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Vegetable Main Dishes – Vegan & With Cheese

Vegetarian “Hot Dog” Casserole

This is one of our favorite Lenten dishes at St. George’s! It is brought by Reader Stephen & Anna Shepherd at least once a year during the Great Fast for our after-Pre-Sanctified pot lucks, much to the delight of all, especially the children.  A non-Lenten version can easily be concocted by substituting “real” hotdogs for the soy-substitutes.   The recipe serves 4 and can easily be multiplied somewhat proportionately to feed the masses.


1 26 Oz. can Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans

1 15 Oz. Can Whole Corn, Drained

1 15 Oz. Can Green Peas, Drained

1 C. BBQ Sauce, your choice

1 Can Loma Linda Meatless Little Links (or other soy substitute “hot dogs”)

1 Onion, Finely Minced – Optional


Slice the “hotdogs” into rather thin pieces.  Mix all ingredients together. Place in a lightly-oiled or sprayed oven proof baking dish.  Bake at 350 F. for 30 minutes, until the casserole is hot and bubbly. If you wish, this can also be heated in a pan on the stove top.


Vegan “Sloppy Joes”

Our daughter’s homeschool COOP classes in Harlingen, TX had a Christmas Party prior to the ending of the school’s semester. Sloppy Joes were the main dish and it was during our Orthodox Nativity Fast.  So, we came up with the following recipe, brought it as a meatless substitute, and found that it was a big hit and was enjoyed by many even more than the meat version! This is a family or Church-sized batch, but it can easily be proportionately reduced.  It would be excellent served at a Church or youth function during fasting periods.


2 Lg. Onions, Chopped

1 Head Fresh Garlic, Peeled and Minced

2 Med. Zucchini Squash, Chopped

2 Tbsps. +/- Olive Oil or other oil

1 Can. Diced Tomatoes

1 Can Tomato Sauce

Either: 1 Pkg. Taco Seasoning

Or: 1 Tsp. Chili Powder + 1 Tsp. Ground Red Chiles + 1 Tsp. Paprika, or to taste

Salt & Pepper, to taste

2 Pkgs. Ground Meatless (frozen type) or Dehydrated TVP Chunks, moistened

¼ C. Fresh Parsley, Minced


Chop the vegetables and sauté them in the olive or other oil, adding first the onions, then the garlic, then the zucchini. Cook until well done.  Add the tomatoes and seasonings. Cook until flavors have blended. Add the ground meatless (meat substitute) and fresh parsley.  Cook until blended.  Serve on buns or over rice.

Tex-Mex Skillet Stir

This easily made dish can be the main fare or a side to vegan tacos during fasting periods. It would be great during non-fasting seasons as well!  Try it with guacamole and fresh, warm tortillas on the side! This dish can easily be increased for larger families or for pot luck meals – such as those after Pre-Sanctified Liturgy at Church.


2 Med. Onions, Diced

4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced

2 – 4 Fresh Green Chili Peppers, diced – your choice –

Or-  2 Small Cans Diced Green Chili Peppers

1 – 16 Oz. Pkg. Frozen Corn Kernels (or 2 Cans of Corn)

2 Cans Beans (undrained) – Pinto, Kidney or Black Beans

2 Roma Tomatoes, Diced

2 Tbsps. Fresh Cilantro or Parsley, Diced, optional

1 Tsp. Powdered Red Chiles, or to taste

Salt, to taste


In a large skillet, sauté the onion and garlic in a bit of olive or vegetable oil.  Add the fresh green chili peppers. Continue to sauté until limp. Add corn and stir well. Add the undrained beans and Roma tomatoes.  Just prior to serving, add the cilantro or parsley (optional), powdered red chili pepper and salt, to taste.

Squash, Tomato & Basil Bake

Something nice for dinner for a spring or summer fasting “oil” day main dish. The recipe takes little prep time and then can be thrown into the oven until it’s time to eat.  Serve with a side salad and some French bread.  Any kind of summer squash can be used in this recipe – zucchini, yellow or calabacitas. Fresh tomatoes and basil are a must! 


