Tag: Vegetarian

Chickpea Vegetable Pasta Soup

Chickpea Vegetable Pasta Soup

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are getting back into the swing of things with some healthier, veggie filled dinners. Growing up, one of my favorite meals my Mom made was Chickpea Pasta Soup. The soup of my childhood was pretty simple: butter, onion, garlic, […]

Caprese Crostini

Caprese Crostini

I am woefully behind on my posts, so much so that this one is already slightly outdated by the changing seasons. However, I am posting this recipe wishing that I still had some of these amazing tomatoes. In the last week of September, Chicago forgot […]

Slightly Modern Salad Nicoise

Slightly Modern Salad Nicoise

Usually I start dinner already having decided whether it will become a blog post. This is a dish I wasn’t planning to post. I was trying to come up with a way to use as many of my CSA vegetables as I could before we left on vacation. I was also looking for a healthy weeknight meal. However, two weeks later I am still thinking about how good this salad was so knew I had to post it.

A traditional salad nicoise is deconstructed, with potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, eggs, and often tuna, arranged in separate piles on a bed of lettuce. My mom used to make salad nicoise on hot summer days and I hated it. The whole concept seemed weird to me. Potatoes, green beans, eggs, and tuna fish? I used to pick at the cold potatoes and green beans, asking to be excused as fast as possible. So I was as shocked as anyone when I started googling salad nicoise recipes and texted Will instructions on what additional ingredients to buy.

This Serious Eats article really convinced me to give salad nicoise another shot. This article solved many of the problems I had with the salad as a kid. As Serious Eats points out, dressing the salad and mixing all of the components together is a game changer, tying all of the flavors together and seasoning each element. I also loved the addition of basil to the salad. It adds an unexpected pop of freshness and sweetness against the spicy arugula.

For my version, I left out the tuna. Honestly, I have an aversion to canned tuna and with the eggs and potatoes I think the salad is substantial enough without it. If you like tuna, definitely add it. I think this would also be great with some leftover roasted chicken.

I also left out the anchovy, which is traditionally a main ingredient, largely because I didn’t have any and didn’t want to bother buying another ingredient. However, I don’t think the salad misses them at all though. The capers and the kalamata olives provide a good amount of briny-saltiness without the anchovy. If you want to use anchovies, reference the dressing recipe from Serious Eats for the proportions.

My salad consists of smashed potatoes, crisp green beans, grape tomatoes, soft-boiled eggs, kalamata olives, capers, and basil tossed with arugula and a classic French dressing. This salad was substantial enough for dinner. I also stored the un-dressed veggies separate from the arugula and took it to work as lunch the next day with great success.

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously for about a minute until it emulsifies. This is a great versatile dressing that you could use for all sorts of salads if you like.

Cook the potatoes in a pot of well-salted water for about 30 minutes. When they are done, smash the potatoes with the side of a knife to break them into large clumps.

While the potatoes are cooking, cook the beans. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Bring the saucepan to a boil and cook the beans until crisp, about three minutes. Transfer to ice bath to chill, then drain. Slice beans into 1 ½ inch pieces.

Lastly, cook the eggs. My favorite method, which I learned from this article, is to bring the water to a boil and immediately turn it off. Place eggs in a pan large enough that they crowd and fill with an inch of water. Turn the heat on high and bring to a full rolling boil. When the water reaches a boil, turn the heat off, cover the pan, and let sit for 10 to 12 minutes. We wanted ours to be a little softer so we let sit for about 8 minutes. After letting sit for your desired amount of time, remove the eggs and run cold water over them to cool them quickly. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into quarters.

Assemble the salad. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, olives, capers, and basil. Shake or whisk the vinaigrette to re-emulsify before dressing the salad. Toss gently until everything is lightly coated. You will probably have some dressing leftover. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with eggs.

