicated or hard-to-find ingredients.

Both main dishes can be treated similarly in terms of timing, letting you focus on being with your guests the rest of the time. Very little extra work is required; only the main dish is being duplicated, and it still takes less than twice the work because you’re simply splitting your ingredients into different pans. Ultimately, your vegetarian dinner guests are certain to notice and appreciate any efforts you make to accommodate their dietary requirements, particularly a vegetarian version of your main dish.

Holiday dinners present an even bigger challenge because special meat dishes are usually the centerpiece of the menu . The following recipes show you how to prepare two versions of the main dish; a meat entree and a similar vegetarian one. Much of the preparation can be done in advance in all these recipes. 

Beef Wellington

Vegetable Wellington

Beef and/or Vegetable Wellington

A classic Beef Wellington can break both your calorie and grocery budget. It is an extravagant combination of beef tenderloin, truffles, chicken liver pate, puff pastry and a rich sauce made from Madeira wine. Few dishes can top a Wellington when it comes to elegance and presentation. However, with a few substitutions, you can make this dish fit better with a healthy diet without sacrificing any of the decadence or flavor. If you have vegetarian guests at the your table, you can save time by using the same stuffing for both entrees and still give your vegetarian guests an equally elegant holiday dish. I would serve two non-starchy vegetables with these entrees, such as sauteed greens of choice and roasted parsnips.

For the Wellington Stuffing:

  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups mushrooms, cleaned and chopped (any combination of white, brown or gourmet)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped, sweet onion or shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 ounces fat free cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons truffle oil, optional


Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan set on medium heat. Saute the chopped mushrooms, garlic, onion, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of cracked, black pepper until the water has cooked out of the vegetables and they are condensed — approximately 15 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Remove the mushroom mixture from heat. Stir in parsley, cream cheese and truffle oil. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover it and keep it at room temperature.

For the Beef:

  • 3-pound beef tenderloin, in one piece
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator approximately one hour before it’s time to assemble the dish.

Pat the roast dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-hot heat. Sear the beef, cooking it approximately two minutes on each side.

Transfer the tenderloin to a cooling rack. Place a baking sheet under the rack to catch the drips. Rest the roast until it’s cool to the touch — about 10 minutes.

For the Squash:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small butternut squash (1 1/4 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


In a very large skillet over high heat, melt butter. Add the squash in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. (If the squash doesn’t fit in one layer, cook it in batches). Stir and continue to cook until the squash is golden, 7 to 10 minutes longer. Stir in the maple syrup, thyme, paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook one minute. Scrape the mixture into a bowl.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.  Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray. 

Assemble the Beef Wellington:

  • 16-ounce package puff pastry, thawed (2 sheets in a package)
  • 1/2 of the Mushroom Pate
  • Browned beef tenderloin
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1/2 teaspoon water and divided in half
  • Olive oil


Lightly flour work surface and a rolling pin. Line the 2 pastry sheets up side by side and fuse the sheets together by slightly overlapping them and lightly rolling over the seam until adhered.

Roll the pastry into a 13-by-16-inch rectangle. Take care to join the seams.

Spread half the mushroom pate in an even layer over the pastry with a rubber spatula, being careful not to tear the tender pastry. Leave approximately a 1-inch border around the pastry without pate. The mixture will spread out when you wrap it around the beef.

Lay the tenderloin in the center of the pastry. Pull the dough up around the beef, making clean, straight seams. Trim away excess pastry. Press out air pockets as you wrap the pastry around the roast.

Brush the seams with a pastry brush dipped in the whisked egg set aside for the beef. Press the seams lightly with your fingers to seal them. Cool the beef in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Assemble the Vegetable Wellington:

  • 16-ounce package puff pastry, thawed (2 sheets in a package)
  • 1/2 of the Mushroom Pate
  • Butternut Squash mixture
  • Reserved egg wash
  • Olive oil


On the same floured work surface, line the 2 pastry sheets up side by side and fuse the sheets together by slightly overlapping them and lightly rolling over the seam until adhered.

Roll the pastry into a 13-by-16-inch rectangle. Be sure to join the seams.

