I love vegetable-loaded comfort food. 🙂 This casserole dish also has farro, a favorite, and cheese, of course. My husband said he would have loved it even without the fresh mozzarella on top! Absolutely delicious.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sarah DiGregorio. I doubled the amount of cauliflower, omitted the olives, used Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro, and modified the method and proportions.
We ate the casserole as a main course with garlic bread and green salad. It could also be served as a hearty side dish. The recipe is very adaptable and could be easily modified to incorporate other vegetables.
Yield: Serves 8
For the Farro and Cauliflower:
1 large head of cauliflower, florets and tender stems cut into large bite-sized pieces
8.8 oz bag Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro
1 (28 to 32-ounce) jar good-quality marinara sauce (I used Rao’s)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted kalamata or black olives, roughly chopped, optional (I omitted them)
10 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
3 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano (about 3/4 cup finely grated)
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano or dried basil
1 teaspoon balsamic or sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup stock (can substitute water)
2/3 cup water
For the Topping:
1 cup panko
2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (about 1/2 cup finely grated)
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 to 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds (I used 12 slices)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
In a 9-by-13-inch pan, combine the cauliflower, farro, marinara sauce, olive oil, olives (if using), garlic, grated cheese, onion powder, oregano or basil, vinegar and red-pepper flakes. Season with the salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
Pour in 1 cup stock and 2/3 cups water and stir well to combine. (can substitute with 1 2/3 cups water)
Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make the topping: Stir together the panko, grated cheese and olive oil.
Uncover the pan and stir.
Evenly cover the top with the panko topping.
Top with the fresh mozzarella rounds.
Continue baking uncovered until the farro is tender and chewy, the sauce is thick, the topping is browned, and the mozzarella has melted, about 10 to 15 minutes more. (I baked it for an additional 12 minutes on convection roast.) (I also put my garlic bread in the same oven at this point!)
I have served this flavorful dish as a vegetarian main dish served over baby spinach and as a side dish with rotisserie chicken, roasted cauliflower and green salad. So versatile! I also love that it is made in one pan.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend with Couscous with Quinoa, Orzo, and Garbanzo Beans and modified the proportions and method. Nice.
Yield: Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish
1pint (2 cups) grape tomatoes, halved (or a combination grape & small Campari- quartered)
1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1/4cup sliced scallions, for garnish (about 2 large)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 T balsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling
2 to 3 large garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
1 1/2teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
3oregano, rosemary or sage sprigs
2cups vegetable stock or water (I used 1 cup chicken stock and 1 cup water)
1/3cup chopped cilantro, dill or parsley, plus more for serving
8ounces pearl couscous (1 1/2 cups)(I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Brain blend)
1(15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2cups feta, crumbled (about 6 ounces)
1/3cup freshly grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)( I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Heat oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
In a 9×13-inch baking dish, cake pan or gratin dish (I used a ceramic 9×13 baking dish), toss together tomatoes, shallot, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and rosemary, oregano, or sage sprigs. Roast until tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
While tomatoes roast, heat the stock (or stock and water) until it boils, then stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt, adding more to taste. (You want a well-seasoned broth here to flavor the couscous.)
Stir in cilantro, lemon zest and cumin.
Remove tomatoes from oven and fold in couscous, chickpeas and hot stock mixture. Cover pan tightly with foil, and return to oven for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and fold in the Parmesan and about 3/4ths of the feta (save the rest for garnish). Bake uncovered until feta starts to melt, another 5 minutes.
To serve, pull out and discard herb sprigs if you like, and spoon couscous into bowls. (I served it in the baking dish as a side dish.)
Top with remaining feta, more Parmesan, scallions, more herbs, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as desired.
This dish makes creamed spinach the main event rather than a decadent side. This version is actually less indulgent as well. It incorporates milk instead of cream and uses pasta and its starch as a thickener.
The original article actually states that classic creamed spinach isn’t that good. I love creamed spinach! For years, my husband and I used to celebrate his birthday at a steakhouse- the creamed spinach saved me. (I’m not a steak fan!)
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. I used loads of fresh greens from my CSA share rather than frozen chopped spinach. We ate it as a vegetarian main dish (with roasted CSA veggies on the side) but it could also be served as a hearty side, of course. Creamy and filling.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
5 cups whole milk, plus more as needed (I added an additional cup of 1% milk)
1 pound stemmed and sliced fresh greens (I used a combination of kale, collard and cauliflower greens) OR 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach
2 wide lemon peel strips
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
dash of red pepper flakes, optional
10 to 12 ounces ditalini, orzo or pearl couscous
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
If using fresh greens, stem, slice, and wash them.
Place the greens in a steamer basket in a large pot (I used a pasta pot); cook until wilted, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Strain the steamed greens to drain as much excess liquid as possible. (I used a ricer for this task.)
Chop the steamed and strained greens; set aside.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 4 minutes.
Add the 5 cups milk, chopped greens (or spinach), lemon peel, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, if using, freshly ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the greens (or frozen spinach) with your spoon, until the greens have softened and the milk is just simmering, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the pasta and cook, stirring often and vigorously, until the pasta is al dente, 20 to 25 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer. If it looks dry at any point, add more milk. (I ultimately added an additional cup of milk.) The mixture will continue to thicken as it sits, so it’s okay if the sauce looks a little soupy.
Once the pasta is cooked, turn off the heat, discard the lemon peels, and stir in the Parmesan until melted.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with more Parmesan.
My friend who shared her bounty of homegrown eggplant also shared mini bell peppers from her garden. Loved it! Lucky me. 🙂 I searched for a special way to use them. These stuffed peppers were a complete success- everyone in my family enjoyed them.