 

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Modern Salad Nicoise

This salad, inspired by Serious Eats, is a major improvement on the original. By tossing all of the ingredients together the flavors marry and you can ensure every piece is dressed. I left my vegetarian but tuna fish, leftover chicken, or anchovies would make great additions. If using, add them before dressing the salad.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author the brave radish

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbls minced shallot from one small bulb
  • 1 small clove of garlic minced
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbls white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbls water
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad

  • ¾ lbs small waxy potatoes such as fingerling or Yukon Gold
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 1 lbs green beans trimmed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • ¾ cup pitted kalamata olives drained and sliced in half
  • 2 tbls capers packed in brine drained
  • 20 leaves of basil torn
  • 4 cups arugula

Instructions

  1. Combine the shallot, garlic, mustard, vinegar, water, and olive oil in a jar. Shake vigorously until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot and fill with water. The water should be at least 2 inches above the potatoes. Add the ¼ cup salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are easily poked with a fork, about 30 minutes. Drain and allow to cool. After the potatoes are cool enough to handle, smash them with the back of a knife so they are crumbled into large chunks.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, fill a large saucepan with water and season with salt. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Bring the saucepan to a boil and cook the beans until crisp, about three minutes. Transfer to ice bath to chill, then drain. Pat dry and slice beans into 1 ½ inch pieces.
  4. Lastly, cook the eggs. My favorite method is to bring the water to a boil and immediately turn it off. Place eggs in a pan large enough that they crowd and fill with an inch of water. Turn the heat on high and bring to a full rolling boil. When the water reaches a boil, turn the heat off, cover the pan, and let sit for 10 to 12 minutes. We wanted ours to be a little softer so we let sit for about 8 minutes. After letting sit for your desired amount of time, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and run cold water over them to cool them quickly. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into quarters.
  5. Assemble the salad. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, olives, capers, and basil. Shake or whisk the vinaigrette to re-emulsify before dressing the salad. Toss gently until everything is lightly coated. You will probably have some dressing leftover. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with eggs.
  6. Only dress the amount that you will eat. If you expect to have leftovers, store the potatoes and beans together, keeping the other elements separate. I had good success combining all ingredients in the morning and dressing at lunch time.

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Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Summer Vegetable Lasagna

A few weeks ago some friends came over to do our fantasy football draft. It was starting to get cool out and I wanted something that could feed a lot of people easily: lasagna was calling my name. However, I wanted something light and vegetarian, […]

Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw

Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw

Labor day weekend we went to a friend’s house on Lake Michigan. Our host planned to grill dinner and asked everyone else to bring a side dish. I immediately knew I wanted to bring slaw using the kohlrabi from our CSA. Kohlrabi is a very […]

Mexican Loaded Corn Cakes

Mexican Loaded Corn Cakes

As you have seen, we are reciving a lot of corn in our CSA boxes this summer. I started looking for ways to use corn and became infatuated with the idea of corn cakes when I realized this was an opportunity to recreate one of my favorite dishes in Chicago: black bean tostadas from Handlebar.

Handlebar is an amazing vegetarian restaurant located in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. They serve a mix of Mexican and Southern Soul food, all vegetarian with dairy free and gluten free substitutions available. I love their fried avocado tacos, black bean maduro and of course black bean tostadas. I highly recommend if you are in Chicago.

The Handlebar black bean tostadas are a hand-pressed tostada covered with black beans, tons of melted cheese, tomatillo salsa, and heaping mounds of guacamole. Their tostadas are unlike any tostada I have ever had. It is much more like a cake than the crispy chip-like tostadas I am used to.

My version of the Handlebar black bean tostadas are made of a corn cake topped with lightly refried black beans, melted Monterey jack cheese, pico de gallo, and guacamole. We each ate two and were very full, making these a very substantial vegetarian main dish.

This recipe is very versatile; you can top the cakes with just about anything. They would be delicious with pulled chicken/pork/beef and or with jalapeño added to the batter.

The key to this dish is prep and organization. We make the pico de gallo and the guacamole first to let the flavors meld together. For the pico, combine 2 tomatoes chopped, ¼ to ½ red onion, ½ jalapeño, juice of ½ lime, 1 heaping tbls cilantro, and 1/8 tsp salt.

For the guacamole, mash 1 avocado, 1 clove of garlic minced, juice of ½ lime, and ¼ tsp salt.

