I want to get stoked on vitamins and nutrients.
August 13, 2014 9:12 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite healthy plant-inclusive dinners that you actually get excited to shop for, cook, and eat? I'm looking less for "I put onions in my sauteed spinach" or "I cook lentils into a flavorless gruel," and more for something like "I roast chicken with garbanzos and cherry tomatoes, then serve it with a smokey yogurt sauce."

I'm not as concerned with cutting out fat as I am with adding nutrients. Vitamins! Minerals! Fiber! This is not a weight loss effort, but a "don't get scurvy from eating nothing except burgers and fried chicken" effort.

I have a Kitchenaid, meat tenderizer, food processor, immersion blender, pizza stone, mixie, basically everything you'd need. I'm actually a pretty great cook who can tackle pretty much everything except laminated doughs, sous-vide, smoking, and candy-making. I will grudgingly accept your endless kale recipes, and then adapt them for the vastly superior swiss chard. I eat meat, I eat gluten, I eat too much fried chicken.

Help me get excited about going to the grocery store after work and spending some serious time in the produce section.
posted by Juliet Banana to Food & Drink (41 answers total) 136 users marked this as a favorite
I made these Swiss Chard Taco Wraps with Cumin-Lime Sauce the other day, and I can't wait to make them again. Delicious, nice to look at, great texture and packed with fiber, vitamins and all good things. Go forward with Swiss Chard!
posted by Pineapplicious at 9:18 AM on August 13, 2014 [6 favorites]

this vegan omelet uses chickpea flour instead of eggs and it's delicious for lunch or dinner. A highly flexible recipe... I fold in steamed chard and vegan sausage to the batter. Yum!
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 9:20 AM on August 13, 2014

Flavorless gruel, all the way!

Actually, I have been hoping that someone will ask this question, because I have been making a particularly delicious side dish lately - sweet potato hash. It's not really hash browns because sweet potatoes don't have the same starches as a regular potato and don't brown the same way.

So here is what I do:

I chop half an onion and set it in a wide pan over medium heat to soften - I'm not really looking for it to brown. Depending on the flavor I'm looking for in the finished dish, I might use peanut, olive or coconut oil.

As the onion cooks, I use a coarse grater to grate a yam. (One yam makes a quite large main dish serving for a hungry person.)

I add more oil (usually 1 tsp to cook the onion and then another 1 T) and the grated yam.

After the yam has started to soften, I add chopped bell pepper, any color.

You can add other vegetables and various flavorings.

Lately I've been finishing it with some Kitchens of India curry paste and a whole bunch of chopped cilantro, but really anything that goes well with sweet potato is fine - spinach or other greens, for instance, salt and pepper, lemon and paprika, etc.

The sweet potato softens but does not turn into one big mush.
posted by Frowner at 9:27 AM on August 13, 2014 [7 favorites]

I can't remember exact quantities, but it's one of those recipes where you don't need them:

chickpeas, canned, drained and rinsed
tomato(es), diced
chicken stock (sufficient for cooking chickpeas and leaving only a little liquid at the end)
ras-el-hanout (my preference) or your favourite masala
garlic, minced
olive oil

parsley, roughly chopped

Sautee garlic, spice blend, and tomato in a little olive oil until just cooked. Add chicken stock and chickpeas, simmer until chickpeas are cooked through and most of the liquid is gone. Stir in (lots of) parsley. Serve with anything or just sit on the sofa in the winter and eat solo with a spoon. Delicious. NB: do not salt the chickpeas while cooking; it toughens them. Season at the end. You can also substitute lentils in this recipe, but you need to be more careful of your cooking time.

Cut stems out of kale or other bitter leafy green (chard, collards, rapini, beet greens--get them with the beets because then you have beets!--whatever you like). Blanch in salted boiling water and then shock in an ice bath. Sautee in olive oil with diced tomato, minced garlic, and anchovies. Simple as all get out, goes extremely well with roast chicken. Collard greens will take far, far longer to cook--best in a covered pot with a little water and a ham hock, then proceed to sauteeing. (Maybe with shredded bits of the hock in!)

