Category Archives: Vegetarian Side Dishes

Maple-Glazed Roast Pumpkin: Veggies are Yum!

Delicious maple-y goodness!

It’s pumpkin time! Actually, it’s fall, and October is past and I didn’t have a chance to carve a pumpkin for Halloween. So, I served my Halloween pumpkin up for dinner! With maple syrup, because I’m Canadian like that.

Ever eaten oven-baked sweet potatoes? That have been baking on a low heat for a long time? They get all sweet and caramelized and oh so delicious. I thought I’d try something similar with pumpkin slices, except I also treated them to my acorn squash treatment — a brown sugar dip before roasting. And then the roasting. And then the maple syrup glazing!

The result? Um, yum! I love maple syrup glazed anything, and adding maple syrup to my beloved veggies just makes them better!

Want to make some yourself? Let’s!

MAPLE-GLAZED ROAST PUMPKIN

  • 1/4 medium pumpkin, peeled
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil (I think butter would actually taste even better)
  • 1/8 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup

Slice peeled pumpkin into 1 inch thick slabs.  Mix vegetable oil and brown sugar and coat pumpkin slices in the mixture. Place on a cookie sheet and baked at 400 degrees Celsius for 20-30 minutes or until the bottom of the slices are golden and caramelized, and the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Removed from oven and brush with maple syrup twice. Serve warm and enjoy your maple-enhanced veggies! 

By the way, thinner slices of pumpkin caramelize more quickly in the oven. Oh, and you could substitute in many other sorts of squash for the pumpkin in this recipe. I mean, really, you can’t go wrong by roasting a squash and then glazing it with maple syrup, amirite?

Next Post: Pumpkin Gnocchi? Best Ever Almond Bundt Cake? Or perhaps my incredibly delicious Faux Cream Cheese Icing? So many delicious things, so little time to blog about them!

Linking Up at Full Plate Thursday!

Three-Ingredient Blue Cheese Pasta, And When Not to Freak Out

Pasta + cheese = want!

As the name implies, blue cheese is the star of this pasta dish. One pot, three ingredients, super-easy and super-quick to make…what’s not to love?

Unless you don’t love blue cheese. Then, move along lil’ doggie (to another recipe! Such as this one). Otherwise, make this dish and you’ll be in blue cheese heaven!

I first had this dish when I went snow-shoeing with some friends this winter. A bunch of us had rented a cabin and we ate communal-style, with lots of laughter and joking, and with some very good food! One of our friends made this blue cheese pasta, and told us that she developed the recipe when backpacking across South America recently. I’ve modified the amounts of the ingredients to make it more to my taste, as I like a saucier dish as opposed to a stickier one, but the outcome is the same — blue cheese yumminess!

Basically, you toss the pasta with a two-ingredient sauce, stir in some more cheese, and then sprinkle a tad more on top. And voila, done! It’s very quick to make; cooking the pasta is what takes the longest.

Let’s do this, boyo!

All you need!

Three-Ingredient Blue Cheese Pasta (serves two)

  • 3 cups cooked pasta (I used cavatappi, but you do you, boo)
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. plus two tbsp. blue cheese, crumbled

Cook pasta, and set aside. In the same pot, whisk the milk and 1/2 c. blue cheese together, until a thin sauce forms. Stir in pasta, and 1 tbsp. blue cheese. Plate and sprinkle remaining tbsp. of blue cheese on top. Et voila, tu es fini!

By the way, don’t freak out when you’re making the sauce and it starts to look a little…blue. That’s ok! It IS blue cheese, after all, and but it does look more appetizing when you’ve stirred in the crumbled cheese and sprinkled a tad more on top.

I will say, if you don’t like blue cheese, you won’t like this dish, as it’s the central theme, obviously. And it’s best to serve the dish with a nice side salad in order to balance out the strong flavour of the cheese. I served this dish alongside my broccoli slaw, and the DH loved it!

