Mushroom Seitan Stroganoff

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seiten plated

We have a lot of vegetarians in our family and there is nothing like a hearty, satisfying, and meaty tasting dish without the meat!

Stroganoff is classically known as a beef dish, but we decided to replace the beef and use seitan instead. For centuries Asian countries have used seitan as a vegetarian meat substitute. It has a savory flavor that makes it the perfect addition for all types of dishes, and it has a wonderful chewy texture. Since we wanted this dish to be vegan, we left out the typical ingredients found in stroganoff — sour cream and butter. We added arrowroot powder, which gave the sauce a thick and creamy consistency. And to achieve that deep rich, meaty flavor that our vegetarians so often crave, we added a variety of mushrooms—dried porcini, portabella, and shitake. We were pleased with the results!

We serve this dish with rice, although grains such as quinoa or noodles would be delicious too.

DOuble mushroom

The variety of mushrooms gives this dish a “meaty” flavor.

seitan mushrooms and peppers

Mushroom Seitan Stroganoff
4 servings

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
3 cups sliced shitake mushrooms
2 cups sliced portabella mushrooms, 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Two 8-ounce containers cubed seitan
1 cup sliced red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips, 1/4 inch wide
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes and then drain. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When shimmering, add the onions and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until caramelized. Turn the heat to medium, and add all the mushrooms, including the dried porcini, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the mushrooms are browned.

Add the white wine and deglaze the pan. Add the vegetable broth and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the seitan, red pepper, 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and simmer for another 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, allowing the seitan to absorb the flavors.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the arrowroot powder with 1 tablespoon of water and mix thoroughly until dissolved. Slowly add the mixture to the seitan and vegetables and stir to combine. Cook an additional 5 minutes until thickened. Serve hot.

seiten plated copy close up

Teriyaki Tempeh with Broccolini and Carrots

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tempeh stirfry

Super healthy, super quick to get on the table, and super delicious—three great reasons to try our Teriyaki Tempeh with Broccolini and Carrots. Tempeh is a wonderful substitute for meat because it has a firm, dense texture and a wonderful, slightly nutty flavor. And tempeh is so good for you with loads of protein, fiber, and B vitamins, plus all the health benefits of being a fermented food. Our Teriyaki Tempeh is a great weeknight dinner that everyone will love.

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tempeh cropSear the tempeh.

veg no sauceAdd the steamed vegetables.

Terrific Teriyaki                                                 Photo John Kernick
Make our teriyaki sauce or use your favorite store-bought.

Teriyaki Tempeh with Broccolini and Carrots
4 servings

1 cup rice or quinoa
2 bunches broccolini, ends trimmed, sliced in half lengthwise
2 carrots, sliced diagonally in 1/2-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon peanut, grapeseed, or extra virgin olive oil
Two 8-ounce packages plain tempeh, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup Terrific Teriyaki Sauce*, or more to taste (see recipe below), or your favorite store-bought

Cook the rice or quinoa according to the directions on the package and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan steam the broccolini and carrots until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain them in a colander and set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Place the tempeh cubes in the pan and cook undisturbed until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip (we like using tongs for this) and cook on the other side, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Add the steamed vegetables to the skillet and, using a wooden spoon, gently mix with the tempeh cubes. Add three tablespoons of the teriyaki sauce and stir well to coat. Add additional teriyaki sauce as desired. Continue to cook and stir until hot, 3 to 4 minutes.

Put 1/2 cup of the cooked grains in the bottom of each of 4 serving bowls. Top each bowl with tempeh and vegetables and serve hot.

