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Archive for the ‘vegetables’ Category

Another fast and easy lunch or dinner, perfect for summer. Fire up the grill (or your frying pan). The red pepper spread is perfect with the chicken and mushrooms.

Chicken and portabello baguette (from Mayo Clinic)

1 large red bell pepper, roasted and seeded

1 shallot, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 large portabello mushrooms, stemmed, brushed clean, and halved

1 whole-grain baguette, cut crosswise into 4 sections, each about 6″ long

1 tomato, thinly sliced

lettuce leaves

Chop the roasted bell pepper coarsely. In a blender or food processor, combine the roasted pepper, shallot, walnuts, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, the mustard, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Pulse a few times to puree and set aside.

In a large, nonstick frying pan, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides and no longer pink on the inside (170 F if using a food thermometer), 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Thinly slice the chicken lengthwise into strips. (You can also do this on the grill)

In the same frying pan, heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute, turning frequently, until well browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and drizzle with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. (you can also grill these, too, instead of frying)

Using a serrated knife, split the baguette sections in half lengthwise. Spread about 1 tablespoon red pepper mixture on both halves of each baguette section. To assemble a sandwich, place 1 mushroom half on the bottom half of a baguette section. Top with 1/4 of the chicken, a lettuce leaf, and 1 or 2 tomato slices. Close the sandwich with the top half of the baguette section, and slice in half. Repeat to make 3 more sandwiches, and then serve. If making ahead, omit the red pepper mixture, wrap the sandwiches in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Spread the red pepper mixture on the baguettes just before serving. Makes 4 sandwiches.

 

 

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One last warm soup for spring. The green veggies really impart a fresh taste and a light soup for the season.

Spring soup with fava beans, fennel, and leek (from Cafe Liz)

1 onion, chopped

canola oil, for saute-ing

1 fennel, cut into thin slices (3 cups)

1 small leek, cut into thin slices (3 cups)

2 cups peeled fava beans

4 – 6 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves

Pour a little oil into a pot and saute the onion. Add the fennel and leek, and saute until the veggies soften. Add the fava beans and the rest of the ingredients, and top off with about a quart of water. Boil until the beans soften, about 10 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

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For a chilly damp spring day like we had last week, I still yearned for some warm soup, even though spring is almost over. This soup was perfect.

Cabbage and chickpea soup with fresh basil (from Fat-Free Vegan)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 6 cups hot water (plus bouillon cubes, below) or vegetable broth (and no bouillon cubes)
  • 3 cubes no-salt added bouillon cubes (or enough to flavor 6 cups of water)*
  • 1/2 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 16-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • generous grating black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted (optional)
  1. Heat a large, non-stick pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the basil and pine nuts. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Stir in fresh basil and serve in individual soup bowls, topped with 1 teaspoon of pine nuts, if desired.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.

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Here’s a delicious pasta salad that was easy to adapt to nondairy. I went to my local health food store, where they sell frozen soy ravioli, but this would also taste good with gnocchi, which is usually made nondairy also. Instead of feta cheese, which was called for, I grated some soy mozzarella. The flavors blend nicely in this dish – it’s not over-powering zing; just nicely seasoned and spiced.

Spinach, artichoke, and soy ravioli pasta salad (inspired by this recipe)

20 ounces soy ravioli (I used frozen), or gnocchi

2 tablespoons oil

salt

8 ounces fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons jarred roasted red pepper, minced

1 14-ounce can baby artichoke hearts, quartered

1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, julienned

1/4 cup soy mozzarella, grated

Boil a large pot of water. Add oil and salt to water. Add ravioli and boil 4 – 5 minutes or until tender but still firm. Drain pasta and spread out on a rimmed cookie sheet to cool.

In a large bowl, add chopped spinach, red pepper, artichoke hearts, and olives. Toss.

On a cutting board, sprinkle minced garlic with coarse salt. Mash garlic with the flat of your knife, scraping back and forth until garlic becomes a paste. Scrape up the garlic paste with your knife and add it to a small jar. Add red wine vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, and black pepper. Shake or whisk to combine.

Pour dressing over spinach. Toss well. Add cooled pasta, tomatoes, and cheese. Toss again and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 12 cups.

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I have found more than a few really good and healthy recipes over at the Mayo Clinic site. I turned this one into a complete meal, adding some grilled tarragon chicken that I bought at Trader Joe’s. Perfect on a hot summer evening, even if it’s not summer yet.

Dilled pasta salad with spring vegetables

For the dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons rice or white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons dill weed

cracked black pepper, to taste

 

3 cups uncooked shell pasta, medium-sized

8 asparagus spears, cut into 1/2″ pieces

1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes

1 cup sliced green peppers

1/2 cup chopped green onions (I used 2 scallions)

2 grilled chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (my addition)

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, add the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, dill weed, and black pepper. Whisk to mix evenly. Set aside.

Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package instructions. Drain the pasta thoroughly and rinse under cold water.

In a small saucepan, cover the asparagus with water. Bring to a boil and cook only until tender-crisp, about 3 – 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.

In a large bowl, add the pasta, asparagus, tomatoes, green peppers, green onions, chicken, and dressing. Toss to mix evenly. Cover and refrigerate. Serve chilled. Makes 6 main course servings.

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I would categorize this under the Best Frittata Ever list. Easy to make and so flavorful. Once again, it’s that Middle East flair that wins me every time.

