Salads and Veggies
Need a replacement for Lasagna , Shells, Cannelloni , and Manicotti noodles? Vegans use Tofu. Another choice is thin sliced Portabello mushrooms, which give a wonderful taste and nice texture. Or, as many have done in Italian households even before diets were an incentive, 1/4" sliced Eggplant (dusted and fried first). I have even tried fresh spinach, and cabbage leaves between layers. Or use a vegetable peeler to make nice strips of zucchini or squash. As you can see in the recipe for Alfredo, I use cauliflower for small noodles, and even Broccoli florets

Bruschetta Tomatoes and Basil Grilled Portobello

Cauliflower Cheese Puffs

Cellentani con Insalata di Peperoni

Bruschetta Tomatoes and
Basil Grilled Portobello

Note that this recipe uses only a half-recipe of grilled marinated portobellos. If you have extra marinade after the mushrooms have been removed, use it instead of olive oil for brushing on the bread before toasting. Toast the bread over the dwindling fire once the mushrooms have been removed.

    1/2 recipe Charcoal Grilled Portobellos (see below Hot Off The Grilled Portobellos), chopped fine
    1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped medium
    1 Tbls chopped fresh basil leaves
    2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for brushing bread (see note above)
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    Ground black pepper
    1 baguette, cut on the bias into 3/4-inch thick slices (you should have 20 to 24 slices)

1. Combine mushrooms, tomatoes, and basil in medium bowl.
2. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste; toss well to combine.
3. Brush one side of bread slices with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
4. Grill bread slices over medium hot fire, unoiled-side down, until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer bread slices, oiled-side up, in a single layer to cookie sheet or serving platter.
6. Spoon about 2 tablespoons mushroom mixture on top of each bread slice; serve immediately.
Serves 10 to 12 as an appetizer

Note: this recipe uses only a half-recipe of grilled marinated portobellos. If you have extra marinade after the mushrooms have been removed, use it instead of olive oil for brushing on the bread before toasting. Toast the bread over the dwindling fire once the mushrooms have been removed. Back to top

Chou-fleur en sauce à amande

Crispy Spinach

Envious Endive Boats with Marinated Vegetables

Garlic Eggplant & Zucchini

Greek Salad Dressing

Green Beans with Bacon and Almonds

Grilled Sirloin Salad

Hot Off The Grilled Portobellos

Jicama and Orange Salad

Mediterranean Garden Moussaka

Oven Roasted Green Beans Herbs and Garlic

Cauliflower Cheese Puffs

    1 head cauliflower
    2 Tbls water
    4 Tbls butter, room temp
    2 large egg yolks
    1 cup grated Parmesan
    Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.
1. Cook or steam cauliflower until soft; drain and place in food processor.
2. Add butter, egg yolks, and cheese. Process until smooth; add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Put small spoonfuls of mixture onto a greased baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes or until browned and set. Serve hot.
Note: I have deep-fried these little buggers as well.
Back to top

Portobello a la Broccoli Aliolo

Swiss Cheese Cobb Salad

Cellentani con Insalata di Peperoni
Cellentani with Bell Pepper Salad

    12 oz Cellantani* (you can leave it out if you wish . . . biting lip)
    2 red peppers
    2 green peppers
    2 yellow peppers
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    1 Tbls fresh oregano, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    3 Tbls olive oil
    1 Tbls white wine vinegar

Pre-heat oven to 375°F
1. Place the peppers on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft and browned.
2. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in salted boiling water as directed on the packet. Drain and leave to cool.
2. Deseed and skin the baked peppers and cut into strips. Mix with the remaining ingredients.
3. Add the pasta and toss well. Serve chilled.

*Cellantani are whirls, or large elbow macaroni Back to top

Chou-fleur en sauce à amande
Cauliflower in Almond Sauce

    1 whole cauliflower
    1/2 cup almonds
    Bechamel sauce (see below)

1. Steam or boil the cauliflower in enough water to cover for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Place the whole cauliflower in a serving bowl.
2. Stir the ground almonds into the Bechamel sauce and heat for 2 minutes.
3. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.

Bechamel Sauce

    2 Tbls butter
    2 Tbls flour
    1 cup whole milk
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    A grating of fresh nutmeg

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat.
2. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the flour aroma is gone.
3. Add the milk and stir with a wire whisk over moderate heat until the sauce comes to a boil and has thickened.
4. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Makes about 1 cup Back to top

Crispy Spinach

1 egg white, beaten
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Salt and pepper

1 bundle spinach, approximately 1 pound.
2 Tbls pure olive oil, vegetable or peanut oils (not virgin)

1. In a mixing bowl, beat egg white. Pour in cold water.
2. Slowly blend in the cornstarch and flour until smooth.
3. Season with salt and pepper. This produces a thin liquid coating.
4. Tear off spinach leaves from stems Dip spinach leaves in batter and using olive oil, deep fry in a wok. Turn on the other side with tongs. Drain quickly on paper towels. Voilá!
Back to top