*Terrific Teriyaki Sauce
makes 3/4 cup
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil

 If using sesame seeds, cook them in a small dry skillet over medium heat. Shaking the pan occasionally, until they begin to darken and give off a toasty aroma, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of warm water. Set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and 1/3 cup of water. Place over medium-high heat and stir occasionally until it comes to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the dissolved cornstarch. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the sesame oil and the sesame seeds (if desired).

close up tempeh

Tofu Scramble

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IMG_0258

This tofu scramble is our new go to recipe. It is delicious for breakfast or brunch, but we have loved this for dinner because it is so quick and easy to whip up. Here we prepare the scramble with spinach and onions, but it is equally delicious with mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, cheese, and avocado. Basically you can use your favorite omelet combination. The nutritional yeast we use in the seasoning mix adds that “meaty” umami taste that makes this a very satisfying vegetarian dish. The yeast also has enormous health benefits. It is a complete protein, providing all 18 amino acids and contains B complex vitamins. It’s also very low in sodium. The vegetarians (and vegans) in your life will love this dish, but we have found that it also satisfies meat eaters as well.

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Tofu Scramble
4 to 6 servings

For the Spice Mix
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water

For the Tofu Scramble
Two 14-ounce packages extra firm organic tofu
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups roughly chopped spinach

Place the tofu in a single layer on a clean dishtowel on either a plate or cutting board. Cover with another clean dishtowel. Place a plate or another cutting board on top, and rest a weight, such as a small skillet, on top. This will press the excess liquid from the tofu. Let the tofu drain for at least 10 minutes. Crumble the tofu with clean hands and set aside.

In a small bowl add the nutritional yeast, turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, cayenne pepper, and cumin, and stir. Pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of water and stir to combine.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion, and the garlic, and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the crumbled tofu. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring often, until the tofu is hot and cooked through. Add the spice mix, stir, and cook for an additional minute. Reduce the heat to medium, add the spinach, and stir until the spinach is soft and cooked through. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

We love to serve this scramble with warm tortillas. Include guacamole, hot sauce and refried beans and it becomes a delicious Mexican night.

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IMG_0263

White Bean Fritters With Yogurt Cucumber Dip

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White Bean Fritters

So much has been written about the wonders of the Mediterranean diet, one of the primary elements of which—is beans. Beans have tremendous health benefits—they are packed with fiber, vitamins, protein, and phytochemicals. We wanted to incorporate even more of these nutritional powerhouses into our diets, so using cannelloni beans we made fritters that are both light and flavorful.

Our white bean fritters are so quick and easy to prepare. Mash up the beans and add the Parmesan, shallots, and parsley, form into small patties, and cook. They are crisp on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside. They go especially well with our Yogurt Cucumber Dip—also easy to make. Greek yogurt mixed with cucumber, lemon juice, and garlic is a refreshing complement. These fritters are perfect served as an appetizer or as a side—ideal for entertaining, or paired with a salad for lunch.

Yogurt Cucumber DipBe sure to mix the Yogurt Cucumber Dip well before serving.

Mashed ingredients frittersMash the beans with a fork making sure to leave a few chunks.The shallots, parsley, and Parmesan cheese are then added.

Uncooked frittersUsing your hands, form the mixture into 2 1/2 inch round patties.

White Bean Fritters With Yogurt Cucumber Dip
4 servings

For the Dip
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber, finely grated and drained
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Fritters
One 15-ounce can organic cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra if needed

For the Dip
In a medium mixing bowl mix together the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator while you make the fritters.

For the Fritters
Place the flour in a wide, shallow dish and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl mash the beans with a fork making sure to leave a few chunks. Add the shallots, parsley, Parmesan cheese, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and mix well.

Using your hands, form the mixture into 2 1/2 inch round individual patties (about ¼ inch thick) and dredge each one in the flour, shaking off any excess. Place the formed patties on a platter. You should have ten to eleven patties.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and heat until shimmering. Add half the patties to the pan and cook undisturbed until golden brown, five to six minutes. Flip the patties carefully with a spatula and cook until the second side is golden, about five minutes more. Add a little more oil if the pan looks dry (the fritters can absorb the oil).

Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels, add 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and cook the remaining patties. Add more oil if necessary.

Transfer to a platter or individual plates and serve with the Yogurt Cucumber Dip.

