Category Archives: Meatless Main Dishes

Vegetarian, meatless main dishes, many of European extraction. See individual recipes in all sections for vegan or plant-based versions of original recipes.


  • 2 lbs. pork, cubed
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • Oil for frying
  • 6 green peppers, sliced
  • 3 hot peppers, chopped
  • 8 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 polish sausages, cut in pieces

Brown pork with 1 of the onions in oil in large pot. Add a little water and cook until pork is done. Add sausage. Add rest of onions, green peppers, tomatoes, hot peppers and rice and combine well. Heat over low flame until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Cracker-Cheese Blintzes

Here is a way to satisfy your blintz craving even when you can’t find the right ingredients (such as in Mexico in the 1970s). This recipe is from Gert Cohen, who used to make this quick and easy treat some mornings for her family and others (me, for example) who were around at that fortuitous time.

  • 1/2 lb. cream cheese
  • 2 t salt
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 24 soda crackers
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 T butter

Whip up the softened cream cheese. Add 1 t salt and 4 T of the beaten eggs. Mix well. Spread on 12 of the crackers. Top with the other 12 crackers. Beat milk, 1 t salt, and rest of eggs together. Dip crackers in the egg mix, soaking well. Fry cracker blintzes in butter until golden. Serve hot.

Chiles Rellenos de Queso o Frijoles

Chiles Rellenos are Mexican stuffed peppers. They are made with mild Poblano peppers and can be stuffed with ground meat mixtures, cheese, potatoes, and a variety of of other ingredients. You can often find seafood-stuffed peppers in coastal regions. The stuffed peppers are usually dipped in egg, fried in hot oil until browned, then smothered in tomato sauce.

This version uses Manchego cheese (or mozzarella) and refried beans to fill the peppers.

Chiles Rellenos de Queso o Frijoles

 Ingredients for Cheese or Bean-stuffed Chile Peppers

  • 6 chiles Poblano (dark green, slightly hot fresh chiles)
  • 3 cups refried beans or 6 large sliced of Manchego  or mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • Flour
  • Oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup thick, seasoned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Hold chiles on a fork over heat (this is usually a gas flame in Mexico) until skin blisters and darkens. Wrap in a damp cloth or a paper bag for half an hour. Peel.

Slit the chiles down one side and remove the seeds. Stuff each pepper with either beans or cheese or a combination of the two. Seal with a toothpick.

Beat egg yolks until thick; beat whites until stiff and shiny. Fold yolks into whites. Dust chiles with flour and dip into eggs.

Fry chiles in hot oil until brown. Place on a serving plate and cover with preheated tomato sauce and a dollop of cream.

NOTE: If all the above sounds too hard, cut open the chiles and layer them with the cheese and beans in a casserole. Mix the eggs and flour together with the cream and pour over the layers. Bake at 350º F. for about 30 minutes or until set. Pour tomato sauce over the top (use only enough to moisten without drowning the layered chiles), and top with 1/4 cup grated cheese, if desired. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Allow to stand 15 minutes or so before serving. Serve with additional warm tomato sauce.

Meatless Mincemeat

Although true mincemeat, as the name suggests, usually contains chopped beef, beef suet (fat), and at times, venison, here is a tasty meatless version that’s great as a pie filling. Red wine can be substituted for the rum, if desired, but the favor will change accordingly.

Pyes of Mutton or biefe, must be fine minced and seasoned with Pepper and salte, and a lyttle Saffron to colour it, suet or marrow a good quantytye a
lyttle vyneger, prunes, great raisings, and dates, take the fatteste of the broth of poudred biefe, and if you will have paste royall, take butter and yolkes of egges, & so temper the flower to make the Paste.

From "A Proper New Booke of Cookery," transcription of the edition in the British Library, published in 1575 by William How.

Dried fruit and nuts

Meatless Mincement Ingredients:

  • 1 large firm, tart apple, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fruit peel, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar, golden, packed
  • 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup rum, dark
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
  • 3/4 t allspice, ground
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t ginger

Mix all ingredients together. Cover with a plate and let stand at room temperature up to 6 hours to meld flavors before using. Servings: Filling for 1 pie.

Vegan tweak:

Substitute coconut oil for the butter and orange juice or kombucha tea for the rum.

Borscht, Doukhobor Style

A thick, very rich version of Russian beet soup melded with potatoes and other vegetables, butter, and cream..

For years, various members of the family have lived in an area of British Columbia, Canada, into which many Doukhobors (a sect of Christian Russians who practice  what is called “radical pacifism”) settled after emigrating to Canada from Russia in the early 1900s to escape persecution. One of the mainstays of the Doukhobour diet, which is vegetarian, is their particular style of borscht, or beet soup, which is thick with potato starch and heavily laden with butter and cream. It is a full-course meal in itself.

  • 1-1/2 cups runny mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 medium cabbage, shredded
  • 1 beet, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 t basil
  • salt and dill to taste
  • water as needed
  • 1/2 to 1 cup whipping cream

Prepare the mashed potatoes, reserving the water in which the potatoes were cooked. Set the mashed potatoes aside. Add 3/4 of the cabbage, the diced beet, carrot, and green pepper to the hot potato water in a large soup pot and cook for 15 minutes.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the chopped onion and garlic and stir until transparent, and then add the rest of the cabbage. Fry to brown slightly.

