Category Archives: Entrees

Summer days…driftin’ away

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local Newsletter, 9/13/2017

I felt the first chill in the air while I was camping in Door County last week, and I thought with dismay that we’re closer to the end of summer than the beginning. Speaking of Door County, although I love outdoor cooking and would have loved to make some things with Bob’s beautiful veggies and get a few photos, it rained the entire time we were there. We managed a few hikes between the raindrops but no food photos. That means this first recipe comes to you without a photo.

MOROCCAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN

Slice eggplant into 1/8-1/4″ slices, salt and leave covered overnight in the refrigerator in a colander over a bowl to catch moisture. When you’re ready to make the dish, drain and pat the eggplant dry, then deep fry until golden brown and set aside. In a baking pan, layer the following in this order, at least two rounds:

  • Chickpeas
  • Fried eggplant
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Onions, sliced
  • Slivered spinach
  • Sliced green olives
  • Capers
  • Feta cheese (just with first set of layers)
  • Mozzarella (to top off after second set of layers)
  • Grated Parmesan

Bake the dish for 40 minutes in a conventional oven or until the mozzarella is bubbly and has brown spots. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Variations: You can spread whole sliced pita across the bottom of the pan before beginning the layers to absorb the juices if you wish, serving the pita along with the “slices” of Moroccan Eggplant Parmesan — or serve with garlic bread to soak up the juices. You can also leave off the cheese for a vegan version. The fried mozzarella makes the dish plenty “rich.”

ROASTED RADISHES

There are so many things to do with the humble radish, from vegetable art to pickles to salads to colorful salads of all kinds to creamy pink soups. One of the simplest things you can do is roast them for a colorful side dish or garnish to bring a platter of veggies to life.

STUFFED BELL PEPPER

I make stuffed peppers two ways: with the mushroom and rice filling I shared with you a few weeks back for cabbage rolls, my go-to stuffed veggie filling, or with Israeli couscous (pre-cooked) mixed with loads of (vegan) pesto. For the mushroom and rice filling (red and green bell peppers), I made a sauce with leftover tomato soup (pureed tomato, onion, a bit of fresh, peeled ginger, salt and hot paprika to taste). I pureed into the soup some cooked red bell pepper to brighten the color and create a more complex flavor. I made a straight tomato sauce for the couscous and pesto filled peppers (yellow). I always oil and roast the veggie I’m stuffing first until it’s almost as tender as I’d like it and perhaps just a bit browned. Then I add the filling to it — and set it on a bed of the sauce. Don’t those look pretty?

Here’s a hint: I’m not sure what color peppers we’ll get this week, but choose veggies for your soup/sauce that will compliment the color of the pepper.

So coming this week in addition to the eggplant, radishes and peppers, I hear we have sweet corn (can’t get enough of it at my house), Swiss chard, Mizuna, onions, tomatoes and maybe a little lettuce. Remember, any radishes you have left – or onions or greens make a great stir fry! Happy eating in these late summer days.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

CSA summer veggies…kinda like in the movies

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local Farm Newsletter 9/6/2017.

Remember the Pixar movie, Ratatouille? My grandson showed it to me a couple of years ago as part of his educate grandma project. I loved it! This week I thought it might be fun to try out their special version of ratatouille, called “Confit Bayildi,” created by Chef Thomas Keller.

Confit Bayildi after cooking with extra sauce drizzled on top. Best to use a cast iron pan with vented lid. I was preparing three smaller portions so had to improvise.

The difference between Chef Keller’s recipe and the ratatouille I usually make is mostly about technique and presentation. Ratatouille is a savory veggie stew, and it’s a must at the peak of the growing season since it uses everything: tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, garlic, summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, basil and/or rosemary. This special version, though, includes arranging the veggies for cooking and serving in concentric circles on top of a rich sauce, making a beautiful, colorful dish.

