Tag Archives: vegetarian

Gemelli with Roasted Tomatoes, Arugula and Breadcrumbs

Tomato Pasta Plate x

Posted by Lynda Balslev

Are you looking for an easy and healthy weeknight meal? Here is a fresh, family friendly recipe that may be prepared in 30 minutes with rewarding results. I make this recipe frequently, especially when I have tomatoes on hand – which at this time of year is all the time. This pasta dish makes use of the plethora of end-of-season grape and cherry tomatoes that I can’t help but collect at each market visit. (It’s a weakness.) A little slow roasting heightens their flavor, coaxing out natural juices and sugars, while deflating the impossibly pert tomatoes to a more relaxed version of themselves. It also gives me an excuse to purchase more.

Gemelli Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula
Serves 4.

1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes
3 unpeeled garlic cloves
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful of thyme sprigs
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound pasta, such as gemelli or fusilli
2 large handfuls of arugula, about 3 cups

Heat the oven to 400°F. Scatter the tomatoes and garlic cloves on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the tomatoes. Roast in the oven until tomatoes are softened, about 25 minutes. Remove and reduce oven heat to 350°F. Discard the thyme sprigs. Peel the skin away from the garlic and finely chop the cloves. Transfer the tomatoes and garlic to a large serving bowl.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the same baking sheet and stir to coat in any remaining olive oil. Return the baking sheet to the oven and briefly bake until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. (They will brown quickly so watch them carefully.) Remove and immediately transfer the breadcrumbs to a small bowl to prevent further cooking. Cool slightly, 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the 2 tablespoons cheese.

While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Add the pasta to the tomatoes, along with the arugula and 1/3 cup cheese. Toss to combine. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if desired. Season with black pepper and taste for salt. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the pasta. Serve immediately.

Southwestern Quinoa and Kale Tabbouleh

quinoa tabbouleh tastefood

This recipe is a clash of civilizations. Traditional tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern bulgur salad, packed with fresh herbs, garlic and chopped vegetables and coated with lemon and olive oil. This version wanders south of the American border with a rendition that substitutes quinoa for the bulgur and adds corn, red pepper, and cilantro. Shredded kale joins in the fun adding flavor and healthy heft. This salad makes a great light main course and a substantial side that goes well with grilled meat, chicken and fish. For a complete vegetarian option, substitute the chicken stock for water, and taste to adjust for additional seasoning.

Southwestern Quinoa and Kale Tabbouleh
Serves 4 to 6

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or water)
1 teaspoon salt
1 corn cob, husked
1 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups shredded kale leaves
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoona extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce (or ground cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain. Place in a medium saucepan with the chicken stock (or water) and the salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the quinoa releases it’s tail (germ) and the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl and cool.
Cut the kernels off of the corn and add to the quinoa. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Lemony Mixed Greens with Fava Beans and Mint

fava green saladIt was tempting to fiddle with this salad, but I am happy I didn’t. The beauty of this plate of greens is its simplicity. Bright fava beans, mint, spring greens and napped with lemon and olive oil. Favas are a bit of work to prepare, but well worth the effort. A good idea is to prep more than you need, then freeze the leftovers for easy use later. Feel free to mix the greens to your liking. Peppery arugula is a must, on its own or combined with mizuna, baby spinach, watercress – they all work. If you can get your hands on fresh chervil, that will add nice flavor as well.

Lemony Mixed Greens with Fava Beans and Mint
Serves 3 to 4

1 pound fava beans in the pod
5 ounces (about 5 cups) mixed greens
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, shredded
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Shuck the fava beans. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the beans and blanch until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water. When cool enough to handle, remove the shells.
2. Whisk the olive oil,  lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt in a small bowl.
3. Combine the fava beans, greens and mint in the salad bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss to coat. Add more dressing to taste. Scatter the cheese over the salad and garnish with freshly ground black pepper.