Spread half the mushroom pate in an even layer over the pastry with a rubber spatula, being careful not to tear the tender pastry. Leave approximately a 1-inch border around the pastry without pate. Then spoon the squash over the center of the mushroom pate (it will look like a stripe of squash lying on a bed of mushrooms).

Brush the exposed borders of dough with the egg wash set aside for the vegetarian entree. Fold the long sides up to meet in the middle and pinch together to seal; pinch the ends, too. Transfer the pastry to the baking sheet and turn it over so that the seam is face down. Cool in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Baking the Wellington :

Brush the top of both Wellingtons with more egg wash.


Place the Beef Wellington on a baking sheet seam side down in the preheated oven (475) for 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 400 degrees F. and cook the beef for an additional 20 to 25 minutes for a medium-rare roast. Check for temperature of the meat by sliding a meat thermometer into the center of the roast. A reading of 135 F. indicates medium-rare.

Lift the roast carefully with a large, sturdy spatula and place it on a carving board. Allow the Wellington to rest for approximately 10 minutes before serving. Cut the Wellington into thick slices for serving.


Place the Vegetable Wellington in the oven when you reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F. and bake until puffed, golden, and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve.

Madeira Sauce

  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup Madeira wine
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Pour the vegetable stock into a pan after placing the Wellington in the oven. Season the stock with salt and pepper to taste and bring it to a boil. Continue boiling for approximately 20 minutes — until it has reduced to approximately 2 cups.

Add 1 cup of Madeira wine, and boil the stock for about five minutes, until it has again reduced to 2 cups.

Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Place butter, a dab at a time, into the hot liquid and whisk well while it melts. Do not allow the liquid to boil over.

Serve sauce along with slices of Wellington.


There are several parts of the Wellington preparation that can be done ahead of time to make the process easier. Prepare the mushroom pate and butternut squash mixture several hours or days ahead of time and refrigerate it until use.

You can also sear the beef a day or two ahead of time. Allow it to set at room temperature for a full hour before wrapping in pastry and cooking.

Vegetarian Cannelloni

Pork Cannelloni

Spinach and Cheese Cannelloni and/or Spinach and Pork Cannelloni

Round out the menu with a sliced tomato basil salad and oven roasted asparagus.  The asparagus can roast on a baking sheet along with the cannelloni.

Serves 8 or more

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons (Wondra) all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups lowfat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano


In a heavy saucepan whisk together flour and milk, add butter and heat pan over medium. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly (sauce will thicken). Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 2 minutes, then whisk in salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese, then cover pan.

Vegetarian Filling

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 10 oz. baby spinach
  • 1  3/4 cups skim ricotta
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano 


Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and sauté, stirring, until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Stir together ricotta, egg, parsley, salt, pepper, and grated cheese in a bowl, then stir in spinach mixture.

Pork Filling

  • 1/2 cup (packed) dried porcini, soaked 20 minutes in 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and diced
  • 10 oz. baby spinach 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • A small onion, minced
  • A medium carrot, minced
  • A 6-inch stalk celery, minced
  • A small bunch parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala (or sherry)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste diluted in 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup freshly finely grated Parmigiano
  • Salt & pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon)


Heat butter in a saute pan and add carrot, celery and onion and brown them lightly. Add the pork and continue cooking until it is browned, then stir in the soaked mushrooms. Add in the Marsala and the diluted tomato paste, season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and simmer for an hour, until thickened. Stir in the spinach and cook until completely wilted. Remove from heat and add the grated cheese and parsley.

Prepare Pasta

16 (6- by 4-inch) fresh pasta rectangles or 16 packaged dry lasagna noodles or 16 oven-ready (sometimes labeled “no-boil”) lasagna noodles

See recipe for homemade pasta sheets:

Boil fresh pasta, 2 pieces at a time, in a large pot of boiling salted water , stirring to separate, until just tender, about 2 minutes for fresh pasta or about 6 minutes for dried lasagna noodles. Gently transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of cold water to stop cooking, then remove from bowl, shaking off water, and lay flat on dampened kitchen towels (not terry cloth).

 If using no boil noodles: Place noodles in large bowl. Fill bowl with hot tap water. Soak noodles until pliable, stirring occasionally to separate, about 15 minutes. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on work surface. Transfer noodles to parchment in single layer, shaking off excess water.Trim noodles, as closely as possible, to 6 1/4- by 5 1/2-inch rectangles.

