Gourmet Veggie Mama

Tag Archives: Greens

Quinoa Bowl

Sometimes all you need for a great weeknight meal is a solid formula. Here’s my new favorite:

Grain + Greens + Root Vegetable + Sauce + Protein = Yum

quinoa bowl

You’re welcome.

This formula was inspired by the Buddha bowl, which is my favorite dish at The Steeping Room. Not too long ago, I made a bowl with red quinoa, sautéed kale, roasted sweet potatoes and fried halloumi, all topped off with some sriracha and soy sauce. Perhaps tofu would have gone better with the Asian-style saucing here, but I had to work with what we had in the fridge. Plus halloumi is delicious!

Any grain will do (I prefer quinoa or farro myself), and you can go with tofu, a fried or poached egg and/or beans to add protein. In the summer, add baby greens or sliced avocado in lieu of the cooked greens and sweet potato. Get creative with sauces to mix up the flavors — think a tangy vinaigrette, or maybe a copycat of The Steeping Room’s famous cashew sauce. Have fun! I know I’ll be experimenting with this formula for a while.

I have a messy house

I have something to admit: My house is messy. I just thought you should know.

My darling neighbors were over playing with Nora yesterday, and, in that frantic space in the five minutes before dinner where everything is coming together and everyone wants your attention, I dropped something out of one of my cabinets. The four-year-old, being a four-year-old, pointed out that I had dropped it, and I, being a little short of patience right at that moment, might have responded a bit curtly.

“It’s okay,” she said. “It’s a messy house.”


The thing is, I spend a lot of time cooking, and running after a two-year-old (who doubles as a wrecking ball). But really, those are just excuses. I’d like to have a clean house — really, I would — but I like more to sit down for a few precious minutes at night before I crash in bed.

This has been making the rounds, and it is truth:

Pick Two

(I wish I knew where it originally came from, so I could give proper credit, but I pulled this from Momcom Life’s Facebook page.)

But, the thing is, it bothers me. Because I try to keep a clean house, but life gets in the way. I even have a cleaning schedule, for goodness’ sake! So, for a neighbor kid to catch me at the very messiest moment of the week and make a cutting observation… well, I won’t lie. It hurt. Even if she didn’t mean anything by it, it did.

I am going to take a moment to pat myself on the back, though. I am a good mom. I have a brilliant, sweet, beautiful daughter who gives me hugs and kisses (sometimes), has her alphabet down pat, is fully potty-trained and happy as a clam (usually). I make nutritious and delicious meals for my family nearly every night. I am starting a new career in a tough field and making a go of it (my first honest-to-goodness article in a print magazine is coming out soon!), and I have a wonderful, supportive husband with whom I am madly in love. But yeah, I am stretched a little thin at times.

I’m not perfect. I hope I never put forth the pretension that I am. I’d hate for anyone to think this is one of those glossy “lifestyle” blogs designed to make you feel bad about yourself. I really just like to write, I like to cook and I get a kick out of sharing recipes and stories with you lovely people. That’s it. And I have a messy house. Just thought you ought to know.

As your reward for reading my little sob story (that is, if you haven’t just skipped straight to the goods), please accept this delightful recipe for a fresh-from-the-garden early spring pasta.


I had spinach fettuccine in my pantry, plenty of chard and delicate broccoli crowns in my garden, and even a few baby leeks to add to the mix. I whipped up a quick creamy sauce to tie it all together, and voila! Just ignore the mess in my kitchen, please.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spring Garden Fettuccine
Recipe type: pasta
Serves: 4
  • 8 oz spinach fettuccine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup broccoli crowns
  • 2-3 baby leeks (or 1 regular leek), sliced thinly (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 bunch chard, stems removed and reserved for another use*, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup cream or whole milk
  • ½ cup parmesan, grated, plus additional for serving
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leek and broccoli and stir for a couple of minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the chard to the pan and saute until wilted. Add a splash of the pasta water if the pan seems dry. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan, and then add the flour, stirring until bubbly. Gradually add in the milk, stirring well to remove any lumps.
  4. Allow the mixture to simmer until it thickens slightly, and then turn off the heat and stir in the cheese. Add the garlic powder and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Toss the pasta with the cream sauce and the chard-broccoli mixture, adding splashes of pasta water if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve topped with additional parmesan, if desired.
* I usually freeze mine and use them in a batch of vegetable stock. Hate to let all those good nutrients go to waste!