Pasta, such as ziti (Not spaghetti or fettuccini), lightly cooked; barely “al dente”

Olive Oil or other oil, to Sauté

1 Lg. Onion, Thinly Sliced

4-6 Cloves Garlic, Thinly Sliced

2 Lbs. (Approx. 4 large) Zucchini, Yellow or other Summer Squash, thinly sliced

1 Can Diced Tomatoes, Undrained

1 Tsp. Fresh or Dried Thyme

1 Tsp. Fresh or Dried Oregano

Salt to taste

¼ C. Fresh Basil, Minced

¼ C. Brown Sugar*

1 Tsp. Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1 Lb. Tofu, Firm or Soft, Crumbled

1 Can Black Olives, Sliced

3-4 Large Ripe Tomatoes, Sliced

2 Tbsps. Olive Oil

Rice or Soy “Parmesan”, Optional

Oil or spray a large oven-proof baking dish (3 quart sized). The onions and garlic, and then the squash can be quite quickly sliced up in a food processor. Combine basil, salt and black pepper with the brown sugar, and set this mixture aside. In a bit of oil, sauté the onions and garlic. Add squash, salt, thyme and oregano and again briefly sauté. Stir in diced tomatoes with juice, and blend all together. Put a layer of barely cooked pasta on the bottom of the oiled baking dish. Add ½ of the squash, onion, garlic, tomatoes and herb mixture. Sprinkle the squash with crumbled tofu. Top the tofu with ½ of the black olives. Pour over this ½ of the basil and brown sugar mixture. Add another layer of squash mixture. Top with a full layer of fresh tomatoes. Sprinkle the remaining black olives over the tomatoes. Cover the casserole with the remaining basil, salt, pepper and brown sugar blend. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the tomatoes. Bake for 30-45 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 350 F., or until vegetables are tender. If you’d like, broil for a minute or so just before removing from the oven. If desired, shake a bit of rice or soy parmesan substitute over the top of the casserole just before setting it out. This makes a good dish for fasting meals at church gatherings.  * The Brown Sugar in this recipe could be reduced, eliminated or substituted with a bit of Splenda, for those who prefer that option.

Lebanese Peas with Tomatoes, Served Over Rice (Lenten or Non-Lenten)

Another fine recipe from Lebanese-American Norma Hodge, one of St. George’s founders, pillars and excellent cooks!

Olive Oil

¼ C. Pine (Piñon) Nuts, or to taste

2 Lg. Onions, Thinly Sliced

3-5 Garlic Cloves, Minced

1 Can Diced Tomatoes

1 Small Can Tomato Sauce

1 lb. Frozen or 2 Cans Green Peas

Ground Meatless Soy (or, if not fasting, Beef, Lamb or a Combination), Optional

Salt & Pepper, to taste


Sauté in olive oil until browned the piñon nuts, onions and garlic. [If a non-fasting season, ground beef or lamb can be cooked and added as well.] Put in diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Heat well. Season and add peas, cooking until peas are done and the dish has thickened slightly. Serve over rice or rice mixed with melon-seed type pasta.


Lebanese Spinach Served Over Rice

A hearty Fasting or Non-Fasting dish, which can be served either over rice or over rice cooked with melon-type pasta.  Another “keeper” from St. George’s Norma Hodge.


Olive Oil

¼ C. Pine (Piñon) Nuts, or to taste

2 Lg. Onions, Thinly Sliced

1 Head Garlic Cloves, Cut into Thin Slivers

Ground Meat – Beef or Lamb, if Non-Fasting

Frozen Spinach - 2 Small Pkgs. Or 1 Larger Bag

Juice of 1 Large Lemon

Salt & Pepper, To Taste


Brown the pine nuts, onion and garlic in the olive oil. [Add ground meat, if not fasting.]

Add the spinach and cook until it is done. Just before serving, add the lemon juice. Serve over rice or rice with pasta. If not a dairy fasting day, this dish is excellent served with Laban (Yogurt) Sauce drizzled over the top.  Or, try our “vegan” version of Laban sauce. See recipe on page ___.

Eggplant Tofudasan (An Eggplant Un-Parmesan)

A wonderful Lenten substitute for Eggplant Parmesan, which is quite easy to make, low-fat and very tasty.