Next Post: I have the BEST cake recipe that I developed to celebrate the DH’s recent milestone birthday, and I’m going to be sharing it with you all! What kind of cake is it? Delicious, obviously, but stay tuned and find out the flavour shortly!

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday and at Happiness is Homemade!

Spinach Salad w/ Faro & Roasted Grapes: Memories of Meals Past + Salads I Have Known & Loved MASHUP

Lunchtime at my workplace! Salad, with a side of soup.

Know what time it is? It’s time for a Memories of Meals Past Post! (Also know as a ‘What-I-Ate-And-You-Can-Too’ post.)

As much as I love baked goods, I also like being healthy. As such, I like to balance my sugar/baked good intake with lots of whole grains and veggies. (And fruit, because my sweet tooth has a say even when I’m menu-planning healthily.)

So, that’s whole grains, veggies, and fruit. What can I make with those ingredients? And ideally it has to incorporate salad, since a) healthy and b) salad helps keep my IBS symptoms at bay. Hmm…oooh, ooh, I know!

Spinach Salad with Faro, Caramelized Onions, & Oven-Roasted Grapes! In other words, I took a Martha recipe and modified it slightly (Queen of Substitutions style) and voila! Lunch is served!

How did this recipe come together?

  • I boiled the faro (a type of whole wheat kernel, essentially) with a bunch of dried rosemary (this gave it a lovely flavour)
  • I caramelized the onions in a pan
  • I roasted the grapes (with a bit of salt)
  • I mixed it all together with some baby spinach
  • I added Martha’s vinaigrette
  • I ate it, dear reader. Actually I packed it for lunches for several days, and it was yum.

What did I switch up? I didn’t use concord grapes because it’s the wrong season for that and I’m not going to fork out an arm and a leg for imported concord grapes. Plus, I used spinach because arugula wouldn’t stay fresh once mixed with the vinaigrette. The spinach wilted a little, which was fine by me, as wilted spinach is still considered all foodie, and anyway, Martha’s specified arugula wouldn’t have held up to being packed in a lunch container.

The verdict? Nice. Nicer than the individual ingredients make it sound. But not uber-spectacular. Nice enough to make again? Yeeeees, but the biggest take-away for me from this recipe was that boiling faro with rosemary makes it AWESOME! And slightly chewy and better than rice, both in health benefits and taste. So, up with healthy grains! And salad. Because, really, health is precious. (As is sugar. Cue…*my precioussssss*)

Next Post: Sugary goodness in the form of easy yet delectable Chocolate Chunk Whipped Shortbread? Or Three Ingredient Blue Cheese Pasta? That’s right, it’s time for some carb-y goodness!

A Simple & Sassy Side Dish: Apricot & Zucchini Couscous

Only three ingredients, and ready in a jiffy!

Ok, it’s winter. Let’s talk soup.

So, I tend to cook a lot of soups. This is for several reasons: I can make it when I have time and stick it in the fridge for the next day, soups are easy to make, and I only have to make one dish if I serve it as a main course. Because side dishes? Such a pain to manage the timing of the cooking of all the different elements of a traditional meat-and-two-veg dish.

And then I came across this side dish!

Super-quick to make, it fits all my soup-er (ha!) criterion: I can stick it in the fridge and pull it out the next day, and it’s an easy way to add a side that a) delicious and b) healthy. It’s low-fat, has only three ingredients, and is chock-full of healthiness!

And did I mention it’s tasty? Because it’s tasty. 🙂

I’ve served this as a side dish, and I’ve also served it as a salad with a little balsamic dressing on it. (Hey, you do you!)  Honestly, it was MUCH quicker to make than you’d think. Try it, and see for yourself!