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The Peaceful Mom

Black-eyed peas and greens with leeks

On New Year’s, after enjoying a lovely lunch of black-eyed peas (per southern tradition), I resolved to do more cooking with those lovely legumes. It took me too long, but I finally got around to making something else with them.

I got brussels sprouts greens* in my CSA box a little while ago, and I was at a loss as to what to use them for until I ran across this recipe. The stars aligned, and, with a little tweaking here and there, black-eyed peas once again made a lovely meal for us, with plenty of leftovers.


* Did you know brussels sprouts greens are edible? I didn’t, so I left a garden of them behind in Sunnyvale… *sniff* 

The balsamic vinegar is essential, since it balances out the earthy taste of the peas. Definitely taste as you are adding it so you make sure to get it just right.

Does anyone else have a favorite recipe for black-eyed peas? I want to keep going with this!

Black-Eyed Peas and Greens with Leeks
Originally from the Still Life with Menu Cookbook by Molly Katzen, with my modifications

3 cups dried black-eyed peas
3 cups water
3 cups vegetable stock
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
6-8 cups chopped greens**
2 medium leeks, cleaned and chopped
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Place the black-eyed peas, water, and stock in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover with a tilted lid. Simmer for 15 minutes, and add the garlic. Continue to simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, checking the water level every so often and adding a little if necessary.

When the peas are almost tender, stir in the salt, greens, and leeks. Cover and continue to simmer for about 5 more minutes, or until the greens and leeks are tender.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in 1 Tbsp of the balsamic vinegar. Taste and add more if necessary. Serve warm and enjoy!

** Any kind will do, as long as you enjoy the flavor. As I mentioned, I used brussels sprouts greens, which have a pretty firm tooth.

Creamed chard with spring onions

Chard (particularly rainbow chard) is definitely one of my favorite veggies. I love using it, and it’s just beautiful, besides! After a less than successful foray into the world of creamed chard last weekend,* I decided to try again with a different recipe, and man am I ever glad I did!

* The hubby tried out the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for creamed greens, which was a dud. That’s pretty shocking to me, since I loooooove all things Cook’s Illustrated, but this just didn’t do it. The sauce was too thin, and the flavors were really off.

Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for creamed chard with spring onions was exactly what I had hoped for — creamy, silky, delightfully rich, springy, greeny goodness. Plus it didn’t take much time at all to throw together.

I could seriously gobble this up with a spoon.

We initially ate this as a side dish with some other stuff off the grill (including grilled artichokes), but I saved half of the recipe for leftovers so I could try it out tossed with pasta, per the recipe’s suggestion. I simply cooked about 2 cups of whole wheat rotini, reheated the creamed chard over low heat in a saucepan, and stirred it all together as the chard warmed up.

Time for dinner!

Topped with some grated parmesan, it was a fantastic meal. If I make this again (which I will), I’ll just make it with the pasta to start off with and make a meal out of it. Not that the creamed chard by itself wasn’t fabulous, but tossed with pasta, it was perfection. The pasta cut the richness a little bit, and it made a super-easy weeknight meal.

Creamed Chard with Spring Onions
Based on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1 bunch chard (about 1 lb.), washed**
4 spring onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Remove tough stems from chard and slice into ribbons. Place the chard in a saute pan over medium heat and stir until wilted. Remove to a wire colander and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in the same pan and saute the onions until tender. Add the flour and stir for a couple of minutes. Gradually whisk in the cream and cook until thick and bubbly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Press the moisture out of the chard with a paper towel and add it to the pan. Stir until incorporated and warm. Serve and enjoy.