Toss the fried cabbage in with the other vegetables in the potato broth. Empty the tomatoes into the skillet and add the basil. Heat well and throw into the soup pot. Add water as needed and continue simmering. Add the mashed potatoes and dill. Stir in cream (use as much as your taste buds dictate and your conscience will allow) and heat but do not boil. Season.

Serves 8.

Lentils with Noodles (Rishta)

Lentils with Noodles, or Rishta,  is a Middle-eastern dish that can be served as a one-dish meal or as a side dish with meats, other vegetables, or salads. The aroma and favor of the crushed coriander seeds gives an exotic touch to what otherwise might be a very plain dish. It is very filling and satisfying.

lentils with noodles (rishta)

Rishta / Lentils with Noodles Ingredients

  • 1/2 – 3/4 lb. lentils
  • Salt
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander seeds
  • black pepper
  • 3/4 lb. noodles or tagliatelle
  • 2 T butter

Cook lentils in salted water to cover until soft and water is absorbed. Drain thoroughly.

Fry onions in 1 T oil until golden. Add garlic and coriander, and continue to fry gently for 2 minutes until coriander releases its fragrance. Add to the lentils and season with salt and pepper.

Cook noodles in boiling, salted water until just tender. Drain and add to lentils. Stir in butter and mix well.

Vegan version

Omit the butter. I enjoy the flavor of 1-2 T of nutritional yeast added to the final dish in place of the butter.

Papas Chorreadas

  • 6 medium potatoes, boiled and peeled
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 T flour
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated fresh manchego or mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk plus 1 tbsp cream

Cut potatoes into large cubes. Saute onions in a little oil till soft and add tomatoes. Melt fat and add flour and a bit of salt. Add tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Cook 3 mins. Add milk and cook until thick. Add grated cheese and cream and stir until melted. Pour over the potatoes and combine gently.


Pierogi, also known as Verenyki

Pierogies are a type of dumpling stuffed with cottage cheese and served with heaps of fried onions and sour cream.

Pierogies evoke in me a mild love/hate response. They were definitely part of our childhood gastronomical experience, and while I didn’t find them terribly exciting (rather greasy with the fried onions, actually), they seemed to provoke fierce enthusiasm in the rest of the family. How could I go against that flow?

So, for you Pierogy lovers everywhere, here is the recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 egg
  • Water
  • 1/2 lb cottage cheese (can be mixed with coarsely-mashed potatoes)
  • 2 T sour cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 t salt
  • Fried onions and extra sour cream (optional)

For the dumpling envelopes:

Sift flour and salt into bowl; make a depression in center and drop in egg. Moisten with water to make stiff dough. Knead until smooth. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Divide dough in half and roll to 1/8″ thick. Cut into 2-1/2 to 3″ circles.

For the filling:

Mash cottage cheese (and mashed potatoes if using)  with 2 T sour cream, eggs and salt. Mix well.


Place 1 heaping teaspoonful of cheese on lower half of circle; moisten edge of top half with water and fold. Press edges together.

Drop into a large kettle of boiling water. Cook for 5-7 minutes, counted after water returns to boiling.

Serve with fried onions and sour cream. Some people like to brown the drained pierogies with the fried onions in a pan before serving.

Chilaquiles a la Angel

  • Oil
  • 12 corn tortillas, 1 day old or more (stale but not dry)
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup grated Manchego or Mozzarella cheese

Cut tortillas into strips or in triangles. Heat 1/2″ oil in wide frying pan. Brown and crisp tortillas in batches. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Sauté onion in a little oil till soft. Add tomatoes, bouillon cube, garlic, chiles and water. Cook until tomatoes are mushy and liquid is slightly reduced. Throw in coriander and adjust salt. Cook 5 minutes. Throw about two thirds of fried tortillas into sauce and toss to coat. Add 1/2 of the grated cheese and toss again.

Let simmer for 2 minutes to soften tortillas slightly and melt cheese. Add the remaining tortillas and toss quickly. Top with remaining cheese and allow to sit for a minute until cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

Porotos Granados

A Chilean white (cranberry) bean stew with fresh corn kernels and savory basil. This is the version Maria Teresa prepared on cold days in Santiago de Chile.

The Mapuche people, among others, have cultivated beans since pre-hispanic times and most of its ingredients are native to the Americas. The stew receives its name from its main ingredient, ripe harvested Cranberry (cargamanto) beans, originated in Colombia, but also is common among the Aymara people. The word poroto, unique to Chile, southern Peru and Argentina, originally comes from the quechua word for bean purutu.

Wikipedia contributors. “Porotos granados.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 Feb. 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

Ingredients for Porotos Granados

  • 2 lbs. cranberry or other white beans
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • 4 or 5 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lb. yellow squash, cubed
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 t oregano
  • 2 cups kernel corn (best freshly cut off cobs)
  • Salt and pepper

Cook beans in 6 cups water with the bouillon cubes and basil. When about half cooked, add the squash and allow to cook over medium heat until tender.

Heat oil in a separate pan and add paprika to release its fragrance. Stir for 1 minute and add onion, parsley, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Add the onion mixture to the cooked beans. Add the corn and simmer for 15 minutes.

Servings: 6

If prepared with vegetable broth, which, traditionally, it often is, this recipe is vegetarian/vegan