Grilled Broccoli Rabe

broccoli rabe tastefood

Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, is a brassica, or mustard plant. It resembles skinny leafy broccoli with narrow stems, spiky leaves and tiny green buds that resemble miniature broccoli heads. Slightly bitter and peppery, rapini fries up well in a skillet with robust ingredients such as garlic and red chili flakes – which is how I often prepare it. Yesterday I tried a different method and tossed the slim stems with olive oil and salt, then gave them a good char on the grill. Not only was it super easy to prepare, the charred flavor was a perfect match with the assertive rapini. I served it as an accompaniment to a whole chicken I roasted in a skillet on the grill. While the chicken rested, I cooked the rabe. Then, before serving, I drizzled a few tablespoons of the chicken pan juices over the greens. While chicken pan juices are not a necessary addition, I highly recommend it.

Grilled Broccoli Rabe

Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish.

1 pound broccoli rabe
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Place the broccoli rabe in a bowl. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil. Lightly season with salt. Toss to coat. Carefully place the broccoli rabe on the grill, perpendicular to the grates. Cook with the lid closed until bright green in color and charred in spots, about 4 minutes, turning once or twice with tongs. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve warm.

Grilled Pizza with Baby Kale, Broccolini and Chilies

broccoli kale pizza tastefood

Do you have a grill? Do you love pizza? Then look no further for a couple of  techniques that will result in delicious homemade pizza. I grill pizzas all year, no matter the weather. It keeps the heat outside on a warm day, gives me an excuse to fire up the grill on a cold day, and consistently results in crispy, chargrilled homemade pizza which is the next best thing to having my own pizza oven.

There are 2 basic methods I use to grill a pizza. The first, and easiest in my opinion, is to use a pizza stone. I have a Weber pizza stone that’s designed to fit right on my grill, but you can use any pizza stone that fits. Just preheat the stone over direct heat while you fire up the grill, and go about preparing  your pizza. When the grill is nice and hot, slide the pizza onto the stone. Close the grill and cook the pizza until the crust is browned, the cheese is melty and bubbly, and the toppings are cooked to your desired doneness, about 15 minutes.

If you want more char and blistering to your crust, the second technique is to grill the pizza directly on the grates. In this case, you should begin to grill the crust before adding the toppings. Lightly oil the rolled out crust, then place over direct heat, oiled-side down. Grill until the crust  is nicely browned on the bottom and releases easily from the grates, about 2 minutes. Brush the un-cooked side of the crust with oil then flip the crust over and add the toppings to the top. Close the lid and grill until the cheese melts and the toppings wilt, about 5 minutes.

This was the pizza I made over the weekend using the pizza stone method. I often make white pizzas, which means without tomato sauce, and top it with garlic oil, cheese and fresh veggies from the farmers market. It’s a hit with the whole family and great way to get everyone to eat their vegetables.

Grilled Pizza with Baby Kale, Broccolini and Chiles

I prefer to roll my pizza out onto a piece of parchment paper for easy maneuvering. You can skip this step and transfer the dough directly to the pizza stone if desired.  Makes one large pizza.

1 pizza crust dough (recipe below)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes (optional)
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup finely grated Asiago or Pecorino cheese
1 1/2 cups broccolini florets, coarsely chopped
2 cups baby kale leaves (or spinach)
1 red jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (about 500°F) and preheat a pizza stone for at least 10 minutes.

Roll out the dough to fit the size of the pizza stone (I have a rectangular pizza stone and formed a 10 by 15-inch crust). Lay the dough on a piece of parchment. Trim the parchment to fit the contours of the pizza.

Whisk the oil, garlic and salt in a small bowl. Brush the crust with the oil. Lightly season with chili flakes, if using. Scatter half of the mozzarella and half of the Asiago over the crust. Scatter the broccolini and jalapeno over the cheese. Top with the kale. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Asiago over the kale. Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone. Close the grill and cook until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from grill and drizzle with remaining oil. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Cut into serving pieces and serve immediately.

Alice Water’s Pizza Dough Recipe:

Makes enough for 2 (10 t0 12-inch) crusts

1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups cold water
1/4 cup olive oil

Stir lukewarm water and yeast together in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and the semolina. Mix well. Let stand until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Combine the remaining flour and the salt in another bowl, then add to the yeast. Add the cold water and olive oil. Mix well to form a dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (Or use a mixer with a dough hook, and knead about 5 minutes). Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides with the oil. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch dough down, and let rise another 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal disks. Let rest 30 minutes before shaping.