2 or more Large Eggplants, cut into 1/2” rounds

Blister eggplants on the Grill or Par-Cook in Skillet or in a Steamer. Or, lightly oil each eggplant slice, place them on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 F. until fork tender. 

Tofu Filling:

2 Pkgs. Soft Tofu, Drained

3+ Cloves Fresh Garlic

1/2 C. Fresh Parsley

1/2 C. Onion

Fresh Herbs, to taste, such as: Basil, Oregano, Rosemary and/or Thyme

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Blend all filling ingredients together in a food processor.


Pasta Sauce:

1 Lg. ( 26 Oz.) Can Pasta Sauce (Vegetarian) – Or Homemade

1 Tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning

2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced or Pressed

Mix all of these ingredients together, and warm in the microwave or on the stove.


Rice or Soy-based “Parmesan Cheese” substitute (see pg_), Optional


Lightly oil a pyrex-type 3 Qt. baking dish.  Place a layer of eggplant on the bottom.  Spread with a layer of the Tofu Filling, spread with a thin layer of Pasta Sauce. Repeat with additional layers of eggplant topped by filling and sauce, until the pan is full. End by spreading the top with a generous layer of pasta sauce. Sprinkle this with a Parmesan-cheese substitute, Optional.  Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and done. Serve with hot French bread on the side.


Spanakotofupita  (A Lenten, Vegetarian Spanikopita)

This wonderful dish is a great hit for those special occasions  – such as a Bishop’s visit, an anniversary, birthday or names day -  which happen to fall within a “Fasting Season.”  The recipe was shared with me by Presvytera Sophronia Tomaras. However, it originated from her daughter, Presvytera Irene Supica. Both are excellent cooks as well as being “Clergy Wives” in the Greek Orthodox Church. 


For a 9 X 13” Baking Pan:

1 Large Onion, finely chopped

1 Bunch Green Onions (Scallions), finely chopped

1/3 C. Olive or Vegetable Oil

3 – 10 Oz. Pkgs. Frozen, Chopped Spinach, defrosted & squeezed dry

2 tsp. Salt (or to taste)

1/2 tsp. Pepper (or to taste)

2 Tbsp. Flour

1 Tbsp. Dry Dill Weed (or 3 Tbsp. Fresh Dill Leaves, stemmed & minced)

1/2 C. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped

1 Pkg. Firm Tofu, crumbled (14 – 16 Oz.)

1/2 Pound Filo Dough

1/2 Pound Margarine (2 sticks)

1/4 C. Olive or Vegetable Oil


Sauté both kinds of onions in the 1/3 C. oil for 5 – 8 minutes, until onions are soft but not brown.  Set aside to cool.  In a large mixing bowl (or in a food processor), combine the spinach, flour, salt, pepper, dill and parsley.  Mix well. Add onions & the oil they were fried in to the tofu mixture.  Blend well.


Melt the margarine and add the 1/4 C. oil.  Use 1/2 of the Filo to line the pan.  Brush each sheet with the margarine/oil mixture.  Fill the pan with the spinach mixture.  Top the filling with the remaining Filo dough.  Brush again with margarine/oil. Score the Filo with a sharp knife.  Bake in 350 F. oven for about 1 hour, until a deep golden brown.  Remove from oven.  Let it cool a bit before cutting on the original “scored” markings, all the way through to the bottom of the pan.  This is very good!


Vegetable & Tofu Shish Kabobs


My daughters love to prepare, cook – and Eat – these tasty vegetarian shish kabobs. Use perforated aluminum foil, “grill buddies” or a grilling rack, to prevent loosing items through the BBQ grill grating.


Small, Red Potatoes, Par Boiled

Mild Onions, Quartered

Roma Tomatoes, cut into ½ or 1/3 -  or Large Cherry Tomatoes, Whole

Summer Squash – Zucchini or Yellow – Prepared as directed below.

Eggplant – Prepared as directed below.

