Posts Tagged ‘vegetables


i <3 Hearts of Palm

I’ve had salads with hearts of palm in restaurants once or twice, and I never objected to them. It wasn’t until a couple months ago, however, that I tried this vegetable plain…and I’ve been hooked ever since. They have such a unique flavor; it almost seems a shame to add much to them at all. As such, my mom and I have been buying them all spring and eating them straight from the can. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a blog post if I just wrote “Buy hearts of palm. Eat straight from can,” so I decided to try something a little fancier.

Well, fancier this is. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s the slice-and-place kind of work; it doesn’t require much in the way of physical exertion or technical skills.  So, if you’ve got the time and need an amuse bouche that’s attractive, tasty, and totally vegan, these may be for you. If not, buy hearts of palm. Eat straight from can.


1 can hearts of palm

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1/2 avocado

1 tbs lemon

3-4 endives


Wash the endives, chop off the bottoms, and separate the leaves. I found that the inner leaves were best for this appetizer, as they’re milder and less bitter than the outer leaves.

Slice the carrot as thinly as you can. I used a potato peeler.

Cut the hearts of palm into .25-.5 inch slices. Hearts of palm are sort of layered, so you can easily push the circles in the middle of each slice right out.

Mash the avocado with the lemon.

Lay one carrot slice down the middle of each endive leaf. If your carrot slices are too long, cut them; if they’re too short, use two and overlap them slightly.

Using a small spoon or butter knife, fill each slice of heart of palm with the mashed avocado. Place near the end of the endive leaves.


Fresh Spring Rolls with Sweet and Sour Sauce

With the weather finally getting warm and the days getting longer, can you guess my inspiration for today’s post? These spring rolls are fun to make and great for a light lunch or midday snack. Crispy, fresh, and complimented nicely by the flavorful sweet sauce. The recipe makes about four rolls and half a cup of dipping sauce.


Sauce Ingredients:

6 tbs rice vinegar

3 tbs light brown sugar

1 tbs Mirin (Japanese cooking wine)

1 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp sesame oil


Spring Roll Ingredients:

1/2 a head of radicchio, shredded

1 handful of pea sprouts

2 carrots, julienned

1/2 a seedless cucumber, julienned

1-2 stalks of celery, cut in thin strips

1 tbs minced cilantro

1 ripe avocado, sliced

Spring roll wrappers

(I found them in the Asian section of my regular grocery store.)



In a small saucepan over low heat, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir to combine. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, so the sauce can reduce and thicken. Take off heat and set aside.

Prepare all of the vegetables.

The spring roll wrappers are brittle when you get them from the store. To cook them, fill a skillet with an inch or two of water and bring it to a simmer. Hold the wrapper on one side and dip the other half in the water. Hold it there for a few seconds, until you can feel that it goes soft. Then, pull it out of the water and carefully turn it so that you’re holding the soft end and dipping the first half in the water. When the whole wrapper is soft, let the excess water drip back into the skillet and lay the wrapper out on a cutting board or other surface.

Lay the vegetables down the middle of the spring roll wrapper, leaving an inch or so at the top and bottom.

Fold the top and bottom of the wrapper over the vegetables.

Fold the right side of the wrapper over the vegetables.

Gently push the vegetables to the right, pulling the right side of the wrapper tightly over them. Then, continue rolling as tightly as you can.

Cut the spring rolls in half, if desired, and serve with the sweet and sour sauce.


Gnocchi Primavera with Cashew Cream


I am always in the mood for gnocchi. Those warm little potato dumplings are so filling and quite the comfort food, especially with a creamy sauce. This recipe would work with whatever veggies you like, but I chose asparagus and mushrooms. If you use asparagus, don’t forget to break off the tough ends before you chop it. If you use mushrooms, you might want to see if your grocery store sells a “gourmet blend,” which often comes pre-chopped and includes cremini, shitake, and oyster mushrooms.

Makes four small servings.


1 cup raw cashews

3/4 cup vegetable stock

1 small shallot

3 cloves garlic

2 tbs Earth Balance

chopped veggies of your choice

2 tbs olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

2 tbs chopped chives

1 16 oz pack of gnocchi

(The supermarket near my house sells gnocchi both with and without egg, so be sure to check the ingredients if you care about that kind of thing.)


1. Put the raw cashews in a small bowl and add just enough vegetable stock to cover them. Let them soak for at least an hour. This step is not really necessary, but it will make the nuts softer and easier to puree into a smooth cream sauce.

2. While the cashews are soaking, you can prepare the other ingredients. Chop the chives and set aside for later. Mince the garlic and the shallot and chop the vegetables.

3. Pour the soaked cashews into a food processor or blender. Add the minced shallot and one clove of the minced garlic. Puree, slowly adding the rest of the vegetable stock until the mixture looks smooth. You will have to stop to scrape the sides of the blender with a spatula periodically.

4. Melt the Earth Balance in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the pureed cashew mixture and stir until the Earth Balance is well incorporated. Add salt to taste. If you would prefer a thinner sauce, you could also add more vegetable stock. Keep the sauce on low heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbles start to form. Then remove it from the heat.

4. Begin cooking the gnocchi according to the package instructions. Usually you just have to boil it for 2-3 minutes, until it floats. Then take it off the heat and drain the water out.

5. In a large pan, begin sautéing your vegetables in olive oil. Add the remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic and some salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for just a few minutes until the veggies are browned.

7. By now, the gnocchi should be cooked and drained and the sauce should be heated through. As soon as you’re satisfied that the vegetables are cooked, you can add the gnocchi and the cashew cream sauce to the veggie pan. Mix to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Serve immediately, topped with chives.


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