This is an amazing vegetarian version of one of my favorite dishes. It was absolutely packed with flavor. I served it with Turkish bulgur and vegetable pilaf on the side- perfect.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I modified the method and proportions. I roasted one large red onion but would consider using two next time.
We ate the filling served on warm mini naan. As it was completely overstuffed, we had to use utensils to eat it. The filling could also be stuffed in a pita or served on a larger flatbread.
Yield: 4 servings
For the Filling:
1/2 cup (8 T) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, plus more as needed
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 large heads cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds each), trimmed and cut into bite-size florets
1 or 2 large red onions, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
For the Tahini Sauce:
2 T fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste (I used Meyer lemon juice)
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper or 2 tsp harissa paste or other hot sauce, plus more to taste
2 fat garlic cloves, finely grated, passed through a press or minced
1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt or fine sea salt
2/3 cup tahini
2/3 cup ice water, plus more as needed
warm naan, pita, or other flatbread
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley, or more to taste
chopped tomato, cucumber and olives (I omitted the olives)
bulgur and vegetable pilaf, optional
Arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.
Prepare the cauliflower: In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne. Add cauliflower and onion, and toss until well coated.
Divide the mixture and spread in a single layer on the prepared sheet pans.
Roast vegetables until they are golden brown, slightly crisp and tender, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, and rotating the pans halfway through the roasting time. If the vegetables look dry as they roast, drizzle with a little more olive oil. (I roasted the vegetables for 35 minutes on convection.)
As the vegetables cook, prepare the tahini sauce: Whisk together lemon juice, Aleppo pepper or harissa, garlic and salt in a small bowl, and let sit for a minute or two to mellow the garlic.
Whisk in tahini.
Whisk in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. You may not need all of the water or you may need to add a little more: Tahini brands vary a lot.
Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more Aleppo pepper or harissa, lemon juice and salt if you like. The sauce should taste zippy and creamy.
Warm the flatbread by placing them directly on the bottom oven rack during the last 5 minutes as the vegetables roast. (Or you can warm the bread on another baking pan.)
Scatter parsley on top of the roasted vegetables and serve with warm naan or pita, tahini sauce, chopped tomato, cucumber and olives, as desired.
This is another rich pasta dish incorporating chili crisp. I must confess that my family preferred this one. My husband even declared that this dish was “restaurant quality.” 🙂
I added one tablespoon of chili crisp fearing that it would be too spicy otherwise, but, as the cream offset the heat, I think it could easily have incorporated the full amount for my crowd. Every brand varies in spiciness, so it is important to taste it and adjust the amount to your spice-tolerance.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Genevieve Ko. I used unsalted butter and added salt. I also included more spinach. Quick and delicious.
Yield: 6 servings
4 T unsalted butter
1 to 2 T chili crisp, plus more to taste and for serving (I used Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp)(see Tip)
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound dried fettuccine
1 (6-ounce) package baby spinach
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (2 1/4 ounces), plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
While the water heats, melt the butter with the chili crisp and a pinch or two of coarse salt in a very large skillet or Dutch oven over low heat. (Add chili crisp 1 tablespoon at a time.) (I used a large and wide enameled cast iron pan.)
Whisk in the cream; taste and adjust heat, if desired, by adding more chili crisp. Keep warm over low. (It should steam, not bubble.)
Cook the fettuccine until al dente according to the package directions. Use tongs to transfer the noodles to the cream mixture, reserving the pasta water.
Add the spinach and turn with tongs until the noodles are well coated.
Add the Parmesan and toss, still over low heat, until the noodles are slicked with a creamy sauce, adding a spoonful or two of pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce.
Place in a serving bowl or divide among serving dishes; top with Parmesan.
Serve immediately. Additional chili crisp can be provided at the table, if desired.
Tip: For this dish, try to add more of the solids than the oil to the sauce for the most flavorful dish.
I have two recipes that incorporate chili crisp to share. This saucy dish was subtly spicy and very creamy from the tahini. It had a deep sesame flavor. Next time, I may add a bit more soy sauce and rice vinegar to the sauce.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Kendra Vaculin. It was a perfect springtime meal.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
5 T (1/3 cup) chili crisp
5 T (1/3 cup) tahini
3 T soy sauce, plus more, to taste
3 T unseasoned rice vinegar, plus more, to taste
12 to 12.8 oz dried soba noodles
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2″ pieces
2 T vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
1 lb ground pork
thinly sliced scallions and/or cilantro, for serving
1/2 T to 1 T sesame seeds, toasted, for serving
Whisk chili crisp, tahini, soy sauce, and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired. Set sauce aside.
