Curried Chickpeas and Kale
Greetings and welcome to the June installation of Random Recipes! This month we were challenged to randomly select a happy and healthy recipe – something rather easy for me since I only have a few cookbooks dedicated to the sweeter side of life. Once randomly selecting a cookbook, 1000 Vegetarian Recipes, I then selected a section, Entrees, which lead me to the Grains and Beans section and a delicious recipe for Curry Chickpeas and Kale. I did make a few edits to the recipe, fresh ginger for ground and some cayenne powder to add a bit more heat to the dish as well as using red onions.
I served mine topped with some So Delicious Greek Yogurt, but regular yogurt or sour cream would also work – as would some naked beans and kale which is how I had lunch the next day. I also added some couscous to make it a full meal but bulgar or quinoa would also work, or even some brown rice. However you decide to top it this is a great and quick dinner that is packed full of vitamins, nothing like a good tasting good for you meal! Thanks again Dom for hosting another awesome month of Random Recipes.
White & Green Lasagna
One of my goals for this year has been incorporating a larger variety of vegetables in to my diet, to go beyond the standard spinach, peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms that I tend to live on. While this will be much easier to do once farmer markets are in full swing this spring, I didn’t want to put off this goal for fear I would keep pushing it off. So I started exploring the hothouse vegetable section of my grocery store to see what was being produced locally. I didn’t expect to see much beyond root vegetables and tomatoes and with that was pleasantly surprised when I saw the plethora of greens waiting for me to give them a go. From bitter mustard greens to earthly collards to sweet baby spinach and all the colors of chard in between it was a mecca of leafy vegetables. I decided to grab a few varieties and see what all I could come up with. I’ll admit, most of the kale wound up being used in salad or juice form, but I when I realized I had grabbed more than I needed I started thinking of recipes that could use a large amount of greens. When it comes to fridge clean out I need to go to pizzas or pastas and this time was no different – except I decided to make my own lasagna sheets. Since the point of this meal was to use as many veggies as possible even the pasta wound up going green with the inclusion of spinach and kale though in the future I’ll make sure to process them more in order to get a more even distribution.
This might not be the healthiest lasagna out there due to the cheese, however it does pack a healthy punch of vitamins and nutrients. I also like that this is another one of those dishes where there is no right or wrong ingredient – just add whatever vegetables are threatening to turn and enjoy!
Spinach and Kale Pizza
Another week, another challenge from r/52weeksofcooking. This week the theme was Mother Sauces, something I explored a few years ago thanks to a Top Chef episode. I have done numerous tomato sauce based recipes, and a few veloute sauces as well but for the most part I avoid the creamier sauces. Cream is very high on the list of things my doctor has told me to avoid – so with that in mind I set out to make this as healthy as I could. One of things that helped me on that quest was learning that bechamel does not actually require cream! Instead of doing a standard pasta I decided to do pizza, making a whole wheat sourdough crust and tossing on as much spinach, chard, and kale as possible. I was a little bit nervous working with the dough, but it was surprising easy to roll once I figured out the right flour:starter ratio – so no dough went flying across the kitchen this time!
This isn’t the healthiest pizza out there – and I’m sure it’s not the healthiest version of bechamel floating around – but it’s a healthier option compared to what most pizzas are. Another advantage of doing a white sauce is it’s much easier to reduce the amount of cheese required, assuming people aren’t looking over your shoulder attempting to add more.
Garlicky Kale Salad with Grains
This past holiday season I got a large number of cookbooks, and I’m still going through them almost a month later and probably will be for weeks to come. I’ve already tested a few recipes from the Tagine cookbook, and decided to stop neglecting the others and see what goodies that had in store. One of them is Raising the Salad Bar, and while it’s not a vegetarian cookbook, its setup makes it very easy to bypass the meat and go straight to the good stuff. There are set recipes to follow but also tips for how to pick and choice various parts of each salad in order to come up with something totally new. So using the grain section as a guide I decided to throw something together based on what I had left from various meals during the week.
