Archive for the ‘side dishes’ Category

Inspired by this recipe, I realized that I was out of pearl barley, which was the grain called for. I subbed faro for it instead, and the results were excellent.

Roasted vegetable and faro salad (made nondairy by me – I used grated soy mozzarella instead of goat feta cheese)

1 1/2 pounds eggplant, diced

4 cups grape tomatoes, halved

1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 onion, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

1 1/4 cups faro

3 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup grated soy mozzarella, or soy feta

arugula or baby spinach leaves, a few handfuls

Put rack in middle of oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

Toss eggplant, tomatoes, and bell pepper with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast veggies until eggplant is golden brown and tender and tomatoes are shriveled, stirring halfway through, about 25 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3 – 4 quart heavy pot over moderately high heat. Add the onion and cook til softened. Add the cumin, coriander, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add faro and cook, stirring until well coated with oil for 1 minute more. Add water and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of the liquid is absorbed and faro is tender, 30 – 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for about 5 minutes. Transfer barley to baking pan with roasted vegetables and spread to cool, about 20 minutes.

Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, honey, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil. Pour over the faro and veggies, along with the basil and cheese. Mix together, and transfer to a serving bowl or platter. (Arrange some arugula or spinach leaves on the platter before piling on the faro mixture). Makes 6 servings.

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These were a great accompaniment to Sunday football. With a few nondairy adaptations, and a little non-cured, no nitrated turkey bacon, these were healthy, too.

Homemade potato skins (from Babble blog)

4 russet potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed

canola oil

1 cup soy cheddar cheese, shredded

2 – 3 strips turkey bacon

3 tablespoons minced parsley

3 tablespoons scallions, shallots, or red onion

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon soy sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scrub and dry your potatoes. Pierce each potato a few times with a fork. Brush oil all over the potatoes, place on a sturdy stainless steel baking sheet. Bake potatoes for an hour, until the skin has wrinkled and the potatoes are soft to the touch. Remove from baking sheet and set aside to cool until they can be handled.

Cut the potatoes in half, and scoop out the potato flesh, leaving a 1/4″ of potato flesh all around. Reserve the extra flesh for mashed potatoes, or another potato dish.

Turn the oven to 450 degrees and brush both sides of the potatoes liberally with canola oil, and sprinkle them with salt. Lay the potatoes flesh-side up on the baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the potatoes with tongs, and bake for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry up your bacon (I microwaved mine) so that it is nice and crisp. When cool enough to handle, crumble it.

Remove the potato skins from the oven, turn flesh side up, and sprinkle each potato evenly with the cheese and bacon bits. Place the skins back into the oven and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle each skin with the scallions, a twist of fresh pepper, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve immediately.

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I’m very glad I found this recipe. This is already the best dish of January for me, and maybe for 2011; we’ll see… But eating is believing. Or disbelieving. We could NOT believe that this was not mashed potatoes. So good. And good for you. Very creamy, buttery, and moist. No carbs! You can eat these without guilt. And they’re filling, too.

Cauliflower mashed potatoes (from Pride and Vegudice blog)

2 medium heads of cauliflower, washed and chopped into florets

1-2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (I used canola oil)

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

fresh black pepper to taste

herbs of your choice, to taste (I didn’t use any, but next time may try rosemary or thyme)

Steam the cauliflower florets until very very tender. Puree cauliflower in a food processor until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides. Add the oil, nutritional yeast, sea salt, pepper, and optional herbs. Continue pureeing until desired consistency is achieved (a couple of minutes). Add any additional salt and pepper to taste.


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My biggest weakness is probably for MiddleEastern cooking. This is perfectly wonderful winter salad, which can be eaten either hot or cold. No matter what the season, the colors are just beautiful, and the flavors work together perfectly.

Eggplant with pomegranate molasses (from Arabesque by Claudia Roden)

2 – 3 eggplants (weighing 2 pounds)

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

1 – 2 garlic cloves, crushed

salt and black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

seeds of 1/2 pomegranate

Prick the eggplants in a few places with a pointed knife to prevent them from exploding. Place them on a sheet of foil on an oven tray and roast them in an oven preheated to 475 degrees F for 45 – 55 minutes, until the skins are wrinkled and they are very soft.

When cool enough to handle, peel and drop them into a colander or strainer with small holes. Press them very gently to allow their juices to run out. Then, on a serving plate, cut them up into large pieces and dress them quickly so that the flesh does not have time to discolor.

Mix the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil, pour over the eggplants, and turn them to coat them all over with the dressing.

Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and, if you like, pomegranate seeds. Serves 4 to 6.

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We ate this as a main dish, but it would also make a great side. I love vegetables where you can scoop up some meaty flesh with each biteful. There’s something very basic and satisfying about it. Great stuffing, too.

Stuffed acorn squash (adapted from The Tasty Kitchen blog)

1 whole acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons margarine

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 whole cornbread muffins, cubed into bite-sized pieces

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chicken broth

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

sprinkle of soy parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scrape seeds and stringy flesh from the squash. Place squash in a baking dish, cut sides upp. Pour about an inch of water in the bottom of the dish. Put one teaspoon margarine and one teaspoon brown sugar in each half. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Baste squash with the butter and brown sugar mixture after the 15 minute mark to prevent drying. Put back in oven for another 30 – 45 minutes, or until fork tender.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet and add the celery, onion, apples, thyme, curry, and cinnamon. Cook until softened. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

Place cubed cornbread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes (next to the squash), or until golden and crunchy.