Toast sesame seeds in a 350 degree oven until fragrant and lightly browned, stirring once or twice, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Cook soba noodles in a large pot of boiling water until almost cooked, about 2 minutes.
Add asparagus pieces; cook until noodles are al dente and asparagus is crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
Rinse noodles and asparagus under cool running water; reserve pot.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high.
Cook ground pork in an even layer, undisturbed, until browned, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 3 minutes. (Use a splatter screen!)
Add reserved sauce and cook, scraping up browned bits, 1 minute.
Transfer pork mixture, noodles, and asparagus to reserved pot. Add 2/3 cup cooking liquid; cook over medium heat, stirring gently with spoon and adding more cooking liquid if needed, until noodles and meat are well coated, about 2 minutes.
Serve topped with thinly sliced scallions, cilantro (if using), and toasted sesame seeds.
Ha! Milk Street Magazine published these two flavor-packed dishes on the same page so I served them together. We ate the chicken and rice with roasted cauliflower. Delicious. 🙂
The avocado-cilantro sauce was amazing and would compliment any meat or chicken. It was inspired by a standard accompaniment to grilled meats in Venezuela called guasacaca. The recipe was adapted from Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Courtney Hill.
The rice was inspired by an everyday dish in Pakistan and India called jeera (or zeera) rice. The recipe was adapted from Made in India by Meera Sodha, via Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Dimitri Demopolous. The original recipe notes that it is ideal for pairing with any roasted or grilled vegetables or meat as well as with curries or dal.
To prepare these dishes together, I began by making the rice dish. While the rice cooked and rested, I prepared the chicken and the sauce.
For the Chicken & Avocado-Cilantro Sauce:
Yield: Serves 6
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 10) OR 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs OR breasts OR a combination, trimmed and patted dry
4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
1 1/2 cups lightly packed cilantro OR flat-leaf parsley, plus extra chopped, to serve
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and seeded
1/2 medium white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 T white vinegar
optional garnish: Lime wedges OR crumbled queso fresco OR chopped pickled jalapeños OR a combination
Heat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle position and another rack in the highest position. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
On a foil or parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet, toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then season with salt and pepper. (Using foil is a better choice if broiling the skinless meat after roasting.)
If using skinless meat, arrange thighs “skin side down” and roast about 10 minutes. Flip over and roast an additional 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven and adjust oven to the broil setting.
Place pan on the top rack and broil to finish browning the meat, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Meat should reach an internal temperature of 165. (Alternatively, if using skin-on, bone-in meat: Arrange skin side up and roast until the thickest part of the breast (if using) reaches about 160°F and the thickest part of the largest thigh (if using) reaches about 175°F, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.)
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the avocados, cilantro, jalapeño, onion, vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. (I used a Vitamix which made the sauce incredibly creamy.)
Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour over any accumulated juices. (If serving with cumin rice, plate chicken over the rice and pour over any accumulated juices.)
Sprinkle with chopped cilantro (or other optional garnishes listed above) and serve with the sauce.
For the Cumin Rice with Caramelized Onions:
Yield: Serves 6
3 T ghee OR salted butter, cut into 3 pieces, divided
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 cardamom pods
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained
chopped fresh cilantro, to serve, optional
In a large saucepan over medium-high, melt the ghee. (I used a 4-quart stainless steel pot.)
Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally to start and more often once browning begins, until the onions are deeply caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes; reduce the heat if the onions brown very unevenly or too quickly.
Meanwhile, rinse the rice. Drain and set aside.
Add the cumin seeds and cardamom pods to the browned onions; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in the rice, 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to low, cover and cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid, 15 to 18 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Using a fork, fluff the rice; remove and discard the cardamom. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, serve sprinkled with cilantro.
I have two wonderful chicken and rice dishes to share. This dish was part of The New York Times’ List of The Best of 2022- I’m surprised that I missed it when it was first published. It was fresh, delicious, and can be enjoyed in every season. I prepared the chicken in a cast iron skillet on the stove, but it could also be grilled in warmer weather.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. I omitted the olives and modified the method and proportions. I served the chicken over white Basmati rice with the cucumber salad and roasted broccoli on the side. Great.
Yield: 6 servings
2 cups plain whole milk Greek yogurt
6 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 tsp dried oregano or mint
2 1/2 to 3 pounds (about 10) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
1 1/2 pounds cucumbers (preferably Japanese, Persian or mini, seedless cucumbers)
1 pound ripe tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes, halved)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
4 ounces feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved (I omitted them)
white or brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional (I used 2 cups of rice with 1 tsp salt)
If serving chicken over rice, prepare the rice according to the package directions. (I used a rice cooker.)