Assemble and Bake Cannelloni:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray two 13- by 9- by 2-inch ceramic baking dish or other shallow 3-quart flameproof baking dish (not glass) with cooking spray.


Spread 2/3 cup sauce in each each prepared baking dish. Spread about 1/3 cup ricotta filling in a line along 1 short side of 1 pasta rectangle, then roll up to enclose filling. Transfer, seam side down, to baking dish. Make 7 more cannelloni in same manner, arranging them snugly in 1 layer. Spread 1/2 cup more sauce over cannelloni.


Spread 2/3 cup sauce in each each prepared baking dish. Spread about 1/3 cup pork filling in a line along 1 short side of 1 pasta rectangle, then roll up to enclose filling. Transfer, seam side down, to baking dish. Make 7 more cannelloni in same manner, arranging them snugly in 1 layer. Spread 1/2 cup more sauce over cannelloni.

Reserve extra sauce.

Bake, covered with foil, in the middle of oven until sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Turn on broiler.

Remove foil and broil cannelloni about 5 inches from heat until lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Reheat remaining sauce and serve on the side.


Cannelloni can be assembled (but not baked) 1 day ahead and chilled, covered with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before baking. Remaining sauce will need to be thinned slightly.

Stuffed Turkey Breast

Stuffed Winter Squash

Herb-Crusted Turkey Breast and/or Baked Winter Squash 

Good sides for this meal could include a wild rice pilaf and green peas.

Serves 6 to 8


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or Smart Balance, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 6 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 (2 1/2-pound) boneless turkey breast, butterflied
  • 4 large acorn squash or any winter squash of your choice
  • 3/4 cup water

Directions for Mushroom Stuffing:

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large, deep sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 10 seconds. Add leeks and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened and liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in breadcrumbs, cheese, 2 teaspoons parsley, 2 teaspoons rosemary, 2 teaspoons sage, 2 teaspoons thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. When cooled, set aside 4 cups of stuffing for the squash. The remainder will be used to stuff the turkey.

Directions for Turkey Herb Butter:

Combine 1 tablespoon butter with remaining 1 teaspoon parsley, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1 teaspoon sage and 1 teaspoon thyme; set aside.

 Preheat the oven to 350ƒ degrees F.

Directions for Turkey Preparation:

Arrange turkey breast skin-side down on a clean surface so that it lies open flat. Cover with plastic wrap, then pound lightly with a meat mallet to flatten and make an even thickness all over. Discard plastic wrap and season turkey all over with salt and pepper. Spread the stuffing reserved for the turkey over the meat, leaving a 3/4-inch border around the edge.

Close up snugly, tucking in the stuffing as you go, then tie with kitchen twine at (1-inch) intervals around the entire turkey breast.

Rub turkey all over with reserved herb butter and arrange it in a roasting pan. Roast uncovered in a 350 degree F. oven, basting occasionally, until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 1 1/2 hours. (Cover with foil if top browns too quickly.) 8 servings.

Directions for Squash Preparation:

Cut each squash in half. Remove and discard seeds and membranes. With a sharp knife, cut a thin slice from the bottom of each half so squash sits flat. Fill squash halves with 1/2 cup mushroom stuffing. Place in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Pour water into pan.

Coat one side of a large piece of heavy-duty foil with cooking spray. Cover pan tightly with foil, coated side down.

Place squash in the oven after the turkey has roasted for 45 minutes. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until squash is tender. Yield: 8 servings.

Transfer turkey to a carving board, tent with foil and set aside for 15 minutes. Remove and discard twine, cut turkey into slices and serve. Serve one squash half per person.


Fine Cooking; Classic Beef Wellington; Sophie Grigson

Simply Recipes; Beef Wellington; Elise; June 2009

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures

The history of the American staple – meatloaf – offers more than a trip down culinary lane. It provides a glimpse into how advances in technology have shaped the way we eat and prepare food today. Your grandmother’s hand-cranked grinder, the kind that attached to the edge of a table, was key to meatloaf becoming an everyday dish. Cooks relied on it, particularly in the early half of the 20th century, until butcher shops installed refrigeration units that were able to safely store more perishable chopped meat.

