Category Archives: Vegetarian
JeffreyW makes an easy pasta salad. Just toss garden veggies and pasta with a little olive oi, vinegar and herbs. Dinner’s done.
In my email this morning there was a nice recipe for pasta salad and suddenly I had a craving for a veggie filled summer pasta salad. Pasta salads can be served cold, warm or hot, depending on what you’re looking for and what style of ingredients are added. The featured recipe tonight is a warm pasta salad using garden fresh vegetables and melted cheese.
This appealed to me because one of my clients has given me a big hunk of the most amazing cheese. I have no idea what it is, except it’s clearly a very sharp white cheddar in a black rind. It’s a creamy and salty, best I’ve ever had and goes great with apples and strawberries. It melts beautifully and crumbles like feta on salads. I’ll be sad when it’s gone. But…
I live within walking distance of a great cheese shop, it has an entire room that is basically a walk-in refrigerator. They even lend you jackets to wear while shopping. It’s fun to stop by there on a hot summer day and spend a half hour in the fridge and sample cheese from around the world and from local farms. I think I’ll see if they can help me identify or duplicate the cheese. Side note: I’ll miss everything that is within walking distance when I move. Right now I live near downtown and can walk to bank, post office and any number of great restaurants. But it’s the trade off for more space and a functional bike path.
On to the recipes.
First up, Chipotle Macaroni Salad (recipe here), which takes cold pasta salad up a notch and has become my go-to cookout salad.
One of the keys when making a good cold pasta salad is to cook the pasta al dente, drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and then drain again, but let the pasta stay wet. This allows the pasta to absorb whatever flavors are added, but not absorb all the moisture from the dressing. Don’t toss with dressing until just before serving. Taking these steps will keep the salad moist and flavorful, avoiding the mushy pasta, dry salad problem that makes many pasta salads unappetizing.
What’s on your menu for the first day of summer? Have any favorite salad recipes (pasta or otherwise)? I am crazy about salads, so would love to have a few new varitions to add to my recipe box.
Tonight’s featured recipe is adapted from an American Test Kitchen recipe. I’d link to the original, but it’s behind a firewall. Sorry for that.
Summer Vegetable Pasta
The beauty of this recipe is you can substitute whatever vegetables are fresh and available.
- 12 oz of favorite pasta (penne, large shells, rotelle, etc)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 to 3 tsp crushed garlic (depending on your preference)
- 2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 small summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 5 ounce package Garlic & Herb Boursin cheese – or any creamy cheese, flavored or you can add your own fresh herbs to it instead – I actually used the cheddar mentioned above because it melts so well, and is really creamy, not like typical cheddar.
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (more as desired)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil, chopped
- Parmesan cheese as garnish
Dutch oven or large saucepan
Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente (this is a still chewy texture). Reserve 3/4 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta (the easiest way to do this is to ladle pasta water into a measuring cup and then drain the remaining water).
Wipe out the pan, add oil and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add zucchini, summer squash, and ¼ cup reserved pasta water and cook, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta, and cheese, remaining 1/2 cup pasta water, tomatoes and basil until pasta is heated through.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated Parmesan. Serves 4.
Have a great weekend – TaMara
These noodles won’t be for everyone, but I wanted to highlight them because if you’re avoiding gluten or on a low carb diet, these are a great addition to a meal. They can satisfy that pesky carb craving. They’re unusual in the fact that they are made from white yam flour (non-GMO), packed in water and refrigerated.
When you open the package, you’re struck with a strong fishy aroma – think end of the day at a fish market. There is nothing pleasant about it, in my opinion, but it does not flavor the noodles. To prepare them, you drain the water (holding your nose if you’re me) and rinse them for a full minute (I set a timer) with cold water. Then you boil them for 15 minutes. I rinse them for another full minute in cool water after cooking.
I like their texture, but it may not be for everyone. Regardless of how long you cook them, they have an al dente (to the tooth) texture and are chewy. They can be used in any dish you would use rice or rice noodles, I especially like them in soups because they don’t get mushy. They don’t have any real flavor of their own, but take on the flavor of whatever added to. I’ve never tried them in dishes that would normally use a pasta or macaroni. For those dishes, I stick with brown rice pasta if I need the dish to be gluten free.
I usually cook up two bags at a time, since they’re a bit labor intensive to prepare. They store well in the refrigerator for a week. I add them to sauce or soup and let them heat back up.
So if you need to satisfy your carb craving when you’re counting carbs, these just might do the trick. Gluten free, no soy and only 1g of carbs per serving.
They’re available at most Natural Food type grocers.
I have been so busy, I’ve barely been in my kitchen to eat, much less cook, and I’m holding onto several items to post, which hopefully I’ll get to eventually. But until then, once again Joshua D comes to the rescue with another recipe. Thanks Joshua!!!
This is an oldddd dust-off recipe from the long-forgotten files! It’s inspired by a restaurant in Spokane, Washington called Niko’s that serves great Greek food. If you’re one of those unfortunates for whom cilantro tastes like soap, just use Italian parsley. The effect won’t be the same, but I understand the why. This can also be spiced up with a chile if desired.
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Break up beans in the food processor. Add in lime juice, sesame seeds, garlic, and cilantro. Blend until well-ground. Pour in olive oil slowly through the feeding tube until it’s the consistency you want. A wonderfully different take on a Mediterranean classic!
Joshua De Mers
From frequent contributor, Joshua D:
A discussion came up on Balloon Juice about the benefits of cauliflower. Recipes got bantered about but this one made me salivate the most! My only contribution is formatting, otherwise full credit goes to Ruemara
Cauliflower Beer Cheese Soup
- 1 med onion
- 12 oz beer
- 1 pint broth (chicken is preferred, but suit your taste)
- 1 head cauliflower, cleaned & roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt-free seasoning
- Salt & Black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
You start with sauteing onions in 1 tsp oil until translucent, add beer, broth ( I prefer chicken, since it’s clear) and all of a cleaned, roughly chopped head of cauliflower. Add garlic, salt free seasoning, and black pepper to taste. Once cauliflower is tender (about 10 minutes) turn off burner and use your handy, dandy immersion blender. Blend until smooth. Mix in cheddar shreds and smoked paprika. You can also go with smoke seasoning and tortula yeast for the cheez flavour. Stir. Salt to taste. Drink up. I think that’s what I did. It was good.
Just a note – Getty is now allowing embedded images in WordPress posts, which I think is kind of fun – TaMara