News · Recipes

Vegetarian Dishes for Entertaining

The New York Times just published an awesome feature listing veg-friendly dishes suitable for entertaining, just in time for the holidays. A few of my favorites:

Onion pizza with ricotta and chard

Courtesy New York Times (

Mushroom lasagna

Courtesy New York Times. (

Stuffed yellow peppers with couscous and pesto

Courtesy New York Times (

Fig tart with caramelized onions and rosemary

Courtesy New York Times. (

Baked limas with spinach and feta

Courtesy New York Times. (

Pumpkin and leek pie

Courtesy New York Times. (

Roasted beets with ginger, yogurt and Indian spices

Courtesy New York Times. (

So……..Which ones tickle your fancy?

CSA 2011 · Recipes

Harvest vegetable pasta

I created this after roasting a bunch of root vegetables together with nuts and raisins in a (failed) attempt to make something compelling. Luckily, even though they bored me as a standalone dish, these harvest veggies tasted excellent once I tossed them with rotini pasta and a nutmeg-infused sauce. Easy as pie….kind of tastes like pie too, actually.


  • Red potato, sliced into quarters (unpeeled)
  • Turnips, sliced in half
  • Pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • Squash, peeled and cubed (or buy this way)
  • Raisins (I used about one small box)
  • Carrots/parsnips, sliced (unpeeled)
  • Almonds (handful)
  • Vegetable broth (enough so an inch or two coats the pan)
  • Cinnamon to taste (be liberal with it!)
  • Nutmeg (generous spoonful)
  • Ginger (to taste)
  • Honey (about a half cup)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper


Preheat the oven to 375. Prep all the chopped ingredients (or do this a day ahead). Toss with olive oil, nuts and raisins on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and drizzle with honey. Season with salt and pepper. Add an inch or two of vegetable stock to the bottom of the pan. Roast in the oven, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, boil your pasta — I used rotini because it can “grip” chunky sauces like what you’re making.

You can use premade white sauce (I bought a great nutmeg sauce at Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Davis Square that I used as a base); or, you can make a simple white sauce by whisking butter, flour and then cream together over low heat, and then add the nutmeg in. Here’s a great example. I also added some leftover cream cheese into the pan to thicken the sauce even more (I never claimed this was health food). Combine the veggies, pasta and sauce in a large pot with a dash of pasta cooking water to help it all stick together! You can loosen it up with some more milk (I like almond milk) if it looks too thick or sticky.

This reheats well, but I’d recommend pouring a dash of  almond milk (or whatever kind you use) into the tupperware container and also putting a pad of butter on the top of the pasta when heating up leftovers to re-moisten things in the microwave and to keep it all from turning sticky.

CSA 2011 · Recipes

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

As my husband says, “Is there anything better than coming home from work to the smell of beef stew??” That goes for any kind of stew, if you ask me! It’s the ultimate comfort food, and if you chop your ingredients the night before, you can throw this together before leaving for work and time it to be ready when you come home. All you have to do is eat!

Ingredients (eyeball to size of your slow cooker)

  • 1 – 1/2 pound of stew beef
  • 3 or 4 potatoes, chopped
  • two cloves garlic, sliced or whole (whole=subtler flavor)
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup of beef broth (ideally, low sodium)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: peas (add after it’s done cooking so they don’t mush)

Also optional: dredge the beef in flour and fry in olive oil before adding to the slow cooker. I am going to try that next time! I’d also add something savory like cumin, cloves or paprika to amp up the seasoning next time, I think.


Unless you are browning the beef in a skillet first, you simply add all the ingredients to your slow cooker, stir to mix briefly, and heat covered on LOW for 8 hours. When you walk in the door after work, it will smell delicious! I made this for my husband to have since he so seldom gets to enjoy a meaty, stick-to-your-ribs dish like this.

Serve with sliced crusty bread, such as a French loaf. Check back soon to see what I do with the leftover bread!