White Bean Fritters crop1

Baked Artichoke Dip With Baby Kale

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Artichoke Cover Pic

We just may love artichokes more than any other vegetable. Corky introduced us to them early. In fact, when she first cooked them for us, most of our friends had never even heard of them. Etched in our memories is the crazy amount of work she put into preparing them; trimming the ends, scraping the choke, and soaking in lemon juice (to keep their beautiful green color). At the table, we kids loved the ritual of taking each separate leaf, and dipping it one at a time into the warm melted butter or creaming, citrusy hollandaise. Little did we know that many of the men in our lives would find eating artichokes almost as arduous and labor intensive as we found cooking them. We experimented, tried the canned, but didn’t love that tinny, preserved taste, and we found that artichokes in the jar had seasonings that didn’t go with how we wanted to prepare them. Then we discovered frozen artichokes! They are not only delicious, but have all of the nutritional benefits with none of the fuss.

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We created a zesty artichoke dip as an appetizer for company but soon realized it also makes a perfect side dish at dinner. As an added bonus, scooping with a pita chip makes eating artichokes a snap.

Baby Kale

Baby Kale Blended

Adding baby kale to the dip not only makes it healthier, but even more flavorful.

Baked Artichoke Dip with Baby Kale
6 to 8 servings

For The Topping
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

For the Dip
Two 9 ounce boxes frozen artichokes, do not thaw
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups packed chopped baby kale
1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup light cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Organic olive oil cooking spray
Sweet paprika, to taste

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450˚ F.

In a small mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients for the topping, mix well and set aside.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the artichokes in a medium sized mixing bowl. Combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the artichokes on the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 minutes. Allow the artichokes to cool, and set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400˚ F.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, and the garlic, and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the kale and stir to incorporate. Cook for an additional 6 to 7 minutes, until the kale is soft.

In a food processor combine the artichokes and kale mixture. Blend until just smooth. Add the mayonnaise, cream cheese, the 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, thyme, and cayenne pepper, and blend until just combined, leaving a few chunks. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Spray the bottom of 9- by 13- inch casserole dish with the olive oil spray. Transfer the mixture to the casserole and using the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, to smooth the top.

Generously sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the artichoke dip. Top with a sprinkle of paprika and place in the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned.

Serve warm with pita chips, toasted French bread slices, or crackers.

Artichoke Final

Coconut Red Curry With Tofu And Vegetables

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Vegetable curry and tofu

Sometimes we have a craving for a particular dish—and this is how our Coconut Red Curry With Tofu And Vegetables came about! This is a healthy, vegan recipe featuring fresh vegetables and tofu. We love curry—all different kinds—and we were in the mood for a curry with coconut milk. Having eaten a lot of curry in restaurants all over the city, we felt the consistency of the tofu was important and noted that the best tofu curry had just the right texture. We like the tofu to be firm on the outside yet still moist and chewy. We pan-fried it first before we added it to our vegetables and curry sauce and we couldn’t have been more pleased! We chose spring and summer vegetables like asparagus and snow peas, along with broccoli and bell pepper—they seem to go so well with the curry flavor. If these are not available you can easily make substitutions.

We were amazed at how many different brands of red curry paste there are. We settled on Thai Kitchen brand for two reasons—we like its deep, rich flavor, and it is widely available in most supermarkets.

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We panfry the tofu first for a chewy and moist texture.

 peppers and peapods in curry

We add the peapods and red peppers and then cover the skillet. This way the vegetables are crisp yet tender.

Lime and basil

The lime juice and basil are added right before serving.

 Coconut Red Curry With Tofu And Vegetables
4 servings

One 14-ounce package extra firm organic tofu, drained
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice, rinsed
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup chopped asparagus, 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
3/4 tablespoon red curry paste (we like Thai Kitchen brand)
One 13.5-ounce can organic, unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
3 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 cup sliced red bell pepper, 1/4-inch wide strips
1 cup peapods, trimmed
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chiffonade fresh basil
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Place the tofu on several layers of paper towels on either a plate or cutting board. Cover with more paper towels, place a plate or another cutting board on top, and rest a weight, such as a small skillet, on top of that. This will press the excess liquid from the tofu. Let the tofu drain for at least 30 minutes. Cut into 1-inch cubes.

Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the directions on the package and set aside.

Line a plate with paper towels and set aside (this is for draining the cooked tofu).

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Place the tofu in the pan. Cook undisturbed until golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip (we like using tongs for this) and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 6 minutes more. Drain on the paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet with paper towels and heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the broccoli and asparagus and sauté until lightly brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

Wipe the pan clean with paper towels and let it cool. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir frequently, taking care not to burn. Add the ginger and the red curry paste and cook another minute stirring frequently.
Add the coconut milk, 1/4 cup of water, soy sauce, sugar and stir. Add the bell pepper strips, peapods, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook, covered, until the pea pods are slightly tender but still crisp, 7-8 minutes.

Add the broccoli and asparagus, and tofu to the skillet with the peapods and peppers and mix. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lime juice and basil. Season with salt to taste and crushed red pepper flakes if desired. Divide the rice and curry into bowls, and serve hot.

 

Vegeatble and tofu curry

Buddha Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Spiced Chickpeas, and Swiss Chard

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Buddha Bowl 1

Lori went to college in Northern California and we often went to visit. The food scene there had a big influence on all of us. Even those many years ago we were into fresh, locally grown vegetables, and whole grains. Our dog-eared cookbooks were The Moosewood Cookbook, The Vegetarian Epicure, and Laurel’s Kitchen. One of our favorite things to make in those days is what is now commonly referred to as Buddha Bowls. We didn’t call them that then. At the time, we now recall, we just liked eating meals out of a bowl and it was a great way to use up any of the leftover vegetables and grains we had bought over the course of the week.

Today we love Buddha bowls and our kids do too––so simple and healthy and very pretty to serve. Basically ours have four elements and you can design one just as you like. Here are some suggestions:

Grain––quinoa, rice, millet, farro, whole-wheat couscous, barley
Vegetables––sautéed greens, roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots
Protein––beans, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, chicken, fish, nuts, seeds
Sauce––tahini, peanut, ginger-soy, chili-garlic

Roasted Chickpeas

 

Oarange zest

Sweet potato not cooked

Sweet potato cooked

 

 

Poblano Tahini

 

Swiss Chard Raw

Buddha Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Spiced Chickpeas, and Swiss Chard

4 servings

Ingredients

For the Buddha Bowl
2 sweet potatoes (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon orange zest
Sea salt
One 15-ounce can organic chickpeas, drained, rinsed well, and patted dry (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, whole
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch Swiss chard, rough stems discarded, leaves cut into 1-inch strips
2 cups cooked quinoa, rice, farro (or any grain of your choice)

For the Poblano-Tahini Dressing
1/3 cup roughly chopped poblano pepper
1 clove garlic, quartered
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 Preheat the oven to 425° F.

 In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, coconut oil, maple syrup, orange zest, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix well until the potatoes are evenly coated.

 Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Flip them with a spatula and continue to cook until the potatoes are beginning to brown and are tender, about 15 minutes more.

 Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl combine the chickpeas, 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, the paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well until the chickpeas are thoroughly coated.

 Spread the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes (stirring them once halfway through.)

 Make the poblano-tahini dressing: Place all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or the bowl of a food processor, and blend until smooth. Add additional water to attain your desired consistency. Set aside.

 Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the 4 cloves of whole garlic, and the red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chard, cover the skillet and cook until the chard begins to wilt, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and continue to cook, stirring frequently until the chard is completely wilted and cooked through.

 Put 1/2 cup of the cooked grains in the bottom of each of 4 serving bowls. Top each bowl with some of the roasted sweet potatoes, roasted chickpeas, and sautéed chard. Drizzle with the poblano-tahini dressing as desired, and serve.