** No need to dry it. Just place it in the pan with the water on it, and it’ll be plenty to wilt the chard.

Farro salad with roasted kale and beets

I have a few good uses for beets, but it’s easy to get bored of them when they show up every single week in the CSA box. Imagine my delight when I ran across this recipe for farro salad with roasted kale and beets — a new use for beets, hurrah!

Yes, please.

This warm salad is even better than it sounds. It has to be my favorite use for beets yet, and we all know how I feel about kale. The goat cheese just makes the whole thing, and farro is a grain I clearly need to experiment with more!

I almost bought a bunch of curly kale at the farmer’s market last week, just because it was so pretty, but I resisted. Good thing I did, since a beautiful bunch showed up in our CSA box a few days later! The curly kale worked great in this dish, but I’m sure any variety would work fine.

Nora absolutely cleaned her plate at lunch the next day, and begged for more of mine, too!

More, please!

You really can’t go wrong with this one. I’ll definitely be incorporating more farro into my repertoire this summer — what a great find!

Farro Salad with Roasted Kale and Beets
Based on this recipe

3 beets, scrubbed and thinly sliced on a mandoline*
2 bunches kale, tough ribs removed and leaves roughly torn
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 Tbs olive oil
1 lb farro
Juice of one lemon
3 oz fresh goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the beets, kale, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Roast until the beets are soft and the kale is tender, 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cover the farro with cold water in a medium saucepan, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain excess water, then toss to combine with roasted vegetables in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice and divide amongst bowls. Crumble goat cheese over the salad and serve hot or warm.

* The original recipe called for the beets to be peeled, but as long as you scrub them well, and they aren’t too old, the peel is fine and you won’t even know it’s there.

Kale and garbanzo tacos

One of my favorite weeknight meals back in my omnivore days was kale and garbanzo tacos, made using bacon. I had to modify the recipe a bit to make it vegetarian, and, more importantly, to make it as yummy as the original, but I do believe I have done it.


A combination of smoked paprika and caramelized onions makes up for the absence of bacon… or, at least, to my meat-free palate, it does. If you eat meat, the bacon (and drippings) in the original recipe really does make it flavorful, but give the meatless version a try and see what you think.

Kale and Garbanzo Tacos

1 bunch kale or other cooking greens
1 (19 oz) can garbanzo beans, or equivalent dried and cooked, with 1/3 cup broth retained
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 onion
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/4 cup (1 oz) finely grated fresh Romano cheese

Cook the greens in a large pot of salted boiling water for 6 minutes or until tender. Drain, chop, and set aside. Drain the beans, reserving 1/3 cup liquid. If using canned beans, make sure to rinse thoroughly (using a colander is best).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper and garlic, and sauté briefly. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the beans, reserved bean liquid, carrots, spices, and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender. Uncover and cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in kale; cook 2 minutes.

Spoon mixture evenly onto tortillas and sprinkle with cheese.

Spinach and mushroom enchiladas

I was perusing one of my favorite cookbooks (Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) for menu ideas, and I happened on a recipe for mushroom enchiladas. Given the hubby’s newfound receptivity to mushroom-centric cuisine, and our lack of CSA veggies at the time, I decided to pencil it in.

Our first CSA delivery came last Friday, and the box contained a beautiful bunch of spinach, along with a couple of other types of greens (which I am currently holding in reserve for other projects). So, I thought, why not spinach and mushroom enchiladas?

Good call.

I didn’t even end up glancing at the original recipe I had chosen, so this recipe is truly winging it. I also used *gasp* packaged enchilada sauce. Normally I would pull some of my own hatch green chile sauce out of the freezer, but that wasn’t an option this time. So, Frontera it was, and I was actually really impressed.

Good stuff.

The hubby couldn’t believe it wasn’t freshly made sauce. I’d highly recommend it if you’re pressed for time.

Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz brown mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 bunch spinach, stemmed and roughly chopped.
2 Tbs olive oil
6 corn tortillas
canola oil for frying
1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
enchilada sauce of your choice

Preheat the oven to 350. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms and stir until they begin to release their juices. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Remove from heat and cool, and then drain and press out any extra moisture.* Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese.

