Vegetables are Cool Now? 3 Recipes that Prove They Are

– by Jakob Anderson, Food Writer –

veggies

Note: All images for illustrative purposes only – not exact to recipe

Vegetables have traditionally been seen as sides or accompaniments to a meal – and stereotypically what gets left behind on the plate. But a combination of current trends means vegetables are finally enjoying their time in the sun (it helps them grow). First, there’s a movement toward eating less meat for sustainability reasons. Second, the number of vegans and vegetarians is increasing. And finally, many people are choosing to eat less meat and more vegetables to positively impact their health.

I’m not talking wimpy raw salads-as-meal, either. Hearty veggies are demonstrating the ability to rival a steak or chicken breast, and with that movement I mentioned toward eating less meat, people are turning vegetables into full-blown feasts. I will admit, I am new to this bandwagon. Never will my love for meat die and I’m not going vegan. What I am doing is allowing vegetables to play a bigger role in my diet, and doing more than just throwing broccoli in a steamer. Getting creative with vegetables is the key to adding them into your life, because the more delicious a food is, the more you’ll eat it. Here are three quick and tasty recipes using our fibrous friends.

roasted cauliflower1. Roasted Cauliflower, Harissa and Pinenut

This recipe takes influence from Moroccan cuisine. Don’t worry; harissa paste is available in most supermarkets these days.

1 head of cauliflower, trimmed but left whole

3 Tbsp harissa paste

1/2 cup olive oil

Squeeze of lemon juice

2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts

1 Tbsp labneh (Lebanese cream cheese – like an extra thick Greek yogurt)

Herbs, chopped finely (thyme, basil, mint all work) optional

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix olive oil and harissa paste until emulsified. Drizzle mixture over cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until cauliflower is tender all the way through, approximately 40 minutes. Once cooked, add a dollop of labneh on top and sprinkle pine nuts on as well. Squeeze lemon juice over cauliflower and add herbs if using.

grilledcarrots2. Charred Carrots, Ricotta, Dill and Pistachio

This recipe is one of my personal favorites – charring the carrots is key!

3-5 large carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise

1 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp dijon mustard

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 cup high-quality ricotta (not the runny stuff)

3 Tbsp toasted pistachios

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh dill sprigs

Preheat barbecue to medium. Mix olive oil, mustard and maple syrup together. Drizzle 3/4 of that mixture on top of carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Grill carrots on barbecue at medium heat until cooked through, approximately 12 minutes. Its okay if they start to burn just a touch; this is what you want. Once cooked, toss carrots with remaining 1/4 of oil mixture. Evenly distribute ricotta, pistachios and dill over carrots.

soup3. Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese

Mixing vegetables into a soup is always an option. Cooked Jerusalem artichokes are rich in flavor but hold a familiar appeal for picky eaters.

10-12 Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and diced

1 onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, whole

2 quarts/liters chicken stock

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup olive oil

5 sprigs and thyme and rosemary

1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Sweat onions and Jerusalem artichokes in large pot with oil. Add salt and pepper. Sweat until they begin to stick and caramelize on bottom. Add white wine and garlic and let wine reduce by 1/2. Add chicken stock and herbs. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer until vegetables are tender, 30 minutes approximately. Once cooked, you can choose to eat the soup as is or purée it (I recommend puréed). Top with goat cheese and hazelnuts.