Cooking with vegetables – something new, something different

Repeat post. By the way, I highly recommend the parsnip, leek and bacon pasta recipe. ALL of these recipes are delicious!

I just saw a YouTube video that included a salad that sounds very good. It has 3 cups of chopped kale loosely packed, 1 chopped red bell pepper, 1 chopped jalapeno, 1 can drained black beans, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (yuck), red onions, and 1 cup quinoa, cooked. It is dressed with 1/3 cup lime juice, 1/3 cup olive oil and salt. Season to taste.

She said that she was making it for the first time as an experiment, but that her family liked it so much that she was sorry she hadn’t doubled the recipe. Here’s the video, if you are interested. It includes other things that she is preparing for the week.

I’ve been in the cooking mood lately and, for a change, I’ve been trying some new dishes featuring vegetables. I tend to fall into a rut this time of year, when fresh vegetables grown locally are non-existent. I love broccoli and Brussels sprouts, but I’ve had a craving for something new. I had some really nice asparagus this past week. They were from Mexico, but there is hope on the horizon!

I found a couple of new pasta recipes that I haven’t tried yet, but I’ll tell you that one of them has oven roasted parsnips, bacon and leeks, which I think sounds delicious.

Strangely enough, I had parsnips in the crisper, so I’ve already roasted those in preparation for the finished dish tomorrow (It was great!)

There was also half a head of red cabbage in the crisper, so I shredded it and stir cooked it with onion and a bit of balsamic. I’m not big on lettuce salads, to tell the truth. I do like to have prepared veggies on hand for lunch or dinner, so I can add a piece of fish or chicken,  an egg or maybe a baked potato or some rice, and have a meal ready pretty quickly.

Saturday I made ratatouille. I’ve made it before, but this time I followed instructions that suggested cooking the eggplant separately, then the zucchini separately in olive oil until lightly browned, then salting to taste.

I cooked and seasoned the onions, bell peppers and garlic together in a dutch oven, then added red pepper flakes (a new addition for me), some tomatoes and a little bit of tomato paste, the cooked eggplant and zucchini, a bay leaf and some dried herbs de Provence. You could substitute fresh basil and thyme, if you have them. If you had some really nice fresh tomatoes, you could peel and seed those and cut them into 1″ pieces, but it’s March, so I used some canned tomatoes, drained really well, instead.  Another thing you can add is fresh diced fennel bulb (cook with the peppers and onion), but I couldn’t get any this week.

I followed instructions to make and add a cartouche, a parchment paper lid with a hole in the middle that lets the steam escape, brushed with olive oil so that the paper doesn’t singe, then popped the pot in the oven for about an hour at 300 degrees F.

The results were perfect, I think. The vegetables were tender but not mushy, and there wasn’t too much liquid; I think that’s because of the cartouche, which lets steam escape. I had some for dinner Saturday night with leftover pot roast, and for Sunday brunch with eggs (add a bit of snipped chives on the eggs, if you have them.)

Speaking of the old staple, broccoli, another pasta dish I made recently is a variation of the usual. It is completely vegetarian and completely delicious. Here is the recipe:

Rigatoni with Broccoli Sauce

1           Pound broccoli, stems and florets separated
*            kosher salt and pepper
1-1/2   Cups packed baby spinach
2          medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4          Tablespoons salted butter, cut into 1 TB pieces
1           Tablespoon drained capers
1/2       Teaspoon red pepper flakes
2           Tablespoons finely grated lemon zest, divided
12         Ounces Rigatoni pasta
1           Ounce Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup) plus more to serve

  • Boil and salt a large pot of water
  • Peel the broccoli stems and cut into 1/2″ rounds, and add those and any broccoli leaves to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, 20-30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the stems and leaves to a blender; keep 1/2 cup of the cooking water for the sauce.
  • Cut the broccoli florets into 1″ pieces and add to the boiling water and cook until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water until cooled.
  • To the blender, add the garlic, butter, capers, pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon of the lemon zest and the 1/2 cup of broccoli cooking water. Puree until smooth and bright green, about 30 seconds. Taste and season as needed.
  • Cook the rigatoni in the boiling water, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot and add the broccoli florets, the broccoli/spinach puree, 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water, the remaining tablespoon of lemon zest and the cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens slightly and the pasta is well coated, 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Season as needed, and serve with additional cheese.
  • Enjoy!

Are you cooking up any new dishes? Or an old favorite that will be new to us?

PS: Here’s the recipe for the pasta with parsnips recipe, if you are interested:

Pasta With Parsnips and Bacon (courtesy of the New York Times)

3 medium parsnips (3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
Kosher salt and black pepper, as needed
½ pound dried campanelle or farfalle pasta
¼ pound bacon, diced
1 medium leek, thoroughly washed and thinly sliced
¾ cup heavy cream
⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss parsnips with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast, tossing occasionally, until parsnips are golden and tender, about 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package
instructions until 1 minute before it’s al dente. Drain.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes;
use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all
but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.

4. Return skillet to heat and add leeks. Cook in remaining bacon fat until softened, about 5
minutes. Stir in heavy cream and cooked bacon. Simmer mixture until slightly
thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Stir in pasta, parsnips and cheese. Simmer until heated through and cheese is melted,
then remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper; toss with parsley. Serve drizzled
with olive oil, with plenty of black pepper on top.

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5 Responses to Cooking with vegetables – something new, something different

  1. Menagerie says:

    I just had a nice salad for supper, along with something untitled, maybe a cross between stew and goulash? I love making salads with a green mix, like baby spinach and the 50/50 stuff. Then I add some of the new salad mixes they have with cabbage, kale, broccoli etc.

    I have some tomatoes I need to use, so tomorrow I plan to roast them in the air fryer with balsamic and Parmesan, probably basil also.

    I’m trying to find something new for three sweet potatoes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • stella says:

      That’s funny – I have some tomatoes that need to be used and three sweet potatoes …

      I plan roasted root veg tomorrow (beets, parsnips, potatoes, onions) and a chuck roast.

      Have a squash that needs roasting too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Menagerie says:

        As I plan to be eating more salads, I need to make my beet salad recipe again. I love to have this with a green salad.

        Liked by 1 person

        • stella says:

          What do you think of this? I would make it with farro (because I have it.)

          Liked by 1 person

          • Menagerie says:

            Ooh, yes! I just saved this, thank you. One of my sons is a huge Gordon Ramsay fan, and one day I watched some of his videos. He used pomegranate molasses in at least one recipe. I’m going to have to find a source other than Amazon, or just make my own, like they said.

            Also, I have a lot of Pomegranate seeds frozen. Costco sells them during the holidays and this year I bought all I could and put them back. A few weeks ago I was in Costco and they still had them so I bought two more of the packages, which each have four containers of seeds. I’ll be in the neighborhood today, so I may see if they still have them. In previous years they’ve only had them for a few weeks, then they are gone. I put them in salads and in my kefir concoctions.

            BTW, back to the sweet potatoes. I like them browned and topped with pomegranate seeds and pecans, maybe just a little drizzle of maple syrup, not much.

            I also love grain bowls. This is a great find!


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