Kale Gratin

kale gratins tastefood.jpg

Winter Greens Gratin

Gratins are a great way to eat your vegetables, especially in the winter. Who can resist bubbling pots of roasted vegetables and winter greens, crispy golden on the top and cheesy-creamy in the center? Hearty earthy greens, such as kale, spinach and chard, stand up exceedingly well to rich bechamel and melted cheese (what wouldn’t?) Serve in a large gratin dish for family style dining or spoon into individual ramekins for fancy serving. Either way, you can be sure that everyone will be eating their greens.

Kale Gratin
Feel free to add other greens or vegetables, such as chopped broccoli or cauliflower. Pecorino or Gruyere cheese may be substituted for the Parmigiano. Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
1 to 2 bunches kale (Tuscan or curly), tough ribs removed, coarsely chopped (about 10 cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the oil in a deep skillet or wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute 1 minute. Add the kale and saute until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until light golden, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cream. Simmer, stirring, until thickened. Whisk in 1/4 cup cheese, the salt, pepper and nutmeg until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Pour over the kale and stir to combine. Transfer to a buttered gratin dish or individual ramekins. Top with the remaining cheese. Transfer to oven and bake until the tops of the gratins are golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Roasted Cauliflower with Chilies, Lemon and Mint

cauliflower tastefoodEat your vegetables – Roasted Cauliflower

It’s a hunch, but I would be willing to bet that you could persuade the most ardent veggie haters to try this cauliflower recipe. Roasting cauliflower magically transforms the snow white crucifer with cabbage-y notes into a tender yet crispy, caramelized treat, coaxing out its natural sweetness and nuttiness. Simple seasonings, such as paprika, salt and pepper gently enhance the flavor. You can serve it simply like that, or go the full Monty and toss it with chilies, lemon and mint.

Roasted Cauliflower with Chilies, Lemon and Mint

Sambal Olek is a Southeast Asian chili sauce. It’s Middle Eastern cousin, Harissa, may be substituted. Serves 4.

1 large head cauliflower
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Finely grated zest from 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Harissa or Sambal Olek

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the cauliflower, top to bottom into 3/4-inch slices. (Slicing the cauliflower will provide flat sides which will brown easily when roasting). Cut away the thick stems, and gently break the florets apart into large bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add the garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat, then spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. Some of the florets will break into small pieces, but that’s ok – the little bits will get nice and brown while roasting.

Roast on the bottom rack in the oven until the cauliflower turns brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to the top third of the oven and continue to roast until golden brown on top and tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with extra olive oil. Drop small spoonfuls of sambal olek over the cauliflower and garnish with lemon zest and mint. Serve warm or at room temperature with extra chile sauce on the side.

Baby Beet Gratin with Orange and Thyme

baby beet gratin tastefood

Beet Gratin with Orange and Thyme

It took a good long while for me to reconcile with the flavor of beets. I gazed at them from the sidelines, attracted to their vibrant hues, aware of their nutrient-rich flesh, yet wary of their earthy notes. As a cook, I wished to like beets, and as a parent, I wanted to serve them – so I willed myself to eat beets until I learned to love them.

At first, I took baby steps. I nibbled small bites. I  doused them with citrus to offset their earthiness. I grew bolder and roasted beets in olive oil, discovering that fire and char nicely counteract their dirt-like flavor. My go-to beet became the golden variety, which is pleasantly mild and nutty. And, eventually, I succeeded. Now, I am a beet convert. Yet while I no longer shudder at eating a completely naked beet, I continue to craft recipes that embrace the sweet beet while tempering their earthy nature.

