Sides

Roasted Squash and Cherry Tomatoes

This is another super easy way to cook your summer vegetables. The recipe is from the cookbook, Color Me Vegan, which you’ve probably noticed that I love.

Chop the squash and cherry tomatoes, rubbed them in oil, garlic and fresh herbs (basil, thyme and cilantro or parsley) and top them with a mixture of pine nuts and nutritional yeast. Then bake them. It’s just that easy.

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Grilled Artichokes

My husband introduced me to grilled artichokes. They are a delicious summer snack. I recommend you google how to do this; he just does it out of memory. Here’s a picture pre-grill:

You have to cut the artichokes, dig out part of the middle, then steam them, then rub them with herbs and oil, then grill them. To eat them, you pick off the leaves and use your teeth to scrape off the artichoke meat from each leaf. Do not eat the entire leaves!

Here’s the final product, next to grilled baby portobello mushrooms and grilled tofu.

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My Favorite Recipes for Kale and Chard

I had to cook two batches of greens — one chard, one kale — tonight because they had been in our fridge for far too long without being eaten. I figured this is a good time to use my two favorite recipes for each of those superhealthy greens.

My favorite simple kale recipe is based on Bobby Flay’s recipe at this link. Start by sauteing garlic and yellow onion (onion is optional) in oil or water. I add curry-like spices such as cumin, coriander and garam masala at this time, but that is also optional. Then add the kale with some water or vegetable broth. Cover and steam for 5 minutes (this is important to get out the bitterness), then uncover and cook until the liquid is about gone. Add 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and salt/pepper to taste.

My favorite simple chard recipe is from the cookbook, Color Me Vegan by the Compassionate Cook, Colleen Patrick-Goudrea. It involves mixing curry paste with non dairy milk. The creaminess is delicious and low-fat. Check it out in the picture below:

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Cabbage and Herbed Tofu Slaw

We had half a head of cabbage in the fridge that we needed to use, along with some black beans and carrots that also needed to be used soon. So Matt made a summer slaw with the following:

  • Herbed tofu, marinated and grilled
  • Half a head of cabbage
  • 4+ carrots, grated
  • 1 cup or so black beans
  • Spring onions
  • Sliced almonds
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh mint
  • Lime juice

Combine and… that’s it. With the marinade from the tofu, it doesn’t need oil or seasoning other than lime juice and the fresh herbs. It is so light and refreshing that way.

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Arugula, Sweet Potato and Strawberry Salad

This is a perfect summer salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, skinned and cubed
  • 1-2 cups chopped strawberries
  • 8 fresh, large basil leaves, sliced
  • 3-4 cups fresh arugula
  • Rhubarb salad dressing

Steps:

  1. Steam the sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes or so
  2. Combine with arugula, basil and strawberries. Top with dressing

Here’s a picture before I added the salad dressing:

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Herbed Beets with Fennel

This is a delicious summer side dish. I think the key ingredient is not the herbs, but the mustard. We first made this at the beach and I recall my dad saying that this was the only time he has had beets except for out of a can at Thanksgiving. A lot of people are intimidated by beets, but they are missing out.

Ingredients include: beets, fennel, dijon mustard, chives, vermouth, lemon juice and tarragon

You can find the full recipe here, from chow.com.

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Roasted Fennel

Fennel has made it’s way to the local section of our farmers’ market.

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And tonight, we discovered a very tasty way to eat it: roasted. Using the bulb, we quartered it, tossed it in a sauce made of garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast, and roasted it for about 30 minutes at 425. It was sweet, tangy and absolutely delicious.

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And using the stalks (minus the fronds, which are the frilly part), I also made a split pea, fennel and leek soup with spinach. A healthy, filling, 13 g. protein with only 2 g. of fat main dish. Both recipes are from the March issue of Vegetarian Times.

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Kale Chips

Kale chips are a fad right now. And there’s a good reason for that. They’re good! I haven’t bought them in the store before, but I’ve played around with different homemade recipes. My favorite is from Color Me Vegan. As the author says, it is surprising how little oil and salt you need to make these things taste good!

Admittedly it is annoying to clean the kale, although I noticed that Trader Joe’s now carries bagged kale, which would make that much easier. I don’t know if it would sacrifice taste though, I haven’t tried the TJ’s bagged kale.

Ingredients include only olive oil, salt, chili powder and nutritional yeast (and kale of course).

Bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes, and they shrink into crunchy chip-like bits:

(In case you noticed, there’s broccoli in there too. I had 1/4  of  a head that was about to go bad, so I threw it in with the kale).

Kale chips can be hit or miss, so don’t get discouraged if you the first few times you try it, they don’t come out right.

Here’s an up-close shot:

 

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Cashew Kale

Kale is a superfood.

Here are my 3 tips re: Kale:

1. It lasts many days (a week+) in the fridge, unlike many other greens (like spinach), which is great.

2. The biggest pain about kale is cleaning it. I rip the pieces of the stem, put the pieces in a bowl full of water, then pick up handfulls and put it in a strainer so that all the dirt is remaining in the water. Repeat until water is clean.

3. Very important: once you put kale in the saute pan, cover it and let it steam for at least 5 minutes. This gets rid of some of the bitterness.

(NOTE: there are sauteed onions, red bell peppers and chickpeas underneath all that kale).

This recipe from FatFree Vegan called for blending soaked cashews with water, garlic and bullion to make a sauce. That’s the white specks that you see in the picture below. It adds a different, creamy but light flavor.

This is a side dish by itself, or an entree if you eat 1/2 of it on top of a hearty grain like rice or quinoa.

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