try this carnival: vegetarian meals

Trythisbutton Welcome to the first monthly "Try This: Spice Up Your Kitchen" carnival! This month's theme is VEGETARIAN MEALS. The more research I do, the more I'm convinced that adding vegetarian meals to our diet is better for our health, better for the environment and better for our budget! But I have a "Where's the beef?" kind of household. So I'm always on the lookout for hearty, filling, YUMMY meals that just happen to be vegetarian. Here are two of our favorites:

Penne alla Norma
serves 4 to 6

1 pound penne rigateEdf_penneallnorma0903_l
Course salt and pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4-in chunks
1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 c torn fresh basil, plus more for garnish
3/4 c ricotta cheese (or a variety of shredded cheeses, if you prefer.)

1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and crushed red pepper*; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add eggplant to skillet; season generously with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook until eggplant begins to release juices, about 5 minutes. Uncover; cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes (if bottom of pan browns too much, add a few tbsps water and scrape with spoon.)
4. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and 1/4 c water to skillet; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. (If you don't have tomato paste, leave it out.)
5. Toss sauce and basil with pasta; gently reheat if necessary. Top each serving with a spoonful of ricotta and garnish with more basil.
*I often wait and add the red pepper flakes after I've served the kids their servings.

Recipe origin: Everyday Food Magazine

Vegetarian Lasagna

4 cups (32 ounces) ricotta cheese 03edf01_e_l
2 large eggs
salt and fresh ground pepper
2 packages (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
6 cups homemade tomato sauce (or 2 jars store-bought)
12 no-boil lasagna noodles (8 ounce package)
1 pound fontina cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add spinach, and stir well to combine.
2. Spread a small bit of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish or two 8×8 dishes. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles on top. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, followed by 1/3 of the remaining sauce; sprinkle with 1/3 of the grated cheese. Repeat to make two more layers, ending with cheese. If freezing, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Before baking, defrost in the refrigerator overnight
3. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking until top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Let cool slightly before serving.
Recipe origin: Everyday Food Magazine

I hope you all have a great time looking through all the recipes today โ€“ I cannot WAIT to find some new meat-free feasts to wow my family with!! And remember: when you add your post to the Mr. Linky, please link to your specific post โ€“ not your general blog URL.
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About Melissa

Melissa is founder of Girlymama and co-founder of the mom fashion blog, All Things Chic. You can also find her designing blogs at Eliza Grace Design and on Twitter as Melissa Angert.


  1. 1
    Jen says:

    These recipes sound really good, but my dh would never go for it. He is a meat and potatoes man!

  2. 2

    mine is too – i have to make sure my veggie recipes are knockouts!!
    On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 9:56 AM, wrote:

  3. 3
    EveryChapter says:

    Yum! Thank you so much- I might post one later today if I can get it together by then! ๐Ÿ™‚ Congrats on the new carnival!

  4. 4
    Kellyn says:

    I had nothing…we just don’t do vegetarian meals in our house.
    I can’t wait for next month!!
    Ideas…Big Game food (football and all) and Comfort food! Now I am hungry again…

  5. 5
    Krista says:

    I can’t believe I figured this whole thing out! Thanks again for doing this fun carnival!

  6. 6
    Stephanie says:

    We LOVE veggie lasagna in our house. I usually make 4-5 trays at once and freeze them. ๐Ÿ™‚