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vegetarian – La Gourmandista

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Etiqueta: vegetarian

Hibiscus Enchiladas in a Chipotle and Chile de Arbol Salsa

Anyone who knows me or who simply follows this blog either on the web or via social media can see that I am an omnivore and that most of my family is as well. However, I am conscious that global food trends are becoming more and more vegetal every day. Now, enchiladas have always been part of the Mexican diet, right? Well, a couple of years ago when I was visiting family and friends in Mexico City, I found a similar option in a menu at a restaurant where I went to have breakfast, and even though my choice was a different one, they stayed in my mind for a while. Months afterwards, I had made hibiscus agua fresca, but before disposing of them, I decided it was the best moment to try my own version of the dish. Here’s what I did:

Hibiscus Enchiladas in a Chipotle & Arbol Chili Salsa

When I was a child, enchiladas were normally stuffed with chicken. This vegetarian option is delicious and gives a second life to your hibiscus flowers after aromatizing your agua fresca.

  • Chopping board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Baking sheet
  • 2 Medium skillets
  • Blender
  • Turner or Rigid Spatula
  • Several spoons

For the sauce:

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 árbol chili (hydrated)
  • 1 smoked chipotle chili
  • 60 ml vegetable stock (if necessary)
  • Kosher salt and allspice (to season)

For the stuffing:

  • 50 g hibiscus flowers (dehydrated)
  • ¼ onion (finely diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)

To assemble the enchiladas:

  • Frying oil
  • 12 Corn flowers
  • 100 g Mexican crema
  • 100 g Cotija cheese
  • ¼ onion (finely diced)
  1. The easiest way to make this salsa, I think, is to put the onion, the garlic clove, and tomatoes to roast in the oven at 350 °F (180 °C) with a drizzle of oil. Then, blend with the chipotle and the re-hydrated árbol chiles. Season with kosher salt and allspice and adjust the texture with a bit of vegetable stock. You don’t want your salsa to be excessively runny.
  2. Then, in a skillet with a little bit of oil, sweat the onion and then add the garlic and the hibiscus flowers as well as a couple spoonfuls of salsa to season the flowers.
  3. Warm your tortillas and then slightly fry them for a moment in a skillet with oil.
  4. Form your enchiladas by taking a bit of the flower stuffing and folding the tortilla by half.
  5. Bathe with the salsa and add a bit of the Mexican crema or crème fraîche, fresh finely diced onion and a bit of cotija cheese on top. If you want to omit the crema and the cotija you will have some delicious vegan enchiladas.
  • Hibiscus flowers generally come as the by-product that is left over after preparing a pitcher of agua fresca on the warmer days or tea on the colder ones. 
  • If Mexican crema is not available, substitute with crème fraîche. Avoid using sour cream.
Main Course
enchiladas, lockdown2020, Mexican food, stay home, Vegetarian

Leek and Summer Squash Gratin

Raise your hand if you are not a fan of gratin dauphinois and if you don’t wish it were the base of your diet all through the Winter, however, one starts to grow up and realizes it is impossible to live just by eating potatoes and that one must incorporate other veggies in one’s diet. And it is in days just like today, when it’s rainy and cloudy, this is a great option, I’d like to think.

Leek & Summer Squash Gratin

Still the warmth of the gratin with a lot less guilt.

  • Chopping board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Pyrex or baking dish
  • 2 summer squash (thinly sliced)
  • 1 leek (thinly sliced)
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 500 g heavy whipping cream
  • Salt & pepper
  • Nutmeg
  1. Using half the butter, generously coat the baking dish and put all of the sliced vegetables. Season with salt, pepper and sprinkle a little nutmeg.
  2. Add the heavy whipping cream to the same height of the vegetables.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until a beautiful golden color covering is obtained.

Oven preheated at 350 °F (180 °C)

Side Dish
quarantine2020, side dish, stay home, Vegetarian

How to Make Authentic Lebanese Tabbouleh

When the summer arrived I bumped into a Lebanese gourmet store that made me remember my mother’s cooking afternoons with her Middle Eastern friends; their afternoons cooking everything they could put their hands on. And even though I didn’t learn how to prepare anything at the time, I threw myself into the challenge to cook some of these delicacies in the following weeks.

I was curious and did some research, and it turns out this is a Syrian original salad, but highly popular in other countries nearby.


Fresh, delicious, and simple to accompany practically any Middle Eastern cuisine.

  • Chopping board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Salad bowl
  • Salad serving utensils
  • Medium bowl
  • Lemon Juicer
  • Small bowl
  • Fork or small whisk
  • 200 g bulgur wheat
  • 1 yellow onion (finely diced)
  • 100 g fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
  • 100 g fresh mint (roughly chopped)
  • 4 tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 lemon (juice)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 20 ml Olive Oil
  1. Soak the bulgur wheat in fresh water.
  2. In the meantime, chop the rest of the vegetable ingredients and put the in a salad bowl.
  3. Squeeze the wheat and incorporate into the salad bowl.
  4. Season with the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil emulsified in a small bowl with the fork or small whisk.

