Early August Menu + Grilled Vegetable Bolognese

Hiiiii! It’s been about a million minutes since I’ve posted but I’m excited to try something new here today: sharing last week’s menu from our house! Selfishly, I want these weekly menus here because I want to document the memories. IDK why but I remember most things through what I was cooking or eating at the time. So, here we are. Also, I’m including a pretty wonderful recipe for a grilled vegetable bolognese that only a monster wouldn’t love.

*This post contains affiliate links to some of my favorite cookbooks. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission.

Early August dinners

What we made this week, with notes:

Saturday 7/30/22: Cassoulet on toast with a green salad. The cassoulet was frozen leftover from the winter, when I made a real-deal, legit cassoulet with homemade duck confit and all. Bucket list! The recipe came from Michael Ruhlman’s cookbook “From Scratch” and was completely delicious piled on some toasted, crusty bread. A squeeze of lemon on top and a salad on the side were just right to balance out the richness.

Sunday 7/31/22: Grilled Vegetable Bolognese with garlic bread and a green salad. The recipe is shared below! The sauce freezes perfectly so we were eating this leftover. High-fives to me for cleaning out my freezer last week, I guess!

Monday 8/1/22: Veggie Fried Rice. A Serving Tonight staple in this house and a great use for leftovers!

Tuesday 8/2/22: Grilled chicken wings and sauteed corn and leeks with fresh mozzarella. When I tell you we tossed the wings in the Thai curry sauce from Buffalo Wild Wings, it sounds weird that we paired them with anything involving fresh mozzarella. But, IDK… it worked! We threw some fresh jalapeno and lime juice in with the corn and leeks and lived happily ever after. If you’re in need of a good method for grilling wings, refer to this NYT recipe for Chicken Wings With Gochujang, Ginger and Garlic and use any sauce/seasoning you want. It’s foolproof!

Wednesday 8/3/22: Potato and Leek Top Frittata with goat cheese + marinated red peppers on toast. Leek tops! Eat them. The cookbook “To the Last Bite” by Alexis deBoschnek will show you how; this frittata recipe and the marinated red pepper recipe came from there and were super good.

Thursday 8/4/22: Chopped Thai Salad. We used this recipe from Pinch of Yum and threw in some savoy cabbage and chicken thighs we grilled on Tuesday night while the grill was already fired up for the wings. HUGE fan of this salad.

Friday 8/5/22: Tuna steaks with miso noodle salad. When your friend texts to offer fresh-caught tuna, you say yes. We seared the tuna steaks and dunked each bite in a fiery homemade wasabi-yaki sauce. I also added a miso noodle salad on the side that I think I ruined by adding some of that savoy cabbage from Thursday. What should have been a lovely, creamy noodle dish ended up a sad, watery salad. Boooo. But yay for tuna:

raw tuna steaks being seared in a hot skillet

Just for fun, here’s the original menu I wrote out at the start of the week. Didn’t stick to it 100% but still a delicious week. (The food marked for the Inn is what I cook for the staff at my friend’s beautiful Corolla Village Inn❤️)

On to that bolognese recipe…

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Grilled Vegetable Bolognese

two bowls of grilled vegetable bolognese with salad and bread

This grilled vegetable bolognese is my attempt at recreating an amazing charred vegetable bolognese my mom and I ate at chef Ashley Christianson’s Raleigh, NC restaurant, Death & Taxes. It’s smoky, loaded with summery veg flavor, and somehow hearty and light at the same time — a fabulous pasta dish for hot summer nights.

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 carrots, sliced in thirds lengthwise
  • 1 eggplant, sliced in 1/4″ thick slices lengthwise
  • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, cored and sliced into two or three large, flat peices
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/4” thick rings
  • 24 green onions
  • 1/2 a head of cauliflower, cut into 2 or 3 steaks
  • 3 ribs of celery
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes or any tomatoes you have
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • crushed red pepper
  • roasted garlic puree or 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/3 C chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 C tomato paste
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • 1 lb long pasta (I used bucatini)
  • reserved pasta water
  • grated parmesan
  • crispy fried onions for serving (store-bought French’s brand is perfect)

Instructions

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high.
  2. Drizzle all of the vegetables with olive oil and season on all sides with salt and pepper. Grill the veggies, turning them occasionally, until nicely charred. (For the cherry tomatoes, I used a perforated grill pan. You can put them on skewers if that’s easier, or just grill larger whole tomatoes.
  3. Allow veggies to cool slightly, then roughly chop them all.
  4. Add both kinds of onions, the carrots, and the celery to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste forms.
  5. Heat 2 TBS of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet or whatever pot/pan you like over medium heat, add the onion/carrot/celery mixture, a large pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes or until nicely browned.
  6. Pulse the remaining chopped vegetables in  the food processor and add them to the pan with the onion/carrot/celery mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated.
  7. Add a tablespoon or two of roasted garlic puree or 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, sundried tomatoes, and cook for another minute.
  8. Add the tomato paste and cook 3-5 minutes more. Season with another big pinch of salt and however much crushed red pepper you like.
  9. Add the white wine, turn the heat to low and allow the mixture to cook for another 30 minutes or so, adding water as needed to prevent burning/sticking. I used about 3/4-1 C of water total. Also, taste as you go and add salt as needed. The vegetables can take a lot of salt, especially as you add water to them. Just remember you’ll be adding salted pasta water and salty cheese later.
  10. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season it with salt. Add the pasta and cook until just shy of al dente.
  11. Using tongs, transfer the pasta to the pan with the vegetable mixture and toss to coat, adding enough pasta water to allow everything to move around easily. Let the pasta and sauce cook together for another minute or two, then turn off the heat, grate in some parmesan, and toss. Serve with extra grated parmesan and crispy onions on top.

