Tagged: vegetarian

Roasted Tomato Zucchini Squash Pasta Salad

Roasted Tomato Zucchini Squash Pasta Salad
Over the weekend my brother spent 12 hours smoking a brisket. It was quite a big accomplishment considering it was only a week ago that he tried smoking something on his grill for the first time—a whole chicken that I tasted right after it finished cooking and then used the leftovers in salads for lunch the entire week. I don’t know what he’s going to tackle next, but I can’t wait!

With all that brisket, we decided to partner up on dinner. Since my brother took care of the main dish, I was in charge of the side. I made a roasted tomato, zucchini & squash pasta salad that was more about the veggies than the penne. I tossed in a couple generous handfuls of arugula, green beans and red onions. To finish it off, I added a little white balsamic vinegar, chives and Parmesan.
Roasted Tomato Zucchini Squash Pasta SaladRoasted Tomato Zucchini Squash Pasta Salad

Serves 6

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium zucchini, cubed
1 medium yellow squash, cubed
8 ounces penne pasta
4 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 generous handfuls of arugula
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 ounce grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Arrange the cherry tomatoes on one sheet pan cut side up, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. On the other sheet pan, toss the zucchini and squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the tomatoes are slightly wrinkled, and the zucchini & squash are lightly browned at the edges.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the penne according to package instructions. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to a colander and rinse with cold water.

Cook the green beans in the same pot of boiling water until bright green and still crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer the green beans to the colander and rinse with cold water.

Combine the tomatoes, zucchini, squash, pasta, green beans, arugula, red onions, chives and Parmesan in a large bowl. Toss in the white balsamic vinegar and the remaining olive oil. Season with the remaining salt and pepper.

Salt & Vinegar Potato Salad

Salt & Vinegar Potato Salad
Week 2 of farmers market season and the pickings were just as slim as week 1. Please forgive my complaining. I know I am being impatient. I did see a stand that had Sun Gold tomatoes, so it won’t be long before all the leafy greens and asparagus transform into everyone’s favorite rainbow of fruits and veggies.

I left the market with a few things including a paper bag filled with fingerling potatoes. Instead of roasting them, I boiled the potatoes and threw them on the grill. I tossed those charred spuds with pickled red onions, champagne vinegar, olive oil, parsley and potato chips to make this salt & vinegar potato salad.
Salt & Vinegar Potato Salad
Salt & Vinegar Potato Salad

Adapted from Food & Wine June 2017

Serves 8

3 pounds fingerling potatoes (I used Red Thumb potatoes.)
Kosher salt & black pepper
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups kettle-cooked salt & vinegar potato chips, crushed

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan filled with salted water. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to a plate to cool. Halve the potatoes lengthwise.

While the potatoes are cooking, combine the onions and vinegar in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill on medium high heat. Place the potatoes on the grates cut side down and grill until they are slightly charred and grill-marked, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, onions, vinegar, olive oil, parsley and chips. Season with salt and pepper.

Asparagus, Cannellini Bean & Sourdough Salad

Asparagus Cannellini Bean Sourdough Salad1
Last Friday I had trouble sleeping. It wasn’t because my mind was racing with anxiety or nerves. Nope. It was actually just pure excitement. Saturday morning was the official start of outdoor farmers market season in Chicago. It was a day I had been waiting for since the last market of 2016. Yes, stands appear indoors in the slog from November to April, but it isn’t the same feeling.

I joined the early crowd—before 8am. The almost glove-worthy weather was windy and cool, but I didn’t mind. The selection was dominated by greens with a few pops of color here and there. I bought a couple bunches of slender asparagus. They were so fresh they didn’t require much fuss. When I got home I made an asparagus, cannellini bean & sourdough salad with Parmesan & scallions.
Asparagus Cannellini Bean Sourdough SaladAsparagus, Cannellini Bean & Sourdough Salad

Serves 2-4

6 ounces sourdough bread, torn into rough pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for serving
1 teaspoon black pepper pus more for serving
1/2 lb. asparagus, bottom ends trimmed
3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans (I used canned beans.)
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Juice of half a lemon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the bread on a sheet pan and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake the bread until it toasted and deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through baking.

For the asparagus, preheat a grill pan over medium high heat. Toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Lightly grill the asparagus, until it is warm, but is still a bit crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Slice the asparagus into 1-inch pieces

In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread, asparagus, cannellini beans, scallions, chives and Parmesan. Stir in the remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Taste and season with additional salt & pepper before serving.

Spicy Tomato Salsa

Spicy Tomato Salsa
Salsa is my pantry security blanket. I always have a jar at home because it makes me feel safe and secure knowing that even a spoonful can transform something that’s lacking in the flavor department. I use it in eggs and grain bowls. It doesn’t matter if the dish is Mexican, Tex-Mex or fits in another ethnic category. Salsa adds a spicy, acidic boost that’s good for just about all savory food.

I usually buy my salsa at the grocery. I have my go-to brands and varieties, but with Cinco de Mayo this week, I thought I should put in a little extra effort and whip it up from scratch. I found some locally greenhouse-grown vine-ripened tomatoes to make this spicy tomato salsa that had a kick thanks to jalapeno and dried chile de arbol. Of course I paired it with chips, but this salsa will end up in another dish.
Spicy Tomato Salsa
Spicy Tomato Salsa
Adapted from Epicurious

Makes about 2 cups

5-6 medium vine-ripened tomatoes (about 1-1/4 pounds)
2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, stemmed and deseeded
1 dried chile de arbol, stemmed and crushed
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Score an x in to the bottom of each tomato and carefully lower into the boiling water along with the garlic. Boil for 2 minutes before removing from the water and transferring to a bowl of cold water. Peel and core the tomatoes and peel the garlic.

Place the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, chile de arbol, lime juice, salt and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Puree the mixture until almost smooth, but still a bit chunky. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the cilantro and red onions. Taste the salsa and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Note: If you want thicker salsa, you can drain the excess liquid by placing it in a fine mesh strainer.

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