This gratin recipe allows beets to shine amidst a minimal cast of characters. The co-stars of the dish happen to have their own strength and assertiveness, helping to tone down any earthy qualities that might be lurking in each bite. Layers of beets are cloaked in sour cream infused with orange zest and thyme. Gruyère cheese ripples throughout, adding a complementary nuttiness. The beets release their juices while cooking, saturating the gratin with spectacular color and all the flavors meld together. When I made this, it was so good, everyone at the table was reaching for seconds. As a cook, parent and beet convert, I find that a very good thing.

Baby Beet Gratin with Orange and Thyme

I prepared this recipe in individual ramekins with a variety of red, golden and chioggia beets. A gratin dish will also work for family style serving. Feel free to mix and match the beets to your taste. Eight large beets may be substituted for the baby beets, but be sure to peel the skin.

Makes 1 (8 by 8-inch) gratin or 8 (6-ounce) ramekins

2 cups sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Unsalted butter
3 bunches baby beets, unpeeled, ends trimmed, scrubbed clean
4 ounces finely grated Gruyere cheese
Fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter 8 (6-ounce) ramekins or an 8 by 8-inch square gratin dish. Whisk the sour cream, garlic, orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl.
Thinly slice the beets with a mandolin or knife.
Arrange 1/3 of the beets, slightly overlapping in the baking dish or individual ramekins. Spoon 1/3 of the sour cream over the beets, carefully spreading to cover. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over the top. Lightly season with salt, pepper, and pinch of fresh thyme. Repeat with two more layers.
Bake in the oven until the beets are tender and the gratin is bubbly and golden, about 45 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Peppery Potato Salad

pepper potatoes tastefoodNo-Mayo Potato Salad with Sweet and Spicy Peppers  

This no-mayo potato salad is packed with peppers. Early fall yields a rainbow of pepper fruit at the farmers market – sweet bells, cherries, hungarian, fresnos, jalapanos and poblanos – it’s impossible not to scoop up a bag’s worth of these beauties simply for their colors and impossible shapes. The trick is to find all sorts of ways to put them to use. Here is one – this peppery potato salad.

The key ingredient in this salad (aside from the peppers and potatoes!) is white balsamic vinegar which lends a gentle fruity acidity. Do not substitute traditional balsamic vinegar as its dark color and syrupy consistency will overwhelm the salad. Use, instead, a high quality white wine vinegar and add 1 teaspoon of sugar to the salad.

Peppery Potato Salad

A little spice is nice! Mix up the peppers to your taste, adding a combination of sweet and hot peppers. Serves 6 to 8.

2 pounds yukon gold potatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
2 garlic cloves
1 large poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded finely chopped
1 hungarian or sweet red pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

Quarter the potatoes and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water and add 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Toss to combine. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the parsley. Toss to combine, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. Before serving, fold in the parsley. Serve at cold or at room temperature.

Lentil Falafel

lentil falafel tastefood

~Lentil Falafel with Spicy Yogurt Tahini Sauce and Mint~

These patties are a cross between falafel and keftas. They are a terrific vegetarian meal or appetizer. We dipped them in a spicy yogurt sauce, but you can also stuff them in pita pockets with a spoonful of sauce and a handful of fresh mint or cilantro.

Lentil Falafel
Makes approximately 16 patties

1 1/2 cups cooked lentils
1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Vegetable oil for pan-frying

Sauce:
1 cup Greek whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons harissa paste
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place the lentils and bulgur in a medium bowl. Ad the olive oil and lemon juice and stir to combine. Cover and let stand at room temperature until liquid is absorbed and bulgur is tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor and add the remaining falafel ingredients. Pulse to form a chunky paste.

With wet hands lightly form the lentils in 1 1/2-inch patties about 1/2-inch thick. The mixture will be sticky and you will need to rinse your hands between batches.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties in batches without overcrowding. Cook until golden brown and heated through, turning once with a spatula. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with remaining patties.

Whisk the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Serve falafel with sauce on the side for dipping. Or stuff 1 to 2 patties in mini-pita pockets, then add a spoonful of sauce and fresh mint leaves.

Tip: For completely different rendition, don’t process in the food processor. Simply dump the mixture in a skillet with a little olive oil and saute over medium-high heat until hot and slightly crispy. Serve as an alternative to rice or pilaf.