There are numerous ways to prepare well-balanced vegetarian meals quickly. One trick is to master a few basic flavor combinations then toss in complementary main ingredients.
Here is a Mexican-influenced base that can be the foundation for beans and rice tortillas or vegetable chili.
MEXICAN FLAVOR BASE
1 cup peeled tomatoes, fresh or canned
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 pasilla chili, roasted, peeled and chopped
1 sweet red pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped, optional
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Choose combination of: 1 cup cooked pinto or kidney beans; 14 ounces nigari tofu, drained and cubed; 1 cup large white mushrooms, sliced; 1 cup cooked bulgur wheat; 1 cup chopped carrots, 1 cup corn kernels, 4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped.
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
Cooked rice, corn flour pasta and/or tortillas
Minced fresh cilantro, optional
Heat tomatoes in medium skillet, breaking down with back of spoon. Add garlic, red onion, white onion, pasilla chili and sweet red pepper. Simmer gently until tender. Stir in cumin, oregano, chili powder, lemon juice and cayenne pepper to taste.
Add any combination of vegetable ingredients, cover, and cook 20 minutes, adding water as necessary to avoid burning. Turn off heat. Stir in yogurt and cheese.
Serve over rice. Sprinkle with cilantro. Makes 4 servings.