Winter Veggie Blues?

December 23, 2009

I’m getting winter veggie burnout. I’m not big on squash, and broccoli gets old after a while, and all of the roasting vegetables (parsnips, carrots, butternut squash)…well, let’s just say that I was tired of them in October.

I decided to tackle the Leaning Tower of Food Rags in my living room, specifically looking for recipes that would tempt my palate and relieve my veggie ennui. Because veggie ennui sucks.

I came across this recipe from Gourmet magazine (June, 2009) and was intrigued. I also was a little intimidated, because it’s a bit time-consuming. Not time-consuming like lasagne from scratch–but still, this wasn’t a 15 minute affair.

But then I thought about it. Maybe the reason I’m so bored with veggies is that I expect them to be quick and easy. I’ll spend an hour making chicken saltimbocca, but veggies? I don’t give them that kind of love.

And maybe that’s the problem. Perhaps, if I took a little more time and care, my veggies wouldn’t induce snoring. It was time for some Veggie Love around here!

I tweaked the original recipe a bit, because I thought this thing begged for cheese, and I wasn’t disappointed. I didn’t have bulgur on hand, so I used quinoa; it adds nice texture to the dish and ramps up the protein nicely.

So grab a knife and a fork and dig into one of these suckers. It’ll do your body (and your tastebuds) good!

Bon Appetit and Happy Holidays, Veg-Heads!

Grilled Portabella and Bulgur Salad “Sandwiches”

from Gourmet Magazine, June 2009
serves 4

For Tomato Vinaigrette:

1 large garlic clove
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes

For Salad:

8 large portabella mushrooms, stemmed
1 small red onion, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick wedges (keeping root end intact)
2 medium yellow bell peppers, quartered lengthwise
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups boiling hot water
1 cup medium bulgur*
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 1/2 oz baby arugala
1 firm-ripe avocado
~ Author’s additions: 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled and 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

Make Viniagrette: With motor running, drop garlic into food processor and finely chop. Add tomatoes, parsley, oil, vinegar, rosemary, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and pulse until tomatoes are finely chopped but not pureed.

Make Salad: Gently scrape off gills from underside of mushroom using a spoon. With a damp paper towel, clean mushrooms. Toss mushrooms with 1/2 cup vinaigrette in a 13×9-inch glass baking dish. Let stand, turning occasionally, 20 minutes.

Brush vegetables with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Add vegetables and grill, turning occasionally. Bell peppers take about 6-8 minutes; zucchini takes 6-10 minutes; onions take 8-12 minutes; mushrooms take 10-15 minutes.

Transfer mushrooms to a plate. Place remaining vegetables on a cutting board, cool, and chop coarsely.

While vegetables cook, pour boiling water over bulgur with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let stand until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. ** I cooked 1 cup quinoa as per package directions and substituted it for the bulgur.

Add vegetables to bulgur with pine nuts and remaining vinaigrette and toss. If you want to add feta cheese, cool mixture slightly and mix in cheese (and jalapeno, if desired).

Place 1 portabella on each of four plates. Pack salad mixture into a 1-cup measure, then unmold on top of portabella. Top with arugala and another portabella, right side up. Serve with avocado.

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