Vegetables All Year Round
When I lived in New York, I had a flatmate who told me a story about how shocked she was when, during a trip to Italy, she saw her host mother cooking the life out of broccoli. “I had never seen anything like it before!” she said. “She cooked it until almost mushy, with tons of garlic. It was delicious!”
And it is. Strange as it may sound, and although it is surely not the healthiest way to cook broccoli, do give this broccoli Strascinati a try. You will be amazed at how even broccoli can become what tastes like an indulgent, olive oil–laden, garlicky treat. Reprinted from Naturally Vegetarian by Valentina Solfrini, by arrangement of Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group USA. A Penguin Random House Company, © 2017.
Serves: 4 as a side dish
- Florets from 2 large heads broccoli, or about 2 pounds
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 small onion, ﬁnely diced
- 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup raisins, soaked and squeezed out
- ¼ cup water
- 1/3 cup pine nuts or almonds, toasted
Blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for 5 minutes or, even better, steam them for 10 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat and add the garlic. Sauté for about 2 minutes, until the garlic releases its aroma.
Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until translucent.
Add the broccoli and stir to coat with the oil, then add the brown sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, and raisins. Stir well to dissolve the sugar, add the water, reduce the heat to low, and let cook, half-covered, for 30 minutes.
If the broccoli dries out too much, add a splash more water. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes more, until any leftover water has evaporated and the broccoli is very soft and slightly caramelized. Sprinkle the toasted nuts on top.
VARIATION: For an extra-simple version of this dish, omit the vinegar, raisins, and pine nuts. It will be just as delicious.
- Try Fall Tuscan Minestrone, another recipe from this book
This gorgeous vegan cream of asparagus soup is a nice introduction to meals as a first course, since it’s nice and light. It used to be that asparagus was primarily available in spring (and that’s still when it’s best and less expensive), but now that it’s become more year-round, you can enjoy this soup nearly any time of year. Serve with a crusty whole-grain bread, if you’d like.
Here’s an easy and colorful side dish to accompany Asian noodle or tofu main dishes. This broccoli and baby corn stir-fry especially good with really fresh broccoli from the garden or farm stand. more→
This mild mashed potato-stuffed winter squash makes a great alternative main dish for Thanksgiving, but it’s any time during fall harvest season or as a winter comfort food. Double the recipe to feed a bigger crowd. Each stuffed winter squash half can serve as a main dish portion; or cut each half again to make 8 smaller side dish portions. Photos by Rachael Braun.
- 2 medium butternut or carnival squashes (1½ to 2 pounds each)
- 6 medium potatoes, any variety, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, cut into thick 2-inch-long matchsticks
- ½ cup unsweetened nondairy milk
- 1 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
- 2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning blend (such as Spike or Mrs. Dash)
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Nutritional yeast to taste, optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and fibers. Cover with aluminum foil and place the halves, cut side up, in a foil-lined shallow baking pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife but still firm. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, leaving a firm ¼- to ½-inch-thick shell all around. Mash the pulp and set side until needed.
- Meanwhile, combine the potatoes with enough water to cover in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then simmer steadily, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and carrot and sauté over medium heat until the onion is golden and the carrot is tender-crisp. Remove from the heat.
- When the potatoes are done, drain them and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the milk and mash until smooth. Stir in the onion-carrot mixture, followed by the peas, nutritional yeast, and nutmeg. Add the reserved squash pulp, and stir gently until the mashed potato and squash are well integrated.
- Divide the mixture evenly among the four squash shells. Bake for 15 minutes, until well heated through. Serve each half as one substantial portion, or cut each half crosswise to make 8 smaller portions.
Variation: Substitute 1 large sweet potato for 2 of the other potatoes.
- Here are more recipes to enjoy a Vegetarian and Vegan Friendly Thanksgiving.
- Find more ways to make Special Occasions and Entertaining easier and healthier.
- Here are lots more winter squash recipes.
Fattouche salad is a Middle Eastern classic that’s not as well known in western culture as is tabbouleh, though maybe it should be — it’s just as delicious. It gets its characteristic touch from the use of small bits of toasted pita bread mingling with juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs. It’s good all year round, though especially tasty with summer tomatoes more→
Now that I have a garden, though its theme is more overgrown than Italian, I’m finding a lot of inspiration from a wonderful cookbook titled My Italian Garden by Viana La Place. It’s filled with simple, fresh vegetable recipes, most of which are vegetarian, and many of which are vegan or can be made so with minor adjustments.
My local CSA farm is bursting with the sweet-as-sugar Sungold tomatoes, so the time is ripe, so to speak, for this delectable little dish. I loved it as is from the book’s recipe, below, but I’m also going to try a raw version tonight, minus the garlic. I can’t wait to try her simple pizza dough recipe, and pile it high with tomatoes and basil from the garden! more→
Chard, an abundant garden vegetable, a relative of both beets and spinach, comes in a number of varieties. Like all leafy greens, it’s abundant in nutrients and so versatile in the kitchen. These fresh and easy chard recipes will inspire you to make good use of it.
Some common types of chard are Swiss, green, red, gold, and silverbeet. Rainbow chard is actually a 5-color silverbeet, which grows with a variety of stem colors. These are packaged together to create the rainbow of colors. Though chard stands out as the star of simple preparations, it more than holds its own with bold-flavored grain, bean, and potato dishes as well as in soups and stews.
Pasta with White Bean Sauce and Chard: When this beloved kitchen-garden vegetable is combined with beans and pasta in Italian cuisine, it adds up to a stick-to-your-ribs pasta dish to satisfy the heartiest of appetites (at top). This is nice with ribbon noodles, but you can use any short shape you’d like. more→
These traditional Japanese carrot pickles are great on their own as a snack or appetizer, but their flavor and texture truly shine when paired with other Asian dishes. This recipe is gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free, and super quick to prepare. Recipe and photo credit: Bold Flavored Vegan Cooking by Celine Steen, Page Street Publishing Co. © 2017. Reprinted by permission. more→
This easy vegan broccoli quinoa casserole of made out of quinoa, broccoli, and vegan cheese makes for a dish that’s both nourishing and comforting. Serve with baked sweet potatoes (start the sweet potatoes in the oven about 45 minutes before starting to bake the casserole) and a salad of dark greens and ripe tomatoes. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky. more→
This simple recipe for chard with pinto beans is inspired by a Native American recipe made with wild greens. It’s an excellent way to use up big bunches of chard when it’s in peak season. You can use any variety of chard — green, Swiss, rainbow — our favorite is the latter. You can substitute other greens in whole or in part, too — kale, collards, spinach, mustard greens, etc. Try this side with tortilla dishes that don’t themselves contain beans, like vegan quesadillas. more→
Zucchini is available and economical all year round, though it’s midsummer to early fall when it’s most abundant in gardens and at farm markets. So for your enjoyment, here are VegKitchen’s 12 best healthy zucchini recipes, from “zoodles” to sweet muffins and everything in between — plus some alternates that are also among our best.
1 Zucchini “noodles”
Everyone needs a good zucchini “noodles” (or as some call them, “zoodles”) recipe or two in their repertoire, and Gena Hamshaw’s Zucchini Pasta with Mango, Avocado, and Black Bean Salsa (at top) is easy and impressive. more→
Sweet-and-sour soba noodles embellished with with asparagus and fresh tomatoes makes a lovely spring or early summer dinner dish. Serve with a simple tofu dish such as Sweet and Savory Sautéd Tofu, and a platter of raw veggies. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky. more→