In my effort to change our eating habits to something a bit healthier than meat and potatoes I make a meatless meal at least once a week. One of my favorites is this Zucchini Stir Fry.
It’s amazing how filling and tasty a simple meal of healthy veggies can be. This week I made this dinner of zucchini, spinach, and tomatoes. It was delicious, my husband loved it. You can serve it with a piece of whole grain bread if you wish; the bread is great for dipping in the juices.
You can also serve this dish as an appetizer or side dish. It’s so good! It goes great with barbecued and roasted meats.
1 large organic zucchini, cut into 2″- 3″ strips
1 cup fresh organic spinach
1/2 cup organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbls. organic coconut oil
1 tbls. minced garlic
1 tsp. cayenne red pepper
Sea Salt to taste
1. Heat oil over medium heat
2. Add garlic, sauté until it turns golden, stir constantly
3. Add zucchini, cook until it starts to soften about 5-6 minutes, stir constantly
4. Add tomatoes, cook until juices start to come out, stir constantly
5. Add spinach, cook until leaves wilt and turn bright green, stir contantly
We first tried Roasted Cauliflower Steaks as a side dish at La Hiki Kitchen one of the fine restaurants at the Four Seasons Hotel on Oahu. We loved it!
At that time I had no idea how easy it was to make at home. Once I realized how simple it was to make I serve it all the time! We’ve always enjoyed cauliflower, but I usually fry it, add it in Macluba (an Arabic dish that literally means upside-down!), or make deep fried cauliflower fritters called Em Shaat. Of course we serve it riced and mashed as well. Cauliflower is really versatile! And adding these Roasted Cauliflower Steaks makes them even more so.
You may be wondering what are Cauliflower Steaks? They’re thick slabs of cauliflower that’s cut from stem to top. To get them you use the middle portion of the cauliflower, the section that’s the tallest. You can get about 2-3 steaks per cauliflower head.
To make cauliflower steaks I trim off the leaves from the stem of the head. Then I place it stem up on a cutting board and slice down from stem to the florets. I make the slices about 1″ thick and try to get as many slices as I can. I save the smaller pieces to use for something else later or you can roast them along side the steaks. Slicing the steaks is probably the hardest part. It gets way easier after that!
So here’s the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Steaks. You can adjust the spices to suit your tastes. BTW this dish is Vegan and Keto friendly!
Roasted Cauliflower Steaks
1 Cauliflower, sliced into 1″ steaks
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Minced Garlic
1 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper (adjust to suit your taste or omit if you don’t like spicy foods)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbs. Fresh Parsley, chopped
Pre-heat Oven to 400 degrees
Line sheet pan with parchment paper
Slice Cauliflower into 1″ thick steaks
Place on pan
Mix garlic and crushed pepper in the olive oil
Brush oil mixture onto both sides of cauliflower steaks
Sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese
Bake for 15 minutes
Gently flip each steak over and sprinkle with remaining cheese
Return to oven and bake another 20-25 minutes or until it starts to brown on the top
Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley before serving.
You can change up this recipe by changing the spices you put on the cauliflower steaks. Try mixing cumin, chili powder, or oregano in the oil!
Maqluba is a Levantine dish popular in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine. The name literally means “upside down” because the meat, vegetables, and rice are stacked in a handleless pot to cook, then flipped over and placed on a large tray for serving.
These days Maqluba is described as a one pot dish, which I suppose it could be; assuming you don’t count the pot you stew the meat in, and the pan you fry the veggies in. Not to mention the bowl you soak the rice in, and if you’re adding vermicelli and pine nuts the pan you brown the pasta and nuts in.
Maqluba is very similar to Paella which is also a one pot dish composed of meat or seafood, veggies, and rice. Considering that many parts of Spain was under Moorish rule for a total of about 800 years it would be fair to say that Paella is the Spanish version of Maqluba or vice versa.
It is honestly the only Arabic dish I can claim to have mastered. After years of making Maqluba I’ve finally gotten it right every single time. It’s really not that difficult to make, it’s just tedious due to all the steps in the recipe and the time it takes to make it. If you count the time it takes to soak the rice this dish takes all day to make, at the very least about 3 hours. But it is truly worth the time and effort.
Maqluba is typically made with stewed meat, either lamb, beef, or chicken; fried vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower, or eggplant; and rice. All the ingredients are stacked in that order into a large deep pot preferably without handles. Of course you can omit the meat and make a vegetarian dish.
There are “enhancements” you can add to make the dish fancier. Some folks like to mix vermicelli and even garbanzo beans in the rice before cooking, then sprinkle it with pine nuts before serving. And of course in our family I slip tomato wedges between the meat before cooking, and some of us like to top the cooked dish with corn kernels and plain yogurt. In short I suppose each family has it’s own version on how to cook and eat Maqluba. But one thing is certain, it’s delicious!
Here’s how we make it at our house, but first here’s a quick tip. When making Maqluba use a deeper pot with no handles (a maqluba pot is the best, but hard to find in the US, you may find one at a middle eastern grocery store) and a lid, or a pot with removable handles or handles that aren’t too close to the pot lip. This will make flipping it over easier as handles can block the tray you flip it on to from laying flat on top of the pot. The pot has to be deep enough to layer the ingredients and still have enough space for the rice to expand as it cooks.
