Things have been going really well in the kitchen lately and I thought I’d share a couple of my recent favorite meals. This first one is from one of the cookbooks Mel gave us for our wedding, Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen:
It’s a really fantastic cookbook — everything is arranged seasonally, the recipes are clear and easy to follow, and the things I’ve tried so far from the Winter section (buttercup squash risotto, creamy tomato soup, and this squash and bean stew) have all come out well! My only complaint about the book is that I’d love more fabulous glossy photo pages. And that’s hardly a real complaint, but there you go.
I made a small change from the recipe in the book, so I’ll share with you what I did:
- Soften one diced onion in about 2 tbsp olive oil, then add about 4 minced cloves of garlic and cook for a minute or so.
- Add two cans of cannellini or great northern beans, one can of diced tomatoes, one peeled and diced butternut (or other winter) squash, and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer ~30 minutes. Uncover and simmer ~15 minutes more to thicken a bit.
- Remove 2-3 cups of the stew and blend until smooth, then add the blended mixture back in. This was my change to the recipe — I don’t think you traditionally bled any part of a stew, but looking into the simmering pot, I just thought to myself, “This will be better if you blend some,” and lo, it was. So there you go.
- Just before serving mix in a paste of: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper to taste.
[21/365] Butternut Squash and White Bean Stew with Rosemary and Tomatoes
We both really enjoyed this! It’s quite good with some crusty bread alongside, but also pretty filling on its own. I figured out that the recipe makes about 6 servings of 240 calories each.
Here’s another recent favorite: CW’s awesome red sauce served with zucchini noodles. I can’t give you the sauce recipe at the moment because it’s really one of his things — I never make it. (Maybe I can get him to write it up for me or do a guest post sometime? Unlikely, but possible.)
At any rate, it’s a really hearty sauce with vegetables (mushrooms and bell peppers) and some vegetarian protein crumbles. I believe most recently he used Smart Ground, which he said worked really well in the sauce-making process.
The zucchini noodles were a totally new element for me this time. I’m trying to avoid having too much white-flour-type carbs right now, so I didn’t want traditional noodles. I have seen zucchini noodles on a few paleo-oriented food blogs in the past and never really thought about trying them, but for some reason this seemed like the time.
It’s quite easy! I bought a julienne peeler (like this one) and we just peeled the zucchini down to the seeds. No cooking or seasoning required — just dump some sauce on it and there you go. One medium-sized zucchini generated about one plate of noodles — I had two helpings.
The zucchini noodles certainly won’t mimic regular pasta, but they have a nice texture, are easy to eat twirling-style just like spaghetti, and make a good vehicle for a great sauce. (I feel like having a sauce you love is essential here.) I’m not at all committed to avoiding pasta as part of my lifestyle, but it is nice to have a lighter option that I enjoy.