Lemony Vegetable Antipasto

Dinner tonight with friends will be risotto, so to follow with the Italian theme, I have put together a lightweight antipasto dish to serve with freshly baked pita chips. This lemony delight is vegan, chock full of vitamins and supports the Mediterranean diet. In other words, I am trying to lower the carb load and saturated fats, because I’m takin’ in too many! This would also be a great appetizer for the Superbowl party! You can play, “Hide the Vitamin” while everyone else watches the game!

Lemony Vegetable Antipasto:

  • 1 red pepper, flame roasted
  • 1/2 roasted cauliflower
  • 1 can whole artichoke hearts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chiffonade
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: To prepare the cauliflower, steam it for a few minutes just until it begins to get tender. Then place it in a baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil over the top, and roast it at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. It will be easy to pierce with a fork when it’s done.

While the cauliflower roasts, cut the red peppers in half. Using tongs, hold the pepper halves over the stove flame to blister. If you aren’t interested in this method, the peppers can be easily roasted with the cauliflower, but for less time. Roast them until they are just tender.

Once the veggies are tender, pulse each separately to chop. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, add extra olive oil if you like, and taste for salt preference. Serve with crostini, crusty bread or pita chips.

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Big time health food on the platter here: Orange cauliflower with power folate, cancer fighters, fiber, vitamin C and many other beneficial beauties. Brussel sprouts, too, sport essentials like iron for hemoglobin, and the sautéed mustard greens give it all a little punch. Sop this up with Naan and Indian Curry for a warm and healthy vegetarian meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, leaves trimmed off
  • 1 pound Brussel sprouts, stems trimmed
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Indian Curry (Recipe Follows)

Directions:

Preheat oven 375 degrees.

Use a steamer basket in a pan of boiling water to steam the Brussel sprouts and cauliflower for about five minutes until just tender. Place the cauliflower into a baking pan and spread a coating of the Indian Curry over the top.

In a bowl, mix the Brussel sprouts with a large spoonful of the curry and place mixture into baking dish with cauliflower.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender.

Once the Brussel sprouts and cauliflower are tender, saute the mustard greens with a little olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Plate the veggies and serve with Naan (Indian flatbread) and more curry dip.

Indian Curry Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1” piece of ginger, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp. dried pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala
  • ½ tsp. red chili powder, to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

Coat the saute pan with half of the oil, and saute the onion until it begins to brown. Add chopped ginger and garlic and cook until they release their flavor. Next add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. You want to make sure there is enough oil in the pan to coat the spices. Add the rest of the spices one after the other and stir them around in the pan until you hear the mustard seeds popping. Squeeze the lime juice into the mixture and then the rest of the oil. Turn off the heat, and remove the sauce from pan into a bowl. You don’t want anything to burn!

Peppers and Eggplant – Roasted Sandwich

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This is one of those gigantic pressed “sexy” sandwiches as they are called in the blog world. This one hosts freshly made pesto, roasted red peppers and eggplant from my Foxtail Farm CSA as well as fresh mozzarella and a little lemon mayo.

The idea is to take a large loaf of fresh bread like chiabatta or stirato and remove the innards. Then you can stuff it with most anything you like on a sandwich, wrap it in plastic and press it in the fridge by placing it under a cutting board weighted down with cast iron pans. This beauty travels well, and tonight will be enjoyed at the music and movies at Lake Harriet Bandshell.

If you’ve got the gumption, wrap the beast in foil and warm it in the oven – I think it will be even better like that!

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Peppers and Eggplant – Roasted Sandwich

Sandwich Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf stirato or chiabatta sliced in half and soft bread removed
  • 1 cup basil pesto
  • mayo (optional)
  • 6-7 red peppers, roasted
  • 2 medium eggplant, salted and sweated then roasted
  • 16 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch basil
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Pesto Directions:

In a food processor, blend basil, walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper. While the machine runs, drizzle olive oil through the feed hole just until the pesto forms a paste. You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice. This pesto should be a little dry so your sandwich doesn’t get mushy.

Roasting Directions:

1) Slice the eggplant into 1/2 slices. Sprinkle with salt and place in a colander for thirty minutes to sweat. Rinse and pat dry with a clean towel.

2) brush the eggplant with oil and place on baking sheet in single layer.

3) Place whole peppers on baking sheet.

4) Roast eggplant and peppers at 425 degrees until they are browned. The peppers should be blistered on all sides so you may want to turn them a few times during the roasting process.

5) After the peppers are blistered, place them in a brown paper bag and roll the top down to seal. You want to steam the skins off as the peppers cool. Once they cool, the skins will slip off fairly easily. I have run into a few peppers that give me trouble, so I just leave those skins on. Don’t sweat it – keep it simple.

6) Spread the pesto on both halves of the sandwich and then layer the eggplant, roasted peppers and mozzarella cheese. Spread the mayo on top of the pesto and close the sandwich.

7) Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap, place it between two large cutting boards and flatten with cast iron pans. It should press in the fridge for three to four hours before serving.