Mushrooms – Whole

1 – 2 Pkgs. Extra Firm Tofu, Well Drained & Cut into 1 ½” Cube

Wash whole squash and eggplant.  Lightly rub with olive or other oil. Blister on the grill, until slightly softened. Cool slightly, then cut into large (1 ½”) chunks. Marinate all of the vegetables and tofu in either Valley-style Grilling Marinade (pg_) or Herbed Vinaigrette Marinade (pg_) for at least 20 minutes, but for up to several hours. Drain off and reserve the marinade. Carefully assemble the shish kabobs on skewers by varying the pieces of vegetables, potato and tofu.  When all are assembled, grill (with mesquite smoke) until all vegetables are tender and cooked to perfection.  Serve with warmed Greek Pita, French Bread or Tortillas, on the side. 


Polenta Gratin with Mushrooms & Tomato (Or, Lenten version…)

Polenta Gratin is a wonderful “Cheese Fare Week” or non-Lenten dish. It makes a one-dish supper or can be served with a good salad on the side. The recipe was by visitors to the home of the Varanos of the Christ the Savior OCA Mission in McComb, Mississippi. McComb is located South of Jackson and East of Hattisburg, not too far from the border with Louisiana. David, Edie & their homeschooled family have a lovely rural retreat spot out along the river, which is a real treat to visit!  Besides being the essence of hospitality, Edie is also an excellent cook!  We have made a Lenten variation of this dish, minus the cheese and with a ground “meatless” soy product. Tofu can also be added to this fasting version. It is also quite good!


Basic Polenta:

6 C. Water

2 C. Coarse Cornmeal

1 ½ Tsp. Salt

1 – 6 Tbsps. Butter

2 Tbsps. + Sun Dried Tomatoes, Optional


Bring water to a boil in a heavy pan.  Add salt and slowly add cornmeal in a steady stream.  Stir constantly with a whisk to avoid lumps!  When all of the meal is in, lower the heat and stir constantly (yes, constantly!) for 30 minutes.  If it seizes into lumps, add some additional boiling water and try to whisk or stir the lumps out.  When done, add the butter and stir it in thoroughly. If using the sun dried tomatoes, stir them in as well.  Then, for the casserole, pour half of the polenta into a Buttered or Well-Oiled Casserole Pan 9 X 11”.  Pour the remainder onto a Buttered or Oiled Cookie Sheet with Edges, approximately the same size as the Casserole Dish you are using. This piece will become the top of the casserole after you place the filling inside.  Spread the warm polenta using a knife or spatula dipped in cold water.


Polenta Casserole Filling:

2 ½ Tbsps. Olive Oil

1 Lg. Onion, Finely Diced

2 Small Bay Leaves

½ Tsp. Dried Thyme

1 Tsp. Dried Marjoram and/or Basil

Approx. 16 Oz. Fresh Mushrooms, Sliced

2 – 3 Zucchini or other Summer Squash, Chopped, Optional

3+ Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced

Fresh Parsley, Minced, to taste

Salt & Freshly Milled Pepper, to taste

1 – 28 Oz. Can Diced or Chopped Tomatoes (Or, Diced Fresh Romas)

1 C. Provolone, Monterey Jack or Feta Cheese, Grated or Crumbled

¼ C. Freshly Grated Rice “Parmesan” or other Fasting Substitute

(Optional for Non-Fasting: 1 Lb. Bulk Sausage, Browned, Drained & Crumbled,

Or, Fasting Ground “Meatless” Crumbles)


Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and herbs. Cook until onion begins to brown, approximately 10 minutes.  Raise the heat to high and add mushrooms, garlic and salt. Sauté until the mushrooms are soft, approximately 4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and parsley, then simmer for an additional 4 minutes.  Remove from heat.  If using the sausage or ground “meatless”, add it now.


Spread half of the mushroom mixture over the prepared polenta in the casserole dish. Cover it with half of the cheese.  Add the 2nd layer of polenta.  Feel free to cut it into pieces if you need to make it easier to get into the pan. Cover this with the remaining mushroom mixture and top with the remaining cheese.  Bake at 400 F. for about 30 - 45 minutes, until the dish is thoroughly heated and bubbly.


St. Padrig’s Day Lenten Corned “Not-Beef” & Cabbage

The Orthodox Christian Saint Patrick, Bishop and Enlightener of Ireland, departed this life on March 17th  in the year 493.  St. Patrick’s “Feast Day” always falls within the Orthodox fasting period of Great Lent – so, no “corned beef” (salted beef) is found on our tables!  The following is a substitute we came up with one year, in honor of the occasion. We found it to be very tasty when served after Pre-Sanctified Divine Liturgy.


