Minestrone

21 02 2015

This is a healthy and comforting Italian soup, sure to wrap you in warmth even on the coldest of winter days! It’s loaded with veggies and is a great option for meatless Mondays, or to enjoy during Lent. Mangia!

Minestrone

The following serves 6 (adapted from Food Network Magazine):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes – if you don’t have crushed on hand, puree a can of diced tomatoes in a high-speed blender until smooth
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, or fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of green beans cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dry ditalini pasta
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped parsley

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add tomato paste, dry herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring around, for about a minute. Deglaze the pan with wine and cook until nearly evaporated.

Next add the chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in green beans and cannellini beans and cook for 5 minutes. Finally, add the pasta and cook 10 minutes more. Season with salt to taste.

Serve with lots of cheese and parsley for garnish.

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Tabbouleh Salad With Farro and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

28 04 2014

This is such a tasty meatless meal, packed with loads of flavor and healthy ingredients! Tabbouleh is a Lebanese grain salad typically made with bulgur wheat. I didn’t have bulgur so I improvised with the ancient grain farro, but kept the rest of the traditional ingredients the same with mixing in parsley, mint, cucumbers, tomatoes and dressing with lemon juice and olive oil. Heads up, there’s a lot of chopping to be had here, so grab yourself a sous chef to help!

Tabbouleh Salad With Farro and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Tabbouleh Salad With Farro and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

The following makes 4 servings (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • Minced zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package (10 oz) grape tomatoes, halved (you could also use a mix of tomatoes and chopped red bell pepper if you wanted)
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz) drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup sliced scallions or green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms (4-6 oz each) stemmed and gilled
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat, crumbled feta cheese

Cook the farro according to package directions. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, juice, olive oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve 3 Tbsp of the vinaigrette to brush on the portobellos.

Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, scallions, mint, olives, and cooled farro. Toss with vinaigrette and chill until ready to serve.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush grill grate with oil.

For the mushrooms, brush both sides with reserved vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Grill mushrooms, uncovered, until grill marks appear and mushrooms are softened, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from grill and transfer to a cutting board. Slice mushrooms into 1/2-inch-thick strips.

To serve, plate the tabbouleh salad, top with sliced mushrooms and garnish with feta.





Vegetarian Chili With Avocado Salsa

15 10 2012

I’m a sucker for a good bowl of chili, especially on a cold fall night. Tonight fit the bill for me to try this vegetarian spin on a hearty classic. This chili is just as delicious and filling, but I didn’t miss the meat….give it a try and see for yourself!

Vegetarian Chili With Avocado Salsa

The following makes 4 servings (compliments of the South Beach Cookbook):

Vegetarian Chili:

  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 can (14-19 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 can (14 and 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 can (14 oz) vegetable broth
  • 1 can (4 oz) green chile peppers, chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Avocado Salsa:

  • 1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

To make the avocado salsa:

In a large bowl, combine the avocado, tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, cumin and pepper. Lightly toss and let stand for 30 minutes.

To make the vegetarian chili:

While the salsa stands, make the chili. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes (with juice), broth, chile peppers, chili powder, garlic, cumin and oregano and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with the avocado salsa, sour cream and lime wedges. Sprinkle with cilantro.





Vegetarian Gyro Salad

24 06 2012

We enjoyed a Greek festival this weekend, which kicked off at a house party with Greek appetizers and drinks. I brought this deliciously fresh Greek salad which was a perfect complement to the other goodies we feasted on. Opa!

I had never cooked with farro, but now I can say I have! It’s a hearty ancient European grain with a nutty flavor. You can either find it in the ethnic food aisle or at a local import market, which is where I found it. Make sure to buy the semi-pearled kind since it requires less work and cooks faster.

Vegetarian Gyro Salad

The following serves 6 (compliments of Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 and 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro
  • 1 zucchini, halved
  • 4 pitas or flatbread (7-inch)
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup sliced pepperoncini
  • 1/3 cup pitted, halved kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium-high.

To make the red wine vinaigrette: Whisk together 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic, and 2 tsp dijon mustard in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare farro according to package directions, then rinse and drain. In my case, the package I used didn’t have good directions. So I cooked the farro in a pot of salted boiling water for about 13-14 minutes (thanks Google!).

Brush zucchini and pitas with some of the red wine vinaigrette. Grill zucchini, covered, until tender, 5 minutes. Grill pitas until toasted, and lemons until browned. Remove from grill and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, dice zucchini.