ChefSteps has a Youtube video (https://youtu.be/iCMGPRiDXQg) that demonstrates the technique, which is great to know not just for Confit Bayildi but for other wonderful dishes like a crustless creamy apple tart. First select, wash and cut up your veggies, trying to choose veggies approximately the same circumference: zucchini, summer squash, plum or smallish tomatoes, eggplant. In the video, the chef peeled and cut the tomatoes by hand into thin, round slices, then used a mandolin for the rest. I cut them all by hand and didn’t peel the tomatoes since I know ours are organic, and I like eating the peel. Any parts of these veggies you don’t use should go into your blender along with lots of garlic, a cut up onion or two and a cut up red bell pepper or two.  Add some extra virgin olive oil, salt and rosemary or basil, and blend until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Check the seasoning, making certain it is strong enough to carry the veggies. I like adding a little crushed red pepper as well.

Spread the sauce at the bottom of a cast iron pan or other heavy dish, and arrange the cut up veggies rhythmically in concentric circles on top of the sauce: zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, tomato, then repeat. When the dish is filled, drizzle additional olive oil over the top, and sprinkle with salt. Cover with parchment with a steam hole so the veggies don’t stew, and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. When finished, drizzle a little more extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs — and I squeezed a few drops of lemon juice over the top as well, which always seems to me to brighten the flavor. Finally, I drizzled remaining sauce over the top.

Ratatouille soup…mmm mmm good.

I had some extra cut up veggies after I made this, so I made ratatouille soup, easy peasy. Just put lots of garlic and minced onion into a soup pot with extra virgin olive oil, and saute briefly. Add tomatoes and a little water, and simmer for a few moments. Add all the other cut up veggies and water to barely cover. I usually start with about 1 TB of salt to a gallon of soup and 1/2 tsp. hot paprika. I add chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil or rosemary after the soup finishes cooking and I turn off the heat. Taste and reseason to your taste. Less or no water would, of course, give you the traditional ratatouille. Enjoy!

And a few memories of this week on the farm:

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Too many zucchini from the CSA? Never!

Published this week in my CSA newsletter, Bob’s Fresh and Local.

Years ago I had a cookbook called, Too Many Tomatoes. I remember the chapter on zucchini that featured Zucchini Chocolate Cake. Wow, was it good!

Another thing I like to do with zucchini is stuff them…well, sort of. What I really like to do is halve the zucchini lengthwise, scoop out the middle and set aside, rub the halves with extra virgin olive oil, lightly salt and season them with the seasonings that will be in the filling, and roast them. Then I pile one or another delicious topping on the roasted zucchini halves.

Here are two of my favorite toppings: one Mexican influenced, the other Middle Eastern. Some parts are cooked, some raw — and I serve them either slightly warm when they’re freshly prepared or later, cold. I don’t like to roast the whole thing altogether but prefer a lighter summery “salad” approach.

MEXICAN-STYLE “STUFFED” ZUCCHINI

Ingredients

  • Brown Basmati rice, dried, one cup
  • Black beans, dried, one cup
  • Corn, 1 cup cut from ear
  • Red bell pepper, 1
  • Red onion, 1/4-1/2 large
  • Chard, ribs cut away and chopped, 2 cups
  • Avocados, 2 good size
  • Limes, 4 juicy
  • Salt, 1 slightly rounded tsp. plus 1/4-1/2 tsp. (for the avocado sauce)
  • Hot paprika, 1/4 – 1 tsp.
  • Cumin, 2 tsp.

Instructions

  1. Cook rice with extra virgin olive oil, 2-1/2 cups water and 1 tsp. salt. Set aside.
  2. In a separate pot, cook black beans until barely tender. Set aside.
  3. Lightly steam corn and set aside.
  4. Chop the chard, petite dice the red onion and red bell pepper.
  5. Toss the prepared veggies together with a tsp. of salt, 1/4-1 tsp. hot paprika (to taste), cumin, juice of two limes.
  6. Pile onto roasted zucchini halves and top with a dollop of avocado sauce (avocados, juice of two limes, salt and hot paprika to taste).

