Edamame, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage Salad with Sesame Dressing

Colorful vegetable salad in large white bowl

This salad has a lot going for it but texture is probably at the top of the list, with flavor coming in as a close second. Personality and aesthetic might tie for third? She’s bright, fresh, and fun and very popular in this house.

The spring-y weather greatly influenced the ingredients here but big credit goes to this Cashew Crunch Salad from Pinch Of Yum, which I’ve made so many times, adjusting to my personal cravings along the way, until it finally shape-shifted into this Edamame, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage Salad. I appreciate the extra boost of sweet, crunchy veg this one brings, plus the smoky/salty hit from smoked almonds.

Make it a meal

This salad was a major building block of a meal kit I delivered to the staff at a friend’s inn this week (this is a regular gig for me that satisfies my excessive desire to feed people and is SO fun). In case you’d like ideas on how to bulk this salad up, here’s what I made to go along with it (listed in order of top left to right from photo above):

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Edamame, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage Salad with Sesame Dressing

Colorful vegetable salad in large white bowl

A fresh, crunchy salad, packed with veggies and tossed with a creamy sesame dressing!

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale

dressing

  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 3 TBS rice vinegar
  • 2 TBS sesame oil
  • 1/4 C mayo
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

salad

  • 6 oz frozen edamame
  • 1/2 a head of red cabbage, thinly sliced on a mandolin (or in a food processor or by hand)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1/4” pieces
  • 1 crown of broccoli, chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
  • 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C smoked almonds, roughly chopped (I use a small food processor for this)
  • 1/4 C cilantro leaves, left whole or chopped if you prefer

Instructions

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine (or whisk together in a bowl)
  2. Drop frozen edamame into a pot of salted, boiling water and set a bowl of ice water aside. Cook the edamame for about 3-4 minutes to soften (the color should be bright green, you want to pull them out of the water before they start to turn a muted green). Drain edamame and transfer to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and help lock in the bright green color. Let sit in the ice water for about 10 minutes, then drain.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the edamame and remaining salad ingredients (save some of the green onions, smoked almonds, and cilantro for topping if you like), pour on the dressing, and toss to combine.

Notes

This salad keeps well for 4-5 days in the fridge.

See blog post for ideas on proteins/sides/meal prep!

This salad is inspired by the Pinch of Yum Cashew Crunch Salad.

Keywords: vegetarian, salad

Winter Vegetable Salad, the best way to cook beets, and a November 2022 menu recap

The past month of my life has been unofficially sponsored by the book “Listen to Your Vegetables” by Sarah Grueneberg and Kate Hedding. I ordered it to read during our vacation in Ocracoke after seeing it and its recipe for carrot lasagna mentioned in an article and WOW it is a fantastic cookbook.

I’ve learned a lot from the methods and ideas and have tackled vegetables I typically don’t cook with (hi, artichokes and beets) because these recipes make me feel like I fully understand how to do a good job with them. Also, the recipes make the vegetable the star but they don’t skimp on my favorite supporting ingredients like cheese, nuts, spice, sauce, etc. Practically the entire index has gone on my list of “food to make” in the notes app on my phone — I can’t put this book down. (P.S. There is also a homemade pasta chapter that is giving me visions of becoming a chic, oversized-oxford-shirt-with-the-sleeves-rolled-up-wearing, self-possessed, very charming, pasta queen.) What a book!

My favorite vegetable lesson learned so far has been how to roast beets to perfection and make them taste the way beet lovers have always claimed they do — sweet and delicious. To my palette (and Joey’s), they’ve always tasted like dirt and not much else. Not anymore! Srah Grueneberg has explained, via this book, that peeling the beets, cutting them into chunks, seasoning them with olive oil and salt, and roasting them in a foil packet before giving them a soak in a vinegar/honey mixture is the path to tasty beet kingdom. Now, I’m doing this all the time and putting those beets on crostini with ricotta on the reg and adding them to a super nourishing Winter Vegetable Salad (recipe below!).

But first…

a November 2022 recap

Here are some of the greatest hits from our dinners last month, just for funsies (and for my own nostalgia record):

Mushroom, brussels sprouts, ricotta pizza with artichoke and celery salad: This pizza is a repeat b/c I liked it so much the first time I made it… yet still haven’t written the recipe down to share here. Shame on me. The artichoke and celery salad came from the above-mentioned book, “Listen to Your Vegetables”. It was the first time I ever successfully prepared an artichoke so it deserves a spot here (and it tasted wonderful!):

Swiss Chard Rolls: Another hit from the Sarah Grueneberg book! I should have gotten a pic of the inside but it’s rice and quinoa (the recipe said farro but I used what I had) and lots of punchy, briny things: olives, sundried tomatoes, pepperoncini, feta, herbs, and the chopped-up swiss chard stems leftover from using the lovely chard leaves to wrap all this goodness in. I loved it so much I had to mess with it and add spicy ground beef and some sweet little golden raisins. I predict this will be on repeat — it’s G.O.A.T. material, for sure.