Notes

The times and nutritional info noted in this recipe are approximate.

Keywords: grilled vegetables, vegetable bolognese, summer pasta, how to use up vegetables, grilled vegetable pasta, what to do with grilled vegetables

How to make eggplant taste good

TL;DR: Add a delicious sauce and roast the heck out of it.

Eggplant haters of the world, this one’s for you. I know you’re out there because a) I’m one of you and b) there are countless articles on the internet explaining why eggplant is the worst with recipes dedicated to all the people who hate it. But, despite the drama surrounding eggplant and its gross, bland, bitterness, it is possible to make this vegetable taste good. (Fact check: eggplant is technically a berry -*eye roll*.) All you need is some umami-loaded oyster sauce, a little sesame oil, and a generous drizzle of sambal oelek. And while we’re at it, you might as well throw in some broccoli, red onions, and fluffy jasmine rice to make it a Sweet and Spicy Vegetable Bowl. Trust me, you will be hungry enough for a meal once you get a whiff of this eggplant business roasting in the oven.

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Giant Dinner Salad

Giant Dinner Salads: if you know, you know. When the mood strikes, they can be your one-way ticket to total satisfaction, in a leafy-green kind of way. (Looking at you Charred Corn Salad and Steak and Apple Salad😘.) If you’re familiar with this blog at all though, you’re aware there will be more than just greens in this salad bowl. In my on-going saga of “more is always more”, we’re adding farro, cheese (Parmesan is good but manchego is great), smoked almonds, sliced pears, and dried cranberries to this towering pile of good-for-you greens. Also, this Giant Dinner Salad features thinly sliced chicken breast. But, you are welcome to leave that out for a meat-free situation and things will still be delicious.

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Sweet Potato Collard Green Fritters

I want to say I pulled this recipe out today because I was just trying to use up some last bits of veg in my house. But, the truth is, I have a long-standing, undying love for vegetable fritters. Sometimes, a fizzy batter and a shallow fry in a skillet is the best treatment you can give a vegetable. That’s the case today with these sweet potatoes and collard greens.

Batter for Sweet Potato Collard Green Fritters on a wire rack with lemon wedges
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Pasta with Fresh Tomato Butter Sauce

In honor of this very delicious tomato season, here is another fresh tomato recipe! This one comes in the form of a light, buttery sauce coating thin spaghetti, garnished with bunches and bunches of fresh basil, and a little grated Parm (if that’s your style). Ya’ll. It’s so good and perfect and easy. I made it for lunch the other day and I’m not usually someone who drags out a pan and lights up the stove for lunch. But these fresh, juicy tomatoes were calling my name.

chopped tomatoes in a bowl
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Fresh Tomato Basil Tart

The sun and the rain and the air have been really good to us on the OBX this summer and we have tomatoes for days. And basil is growing like a weed! I am reluctant to cook fresh garden tomatoes too much. Considering how sweet and juicy they are, it feels like a vegetable crime. But sometimes, an idea comes along that’s too good to resist and splaying these fresh tomatoes out all over a buttery, flaky tart dough showered with tons of fresh basil seemed like the best possible move. It’s like summertime on a plate. If the tomatoes in my tart picture look too round and uniform to have been homegrown by me, you are correct. I bought these from the farmer’s market because mine weren’t ripe enough yet. But, a week or so later, I proudly swung in from the garden with these beauties! Some of whom are definitely destined for another Fresh Tomato Basil Tart. Or, maybe this buttery tomato pasta? TBD.

fresh tomatoes on a kitchen towel
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Mushrooms and Kale with Breadcrumbs

So exited to bring you this super elegant but also super effortless veggie recipe today! It’s sort of a means to an end, really. Spoiler alert, the end is pizza with this mushroom/kale combo on top! And a white pizza sauce with an obscene amount of garlic. But you’ll have to wait till next week for that. For now, make this, make extra of it, and save the leftovers for the pizza.

This beautiful mess of wilty kale and crispy-brown mushrooms came about when I cooked it up to go alongside roast beef the other night and, despite my deep carnivorism, it was my favorite thing on the plate. So, here it is for you!

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5-Minute, No-Cook Pizza Sauce

When the homemade stuff is better than store bought and almost as fast as opening a jar 🙌 That is this 5-Minute, No-Cook Pizza Sauce! Guys, can I tell you how happy it makes me to have finally come up with this recipe? This is years of bad, overly sweet or boringly bland pizza sauce in the making. Finally, my well-balanced, salty/sweet and perfectly acidic sauce dreams are a reality.

Salami and Hot Pepper Sicilian Pizza With just the sauce on top
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Radish Greens Salsa

We’re growing a garden!! It’s happening! It’s the pride and joy of my covid #stayhome experience. Cleared, amended, and planted in April… and needing to be weeded almost every day since. Now that I am an official gardener, with all of 1 month’s experience under my belt, I want to share a tip with everyone: GROW RADISHES! Especially if you lack confidence and know-how, like me. Grow radishes.

Radish Greens Salsa in a black bowl next to a bunch of fresh radishes
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Charred Corn Salad

This salad has me feeling all shorts and flip-flops and outdoor dining vibes. And, super grateful spring is here. Charred Corn Salad is fresh and full of crispy-crunchy romain lettuce, raw chopped green beans, bright scallions, spicy jalapeño, creamy avocado, and beautiful shards of golden yellow corn, that’s been charred almost to death, making it toasty, juicy, and super sweet.

Chopped romain lettuce, charred corn on the cob, sliced jalapeño, sliced green beans, sliced green onions, and an avocado on a cutting board
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