Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don't Look Sideways at These Sides-Vegetable Adventures

It's often difficult to find supporting actors (your side dishes) to the leads (your meats & proteins) that don't include cheese. Not that I have an issue with cheese--in fact, this household happens to believe that cheese deserves its own food group. However, we have just gotten back from a vacation and we need a break from rich food. I'm always looking for new ways to cook vegetables.

Here are three side dishes that don't make you feel like you are eating vegetables just to meet your daily quota.


1 head of cauliflower, rinsed well and broken up into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. truffle-infused olive oil
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
1/4 chopped parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a large baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Spread florets evenly on the baking sheet and roast for approximately 30 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to brown, stirring halfway through.

Add olives and continue to roast for 10 more minutes, or until the cauliflower is golden and the olives begin to shrivel.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with chopped parsley (if using) and serve immediately.

Makes approximately 4 side servings.

Note: This was very good! I suspect that some chopped hazelnuts or pine nuts thrown in with the olives at the last 10 minutes of roasting would elevate this dish to even greater heights.


1/3 cup diced onion (approximately)
2 medium sized yellow summer squash
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Spray a medium sized frying pan with olive oil spray. Over medium heat, saute the onion until it becomes clearer--aproximately 3-5 minutes (being careful to watch that it doesn't brown).

Using a juliene peeler (click here to see what one looks like--this is the very one I have), carefully julienne the squash--taking care not to cut yourself. You may need to discard a lot of the middle portion of the seeded part of the squash.

Add the squash and red pepper to the sauteed onions and toss gently. Add the salt and crushed red pepper. Saute for a few minutes until the red pepper has softened and the onions start to turn a bit brown. At this point, take the squash off the heat as you want it to still have a bit of give to it when bitten into.

Serve while dish is warm. Makes approximately 4 side servings.

Note: This dish turned out wonderfully sweet & spicy--very spicy. Adjust pepper to your taste if you do not care for a lot of heat in your food.

GREEK-STYLE LIMA BEANS (adapted from Gourmet Magazine)

1 (10-ounce) package frozen baby lima beans
1 cup water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
Crushed black pepper, to taste

Cook lima beans, water, 1 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon parsley, garlic, and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, tightly covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 17 to 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.

Serve sprinkled with remaining tablespoon parsley and drizzled with remaining tablespoon oil.

(Note: I skipped the extra olive oil drizzle in the picture above. These are absolutely delicious!)

All in all, we decided to make a meal out of these three with a veggie meat roast. These side dishes are another reason I don't believe you have to eat boring as a vegetarian. Hope you all enjoy them too.

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