Category Archives: Vegetables

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}If you’re searching for a plant-based summer recipe that is as visually striking as it is delicious, look no further. This Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust combines two of my favorite things—simply-prepared vegetables and soft corn polenta—and elevates them into one magnificent main. Did I mention that it’s naturally gluten-free and vegetarian?*

*I wrote vegan swaps in the recipe, too.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}While this recipe takes some time to prepare, none of the steps are difficult and the results are more than worth the effort! You can make things easier for yourself by preparing the polenta and forming the crust a day ahead.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}When you’re ready to bake, spread on some tomato sauce and slice up a bunch of summer produce. If you’re a little fancier than I am and have a mandoline, this would be a great time to use it.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Assemble the tart by arranging the sliced vegetables in concentric circles and finishing them off with olive oil and fresh thyme. Cover the whole thing with a parchment round to ensure that everything cooks evenly. And then…Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}…well, let’s just say I’ll pray for you during the thirty minutes between baking and slicing. I promise it’ll be worth the wait. I mean, when are polenta and ratatouille not worth the wait?!Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}I love this tart when it’s fresh, but you should know that it slices particularly well at room temperature and cold, meaning this is a great make-ahead option. The tart pictured here was made on a Monday and reheated by the slice for lunches all week long.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}It was exactly as wonderful as it looks.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust
ratatouille adapted from Deb Perelman
makes 1 9-inch round tart, 4-6 servings

Polenta Crust:
2 cups water
1 cup whole milk (or unflavored, unsweetened plant milk)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon prepared dijon mustard
few grinds freshly ground black pepper

Ratatouille:
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2-1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt (based on your taste), divided
~1/2 small, thin eggplant, 1/8 inch slices
~1/2 medium zucchini, 1/8 inch slices
~1/2 medium yellow squash, 1/8 inch slices
~1/2 long, thin red bell pepper, seeded, 1/8 inch slices
~1 1/2 roma tomatoes, 1/8 inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
few grinds freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

For assembly:
9-inch round piece of parchment paper

For serving (optional):
fresh parsley or other herbs
feta or goat cheese

Grease a 9-inch round springform pan or tart pan with removable bottom. Set aside.

Make polenta. Bring water and milk to a simmer. Keep an eye on it, as milk can boil over dramatically without much notice. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Whisking constantly, add polenta in a thin stream. Reduce heat to medium-low, whisking very frequently for 25-30 minutes, until thick. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, dijon, and black pepper. Transfer to prepared pan and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to spread it to the edges. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Using the back of a wet spoon, press the polenta from the center toward the edges of the pan to create a rustic crust. Set aside. At this point, the crust may be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare the ratatouille filling. Spread tomato sauce on the bottom of the tart. Scatter minced garlic and shallot over the top, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Starting from the outer edge and working in a concentric circle to the center, arrange sliced eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper and tomato in an overlapping pattern. Drizzle with olive oil and top with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper and fresh thyme.

Cut a piece of parchment to fit over the pan, covering all exposed tart. Gently lay it in the pan. Bake tart 45-55 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove and discard parchment. Let tart cool at least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve with fresh herbs or cheese, if desired.

Slices will be neatest at room temperature, but tart may be served at any temperature. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}

Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes

Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesFor weeks, I have been eagerly waiting to share this recipe with you. I’d love to say that I feel this way with every single recipe in my archives, but that would be a lie. I only post recipes that I like and believe in, of course, but it’s rare that I get all kid-on-Christmas about one.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSo, what’s so special about this recipe? Well, for one, it’s a vegetarian main (or hearty side), and I can never have too many of those. And two, it’s for twice-baked potatoes that are filled with the flavors of my favorite hot, cheesy dip. Need I say more?!Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesThese Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes are so delicious, y’all. They’re soft and creamy on the inside and brown and crispy on the outside. Oh, and there’s melted cheese involved. And a serving of vegetables. Yesssss.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesIf, by chance, you’ve never heard of or eaten a twice-baked potato…well, I’m sorry that you’ve been deprived for so long. Luckily, you can remedy that today! Let me give you a quick rundown.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesAs their name states, twice-baked potatoes are potatoes that have been baked two times. The first time, they are rubbed down with oil and salt and baked until tender.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesNext the potato innards are scooped out, leaving behind four potato skin “boats.” The potato flesh is mashed with other ingredients to create a filling.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesTraditionally, those include sour cream, bacon, cheddar, and scallions, but this recipe deviates from the norm in favor of lemony sautéed spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, butter, cream cheese, and monterey jack cheese. YUM.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesThe filling is then spooned back into those potato skins, topped with more cheese, and baked a second time, until golden and a bit crispy ❤ Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesI prefer to serve Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes as a main, but they also work well alongside chicken or pork. However you serve these potatoes though, they’re guaranteed to leave you wishing you’d doubled the batch.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes

Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes
makes 4 servings

2 medium-large russet potatoes (about 1 pound total)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
5 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 13.5 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained
2 ounces full-fat cream cheese (1/4 brick)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
1 cup (about 4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scrub and dry potatoes. Prick each several times with a fork. Massage 1/2 teaspoon each olive oil and salt onto potato skins. Place on prepared pan and bake about 1 hour, or until I small knife meets no resistance when inserted. Let potatoes cool 7-10 minutes, or until they can be handled.

While potatoes are baking, prepare the filling ingredients. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add spinach by the handful, wilting it as you go so as not to overload the pan. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. When all spinach has wilted, remove pan from heat. Squeeze in lemon juice and give another stir. Set aside.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to cut artichoke hearts into a 1/2-inch dice. Set aside.

When you can handle the potatoes (they should still be very warm), remove them to a cutting board. Slice them in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving behind the potato skin “boats.” Set the skins aside.

Make the filling. Place potato flesh in a medium mixing bowl. Use a potato masher (or two forks) to break up the large pieces. Add cream cheese, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper and continue to mash just until combined. Do not over-mash. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in spinach, artichokes, and 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack. Taste a small bite of filling and adjust seasoning as needed.

Place potato skins on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Divide filling mixture among skins (1/2-2/3 cup each); they will likely be heaping a bit. Top each with 2 tablespoons shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Bake for another 20-25 minutes at 400F, or until the cheese is browning in places. Let potatoes cool a few minutes before serving.

Twice-Baked Potatoes are best eaten the day they are made, but leftovers can be draped with a damp paper towel and reheated in the microwave, if desired. I’m sure they can also be reheated in a toaster oven or oven, although I have not tried it myself. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels SproutsI don’t spend much time writing about vegetables, seeing as this is a baking blog and all.Caramelized Brussels SproutsBut the truth is that I eat a lot of vegetables. A lot. Gotta balance out all the baked goods somehow, you know?

Let’s not discuss how many times I’ve had pie and salad for lunch over the last three weeks. #bakerproblemsCaramelized Brussels SproutsThese Caramelized Brussels Sprouts are one of my fall/winter favorites. They’re basically your standard roasted brussels sprouts with the volume turned up. Plus, they’re super easy to make and have this sweet-salty-herby-spicy thing going on that makes them totally irresistible. Like, good luck getting them from the pan to the table without eating half the batch. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Caramelized Brussels SproutsI make Caramelized Brussels Sprouts for regular weeknights all the time, but they’re also great for dinner parties and holidays. I made them for Christmas dinner last year and they were a huge hit with my whole family! I can’t help but think they’d make a great Thanksgiving side dish, too.Caramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels Sprouts are very simple to make. Start by trimming the brussels sprouts and removing any banged-up outer leaves. There’s no need to slice them in half—minimal prep is the name of the game!Caramelized Brussels SproutsPut the sprouts on a baking sheet and toss ‘em with fresh rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt, a little sugar, and olive oil.Caramelized Brussels SproutsRoast the brussels sprouts for 40 minutes, giving the pan a good shake every 15 minutes. The resulting sprouts will have deeply browned (but not burnt!), crispy exteriors and buttery-soft centers.Caramelized Brussels SproutsRemember that “sweet-salty-herby-spicy” thing? Well, add “crispy-buttery.”Caramelized Brussels SproutsAnd maybe “-things-dreams-are-made-of.”
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
makes 6-8 servings

2 pounds whole raw Brussels sprouts, trimmed & kept whole
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, based on your preference
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, based on your preference

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine all ingredients on a dry rimmed baking sheet and toss together with clean hands. Spread coated brussels sprouts into one layer.

Roast 40 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes. Brussels Sprouts are ready when the exteriors are deeply browned (but not burnt) and the centers are tender. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts are best the day they are made, but may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Caramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels Sprouts

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}

If there were ever a time for comfort food, it’s today.

StellaOur family dog, Stella Rose, died Monday evening, just one day after her thirteenth birthday. My sisters and I were informed of her passing last night, and while I had already written half a post about these enchiladas, suddenly another rant about the lack of quality Mexican food in New York City seems so…trivial.

