As you know, the significance of not eating meat one day a week has little to do with which day you choose, so this week I did it earlier than Monday. I had the chance to go grocery shopping on Saturday, and had some great ideas and didn’t want to wait until Monday to make them! Plus, being at home made it easier to take the time cook some things I wanted for my Meatless day.
I actually started at dinner on Saturday, and carried the meatless streak through Sunday’s dinner. The recipe I’m featuring this week is that Saturday dinner. It’s technically a napoleon, which is a fancy term for a stack of food-things! But doesn’t Vegetarian Napoleon sound a wee bit pretentious? I didn’t want to turn anyone off or make it sound complicated – because it isn’t – so I just called it a Vegetarian Stack. A lot of the flavor comes from the balsamic reduction, again which sounds complicated but is just simmered, condensed vinegar. Reduced balsamic vinegar has an incredible flavor, it’s remarkably sweet (almost a raisin or molasses flavor) and savory, and if you use good vinegar, not too acidic.
You could substitute a slice of extra firm tofu instead of the Morningstar Farms Chik’n Strips. I just wanted to add some protein to the dish, and my stomach doesn’t agree with tofu. It’s actually a great recipe for tofu, which can be bland (make that incredibly bland) if it isn’t flavored well. The balsamic reduction would provide plenty of punch, no bland tofu here. So use the protein of your choice – and if you don’t want to make it a meatless meal, use chicken breast. No rules, just delicious. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Stack with Balsamic Reduction
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 portobello mushroom caps, 4-5 inches in diameter
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 roasted red pepper halves
- ¼ eggplant, peeled and cut into 4 slices, 1/3″ thick
- Salt and Pepper
- Garlic powder
- 12 Morningstar Farms Meal starters Chik’n Strips
- 2 cups raw baby spinach
- 1 ounce crumbled feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly mist an 8×8″ or 9×9″ pan with nonstick cooking spray and place mushroom caps inside. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
- Place the vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened to a syrup-like consistency. Turn off heat.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat and mist with nonstick spray. Add sliced eggplant, and season lightly with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook until soft, turning to brown both sides. Set cooked eggplant aside and return skillet to heat.
- Place spinach in one half of skillet and chik’n strips on the other half. Cook 2-3 minutes to wilt spinach and heat strips.
- Remove portobellos from oven and blot with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Turn gill side up, and drizzle each mushroom cap with a spoonful of balsamic reduction. On each mushroom cap, layer 2 slices eggplant, 1 roasted red pepper half, half of chik’n strips, and half of spinach. Return baking dish to oven for 3 minutes to heat through, then top each stack with ½ ounce cheese. Drizzle with another 1-2 spoons of balsamic reduction, and be sure to add a fancy drizzle to the plate.
Makes 2 servings
Per serving: 188 calories, 5 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 12 mg cholesterol, 20 g total carbohydrate, 4 g dietary fiber, 17 g protein