Next, get the black beans going. This black bean recipe is from Cookie and Kate and is my go-to for any type of Mexican black beans. I use these in tacos, on nachos, in black bean bowls, and here!

For the black beans, we soften some onion, garlic, and jalapeno in a medium skillet. Then we add some cumin, a can of black beans, sprinkle of salt, and a little water. The beans cook for 5 minutes covered and then we crush a few of the beans. For this dish I wanted to keep most of the beans whole but for tacos I often mash them more. We turn off the heat and add a big squeeze of lime juice to finish them off.

While the beans are cooking, let’s start the corn cakes. The corn cake recipe is adapted from Table for Two. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Add the milk and stir until thick and well mixed. It will look like a very thick batter. Then, we add the corn and mix until well incorporated.

Batter after adding the corn.

Now it’s time to fry them. We heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the batter to the hot oil and cook until brown, then flip.

Frying corn cakes.

 

Finished corn cakes.

Top the cakes with beans and cheese. Cheese is melted and then, top with pico, guacamole, and any other toppings like cilantro, pickled onion or jalapeno. Enjoy!

Corn cakes loaded with toppings.
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Mexican Loaded Corn Cakes

These corn cakes are inspired by the black bean tostadas from Handlebar in Chicago. Two cakes per person make for a filling vegetarian dinner. They are best fresh but the cakes will keep in the fridge for a day or two. I recommend reheating in the oven.

The black bean recipe is from Cookie and Kate and the corn cakes are adapted from Table for Two.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author thebraveradish

Ingredients

Pico De Gallo

  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • ¼ to ½ white onion chopped
  • ½ jalapeno chopped
  • ½ lime juiced
  • 1 tbls cilantro chopped
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Guacamole

  • 1 avocado mashed
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ lime juiced
  • ¼ tsp salt

Lightly refried black beans

  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • ½ white onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¼ jalapeno chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • ½ lime juiced

Corn Cakes

  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbls cilantro chopped
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups of corn
  • vegetable oil

Additional Toppings

  • Grated Monterey jack cheese
  • Pickled Onion
  • Pickled Jalapeno
  • Cilantro
  • Sour Cream or Crema

Instructions

  1. First, prepare the pico de gallo and the guacamole. Combine ingredients for both and let them sit while you make the beans and corn cakes.
  2. Next, start the beans. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the cumin and a sprinkle of salt and cook for 30 seconds, then add the water. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mash ¼ of the beans. Add the lime juice, stir to combine, and cover to keep warm until the corn cakes are ready.
  3. While the beans are stewing, start the corn cakes. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cilantro, in a medium bowl. Add the milk and stir until thick and well mixed. It will look like a very thick batter. Add the corn and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Now it’s time to fry them. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Measure 1/3 cup spoonfuls of batter and place in skillet. Gently press down on the batter to flatten into a cake. Cook for about 5 minutes on one side until brown, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove and repeat until all batter is used. I was able to fit 4 cakes at a time in my skillet so made 2 batches.
  5. Top the cakes with beans and cheese. Broil to melt the cheese. Then, top with pico, guacamole, and any other toppings like cilantro, pickled onion or jalapeno. Enjoy!

 

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Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

Like most picky eaters, when I was a child I frequently decided I didn’t like things without actually trying them. Pickles were one of these foods. The vinegar smell turned me off and I didn’t see anything to gain by eating that weird smelly cucumber […]

Raw Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti

Raw Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti

Will was out of town much of last week so I was back to cooking for one. When I am cooking for just myself I gravitate towards simple and easy dishes, leading to today’s post! Week 2’s CSA box included a large container of beautiful […]

Zucchini, Corn, and Jalapeño Pizza

Zucchini, Corn, and Jalapeño Pizza

I love a good vegetable pizza. However, the veggie combinations at pizza shops are often lacking and I am always surprised when it costs $2 per veggie to make my own. So making my own pizza is a cheaper way to make the veggie pizzas I want.

Growing up, we attempted to make various recipes for homemade pizza dough, often in the bread maker. It often came out soggy. I think the oven wasn’t hot enough and the dough recipe wasn’t quite right.