Close up Buddha Bowl

Orecchiette with Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts

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Brussels Spouts Pasta

Growing up, we Pollans didn’t consider Brussels sprouts edible. We figured something that smelly must taste even worse. This was one vegetable we tried to avoid eating at all costs. However, all that changed as adults—when we were introduced to an easy and scrumptious new way of preparing them—roasting! We add olive oil, salt and pepper, and pop them in the oven. It’s that easy to make, and we love the taste. In fact, our kids and husbands can’t seem to get enough of them too, which thrills us because Brussels sprouts are chock-full of nutrients—so they are incredibly healthy. We decided to take advantage of this “love” of a healthy vegetable and use it in another dish. We added them to pasta—a favorite in all of our homes. We sliced the Brussels sprouts very thinly, and then sautéed them in a pan with herbs, spices, and shallots, and added them to orecchiette pasta (you can substitute another pasta shape for the orecchiette). We then topped the dish with Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.

brussels

What’s so great about roasted Brussels sprouts is their sweet and nutty flavor. By cooking the shaved sprouts in a skillet on top of the stove, and then letting them sit a couple of minutes before stirring, they caramelize. This gives them that sweet flavor that tastes so good.

Garlic in pan

Be sure to stir the shallots and garlic frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Brussels in pan

Orecchiette with Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons pine nuts
Kosher salt
1 pound orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and very thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and shake the pan occasionally until they begin to brown and give off a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente, about 1 minute less than the directions on the package. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add the parsley, red pepper flakes, continue stirring, and cook for one minute more.

Add the Brussels sprouts, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper, and sauté until the vegetables begin to soften—about 3 minutes. Spread the vegetables in the pan and press down to flatten with the back of a wooden spoon. Let them brown for 1 to 2 minutes and then stir and repeat. Reduce the heat to low, add the butter, and mix well. Stir in the cooked pasta. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the pasta water, or as desired, to moisten the sauce.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts, and serve hot.

Brussels pasta 2

 

 

Bucatini with Sautéed Chard and Vegetarian Sausage

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Right now, for us, chard is the new kale. Don’t get us wrong—we still LOVE kale—but we’ve been craving chard and ogling beautiful photos featuring chard for the last couple of months. Swiss, red or rainbow, we don’t care. It has such a zesty, slightly salty flavor, which makes it an ideal ingredient for pastas, casseroles, frittatas––the list could go on and on…. Popular in Mediterranean cooking, it’s exceptionally good for you—it’s considered one of the most nutritious vegetables there is. So we’ve been on a mission to come up with some scrumptious chard recipes.

bucatini1This one, a pasta dish, is super easy to make and so full of flavor…And it can be modified for lots of tastes and diets––you can easily make it vegan, gluten free, whole wheat, and low fat with simple substitutions. We like to make it vegetarian because it’s one of those vegetarian dishes that have a lot of appeal to meat eaters—they don’t feel like they’re missing anything in terms of flavor or texture. It’s perfect for your Meatless Monday meal.

We do like pasta—a lot. We know a lot of people who won’t eat it. We think the key for us is that we make pasta recipes that have tons of vegetables or other ingredients so that we really are satisfied with the portion of pasta that we are meant to eat (no—it’s not a one pound box for two people.)

We happen to love this dish with an artisanal veggie sausage a friend introduced us to—she’s a tried and true meat eater and she loves it! But you can also use any kind of cooked Italian meat or poultry sausage that you like in this recipe and there are a lot of organic ones to choose from these days. You just need to cook your sausages through, then cut them into rounds and brown.

bucatini2We doubled the amount of chard we would normally use for this recipe. We just found that it cooked down so much in the sautéing process that there wasn’t enough green for our liking. We used both Swiss and rainbow chard—we can’t tell you if they taste much different but we love the combination of colors. Look at this raw rainbow chard––it looks like a painting.

bucatini3When sautéing the chard we begin with the chopped ribs and tender stems—even before we put in the garlic–-our kids don’t like them too crunchy. Then we add the garlic and hot pepper flakes and finally the chard leaves. When you put so much leafy vegetable in the skillet it really is quite bountiful at first––you almost can’t imagine that it will ever cook down. We put a large lid on top at the beginning to help the wilting process, but you still have to stir frequently so that it cooks evenly and doesn’t burn.