  5. Personally I like serving it as a side dish to something else with labneh and hummus, but there are people who prefer serving in on a lettuce leaf or on top of vine leaves.
Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Lebanese Cuisine, Middle Eastern Cuisine, Salad, Vegetarian

Cheese-Stuffed Anaheim Peppers in lieu of Chiles Rellenos

Last Saturday I was walking in the farmers’ market where I usually do my groceries when I suddenly bumped into some peppers that looked like Poblanos, only they weren’t. This, on top of all, at a stand I never buy, so I had had no prior rapport with the merchant. Nonetheless, I bought them. Upon arrival at home, I started preparing them in a very homey way. Surely they would remind me of what my mom used to prepare as a child, and they wouldn’t be spicy at all; for me something vital; always.

Here’s what I did:

Cheese-Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

Chiles rellenos are probably one of the most popular vegetarian options Mexican food has. I remember having them as a child and always whine about their being spicy, however, these peppers are not spicy at all. I promise!

  • Chopping board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Skillet, but you can also use a cast iron pan
  • Plastic bag
  • Blender
  • Medium saucepan
  • 4 Anaheim Peppers
  • 500 g fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 500 g tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 5 g tomato paste (to kill acidity)
  • 1 dash olive oil
  1. I washed the Anaheim Peppers and dried them well.

  2. I then put them on a skillet and roasted them until charred on all sides. As they were ready little by little I put them in a plastic bag for them to sweat and be able to take the skin off more easily -a long time ago I learnt this step was the most important one when roasting chiles as we do in Mexico. Afterwards, I took the skin off, opened them, and deseeded them.

  3. Once the peppers well all clean and ready I placed them in a platter and filled them with some fresh slices of mozzarella.

  4. Then I worked on a tomato sauce. For that, I added the tomato, onion and garlic in the blender and processed everything.

  5. I added the olive oil to the saucepan and sautéd the sauce. I know it sounds strange, but do it. Then, add the tomato paste to kill the acidity and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let it then simmer for 10 minutes. You will see the color of the sauce change. This will indicate that the tomato is being cooked. Taste and rectify seasoning if needed.

  6. When serving, I warmed up a bit the peppers for the cheese to met. This can be very easily achieved in the oven preheated at 350 °F or 180 °C. Just wait for the cheese to be melted. It should take about 10 minutes or so.

  7. Once plated, I sauced the peppers individually. Evidently, freshly handmade corn tortillas were in order.

Sides for this plate can include refried beans and rice to keep it vegetarian. 

Since our dinner was a tasting of Mexican food, and not everyone was vegetarian, we served it with a side of pulled pork called Chilorio for those who fancied it.

Main Course
Anaheim Peppers, Homemade, main dish, Mexican cuisine, not spicy, Vegetarian

Mac n’Cheese, but with French Mimolette Cheese

Summer’s here. School’s out and children want something fun, yet adults want something that doesn’t look like junk food. The neighbors north of the Rio Grande are famous for their prêt-à-manger and the French for their cooking dinner on a daily basis. For a moment I stopped to think what to prepare, and a very popular dish from my childhood. However, I didn’t want the industrial and “non-artificial” flavors in it. Nostalgia won me over, and I put myself to work. This is what I did:

Mac n’ Mimolette Cheese

Mac & Cheese is a staple of the American cuisine. It is very popular, especially among the youngsters. Here, I share with you my homemade version with a sauce I feel less guilty.

  • 2 Medium pots
  • Cheese shredder
  • Wooden spoon
  • Colander
  • 200 g dry pasta (macaroni or fussili)
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 200 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 400 g Mimolette cheese (shredded)
  • 5 g Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to season
  1. Add salted water to a medium pot and let it come to a rolling boil. Then, add the pasta al dente, meaning it should be cooked, but it mustn’t fall apart; let it have some texture. It should take 7 minutes, but check the instructions of the pasta package.

  2. In the meantime, in another pot at a medium heat start preparing the sauce. To do that, melt the butter, then add the heavy whipping cream and the Dijon mustard. Mix the lot ant let it come to a simmer. Then, add the shredded mimolette or cheddar cheese. Do not stop mixing, this will allow the cheese to melt and not stick at the bottom of the pot. It shall slowly melt. Turn the heat off and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. Once the pasta is al dente, strain it but don’t rinse it. Add it to the pot with the cheese sauce and fold it in for the sauce to cover the pasta delicately. Verify the seasoning.

  4. Serve and enjoy. I am sure everyone will love it.

  • I highly advise that you buy your cheese and shred it yourself, since pre-shredded cheese has celulose added that prevents uniform melting. This shall make your sauce lumpy instead of silky.
  • This recipe is tastier if you enjoy it right after you prepare it. Re-heating makes the sauce not be as silky.
  • This is a heavy dish, so I suggest you serve it with a side of green salad. This shall be enough for a hearty lunch.
Comfort Food, Homemade, Mornay Sauce, Pasta, Vegetarian