A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Cheesy Mushroom Pizza Quesadilla Hearty Vegetable Strata Baked Vegetable Spaghetti Sweet Potato & Red Bean Tacos   Cheesy Mushroom Pizza Quesadilla Yield: 3 servings. 6 (8-inch) flour tortillas ½ cup

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Cheesy Mushroom Pizza Quesadilla Hearty Vegetable Strata Baked Vegetable Spaghetti Sweet Potato & Red Bean Tacos   Cheesy Mushroom Pizza Quesadilla Yield: 3 servings. 6 (8-inch) flour tortillas ½ cup

4 Vegetarian Recipes We Love


Cheesy Mushroom Pizza Quesadilla

Yield: 3 servings.

6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
½ cup marinara sauce, plus more for serving
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced and cooked
3 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon fennel seed

Place a tortilla in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Spoon a thin layer of sauce onto tortilla, spreading it evenly to the edges. Place 2 ounces mozzarella over sauce, followed by a third of the mushrooms. Top mushrooms with a third each of the Gruyère, basil, and fennel seed.

On a cutting board, spread 2 ounces of sauce onto a second tortilla. Place tortilla, sauce side down, on top of pizza in the skillet and use a wide spatula to carefully flip over pizza quesadilla. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese is melted and bottom tortilla is crispy.

Remove quesadilla from the pan and cut into 4 slices. Repeat process for a second and third quesadilla.

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Hearty Vegetable Strata

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups butternut squash, diced (about 1 medium squash)
2 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 cups Italian bread (about 8 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
6 large eggs
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
Fresh parsley (for garnish)

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash, mushrooms, bell pepper, spinach, onion, and garlic, and sauté 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add cream cheese and stir. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place bread cubes in baking dish. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly over bread and sprinkle Cheddar and Parmesan on top.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, nutmeg, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and evaporated milk. Pour egg mixture over vegetable mixture. Cover with foil; refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 325°. Bake strata, covered, for 1 hour or until bubbly. Garnish with parsley.

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Baked Vegetable Spaghetti

Yield: 6 servings.

16 ounces whole-milk ricotta
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 pound spaghetti or angel hair pasta, uncooked
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, trimmed and sliced
2 medium zucchini, shredded
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup vegetable stock
1½ cups light cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place ricotta, zest, and lemon juice in a bowl. Stir until well combined. Set aside.

In a stockpot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package instructions or until al dente. Add carrots 2 minutes before pasta is done.

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, toast pine nuts, shaking the pan occasionally, for 2 minutes or until evenly browned. Transfer to a bowl. Heat oil in the frying pan. Add garlic and shallot, and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Stir in zucchini and peas. Add stock and cream. Simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly.

Drain the pasta and carrot mixture and return to the pot. Add the vegetable mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss well to combine. Pour pasta mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with dollops of lemony ricotta, sliced green onions, and Parmesan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until ricotta melts over pasta. Sprinkle with pine nuts before serving.

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Sweet Potato & Red Bean Tacos

Yield: 4 servings.

Sweet potatoes:

2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt

Red beans:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
2 cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon lime juice
½ teaspoon salt

Avocado dip:

2 avocados, pitted and peeled
1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon salt


8 to 10 corn tortillas
1 cup red cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
Lime wedges (for garnish)

For the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 425°. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, paprika, and salt. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway through, until sweet potatoes are tender and caramelizing at the edges.

For the beans: In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add cumin and chili powder, and cook for about 30 seconds while stirring. Pour in the beans and water. Stir, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer.

Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and use a potato masher or a fork to mash up half of the beans. Remove from heat, stir in the lime juice, and season with salt. Cover and set aside.

For the avocado dip: Place avocado into a food processor or blender. Add cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, water, and salt. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor or blender as necessary. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. Transfer dip to a small bowl for serving.

For the tacos: Heat a large skillet over medium heat and warm the tortillas in batches, flipping to warm each side. Stack the warmed tortillas on a plate and cover with a tea towel.

To assemble, spread beans down the center of each tortilla, then top with sweet potatoes and avocado dip. Garnish with Feta, cabbage, and lime wedges.

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This story was published on Dec 13, 2021

Lynn Wells

Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.