Early meatloaf recipes called for veal, which was less expensive than beef at the time. The meat in one widely published version was first cooked then chopped, blended with other ingredients, molded, then cooked again into a loaf. Recipe history indicates that meatloaf as we know it today – blended with bread or cracker crumbs, egg and seasonings, then baked in a rectangular pan – gradually became popular between 1900 and the 1920s.

Among the most popular early recipes were several created by the Quaker Oats Company using their product as a binder in place of breadcrumbs. Binder is an essential meatloaf ingredient because it creates an even, smooth texture. In addition to whole-wheat breadcrumbs, oats or even cooked rice, it can include a generous amount of finely shredded or chopped cooked vegetables like spinach, carrots or onion. Nutritionally smart, the vegetables help keep a meatloaf moist.

How Meatloaf is Made Round the World


The Austrian meatloaf version is called Faschierter Braten. Most of the time it is wrapped in ham before baking it. Often it is served with mashed potatoes (when warm) or with a sauce (when cold).


Danish meatloaf is called forloren hare, mock hare or farsbrød (ground-meat bread) and is usually made from a mixture of ground pork and beef with strips of bacon or cubed bacon on top. It is served with boiled or mashed potatoes and brown sauce sweetened with red currant jelly.


Finnish meatloaf is called lihamureke. It is completely based on the basic meatball recipe. The only spices used are salt and pepper. It is not customary to stuff lihamureke with anything. The usual side dish is mashed potatoes, and lihamureke is usually served with brown sauce.


In Germany, meatloaf is referred to as Hackbraten, Faschierter Braten or Falscher Hase ‘mock hare’. In some regions it often has boiled eggs inside.


In Greece, meatloaf is referred to as rolo (Ρολό) and it is usually filled with hard boiled eggs, although several other variations exist.


Stefania meatloaf or Stefania slices are a type of Hungarian long meatloaf baked in a loaf pan, with 3 hard boiled eggs in the middle, making decorative white and yellow rings in the middle of the slices.


In Italy, meatloaf is called polpettone and can be filled with eggs or ham and cheese.

Jewish cuisine

In Jewish cuisine, meatloaf is called Klops (Hebrew: קלופס‎) and can be served cold or hot. It is sometimes filled with whole boiled eggs. The source of the word might be German, Klops, meaning meatball.


Rolat is a similar dish to the Arab and South-Asian, kofta. Ground beef is rolled and cooked until brown. It can be cooked with vegetables and various sauces.


The meatloaf dish called Embotidot is made of well seasoned ground pork, minced carrots, sausages, and whole boiled eggs. The meat is molded into a roll with the sausages and hard boiled eggs set in the middle. It is then wrapped in aluminum foil (historically, banana leaves) and steamed for an hour. The cooked Embotido may be stored inthe freezer. It is usually served fried and sliced for breakfast.


In Romanian cuisine, there is a meatloaf dish called drob, similar to other minced meat dishes in the region like the Bulgarian Rulo Stefani or the Hungarian Stefánia meatloaf, the major difference being that it is always made with lamb organs (or a mixture of lamb organs and pork or veal) and the hard boiled eggs in the centre of the drob are optional.


Rulo Stefani (Bulgarian: Руло Стефани).The Bulgarian rulo Stefani meatloaf is similar to the Hungarian Stefánia meatloaf, with hard-boiled eggs in the middle.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, meatloaf is referred to as sekaná ‘chopped’. It is optional to put hard boiled eggs, gherkins, or wienerwurst inside.

Greater Middle East

Kafta or kofta is a similar dish which the mixture can be made into hamburgers and kebabs. It usually has parsley in it.

United States

In 2007, meatloaf was voted the seventh-favorite dish in the United States according to Good Housekeeping.

During the Great Depression, cooking meatloaf was a way to stretch the food budget for families, using an inexpensive type of meat and other ingredients, such as leftovers, spices and cereal grains to stretch the meat.

