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Vegetarian Journal Cover


Vegetarian Journal

Excerpts

Nov/Dec 1997

Volume XVI, Number 6




Stuff Your Face: Stuffings for All Seasons

By Nancy Berkoff, R.D., Ed.D.


Check out the recipes!

Americans love stuffing, as can be seen by touring the "starch" shelves of any grocery store. But why purchase mixes that are full of processed ingredients when you can easily compile your own signature vegan dish? Stuffing (or dressing, depending on where you are; there's no consensus as to which term is absolutely correct) can be used as the base for a casserole or a side dish. It can stand on its own or be the perfect partner in a shell of squash, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cabbage, or apples.

Stuffing can stand up to mashing and squashing. Besides fitting into pans and natural containers, it can be rolled up in edible leaves (think cabbage, grape, romaine or tea leaves) or flat breads and fitted into pocket breads. Stuffing doesn't even mind if you serve it hot or cold. Hot, it can be the star or supporting cast of a meal. Cold, it makes a great on-the-go meal, a midnight snack, or even a quick breakfast. (Perhaps it can be an occasional substitute for that cold pizza you enjoy so much with your morning paper!)

Stuffing is not just a holiday excuse to get away from rice, pasta or potatoes. Stuffing fits into the entire calendar, using seasonal produce, leftover breads and grains, fresh and dried herbs and spices, and even some of your stock of canned and dried vegetables and fruit.

Stuffing preparation can be spontaneous or planned. You can throw open your cupboards and refrigerator and concoct a great stuffing, or you can calculate which ingredients you are going to use by storing leftover cooked grains and breads in the freezer and cooked fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them. Extra sliced bread can be left to dry on top of the oven (if you have space) to make bread crumbs. A great stuffing is made from a balance of dry, moist, and seasoning ingredients. Dry ingredients can include crumbs from all types of bread, or cooked grains such as millet, quinoa, and rice. Moist ingredients are the "glue" of the mixture and can be vegetable stocks or broths; fruit juices or their concentrates; vegetable or fruit purees; vegetable juice; and fresh, frozen, or canned fruit and vegetables. Let your imagination fly with stuffing seasoning, using combinations of fresh and dried herbs.

Experience has shown some sure-fire methods for successful stuffings. The general procedure should be to let grains or breads cool before use (making leftovers the ideal ingredient). Saute or cook vegetables or fruit before combining with the grains (this maximizes flavor and moistness), and always bake the stuffing in a pan large enough to allow for expansion. Be sure to start your stuffing covered in the oven, removing the cover in the last moments to allow for browning (if desired). If you are going to freeze your stuffing for future enjoyment, be sure it is thoroughly cooled before tucking it away (a good method might be to let it cool in the refrigerator in shallow pans and then wrap it for storage after it is cool).

The possibilities for your stuffings are endless. Marinate some tempeh in your favorite seasoning, bake until golden brown and serve with a corn stuffing; stew some peaches and plums and serve with a dried fruit stuffing; make up a hearty veggie stew and serve with an eggplant stuffing; scramble some tofu and serve with an oat stuffing. So, get in the kitchen and start stuffing!


Recipes

Eggplant-Tomato Stuffing

(Serves 6-8)

Enjoy the Mediterranean influence of this dish!

1 large eggplant
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped yellow onion
4 Tablespoons chopped bell pepper, assorted colors
1 Tablespoon carrots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped celery or fresh fennel (sweet anise)
1 cup chopped fresh tomato (can substitute low-sodium canned tomatoes)
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons shredded fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Steam eggplant (whole) for 30 minutes or until tender (a fork poked into the middle should go in easily). This can be done on top of the stove in a large pot or in a preheated, 375-degree oven (in a large casserole). Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute onion, peppers, carrots, garlic, and celery until tender. Remove from heat.

Cut eggplant in half and scoop out pulp. Save the shell if you would like to serve the stuffing in it.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mash the eggplant pulp and mix with the sauted vegetables, tomatoes, bread crumbs, basil, oregano and pepper.

Pack into 1-quart oiled loaf pan or nonstick casserole. Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Note: Stuffing may be topped with seasoned bread crumbs or shredded fresh herbs.

Total calories per serving: 116
Fat: 3 grams


Oatmeal-Walnut Stuffing

(Serves 8-10)

Make this dish savory with onions and poultry seasoning or sweet with leftover fruit and cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg--an anytime-of-the-day dish!

1/4 cup walnut pieces
21/2 cups rolled oats (uncooked)
1 Tablespoon egg replacer or other powdered starch
1/2 cup soy or rice milk
1 medium onion, diced fine
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (blend of rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley)
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 cups vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grind walnuts to a fine texture (toasted soy beans may also be used). Mix walnuts with oats, egg replacer, soy milk, onions, seasoning, and pepper.

Saut the mixture briefly until the oats appear slightly toasted. (This can be done in a well-seasoned pan, or you may want to spray a bit of vegetable oil to prevent sticking.)

