Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winter Veggie Blues?

I'm getting winter veggie burnout. I'm not big on squash, and broccoli gets old after a while, and all of the roasting vegetables (parsnips, carrots, butternut squash)...well, let's just say that I was tired of them in October.

I decided to tackle the Leaning Tower of Food Rags in my living room, specifically looking for recipes that would tempt my palate and relieve my veggie ennui. Because veggie ennui sucks.

I came across this recipe from Gourmet magazine (June, 2009) and was intrigued. I also was a little intimidated, because it's a bit time-consuming. Not time-consuming like lasagne from scratch--but still, this wasn't a 15 minute affair.

But then I thought about it. Maybe the reason I'm so bored with veggies is that I expect them to be quick and easy. I'll spend an hour making chicken saltimbocca, but veggies? I don't give them that kind of love.

And maybe that's the problem. Perhaps, if I took a little more time and care, my veggies wouldn't induce snoring. It was time for some Veggie Love around here!

I tweaked the original recipe a bit, because I thought this thing begged for cheese, and I wasn't disappointed. I didn't have bulgur on hand, so I used quinoa; it adds nice texture to the dish and ramps up the protein nicely.

So grab a knife and a fork and dig into one of these suckers. It'll do your body (and your tastebuds) good!

Bon Appetit and Happy Holidays, Veg-Heads!

Grilled Portabella and Bulgur Salad "Sandwiches"

from Gourmet Magazine, June 2009
serves 4

For Tomato Vinaigrette:

1 large garlic clove
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes

For Salad:

8 large portabella mushrooms, stemmed
1 small red onion, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick wedges (keeping root end intact)
2 medium yellow bell peppers, quartered lengthwise
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups boiling hot water
1 cup medium bulgur*
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 1/2 oz baby arugala
1 firm-ripe avocado
~ Author's additions: 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled and 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

Make Viniagrette: With motor running, drop garlic into food processor and finely chop. Add tomatoes, parsley, oil, vinegar, rosemary, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and pulse until tomatoes are finely chopped but not pureed.

Make Salad: Gently scrape off gills from underside of mushroom using a spoon. With a damp paper towel, clean mushrooms. Toss mushrooms with 1/2 cup vinaigrette in a 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Let stand, turning occasionally, 20 minutes.

Brush vegetables with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Add vegetables and grill, turning occasionally. Bell peppers take about 6-8 minutes; zucchini takes 6-10 minutes; onions take 8-12 minutes; mushrooms take 10-15 minutes.

Transfer mushrooms to a plate. Place remaining vegetables on a cutting board, cool, and chop coarsely.

While vegetables cook, pour boiling water over bulgur with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let stand until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. ** I cooked 1 cup quinoa as per package directions and substituted it for the bulgur.

Add vegetables to bulgur with pine nuts and remaining vinaigrette and toss. If you want to add feta cheese, cool mixture slightly and mix in cheese (and jalapeno, if desired).

Place 1 portabella on each of four plates. Pack salad mixture into a 1-cup measure, then unmold on top of portabella. Top with arugala and another portabella, right side up. Serve with avocado.


  1. Yummy! That looks delicious! And it would certainly jerk anyone out of "veggie ennui."

    Happy Christmas! And stay warm.

  2. A thing of beauty and it sounds (and looks) absolutely delicious, says this veghead!

  3. I love me some veggies. And had never thought about giving them the same kind of time as a main dish. Nice, Kitch.

  4. Oh my God that looks so good I am starting to drool all over the keyboard. I am starting to miss my veggies too.

  5. I love grilled portobello mushrooms! They are so meaty. This is a great way to get excited about veggies again.

  6. This sounds fantastic! I love portobello mushrooms almost more than meat...what wonderful flavors! You're right, winter veggies can definitely get a girl down.

  7. Boy, I wish we lived closer -- because I'm not sure I want to tackle this but if I could sneak on over to your house while you're making it you might take pity on me and let me try some! Looks yummy!

  8. That sounds delicious! I hear you on the veggie love. I want mine to be spectacular, but I don't give them this type of attention either. I might try this after the new year!

  9. I like veggies but, ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww that doesnt look yummy at all. Maybe I don't like them as much as I thought. I bet my daughter would like this though, I will pass it on to her. thanks

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Sorry--typos in the above post and typos make me deranged.


    'Tis true that my photography skills aren't wonderful--I can't make a grilled portobella look sexy to save my life. I think my lovely friend Phoo-D could, though, so if she attempts the recipe, I'll send the link your way.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. hey..I know that feeling with veggies..but I am such a huge veggie fan..that I have to have it...the recipe is divine. Gourmet enough so that I want to spend time on it...and it can even stand on its own with the holiday madness.
    Thank you so very much for sharing this! :)

  13. that sounds really yummy. I'm also sick of winter veggies... but still like having a few vegetarian dinners through the week, so I might add this to the list next week.

  14. What a cool idea. I had a portobello "steak" at a friend's house the other night and loved it and now I'm obsessed with portobellos! So thanks for sharing!

  15. What a great recipe! My vegetarian husband would love that :)

  16. Good for you! Healthy eating! It so much fun:)
    As for the photo...maybe a little salad of greens on the plate next to it with some nice red sliced tomatoes! (heh, I'm a good one to talk I'm lucky to get anything on the plate with it)

  17. Quinoa burgers with fungus buns, you've got to be kidding me. My husband would love it but I'm not into the shrooms.

  18. As always, dear Kitch,
    This looks delish!
    (But other delectables
    would be my wish!)

    Happy holidays!

  19. Well, amen to being bored with squash! I have tried to love acorn squash, butternut squash and just doesn't ring my bell. Hubs makes a nice bulgur salad, so I think he'd love this dish. I'm so sick of high fat holiday cooking and cookies and chocolate. I'm so ready for some veggie detox. Is it spring yet?

  20. This looks fantastic! I am thinking - as my kids would freak at a portabella bun - that I may do bite size ones for New Year's Eve.

    BTW, I think I had more veggies on my table yesterday than anything else.

  21. ...and portabellas are so meaty in their own right! These look totally satisfying.

  22. I love that you coined veggie ennui. I heart the food and words in your brain.
    I also think these look awesome, and not too much work, relative to most vegetarian dishes. And I'm so over those overprocessed, terrible for you frozen fake burger things.
    Will make this. Thanks for the reminder on portabellas. Quinoa is overwhelmingly bitter (to me) without a good sauce, and this vinaigrette seems like just the right choice. Yay.

  23. Nap! I just learned this trick for getting the bitter out of quinoa a week ago--put it in a fine mesh sieve and rinse with water thouroughly three times. It really helps!

  24. Witchy! Did you just add extra steps to my rare meal prep AND ruin my excuse for not having a really healthful grain? You'll rue the day, lady...soon I'll be cooking for my family what I used to cook for myself, and that's some serious b.s. considering how they treat me! ;-) Thanks.