StellaBut! This is a food blog, so I am going to talk about enchiladas anyway.

StellaBefore I do though, let me say that I loved this happy little dog with all my heart and that I am so glad she was part of our family. Dinners at home in Fort Worth won’t be the same without the jingle of her collar as she wanders under the table looking for scraps and scratches between the ears. She was a mess–but a sweet mess–and she will be missed by many.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}So today, let’s eat comfort food. For me, that’s usually something Tex-Mex or Mexican-inspired. On this terribly difficult day, these Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde} totally fit the bill.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}This recipe is my at-home take on my favorite dish from Alma, a wonderful Mexican restaurant on the western edge of Brooklyn. In fact, it may be the only Mexican restaurant in New York City that I would actually call wonderful. Alma’s menu doesn’t really cross over into Tex-Mex territory, but that doesn’t matter when there are blow-your-mind-fantastic vegan enchiladas to be had.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}While I’m not usually interested in enchiladas that don’t involve copious amounts of melted cheese, I make an exception for these. With all the meaty (and meatless!) goodness from the 2+ pounds of mushrooms, the tender corn tortillas, and the earthy, spicy pumpkin seed mole,* there certainly isn’t any lack of flavor. And since I am currently trying to improve my eating habits, these are a great way to get a few extra nutrients into my diet.

*Note: Mole (pronounce moh-leh) is a name for a variety of Mexican sauces made from chili peppers, fruits, nuts, and/or seeds. Mole made from pumpkin seeds (pepitas) is called pipián.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}As with most from-scratch enchilada recipes, Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde} are an undertaking. Start-to-finish, it takes me just over two hours to make a batch. This process can be shortened by preparing the mushrooms a day ahead, but I don’t recommend making the pumpkin seed mole in advance. Don’t let that deter you–it really doesn’t take much time to make the sauce.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Just roast a bunch of jalapeños, a poblano, half an onion, some garlic, and some pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)…

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}then blitz it all with some cilantro, spices, and vegetable stock…

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}pour it all over the mushroom enchiladas and bake for twenty minutes or so.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}If you really can’t imagine enchiladas without cheese, you may sprinkle some queso fresco over the top. I, however, prefer to garnish these with more toasted pepitas. I like the extra crunch. And I think they’re pretty.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}I have made these enchiladas twice in the last two weeks and I’m still thinking about them. This is comfort food that nourishes my body and soothes my soul–on a day like today, I can’t ask for anything more.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Rest in peace, sweet little old lady dog.Stella

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}
makes about 12 enchiladas, 4-6 servings

Mushroom Filling:
36 ounces mushrooms (I used white button, cremini, and shiitake)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder (or any other chile or chili powder)
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 Kosher or sea salt

Pumpkin Seed Sauce/Pipián Verde:
4 jalapeño or serrano peppers, stems removed
1 poblano pepper, stem and seeds removed
1/2 large white onion, peeled and sliced in half
5 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/3 cups raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups low sodium vegetable stock, divided

For Assembly:
vegetable or canola oil
12-14 corn tortillas
2-3 tablespoons pepitas, toasted

Clean and thinly slice mushrooms. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat. Working in batches, brown the mushrooms. Season with cumin, chile powder, cayenne, and salt before removing from heat. Set aside.

Make the sauce. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

Make the sauce. Slice jalapeños and poblano in half lengthwise. Slice 1/2 white onion into two pieces. Place peppers and onion, along with unpeeled garlic cloves, on prepared pan. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Roast 20-25 minutes.

Place pepitas on an ungreased rimmed baking sheet. Roast 5 minutes, until fragrant. They may make a faint popping/squeaking sound as they cook.

Transfer pepitas and vegetables to a high-powered blender. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, cilantro, dried oregano, cumin, optional cayenne, salt, and 1 cup of vegetable stock. Blend until thick and velvety. Add remaining stock and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Assemble the enchiladas. Pour 1/2-inch of vegetable or canola oil into a heavy-bottomed skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Use tongs to briefly fry each tortilla for five seconds per side before setting aside on a plate.

Grease a 9×13-inch casserole or baking dish. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the pan. Working with one tortilla at a time, top with 2-3 tablespoons of mushrooms, roll tightly, and place seam-side-down in prepared pan. Repeat process until all mushrooms have been used. Top with sauce and cover the pan with foil. Bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until golden at the edges. Scatter more toasted pepitas over the top. Let cool ten minutes before serving.

Enchiladas are best the day they are made. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}