Here’s one more filling/topping from one of my favorite chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi, a Middle Eastern version. In his recipe he uses eggplant, but it works just as well with zucchini:

MIDDLE EASTERN-STYLE “STUFFED” ZUCCHINI

Chermoula Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (I used 1 tsp hot paprika)
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 TB finely chopped preserved lemon peel (If you can’t get preserved lemon, you can use the same amount of lemon peel)
  • 2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil

Bulgur “Filling” Ingredients

  • 1 cup fine bulgur (#1 cracked wheat)
  • 2/3 cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 3.5 TB warm water
  • 1/3 oz. (2 tsp) cilantro, chopped, plus extra to finish
  • 1/3 oz. (2 tsp) mint, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sliced pitted green olives
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1.5 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup tahini sauce
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  2. After hollowing out and rubbing the halved zucchini in extra virgin olive oil, brush the chermoula sauce on the cut halves. Roast halves until done.
  3. Add 2/3 cups boiling water to the cracked wheat, soak until tender, then drain and ring out the wheat.
  4. Soak the golden raisins in 3/5 TB warm water.
  5. Lightly toss the raisins, cilantro, mint, green olives, almonds, green onions and lemon juice into the cracked wheat. Add salt if needed.
  6. Pile topping/filling onto the hollowed and roasted zucchini.
  7. Drizzle tahini sauce over all (tahini, lemon juice, salt, cumin, water).

Have fun with this method! Try other versions like Italian or Asian. Oh, and the zucchini pulp you scoop out of the middle? Save it for later use in a pureed soup. I’m going to cook and blend mine with leftover tomato cores from another salad, some onion, a bit of ginger, salt and hot paprika. Yummm!

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

A little of this, a little of that…an alphabet of things to make with CSA veggies

This post was published in Bob’s Fresh and Local newsletter 7/25/2017

It was fun to have so much variety last week and even more variety this week. I thought I might share a few things I made as well as what I plan to make with this week’s veggies. Some of these things aren’t recipes per se but just “throw-in-what-you-have” type dishes.

Beets. See the recipe I shared earlier for a great beet salad!! I sometimes make beet soup with these as well, a simple purée of peeled cooked beets, onions, a bit of ginger and seasonings.

Cauliflower & Broccoli. I didn’t make them this time, but maybe next week I’ll include recipes for a spicy Middle Eastern style Cauliflower and Chickpeas…or for Cream of Broccoli Soup.

Chard. We’ll probably get this again soon. I made something inspired by “koshari,”, a popular Egyptian dish, a layering of pasta, chickpeas, black lentils, rice, and a richly flavored tomato sauce with petite diced tomatoes and lots of garlic. I had an extra layer of sautéed chard and onions. I topped it off with a garlic scape garnish.

Cucumbers. I made a beautiful Israeli/Jerusalem Salad with these. I’ll share a recipe at a later time.

Fennel. This week we’re getting Bulb Fennel, such a wonderful, flavorful veggie. While I was still in the cafe, I made up an absolutely delicious Fennel Salad to go with Dill Potato Salad and No Meat Loaf (a chickpea base). The Fennel Salad is on the upper right corner. It is made up from the fennel bulb, sliced, some sliced tomato, sliced red onion, minced fennel top, extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper. The fennel brings unique flavors and texture to the salad.

Kale. Kan’t get enough of them!! Smoothies!!! Huge ones! Every morning!! The smoothies — or better yet, Greenies, I make for Andy and me pack a wallop of nutrition and help us start the day super-charged. Would you believe, I make a half-gallon — and we each enjoy a full quart of this nourishing breakfast.

Summer squash. I do many different things with summer squash, but when I have a lot coming in fast, I usually end up making a quick and easy soup. This week I had leeks left from last week so put some extra virgin olive oil in the pan, added cleaned and sliced leeks, petite diced peeled potato (more or less depending on how thick you want it), petite diced summer squash and garlic. My veggies came to about one gallon. I sautéed them for a bit and added 6-8 cups of water (to barely cover). I added a TB of salt to start and 1/4 tsp. hot paprika. I simmered until everything was soft, then ran on low in my blender. You can adjust the thickness to your liking between the amount of potato you use and the amount of water. I put it all back in the pot, added 2 cups of any kind of unsweetened milk (I used rice milk), brought back to simmer, added in some snipped rosemary and turned off the heat. You could replace the rosemary with any available seasoning…like fennel? Alternatively…squash Napoleons?