Parsnip puree is something I frequently do with roast chicken, or pan-seared thick fish. Peel and slice parsnips into even chunks. Add to pot, barely cover with 35% cream (you can go down to about 70:30 cream:milk if you want), a couple sprigs of thyme--tie in a bunch for easy retrieval. Simmer until fork tender. Puree until smooth and velvety, adding butter as you go (approximately 1tbsp per cup, to your taste), and the zest of one lemon. Strain through a relatively fine strainer to remove any lumps, season with S&P.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:30 AM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

(when my neighbour gets home I'll wheedle out her recipe for carrot latkes, which are delicious.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:31 AM on August 13, 2014

Roasted tomatoes and cipollini over white beans from Smitten Kitchen. It's sooooo easy to make, smells so good, and I have neighbors asking me what I'm making when I roast the tomatoes and cipollini.

Fried zucchini and roasted cauliflower. I roast cauliflower and then process it into a mashed potato-like meal. I prefer it over mashed potatoes, actually. Some recipes call for boiling the cauliflower but I find roasting it is better. I use the recipes in this cookbook, Well Fed. I'm not on the paleo diet but like you I wanted to incorporate more veggies.

I also like cauliflower pizza dough - it caramelizes so wonderfully and I can make loads of pizza dough at a time and stick them in the freezer.
posted by barchan at 9:32 AM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

You might really get down with Heidi Swanson. I personally find her Heidi Swanson Lifestyle Branding kind of irritating, but her cookbooks are amazing and the recipes on her site are consistently good and fairly easy, generally quite different from other recipe sources out there (and I read a lot of recipes) with an enormous emphasis on nutritious food.
posted by latkes at 9:35 AM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

* pulls up chair and sits down *

Pasta Puttanesca is a good quick go-to pasta sauce that I turned to when I was trying to break a pasta alfredo habit. The umami of the olives, capers and anchovies kept me satisfied. This is just one recipe; variations are legion, but basically it's a tomato-based sauce with olives, capers, and anchovy.

Minestrone soups can also be satisfying, and are adaptable enough that they can satisfy a creative impulse as well. As long as you've got a small soup-friendly pasta and a can of beans, you can put any other kind of vegetable in there and it'd work. You could just walk through the produce section and be all, "hmmm, the asparagus looks good - oh, they also have snow peas, perfect. And oh, look, there's leeks, that'd also work well...."

Actually, I'm gonna skip straight over recommending recipes and say to just start browsing through the various Moosewood cookbooks; I have about six of their cookbooks and there's a lot in there to keep foodies satisfied. There's one I recommend so much I should probably ask for a cut; it's all salads and soups, and you will find SOOO much in there to increase your vegetable intake.

Their Sundays At Moosewood one may also appeal to you, though - it's their "international" cookbook, featuring recipes from a whole lot of different cultures' cuisines - Italian, Eastern European, Caribbean, Southeast Asian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Northern African, Southern African, Provencal...and because it's a vegetarian cookbook, they're all vegetable-heavy.

From the Sundays cookbook, I can especially recommend the Cheese Pasties (a savory hand pie stuffed with cheddar, leeks, carrots, celery, and turnip; I've also swapped out the turnip for parsnip and been just as happy), black bean tostadas (the guacamole recipe that goes with that is my go-to for guac in general now), and the pasta fagiole (their version is more like a really intense pasta dish). I mean, I can recommend more, but those are the ones that would suit your specific purposes most. (Although, do try the cranberry tea cake because CRANBERRIES).

Here's the current roster of Moosewood books on Amazon now; there are others, though (a cookbook-and-gardening-book hybrid has a great recipe for tomato-and-bread salad, in fact). Those have all kept me very happy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:36 AM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Smitten Kitchen's butternut squash with chickpeas and tahini and carrot salad with harissa, mint, and feta are amazing and I could eat them for every meal. Her other vegetable recipes are worth looking through too. iirc, she has a cauliflower egg cake thing that I liked.

I like to take a bulb of fennel and slice it thinly - like paper thin - and mix that with an ounce or two of parmesan, also thinly sliced, some good olive oil, and parsley if I have it on hand (or the fennel fronds, minced, if I don't.)