After the chard has wilted you add the sausage back in to get it good and hot.

bucatini4It’s so beautiful and tasty–-you really could take this sauté right here, skip the pasta, and serve it in countless ways––on a bed of polenta, quinoa, or lentils, or chop it a little finer and use it in a frittata. All delicious alternatives. But for us, this pasta dish really hits the spot.

Bucatini with Sautéed Chard and Vegetarian Sausage

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

2 pre-cooked Italian vegetarian sausages (we like Field Roast), cut into 1/3 to 1/2-inch round slices (you can also use any kind of cooked Italian meat or poultry sausages)
Kosher salt
1 pound bucatini (or spaghetti)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large bunches chard (Swiss, red, rainbow or a combination) leaves cut into 1 inch wide strips, ribs and tender stems roughly chopped (discard the thicker part of the stems)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
3 tablespoons chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage in one layer; cook undisturbed until browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip and cook on the other side for an additional 2 to 4 minutes. Set the sausage aside in a dish or bowl.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook until al dente, about 1 minute less than the directions on the package. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander.

Meanwhile, wipe down the skillet with paper towels, set it over medium heat, and add the oil. When the oil is shimmering add the chard stems and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of the parsley, and cook for 1 minute. Add the chard and sauté, stirring until wilted, 7 to 9 minutes (you can cover the skillet with a large lid but continue to stir.) Once wilted, add in the browned sausage, and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper.

Add the drained pasta to the skillet with 3 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water and cook, stirring, until the pasta is coated, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl, and sprinkle with the remaining parsley, and Parmesan cheese (if desired). Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.

bucatini5

Spanish Tortilla with Spinach and Manchego Cheese

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Sometimes we just don’t have time to go to the market. Five o’clock rolls around and we open our refrigerator in a panic. Our old standby is often a Spanish tortilla. Guaranteed you will have the ingredients to whip up this easy dinner in no time. In this recipe we use spinach but you can just as easily use mushrooms, zucchini, or broccoli. This Spanish omelet is a great way to take familiar ingredients and turn them into something exotic and international. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal served with warm corn tortillas and guacamole, or for entertaining, cut into wedges and offered as tapas with a selection of Mediterranean olives.

tortilla

4 servings as a main course, 6 servings  as a side
1¼ cups peeled and diced Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 or 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large eggs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 medium white onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1 1/4 cups)
1 packed cup of baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese

Line a plate with paper towels.Place the potatoes in a medium microwave-safe bowl with a lid, and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cover the bowl and microwave on high for 3½ minutes. Remove the bowl (it will be hot) and shake to loosen the potatoes. Return the bowl to the microwave and cook until tender, about 3½ minutes more. Set aside.If you don’t want to use a microwave, place the potatoes in a small saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook partially covered for 5 to 7 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove from the heat, drain well, and return to the dry saucepan. Set aside. (You need only 2 tablespoons of butter in total if using this non-microwave method.)

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, the parsley, and thyme; whisk to blend.

Place a medium ovenproof, nonstick skillet with a broiler-safe handle over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. When it melts and starts to sizzle, add the potatoes in a single flat layer and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Flip the potatoes with a spatula and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the potatoes with a slotted spoon to the paper-towel lined plate, leaving the remaining butter in the skillet.

Set a rack in the upper third of the oven and turn the oven on to broil.

Add the onion to the butter and saute over medium heat until golden brown and tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the spinach and saute for an additional 2 minutes, until wilted. Return the potatoes to the pan and pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Stir quickly to mix all the ingredients together. Cook undisturbed until the edges begin to set, 4 to 5 minutes.

Run a rubber or silicone spatular around the rim of the pan to loosen the sides. Sprinkle the top of the tortilla with the cheese and place the pan under broiler until the cheese is lightly browned, about 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Slide the tortilla onto a platter, browned side up. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve.