Tag Archives: side dish

Lemony Roasted Potatoes

This might sound weird, but I’m not the biggest fan of potatoes. I do like french fries and potato salad, but those rely on a ton of fat to add flavor to a fairly bland star ingredient. However, they’re cheap and on their own, not all that bad for you. However, a while ago a found a recipe that was deceptively simple: potatoes roasted in lemon juice. No garlic, no onions, no herbs; none of those things that I rely on to add lots of cheap flavor. But oh my goodness, they’re so delicious. I had to restrain myself from eating the entire pan in one go.

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Gazpacho

I grew up eating tomato soup made two different ways: heated up Campbell’s condensed mixed with water, or for a special treat, mixed with milk. The first time I heard about gazpacho, I was totally disgusted by the thought of cold tomato soup. But, when I saw it on a menu during my first trip to Spain, I figured when in Rome (or when in Madrid, to be exact.) In Spain this is a quintessential summer dish, that exceeds the sum of its ingredients. If you’re still icked out by cold tomato soup, think of it as a liquid salad or savory smoothie.

Gazpacho

  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 medium bell peppers, deseeded
  • 1 medium cucumber, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth and if desired, chill until ready to serve. Serves 4 as a side dish.

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Squash Fritters

These aren’t the most attractive dish I’ve ever made, but it’s my favorite way of making squash. I made this batch for a potluck this past weekend, where they all disappeared and I had to write the recipe down 3 times. Traditionally these are pan-fried, like a pancake, but this batch I baked in the oven to keep it healthier and make it tastier cold. I also like to occasionally make these veggie burger size for a light dinner. However you make them, they’re tasty on their own or dipped in homemade garlic mayonnaise.

Squash Fritters

  • 2 large squash or zucchini, grated
  • 1 red onion, grated
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 425 F and thoroughly grease two cookie sheets (even on the silpat, if you’re using one). Wrap grated squash and onion into a clean tea towel and squeeze tightly, until no more liquid comes out. Mix in a large bowl with remaining ingredients. Place by heaping tablespoon full on prepared sheets and flatten slightly. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip gently, and bake for another 10 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.

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Pizza Pasta Salad

Lately I’ve been going through a wee bit of a pizza fixation. But eating that much pizza even with whole grain crusts can’t be all that healthy, plus cranking my oven up to 500 F at the end of a hot day is sometimes a bit much. So in order to enjoy those pizza flavors, increase the vegetable quotient, and avoid heating up my entire house, I came up with this pasta salad recipe. I should warn you that my pasta salads tend to be heavier on the salad and lighter on the pasta, so if you want a more traditional dish, double the amount of pasta. Also, for you meat eaters out there, this would be really tasty with pepperoni or prosciutto. The banana peppers give it a little bit of a kick, but if you want more heat, try peperoncinis. Not a fan of any amount of spiciness? Use 2 tbsp red wine vinegar instead.

Pizza Pasta Salad

  • 6 ounces short pasta (like penne) cooked and cooled
  • 1 large tomato diced, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 4 baby zucchini or squash, thinly sliced (you want the smallest squash you can find)
  • 1 medium or 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 6 ounces mozzarella, diced or shredded
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pickled banana peppers, drained & chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano or 1/2 tbsp dried
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Allow to refrigerate for at least one hour before serving so flavors can meld. Serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish.

Enjoy!

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Favorite Black Beans

I was looking through my recipes and realized I hadn’t shared my favorite, very basic, black bean recipe with y’all. They’re the perfect side dish for Mexican food, make great refried beans, and show up in my lunch rotation constantly, often over rice with some guacamole and a side salad. Oh yeah, and they’re fat free. They do take a while to cook, so I tend to put a pot on to simmer while I’m doing housework or making something more immediate. The chipotle is optional, but if you like a little smoke and heat in your beans, I highly recommend it.

Favorite Black Beans

  • 1 can black beans, or 2 cups cooked with liquid
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp whole or ground cumin
  • 1 dried chipotle
  • salt to taste

Combine beans, onion, garlic, cumin, and chipotle in a medium pot, and add a cup or so of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook until the onions are very tender. If beans start to look a little dry, add more water, as needed. 30 minutes is usually enough, but let them go an hour to fully develop the flavor. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serves 4.

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Mediterranean Lentils

Today, I was reading a column in the NY Times about the challenges of going vegan. While, I’m not vegan, as a vegetarian, I have to disagree with a lot of the so-called challenges mentioned in the article. There is absolutely no need to shop at vegan-only stores or buy expensive fake meat. All my food options are available at farmer’s markets and regular grocery stores, and I spend a whopping $100 a month for this. My food philosophy is the simpler, the better, and as a result, I shop mostly on the “edges” of my grocery store. The vegan parts of my diet focuses on fruits and veggies (fresh, frozen, canned and dried), nuts, rice, and beans. In case you haven’t walked down the bean aisle lately, dried beans are incredibly cheap (usually less than $2 per pound), make a ton (I can get 16 servings out of a bag) and are naturally high in fiber and protein. A serious downside of cooking with dried beans, is, well, cooking them. Most of them take an hour or more to cook, and not everybody has the time to deal with that.

That’s where my love for lentils really began, since a pot of lentils cooks up in only 20 minutes or so. Also, by serving, they are higher in protein than most other beans. With their smaller size, they don’t suffer from that bean-y texture that a lot of people dislike. Finally, they do great with flavors from a large variety of cultures. This version I think of as my Mediterranean recipe. I serve it along side Greek salads, throw it into marinara to add a protein punch to my spaghetti sauce, and it’s perfectly welcoming to all kinds of root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, celery, fennel, beets, parsnips and turnips. If you want to make it into soup, add 2 more cups of vegetable broth.

Mediterranean Lentils

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 in ginger, minced
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

Heat vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant and soft, about 5 minutes. Add lentils and cook for an additional minute or two, until they are shiny. Add vegetable broth, bring to a simmer, then cook covered until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. If the cooking liquid gets too low, add more vegetable broth or water. Serves 4.

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Beans and Greens of the Week

One of the cool things about Deborah at Nevermore Farm is that she lets me come help out sometimes in exchange for a discount on my box. I think of it as a win-win: I get awesome produce for cheap AND get to play in the dirt. Back in October, I spent a day weeding and laying out irrigation for the winter crops. In November, I spent a day putting in cabbage after cabbage. In my last box? I got one of those cabbages. Obviously there’s more than one day of weeding and putting the plant in the ground, but I’m so stinking proud of this cabbage.

Anyways, with this cabbage I wanted to go back to my Southern roots. I coated pinto beans with my homemade barbeque sauce, baked up some cornbread, and made Spicy Smothered Green Cabbage from Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. This stuff is delicious and taste just like my grandma’s, just without the bacon. Originally the recipe called for 2 tsp mustard seeds, but I didn’t have any in my kitchen, so I subbed in prepared mustard.

Spicy Smothered Green Cabbage

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 small cabbage, quartered, cored & shredded
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil, red pepper, sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2 minutes, then add cabbage and mustard, stirring until it wilts, about 5 minutes. Add water, stir to combine, cover, and allow to cook until the water has mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8.

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