You might find my question about non-leafy salads helpful; I refer to it often.
posted by punchtothehead at 9:38 AM on August 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

I often make this really simple veggie salad -- mix together chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, a bit of feta cheese, and a few minced scallions (no lettuce). Season with salt & pepper and a bit of balsamic vinaigrette. It's delicious and I crave it all the time.
posted by mekily at 9:38 AM on August 13, 2014

Ethiopian food. The unexcitingly named ethiopianrecipes.net has some reliable recipes. Berbere, the critical spice mixture for much of it, has a really nice warming effect, and the cuisine is very much based around taking boring plants (lots of stew veg, collards) and making it into really delicious little piles of stews. And it freezes well! (And! The lentil dishes are spicy buttery terrific, not flavourless gruel.)
posted by kmennie at 9:39 AM on August 13, 2014 [7 favorites]

I eat too much crap too, but I have a veggie-filled, ratatouille-type recipe I make regularly that I find as delicious, savory, and satiating as a cheeseburger. There are quite a few steps but it's pretty easy. I won't get too specific with the amounts because it sounds like you're a decent cook and I trust you can figure it out by eyeballing. This makes multiple servings and it freezes well--it's actually one of those things that's even tastier leftover:

- Heat olive oil in a big pot. Add a 1 chopped yellow onion. Salt. Saute five minutes.
- Add 1 chopped red bell pepper. Saute three minutes.
- Add 2 whole zucchinis. Saute three minutes.
- Add 2 chopped Japanese eggplants (the long thin kind, or use a half of a regular eggplant--salt, let drain for 30 min. and squeeze out moisture for best results). Saute three minutes.
- Add a ton of chopped garlic. Saute one minute.
- Add a 14 oz. can of tomatoes (whole tomatoes are best--you can chop them right in the pot with some poultry shears) or 3-4 roma tomatoes. Sometimes I'll add a half cup of pasta sauce if I'm feeling, um, saucy, but it's still good without.
- Add a can of Cannellini beans (or regular white beans. Even black beans work in a pinch.)
- Add a couple handfuls of baby spinach (or kale!)
- Add some fresh basil if you have it. Otherwise add a little more salt, then pepper and whatever Italian herbs you have.
- Simmer everything for 15 more minutes--shorter if you're starving, longer if you have the time.
- Serve with a generous topping of Parmesan and some crusty bread (though this is filling enough I find I often don't want the bread).

It's SO good and I always enjoy going to the farmer's market in the summertime to get all of the produce. Enjoy! I'll be watching this thread for other good ideas.
posted by lovableiago at 9:40 AM on August 13, 2014 [5 favorites]

Roasted or grilled broccoli with a little olive oil, S&P, and cumin. Serve tossed with cherry tomatoes, fresh or roasted is up to you.

Brussels sprouts, halved. Toss with honey or maple syrup, S&P, olive oil, and a lot of chili flake (or fesh chili peppers, whatever floats your boat). Roast at 350F for ~20 minutes. Toss with some bacon before serving if that works for you.

Tomato confit is amazing. Take a large-ish baking dish. Fill with cored tomatoes, cut end up, lightly seasoned inside. Scatter in some whole garlic cloves, maybe a few sprigs of rosemary. Fill pan with enough olive oil to almost cover the tomatoes (as they cook they'll shrink and end up fully covered). Put in a 200F oven for about six hours; the tomatoes will be almost melting and can be eaten as-is, tossed into pasta, or used as the base for a tomato sauce. The olive oil won't be good for cooking with, but will be great for vinaigrettes or other finishing touches; strain it of course. The garlic can be used as roasted garlic in any way you like.

Charred corn (on a grill, the whole cob, then remove kernels) tossed with sun- or oven-dried tomatoes and grilled asparagus, a little roasted garlic, and olive oil. Tastes like summer and is easy as can be. Great on pizza, or as a hot or cold salad.

Peel a couple of butternut squash, toss with olive oil, cumin, S&P, a touch of cinnamon. Roast until tender. Transfer to a pot with cream to cover, bring to boil (to infuse, and to get rid of the raw cream taste). Stick your immersion blender in and you have delicious soup. Also works gorgeously with cauliflower.

