Archives for posts with tag: Recipes

We picked up our second share from the CSA last Tuesday, and it’s been a mystery and  a challenge.

Left to Right – Kale, herbs, yellow squash, Swiss chard, collards, and bok (pak) choi (I think).  Cucumbers at the top.

I was grateful that Joyce (owner with her husband John of The Good Earth) had given Richard a list of what was included, but I was unfamiliar with many of these plants.  My first job was to identify which were which.   I spent quite some time on Google looking at pictures of greens, trying to figure out what I had.  What a treasure trove of fresh green goodness!   Now I need to find some recipes for inspiration.

Being busy, I started with what I knew: yellow squash, herbs and zucchini.

Whole wheat pasta with mixed vegetables (vidalia onion, grape tomatoes, yellow squash, and cucumbers) with chopped fresh basil.

While the pasta was cooking, I added the grape tomatoes to a non-stick skillet and let them start to simmer before adding sliced Vidalia onion, yellow squash and a few slices of zucchini. Or so I thought.  I held the green veggie out toward Richard and said, “Is this a zucchini or a cucumber?”  He said “zucchini”.  Silly me, Richard is not only color blind, he has no sense of smell.  As we later found out, when the “zucchini” tasted like pickles, sauteed cucumber is pretty tasty, and it added something a little different to this pasta dish.  A bit of chopped fresh basil also gave it a nice flavor.  I’m getting used to having pasta without grated cheese, and now that I have such flavorful fresh vegetables, I’d rather not bury their flavor under Asiago or Romano cheese.  But a glass of Merlot always goes with pasta, of course!

Another busy day, so again I stuck with what I knew:  yellow squash, kale, cucumber and herbs.

Left to right: Tossed mixed vegetables, cucumber salad, basmati rice with chopped greens and honey dijon mustard.

As you may notice, Vidalia onions are available right now, and they are so delicious that I have quite a few of them so they are making their way into many of my vegetable dishes.  This mixed vegetable melange includes 1/2 of a Vidalia onion, some sliced white mushrooms, a sliced yellow squash, and sliced red peppers with chopped fresh basil.  I served the veggies with a bowl of basmati rice which I cooked with some chopped kale and then added a tablespoon or so of honey dijon mustard.  The cucumber salad has balsamic vinegar and a little sea salt.   It was a nice variety of flavors and textures.

Then it was time to get down to figuring out how to make the best use of the week’s bounty.  Here are some of the places where I found recipes to use as inspiration.

FatFree Vegan Kitchen: Sinlessly Delicous 

Whole Foods Market Recipes

Nutrition MD 

Vegetarian Times

I was mainly looking for an idea for Bok Choi (or Bok Choy or Pak Choi)  I found one in Vegetarian Times that had an interesting combination of ingredients which I adapted for what I had on hand.

Bok Choi with mushrooms and red peppers in a soy sauce and honey broth.

I started out by sauteing the mushrooms and red peppers with chopped garlic in some vegetable broth.  As they began to cook, I added some soy sauce and a teaspoon of honey.  When the peppers and mushrooms were nearly done, I topped them with the bok choi greens, covered the pan and let them simmer until the greens were tender.  In another pot I cooked some black rice.  Here’s the end result:

Bok choi, red peppers and mushrooms simmered in soy sauce and honey, with black rice.

This was a pretty luscious meal, if I do say so myself.  Black rice, also known as “Forbidden” rice, has a nutty flavor and is fairly sticky.  There are a lot of claims about its healthy qualities.  All I can say is, it’s delicious!  Like many of the grains and beans I’ve been using lately, I found black rice at Ocean State Job Lot.  They have a large section of whole grains, cereals, rice and beans, many of them the Bob’s Red Mill brand.  I haven’t compared prices with the other stores, but I figure that if I can stay out of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s I can probably save a lot of money.  Between the CSA and the Job Lot, with a small weekly purchase from Stop & Shop, I am finding everything I need for the plant-based diet.

That’s all for week 2.  We already have our new batch of CSA veggies so I will be ratcheting up my stove-side creativity and hitting the recipe websites again real soon!


Romanesco Broccoli from our first share from the CSA – I had no idea what this was!

We joined a CSA at  The Good Earth Organic Gardening Center about 2 weeks ago.  It was perfect timing!  The first share was ready last week, and we received a generous amount of fresh organic produce.  The offerings included a yellow squash, a cucumber, a bouquet of fresh flowers, some peas, bunches of red leaf lettuce, swiss chard, Tuscan kale and collard greens, basil, fennel, parsley, and a beautiful head of Romanesco broccoli.