Thanksgiving charcuterie board: No explanation needed, just YUM! Ok, some explanation: this board included the Rosemary-Sizzled Salami, Dates, and Pecans, some za’atar-seasoned saltines I cannot find the link for, and the Marinated Mozzarella and Peppadew Peppers from the November issue of Bon Appetit. The salami and saltines were a hit and a half, the mozz and peppers were good but I prefer a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that uses the same peppers, but they’re stuffed with prosciutto-wrapped fontina, and marinated. Yup!

charcuterie board on a deck

Turkey pozole with mashed potato-beet green fritters and smoked almond romesco sauce: Thanksgiving leftovers at their finest. Well, not really — I live and die for a turkey sandwich. But this was good! And I love a fritter. The pozole recipe came from the book “From Scratch” by Michael Ruhlman — a very good book to learn core recipes that generate leftovers, and ways to use those leftovers. And the smoked almond romesco sauce is my recipe!

fritters and bowls of soup on a countertop

Vermouth-Roasted Pear and Taleggio Crostini: An excellent appetizer from (again) the above-mentioned Listen to Your Vegetables book. I actually mistook sherry for vermouth and this still came out fantastic. It’s hard to beat stinky cheese and caramelized pears on toasty bread. This pic could use a pop of green or something, but oh well:

crostini on a black plate

Tunisian-Style Chickpea and Turnip Curry: That is not the title of this gem of a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, but it’s what I call it. I sometimes add coconut milk if I’m feeling creamy, but it’s basically lots of veggies cooked down in the liquid from the chickpeas + tomato paste and warm spices. Suuuper comforting, despite how this poor-quality photo may look:

curry in a dutch oven with a wooden spoon

Alrighty! On to this gorgeous, wintery salad with the MOST perfect roasted beets!

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Winter Vegetable Salad

purple winter vegetable salad in a bowl

This salad blends crunchy cabbage, perfectly-roasted beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, chickpeas, and red onions and is doused in a bright, citrusy dressing. Add rice or quinoa if you like or add in other veggies, proteins, cheese, etc. — it all works!

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hours
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

Scale

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBS fresh orange juice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 TBS honey mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 C olive oil

for the salad

  • 3 medium beets, peeled and quartered
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1” pieces
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2” cubes
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced in 1/2″ thick wedges
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 a head of red cabbage, thinly sliced or shaved on a mandoline
  • 1 granny smith apple, cut into 1/2” cubes
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 TBS white wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1/2 C roasted nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts would all work)
  • 1/2 C chopped, fresh herbs (a mix of parsley, cilantro, dill, and mint is great)

optional add-ins

  • shredded chicken
  • smoked sausage (roast it on the same pan as the veggies for a nice sear — use a little less olive oil if you do this)
  • bacon (chop it and roast it on the same pan as the veggies — use a little less olive oil if you do this)
  • rice or quinoa
  • cheese (parmesan, manchego, cheddar, and feta are all great)
  • dried fruit (cherries, golden raisins, or cranberries are all yummy)

Instructions

make the dressing

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a large measuring cup or bowl, or add all ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake.

Prepare and roast the beets (the very best way)

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Set a wire rack inside a baking sheet, then lay two pieces of foil on the counter. Place the quartered beets on one sheet of foil, drizzle with 2 TBS of olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 tsp of kosher salt, then toss to coat. Place the second sheet of foil over top and crimp the edges together to form a packet around the beets. Place the packet on the wire rack-lined baking sheet and place it in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
  3. Add the white wine vinegar, honey, and 1 TBS of olive oil to a large, resealable bag and press it around with your fingers to combine. Set this aside for when the beets come out of the oven.
  4. Before removing the beets from the oven, test their doneness by sticking a pairing knife through the foil, into one of the beets — it should slide in and out with little resistance. 1 hour has always been exactly right for me, but if your beets are still tough, let them go a little longer, checking every 10 minutes or so. Remove the beets from the oven and let them cool in their packet for 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer the beets and their liquid to the bag with the vinegar/honey mixture, seal, toss to coat, and let sit for 15 minutes. The warm beets will absorb much of the liquid and take on a delicious, smooth, sweet flavor.
  6. Transfer the beets from the bag to a cutting board and cut into 1/2″ cubes.

roast the remaining vegetables (while your beets are roasting)

  1. Toss the chickpeas, cubed sweet potatoes, and sliced carrots and onions with 2 to 4 TBS of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and spread out on a second baking sheet. Place that in the oven and roast alongside your beets, tossing the veggies with a spatula every 15 minutes, until they’re nicely browned and caramelized — about 35 minutes total. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

assemble the salad

  1. In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, roasted beets and other veggies, the apple, any additional add-ins you may be using, and most of the nuts and herbs. Drizzle with dressing (no need to use all of it, I had about 1/4C leftover), toss, and top with remaining nuts and herbs. Enjoy!

 

 

Notes

*This salad keeps well in the fridge for 4-5 days.

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

Keywords: best way to cook beets, how to roast beets, winter salad recipe, make-ahead salad recipe

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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