If you’re still looking for ideas, check out my page in Pinterest, where I go for inspiration. My files are under LeslieCooks.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

It’s no use boiling your cabbage twice…Irish Proverb

So let’s just boil the cabbage once or even not at all! Oh, those beautiful cabbages, the red one, the green one. The humble cabbage turns out to be one of my favorite veggies. I make red cabbage slaw, green cabbage slaw, potato and cabbage soup with fresh dill, cabbage steaks with mustard sauce…and tonight I’m making stuffed cabbage rolls. This is an easy recipe as well as delicious. I use this filling in other stuffed veggies as well — grape leaves, summer squash, peppers. It has happened on occasion that the filling never made it into the veggies, but tonight I’m determined.

STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS

Ingredients 

  • Cabbage, one head
  • Brown Basmati rice, 3 cups cooked
  • Mushrooms, sliced and pan roasted, 1 lb.
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp.
  • Za’atar, 1-1/2 tsp. (Za’atar is a Middle Eastern mix of herbs, available in bags at Butera, Garden Fresh and online – substitute with thyme and oregano to taste)
  • Olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • Tomato juice
  • Lemons, juice of 1-2

Directions

  1. Cook 1 cup of dried brown Basmati rice (which will make 3 cups cooked)
  2. Pan roast the sliced mushrooms until the liquid cooks off.
  3. Put the rice, mushrooms, 1⁄4 cup of olive oil, seasonings and lemon juice to taste in the processor, and pulse a
    few times.
  4. The mixture should be gravelly and cohesive.

To prepare the cabbage:

  1. Bring water in a large pot to simmer.
  2. Cut the core out of the cabbage and place the whole head in the simmering pot for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Take the head of cabbage out, remove outer leaves carefully and set aside to use.
  4. Place the remaining head of cabbage back in the pot for a couple of minutes, and again take out and remove leaves. Repeat this process until you have removed all the good-sized leaves.
  5. Chop the remaining cabbage to add to the bottom of your cooking casserole.

To make up the rolls:

  1. You can shave away some of the thick rib to make the cabbage leaves easier to roll.
  2. Place 2-3 Tb of the filling across the base of each leaf, and roll from the stem end up tucking in the
    edges along the way.
  3. Place in casserole with seams down.
  4. Add tomato juice to almost cover the rolls.
  5. Squeeze lemon over the rolls
  6. Cover withfoil, and bake 350°F for 45 minutes.
  7. Garnish with a bit of parsley.

This week we’ll receive kohlrabi again. I’ve tried it now stuffed and as a low carb “potato” salad — and I’ve pickled it. I think my favorite way to eat it is just sliced and used to dip into delicious Middle Eastern spreads like hummus or Muhammara. The bok choy made its way into a delicious stir fry my son made for us — and a soup with soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles. If you make a double batch of the mushroom and rice filling, you’ll be able to stuff the summer squash with them as well. Middle Easterners use an apple corer to hollow out the middle of the squash lengthwise, which makes a very pretty dish. Save up your garlic scapes for more of that pesto recipe I gave you a couple of weeks back. Use lots of basil with it and some summer greens. Speaking of greens, we’re still enjoying our summer chard omelets, and we can’t get enough of those greens like kale and kohlrabi greens — even cabbage and sometimes bok choy — in our morning smoothies. What a wonderful way to start the day!

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Fridays I like to cook at the shul

Our kitchen at the shul needs a little work, but it’s big and bright and airy, and I like to cook there on Fridays, prepare a little something for our Friday evening dinners, which more and more of our little family on the prairie are coming to enjoy, and Saturday morning kiddush. During the warmer months, I include veggies from my CSA box as much as possible.

Spelt vegan challot are a standard part of what I do, a couple for Friday evening and a couple for kiddush on Saturday. This week, in addition, I made a stir fry with green onions, red onion, lots of good greens, carrots Julienne and topped with a special treat, snap peas — all from the farm.