Zucchini Eggplant Napoleons

This isn’t my own recipe, but I fully intend on making it — soon. It reminds me so much of the Melanzane Panino I used to order every day, dripping with Mozzarella, when I was in school in Florence.

This recipe comes from the Three Many Cooks Blog.

Zucchini-Eggplant Napoleons with Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella
Serves 6

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 12 rounds
  • 2 medium-large zucchini, sliced medium thick on the diagonal
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 6 slices and lightly salted
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella (8 ounces) cut into 6 slices (you will only need about 6 ounces)
  • Small handful basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Heat a gas grill igniting all burners on high for at least 10 minutes or build a hot charcoal fire. Clean grate with a wire brush and then lubricate with an oil-soaked rag. Toss eggplant and zucchini slices with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Place eggplant and zucchini on hot grate and grill, covered until spotty brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn vegetables and continue to grill, covered, until vegetables are spotty brown on remaining side, 4 to 5 minutes longer.

As soon as vegetables come off the grill, assemble napoleons in the following order: 1 slice eggplant, 2 to 3 slices of zucchini, 1 slice mozzarella, a few basil leaves, a tomato slice, another eggplant slice and a few more zucchini slices. Lightly drizzle napoleons with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Serve.

CSA 2011 · Recipes

Garlicky Roasted Radish on Toast

This was my first stab at cooking with French Breakfast Radish, which are longer and thinner than the round garden radishes most of us are used to. This dish has a zip to it (thanks to garlic, Dijon and anchovy paste) that is complementary to the radish’s spice and crunch, yet somehow it’s comforting as well when served on hot buttery toast.

If you don’t like radish on your salad — I’m not a big fan, personally — you might just like them roasted. It sweetens and softens them up a bit. Serve them up on toasted bread and you may be surprised at how tasty they can be.


  • 1 bunch French Breakfast Radish, sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled, plus 3 minced for sauce (adjust to your taste)
  • 2-3 TBSP butter
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Sprinkle of dill
  • Dash chili flakes (sub red pepper flakes = fine)
  • TBSP dijon mustard (eyeball it)
  • Squeeze or two of anchovy paste (optional if you don’t like/are veg)
  • Buttered Toast of your choosing!


Slice the radishes into 1-inch pieces (you don’t have to peel them), discarding stems and leaves if they have them. Preheat the oven to 375.

Combine the radish slices with a few peeled garlic cloves and olive oil and toss in a foil-lined baking dish. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.

While the pan is in the oven, start whisking together the “sauce” you’ll use to coat the roasted radish right out of the oven.

Start by melting butter (or a substitute like Smart Balance, which I use) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add in the minced garlic to taste, then the anchovy paste (I always keep this on hand for homemade caesar salad) and finally the Kosher salt, dill, fresh-ground black pepper, chilli flakes and Dijon. Adjust seasonings to taste and whisk to blend.

When the radish are done in the oven, after about 15 minutes or until tender, combine them with the sauce on the stove top and stir to combine.

Add radish mixture to hot toast, preferably buttered. Serve warm!

And check out a similar recipe from the New York Times that makes use of similar flavors, but in the form of a stovetop-seared radish crostini appetizer. Turns out a radish is more versatile than I thought.


Creamy “sausage” farfalle

Now, I’m not usually big on “fake meat” when you can use a real-food meat substitute. But in this case, a soy-based sausage product called Gimme Lean is one of my favorite ways to replicate any dish you love that calls for red meat. My husband and I used to make a creamy pasta dinner with white beans and ground sweet sausage that was tasty but unhealthy and bothersome to my stomach. So, when I went veg, I adapted this meat-free version with great success. It’s a hearty weeknight staple for us that will leave you with plenty of leftovers!


