Mardi Gras classic: Vegetable Creole


I used the vibrant flavors of Creole cooking to create this easy vegetarian dinner. Louisiana creole cooking is a fusion of Spanish, French and African cuisines. Onions, celery, green bell pepper, tomatoes and hot pepper seasoning are the basic ingredients.

The heat is up to you. The amount of cayenne pepper in the recipe gives a mild zing to the sauce. If you like a spicier kick, add more, or serve hot pepper sauce at the table. Dried thyme and oregano are used in the sauce. A secret to bringing out the flavor of these spices is to cook them in the oil with the onion and other vegetables.

Helpful hints

Six garlic cloves can be used instead of minced garlic.Black beans can be used instead of red beans.Make sure your ground thyme and oregano are less than 6 months old for best flavor.

Countdown

Microwave rice and set aside.Prepare the ingredients.Make Creole.

Shopping list

To buy: 1 package microwaveable brown rice, 1 green bell pepper, 1 bunch celery, 1 jar minced garlic, 1 bottle dried thyme, 1 bottle dried oregano,1 bottle cayenne pepper, 1 large can reduced sodium diced tomatoes, 1 bottle Worcestershire sauce and 1 can red kidney beans.

Staples: Canola oil, onion, salt and black peppercorns.

Vegetable Creole

Serves: 2.

1 package microwaveable brown rice (to make 1½ cups cooked)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup sliced onion

1 cup sliced green bell pepper

½ cup sliced celery

3 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 cups canned reduced sodium diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup rinsed and drained red kidney beans

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Microwave rice according to package instructions. Measure 1½-cups and reserve the remaining rice for another meal. Divide rice between two dinner plates. Heat oil in a medium-size nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, green bell pepper, celery, garlic dried thyme and dried oregano to the skillet. Saute 7 to 8 minutes until vegetables soften, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, red kidney beans and cayenne pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with the rice.

Per serving: 510 calories (19% from fat), 10.6 g fat (1.3 g saturated, 5.0 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 18.6 g protein, 90.0 g carbohydrates, 17.6 g fiber, 173 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of more than 30 cookbooks, including her newest, “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook.” Listen to Linda on www.WDNA.org and all major podcast sites. Email her at Linda@DinnerInMinutes.com.

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