Fill the bottom of a small skillet with a generous amount of canola oil (1/4-1/2 inch deep) and heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully add the first tortilla with tongs. Fry briefly, just to soften, and then remove to a plate covered with paper towels to drain. When cool enough to handle (but still warm), fill the center of the tortilla with the mushroom and spinach mixture, roll, and place in a lightly oiled enchilada pan. Repeat with the other tortillas.

Pour the sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve with sour cream.

* No need to go crazy here. You just want to make sure the mixture doesn’t make the tortillas soggy. I drained mine over the sink and used a couple of paper towels to blot a bit.

Kale and mizuna salad with delicata squash

I made a fantastic salad for dinner the other night. No, no, stay with me here. I am not normally one of those “salad for dinner” kinds of people. I think dinner needs to be a little more substantial than a salad implies, but kale and mizuna salad with roasted delicata squash, chunks of sharp cheddar cheese, and toasted walnuts is not your ordinary salad.

Nutritious and delicious.

I love delicata squash, but up until recently, I didn’t know you could eat it without peeling it. I stumbled across this recipe for kale salad with kabocha squash on Runner’s Kitchen, and it suggested leaving the peel on for the extra nutrients. That got me thinking: I had a delicata squash sitting on the counter, and it would go very well in a kale salad, so could I pull the same trick with leaving the peel on? The answer, the internets told me, was yes.

Who wants to get rid of that beautiful peel, anyway?

I simply halved, seeded, and sliced the squash, tossed it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted it. It was a fantastic addition to the salad, and the peel was so tender I almost didn’t notice it was there. Added nutrients plus less prep time? Yes, please!

When the hubby heard we were having salad for dinner, his first comment was, “So are we having dessert, too, or what’s the plan, here?” I agreed that dessert was certainly an option (it’s always on the table when I am involved), but after we ate, neither of us was too interested in more. The salad was tasty (really!), satisfying, nutrient-packed, and easy to make. I hereby proclaim it the Best Salad Ever.

Give it a shot, even if you’re not a salad person. You just might be surprised.

Kale and Mizuna Salad with Delicata Squash
Based on this recipe for Northern Spy’s Kale Salad via Runner’s Kitchen

1 delicata squash
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch kale (preferably lacinato), ribs removed and finely chopped
1 bunch mizuna, tough stems removed, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled or chopped sharp white cheddar
Juice of one lemon
Pecorino romano or other hard cheese, for topping (optional)

Heat oven to 400°. Slice the ends off the squash, halve it, and scoop out the seeds. Slice it into 1/4-inch half moons. Toss the squash slices in about 1 Tbs olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread on a baking sheet in one layer, leaving space between the slices. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, 20-30 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10 minutes or so.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale and mizuna with the remaining 2 Tbs olive oil, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Divide greens between two plates and top with equal amounts of cheddar, squash, and walnuts. Garnish with shaved pecorino romano, if desired.

Veggie pockets with mushrooms, greens, and caramelized onions

One of my favorite ways to use up a bunch of random veggies (especially greens) is to make veggie pockets. I use puff pastry sheets for outside, which makes it quick and simple, and if you prepare the “stuffings” ahead, it makes for a pretty easy dinner.

Not too long ago, I ended up with a glut of greens and some mushrooms begging to be used, and caramelized onion makes everything better, so I pulled some puff pastry out of the freezer and got to work.

Flaky, buttery goodness.

The flavors melded really well, and since I sauteed all the veggies in the same pan, just wiping out in between, the cleanup was minimal. Gotta love that! I had leftovers of each topping, so we saved them for an easy meal of grilled pizzas a couple of nights later. The pockets made a great meal served with a simple side salad.

Dinner time!

You can make these with whatever combination of veggies and cheeses you like, but here’s the basic recipe. Enjoy!

