Vegetarian Mushroom Meatball Subs

Vegetarian Mushroom Meatball Subs

Lately, Jack and I have been spending a lot of time with my family in Chicago. One thing my husband especially loves about this area is the plethora of meaty things between bread. People always ask me “is your husband vegetarian?” The answer is… nope, he’s not. He eats what he wants even though the food I cook at home is primarily plant-y. I call him an everything-eater. He loves a Chicago Italian beef sandwich just as much as he loves a macrobiotic meal… as long as you keep olives out of his food, he’s the least picky eater I know.

He’s also really honest with me. I tend to shy away from the “fake meat” types of things, but when I do make something that is inspired by a meat dish, he’s the first to tell me if it’s great or if I’ve missed the mark. Well, I fed these subs to him and my family last night, and not only did Jack wolf his down with approval, in a surprise move, my dad was the first to ask if there was any extra.

This recipe is a riff on the Eggplant Mushroom & “Meatball” recipe from our cookbook that we both love. I messed with it a bit, replacing the out-of-season eggplant with black beans, switching up the spices, and of course putting them between bread. I think even your pickiest eater will love this one, because even the mushroom flavor isn’t very pronounced after you smother these with marinara sauce.

Vegetarian Mushroom Meatball Subs

The meatballs are not difficult to make but they do take a little bit of time. Start by sautéing onions, garlic, mushrooms in the pan and then adding balsamic, tamari, and black beans. I use my non-stick non-chemical GreenPanthis super pretty set that I showed you last week – because I hate when mushrooms stick to the bottom of the pan and love knowing the surface they’re cooking on is completely toxic-free.”

Vegetarian Mushroom Meatball Subs

The mushroom mixture gets pulsed in the food processor with walnuts and black beans. Then mix it in a bowl with brown rice and spices. Finally, use panko to form them into balls. This is what they look like before you bake them – they will brown nicely in the oven. If you want to make these in advance (say, for your Memorial Day gatherings this week) store the uncooked meatballs in the fridge overnight and bake them when you’re ready to eat. They firm up a bit in the fridge so this is a terrific make-ahead meal.

Vegetarian Mushroom Meatball Subs

Once baked, heat up marinara sauce, add the meatballs, and then assemble them in buns with basil and (optionally) grated parmesan cheese. Note: this recipe is best when served in soft buns or baguette – nothing too crusty; these little veggie balls are more smush-able than a regular meaty meatball.

Vegetarian Mushroom Meatball Subs

Also, since so many of you asked about the cookware that I used last week, GreenPan is offering 20% off the Padova 10-pc cookware set, in both available colors: grey & light blue. Use the code LOVEANDLEMONS20 at checkout. They also offer free shipping for orders over $50. This offer expires May 31st and cannot be combined with other offers.

Vegetarian Memorial Day Recipes

Mix & Match Crostini Bar

Memorial Day is coming up next weekend! Whether you’re hosting a gathering or simply bringing a side dish (hi, I’m Jeanine – the family salad maker), here are a few veggie-ful party recipe ideas. Click on the links or directly on the photos to go to the recipes:

First up: Instead of meticulously assembling appetizers, you can set out a bunch of ingredients for this Mix & Match Crostini Bar so your guests can assemble their own toppings. Include some gluten free crackers and at least one vegan spread (like the vegan pesto shown above) and you’ll have all of your bases covered.

Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas.

It’s not a summertime party without a margarita – this is my go to recipe for Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas (above). And of course, you can’t have a margarita without chips – let’s go with a super green Kiwi Avocado Salsa Verde. (below)

Kiwi Avocado Salsa Verde

Every party needs a great salad that can sit out at room temperature without wilting, so this Tart Cherry Tabbouleh is a great option:

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

For the main course, skip the grill but get all of that smoky goodness with these Vegan Tempeh Club Sandwiches. I know tempeh sounds scary to some of you, but wait ’til you try it with this marinade!

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

Another main course option – Cauliflower Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Smother them with cheese or with cashew cream (see the recipe for more details) – vegetarians and meat eaters alike will love this one.

Cauliflower Stuffed Poblano Peppers

For dessert – Strawberry Pistachio Crumble. This is an easy recipe that’s great for parties because the crumble can be made ahead of time. Assemble and bake in skillets (or a baking dish) as you’re ready to serve.

Strawberry Pistachio Crumble

Or skip the baking and make Boozy Root Beer Floats with homemade ice cream (or without homemade ice cream… I won’t tell).

Boozy Root Beer Floats

Healthy Green Breakfast Tacos

Healthy Green Breakfast Tacos

If you ask anyone in Austin where they get their favorite breakfast tacos, you’ll get a different answer from every person. Austinites have opinions about breakfast tacos like Chicagoans have opinions about pizza. Since I moved to Austin a number of years ago, I’ve eaten more breakfast tacos than I could ever begin to count – most I’ve loved (some I haven’t) but after all that, my favorite place to have them… is at home. For 2 reasons:

First, I like to eat breakfast right when I wake up, so I usually don’t have the patience to even run down the street to get tacos in the morning.

Second, I can make my version however I want – which means goodbye greasy tacos and hello tons of veggies. The base of these tacos is a very green egg scramble that’s filled with green peppers, scallions, arugula, and a scoop of fresh yellow tomato salsa. These tacos are fresh, healthy, and lighter than anything you’d find at a restaurant or truck.