Envious Endive Boats with Marinated Vegetables

    1 small fresh beet (about 3 ounces)
    1-3/4 teaspoons salt
    1 medium carrot, peeled
    1/2 bulb fennel (about 8 ounces), trimmed
    1 Tbls white wine vinegar
    2 tsp olive oil
    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1-1/4 pounds Belgian endive (5 large heads)
    2 Tbls salmon roe (optional)
    2 tsp chopped chervil leaves

1. Place the beet and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt in a saucepan of water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; boil until beet is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and peel the beet; grate on large holes on a box grater, and place in a bowl. Grate carrot; add to beets.
2. Cut fennel into very thin 1/2" long slivers; add to beets and carrots.
3. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss with vegetables. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
4. Trim endive, separating leaves. Reserve large leaves for another use. Fill lower half of small
leaves with 1-1/2 teaspoons of vegetable mixture.
Top with 1/8 teaspoon salmon roe, if using; garnish with chervil.

Makes 36 servings

Carbohydrates: approximately 1 gram per serving Back to top

Garlic Eggplant & Zucchini

This recipe calls for your veggies to be grilled. To approximate this dish indoors, set your broiler pan on the highest rack. Broilers vary significantly, so check after 30 seconds to make sure yours isn't excessively hot.

    1 medium eggplant (or 3 skinny Japanese eggplants)
    3 small zucchini
    Olive oil for brushing
    Coarse Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
    3 cloves garlic, crushed
    2 Tbls olive oil
    1 Tbls red wine vinegar
    Crushed red pepper
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (leaves only)

1. If using standard (globe-type) eggplant, slice into 1/2" disks. Salt generously and set aside for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. If using Japanese eggplant, simply slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Slice zucchini in half lengthwise.
2. Brush vegetables with olive oil; salt and pepper. Grill over medium coals until somewhat softened and golden, about 4 to 8 minutes per side, depending on heat.
3. Meanwhile, combine garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Remove vegetables to platter. Drizzle with garlic-oil-vinegar sauce. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and crushed red pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings
Carbohydrates: approximately 4.7 grams per serving
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Greek Salad Dressing

    1/4 cup olive oil
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon sugar (I have never tried to sub this with anything, if you do, let me know)

Combine all ingredients. Back to top

Green Beans with Bacon and Almonds

    1 (16 oz) package frozen French style green beans, thawed
    1 (16 oz) package bacon, cooked and crumbled
    1/2 cup slivered almonds

Fry bacon, draining off all fat, but leaving bits in the pan. Add thawed green beans and heat through, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bacon and almonds, and heat another 5 minutes.

Carbohydrates: approximately 3.9 grams per serving Back to top

Grilled Sirloin Salad

    1-1/4 lb boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 3/4-inch thick (Tenderloin may be substituted for top sirloin)
    1 tsp fresh lemon juice
    6 cups gourmet salad greens mix
    2 medium plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into slices
    1/2 cup prepared ranch or blue cheese dressing

    1 tsp dried oregano leaves, crushed
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1/4 tsp pepper

1. In a small bowl, combine seasoning ingredients. Press evenly into both sides of beef steak.
2. Place steak on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered for 13 to 16 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness; turn occasionally.
3. Season steak with salt, as desired. Drizzle with lemon juice. Carve steak crosswise into thin slices.
4. In large bowl, combine salad mix and tomatoes; toss gently. Arrange beef on top of salad.

Serve with low carb dressing of choice (Blue Cheese is terrific here!)

Makes 4 servings
Carbohydrates: approximately 3.9 grams per serving
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Hot Off The Grilled Portobellos

    1/2 cup olive oil
    3 Tbls juice from 1 lemon
    6 medium garlic cloves, minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    4 5-6-inch Portobello mushrooms (about 6 oz each), stems removed and discarded, wipe caps.

1. Combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a large bowl. Add mushrooms and gently stir to coat mushrooms with marinade. Seal with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature until seasoned, about 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, cut four 12- by 12-inch foil squares (or six 9- by 9-inch foil squares, if using smaller mushrooms.
3. Begin building medium-hot fire..
4. Remove mushrooms from marinade. Lay a foil square on work surface and set mushroom on top, gill-side up; fold foil edges over to enclose mushroom and seal edges.
5. Spread coals evenly over grill bottom. Grill mushrooms, sealed-side of foil packet facing up, until juicy and tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
6. With tongs, unwrap mushrooms and discard foil; set unwrapped mushrooms gill-side up directly on grill rack and grill until grill-marked, for 30 to 60 seconds.
Remove from grill.
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Jicama and Orange Salad

    1 jicama, peeled and cut into small cubes or julienne strips
    The juice of 1 orange
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
    Dash of cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
    4 Tbls chopped fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)

1. Toss the jicama with the orange juice, salt, and pepper. Marinate refrigerated for 1 hour to overnight.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, tossing to combine, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 4 to 6 servings Back to top

