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Weekday dinner inspiration: Vegan Red Bean Gumbo and more

Mon | Meatless meal

Vegan Red Bean Gumbo (recipe below) calls for a bit of file powder, which is dried and ground sassafras leaves. File powder is a thickening agent and you can substitute a teaspoon of cornstarch. Make a slurry by mixing it with some of the hot liquid and then pouring back into the soup.

Tues | A sophisticated sandwich

There are many variations on the grilled cheese sandwich theme but tonight try Sauteed Wild Mushroom and Gruyere Melts. Saute sliced wild mushrooms with minced shallots in an olive oil and butter mixture. Go easy on both so the sandwich doesn't get greasy. You can use whatever thick slices of bread that suit you, but I like hearty rye. Butter bread, and top with mushroom mixture and cheese, then make like you would a standard grilled cheese. Serve with a green salad spiked with diced Granny Smith apples and walnuts, dressed with a mustard vinaigrette.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Easy Sweet Potato Casserole is made by doctoring store-bought mashed sweet potatoes and mixing in a diced fresh pear. Spread the mixture in a shallow baking dish, dot with butter and sprinkle pecans and cinnamon on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Serve with carved roasted chicken and steamed broccoli.

Thurs | Dinner, simplified

Broiled Salmon With Asian Vegetables may sound complicated but it's a quick and easy weeknight meal. Season 1-inch-thick fillets with salt and pepper and broil for about 5 minutes. Stir-fry a frozen bag of Asian veggies with soy sauce and a bit of honey, plus some minced garlic.

Fri | Beer and subs

Crack open a favorite brew, it's Friday after all, and make a batch of Meatball Subs. Heat frozen meatballs, layer in toasted rolls and top with red sauce and a slice of provolone. Broil until cheese is bubbly. Serve with a green salad loaded with veggies.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at jkeeler@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8586. Follow @roadeats on Twitter.

>>EASY

Vegan Red Bean Gumbo

This recipe is also soy-free and gluten-free.

1 tablespoon olive oil or ¼ cup water

1 medium onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

½ cup chopped celery

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup uncooked long-grain brown rice

6 cups vegetable broth or water

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained

1 (15.5-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 ½ cups sliced fresh or frozen okra

½ teaspoon file powder

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

teaspoon cayenne pepper

Tabasco or other hot sauce, for serving

Heat the oil or water in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, broth, tomatoes with the juice, beans, okra, file powder, thyme, salt, black pepper and cayenne and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, occasionally, until the rice and vegetables are tender, about 35 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve hot, with hot sauce on the side.

Serves 4.

Source: One-Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson (Harvard Common Press, 2013)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Vegan Red Bean Gumbo and more 10/15/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 3:15am]

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