Add the cranberries and the toasted cornbread to the skillet mixture and gently stir to combine. While stirring, slowly add the chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Fill the fork-tender squash with cornbread stuffing, and place back into the oven until heat through, about 10 minutes. Serves 2. Easily doubled.

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This unusual rendition of caponata I found on MyDiverseKitchen blog. I followed the directions to the tee, making my own tomato sauce, too. Actually, I lie. I didn’t add as much chili flakes as called for, because we just don’t like our food overly spicy. But we did enjoy this dish very much – unique flavors, very robust, and satisfying. On crusty, homemade garlic bread, it was somewhat addictive. A very sociable dish.

Eggplant and fig caponata

for the tomato sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon garlic paste

1 medium size onion, diced

3 medium red tomatoes, diced

1/2 medium carrot, grated finely

salt to taste

for the caponata:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 big purple eggplant

1 medium onion, diced into 1/2″ pieces

2 – 3 tablespoons pine nuts

3 dried figs, chopped

1/8 teaspoon chili flakes

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried celery

1/3 cup tomato sauce (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dried mixed Italian herbs

salt to taste

First make the tomato sauce: Run the chopped onion and tomato in the blender to a chunky consistency. Do not puree the mixture. Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic paste and saute for a minute. Add the chunky onion-tomato mixture, grated carrot and salt. Cook till the raw smell of onion disappears and everything is well cooked and the consistency of a very thick sauce. (about 8-10 minutes). Set aside.

Now make the caponata: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut off the stalk on the eggplant and cut into half lengthwise. Place cut side down on a greased baking tray and lightly coat the eggplant halves with oil. Bake for about 20-25 minutes till the skins turn brown (not burnt). Take them out and let cool. Peel the skins off and chop the eggplant into 1/2″ cubes.

Heat remaining olive oil in a pan. Add the onions and saute for a couple of minutes, till they become a little soft. Add the pine nuts, figs, chili flakes and cook for about 5 minutes, on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Now add the chopped eggplant, brown sugar, tomato sauce (from above), balsamic vinegar, and salt. Cook this for another 5 minutes or so on medium heat til done. Add the dried celery and the other herbs. Mix well and take it off the heat. Serve on toasted baguette or garlic bread slices. Makes 4 servings.

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Can you say heavenly? These smell amazingly good even while roasting; once plated, they will have a similar effect uponĀ  you as potato chips. No matter how many times I make this, it disappears way too quickly. In spite of doubling the recipe, my best efforts were for naught. The original recipe calls for chopped hazelnuts – I was out this time, so used almonds instead – still a home-run. Gone in one sitting – we can never seem to stop nibbling on these delicious beans. A very easy, quick, yummy recipe.

Roasted green beans with shallots and almonds

1 pound green beans, trimmed

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 shallots, thinly sliced

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (original recipe calls for toasted and chopped hazelnuts)

1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon zest

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the green beans in a large baking dish with the oil and shallots and season with salt and pepper. Roast until just cooked through and golden brown, about 15 – 18 minutes. Combine the almonds, zest, and parsley in a small bowl. Transfer the green beans to a platter and sprinkle with the almond mixture. Makes 4 servings.

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From AllRecipes. Delicioso.

Roasted Italian roma tomatoes (modified to be nondairy)

8 roma (plum) tomatoes, cut in half and seeds removed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup crumbled soy cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix together the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, working the seasonings into the cavities of the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes, cut sides up, on a baking sheet, and sprinkle each tomato with about 1 tablespoon of soy cheese.

Bake the tomatoes in the oven until cooked but still firm, about 15 – 20 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.

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Tomato and peaches together – who knew? A marriage made in foodie heaven, for sure. A great salad for the end of the summer, when everything is ripe and juicy and sweet.

Tomato and peach salad (nondairy adaptations by me; from Cold Cereal & Toast blog)

5 medium tomatoes

5 small peaches

3 ounces soy mozzarella cheese, cubed

1/3 cup chopped basil

4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Rinse and chop tomatoes and peaches into 1/2″ pieces. Place in large bowl. Toss with cheese, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Makes 4 – 6 servings.

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Sauteed cabbage is from heaven. When it is paired up with caramelized onions and browned bits of pancetta, it becomes something altogether better – the sum is greater than the parts. This stuff is dangerous – since it doesn’t last long when you serve it, I’m making double next time.

Sauteed cabbage with onions and pancetta (inspired by Marcella Hazan)

1 1/2 pounds cabbage (savoy, Napa, or just regular old green)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup onion chopped fine

1/3 cup pancetta chopped fine

salt to taste

Tear or cut each cabbage leaf into 2 or 3 pieces, and set them aside.

Put the oil, onion, and pancetta in a saute pan, turn the heat on to medium, and cook, stirring from time to time until the onion becomes deeply golden and the pancetta is browned.

Put in as many of the cabbage pieces as will not overfill the pan. If the cabbage doesn’t all fit at first, you can add the rest when the first batch has cooked briefly and diminished in bulk. Add salt, cover the pan, and cook until the central rib of the leaves just reaches tenderness, about 30 minutes. Turn the cabbage over from time to time as it cooks. Serve immediately.

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