Colcannon is also delicious--kind of like an Irish bubble & squeak. I have no recipe in my head, but easily Googleable. If you want the cabbage to be extra unctuous, braise it in milk (which will unfortunately have almost no use thereafter except perhaps in a pureed green vegetable soup).

Mushrooms, whatever variety you like. Clean, toss with balsamic vinegar, drizzle a little olive oil over, add chipped fresh rosemary, season, roast at 350F until your preferred doneness.

Also mushrooms: use a couple of varieties (I usually go with oyster, honey beech, cremini), hand torn into slightly larger than bite sized pieces. Dice a shallot. Sweat shallot in butter and olive oil, then add mushrooms and sautee until browned--you may need to add a little more fat, mushrooms absorb everything. When browned, flambee with brandy. Goes nicely with steak or other dark meats, or game, or on a pizza with Stilton.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:46 AM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

I give you Kenji Lopez-Alt's vegan experience, a month long experiment with veganism. I've layered his mushroom bolognese with this cauliflower alfredo for a KILLER vegan lasagne.
posted by nerdfish at 9:46 AM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

I seriously could have written your question. I've been trying to do the same thing recently, right down to the "it's not a diet, I just need more vegetables!" thing. I just made this Tomato and Fresh Corn Quiche and it was amazingly delicious (I may have accidentally dropped some bacon in there, because I'm clumsy like that...). I also make this Irish Cheddar and Vegetable Bread Pudding which is also yummy. I've been experimenting with various takes on quiche and bread pudding with other veggies, and they all seem to turn out amazing.
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:49 AM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Aarti Sequeria's Aloo Gobi is a great way to use a ton of cauliflower (with a smattering of potatoes). The spices are subtle and the recipe was super easy and fast, minus the garlic-ginger paste making (which was still easy but added some food processing and dishwashing).
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 9:52 AM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I hate making salads at home - there's so much chopping to do, dressing to make, stuff to clean up afterwards... all for a SALAD? So I pretty much never make salad at home.

Except for this one: Farmer's market salad with spiced goat cheese rounds.

Oh my god. It is delicious, comforting, filling, and beautiful. Like, restaurant-worthy beautiful. And full of fat and delicious things and right now is the perfect time of year to make it. You should try it.
posted by joan_holloway at 9:56 AM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Nthing roasted cauliflower. It's also really good with a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast for extra umami.

This white bean and kale soup is so good! (Confession: I'm not a huge fan of kale. But I found myself craving this soup regularly last year.)

This warm cabbage salad is so good it's gone into the regular rotation of Thanksgiving dishes.

These brussel sprouts are ridiculous. I like to eat them with a firm tofu sauteed with tamari and fresh ground pepper.

Very similar but different enough I have to mention it, caramelized tofu with brussel sprouts.

This salmon taco recipe with the accompanying apple "salsa." Eat with a simple slaw on the side.

And my favorite salad combo is: lettuce, red onion, something crunchy (carrots, cucumber, celery, whatever you have), pepitas, feta, golden raisins with a simple red wine vinaigrette.
posted by purple_bird at 10:01 AM on August 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

I really really like this salad:

-baby spinach
-strawberries ideally, but other berries or cherry tomatoes work OK too
-optional: red onions
-optional: feta

Balsamic sauce:
-roughly half and half olive oil to (good) balsamic vinegar. This works fine and doesn't require mixing which is nice, but if I have more time I prefer to add a good squirt of dijon mustard and some maple syrup (NOT the fake stuff, in case that wasn't obvious...that would be awful).

YMMV since everyone looks at me like a freak when I say it's delicious, but it really is. You might need to like balsamic vinegar as much as I do, though. It's also really easy to make, and filling enough for a lunch if you have enough chickpeas. You can also leave the chickpeas out for a lighter-tasting salad (I'm eating a chickpea-free version of this salad right now, actually).
posted by randomnity at 10:02 AM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Help me get excited about going to the grocery store after work and spending some serious time in the produce section.

