Meatless Monday: Mac 'n' cheese, vegetable salad and curried chickpeas

It's Meatless Monday. Even if you have no intention of going vegetarian, these hearty dishes are so rich and satisfying you might never guess they're meat-free.

Famous Dave's mac 'n' cheese: A medley of original flavors make this mac 'n' cheese shine. It starts with four different types of cheeses, the sauce built out with corn niblets, spicy jalapenos, fresh parsley and a touch of barbecue sauce. Top it with a crumbly breadcrumb topping and bake it until its wonderful aroma is simply too much to bear. (This dish can also be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated until you're ready to bake.)

Curried chickpeas: The curry blend in this recipe gives an otherwise simple salad wonderful depth and robust flavor. Coriander and cumin lend fragrant earthiness, with a little cayenne pepper added for a hint of heat. The caramelized onions add richness, and the cilantro and lemon juice brighten the salad nicely, distinguishing the flavors. You can make it in advance; this is one salad that improves with chilling time.


BLD's fresh vegetable salad: BLD tosses its homemade dressing -- fresh, lightly herbal, sweetened with a touch of honey and with just the right amount of tang -- with a wonderfully bright and colorful salad of crunchy fresh corn, edamame, roasted bell peppers and green beans, along with diced avocado and toasted cashews. They top the salad with fresh sprouts and a drizzle of nutty hemp seeds. This recipe contains soy products, which may not be suitable for certain gluten-sensitive people.

You can find the recipes below.

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Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Servings: 8 to 12

Note: Adapted from Famous Dave's.

2 tablespoons butter, plus 1/4 cup (1/2 stick), divided

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

3/4 cup half-and-half

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons barbecue sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

4 ounces aged white cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups sweet corn niblets

2 jalapeños, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 pound jumbo elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed

8 ounces Colby cheese, cubed

1/2 cup cracker crumbs

1/2 cup panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs

1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy-bottom pot over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the butter until thoroughly combined to form a roux. Slowly whisk in the milk, then the half-and-half. Whisk in the mustard, barbecue sauce, salt and pepper.

3. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes to develop the flavors. Whisk in the white cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Stir in the corn, jalapeños and parsley, then remove from heat.

4. Stir in the macaroni, then the cubed sharp cheddar and Colby cheeses. Spoon the macaroni and cheese into a buttered 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

5. Melt the remaining one-quarter cup of butter in a small sauce pan. In a medium bowl, combine the cracker, panko and unseasoned bread crumbs with the melted butter. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the macaroni and cheese.

6. Bake the mac 'n' cheese until bubbly and browned on top, about 40 minutes.

Each of 12 servings: 530 calories; 21 grams protein; 43 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 30 grams fat; 18 grams saturated fat; 86 mg cholesterol; 4 grams sugar; 691 mg sodium


Total time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from Joan's on Third

1/2 cup diced onions

4 teaspoons best-quality olive oil

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste


1. In a large saute pan heated over medium-high heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until deep golden and crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic and lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the chickpeas, cilantro and lemon juice and continue to stir to develop the flavors, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt, or to taste.

4. Cool the salad, then transfer it to a container, cover and refrigerate until chilled before serving, at least 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning and lemon juice as desired. This makes just over 3 cups salad.

Each of 4 servings: 238 calories; 9 grams protein; 37 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams fiber; 6 grams fat; 1 grams saturated fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 276 mg sodium.


Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from BLD in Los Angeles. Hemp seeds can be found at select well-stocked markets as well as most health food stores.

Salad dressing

1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped shallot

1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons sweet rice vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup canola oil

1. In a blender, grind the ginger, shallots and rosemary to a paste.

2. Add the soy sauce, honey, vinegar, lemon juice to the ginger mixture and blend until fairly smooth.

3. With the blender running, slowly add the oil. This makes about three-fourths cup dressing, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. The dressing will keep, up to 3 days, covered and refrigerated.

Fresh vegetable salad

2 cups shelled edamame beans

1 cup raw fresh yellow corn

2/3 cup diced avocado

2/3 cup toasted and salted cashews

1/2 cup sliced or diced roasted and peeled red bell peppers

1 1/2 cups French green beans (haricot vert), blanched, shocked and chopped

2 cups diced jicama

1/2 cup salad dressing, more as desired

1 cup daikon sprouts

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hemp seeds

In a large bowl, combine the edamame, corn, avocado, cashews, peppers, green beans and jicama. Add one-half cup of the dressing and toss to coat. Taste, and add additional dressing if desired. Divide the salad among 4 plates and garnish with the daikon sprouts and hemp seeds. This makes about 8 cups of salad. Serve immediately.

Each of 6 servings: 387 calories; 14 grams protein; 29 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams fiber; 26 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 10 grams sugar; 306 mg sodium.