Meatloaf is typically eaten with some kind of sauce or relish. Many recipes call for pasta sauce or tomato sauce to be poured over the loaf to form a crust during baking. The tomato-based sauce may be replaced with simple brown gravy or onion gravy, but the meatloaf is prepared in a similar manner. Barbecue sauce, tomato ketchup, or a mixture of both tomato ketchup and mustard may also be used. American meatloaf may be garnished with ketchup. Another variety of meatloaf is prepared by frosting it with mashed potatoes, drizzling it with a small amount of butter, and browning in the oven.

Meatloaf is normally served warm as part of the main course, but can also be found sliced as a cold cut. Meatloaf can also be considered a typical comfort food and is served in many diners and restaurants today.


The Vietnamese meatloaf version is called “giò”. It’s boiled rather than baked or smoke.

Some Nontraditional Recipes

A popular recipe for meatloaf that utilizes a package of dried onion soup mix has been around for many years. I used this ingredient for a long time in my meatloaves until I became aware of  how much salt was in each serving – 610 mg. While this mix adds great flavor to meatloaf, it also contains many ingredients you do not want to eat if you are cooking healthy. I suggest you read the nutrition label on this package the next time you go shopping.

So I created my own dried onion soup mix, minus all the salt and preservatives, that I keep in the pantry for just such uses. Here is my recipe, in case you would like to make it. A recipe follows that shows how to include this ingredient.

Homemade Dried Onion Soup Mix

You can double and triple this recipe.

  • 8 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

 Mix all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid.

Healthy Turkey Meatloaf


In mixing bowl combine:

  • 1/3 cup egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup ( 6 oz. can) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 3/4 cups oats
  • 5 tablespoons of the substitute soup mix
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Steak Grilling Blend                                                                                                                                                                                                       


Mix in 2 lbs. ground lean turkey breast. Form into a loaf and place in the middle of a roasting pan.

Mix together the remaining tomato paste, 1 tsp. horseradish, 1 tsp. water and 1/2 tsp agave. Spread over the top of the loaf.

I put a selection of cubed vegetables around the loaf, such as butternut squash, sweet potato or fingerling potatoes, onion and carrots.

Bake in a 375 preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Dinner all in one pan! A 1 inch slice has about 250 calories. If I don’t roast it with vegetables, I sometimes add 1 cup of either shredded zucchini or carrot to the meatloaf mix.

The Best Meat Loaf


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 generous tablespoons instant low sodium beef broth powderBuffalo Meatloaf with Spinach and Roasted Baby Potatoes
  • 2 or 3 dashes of hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lbs. grass fed ground beef or bison


Combine eggs, bread crumbs, celery, onion, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, broth powder and seasonings in bowl and mix well.

Add ground beef and mix well. Shape into loaf. Place into 9 X 13 inch baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour.

Crock Pot Meatloaf

8 servings

Cook Time: 8 hours

 Total Time: 8 hours, 25 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup horseradish
  • 3 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 2 eggs                                                                                                                             
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup soft fresh whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2-1/2 lbs. ground turkey


In medium pan, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Place in large bowl with all ingredients except turkey and mix well.

Add turkey and mix gently just until combined.

Tear off 2- 30″ pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil and fold to make two 2″x 30″ strips. Lay strips in bottom of crockpot in an X pattern, letting the edges hang over the crockpot. Form turkey mixture into a loaf that will fit into the crockpot. Place on top of the foil strips.

Cover crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours, until meat thermometer registers 170 degrees. Drain off fat as needed during cooking time using a turkey baster. Use foil strips to lift meatloaf out of crockpot when it reaches 160 degrees F on a meat thermometer. Cover and let stand 20 minutes before slicing. 

Vegetarian Lentil Loaf


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups firm-cooked lentils
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped oregano
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup ketchup                                                                                                                        


Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat add the oil; when hot, add the onion and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the bell pepper and celery; cook, covered, for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl combine the sautéed vegetables with the walnuts, lentils, rice, cranberries, breadcrumbs, basil, thyme, oregano, eggs, flour and milk. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and then spoon into the loaf pan. Brush ketchup on the top of the loaf.

Bake until firm, about 45 minutes.

Italian Meatloaf Roll with Spinach Filling

Servings: 10


  • 1 1/2 lbs. extra lean ground beef or ground turkey breast
  • 3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/5 teaspoon pepper


  • 1 cup Marinara sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon mozzarella cheese


  • 1 package frozen 10 oz spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


Heat oven at 375 degrees F.