I felt like a kid with a bunch of new toys, trying to decide which one to play with first!  I decided on the yellow squash and peas.   This was the result:

Yellow squash and peas with mushrooms and garlic over couscous, flavored with fresh basil and dill, from our first CSA pick up.

I am learning to cook without oil, so I used a little organic vegetable stock to saute chopped garlic scapes and mushrooms, adding the yellow squash and peas, with some sprigs of the fresh basil and dill.  Once those were beginning to cook through, I put in a cup of tri-color couscous and let that brown a little before adding 1 1/2 cups more of the vegetable stock.  Couscous takes about 10 minutes to cook, so the veggies got nice and tender.

One of the best results of this type of cooking is the flavor of the vegetables.  Not only are they fresh, but cooking them without oil, sauces or condiments allows their true flavor to come through.

This meal is an example of the way I’ve been cooking most of our dinners.  I mix-and-match vegetables, grains and legumes, and try to include as many different colors as I can.

The next night, I had to try the Romanesco broccoli.  It was so intriguing; not to mention amazingly beautiful.  My photo above does not do it justice.  I had to look it up online to get an idea of how to prepare it, and I found a recipe in which the broccoli was cooked in the same pot as the pasta.  So, I followed suit.

Romanesco broccoli and Swiss chard from the CSA over whole wheat pasta with chick peas.

The result was wonderful!  Romanesco broccoli tastes like regular broccoli, but not as strong and bitter.  The broccoli doesn’t take long to cook, so I put it in the pasta pot when the pasta had about 5 minutes left to go.

While the whole wheat pasta with broccoli was cooking, I sauteed chopped garlic scapes in vegetable broth along with some finely-chopped Swiss chard and a can of chick peas, then poured that over the cooked pasta and broccoli.  Richard loved it!  (So did I.)

My final challenge for the first week was to find a way to cook collard greens.  For inspiration I went to my old stand-by vegetable cookbook, “Greene on Greens” by Bert Greene.  This has been my go-to book for preparing vegetables for more than 20 years.  There are lots of used copies on Amazon, so grab one while you can – it’s out of print.  His chapter on greens included a recipe, “Wilted Summer Greens” that was the inspiration for my final culinary adventure of the week.  I sauteed a Vidalia onion with some julienned sundried tomatoes and chopped garlic scapes, then added the collard greens and let them cook until they wilted.  Then I threw in a cup of whole wheat couscous and some water, and 10 minutes later dinner was ready.

Collard greens from the CSA, Vidalia onion and sundried tomatoes over whole wheat couscous.

Here’s the whole meal:

Collard greens over couscous, garden salad and watermelon.

This meal used up the last of the first week’s CSA share;  collard greens, red leaf lettuce, cucumber, and basil.  Oh, and of course the bouquet of flowers, too!  Tomorrow we’ll pick up the share for week 2.  I can’t wait to see what’s in it!  Stay tuned……

We are eating plants now.  Lots and lots of them, every day!

June 30th’s plant-based meal : spaghetti squash topped with caramelized vidalia onions , mushrooms , julienned red peppers and red kidney beans, flavored with cumin .

According to the books and websites I’ve been reading lately, switching to a plant-based diet brings magical results.  I can expect to lose weight, lower my LDL (bad) and raise my HDL (good) cholesterol, lower my blood sugar level, lower my blood pressure, increase my level of energy and avoid  heart disease, the chance of stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

I’ve been moving toward becoming a vegetarian for a couple of years, but I still occasionally grill us a nice rare steak.  More recently, I gave up dairy products and moved toward veganism, but still had seafood on a regular basis and grated cheese on my pasta.  I’ve never been very good at following rules, or doing anything 100% by the book, but I reasoned that any improvement would help me get healthier.

6 months ago my cardiologist took a look at my cholesterol numbers and wanted me to start medication.  I decided instead to give up dairy products.  In two weeks I’ll find out whether or not my change in diet has made enough of a difference to change the doctor’s mind.  Wish me luck!

But what has me most excited about these changes is the bounty provided by the CSA we joined last week.  I had heard about CSAs from friends in other states, but never considered joining one until I received an email from The Good Earth Garden Center in Cranston announcing their CSA.  You can read about it at

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Members pay a flat fee at the beginning of the growing season, then get a share each week of whichever crops are ripe.  In Rhode Island, the growing season provides us with 14 weekly shares of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers grown at our local organic farm.

After posting a few photos of my culinary adventures in plant-based eating on Facebook, I decided to expand upon my FB postings in a blog, where I can talk about the plant-based diet, the CSA, and how I take the weekly shares and turn them into delicious healthy plant-based meals.

I hope some of you find this information interesting enough that you will try eating more plant-based meals, and  maybe join your local CSA!