I have labeled these recipes as side dishes although many of them would make delicious, vegetarian entrees. Let’s start with my bean concoction! Drain, rinse, and add 1 can each of black beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans to a large bowl. Add diced onion, celery, green peppers, and carrots. Mix together with salt, pepper, garlic powder (or fresh), 1 T. olive oil, and 4 T. red wine vinegar then refrigerate.

Note: I rarely make this the same way twice. Mix in what you like and you can’t go wrong. If the vinegar is too strong for you, add some fat-free Italian dressing. I frequently eat this alone as my meal or add it to salads. It would be good with cold, whole wheat pasta too. It’s a basic side dish recipe that can be used over and over. Be creative!

Sheila’s Indonesian Rice Salad

To call this recipe a side dish doesn’t do it justice! It is a delicious, substantial, vegetarian meal. This one will serve 6.. 2 cups brown cooked rice, 1/3 cup peanut oil, 3 T. Chinese sesame oil, ½ cup orange juice, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1 t. salt, 2 T. soy sauce, ½ t. crushed red pepper, 2 T. rice or cider vinegar, 1 cup crushed pineapple, Add hot rice to dressing and mix well. When cooled to room temperature, cover tightly and refrigerate until cold.

Shortly before serving, stir in 3 scallions minced (white and green parts), 1 stalk celery, minced, 1 red or green pepper, thinly sliced, 1—8oz. can water chestnuts, drained and thinly sliced, ½ lb. Fresh mung bean sprouts, ½ cup packed raisins or currants, 1 cup chopped peanuts or cashews and 2 T. sesame seeds!

This seems like a labor-intensive recipe but it’s great and you can make a large amount and eat it for a week! You can add or leave out any ingredients that you wish. NOTE: This is Sheila’s original recipe. She’s a vegetarian and doesn’t have to watch her calories as closely as I do. I reduced the calories by using 1T. peanut oil, 1T. sesame oil, 4 T. of vinegar, and 1/4 c. chopped nuts. It was still delicious and healthy!

Sweet Potato Salad..

(6-8 Servings) 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes, 2 cups pineapple chunks (save juice), 3/4 cup sweet onion, chopped, 3/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped, 1 large egg, 4 tsp. pineapple juice or lime juice, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1 T. soy sauce, 2 tsp. sesame oil, 1 T. ginger, minced, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cayenne, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional). Boil potatoes 5-7 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop cooking process. Drain well and combine potatoes, pineapple, onion, and pepper in a large bowl.

Combine the egg and pineapple (or lime) juice in the bowl of a blender. With the machine running, slowly add the oil. Once the mixture has thickened, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, salt, and cayenne. Continue processing for 30 seconds to combine everything well. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and toss well. Add cilantro and toss again. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.

Crock pot Spaghetti Squash

(Serves 2) 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half, 14 ounce can diced tomatoes (I like petite-diced), 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed olives (pour extra juice into crock pot), Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place in crock pot with the cut side up, Add tomatoes, filling the cavities in the squash and sprinkle with oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, Scatter olives. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

You must try this wonderful side dish before you turn up your nose! (Serves 2), finely shred 1/2 pound of fresh Brussels sprouts, In a non-stick skillet, cook one strip of bacon (I use the reduced-fat) in 2 tsp. of olive oil until bacon is crisp. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion and saute for 4-5 minutes. Stir in shredded Brussels sprouts and saute for 8-9 minutes, until tender. Add 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Vegetables

This side dish recipe makes a large amount that can be eaten all week! It would make a delicious entree by adding chunks of roasted chicken! Cut your favorite vegetables into bit-sized chunks. I use zucchini, yellow squash, red and green bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc. Put vegetables in a bowl and toss with 1 T. olive oil and 2 T. balsamic vinegar. Spread the veggies in a single layer on a large cookie sheet that has been sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle the veggies with salt(I like to use sea salt), pepper, and garlic powder. Roast in a 425-degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Cider Cabbage

(Makes 4 servings) Saute 1 cup of chopped red cabbage in 1 T. olive oil over medium heat for about four minutes. Add 1/2 cup chopped apple and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Add 1/3 cup water, 1/4 cup apple cider, and 2 T. apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.