In a bowl combine beef, crumbs. egg, salt and pepper.

Flatten into a 1/2 inch rectangle shape.

For filling.

In a bowl combine, mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder and spinach.

Cut a piece of foil or wax paper into a 12×8 inch rectangle.

On foil, pat mixture to12x8-inch rectangle. Spread with filling leaving a 1 inch border. Starting at short end, roll up tightly, using foil to start roll and tucking in filling; seal ends. Place seam side down in ungreased 12×8-inch (2 quart) glass baking dish.

Cook for 1 hour. Spread marinara sauce and cheese over top. Bake 15 minutes longer or until thermometer inserted in meat loaf reads 160°F. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Tuscan Meatloaf with Mushroom Sauce

4 Servings


  • 2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 lb lean ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • One 2-in square of Italian bread, crust removed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped prosciutto
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup unflavored bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine                                                                                                                               


1. Soak the mushrooms in two cups of lukewarm water for half an hour or more.

2. In a bowl, break up the pork with a fork. In a small bowl, combine the milk and bread, and mash until creamy. Add the milk and bread to the meat, along with the onion, salt, pepper, prosciutto, cheese, and garlic. Mix thoroughly by hand. Mix in the lightly beaten egg. Shape meat into a firm, round ball; then roll this into a loaf about two and a half inches thick. Tap with your palm to drive out any air bubbles. Roll the loaf in the bread crumbs until evenly coated.

3. Drain the mushrooms (reserving the soaking water) and rinse them several times in clean, cold water. Chop the mushrooms roughly and set aside. Strain the soaking water through a fine sieve lined with paper towels. Whisk in the tomato paste and set aside.

4. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy casserole pan just big enough for the meat. Brown the meat on all sides in the pan over medium heat. Drain off the fat. Add the wine. Increase heat to medium high. Boil wine briskly until reduced one half, turning meat carefully once or twice. Turn heat to medium low and add chopped mushrooms. Add the tomato paste mushroom water to the meat and mushrooms. Cover and cook at a simmer for 30 minutes, turning the meat once or twice.

5. Carefully remove meat to a cutting board. Allow it to cool slightly and settle. Cut into slanted slices about 3/8 of an inch thick. If the sauce seems thin, concentrate it by boiling rapidly for a few minutes. Pour a little sauce on a warm serving platter, arrange the meat slices, then cover the remainder of the sauce.

“The Ultimate Meatloaf cookbook offers recipes from around the globe, from the All-American Meatloaf to Hawaiian Style to the more exotic Greek, Mexican, Indian and Asian twists. While traditional recipes suit the ever-popular protein diet, this cookbook provides vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, low-salt, and low carb alternatives. Bestselling cookbook author John Chatham provides the authoritative guide on the All American favorites that feature 100 meatloaf recipes from a breakfast to hearty, healthy meals for every appetite and diet plan.”

With a nod to good health and great taste, consider some out-of-the-ordinary vegetarian entrée options for grilling this summer. There’s more to vegetable grilling than just throwing some sliced vegetables onto the grill. With the right recipes, you can create tasty meat-free menu items that are substantial enough to take center plate at your cookout. They’ll be just as hearty as the meat options you’re serving, and full of fantastic flavor, thanks to time spent on the grill.
Don’t be surprised if the meat-eating guests take to these dishes as much as the vegetarians do. And if the attending carnivores want further motivation besides great taste, here it is: Research has shown that reducing the amount meat in your diet can cut your risk of developing cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

At backyard barbecues around the country, a vegetarian can often feel like the odd person out — forced to bring his own entrees or to pick around the edges. Fortunately grilling season kicks into high gear just as vegetable produce peaks. Not only are gardeners growing veggies by the bagful, but supermarket prices for fresh fruits and vegetables are also low. This is a chance for hard-core grillers to bring their talents of outdoor cookery to dishes for the meatless crowd.