Persian zucchini frittata (from Saveur)

3 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

3 large onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

5 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4″ thick slices

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

7 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

sumac, for garnish

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, onions, and garlic; cook until soft, 6 – 8 minutes. Add turmeric and zucchini; season with salt and pepper; cook until tender, 12 – 15 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons flour and baking soda; let cool.

Stir eggs into zucchini mixture. Grease a 9 x 13″ casserole with remaining oil; sprinkle with remaining flour; pour in mixture. Bake until set, 25 – 30 minutes. Garnish with parsley and sumac. Makes 6 – 8 servings.

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Colorful, delicious, fresh, fresh, fresh. Adapted by me to non-dairy. (I also left out the broccoli, which I forgot to buy!)

Pasta primavera (from Saveur)

salt

1 medium zucchini, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4″ thick pieces

1 medium yellow summer squash, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4″ thick pieces

1 1/2 cups fresh shelled green peas

8 spear asparagus, trimmed, cut crosswise into thirds

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

16 button mushrooms, stemmed, caps quartered

1/4 cup pine nuts

4 plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

1 pound spaghetti

1 cup soy cream

1/4 cup grated soy parmesan

1/4 cup vegetable stock

4 tablespoons margarine, softened

12 – 14 leaves, basil, shredded

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute zucchini and squash until just beginning to brown, 2 – 3 minutes. Add peas, one-third of the garlic, and salt to taste, saute for 1 minute, then transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and set aside. Wipe skillet clean. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat and saute mushrooms until golden brown, 2 – 3 minutes. Add pine nuts and saute until golden, 1 – 2 minutes. Add half the garlic and salt to taste, saute for 30 seconds, then transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside. Wipe skillet clean. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, saute asparagus until lightly browned, about 1 minute, then transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, tomatoes, remaining garlic, and salt to taste to the skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until tomatoes break apart and release their juice, 3 – 4 minutes. Cover and set aside.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat until just cooked through, 10 – 12 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the soy cream in a large skillet over medium-high heat until slightly thickened, 5 – 6 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and salt to taste. Drain pasta, add to skillet with cream, and cook, stirring often, until pasta absorbs sauce, 2 – 3 minutes.

Divide pasta among 4 plates. Dividing quantities equally, top paste with zucchini mixture, mushroom mixture, tomato sauce, and asparagus, in that order. Garnish with basil. Makes 4 servings.

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Chock full of veggies, this frittata was an easy nondairy adaptation. From SFGate.com

Vegetable frittata

1 small zucchini

1/2 bunch chard

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

kosher salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

8 large eggs

2 teaspoons soy cream (optional)

1/2 cup chopped canned plain artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained

2 green onions (green part only), thinly sliced

1 cup grated soy cheddar or mozzarella

1/4 cup soy sour cream (I used Tofutti brand)

several grape tomatoes

Cut the zucchini lengthwise and then into 1/4″ thick half moons; set aside. Cut the tough rib from each chard leaf, then cut enough leaves crosswise into 1/4″ thick ribbons to make about 2 cups. Rinse and drain well.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat oil in a 10″ ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it starts to soften. Add the chard and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the vegetables are cooked and the moisture has evaporated. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the dill and 2 teaspoons of the parsley. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and soy cream in a medium bowl.

Add the artichokes, green onions, and about half the cheese to the vegetables in the skillet. Pour in the eggs and stir lightly. When the eggs start to set, use a heat-resistant plastic spatula to lift the edges of the frittata, tilting the pan so the uncooked egg flows under the edge. When the eggs are almost fully cooked, sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and place in the oven until the frittata is done and the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 5 – 7 minutes.

Divide into portions, top each portion with an optional tablespoon of sour cream and tomatoes and remaining chopped herbs. Makes 4 – 6 servings.

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I saw this first in Chow.com, and adapted it to be nondairy. Also used this whole grain pasta, which I love, and used canned artichokes, which is probably a travesty compared to the beautiful photos of the artichoke preparation on the Chow.com site. But I made this after work, was tired and hungry, and I thought it came out delicious anyway.

Pasta with pesto, asparagus, and artichokes

For the pesto:

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup packed fresh Italian parsley leaves

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated soy parmesan

For the pasta:

8 asparagus spears, tough ends removed

3 tablespoons olive oil

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 12-ounce can artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained and halved

10 ounce dried pasta, long strands

soy parmesan, for serving

For the pesto:

Place the pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until finely ground, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula. Add the salt and pepper, garlic, basil, and parsley; process until pureed, about 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

With the processor running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream until incorporated. Add the parmesan and pulse a few times to incorporate. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed.

For the pasta:

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and blanch til crisp-tender, about 30 seconds. Using tongs, remove the asparagus to an ice water bath to cool. Keep the pot of water at a boil for the pasta. Transfer the asparagus from the ice bath to a cutting board. Using a vegetable peeler, shave each spear lengthwise into thin strips, then cut the strips in half crosswise. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta water, then drain the pasta.

Return the pot to medium-high heat, and add the pesto, 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, and the asparagus strips. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta, toss to combine, and bring to a simmer. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

I served this in an attractive plain white bowl, and garnished the top with the artichoke halves, sprinkled with soy parmesan.

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Another easy and tasty after-work meal.

Chicken with string beans and roasted almonds

1 pound cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 pound string beans or haricots verts

1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted almonds

1/2 cup grated soy parmesan

3 tablespoons margarine

3 tablespoons minced garlic

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Return to the saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat until the margarine is melted and everything is nicely coated. Makes 4 servings.

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