Monthly Archives: September 2012

Baked Zucchini Macaroni

sdfThis past weekend I went with my friend Kelly to the DC State Fair where she won first prize for the heaviest watermelon. Later that night, I somehow ended up with the fourth place heaviest vegetable. The details of that story are for another blog altogether, but for now, check out this very large zucchini-like squash vegetable. I’m not really sure what it is. Does anyone know?

 

I used less than half of it to make a baked zucchini (er, squash) macaroni dish. The original recipe is from Vegetarian Times, but I’ve modified it somewhat, so here is my version.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz pasta like macaroni, penne or ziti
  • 1/2 lb zucchini, chopped (about 2-3 zucchini… doesn’t have to be perfect!)
  • 2 cups black beans cooked (or just use one can, although that’s only 1.5 cups)
  • 1 15 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes (fire roasted are my favorite)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, or more
  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives
  • 3 handfuls greens such as arugula or spinach
  • a few leaves fresh basil, if you have it on hand
  • nutritional yeast, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to directions. Coat an 11 x 7 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat about 1/4 cup water in a medium to large saucepan on medium-high heat and add the zucchini. Cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, olives, greens and basil. Turn down heat to medium low, stir together and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. When the pasta has finished cooking, add it to the pot with the zucchini mixture and mix together.
  5. Add the nutritional yeast — I used several shakes, maybe 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup. Mix together.
  6. Pour the entire mixture into the baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs
  7. Bake at 350. Then serve!

Before baking:

After baking: 

 

Categories: Dinner, Easy, Potluck, Potlucks Tailgates and Road Trips | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Simple Steamed Greens

There are several vegan advocates who also advocate for a low-fat, largely oil-free diet, such as Happy Herbivore, the folks at Forks Over Knives, and Engine2 Diet. While I have not tried to cut out oil completely, I have played around with eliminating it from some dishes and realized it is surprisingly easy. Matt complains that sauteing onions in water instead of oil smells bad, but he hasn’t said that it affects the taste at all. And I haven’t been able to tell the difference in either smell or taste.

My primary way of making greens used to be sauteed. Here is a way to saute the greens in water — which is basically like steaming them but with less dishes. Don’t expect to enjoy these greens by themselves; they will be too bland. Serve them under a high flavor dish such as roasted delicata squash, roasted vegetables, chili or other stew, a curried dish, etc.

Ingredients

  • 1/2-1 lbs mixed greens such as kale, chard, spinach and arugula (or, just one type of green — although arugula by itself may be too strong), torn/chopped and rinsed clean
  • 1-2 teaspoons chopped or minced garlic (approximate – a few cloves would work fine)
  • 2-3 teaspoons capers (optional – it adds a nice salty flavor)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup water
  • pinch of chili powder (optional)
  • salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Using a medium to large saucepan or saute pan that has a lid, heat the water at medium-high heat (A little higher heat than you heat olive oil or other saute oil)
  2. Add the garlic and capers, stir and cook for a couple minutes
  3. Add the greens, stir around (using tongs, ideally), then cover with the lid. Let sit for 3-5 minutes. This is important for getting rid of the bitterness in greens like kale.
  4. Uncover and season with salt, pepper and chili powder if using. Cook for about 3-5 minutes more, or longer, until only a little water is left in the pan.
  5. Serve by mixing with a high flavor dish such as roasted delicata squash, roasted vegetables, chili or other stew, a curried dish, etc.

 

Categories: Easy | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Roasted Delicata Squash with Greens

Apologies for the long break in posting. I took a two week work trip to northern Iraq and got off track. Now I’m back home and eager to enjoy the last of summer’s tomatoes and the new fall vegetables.

Here is one of our favorite squash varieties: Delicata Squash.

How to prepare:

Delicata squash does not need to be peeled or steamed. Just scrub the outside of the fruit, then chop it into rounds. Using a paring knife or your fingers, scrape out the middle part with the seeds, so that you have donut-like rounds. After that, you can saute, grill, bake or roast it.

Roasted Delicata Squash with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and Shallots

The three vegetables in this dish all have rich, sweet flavors once roasted. You do not need much oil for this dish at all. As they cook, the tomatoes will break open and when the juices mix together that is when the taste becomes amazing. It is perfect to serve on top of simple steamed greens, because the strong flavors mask the blandness of the greens.

Ingredients:

  • 1 delicata squash, cleaned, sliced into rounds and de-seeded
  • 1 large container of orange cherry tomatoes, cleaned
  • 2-4 shallots, peeled and chopped in quarters
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • several sprigs fresh rosemary and thyme (or you can use dried if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon (approx) crushed garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425
  2. Spray a long baking dish with cooking spray. Add the vegetables, olive oil, herbs, garlic and salt and mix together
  3. Cook on the middle tray for about 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes
  4. Serve mixed with steamed or sauteed greens, like kale, arugula and chard

Before roasting:

After roasting:

Served with steamed greens (kale, arugula, and chard):

Categories: Dinner, Easy, Sides | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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