Apricot and Zucchini Couscous

  • 1 c. coucous (I bought mine at a local bulk food store)
  • dried apricots (also bought at the local bulk food store)
  • 1 zucchini

Boil 1 c. salted water. Add couscous and let sit for 5 minutes with a lid on the pot, until water is absorbed. Meanwhile, grate zucchini, and chop dried apricots into small chunks (1 apricot equals say, 8 to 10 chunks). Once couscous is rehydrated, stir in grated zucchini and chopped apricots. Let sit until flavours meld/the rest of the meal is done/the table is set. Bam, done!

The heat of the couscous will partially cook the zucchini, and the zucchini will release some water which will rehydrate the dried apricots.

Now isn’t that a quick side dish? And it’s a welcome change from my soup diet!

Next Post: Speaking of soup, should I post a soup recipe? Or those chocolate mint whoopee pies I was talking about before? So many delicious things!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday!

Everything is Coming Up Beets! (Easy Mennonite Pickled Beets)

Pickled beets, Mennonite-style. I feel so pioneer-ish!

Pickled beets, Mennonite-style. I feel so pioneer-ish!

Given that it’s fall, root vegetables are having their moment. My local grocery store had 10 lb bags of root veggies on sale for $1.97 last week, which is the best price you’ll find all year. So I? Bought 30 lbs worth. That’s right — 30 lbs of delicious root veggies! Ten pounds each of carrots, onions, and beets. Time to get on a preservation kick!

I chopped, blanched, and froze 5 lbs of carrots, as well as all 10 lbs of onions. Onions don’t freeze perfectly, but eh, good enough.

KITCHEN HACK

How not to cry when chopping onions: wear swimming goggles! You might look silly, but hey, you won’t be crying! (The same wasn’t true for the DH. After chopping 10 lbs of onions, the fumes had drifted out of the kitchen where I was working, along the hall, and into the man cave where the DH was. Let’s just say it was an emotional moment and leave it at that. Tee hee hee!) Seriously though, swimming goggles — do it!

So. That’s the carrots and the onions taken care of. But how to preserve (and eat) the beets? I made beet and bean hummus one time (sound bizarrely horrible, I know, but it’s actually bizarrely delicious), which we ate with homemade tortillas. And we’ve been eating salad topped with roasted beets, crumbled goat cheese, and vinaigrette all week. But still. Ten pounds of beets is a LOT of beets!

So I called up my mom and got her to tell me the pickled beet recipe that she used when I was growing up. I asked her where she found it, and she told me that she had received the recipe from a neighbour, who had said that it was a recipe from a Mennonite community. This is a verrrrry easy recipe that even a beginner cook can make, and it’s great as a side dish to round out a meal and bring some ‘eat the rainbow’ colour to your plate. All you’re doing is boiling, peeling, and chopping the beets, and then mixing the chopped beets with a quick pickling syrup. Easy as pie. (Actually, much MUCH easier.)

I'm all about the rough chop.

I’m all about the rough chop.

Shall we?

Easy Pickled Beets

  • 8 medium beets
  • 1 c. vinegar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • pinch of cloves

Boil beets until tender. Let cool, and the skins will rub right off under cold water. Slice the beets to your desired thickness (I tend to do a ‘rough chop’, but then again, I have no time for finicky cutting). Next, bring syrup ingredients (everything but the beets!) to a boil, and mix with sliced beets. Bam, done!

The longer you let the beets sit in the pickling syrup, the stronger the pickled flavour will be. You can serve these beets hot or cold (I love both!), as a side dish, on top of a salad, or just eat them with a fork. I like to can mine so that I can enjoy fresh autumn flavour all winter long, but you do you! And eat them knowing that not only do they taste delicious, but they’re packed full of nutrients! #WinningAtAdulting #TastesStillComesFirst

Next Post: Homemade Yoghurt? Homemade clean eating granola? Lentil sprouts? Oh dear, have I gone to the crunchy side? Fear not! More sugar (and fall flavour) is on the way with apple pie and pear custard squares!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday x2 and at this linkup too. Plus this one aaaaaand this one!