In addition to providing the smoky flavor that emanates from the coals, grilling caramelizes the natural sugars in the vegetables and makes them taste extra sweet. Just about anything that sprouts from the ground or grows on a tree can be suspended over coals, including corn on the cob, zucchini, potatoes, onions, pineapples, mangoes, and mushrooms. Most vegetarian foods are more delicate than meat and have less fat. So to keep food from sticking to the grill and falling apart, it’s important to keep the grill clean and well-oiled.

Once the grill is hot, scrape it well with a grill brush to remove burned-on bits of food. Then fold a paper towel into a small square, soak it with vegetable oil. Grab it with your long-handled tongs and rub down the grill thoroughly.

For sandwiches, cut veggies like zucchini and eggplant lengthwise into thin slices–or into thick rings, in the case of onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Round out the meal by serving grilled veggies over pasta, rice, or polenta. Asparagus is one of the best and simplest vegetables to grill and is terrific in pastas and rice dishes. Leave the spears whole and simply lay them perpendicular across the grill grates!

How To Make Pizza On the Grill

Grilled pizzas are a specific style of pie: typically thin-crusted, they’re lightly sauced (too much liquid means a soggy crust) with minimal toppings. They also cook very fast.

Make the Dough

Use your favorite crust recipe or see recipe below. Divide the dough into two or more pieces and shape into balls for individual-sized pizzas. Set the dough aside to proof while you prepare your toppings.
Tip: if you have a heavy-duty mixer or bread machine, double the recipe. Divide and shape the dough, and freeze each portion in a plastic freezer bag greased with about a tablespoon of olive oil for another dinner.

Assemble Your Toppings

With grilled pizza, the crust is the star. Choose a few simple ingredients that can showcase the smoky flavor and crispy crust. Or go for minimalism: top the grilled bread with a brushing of good olive oil, a sprinkling of coarse salt, and bit of chopped fresh herbs.
Suggested bases: marinara, pesto, flavored olive oil, salsa verde.
Suggested cheeses: mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, feta cheese, Parmesan, Gorgonzola.
Ideas for toppings: grilled vegetables, fresh figs, fresh herbs, fresh arugula, toasted pine nuts, olives or capers, caramelized onions, roasted garlic.

Grill the Crust

Prepare the grill for high heat.

Shape the dough into rounds, either stretching it by hand or using a rolling pin. Each round should be no more than ¼ inch thick. You can stack the rounds by layering waxed paper, parchment, or a clean well-floured kitchen towel in between the individual crusts. When the coals are hot, have all of your toppings ready near the grill.

The easiest method for grilling pizza is to par-bake the crust: grill one side just long enough to firm up the crust so you can move it easily. By taking it off the heat, you can take your time arranging the toppings and are less likely to burn the bottom of the pizza.

Begin by placing one or two dough rounds on the grill.

  • You can oil the grill grates, but it’s not necessary; once the crust has set, after about three minutes, it should be easy to pull off the heat with tongs, a spatula, or your fingers.
  • Don’t worry if it droops a little through the grate–it’ll firm up fast.
  • After two to three minutes, give it a little tug–it should move easily. If it sticks, give it another minute or so.
  • When the crust is set, remove it from the heat and transfer it to a plate or peel; flip it over so the “done” side is up, and add the toppings.
Grill the topped pizzas until the cheese melts and the toppings are heated through. Depending upon the heat of the grill and the size of your pies, this can take two to 10 minutes (if your grill has cooled dramatically, you might need to cover it with a lid to finish the cooking).

Grilled Veggie Pizza

4 pizzas


5 cups all-purpose flour ( or half whole wheat and half white flour)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast (or active dry yeast, dissolved)
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 cups room temperature water

Combine  ingredients in a mixer with a dough hook and knead for six minutes. Let rise until doubled. Divide into 4 balls of dough and keep covered.

Toppings: (Enough for 4 pies)

  • 2 pounds mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups sweet corn
  • 4 scallions, diced
  • Fresh oregano or basil

Place ingredients in small bowls near the grill for easy access.

Simple sauce:

  • 2 cups tomato sauce (depending on how saucy you like your pies)
  • 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Big pinch of salt and pepper

Stir together sauce ingredients and place near grill.