Combine tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, feta, pepperoncini, olives and onion in a large bowl. Add farra, diced zucchini and remaining vinaigrette; toss to coat. Cut pita into wedges and add to salad. Serve with lemon halves – or add the juice of the lemons right to the salad, which is what I did.





Roasted Veggie Lasagna with Tomato-Herb Cream Sauce

27 03 2012

Roasted eggplant and zucchini are great all on their own. Add a deep, rich tomato-herb cream sauce, build a quick lasagna and now you have an amazing supper! If lasagna intimidates you, use oven ready noodles to save yourself the fuss and prepare the dish when you have time, store it in the fridge to bake later in the week when you don’t 🙂

Roasted Veggie Lasagna with Tomato-Herb Cream Sauce

The following makes a 9 x 13 pan of lasagna:

  • 1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 box oven ready lasagna noodles (no boiling required)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese, enough to layer in the lasagna
  • Grated parmesan cheese, enough to layer in the lasagna

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice eggplant and zucchini horizontally (aim to get the same size pieces as the lasagna noodles), toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to coat and arrange in a single layer on baking sheets. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, turning half way through. While the veggies are roasting, work on the sauce. Remove veggies when done and turn the oven down to 375 degrees.

For the sauce (compliments of Emeril Lagasse, with a few tweaks from me of course):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Half of a medium red or yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 cups peeled, chopped, and seeded tomatoes (or 2 cups crushed can tomatoes)
  • 1 sprig thyme (or a sprinkle of ground / dried thyme)
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Handful of each fresh parsley and basil, chopped and extra for garnish

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft and slightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds (be sure to stir garlic when adding so it doesn’t burn in the hot pan). Add the tomatoes and thyme. Season with salt and crushed red pepper, and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken broth and tomato paste, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced a little and starting to thicken. Add the cream and cook until reduced by some more, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the butter, basil and parsley and stir to combine. Remove the thyme sprigs (if you used fresh thyme). Taste and adjust the seasoning and consistency if necessary.

To build the lasagna, spread a little sauce on the bottom of a prepared 9 x 13 baking dish. Next, lay 4 slices of lasagna on top of the sauce all in one direction. Top with some mozzarella cheese. Then add a layer of roasted veggies, followed by a layer of sauce and parmesan cheese. Add another layer of 4 noodles, this time all in the opposite direction as the first layer of noodles. Top with some mozzarella cheese, then a final layer of roasted veggies, a layer of sauce and a layer of parmesan cheese. Add the final layer of 4 noodles, all in the same direction you started. Top with the remaining sauce and a final layer of mozzarella cheese. Be careful not to use all the sauce up in the beginning of layer, parcel out so you’ll have enough throughout.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 10 – 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garish with more parmesan and fresh parsley or basil.





Chickpea Curry

6 01 2012

This is a hearty vegetarian supper that will now be part of my go-to recipe collection, thanks to Martha and her gang at Everyday Food! Tons of great flavor and easy to make, what more could you ask for!

Chickpea Curry

The following serves 4:

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced medium
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger (use the minced in the tube and save time!)
  • 4 tsp curry powder
  • 2 cans (15.5 oz each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup roasted cauliflower – the recipe called for leftover roasted cauliflower from another recipe, but I made my own, see below
  • 2 and 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Course salt
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I used chicken broth in place of water in the rice and in the chickpea recipe, you could also use vegetable broth to keep this meal totally vegetarian)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut about 1 cup of cauliflower florets from a head of cauliflower and toss with olive oil, salt and garlic powder on a baking sheet. If you like a little heat like I do, sprinkle some cayenne pepper on there too! Roast for 25 minutes, turning once. Remove and set aside until it’s time to add the cauliflower to the chickpeas.

Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add chickpeas and 2 cups water (I substituted chicken broth to give some extra flavor), bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and gently simmer 8 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook until chickpeas are tender, about another 8 minutes. Stir in spinach and cilantro and season with salt.

Cook your rice when your chickpeas start to boil so both are ready at the same time. Cook rice according to package instructions. Instead of water like the instructions call for, try using chicken broth instead. I also added a dried bay leaf and sprinkled in some curry powder just before boiling to tie in the flavor from the chickpeas.

To serve, divide rice among plates or bowls and top with chickpea curry. I also warmed up some garlic naan bread (brush naan with a little olive oil and back 3-5 minutes at 400 degrees until warmed) and served along side.