  • 1 tube of Gimme Lean soy sausage (can be found at Trader Joes/Whole Foods or regular supermarkets, near similar products such as boca burgers)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 package of farfalle pasta
  • 1 tub of mascarpone cheese
  • 1 can of Cannellini (white) beans
  • dried oregano, to taste
  • 1 cup of pasta water, reserved
  • pinch of salt to draw out the onion’s juices


Set the pasta water to boil while you chop the onion.

Chop the onion and saute over medium heat, salting to draw out the onion’s flavor, until translucent.

Add the Gimme Lean sausuage, breaking up with the side of your spoon, until it’s in crumbles.

Add oregano, adjusting the amount to your taste (I give it a liberal shake from the spice jar).

If you decide to make this with real ground sausage, the pan should be plenty moist by now due to the fat draining. If you’re using Gimme Lean, however, you might want to put a dollop of EVOO in there to keep the pan from sticking.

Next, add the whole can of cannellini beans, with their liquid, and continue stirring the entire mixture to blend.

You can also add pepper here if you really like the taste of it. We don’t use a whole ton of pepper, but I know my Mom adds pepper to everything — if you’re like her, then the seasoning will taste great here. Go ahead and add it!

Finally, as the pasta should be finishing its cooking time, add the whole container of Mascarpone cheese and stir to melt it. Add a cup or so of pasta cooking water to the pan to thin out the sauce.

Finally, transfer the pasta to the skillet using a slotted spoon — it’s OK, in fact it’s better — if the pasta is a little wet and drippy while you’re adding it. One reason you want to add some pasta water to your pan while the sauce is coming together is that the starches help bind everything together cohesively. If the pasta is a little bit wet as you add it to the pan, it’ll only enhance this blending of flavors and textures.

Voila! A one-dish meal of comforting, creamy pasta that’s a *little* bit healthier for you than real sausage. A little bit of this goes a long way, so you should be able to get a hearty dinner out of it plus a lunch or two for the week.


  • You can use any kind of “shape” pasta you prefer; the idea is that it grips the sauce and stays together better than spaghetti would.
  • You can also substitute cream cheese or soy cheese for the mascarpone. Or, if you like the flavor of mascarpone (who DOESN’T), then you can use half the amount here and still get essentially the same taste with half the fat.
  • You can also substitute almost any kind of white bean you prefer. Cannellini are silky and not as fibrous as some others, which makes them easier to digest when combined with the simple carb of the pasta and the soy in the Gimme Lean.
  • Finally, omit the oregano if you hate it! You can add any other seasoning and this dish can take it.


CSA 2011 · Recipes

Meat-free Shepherd’s Pie

This one truly was a triumph. I actually – wait for it – fooled the husband. I let him eat three helpings before I told him it wasn’t beef.

Looks like beef, doesn't it? It's portobello mushroom.

The weather just turned crisp and cool in New England, so I got a hankering for Shepherd’s Pie. My mom makes the absolute best — simple sauteed beef & onions, creamed corn, mashed potatoes — and I wanted to re-create the taste and texture of it while designing a meat-free, yet still hearty and delicious, version. Here’s what I did.


  • 4 frozen portobello burger patties, thawed in refrigerator (or, about 2 cups of chopped and de-gilled fresh portobello mushroom caps. 2 cups chopped = roughly 2 whole mushroom caps.)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 2-3 carrots,cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 or 5 Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cubed for boiling
  • Butter/ butter substitute (for skillet and potatoes)
  • Cream/milk/soy cream/dairy sub of your choice (for mashing potatoes)
  • Worcestershire sauce, to give the mushrooms a meaty flavor. (*Worcestershire sauce traditionally contains anchovies, but you can find varieties that do not. You could also substitute Henderson’s Relish, which has a similar flavor but is 100% vegan*).
Beautiful organic carrots from Sparrow Arc Farm in Maine.


Set the potatoes on to boil while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Heat butter in a good-sized skillet over medium and add the onions, sauteeing until translucent. Add the portobello mushrooms and brown them, adding a dab of butter as necessary to keep the pan from sticking.

Add the carrots, cover and reduce to low-medium, stirring occasionally until carrots are tender.