I am very big on eating fresh. Everything's better when fresh. So I have a long history of going to the grocery store like 5 or 6 or 7 days a week. Even simple dishes are glorious if you have super fresh stuff to work with.

I love buying new potatoes and tossing them into butter to go with baked chicken. Add whatever spices you want.

I love making homemade corn salsa, cutting white corn off the cob after lightly cooking it in a little water, tossing in some chopped onion, peppers, salt, pepper, and lime juice. It goes wonderfully with all kinds of things.

Homemade pizza, even if just made with homemade flat bread and organic Pizza Quick sauce, is glorious if you have some fresh chopped pineapple, onion and green or red peppers to go with your pepperoni.

I never liked beef stew until we began making it from scratch for me after my oldest son began cooking. He rarely uses more than one pot or pan when he cooks. He is a meatatarian. I can't eat that way. I need some veggies. So he would cook up a bunch of small breakfast steaks for everyone and then we would leave the last two or three in the deep pan, add some water, and toss in fresh sliced potatoes and any other veggies I happened to recently buy like white corn (cut from the cob), baby carrots, and sliced onions. I always added potatoes but the other veggies varied, depending on what was available and what I was feeling like. I want to say the list was longer than that but I can't think of what else I included. This really sold me on beef stew. It was scrumptious. I would eat it with homemade flat bread and try to wipe up every drop of gravy. It was just fantastic.
posted by Michele in California at 10:03 AM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I lived near an awesome farmer's market I used to get one or two every single vegetable that looked appealing and throw them all into a pot with some tomato paste and fresh tomatoes and then hollow out the bottom half of a stale baguette and pour the veg sauce gloriousness in the bottom, and line it with fresh spinach and queso fresco before mashing the top of the baguette on it and creating the sloppiest most delicious sammich in all the land. It was an enormous filling meal for usually around 2 bucks. Plus there was always enough left over for 2-3 more days and stale baguettes cost 25pts each.
posted by elizardbits at 10:08 AM on August 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

In previous threads, I have hawked this quinoa thing we've made and this stupid-easy coconut-and-stuff spicy soup-stew. Both are easy, fast, make excellent leftovers, and are almost infinitely fiddle-able-with.
posted by rtha at 10:09 AM on August 13, 2014

My two favorite go-to recipes are:
Beans-and-Greens Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - so delicious, so easy.
African Peanut Soup - I make it sans chicken and throw in an extra sweet potato. So many veggies are crammed into this, it's pretty healthy, and the small amount of peanut butter creates a luxurious texture. Plus, the leftovers are great, and it freezes beautifully.
posted by Fig at 10:14 AM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Orangette's amazing warm lentil salad helped me get my girlfriend, it's that good.

This miso sweet potato and broccoli bowl from Smitten Kitchen is also pretty great.

And I overheard this nice, simple chickpea curry recipe in a pottery studio one time and now make it all the time, because it's quick, easy, and full of veggie goodness:

garlic, diced (or the pureed kind you buy in a jar)
onion, diced
can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
tomatoes, either fresh chopped or a can of diced tomatoes
plain ol' curry powder, or whatever curry mix or masala or whatever, to taste
swiss chard! (as much as you want; and also you can do this with kale too, both are good)
(optional: some kind of tamarind chutney or paste)

Saute garlic and onion, add chickpeas and curry powder, saute a little bit more. Add tomatoes, and once the tomatoes are starting to look cooked, add swiss chard or kale or spinach or whatever greens you fancy. Season with salt and pepper, maybe more curry, and a couple spoonfuls of some kind of tamarind something, and cook until the greens are done.

Serve over rice, maybe with a fried egg on top.
posted by snorkmaiden at 10:23 AM on August 13, 2014

Saag is my favorite way to eat large amounts of spinach. I decrease the amount of cream to lighten it up and it's still magically delicious. My answer to "how do I eat more veggies?" is almost always "cook more Indian food."
posted by gatorae at 10:28 AM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Have you read a book on which foods have which nutrients? knowing that I'm getting vitamin D from mushrooms or magnesium from lentils makes me more excited to shop & eat.

