I actually made this Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie back in March for Pi Day with Melissa from Smells Like Brownies. We made it with Irish Stout beer so that it would also be appropriate for St Patrick's Day. But I was in the middle of moving, and so never actually posted about it. The weather right now is making me crave warm comfort food, and I thought that this dish would be appreciated. So here I am!
One of the tricks to this recipe is to use grated tofu, which is accomplished by freezing the tofu, then thawing slightly so that it will be the right firmness. So make sure to freeze your tofu at least a day ahead of when you want to cook.
Next, saute an onion, and add toasted walnuts and the shredded tofu. Add soy sauce and lemon juice, and cook until the liquid is gone.
I have made this salad multiple times in the past two years, but never managed to photograph it or blog about it - until now! Which is a shame, because it is so delicious and satisfying, and you could have been making it, too. I'm so sorry! But I'm sharing it with you now, and I hope that you know how serious I am about loving this salad, because I rarely ever make things more than once. I even bought pomegranate molasses for my parents so that I could make this for them!
Special thanks to Melissa at Smells Like Brownies, for making it with me again two years after our first time making it together so that we could photograph it.
First thing is first, you must cook some lentils! I use French lentils for pretty much everything because they retain their shape and texture. Plus, they are a pretty green.
Meanwhile - prep your other ingredients. Chop your vegetables: onion, garlic, bell peppers. I love how colorful the bell peppers are, and how pretty they make the salad. So buy one of those 3 packs that has red, yellow, and orange. It will make you so happy. We also had a little bit of a green pepper left over, so we threw that in.
Also use this time to rehydrate some sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water. The water will become infused with tomato flavor, and will later become part of the dressing - neat! Not pictured - toast some walnuts. It releases the oils and makes them so much more flavorful.
Melissa of Smells Like Brownies has been doing a CSA this year, so for one of our weekly vegetarian lunches we decided to use up some of the beets and lettuce she had received. This super delicious and filling salad involves sweet roasted beets, fragrant toasted walnuts, and creamy goat cheese. Simple and fresh - this is a great way to enjoy beets!
Warm Beet and Chèvre Salad
from Smells Like Brownies
3/4 lb beets (about 3 medium)
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra as needed
1 tbsp honey
salt and black pepper
1 wheat baguette, cut into 1/4″ slices
1 medium head lettuce, such as Bibb or Boston
1/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
4–6 oz goat cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Wrap the beets tightly in foil and roast them for 1–1.5 hours, or until they are soft enough to pierce through the thickest part with a butter knife. Unwrap the beets and let them cool 10–15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Lightly brush the baguette slices with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Set the slices on a cookie sheet and broil in the oven for 3 minutes.
Rinse and tear up the lettuce. Sprinkle the toasted, chopped nuts and oregano over the greens.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub the skins off the flesh. Cut the beets into slices or wedges and sprinkle over the salad.
Top the salad with crumbled goat cheese and a drizzle of the oil and vinegar dressing.
I am so obsessed with figs right now. I buy a pint (or two) every week. And while they are amazing on their own or simply drizzled with honey, I like to give them the fancy treatment from time to time.
Like with this gorgeous pasta dish with figs, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, spinach, and lemon zest.
Or done up in a super classic pairing with prosciutto and mozzarella.
I cut some Black Mission figs in half, sandwiched a piece of mozzarella between them, wrapped them in the prosciutto and skewered them.
Then I broiled them until the ham was nice and crispy and the cheese was melty and drizzled the whole thing with honey. Ridiculously yummy - and the house smelled fantastic!
I am nowhere near done with my fig phase, still - more to come!
Fig and Walnut Pasta
adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
whole wheat spaghetti, enough for 2 people
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup white wine
1 small lemon, juice and zest
1 big bunch of fresh spinach
4.5 oz goat cheese
3.5 oz walnut halves, toasted in a dry pan
5 fresh ripe figs, cut into quarters
Boil the spaghetti to al dente, according to the instructions on the package, and set aside when done.
Add olive oil to a large frying pan on medium heat. Add garlic and let it sweat for about 30 seconds before adding the wine and lemon juice. Stir around, add spinach and goat cheese while stirring (save a small piece of the goat cheese for later). Let it simmer for three minutes before adding the spaghetti and the roasted walnuts. Stir for 30 seconds, taste it and add salt if needed, make sure that the spaghetti is covered in the goat cheese/wine/lemon cream then turn off the heat.
Add the figs and gently fold them into the pasta. Serve on a big plate or in a bowl with the rest of the goat cheese and lemon peel sprinkled over it.
When my friend Melissa and I get together it is usually to bake, or cook, or go out to eat - which is fitting for two food bloggers. We wanted to get together recently and cook up something satisfying and healthy. Melissa, who is a vegetarian, came up with a wonderful recipe for Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash - and you can read all about her take on her blog, Smells like Brownies.
This recipe is full of delicious veggies, packed with flavor and texture, and super healthy! Quinoa is not quite in the popular lingo yet, so for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, here is a brief rundown. Quinoa is a grain, similar in use to rice or couscous, but it is better than either of those because it is both a whole grain and a protein! It's basically a super food.