Mediterranean Garden Moussaka

    3 1/2 lbs eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
    1/2 cup pure olive oil
    1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
    1 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
    1 cup finely chopped celery
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    12 oz portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 (28 oz) can crushed, or diced tomatoes with added puree
    1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
    1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
    6 Tbls (3/4 stick) butter
    7 Tbls all purpose flour
    3-1/2 cups whole milk
    4 large egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 425°F
1. To prepare eggplant, cover 2 baking sheets with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of eggplant rounds with salt. Arrange in single layer atop towels. Let stand 30 minutes.
2. Position first rack in bottom third of oven and second rack in top third of oven. Remove eggplant and paper towels from baking sheets. Pat eggplant dry. Oil the same baking sheets. Brush both sides of eggplant rounds with 1/4 cup oil. Arrange in single layer on baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Turn eggplant and rotate pans in oven. Continue baking until tender, about 15 minutes longer. Cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
3. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup oil in heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté until onion is very tender, about 12 minutes. Mix in garlic, then mushrooms. Sauté until juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Mix in oregano and cinnamon. Add tomatoes and parsley. Cook until mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Lightly oil 13 x 9 x 2- inch glass baking dish. Arrange half of eggplant rounds in single layer in dish. Spoon half of tomato mixture evenly over eggplant. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. Repeat layering with remaining eggplant, tomato mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese.
5. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes.
6. Whisk in 1/2 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk yolks in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot sauce. Pour sauce over vegetables in dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over sauce. (Can be made 1 day ahead) Cover; chill.
6. Bake moussaka until heated through and sauce is golden brown on top, about 45 minutes (or about 55 minutes for refrigerated moussaka). Let cool 15 minutes.

Makes 8 servings Back to top

Oven Roasted Green Beans Herbs and Garlic

    2 lbs fresh green beans ( Rinse and drain the green beans and trim )
    1 large onion (1/4" slices)
    8 cloves fresh garlic (cut in half)
    1 cup fresh tarragon leaves, tossed in pure olive oil
    2 Tbls olive oil
    Salt and black pepper
    2 Tbls balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Spray a 13 x 9-inch or larger baking pan with cooking oil spray.
1. Place the beans in the baking pan.
2. Separate the rings of the onion, and with the tarragon, garlic, scatter then over the green beans.
3. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables. Season lightly with salt and pepper. (beans can be refrigerated, for up to 24 hours).
4. Bake the vegetables, uncovered for about 30 minutes; stir occasionally.
5. Cook until crispy tender, about 10 minutes more (or longer if a softer bean is desired). Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving bowl.
6. Drizzle with vinegar and stir well.

Serve at once or let cool to room temperature before serving. Back to top

Carlo, I prepared your roasted green beans with garlic, tarragon, and balsamic vinegar to serve with our "Beer Butt Chicken" this afternoon. Our twelve guests loved them, and requested the link to your website. We also had carmelized onions with mashed potatoes, home grown tomatoes, and roasted corn from our garden. Oh, and your cheesecake. I gave you the proper credit! You are a big hit here on Bears Loose Road. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipes with us.

—Rushmore Rocks
Portobello a la Broccoli Aliolo

You can also mix this with cooked pasta (I prefer a tubular pastas, as penne or rigatoni), season it with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese, or eat it as is.

    Large bunch of broccoli
    3 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup water
    Kosher salt to taste
    Several cloves of garlic, chopped or mashed
    2 Tbls butter
    1 med. onion, chopped
    Red pepper flakes (optional)
    3 large portobello mushroom, cut into 1/4" slices
    1/2 cup dry sherry

Prepare Broccoli;
1. Wash, clean and trim off the stem of the broccoli. Peel the stem to beneath the fibrous layer, and cut into bite sized pieces.
2. Separate the head of the broccoli into bite sized chunks.
3. Place broccoli in a large skillet with the olive oil, water, salt, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, and let steam until the broccoli is bright green and al dente tender (tender but a bit crisp. approximately 5 minutes. Keep skillet with remaining oils. Remove broccoli, and set aside.
4. Add butter to skillet, and melt. Add onions and red peppers, and sauté until soft, then add the mushrooms and sherry. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, boil off most of the remaining liquid.
5. Add broccoli to the mushrooms, toss, and coat, and reheat.

Transfer to a warmed serving platter and serve at once. Back to top

Swiss Cheese Cobb Salad

    1 (10-ounce) bag (6 cups) mixed salad greens
    1/4 pound Swiss Cheese, cubed
    1 medium (1 cup) green pepper, coarsely chopped
    1 medium (1 cup) red pepper, coarsely chopped
    1 medium (1 cup) tomato, coarsely chopped
    1/4 pound Ham, cubed
    2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
    3/4 cup Bleu Cheese salad dressing

Place the salad greens on a large platter or in a large shallow bowl. Place cheeses in a row down the center of the greens. Place half of each remaining ingredient in vertical rows from cheese to one side of the platter. Repeat on other side of cheese with remaining ingredients. Cover; refrigerate until serving time.

Serve with salad dressing.

Makes 6 servings
Carbohydrates: approximately 4.5 grams per serving
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