Also buying true extra virgin olive oil, truffle oil and balsamic vinegar gets me excited. Not whole foods but a proper olive oil dispensary / distributor / wholesaler.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:38 AM on August 13, 2014

On the simpler-but-not-less-delicious side: Being from the US, vegetables were really not a traditional part of my breakfast plan, but I've started pan frying some grape tomatoes and mushrooms with my eggs and toast, and serving the eggs with whatever herbs are available and seem appropriate. Usually chives, when I've got them. I've also done things like zucchini and asparagus, now that I'm more used to the idea that this is a meal that comes with a vegetable side dish, but the tomatoes and mushrooms are, I have been told, a fairly traditional British thing. The asparagus, though, is particularly good with some crushed garlic.
posted by Sequence at 10:44 AM on August 13, 2014

I'm obsessed with balela, a black bean and chickpea salad. It's made of healthy, but has more complexity and flavor than you would think possible.

Greens with white beans and bacon (this recipe says pancetta, but go ahead and substitute the pork product of your choice) are also dead simple to make, and I could eat this stuff three meals a day for a week.
posted by Mayor West at 10:58 AM on August 13, 2014

I have been working for several months on getting just the right recipe for roasted broccoli. Because broccoli is so good for you! But bad broccoli is really bad, even if you glop cheese on it. I found a recipe online, and it was great if you had broccoli that was really fresh, but if you got the supermarket broccoli that was a little older, no dice.

As I don't have easy access to super fresh broccoli all the time, I kept experimenting and came up with something that usually works:

Several heads (about 3 large heads' worth) of broccoli.

Chop into florets; I also like halving the small pieces so that they have nice freshly-cut surfaces for absorbing seasoning.

Chop three cloves of garlic. (I am considering roasting these first to increase flavor? but haven't tried that yet).

Squeeze the juice from three small (small, sour! not the larger, more sweet kind) lemons. Yes, three.

Toss broccoli, lemon juice, and garlic in bowl; also add and toss maybe 2 tablespoons of olive oil and as much coarse-ground salt as you think good.

Let sit for 20 minutes (you can cover it if you wish). This is very important. You have to let the lemons and spices defeat the desire of broccoli to become mushy and wooden. It is possible that longer is even better. I am still experimenting, as I mentioned.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F

Line cookie tray with parchment paper (this works better than foil, don't use foil) and pour out broccoli on to it; add a little pepper at this stage if you want (or any other seasonings).

Cook for 16-20 minutes until broccoli is well-roasted.

Add fresh-grated parmesan (if you wish; we don't since husband is dairy-allergic)

What should happen is that when you eat a piece of broccoli, you get a little "zing" of lemon/salt/oil/garlic/pepper, and it makes you happy, for maybe the first time in your life (if you are me) to eat broccoli.

We tend to make up a big batch and eat it as a side dish with whatever our main dish is. We may add it to soups when fall gets here. But meanwhile, we get to feel virtuous, cause goddamn it, we ate our broccoli.
posted by emjaybee at 10:58 AM on August 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

Basically everything Melissa Joulwan makes is gold. Meat, plants, and SPICES!
posted by hishtafel at 10:59 AM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is there a farmers' market near you? The way I get excited about cooking vegetables is to go to the market and pick up whatever looks fresh, interesting, or cheap, then head home and figure out how to cook it. Tonight's dinner is going to involve Thai eggplant and pink oyster mushrooms.

For exciting vegetable recipes, I highly recommend Annie Somerville's book Fields of Greens. It's a little chefly, and I often find myself taking shortcuts, but the flavors are much richer and more intense than many other collections of vegetarian recipes. (There are lots of stews and side dishes where you can throw some meat back in if you want some.)
posted by yarntheory at 11:01 AM on August 13, 2014

Classic orange veggie recipe variation #1: Stir-Fried Sweet Potatoes With Brown Butter and Sage (video)
Time: 20 to 30 minutes

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and grated, 4 to 6 cups
Salt and pepper
1/2 stick butter, more to taste
4 cloves garlic, crushed
20 sage leaves.

1. Put oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add sweet potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until they change color and begin to brown, then stir more frequently until they are tender but not at all mushy.