One of the biggest differences between then and now is the rise of Jim Lahey no-kneed pizza dough. I had never heard of Jim Lahey until his pizza recipe started being used by every food blogger a few years ago- and for good reason! It is easy and comes out great every time! The recipe is everywhere but I usually use this post by Tracy Shutterbean for reference.

This week, I made a white pizza topped with CSA vegetables: zucchini, corn, and white onion. Plus some jalapeño and cilantro for a kick.

We mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a bowl, then add the water.

Mix flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and water.

Stir until a dough forms. At this point if you are using a spoon you should switch to your hands. Work the dough in an almost kneading motion in the bowl until it is fairly smooth. It will smooth out more when it rises.

Partially mixed pizza dough.
This dough is not ready yet. Keep mixing!

 

Well mixed dough, now ready to rise.
See how this is smoother than the previous picture? This dough is now ready to cover.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for two hours. It should almost double in size.

Dough after rising.
Dough after rising. Ready to form!

Dump dough onto a floured surface and shape to fit your pan. I’m old school used a cookie sheet. Grease the pan liberally with olive oil and transfer dough to pan. The greasing of the pan is key to it not sticking and getting a crispy bottom. Now you can top with whatever you want!

Dough stretched and placed on cookie sheet.
Dough is stretched and placed on the cookie sheet.

I topped with (in this order) grated parmesan cheese, torn fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced zucchini, corn, slices of jalapeño, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Topped pizza
Topped pizza.

Pizza goes into the oven at 500 degrees for about 18 minutes until edges and cheese are browned. Top with cilantro and serve!

Pizza hot out of the oven.
Pizza hot out of the oven. How good does that look??
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Zucchini, Corn, and Jalapeño Pizza

I cut Tracy Shutterbean’s recipe for two pizza doughs in half to make one dough, which is why the measurements are a little weird. I did the math for you and have written them for standard measuring cup sets. It looks weird but I promise they work! I am not good at using frozen dough so always just make what I need. The pizza wasn’t as spicy as I expected. Depending on your head tolerance, consider using more than ½ jalapeño. 

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 48 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Pizza Dough

  • 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 + 1/6 cups water
  • olive oil for the pan

Toppings

  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 12 oz ball fresh mozzarella
  • 1 medium zucchini thinly sliced
  • 2 ears of corn removed from cob. About ½ cup when removed from cob
  • ½ white onion thinly sliced
  • ½ jalapeño thinly sliced
  • cilantro leaves for garnish
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil for drizzling

Instructions

Pizza Dough

  1. Add the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar to a large bowl. Stir to combine.

  2. Add the water and mix until a dough starts to form. Mix with hands until the dough is fairly smooth. I usually mix by making some kneading motions in the bowl. It took me 3-5 minutes to mix.

  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Dough should about double in size.

  4. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

  5. Pour dough onto floured surface. Stretch with your hands to form a dough the shape of your pan. 

  6. Grease the pan liberally with olive oil, I used a 13x18 inch rimmed cookie sheet. Transfer dough to pan and stretch to the edges. I always end up with at least one tear from moving to the pan so just smoosh the dough back together once on the cookie sheet to mend the tear.

Top the Pizza

  1. Sprinkle dough with the Parmesan cheese. Tear pieces of the mozzarella cheese and lay evenly on pizza. It’s okay if there are bald spots; the cheese will spread when it cooks.

  2. Top with thinly sliced zucchini, white onion slices, corn kernels, and jalapeño. Drizzle with a few glugs of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and fresh ground pepper.

  3. Bake in 500 degree oven for about 18 minutes until edges are crispy, cheese is melted, and zucchini looks cooked.

  4. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve!

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Braised Eggplant & Tomatoes with Toast

Braised Eggplant & Tomatoes with Toast

We are jumping straight into the CSA box with eggplant! As I said before, neither Will nor I really like eggplant. In hindsight, I think this is because most eggplant I have had was undercooked and thus a weird chalky texture. Because of my eggplant […]