I might have a tiny, wee bit of an obsession with basil. Not only do I have four basil plants from starters in pots but I also plant some from seed every season as well. And then I freeze it or dry it or make it into pesto at summer’s end.
So, I was pretty excited when we received our first bit of basil at our Rolling Prairie CSA last week. I mean, I already had my basil plants on my deck, but actually getting it? Awesome.
We also got beets with greens, basil, head lettuce, snap peas, kale and broccoli. We steamed the broccoli and snap peas, juiced the beets and kale, and made salad with the head lettuce.
As for the basil, I’m not going to lie — some of it went in the green juice I made with the beets and kale (no, I’m not kidding), but we also used quite a bit in a little dish we were just playing with. We made stuffed portobellos, but called them “pizza mushrooms” so the kiddo would eat them.
And we let him help, which worked extremely well. Helping us cook motivates him to eat something like nothing else.
1 cup marinara
1 package baby bellas or 4 large portabella mushroom caps
1 (4 ounce) package goat cheese, crumbled and/or mozzarella
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or more)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the sauce in the bottom of glass baking dish. Arrange clean mushroom caps, gill side up, on top. Crumble goat cheese and or mozzarella on each mushroom. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Top with the chopped basil. Makes 4 servings. Serve alone or over baked spaghetti squash with more marinara and/or cheese.
It's Jan. 1, peeps! (Or Jan. 2 for many of you who might not be eyeballing our site on a holiday.) If you're visiting this blog in the new year because you've decided you'd eat more whole, fresh foods, you've come to the right place. Well, at least I think so.
I really do try to keep this blog as healthy as possible. To me "healthy" means a few things:
Whole ingredients — I like to use foods in their natural state, as unprocessed as possible. This isn't always the case, or sometimes I use something out of convenience (case in point: the can of beans below, rather than beans from scratch). But, most of the time, my meals feature whole fruits and vegetables supported by a few condiments.
Good fats — I prefer to focus on fats that are good for the body: seeds and nuts with essential fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids (like the kind in avocados) and medium chain fatty acids (like the kind in virgin coconut oil). Extra virgin olive and grapeseed oils are great too, but don't provide as many anti-inflammatory benefits as the other fats I've mentioned.
No refined sugar — I like to use alternatives to white or brown sugar when possible. Most of the time, I'll tend to use dates, maple syrup and honey.
The salad I'm featuring today is a great example of a healthy dinner that meets all of my guidelines. It contains good fats, plenty of whole foods, unrefined sugar and isn't difficult to prepare.
Note: The picture above also contains mashed sweet potatoes. I'm not including a potato recipe because we were too heavy-handed on the spices and they ended up tasting like a high-end pumpkin pie candle. Not our best experiment.
Portobello Salad with Spicy Mustard Dressing
1/4 cup prepared spicy, smooth mustard
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
8 cups mixed greens
1 avocado, peeled, halved, pitted and sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced into very thin half-moons
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 recipe roasted portobellos (below)
Dressing: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Done.
Salad: Throw together all the ingredients except the portobellos in a large mixing bowl. Pour on the dressing and use tongs to toss. When ready to serve, place the dressed greens on plate and add the sliced, warm portobellos. Serves 4.
1/2 cup cooking wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large portobello caps
Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a glass pie plate or small casserole. Place the mushrooms upside down in the marinade into each cap to form a small pool. Preheat the oven to 400 F and marinate for about 20 minutes.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, use tongs to flip the caps over, and cook, uncovered, for another 10 minutes. Let it cool a bit and then slice the mushrooms very thinly on the diagonal and make nice meaty slices.
(Recipe from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)