2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sage; shake pan occasionally. When butter turns brown, turn off heat.

3. Use tongs to remove sage and garlic from butter. Serve potatoes drizzled with butter and garnished with a few sage leaves. Garlic can be served alongside, though it will not be super-soft.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
Classic orange veggie recipe variation #2: Savory Stir-Fried Sweet Potatoes (full recipe is at the link)

Classic green veggie recipe: Garlicky Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad
Time: 10 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating

1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
2 heads broccoli, 1 pound each, cut into bite-size florets
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 fat garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons roasted (Asian) sesame oil
Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes.

1. In a large bowl, stir together the vinegar and salt. Add broccoli and toss to combine.

2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Add garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in sesame oil and pepper flakes. Pour mixture over broccoli and toss well. Let sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature, and up to 48 (chill it if you want to keep it for more than 2 hours). Adjust seasonings (it may need more salt) and serve.

Yield: 6 to 8 side-dish servings or more as an hors d’oeuvre.
posted by maudlin at 11:04 AM on August 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

omg indian food is PERFECT for this! traditional homestyle indian food is all about making good, delicious vegetables the main focus of healthy and hearty dishes. unlike those you find in restaurants, the south indian curries i grew up eating were hearty but very healthy, light, and made with good, fresh veggies. one of my favorites is a broccoli lentil curry that's dead simple but SO GOOD i just want to go home and camp in my mom's kitchen right now:

- boil a cup of moong dal in lots of water (like cooking pasta, basically) until soft. it'll take some time. when finished, strain out the water and keep the lentils ready.
- while that's cooking, chop up a big bunch of broccoli, rinse, and pan-fry on low heat in a big, sturdy pan.
- once the broccoli cooks for a few minutes, cover the broccoli a quarter to half-way with water and put the lid on the pan such that a little gap is open for vapor to escape. right now you're basically steaming the broccoli in the pan.
- once the broccoli cooks until a little soft and water evaporates, then stir in the lentils, take off the lid, and slightly increase the heat. add a little more oil if necessary to fry the lentils a bit with the broccoli.
- season with the classic trifecta (seriously, this goes in EVERY indian dish) of salt, red chili powder, and a pinch of turmeric.
- sprinkle coconut flakes (about a spoonful) and cook for a couple more minutes until broccoli begins to brown.

tada, you've made a DELICIOUS home-style broccoli lentil curry. i'm really jealous, invite me to your kitchen now, etc.
posted by krakus at 11:20 AM on August 13, 2014 [5 favorites]

This Easy Spinach Dal is stupidly good. A big part of that is the whole stick of butter involved.

Smitten Kitchen's ratatouille worked out well for me recently. Got some of this Bulgur Salad with Mushrooms, White Beans and Arugula in the fridge right now but used farro instead of bulgur. Both of these are good with some goat cheese.

Also recently fried a ton of eggplant slices with panko and had a shredded cucumber/carrot vinaigrette salad thing on the side. That was good too.
posted by evisceratordeath at 11:39 AM on August 13, 2014

I recently made yellow & pasta.
Onions - chop and saute in olive oil until transparent, beginning to brown, then add
bite-size yellow squash (you can use zucchini if you like it) and some garlic, turn up the heat and brown it, add
sliced mushrooms, swiss chard, spinach and any other veg. cluttering up the fridge. The mushrooms give off juice
Cook up some chopped bacon, add to the squash.
Cook some tasty pasta, maybe spirals
make a bit of a sauce with some sherry, grated ginger, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce. Not too much, just enough to make it juicy. Serve over pasta.