This recipe was originally intended to be a vegetarian main dish using full-size red bell peppers. I used these mini peppers instead and served them as a side dish with sautéed kabocha squash and rotisserie chicken.
This dish was full-flavored and delicious. The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Emilee and Jere Gettle. Absolutely wonderful.
Yield: approximately 10 mini bell peppers or 4 full-size bell peppers
10 mini bell peppers or 4 large bell peppers (any color)
2 T unsalted butter or grapeseed oil
2 medium shallots, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup long-grain white rice (I used Basmati)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1 large jalapeño, finely chopped with or without seeds, as desired (I ribbed and seeded the chile)
8 oz cremini or oyster mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups chopped spinach (I used baby spinach)
1/4 cup chopped basil, preferably Thai, plus more for garnish (I used Italian basil)
freshly squeezed juice from half of a large lemon
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Slice the tops off the peppers and cut the tops into 1/4-inch dice; discard the cores and stems.
Boil the hollowed out peppers until just tender, about 3 minutes for mini peppers or 4 minutes for full size peppers. Using tongs, carefully transfer the peppers to paper towels to drain, cut side down. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water.
Mince the shallots and garlic in a mini food processor, if desired; remove and set aside.
Dice the jalapeno and pepper tops in the food processor. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallots and garlic, season with salt and cook over moderate heat until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring, until toasted, 2 to 4 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk, ginger, curry paste and the 1 1/2 cups of reserved pepper water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the liquid is absorbed, 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°, preferably on convection.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the diced bell pepper tops and the jalapeño and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until tender, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the mushrooms, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until tender, 5 minutes.
Uncover and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are browned, 4 minutes longer.
Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the vegetable mixture to the rice and stir in the basil and lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.
Fill the peppers with the rice mixture and set them in a shallow glass, ceramic baking dish, or rimmed baking sheet. (I used a cookie scoop.)
Tent with foil and bake for about 22 to 25 minutes for mini peppers or up to 45 minutes for full size peppers, until the rice filling is steaming and heated through.
This is a simple and elegant vegetable side dish that I served as part of our Thanksgiving feast this year. It was easy to prepare while the turkey was resting after being removed from the oven. The dried cranberries and fresh chilies added contrasting color and flavor. Nice.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Ann Taylor Pittman. I substituted Shishito chilies for Fresno. I also modified the method. I wish that I had doubled the recipe! Next time. 🙂
I loved that this recipe used buttermilk to moisten the stuffing- in addition to the more typical stock and butter. The sausage was not overpowering in the finished dish but added great flavor. I used locally made sweet Italian sausage with fennel seeds- perfect.
This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Yewande Komolafe. The sausage could be omitted for a vegetarian version. The original recipe notes that if store-bought or boxed mix cornbread is used, it should be crumbled and and spread out on a sheet pan to dry for 4 to 12 hours prior to assembling the dish. I made the accompanying cornbread recipe, which does not require drying time, two days prior to making the dish.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
For the Cornbread:
8 T/115 grams/1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing the pan
1 1/2 cups/250 g medium-coarse yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup/114 g all-purpose flour
1/4 cup/55 g granulated sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups/470 milliliters buttermilk, preferably full-fat (I used low-fat)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the Dressing:
3 T unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 T neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola, plus more if needed
1 pound loose pork sausage (I used sweet Italian sausage)
1 large yellow onion, very finely chopped (2 cups)
4 celery ribs, very finely chopped (2 cups)
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 T chopped fresh sage (from 10 large leaves)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe cornbread for dressing, broken into 1-inch pieces, or 10 cups loosely packed cornbread
1 1/2 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
1 cup buttermilk, preferably full-fat (I used low-fat)
To Make the Cornbread:
Heat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch skillet, preferably cast-iron, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. (I weighed the dry ingredients when possible.)
Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk and eggs. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir until incorporated.
Fold in the melted butter.
Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and smooth the top.
Bake until the top is lightly browned and the sides pull away cleanly from the skillet, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool completely and serve warm or room temperature, or reserve to make cornbread dressing.
To Assemble & Bake the Dressing:
Heat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Heat a large skillet over medium and pour in the oil.
Add the sausage and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the cooked sausage to a plate, keeping any fat in the skillet. Add a few additional tablespoons oil if needed to evenly coat the bottom.
Add the onion and celery to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes.
Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, fennel seeds and sage, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Return the cooked sausage to the skillet and stir to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, add the cornbread pieces and toss to combine.
Pour in the stock and buttermilk, and stir until well mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.
Transfer the cornbread mixture to your prepared dish and spread evenly.
Drizzle the melted butter over the top.
Cover the dish with foil and bake until heated through, 30 to 35 minutes.
Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees, remove the foil and bake until the surface is golden brown in spots, 15 to 20 minutes.
When I recently received spaghetti squash in my CSA box, my farm newsletter included a link to this Food 52 recipe. I had to make it after reading the first line of the article- “When you think spaghetti squash do you think snoozefest?” Maybe? I definitely hadn’t cooked or eaten spaghetti squash in recent memory.
This recipe was adapted from Food 52, contributed by Checker. I modified the proportions and method. The results were cheesy, buttery, and subtly sweet. Easy and simple to prepare and no longer a snoozefest! 😉
1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons turbinado sugar
4 to 6 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch coarse salt, plus more to taste
Preheat your oven to 400° F. I set my oven to convection roast.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
Brush the inside of the squash liberally with the melted butter and sprinkle sugar all over the insides.
Place the squash cut side down on the lined baking sheet. Brush a little of the butter over the skin. (I used the residual butter that was left on the basting brush.)
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the skin of the squash is starting to show some brown blisters.
Use a fork to scrape out the strings of squash, loosening it so that it’s a spaghetti-like consistency.
Toss with grated Parmesan, season with salt, and serve.