4-5 Cups Long Grain Rice
1 Tbs. Turmeric Powder
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
8-10 pieces of meat (lamb, beef, or bone in chicken thighs)
1 Large Onion, cut in chunks
1 Tbs. Garlic, crushed
1 Tbs. + 1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1 Tsp. + 1 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Box Stock (beef or chicken depending on the meat you use)
1 Large Cauliflower, cut into chunks
1 Large Eggplant, cut into rounds
3 Potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds
Oil for frying
2 Tomatoes cut in wedges
6 Cloves of Garlic, peeled
1 Can Garbanzo Beans, drained (Optional)
1/2 Cup Pine Nuts (Optional)
1 Can Corn Kernels (Optional)
1 Cup Fresh Plain Greek Yogurt (Optional)
Place rice in a big bowl and cover with water.
Add Turmeric to water and stir until it is evenly distributed and water turns yellow. Set aside for at least 2 hours. Check periodically as the rice will absorb the water. If all the water is absorbed add more and stir.
Heat olive oil in a stock pot.
Saute onions in hot oil until it starts to turn translucent.
Add crushed garlic and cook another minute, stir to keep from burning.
Add meat, 1 Tbs. Cumin, 1 Tsp. Nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook until meat starts to brown.
Add stock and then add water to completely cover the meat.
Let simmer until meat is tender and fully cooked. About 2 hours. Set aside when done.
Meanwhile place about 1″ oil in frying pan.
Fry your veggies until cooked and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
If using Vermicelli and/or Pine Nuts: Melt about 1 tbs. butter in a small frying pan. Add vermicelli and cook until it starts to turn brown, stir constantly to keep from burning. Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat this procedure with Pine Nuts.
When ready to stack meat in the pot:
Spray bottom and sides of pot with cooking spray.
Drain rice then stir in vermicelli noodles and/or garbanzo beans if using.
Starting with the meat, remove meat from pot it was cooked it, reserve the broth do not discard.
Arrange meat at the bottom of the pot.
Slip garlic cloves and tomato wedges between the meat.
Sprinkle meat with 1 tsp. cumin and 1 tsp. nutmeg.
Arrange veggies on top of meat.
Pour rice mixture over the veggies and smooth out to make the top flat.
Gently pour reserved broth over the rice. Fill until the broth just covers the rice, if you don’t have enough broth add water.
Cover with lid and simmer over medium heat until rice is cooked. Check every 10 minutes or so to make sure the liquid has not all evaporated before the rice is cooked. If you need to add more liquid, either broth or water. This takes about 30 minutes.
If the rice is cooked and you still have liquid remove lid and raise the heat for about 5 minutes so that the rest of the liquid evaporates. Be careful not to burn the bottom. Or you can carefully drain extra liquid before flipping.
When rice is cooked and there is no more liquid remove pot from lid. Let rest about 5 minutes.
Flip over onto a large tray.
Garnish with cooked Pine Nuts on the meat if desired.
Serve with bowls of corn kernels and plain yogurt.
Throwing a vegan dinner party in the autumn or winter months? Bake a pumpkin with a gorgeous stuffing of rice, fennel, apple, pomegranate seeds and pecans
1 medium-sized pumpkin or round squash (about 1kg)
4 tbsp olive oil
100g wild rice
1 large fennel bulb
1 Bramley apple
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp fennel seeds
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
30g pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
1 large pack parsley, roughly chopped
3 tbsp tahini
pomegranate seeds, to serve
1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut the top off the pumpkin or squash and use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds. Get rid of any pithy bits but keep the seeds for another time (see our pumpkin seed recipe ideas). Put the pumpkin on a baking tray, rub with 2 tbsp of the oil inside and out, and season well. Roast in the centre of the oven for 45 mins or until tender, with the ‘lid’ on the side.
2. Meanwhile, rinse the wild rice well and cook following pack instructions, then spread out on a baking tray to cool. Thinly slice the fennel bulb and apple, then squeeze over ½ the lemon juice to stop them discolouring.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Fry the fennel seeds and chilli flakes, then, once the seeds begin to pop, stir in ½ the garlic and the fennel. Cook for 5 mins until softened, then mix through the apple, pecans and lemon zest. Remove from the heat. Add the mixture to the the cooked rice, then stir in the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning.
4. Pack the mixture into the cooked pumpkin and return to the oven for 10-15 mins until everything is piping hot. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining lemon juice with the tahini, the rest of the garlic and enough water to make a dressing. Serve the pumpkin in the middle of the table, topped with pomegranate seeds and the dressing.
Healthy and Halloween.At the same time.Win – win if you need a respite from the onslaught of sugaryness of the Halloween season.
These little vegan cuties are made with carrot juice – and NOT orange food coloring – to make little orange rice balls.
I have been making these forthe last few yearsand they have become a tradition.I always have so much fun making their cute faces – just cut up black olives and make each one with its own personality.
It just wouldn’t be Halloween without them now.
And, if you’re anywhere near Utah this weekend, my sister Sandy and I will be demoing these and other fall recipes at Williams Sonoma at 1:00 this Saturday, October 12 at the Riverwoods Shops in Orem, Utah.Please stop by and join the fun.
— posted by Donna
CARROT RICE BALL JACK O’ LANTERN BITES
1 1/2 cups medium or short grain rice 2 cups carrot juice 1 cup water 1/2 teaspoon salt A handful of black olives, for garnish A few green bean tips, for garnish
Boil rice, carrot juice, water and salt for 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.Let cool to room temperature.
To make jack o’ lanterns, form small balls (about 2 tablespoons each) out of rice, pressing firmly with hands.(Note: If rice sticks to hands, lightly sprinkle hands with water when rolling.)
To form eyes and mouths, cut black olives into shapes and press into the rice balls.To make stem, cut a small triangle of green bean and stick into rice ball on top.