I made enough for 2 - 3 meals, and ate all the veg. immediately. The basic recipe works wth different veg.; I always add onions and garlic, and almost always add mushrooms.
posted by theora55 at 11:49 AM on August 13, 2014

Roasted veg - esp. brussel sprouts with pancetta.
posted by theora55 at 11:50 AM on August 13, 2014

I make AWESOME porridge that makes me get out of bed JUST to cook it. It's sugar-free, super-sweet regardless, and yes, totally full of not-get-scurvy-get-more-vitamins stuff:

- grate an apple &/or mash a banana into a small pan
- add half a teaspoon of cinnamon
- add a splash of water and get the heat on
- now snip up dried apricots &/or dried prunes (e.g. plums) &/or dried figs and/or any other dried fruit you like with a pair of kitchen scissors straight in to the pan. Raisins is good. Sultanas is great. etc
- after a couple of minutes, add porridge oats (1.5 cups) and boiling water (2 cups)
- cook, stir, stir, cook (5 mins) til it's porridge
- serve in a bowl with some added flaked almond on top if you like

It's fully flexible with whatever you like and what you've got available. Bonus breakfast protein tip: eat some protein at the same time.
posted by Joeruckus at 1:42 PM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

This Alice Waters lentil salad recipe is amazing, I've also done the cucumber/cilantro variation, it is great.

My wife makes a really excellent kale and sausage soup, you could of course use chard instead of kale. Saute some onions in olive oil, add chicken broth and canned diced tomatoes, add sausage (I like garlic-herb chicken sausage), add kale/other greens. If you want, you can add white beans and/or pasta to make the soup have more body. It's one of those dishes that is much better than the sum of its parts.

Take mini red potatoes, toss with olive oil, salt, garlic, and (optionally) fresh rosemary. Roast in oven. SO GOOD. Actually, this is an excellent way of cooking almost any vegetable.
posted by insectosaurus at 1:58 PM on August 13, 2014

Maybe this is obvious and you do this already, but I love just chopping up a bunch of vegetables and roasting them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. I pick whatever's seasonal or on sale: potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, beets, etc. You can add herbs as well, but I think the simplicity of salt, pepper, and garlic is more than adequate. Really delicious, super easy, and works great as a side to whatever your protein of choice is. As a bonus, if you roast a huge batch of veggies on one day, it'll last you as a side for the rest of the week.

Really though, the main virtue of the "roast a bunch of veggies" method is that it's a fallback for when you don't have the mental energy to embark on anything more complicated, and that as a dish it's reliably tasty and versatile.
posted by yasaman at 4:15 PM on August 13, 2014

Just entering my dinner rotation tonight for the first time: Spring rolls!! I based it off many blogs that you can surely find yourself, and after I read enough to get the gist, I just winged it. (Wung it?) It was super yummy and we will definitely be making it again. It is good for using stuff up when you have just a little bit of various things lingering in your fridge.

Get some spring roll skin/wraps/whatever they call it at your local Asian or specialty store. All the recipes I found online called them rice paper, but the ones we found at our store are tapioca-based and are called "spring roll skin." Also get some rice noodles if you like that in your spring rolls.

Marinate some boneless pork chops in lime/soy/fish sauce/little bit of oil/little bit of thinly sliced garlic/little bit of hoisin.

Julienne whatever you've got for veg! I had carrot, a young tender kohlrabi, and several small/thin green beans. I tossed these in a bit of lime/fish sauce/rice vinegar. Also julienned some cucumber and salted and drained them on their own, so they didn't dilute the marinade of the other veg.

I also thinly sliced some green onion, and tore up some lettuce. And I had some basil/parsley/mint/garlic pesto from the other day. Follow the directions on your rice noodles to soften them, if you're using them.

The googling you'll do will tell you how to do the spring roll skins, but basically it goes "dip them in hot water until they turn into edible-feeling spring roll skins." Then lay them flat on your cutting board, and put meat, sliced veg, noodles if you're using them, herbs (whole or pesto'd), lettuce. Then fold in the sides and fold up the bottom and roll it up, tucking it so it stays all nice and neat.

Eat immediately, dipping in the sauce you made earlier, obviously, which is 1 part peanut butter, 1 part hoisin, plus some soy and some rice vinegar, and water to thin to taste.
posted by librarina at 9:26 PM on August 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

This meal has a ton of veges in it (as well as delicious, delicious chorizo), and it's pretty much the most delicious thing ever. I double the amount of spinach and don't pre-cook it (just wilt it in at the end). I've made it for dinner nearly weekly for a few months now.
posted by gaspode at 6:58 AM on August 14, 2014

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