In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt and garlic; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer 1/2 cup of the yogurt to a medium bowl and reserve.
Coat the chicken: To the large bowl, add the oregano and stir to combine. Season the chicken all over with 2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the chicken to the large bowl and turn to coat; set aside.
Start the salad: Smash the cucumbers with the side of your knife until craggy and split. Rip into 1-inch pieces and transfer to a colander placed in the sink. Slice or chop the tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Add to the cucumbers along with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. (It may seem like a lot of salt, but most will drain away.) Toss to combine and leave to drain.
In a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
Scrape excess marinade off the chicken, then cook the chicken in batches, adding oil to the pan if necessary, until it’s well browned and releases from the pan, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a splatter screen! Flip and cook until cooked through, another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Transfer to plates to rest. (For grilling info, see Tip.)
To the medium bowl of yogurt, add the feta and mash with a fork until a chunky paste forms.
Shake the cucumbers and tomatoes to get rid of any excess moisture. Add to the feta yogurt along with the olives (if using) and stir until coated. The balance is dependent on your produce and feta, so season to taste with salt and pepper until flavors are vivid.
Serve the chicken over rice with the cucumber-feta salad on the side.
Tip: To grill the chicken: Heat a grill to medium and clean and grease the grates. Grill the chicken over direct heat until it’s well browned and releases from the grates, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook until cooked through, another 5 to 7 minutes. (For a gas grill, close the lid between flips.)
This is an upgraded version of the classic comfort food sandwich. The incorporation of Korean red chili paste, gochujang, added the perfect amount of heat.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Hana Asbrink. I used ground turkey and modified the proportions. It was a great one-pot meal. Messy and tasty. 🙂
Yield: 6 servings
1 T canola oil
1 lb. ground turkey or ground beef (ideally 20% fat)
1 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 3/4 tsp Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
10 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
3 T gochujang (I used Trader Joe’s)
2 T ketchup
1 T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T dark brown sugar
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar
6 potato rolls
Kosher dill spears and potato chips, for serving, recommended but optional
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. (I used a 12-inch stainless steel sauté pan.)
Add ground meat, spreading out in a single layer; sprinkle with 1 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt and season with freshly ground pepper. Cook, undisturbed, until a light brown crust forms underneath, about 3 minutes.
Continue to cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until almost completely brown all the way through, about 3 minutes more.
Push meat to one side of pan. Reduce heat to medium and add chopped bell pepper, onion, chopped, grated garlic cloves, and 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt; season with pepper.
Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in gochujang, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, dark brown sugar, and yellow mustard.
Add one 15-oz. can tomato sauce and 1/4 cup water and stir again to combine.
Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until thick and saucy, 10–12 minutes.
Remove mixture from heat and stir in balsamic vinegar; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Spoon saucy meat mixture onto potato rolls. Serve with kosher dill spears and potato chips, as desired.
I usually need grilled cheese as a bribe for my family to enjoy tomato soup for dinner. My daughter loved this soup even more than the grilled cheese! 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Food 52.com, contributed by Carolina Gelen. I modified the method and proportions. It was a quick dinner packed with flavor. Perfect with our grilled cheese sandwiches and giant green salad.
We swirled pesto into the soup just before serving. Additional cream or crème fraîche could also be added.
Yield: Serves 4 to 5
extra-virgin olive oil
1300 gramsgrape or cherry tomatoes (about 4 cups)
2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
2 to 4 sprigs of basil
2 large sprigs of thyme
1 or 2 red chiles, optional (I omitted it)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup full-fat coconut milk or heavy cream (I used one 13.5 oz can of coconut milk), plus more for serving, as desired
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock, plus more as needed
homemade or store-bought pesto, for serving, optional
grilled cheese sandwiches or fresh bread, for serving, optional
Heat the oven to 450°F (230°C). (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Drizzle some oil into a deep baking dish. (I used a large enameled cast iron baking dish.)
Add in the tomatoes, onion, basil and thyme, and chile (if using). Drizzle more olive oil on top, plus a big sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix to coat. Add the garlic cloves, cut side down, nestled into the other ingredients.
Roast for 25 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly charred. (I roasted mine for 38 minutes.)
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme. Remove garlic cloves from the papery skin.
Add the rest of the ingredients to a blender, along with the coconut milk and stock. (I used a Vitamix on the hot soup setting.) Remove the little plug from the blender lid, then cover the lid with a kitchen towel and blend until smooth.
Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Adjust consistency with additional stock, as needed.
Serve drizzled with pesto and/or cream with a grilled cheese sandwich and green salad, as desired.