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Kale with pecans, beans, and rice

Hubby walked in with the CSA box this morning, and I was ready to go! With Farmer Ray’s Friday “heads up” email, I knew I would be working with Red Russian Kale. With just a few steps, lunch was soon on the table!

The key to making a plain green vegetable worthy of an entire meal is adding something with protein or fat (preferably both). Nuts work perfectly, as do any kind of beans or lentils. The basic recipe calls for pecans, which are wonderful, but you could use just about any kind of nut. I read the recipe reviews, and I incorporated some of those ideas, too.

 WHAT YOU NEED:
1 bunch kale or chard
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 garlic clove, minced
Olive oil
Sea salt to taste
½ cup cooked beans
Cooked rice

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basic ingredients

 WHAT YOU DO:

While you are prepping the green ingredients, toast the nuts in a dry skillet over low heat. Shake every few minutes. I set a timer for 5 minutes, so I wouldn’t forget about them.

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Toast nuts over low heat in dry skillet.

Next finely chop the garlic. Did you know that chopping garlic actually makes it healthier? Who knew? Scientists have long suspected that the active ingredient in garlic is a substance called allicin. A recent study from Queen’s University showed that it is actually a decomposition product of allicin that has the most potent antioxidant activity. Released from plant cells when they are damaged, alliinase is what gives garlic (and onions) their strong odor and is thought to be a self-defense mechanism for these plants. When garlic is crushed, alliinase becomes active and begins creating allicin. As allicin is created and breaks down, the antioxidant potential of garlic is dramatically increased. Optimal antioxidant levels are created about 10 minutes after garlic is crushed. I’m going to start prepping my garlic first! 

Wash, stem, and chop kale. It’s quick to stack the kale leaves, roll, and slice into ribbons. It’s okay if your greens are still wet; the water will help them steam.

The original recipe didn’t call for onions, but since I had so many gorgeous fresh green onions, I threw in some of those as well.

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chopped and prepped!

Remove the toasted nuts from the skillet and heat a little olive oil in the pan. You don’t need much – just a sheen to sauté the onions a minute or two. .Add your chopped greens to the pan, sprinkle generously with sea salt and toss with tongs. Cover. I cooked over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often and adding about a tablespoon of water.

 Next, push greens to the side and add a bit more olive oil to briefly sauté the garlic. Be careful! Garlic becomes bitter if burnt!

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Briefly sauté minced garlic.

Stir to incorporate all ingredients. Now add the beans. The reviewer suggested adding  chickpeas, but I didn’t have any. I pulled up the NI for chickpeas and compared it to the cans of great northern beans and cannellini beans I had on hand. They are all very similar in protein, fiber, carbs, etc. I decided to go with the cannellini beans.

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Great source of protein!

Add the toasted pecans.

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LOVE the crunch of toasted nuts!

 One recipe reviewer said that if you would like a little more substance, serve it with brown rice, lentils or quinoa. I steamed up a pot of basmati rice with veggies that I had in the pantry and served the kale mixture on top of a serving of hot rice.

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Bulk up this recipe with rice!

Hubby sprinkled his liberally with Cajun Chef Hot Sauce and dug in! I topped mine with parmesan cheese. And lunch was a done deal!

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Topped with parmesan cheese!

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I am always looking for new ways to cook my favorite veggies. These fritters are such a great change! I have a veggie spiral cutter that I have not used in awhile, and I was so excited to pull this fun appliance back out. The spiral cutter is an awesome kitchen tool that I use for making veggie pasta noodles, homemade curly fries, veggie slaws, and much more. It is so fun and easy to use. If you don’t own some type of spiral cutter, you can use a julienne cutter or a grater.

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Ingredients:

1 yellow squash

2 zucchinis

1 egg

2 T finely chopped onion

3 T almond flour (optional)

salt and pepper

Sauce:

3 T tamari or soy sauce

1 T rice vinegar

1 T agave nectar

1/2 tsp ginger

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Grate or spiral cut your zucchini and squash. Use whatever zucchini and squash you have on hand; it doesn’t have to be 2 zucchinis and 1 squash. I have made them with all zucchini and also with all squash and both are delicious.

Put the grated veggies into a strainer and place the strainer in a large bowl. Salt the veggies generously and mix to thoroughly coat. Let sit for about 20 minutes. This allows moisture to drip out from the veggies into the bowl, so that your fritters are not soggy. After the 20 minutes, take a towel and squeeze out all the remaining liquid from the veggies.

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Now, beat the egg in a separate bowl and mix in the finely chopped onion and pepper.

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Combine everything in a mixing bowl and sprinkle in the almond flour.

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Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. When the skillet is nice and hot, form the veggies into balls (they will be runny) and drop onto skillet. Cook for about 3-5 mins on each side. Make sure they are nice and crispy and not falling before when you remove them from the skillet.

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To make the sauce, simply whisk all the ingredients together.

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These are amazing with or without the sauce….enjoy!

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I love this little salad I threw together today! I just wanted something refreshing and healthy, so I grabbed our CSA cucumbers and onion and got to slicing. I whisked together some rice vinegar, agave, and salt and pepper.  These few ingredients combine to make a perfect summer snack. Better than pickles! (And this is coming from a pregnant woman!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T agave nectar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small thinly sliced onion
  •  Fresh chopped cilantro to taste

 

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Slice the cucumber and onion (i ended up only using half of my onion). Chop your cilantro and combine all three in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the vinegar, agave, and salt and pepper. Pour that mixture over the veggies and stir in together. Let sit in the fridge for a bit before you serve, so the flavors can marry.

