Our Veggie Eats

All about the food we eat at home, pack in our lunch boxes, and try everywhere else…. And feel it's blog worthy!

Quinoa Pongal/Vegetarian Quinoa Risotto without Cheese

Pongal is a traditional South Indian breakfast dish made with rice and yellow mung beans. Quite similar to Italian risotto without cheese. Cooked mung beans makes it creamy. This is quite the favorite dish at our home. Sometimes it feels wrong to eat a lot of white rice, which is quite common in Indian cooking. Hence the urge to try a healthy substitution. So out went the white rice and in went quinoa! But this is not to say that I do this every time I make Pongal!

1/2 C quinoa rinsed

1/4 C yellow mung dal rinsed

Pressure cook the two with 3 C water, pinch of turmeric and salt to taste. Crush 1t pepper and 1t cumin together. Julienne 1/2 pice of ginger. And take 5-6 broken cashews and a few curry leaves. In a pan heat some ghee (at least 2t, more tastes better) and add the ginger, torn curry leaves and cashews. After the cashews get a golden color, add crushed pepper and cumin. Sauté until a nice aroma arises. Veggies like onion, bell peppers, spinach, carrots make the dish even healthier. Add the cooked quinoa and lentils and stir till you get a nice porridge consistency. Serve steaming hot in a bowl with a 1/8t of ghee on top.

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Ragi (Finger Millet) Idli


These idlis were yummy. And very easy to make. So without much ado, here’s the recipe


1 cup whole Urad Dal

1 cup idli rice 

3 cups sprouted finger millet flour (ragi)


Wash and soak urad Dal and rice separately. Soak for 6-8 hrs. Grind urad Dal until light and fluffy with enough water. Remove from the mixer and grind the rice (should be just a tad coarse and not pasty) with adequate water. Mix the ground urad Dal and rice well. Add the Ragi flour slowly and ajust consistency by adding water to a medium thick batter. Add salt and cover and keep in a warm place to ferment (12-15hrs). Steam in an idli steamer and enjoy!

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There are so many variations to the delectable Poha that I never tire of it. It is great for breakfast or for a quick and tasty snack after school or work. It’s easy to make and takes only a few minutes. 

This version has toasted peanuts, green chilies, shallots, curry leaves, shredded coconut, cilantro and a squeeze of lemon. Delicious!


Baked Potato with Vegetarian toppings


Russet potatoes pierced, oiled, salted and baked in a hot 500 degree convection oven for 45 minutes direct on the oven rack. Topped it with sour cream and salsa made with black beans, red onions, tomatoes, cilantro and lime with salt to season. The most wonderful part was splitting open the potato and see the steam rising and watching the pat of butter melt on top. Goosebumps!
A great vegan option minus the sour cream.

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Ragi Sevai


Ragi Sevai takes a bit of planning to dish out as a breakfast menu item on a weekday morning but it is very filling and wards off pangs of hunger before lunch. I prepare the dough and press it through a tenkuzhal press into idli moulds the previous day and keep it in the refrigerator. The next morning, I steam it and sauté the vegetables and finish the dish.

Preparation: To 2 cups boiling water add salt to taste and 2 tsp oil. Lower the heat to simmer, and add 1.5 cups of Ragi flour. Stir it into a dough and switch off the heat. When cool enough to handle, press it through tenkuzhal press into idi moulds. All this can be done the day before. Refrigerate if preparing for the next day. Steam the Sevai for 10-15 minutes. In a pan, heat about 2 tbsp of sesame oil. Add 1 tsp of mustard seeds, a tsp of urad and chana dal and a pinch of asafetida. After the mustard sputters and the dals get golden brown, add curry leaves, finely chopped ginger, green chillies, cashews, chopped vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, peas ) and sauté. Add salt to taste. Add the steamed Ragi Sevai and mix well. Add grated coconut and chopped coriander and serve hot.

Ragi or Finger millet is a good source of fiber and calcium.

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Quinoa, Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew


Of all quinoa experiments, this dish was a definite winner. Started by sautéing onions, ginger and garlic in olive oil. Added a pinch of turmeric powder, tsp of coriander powder and a 1/4 tsp of chipotle in adobo sauce. In went chopped tomatoes and a cup of lentils. After sautéing for 5 minutes, added enough water for the lentils to cook. When the lentils were half done, rinsed and added a cup of quinoa and diced sweet potatoes? Cooked for another 10-15 minutes. Seasoned with salt and chopped cilantro. 

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Crepes with Quinoa


The recipe is the same as Rice and Lentil crepes except that I substituted half the rice quantity with quinoa. Quinoa lends its own flavor to the dosa that is unique and delicious. Fermenting the batter improves taste further.

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Frothy Hot Chocolate for a BRRR Cold morning…..

Nothing says Wake Me Up better than a cup of hot chocolate. Especially on a cold winter morning. The kiddos won’t complain about school and getting up early if you promise them this lovely beverage as soon as they get out of bed. At least at our home!


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Vegetarian Lasagna without Ricotta

Vegetarian Lasagna

Vegetarian Lasagna

Vegetarian Lasagna usually conjures up a dish with a lot of Ricotta cheese. Not one of my favorites as it usually makes the dish dense; devoid of any flavor.

Having procured a few 24 oz cans of San Marzano tomatoes, we made Marinara sauce with garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes. These tomatoes are really good; not too acidic and the sauce has a very light texture. Though it’s easy to buy Marinara, watch out for the sodium levels! A quick pesto with handful fresh basil, 1/8 C Pecans, 1 oz. Parmesan and 2 T olive oil all crushed together with mortar and pestle. For veggies, we diced red and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, onions and spinach. Plenty of it! Sautéed in olive oil with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Then it was just a matter of layering the sauces, lasagna noodles and veggies; topped off with about 4oz each of Parmesan and Mozarella cheese. Baked in a 375F oven for about 40 minutes. Usually it is best to let it rest for a few minutes but we were all very hungry and couldn’t wait! Leftovers were packed for todays’ lunch, much to the delight of everyone!

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Kandha Poha (Flattened Rice with Onions)


Poha is most often eaten for breakfast in northern and western parts of India. It is a savory dish made with flattened rice flakes, seasoned with mustard and cumin. There are several variations; the one I made today has split Thai green chilies, onions and toasted peanuts and a generous garnish of cilantro. Lime is not necessary but goes very well with this dish.

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