Somehow I feel as though the path to resolving the many issues that face us in these times is through food justice in all its dimensions. That’s a thought that will need to wait for another moment for unpacking. Right now I’m just immersing myself in the pleasure of planting, nurturing, harvesting and preparing things that are good to eat.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

5 Ways to Use This Week’s CSA Veggies

Prepared for Bob’s Fresh and Local CSA. Visit them on Facebook.

This week we’ll enjoy a wonderful variety of spring greens, mostly Asian and from the mustard family, including Mizuna, Tokyo Bekana, Hon Tsai Tai and Tatsoi as well as the more familiar spinach. We’ll also receive radishes, Hakurai, red stem turnip…and maybe some chives.

Greens, spinach, radishes and carrot with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt.

Most of these greens have a slightly peppery flavor. Hon Tsai Tai, somewhat similar to broccoli raab, is a bit more mild and delicious from stem to flower. Tokyo Bekana, closer to lettuce, is a little sweeter and crunchy. Tatsoi has pale lime green leaves in rosettes. The mixture makes beautiful salads, and I always like to make a simple one as soon as I get home with my Box. Spring radishes are a perfect addition. I dress these salads simply with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper.

But salads are only the beginning of what you can do with those flavorful greens! Here are five other ways to use your greens:

  1. Soba Salads or Entrees. Soba is a buckwheat Japanese noodle available packaged in many grocery stores. Prepare according to directions. Saute minced garlic and fresh ginger root in extra virgin olive oil. Add radishes and even turnips Julienne to the saute if desired. Add the greens and wilt. Turn off the heat. Add a little of salt or soy sauce to taste. Stir into the Soba noodles, or just top them off with a crown of sautéed greens. Serve warm or cold (for a salad).
  2. Patties. Make your favorite veggie patty. I like the Middle Eastern way (falafel), in which the beans are not pre-cooked, just soaked overnight. Try this: 1/2 lb. dried chickpeas rinsed and soaked in a covered container overnight, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 Spanish onion in chunks, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. allspice, 1 tsp. hot paprika and 3-6 oz. mixed greens, chopped. Using a food processor, place the garlic in first, then the chunked onion, the chickpeas, the seasonings and rough chopped greens. Place everything except beans in bowl, and pulse about 10 times, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then run for about 30 seconds. Scrape down, add the beans, and run another 30 seconds or more, scraping sides periodically, or until you have a uniform gravelly mixture that holds together. If you plan to fry, form the mixture into (falafel) balls. If you plan to saute or bake, form into small patties (I use a 3/4 oz. candy scoop). Deep-frying, the balls will take 3-1/2 minutes. If you saute, you might need to experiment a little. The patties should be browned on the outside and soft but not raw inside. Enjoy with pita, Middle Eastern chopped salad and tahini dressing.
  3. Soups. I’m a soup-lover, in the summer too. Ramen soup is very easy. I use three items that I always keep on hand in my home: 1) Costco has a great Millet and Brown Rice Ramen from Lotus Foods, 2) I order Mori-Nu Silken Tofu Organic Firm by the case from Amazon, which can remain unrefrigerated until opened (I just open one 12.3 oz. package from the case at a time), and 3) quality Miso. Make a delicious Miso broth, and when the broth boils, drop loads of roughly chopped Asian (or other) greens. Finally, drop in a square of Ramen for a moment or two until you can pull it apart. For a more substantial dish and a protein boost, add a few squares of Tofu. The chives would work nicely with this soup as a garnish and for added flavor.
  4. Omelets, Frittatas, Quiches, “Shakshouka.” Those of you who get eggs with your Meal Box remember to enhance all your favorite egg dishes with greens and chives! You’re probably familiar with omelets, frittatas and quiches, but Shakshouka might be new to you. Traditional Shakshouka, made with tomatoes and peppers, originated in North Africa. When the rich and aromatic tomato and pepper sauce is hot, the eggs are cracked into it, poached briefly in a covered pan, then served. In this version, saute some garlic in extra virgin olive oil, add the greens, salt, pepper or other seasonings to taste, and when you have a hot, saucy mixture, add the eggs for poaching covered.
  5. Pizza! Make or buy a whole wheat pizza crust — or use 6″ whole wheat pitas. Pre-heat the oven to high heat (unless you’re fortunate enough to have a small pizza oven). Oil the top of the crust. Add briefly braised and wilted greens to the crust, then thinly sliced onions and halved grape or cherry tomatoes, some pine nuts if you have them, seasonings (oregano, salt, crushed red pepper). Bake until the edges of the pizza crust begin to brown a little. Enjoy!