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Taste and add as much cilantro as you want… Cucumber and cilantro is an amazing pair! Enjoy

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Zucchini, the delight (and sometimes bane!) of the home gardener, is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. The zucchini we know today is a variety of summer squash developed in Italy. The word zucchini comes from the Italian zucchino, meaning a small squash. The term squash comes from the Indian skutasquash meaning “green thing eaten green.”

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This “green thing eaten green” can be grated raw into salads, quick cooked in a little olive oil, or shredded into sweet breads and muffins.

I stumbled across this recipe for “Grilled Zucchini Naan-wich with Goat Cheese” several years ago in a Weight Watchers magazine and fell in love with the ease of preparation and the complexities of flavors. You can easily adjust the proportions for how many people are eating.

YOU WILL NEED:

Zucchini

Olive oil

Naan 

Goat cheese

seasoning of choice

Flat griddle or large frying pan

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Naan can usually be found in the deli section of most grocery stores. I get mine at Trader Joe’s.

WHAT TO DO:

Preheat griddle slowly while prepping ingredients.

Remove an outer strip of peeling to expose the flesh and cut zucchini into fairly thick slices.

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Exposing the flesh speeds up the cooking process.

Drizzle with olive oil and season as desired. I usually use an Italian herb mix, but plain old S&P would work as well. Place zucchini slices on hot griddle and cook, flipping occasionally, until tender and browned.

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Look at that golden yumminess!

At the other end of the griddle (or in a separate pan) toast Naan. I like mine crispy; Hubby likes his warm but still soft.

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Flip Naan frequently so each side heats but does not burn. Adjust heat if need be.

When zucchini is almost done, spread goat cheese on Naan and allow to melt as zucchini finishes. I usually keep it on the griddle but turn off the heat to the Naan so it doesn’t burn.

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Any soft cheese can be used. In this picture, I used some left-over soft herb cheese.

Place grilled zucchini slices on top of cheese covered Naan. Slice and eat!

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Grilled Zucchini Naan-wich With Goat Cheese makes for a nice appetizer or light lunch!

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I smelled that yummy basil aroma immediately when I opened my CSA box this week. Pesto was a must! I make traditional basil pesto quite often so I wanted to change the pesto sauce recipe up a bit. I decided to use the kale we got in our box along with the basil and then add arugula as well for its peppery flavor.  What I love about pesto, aside from how amazing it testes, is how easy it is to just throw everything in a food processor (or blender or vitamix) and with a push of a button its done! Adding the fresh diced tomato for garnish made it nice and summery.

Ingredients:

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Measure your dry quinoa according to how many you are serving and rinse using a wire colander. The ratio is always 1:2. I used 1 C quinoa and 2 C water and brought to a boil. Then, immediately reduce to low heat and cover for 10-15 minutes (until water is absorbed).  Salt the quinoa to taste.

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Rinse and dry your greens and discard kale stems. Add all of the pesto ingredients to your food processor and blend until it turns into a nice paste. If you want a more runny sauce just add more olive oil until you get your desired consistency.  For this dish I made mine fairly thick.

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You will have plenty of pesto leftover! It’s rich so a little goes a long way, so add a spoonful at a time to your quinoa and taste.  It’s always nice to make this bigger portion so you can freeze for later use over roasted veggies, salads, or chicken.  Once you’ve mixed the perfect amount into your quinoa top with your diced tomato and pine nuts.

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The Swiss chard we have been getting in the CSA box is so pretty! I am always excited to try new recipes with this power green. With this dish I added mushrooms and white beans for some extra protein, so it can be a complete vegetarian meal.  I always like adding garlic and red pepper to my greens for an extra pop of flavor.

Ingredients:

  • Swiss chard washed
  • sliced baby Bella mushrooms
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic pressed
  • 1 can of white beans
  • a splash of broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • a splash of  dry white wine
  • 3 T grapeseed oil
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Remove the stems from the chard and dice them. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the stems, mushrooms, garlic, red pepper, and salt and pepper. Cook over medium high until mushrooms are browned.

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Add the leaves of the chard and cook it down a bit. Then, add the splash of broth and wine.

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Add the beans and simmer for several minutes.

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Enjoy!

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Vegetarian Kale and White Bean Soup

This recipe is a variation of  the Kale and White Bean Soup I shared with you last fall.  This is one recipe we’ve been known to make on an almost weekly basis when we have kale. As I said in the previous post, it’s a very versatile recipe that can easily be adapted to work with what you have – which is always a plus when working with a CSA and the ever changing box of vegetables.

Usually, the meat is what makes this recipe so tasty – using CSA bratwurst is especially good. But this week, when I began making a pot of soup, I didn’t have any soup-y meat on hand. To compensate, I added extra onions and fresh garlic to ensure the soup had good flavor. This is also a great way to use your turnips – because they absorb flavors well, you can easily add them to any dish that has a lot of flavorful liquid (stir fry works well, too).

This vegetarian version turned out awesome and was pretty quick, too!

  • 1 TBSP oil
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic (from the jar)
  • 2 cloves of garlic sliced thinly
  • 1 cup largely diced onion or leek (I used a bit of both)
  • 1 can of white beans or 2 cups prepared dried beans (I used cannellini)
  • 1 bunch of white turnips, diced (about 1 cup or more)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (I usually use diced tomatoes, but this is all I had on hand and it was great!)
  • 2 cups stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • medium bunch of Kale, torn into small bits
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Add the oil, garlic, and onions to a pot and sautee over medium heat until the onions are translucent and just beginning to brown. This adds lots of flavor!

2. Add the beans, turnips, tomatoes, stock, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes.

3. Add the kale, stir in and cook another 5-10 minutes. Don’t over cook the kale, but make sure it has a chance to get heated all the way through.

4. Salt and pepper to taste. And serve with toast for dipping, or parmesan on top!

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