2 Bay Leaves

1 Tbsp. Whole Allspice

1 Tsp. Whole Black Peppercorns

1 Tsp. Whole Mustard Seed

Place the spices in a small cloth bag or piece of secured muslin cloth.

Good, Rich Vegetable Broth or Vegetable Stock

Cook the following vegetable and spices in the vegetable stock:

1 Head Cabbage, Cut into Wedges

1 Lb. Carrots, Cut into thirds

2 Lg. Onions, Cut into Wedges

2 Stalks Celery plus Celery Greens

2 Turnips, Cut into Large Chunks, Optional

Plenty of Salt, to taste


In a separate pot of boiling water, cook:

5 Lbs. Red-skinned Potatoes, Cut into Halves or Quarters


When the vegetables are tender, drain the potatoes. (Save the potato water for vegetable stock or liquid in breads.)  Add and stir into the potatoes:


½ C. Fresh Parsley, Minced

1 Stick Lenten Margarine

Salt, to taste


Serve the cabbage and other vegetables in their broth.  Serve the potatoes separately.  Have on hand some Fresh Horseradish Sauce.  Serve with Irish Bread & a good Pint of Ale on the side! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!


Colcannon – An Irish & Scottish Potato & Cabbage Dish

This is a Lenten tradition for St. Patrick’s Day and is excellent served on any other fasting day or season. The recipe also has a version using cheese (see below) which is excellent for times outside of the various fasts.  It is interesting to note that this dish is also traditionally served in Ireland on All Hallow’s Eve.


Boil water in a large pot and add:

Peeled Potatoes

Salt & Pepper, to taste


When the potatoes are tender, remove from pot and mash them well.

In a skillet, heat some water, oil, margarine or butter and fry until soft:

1 Onion, Thinly Sliced

1 Head of Cabbage, Thinly Sliced

2 Carrots, Thinly Sliced, Optional

1 Small Yellow Turnip (Rutabaga?), Thinly Sliced, Optional

2 Small White Turnips, Thinly Sliced, Optional


Mix the potatoes, onion, cabbage and any of the “optional” vegetables together and mash them well. Place the mixture in an oiled or buttered casserole dish. Add margarine or butter, salt and pepper, to taste. This can be made earlier in the day and then re-heated in the oven. Serve topped with:


Paprika and/or Fresh Parsley, Minced and/or Fresh Chives, Minced


Variations: Kilkenny – A non-fasting Scottish version of Colcannon which calls for equal amounts of potatoes and cabbage, plus a half cup of cream. Rumbledethumps – A similar Scottish recipe which includes potatoes, cabbage and onions -  all cooked as described above - and then placed into an oiled casserole dish and topped with lots of grated sharp cheddar cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 F. until the cheese melts and slightly browns.


Easy Cheezy Zucchini Casserole

Made up one night when we needed a quick summer fasting dinner and had lots of zucchini just hanging around.  One could transform this into a non-vegan dinner by using real cheese and perhaps, some ground meat as well.


A wee bit of Olive Oil

1 Lg. Onion, Coarsely Chopped

4 Lg. Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced

¼ C. Fresh Parsley or Cilantro, Diced

4-6 Med. Zucchini Squash (or Yellow Summer squash), quartered and sliced

1 Tsp. Dried or Fresh Oregano

½ Tsp. Dried NM-type Red Pepper Flakes (Pizza style) , optional but good!

½ Tsp. Ground Cumin (Cominos), Optional

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Frozen Ground Soy Crumbles, Optional

Grated Soye Cheese – Mexican-type, Monterey Jack or Cheddar

Sauté onion, garlic, parsley or cilantro and squash in a bit of olive oil, until the vegetables are limp. Stir in seasonings. Lightly oil a pyrex-type casserole dish. Add squash mixture. Stir in ground meatless crumbles, if used. Top with grated soy cheese substitute. Put in preheated oven at 350 F. for about 20 – 30 minutes, until bubbly and the soy cheese is just beginning to brown. Serve as a main dish, with a salad and some French bread on the side. Or, eat as a side dish to a tomato sauce-type pasta dinner.
























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