Next week I’ll write about turnips and radishes, spectacular veggies we take for granted. For now, save those turnip greens to use with other greens in your soups and egg dishes, or just to use as a (sautéed and seasoned) bed for roasted turnips.

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

CSA Greens: Bok Choi & Radish Stir Fry

We will soon enjoy lots of spring greens in our boxes, and that’s great, because I LOVE greens and missed Bob’s beautiful assortment over the winter. Here’s what I do with them (other than the salad I make first thing when I get home from the farm).

The best way I found to manage my greens in the cafe was to immediately remove all ties and rubber bands, wrap them in a slightly moist towel and put them into the refrigerator. Of course if the greens arrive already moist, there is no need to dampen the towel. I use microfiber towels that I can get in big batches at Home Depot. Even the more sensitive greens keep well this way for several days, often as long as a week. I check the towel periodically to make certain it stays very slightly moist.

As soon as I can get to it, I cut up all the sturdier greens (I prefer Middle Eastern-style salads, where the greens are cut into small pieces). I put the cut greens into a salad spinner, fill it with cold water, swish around, lift the basket to drain the greens, empty the base of the spinner, and return the basket with greens for spinning to dry. If the greens have more dirt particles attached than usual, I may run them through twice.

Then I transfer the greens to a clean microfiber towel to wrap and store in the ‘fridge except for the portion I want to use right away. The stored greens are there, ready for use in various salads … and as they begin to get older, they’re a great addition to a stir-fry.
Speaking of stir-fry, here’s a Bok Choi and Radish Stir-Fry I made last season. Quantities will vary depending on what we get:

BOK CHOI AND RADISH STIR-FRY
Ingredients

  • Garlic, minced
  • *Onion, petite diced
  • Salad radishes, Julienne
  • Bok choi stems, Julienne
  • Bok choi greens, “diced”
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Soy sauce

Instructions

1. Wash and cut all the veggies
2. Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a wok and throw in a little minced garlic
3. Add the onions, sautéing until soft.
4. Add the remaining “hard” veggies, reserving any greens.
5. When the veggies start to brown a bit, add a little salt and soy sauce, stir and cover if needed to steam the veggies for a couple of minutes.
6. Uncover and add the greens, stir together and sauté briefly until the greens are wilted
7. Add salt to taste and/or a bit of soy sauce, and serve.

*Note about cutting onion: let the onion work for you! I cut off the two ends and cut the onion in half, then remove the brown skin. I put half of the onion cut-side down, then slice it at whatever width I want for the dish, keeping the onion together. Then I turn it one-quarter and slice again, perpendicular to the last cuts. This will give you whatever size dice you choose.

My favorite Passover vegan main dish

These delicious vegan stuffed mini-peppers are a variation of a dish I sometimes make when it’s not Passover using regular size yellow bell peppers, couscous and vegan pesto. For Passover, I replaced the couscous with quinoa. Happily raw pine nuts aren’t kitniyot, so if you don’t eat kitniyot during Passover, you can use these in the pesto. The rich flavor of the pine nuts replaces the cheese in pesto very nicely!

Prepare the Peppers

First prepare your peppers, about 35 minis for the amount of pesto in the recipe. Wash them, rub the outside lightly with oil and place them on a baking sheet. Roast at 350 degrees until they are softened but still holding their shape.Usually you’ll see a spot or two starting to brown.

Remove them from the oven and allow to cool. With a small, serrated knife, slice each one “from stem to stern” on one side — don’t cut through the back side.  No need to de-seed. Just place back on the tray until you’re ready for them.