Eggplant Caponata Crostini

Serves 8                                                                                                                                                                                   


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetenedcocoa powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar or Truvia sugar substitute equivalent
  • 1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 8- 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices Italian bread
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish


  1. Preheat a  BBQ grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of eggplant slices lightly with oil. Grill 6 minutes on each side. Cut into ½ inch cubes.
  2. Start sauce while eggplant grills. Don’t turn off grill.
  3. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, raisins, pine nuts, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; cook stirring occasionally, until onion has softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste, cocoa powder, and sugar; cook, stirring, until tomato paste is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggplant, vinegar, and 1/3 cup water.
  5. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick, 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and more sugar (up to 1 tablespoon), as desired.
  6. Brush both sides of bread with olive oil. Grill, turning once, until toasted and grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side.
  7. Top grilled bread with caponata; garnish with basil leaves. Caponata can be refrigerated up to 5 days in an airtight container; let cool completely before storing.

Grilled Caprese Sandwiches

4 Sandwiches                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


  • 8 slices round narrow Italian bread
  • 2 large garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 slices (6 oz.) fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 ripe plum tomatoes, thinly sliced (8 slices)
  • Pesto
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Rub a side of each slice of bread with a cut side of garlic and brush with oil. Spread the plain side of half the bread slices with a thin layer of pesto.

Layer cheese and tomatoes on top of the pesto.  Sprinkle with black pepper. Top with remaining bread, garlic side up. Grill sandwiches until grill marks appear and cheese is beginning to melt, 6 minutes, turning once.

Main Dishes

Stuffed Grilled Zucchini

4 servings.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4-in. shells. Brush with 2 teaspoons oil; set aside. Chop pulp.
In a skillet, saute pulp and onion in remaining oil. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add bread crumbs; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the mozzarella cheese, oregano and salt.
Spoon into zucchini shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Grill, covered, over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Cannellini and Couscous

Serves: 6

After the initial assembly, this dish takes care of itself. If you like, you can prepare and grill the tomatoes well ahead of serving. The flavors will get even better.


  • ½ cup couscous
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin), divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 6 large ripe but firm tomatoes (10 ounces each; about 4 3/4 pounds total)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning


Preheat the grill. Coat a 9″ x 6″ disposable foil pan with cooking spray.
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, or until the onion is softened.

Meanwhile, cut 1/4″ slices from the tomato tops. Discard the tops. With a serrated knife or spoon, scoop out the tomato flesh, leaving 1/4″-thick walls. Set aside. Finely chop the tomato flesh. Add to the onion along with the beans, parsley, Italian seasoning, pepper, vegetable broth and the couscous. Stir to combine. Spoon into the reserved tomato shells, mounding slightly. Spoon any extra stuffing into the base of the pan. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Cover with aluminum foil.

Place on the grill away from direct heat. Grill, rotating the pan occasionally, for about 45 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender and the tops are golden.  Allow to stand for 20 minutes.

Grilled Stuffed Eggplant 

Serves: 6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      


  • 3 small eggplants, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 3 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat a covered grill to medium-high.
With a small, sharp knife, scoop out the flesh of each eggplant leaving 1/4-inch thick shells  and place in a medium bowl. Add the cheese, bread crumbs, tomatoes, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix. Stuff the mixture tightly into each eggplant half. Drizzle with the oil.
Place the eggplant halves in a disposable aluminum foil pan. Set on the grill. Cover and grill for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the eggplant is soft and the top is golden and crisp.

Portobello Burgers with Roasted Peppers, Mozzarella, and Caramelized Onions

Serves: 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

This grilled “burger” with all the trimmings will satisfy even devoted beef fans. Serve some oven sweet potato fries on the side.


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 portobello mushroom caps, about 3 1/2-4 ounces each
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, about 2 ounces
  • 4 (100-calorie) light multi-grain english muffins or hamburger buns
  • 2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips

Preheat the grill.
Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Combine the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and the vinegar in a small bowl. Brush the mixture over the mushroom caps and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
Grill, covered, turning occasionally, until tender, 9 to 11 minutes. Top each with 1 slice of the cheese and grill until the cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Toast the muffins or rolls. Place the bottom half of each muffin on a plate and top with 1 portobello cap, one-fourth of the roasted peppers, and one-fourth of the onion. Top with the remaining muffin halves.

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