Add worcestershire sauce (eyeball it) and other seasonings to your personal preference. (You know me — my favorite is the Trader Joe’s 21-seasoning salute).

Take off heat and spread the “meat” mixture into a 9×13 glass baking dish or two 8×8 square glass baking dishes (I did this because I was making one for us and one for my husband’s grandfather, who is almost 90. Hi Granddad!)

Top the “meat” mixture with the canned corn, spreading out evenly over the dish, and then with the creamed corn, doing the same.

Finally, drain and mash your potatoes, adding butter and cream (substituting non-dairy as per your diet) and salt if you prefer. I use a hand-masher to keep things quick and simple.

Spread the potatoes evenly atop the corn.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 35 minutes, uncovering for the last 5 minutes to brown the potatoes. I actually set mine under the broiler for the final 5 minutes of cooking time because I like a crisp shell of potato to dig into.

Cool briefly and serve.

You can also assemble and cook the next day / at someone else’s house like I did. In my opinion, Shepherd’s Pie, traditional and otherwise, is a dish that improves when it is reheated as leftovers.


HOW-TO: Cut grape tomatoes (genius)

I wish I had this technique tip from Saveur last week.

Photo: André Baranowski/Saveur

Slicing tiny grape or cherry tomatoes can be time-consuming. So, instead of halving them individually, use the following restaurant trick to slice a dozen in the time it would normally take to slice one.

  • Arrange grape tomatoes on their sides so that they’re arrayed snugly in the top of the shallow plastic lid of a takeout container.
  • Place another, identical lid, upside down, over the tomatoes; hold the top lid down firmly. Using smooth, strong horizontal motions, pass the knife between the lids, slicing through the tomatoes as you go.
  • Remove the top lid and, voilà, your work is done.

Check out this tip and more at!

CSA 2011 · Recipes

Mustard Green Frittata

Talk about throwing everything into a frittata on a Friday night! I got some Mustard Greens in my CSA Friday, and not wanting them to wilt, I decided to saute them in butter and make up a frittata with some of the leftover veggies from last week’s CSA to make room in the fridge. It was quick, simple, and satisfying — and it reheats very well.

First, chop up the Mustard Greens with kitchen shears, and saute them over medium in butter (or, like I do, Smart Balance spread) until just wilted in an overn-proof skillet. I also decided to add in some arugula for good measure.

Then, I added in some minced garlic and a few of the cherry tomatoes I’d had left over from last week’s CSA, smashing them up a bit as I went along.

Add as few or as many tomatoes as you'd like.

Meanwhile, whisk together about six eggs with either milk or, like I did, soy creamer and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies.

Cook the eggs over medium-high, lifting up the edges to make sure the eggs spread out evenly in the pan. Next, preheat your broiler and pour some cheese over the top of the frittata before putting it in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until set in the middle and just starting to brown at the edges (don’t let it burn!)

Once it comes out of the oven, let it cool and firm up for a few minutes before you slice and plate it. You can get four generous portions out of this.

CSA 2011 · Recipes

Butterscotch carrots

I love, love carrots and pretty much enjoy them raw, cooked, shredded, you name it. The secret ingredient in this sweet recipe? A kick of black pepper at the end. It tempers the sticky butterscotch sauce and rounds out this simple yet luxurious side dish. 


Butterscotch Carrots


  • 1 pound baby carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 2 1/2 TBSP butter
  • 1 1/2 TBSP packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 TBSP Kosher salt
  • 1 TBSP fresh ground black pepper


In a medium skillet, heat the butter and sugar and salt over medium-high heat, and stir until smooth.

Add the carrots, and toss to coat.

Cover and reduce to medium. Simmer 15 minutes or until tender.

Top with pepper to taste. It really cuts through the sweetness to balance this out into a more complex flavor!

This passed the husband taste test (he who hates butterscotch) so you know it’s the good stuff. Enjoy!