Healthy Green Breakfast Tacos

And speaking of things that are green – this post is in collaboration with GreenPan and their Healthy Cooking starts with Healthy Cookware campaign. Years ago, long before this blog existed, I got rid of all of my scratchy teflon pans and switched to the non-toxic GreenPan. GreenPan was the first company to start making ceramic non-stick cookware (they’re celebrating their 10th anniversary this year!) and I think I was among the first to start buying them. I get tons and tons of use out of mine – especially for eggs, pancakes, and generally any foods that I don’t want sticking to the bottom of my pan. The slick ceramic surface also means that I can get away with using less oil in my cooking, so these chemical-free pans are a must-have in my opinion. 

I have this set, which is super versatile and the white & blue color combo is just so pretty.

Healthy Green Breakfast Tacos

So the first step to this recipe is to make the salsa. This can be done the night before to make your morning cooking easier.

Next, cook the veggies. I like to do this in a separate pan from my eggs because I find it easier to judge the cooking times. Needless to say, GreenPan nonstick cookware is a breeze to clean up.

Healthy Green Breakfast Tacos

When the salsa and veggies are finished, I start cooking the eggs and stir the vegetables in halfway through. This might be a personal preference, but I like to take my eggs of the stovetop while they’re still a little bit runny to keep them from overcooking while I assemble the tacos.

Once off the heat, I stir in a big handful of chopped leafy greens. I often go for spinach, but this time I had some great looking arugula. I also tossed in some cilantro for good measure.

Healthy Green Breakfast Tacos

Assemble the tacos with more salsa, avocado and a dash of pepper. These are dairy free because I’m not a huge fan of cheese in my eggs. If you use corn tortillas, they’re also gluten free (check the label of your tortillas to make sure).

Healthy Green Breakfast Tacos

Kathryne’s Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I often get asked “How did you start your blog?” and “Do you have any tips for me if I’m just getting started?” I’m not very good at answering these questions, particularly the second one because what worked for me in 2011 when I started my blog is probably outdated today.

But I do have one tip that will stand the test of time: Make good blog friends.

I’ll never forget the week I started my blog (waaaay back in 2011). Jack and I had worked really hard to choose recipes, learn to take flattering pictures of food (harder than you think!), and design/program a good looking website. We made the website live and I wondered if my mom would be our only reader.

One day, while Jack was trying to explain to me how Twitter works, there was a sudden “BLEEP” from my computer… someone had tagged me in a tweet that said “Love and Lemons is love at first sight,” and it was from an account called Cookie and Kate. 30 seconds later, “bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep”… re-tweets and messages started flashing in and I squealed with both Tweety confusion and excitement that this blog thing was going to work. Of course, there would be years and mountains of (mostly free) work ahead of me before I could call this labor of love a job… but it had to start somewhere, little by little. In my case, this start was initiated by one kind soul who was the first to share a slice of her readership with me.

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Fast forward to now… Cookie and Kate has become one of my favorite vegetarian blogs to read and Kathryne has become one of my very best blog friends. If you aren’t following her blog, you should – she makes delicious, attainable vegetarian food and her first cookbook, Love Real Food, is a real stunner. I’ve read it cover to cover and I have one tip for you: don’t read it while you’re hungry! I drooled over recipes like Roasted Eggplant Lasagna, Chickpea Tikka Masala, and Fresh Greek Nachos before stopping at her gorgeous peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

These cookies are so delicious and SO quick to make. It’s a one bowl recipe that results in decadent, soft pillowy cookies that are lightly crisp on the outside. These little guys contain no flour (so they’re naturally gluten and grain free) and they’re sweetened with coconut sugar. I made my cookies with eggs as the recipe states, but Kathryne also gives a vegan option in the footer of the recipe which I’ll include here as well.

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I’ll be making these Greek Nachos with Herbed Tahini this week – yum!

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Her book is not only gorgeous, but there are also the cutest pictures of her dog Cookie 🙂

Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies Kathryne's Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Love Real Food comes out tomorrow – go get yourself a copy!

Blueberry Fennel Flatbread w/ Whipped Feta

Blueberry Fennel Flatbread w/ Whipped Feta

If you caught last week’s post about my CSA box tips, you might recognize some of those ingredients here in this recipe. What I love most about my “surprise” Farmhouse box is that it inspires me to come up with flavor combinations that I would not have thought of otherwise. Blueberries and fennel?? Yes, it works!

The saying is true – what grows together goes together. These were the first blueberries of the season and I knew I wanted to make a simple recipe to really highlight them.

Blueberry Fennel Flatbread w/ Whipped Feta

This flatbread is so easy to make and I think it’d be such an unexpected appetizer or side dish for Mother’s Day brunch this weekend.
I used store-bought naan to make things easy on myself. The spread is a tangy mix of ricotta, feta cheese, garlic and lemon juice (if you’re vegan, use the sunflower spread from this post, minus the dill). The whipped feta can be made at least a day in advance which makes this such an easy recipe to entertain with.

Blueberry Fennel Flatbread w/ Whipped Feta Blueberry Fennel Flatbread w/ Whipped Feta

I baked the flatbread just long enough for the fennel to soften and for the blueberries to become juicy. For color and a little crunch, I topped these with thinly sliced red radishes which were hiding in the bottom of my Farmhouse box. If you don’t love radishes, don’t be scared – the flavor does not overwhelm and they add a wonderful freshness to the recipe.