Quinoa

Cook quinoa as you usually do. I used about two TB of extra virgin olive oil, 2 cups dried quinoa, 1-1/2 tsp. salt and 4 cups of water and cooked it in a rice cooker until it was done. Set aside.

Vegan Pesto Recipe

Make the vegan pesto according to the recipe here: https://vegetatingwithleslie.org/?p=1428. Mix this entire amount of pesto with the quinoa you cooked and set aside.

Marinara

You have several options for the sauce. You can use my Matboukha recipe (Moroccan salsa), or you can use some reduced leftover tomato and red bell pepper soup (as I think I did for the picture of my regular couscous-stuffed peppers). Because I had a lot to do for Passover, I took the easy path and used some kosher for Passover bottled marinara.

Assembling your peppers

Using a clean pan, spread the marinara thinly across the whole bottom of the pan. Take a pepper, drain any liquid that collected in it, fill it with a teaspoon (a “table” teaspoon). Place in the pan on top of the sauce. Repeat this process until all the peppers are used.

All the parts of this dish are cooked, so you really don’t need to reheat them for use in a meal unless you choose to do that. I’m taking them to a seder tonight where there will be LOTS of people and lots of commotion, so we’ll just serve a couple of big trays of them as they are. They are for the vegans in the crowd, but I’m pretty sure most of the folks there will want to have at least one with their meal, so I made a lot.

And now I’d better get moving with the vegan matzah ball soup before the chag!

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Quinoa & White Bean Soup

This soup, like so many other dishes, began its life with me on Pinterest, where I often go for inspiration. It’s a lovely, brothy soup the first day. The flavor improves with age, and it also thickens, due to the quinoa. By the third day, it is actually more of a light stew. My family loved it that way for a substantial and delicious dinner.

I’m including here the veggies that I used. Any greens are fine, though, and the summer squash and zucchini can be traded out for another high water content veggie.

QUINOA & WHITE BEAN SOUP

INGREDIENTS

  • Beans, Great Northern, 1/2 lb. cooked ’til al dente in water to cover (check water periodically and add if needed)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 3 TB
  • Spanish onion, 1, minced
  • Poblano, 1, minced
  • Garlic, 6 cloves, minced
  • Carrots, 3 med.-large, washed and cut on bias
  • Celery, 2 large stalks
  • Seasonal veggies, 2 cups at least, coarsely chopped (I used zucchini and yellow squash)
  • Greens, 1-2 cups rough chopped
  • Tomatoes, 8 Roma, petite diced or 1 28-oz. can petite diced
  • Quinoa, 1 cup
  • Water, 1 quart
  • Vegeta, 4 tsp.
  • Salt, 1 TB
  • Szeged Hot paprika, 1/2 tsp.
  • Thyme, 1 TB fresh (stripped from stems)
  • Pepper, black, freshly ground

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse beans and cook in pot with lid in water to cover. Check periodically to make certain water doesn’t cook off. When just tender, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Mince onion and saute in extra virgin olive oil in a soup pot.
  3. Add minced garlic to the pot, and saute a moment longer.
  4. Add carrots and celery cut on bias to the pot and saute until just tender.
  5. Add 1 quart water with Vegeta (soup base) stirred in. If you don’t have a vegan soup base, water is fine — you might just have to use a little more salt.
  6. Add one 32-oz. can petite diced tomatoes (or 8 Roma tomatoes, petite diced)
  7. Add seasonings and 2 cups seasonal vegetables (zucchini and summer squash this time)
  8. Simmer together until flavors well-blended and veggies are all softened.
  9. Add seasonings (salt, hot paprika, thyme).
  10. Add 1 cup quinoa and cook for 15 minutes until done.
  11. Add beans with their liquid (should have cooked down some so it just covers the beans).
  12. At the end of the cooking time, add rough-chopped greens. I used kale in this batch.
  13. Grind in fresh black pepper to taste.

Hope you enjoy this healthy, substantial, delicious veggie soup!

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.