Heat stock for 3 minutes or until it is warm (simmering temperature). Add oat mixture. Pack into 2-quart oiled loaf pan or nonstick casserole. Cover and bake for 15 minutes; uncover and allow to continue baking until stuffing is slightly brown (about 5 minutes longer).

Notes: If you prefer not to use egg replacer, omit it and use additional soy milk to moisten the mixture or puree a small amount of tofu and use instead of the egg replacer.

For a sweet stuffing, omit onion, stock, sage and pepper and replace with 1/4 cup dried fruit or 1/2 cup peeled and diced fresh apples, 1 cup water and 1 cup fruit juice, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon ginger.

Total calories per serving: 136
Fat: 4 grams


Goodies-From-the-Garden Stuffing

(Serves 4-6)

Capitalize on vegetables in season for this texturally-satisfying stuffing. 2 cups uncooked bulgur (medium or fine texture)
1/2 cup uncooked soy grits
31/2 cups vegetable stock or vegetable juice
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 cup chopped onions (use several different types)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chopped raw zucchini
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped green beans, in one-inch pieces
1/4 cup raw corn kernels or peas
2 roma (or small) tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cooked spinach, well-drained, chopped
Cayenne to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 cup vegetable stock or juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook bulgur and grits together in the stock for 15 minutes or until soft.

Heat oil in pan and saut all vegetables, except spinach, until tender. Add spinach and saut for 1 additional minute. Season with cayenne and parsley. Add second amount of stock and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until most of liquid is absorbed.

Combine grains and vegetables. Pack into 2-quart oiled loaf pan or stuff hollowed-out peppers, tomatoes, squash or onions. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 3 additional minutes or until brown.

Total calories per serving: 348
Fat: 5 grams


Chock-Full-of-Corn Stuffing

(Serves 10)

Use several different corn products to make one delicious menu item.

Vegetable oil spray (to coat pan)
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 cup chopped green onions
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup whole hominy kernels (canned or cooked)
1/2 cup corn (canned or cooked)
3 cups crumbled cornbread
1 Tablespoon deseeded, minced fresh chili
1/2 Tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray pan with oil and heat stock over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and garlic and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.

Mix together hominy, corn, cornbread, chili, orange juice, and pepper and add to stock. Combine until all ingredients are moistened.

Pack into 2-quart oiled loaf pan or nonstick casserole, cover, and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until stuffing is browned (about 5 minutes).

Total calories per serving: 164
Fat: 5 grams


Fruited Bread Stuffing

(Serves 6)

Make the most of dried fruit with this delicious stuffing.

Vegetable oil spray (to coat pan)
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, peeled, diced finely
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots or peaches
1/8 cup chopped dried apples
2 cups dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray pan with oil and saut onion and celery with sage and ginger, until vegetables are soft. Add stock and fruit. Bring to a boil, stirring. Lower heat and simmer until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).

Add bread crumbs and stir until all ingredients are well-incorporated. Pack into 2-quart oiled loaf pan or nonstick casserole, cover, and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until browned on top (about 5 minutes). Can be served topped with chopped nuts or unsweetened granola.

Total calories per serving: 192
Fat: 2 grams


Apple and Raisin Stuffing

(Serves 8)

Savor the tangy flavor of sour apples and sweet raisins.

1 cup chopped onions
2 Tablespoons chopped green onions
2 Tablespoons chopped celery
1/2 cup vegetable stock
4 cups peeled, chopped green apples (any tart variety)
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 cups dry bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook both onions and celery with stock in a nonstick pan until soft (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and mix in apples, raisins, poultry seasoning, bread crumbs, nutmeg, and ginger.

Pack into a 2-quart oiled loaf pan or nonstick casserole, cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and allow to brown, about 5 minutes.

Hot, spiced applesauce makes a great companion to this dish.

Total calories per serving: 165

Fat: 2 grams


Spinach and Roasted Pepper Stuffing

(Serves 6)

Enjoy this colorful stuffing as an entree or a side dish.

Vegetable oil spray (to coat pan)
1/4 cup minced onions
1/8 cup minced celery
2 roasted bell peppers, seeded and diced
3/4 cup cooked spinach, drained and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup cooked grains (barley, kamut,
rice, etc.)
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray pan with oil and saut onions and celery until soft. Remove from heat and mix in peppers and spinach.

Return to heat, add stock and stir until warm. Slowly mix in bread crumbs, grains, parsley, and oregano. Remove from heat and pack into 2-quart oiled loaf pan or nonstick casserole, cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until brown, about 5 minutes.

Note: Roasted peppers may be purchased canned, or you can make your own by placing halved fresh peppers (skin side up) directly into the flame on the stove top or in a barbecue. Allow to roast until skin begins to blister. Remove from heat, allow to cool, remove skin, and deseed.

Total calories per serving: 97
Fat: 1 gram



The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone wanting to see everything should
subscribe to the magazine.

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