Veggie Pockets with Mushrooms, Greens, and Caramelized Onions

1 package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets),* thawed
1 onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
1 Tbs butter
1 large or 2 small bunches of greens**
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
sliced crimini mushrooms
shredded mozzarella and parmesan
olive oil for sautéing
one egg, beaten

Lay the puff pastry out to thaw while you work on the fillings. Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat the butter and about a Tbs of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring, until translucent, and then turn the heat down to low and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized. Set aside.

Wash and trim the greens as necessary, making sure to remove any tough stems. Wipe out the pan and heat another Tbs of olive oil over medium high heat. Throw in the garlic and stir around for a minute or so. Add the greens in batches, stirring until they’re reduced enough to add another couple of handfuls. Once all of the greens are a bit wilted, add a splash of water or veggie broth, cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain and cool slightly. Remove to a cutting board and chop finely.

Wipe out the pan again and add another Tbs or so of olive oil. Saute the mushrooms over medium heat until they start to give off their juices and are a little browned.

Lay each sheet of puff pastry out on a floured surface and cut diagonally into 2 pieces.*** Heap a portion of the cooked greens into half of each triangle, making sure to leave room at the edges to fold the pastry over and seal it. Top the greens with a handful of mushrooms, a generous dollop of caramelized onions, a handful of mozzarella, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Fold the puff pastry over the filling (so that it makes a smaller triangle) and brush the edges with egg and press together. Press firmly around the edges with the tines of a fork to seal. Brush the top of each pocket with egg and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

* Standard Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (which is widely available) comes in a 17.3-oz package with two sheets. My new favorite brand, Dufour, comes in a 14-oz package with one sheet. I just cut it in half crosswise to start with. Problem solved.

** I’ve tried chard, kale, mustard greens, and a mix. Any cooking greens should work well here.

*** You will only need both sheets if you are making 4 pockets. They do refrigerate or freeze well (reheat in a toaster oven), but you can also halve the recipe and use the extra veggies as toppings for pizza, like we did!

Turnip soup with greens

I will admit that turnips are not a vegetable I would ever buy, if left to my own devices. However, they were part of our CSA share last week, and, while I briefly considered leaving them in the trade box, I decided to get creative instead.

Inspired by Agrigirl’s top 10 soups list, I decided to try out a recipe for turnip soup with greens.


It was easy to make, and actually quite tasty. I like that it uses both the roots and greens of the turnip — nothing gets wasted.

The recipe originally came from The Greens Cookbook, which I got for Christmas this year (yay for my in-laws scoping my Amazon wish list!). No one knows veggies quite like Deborah Madison, I have to say. I had dinner at Greens for my birthday a couple of years ago, and it was amazing. This is the first recipe I have tried from the cookbook, but it did not disappoint!

Turnip Soup with Greens
Originally from The Greens Cookbook via Agrigirl

1 1/2 lbs small turnips* (weighed without their greens)
5 Tbs butter, divided
2-3 leeks, sliced (white parts only)
1/4 tsp dried thyme, or about 6 sprigs fresh thyme, picked and chopped, plus additional for serving
4 cups milk
turnip greens (2-3 cups)
salt and pepper

Peel the turnips and slice them into 1/4-inch rounds. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, and add the sliced turnips. Cover and cook for 1 minute, then drain.

Melt 3 Tbs butter in a soup pot with 1/2 cup water. Add the leeks, blanched turnips, thyme, and 1 tsp salt. Stew them, covered, over medium low heat for 5 minutes, then add the milk. Heat slowly without bringing to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the turnips are completely tender.

Meanwhile, wash the turnip greens and remove any that are bruised or tough-looking. Melt the remaining 3 Tbs butter in a pan, add the greens, and cook them until they are tender, 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the cooked greens to a cutting board and chop them, roughly or finely, as you prefer.

Once the turnips are done, cool the mixture slightly and then transfer to a blender to purée.** Serve the soup topped with chopped greens and a sprinkling of thyme.

* Small, young turnips have a more delicate flavor, but you can use larger ones, too.

** Or use your handy-dandy immersion blender!

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