Even tho I’ve primarily been vegetarian for the past decade I’ve never been a big salad person, seeing them as side dishes or appetizers but rarely as the main course. This book is quickly changing my mind regarding what makes up a salad and while this salad certainly isn’t fancy but it’s quick, simple, and very filling.
Japanese Soba Noodles with Ginger Soy Sauce
When I first saw the /52weeks of cooking challenge for last week was Japanese, I was all sorts of excited. While I have had Japanese food a number of times, outside of some girls nights doing “sushi” I have no experience cooking the cuisine. So off to the cookbooks I went to get some ideas! Unfortunately my cookbooks turned out to be very light on Japanese recipes, which is probably why I haven’t cooked it. I might have over a dozen curry recipes but I was only able to find locate one Japanese recipe that didn’t have a notation about being fusion or “in the style of”. So I start Googling Japanese restaurants, hoping that I would find inspiration in menu items, something that I have done before with some success. After seeing a few dozen recipes calling for Soba Noodles in some type of sauce I decided to give them a whirl. I also decided to go out of my comfort zone and work with ginger, an ingredient that has caused problems for me in the past. For the vegetables I decided to keep it simple and green, since I wanted the noodles and the ginger to be the start of the show. I grabbed bok choy, which I had never cooked with before, and kale, and old friend, and headed off to heat up my wok.
I’m know this recipe is more “in the style of” Japanese cooking, seeing as how bok choy didn’t make it to Japan until the early 20th century, but it has certainly inspired me to find some vegetarian Japanese cookbooks. With that said, if anyone has a cookbook, vegetarian or not, that they would recommend please leave a comment! I look forward to many more Japanese cooking adventures in my near future.
Honeymoon time!!! While you are reading this Joe and I are (probably) on a plane heading over to the first part of our honeymoon journey: Vienna, Austria. Later we will be hopping the pond to London just in time for the Queen’s Jubilee. This is going to be an amazing trip for so many reasons, needless to say I’m very excited.
In recipe news I have a number of fresh veggie recipes lined up for while we are gone, still trying to keep my promise of using more seasonal and local produce. This week the local market had broccoli, carrots, greens, and a few early varieties of squash. I got a little bit of everything, originally thinking I was going to do a stir fry. Then I went to the Asian Market and saw some great looking rice noodles, and decided to try something new. There is an amazing restaurant near my house that specializing in Burmese cooking and I decided to attempt to recreate my favorite dish: Singapore Street Noodles. The description in the menu reads “thin rice noodles stir-fried with curry masala and vegetables” with the option of adding a protein. I switch off between tofu and extra veggies, and for my version I decided to keep with the veggie version.
Once finished we added some sriracha sauce to our bowls, since we tend to like things on the HOT side. This dish is easily becoming part of our rotation, it’s quick and easy plus the vegetables can be rotated in and out based on what is in season.
Three Green Pasta Sauce
5 days until the big day…5 days until I’m married to my best friend. I’m thrilled and nervous and excited and everything else! In an attempt to settle my nerves I have spent some time in the kitchen trying out new recipes and messing around with new ingredients. I finally got around to testing out some delicious chard and kale recipes, including the one I’m featuring today. As an added bonus I included some spinach to make this a true leafy green smorgasbord. The fact that this sauce comes together relatively quickly, just makes it all the better.
This recipe could be easily adapted for vegans but switching the half & half for a thicker un-flavored almond milk, but avoid coconut milk as it tends to be too runny for this dish. The sauce is also amazing as part of a vegetable lasagna, just add a few tomatoes, ricotta cheese, and a gourmet dish is just an oven away.
This spring vegetables dish is also the perfect recipe for simple and in season, since all three of the featured greens are in peak season right now. For more seasonal supers be sure to check out Fabulicious Foods for the entire April meet-up.