This is a bit of a garden miscellany recipe that will work with whatever fresh veggies you have, in basically any amounts that you have them! Don’t have snow peas? Use snap peas instead. No chard? Try kale or spinach. No garlic scapes? Use some fresh garlic at the end- or if your pesto is quite garlicky, pass on the garlic altogether! You can serve it on it’s own finished with a drizzle of balsamic as a side dish, served on top of rice, or mixed into pasta.
Time: about 15 minutes
You will need: some mix of the following, though substitute according to availability!
- about 10 oz, 300g cherry tomatoes *
- 3-5 leaves of chard
- small/medium zucchini
- 1 cup of snow peas
- a few garlic scapes if you have them!
- 2-4 tbsp of your favourite jarred pesto
- 1/4 cup fresh grated asiago or parm
- drizzle of good quality balsamic to finish
- 1 tbsp of canola, olive oil or butter
- rice or pasta for serving if desired
If making rice- prepare first.
Add oil to large pan on medium/high heat. Chop zucchini into thin rounds or half moons. If the peas you are using are large, you can halve them, otherwise leave them whole. Trim flower end from garlic scapes if it seems tough or dry, then give a quick chop into small pieces. Thinly slice chard. Add vegetables to pan in the following approximate order, giving them a minute or two in the hot pan before adding the next ingredient. First tomatoes, then peas, followed by zucchini. When these veg are getting hot and a bit softened and maybe browned, add the scapes. When veggies are done to your taste- I like things more crisp, but to each his own so cook accordingly, add a few tbsp of your favourite pesto and stir until all veg are covered. Add the chard and cook 1-2 more minutes until still bright but softened.
Finish by adding the fresh grated cheese and a drizzle of balsamic.
*note- if your cherry tomatoes haven’t ‘burst’ while cooking (which is fine) be careful when you eat them as they will be hot juicy tomato bombs if you pop them into your mouth whole!
Cilantro seems to be one of those things that people like or REALLY dislike. The people who like it always seem to like it a lot. To me, cilantro tastes fresh and almost a bit citrusy. The people who hate it usually describe it as tasting like soap. That all being said, this black bean dip is for sure for the cilantro lovers! The ingredient list is short, and it’s a nice complement to salsa.
Time: 5 minutes
You will need:
- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- a generous handful of cilantro including stems-see photo below for an idea of how much- you could of course use less if that is your preference
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- juice of two limes
Drain and rinse the black beans. Give the cilantro a rinse, but don’t worry about drying it. Add beans, cilantro, 1-2 cloves of garlic, and the juice of two limes to a food processor and pulse until combined. Serve with bread or tortilla chips, or as a yummy spread on a wrap (think the way you might use hummus). This is fine made the day before, but doesn’t keep well for more than a few days because of the mass of cilantro. I used canned beans, which I usually find salty enough, but if you are using dried beans that you’ve rehydrated, you may wish to add salt.
Fiddleheads are a special spring treat. They require some work and a bit of prep, but it’s extra satisfying eating something that you’ve collected yourself. This recipe is a delicious side for anything you’ve made on the bbq.
As with anything collected from the wild, it’s important to be able to properly identify what it is you are picking. There are photos and some tips here, as well as preparation instructions.
Fiddleheads need to be thoroughly washed and require boiling before cooking by another method- again, see this post for details.
Boiled and ready for roasting
Just out of the oven
Makes: about 3 servings
Time: about 20 minutes- though it depends on if you have already prepped your fiddleheads. If using fiddleheads that are frozen and pre boiled, or fresh prepped and boiled the time is about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450F
You will need:
- 4 cups of washed and boiled fiddleheads
- 3 tbsp butter
- 4 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
- 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
- handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste (I find with the salty cheese I generally don’t add any additional salt- though I do enjoy a generous grind of fresh pepper
Preheat oven to 450F. Melt butter and mix together minced garlic, parsley and butter. Place prepared fiddleheads on a sheet and toss with butter/garlic mixture.
Place in 450F oven for ten minutes. After ten minutes, remove from oven and flip fiddleheads. Sprinkle cheese overtop and return to oven for an additional 5-7 minutes.
Serve with anything you like! If you have leftovers, they are delicious in an omelet the next day 🙂
This salad comes together quickly and makes a delicious side. If you’re looking to make it a little more hearty, add some crumbled feta- if you do you should omit the salt until after you’ve tasted it with the cheese as feta is quite salty.
I like the cucumbers in thin half moons
I had already chopped the cucumbers like this for something else that night- but prefer them in the half moons
Makes: about 4 side servings
Time: less than 10 minutes
You will need:
- 1 long English cucumber
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 large clove of fresh garlic
- juice of 1 fresh lemon
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped dill (add more if desired)
- several grinds of fresh black pepper
- salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
Halve the cucumber and thinly slice into half moons and put in a medium sized bowl. Quarter cherry tomatoes and add to cucumbers. Mince or press garlic and add to the cucumber and tomato. Chop dill and add to the vegetables. Add the juice of one fresh lemon and several grinds of fresh pepper and salt. Stir together. This salad can be eaten immediately, but is best if left to sit at least half an hour before serving in order to let the flavours marry.
As the cartoon implies, when you go to buy an avocado, it seems as though they are all either over ripe or hard as rocks. I generally buy them in a bag when the price is right, and of course, they all seem to ripen at exactly the same time, leaving me needing to use up 4-5 avocados in a short amount of time.
This rice is delicious in a wrap, or with Chipotle Pepper Beef.
Time: about 25 min – 5 min prep, 20 minutes cook
Serves: 4 as side
- 1.5 cups rinsed brown rice
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/4 cup finely minced cilantro
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced or pressed
- juice of one lime (if your lime isn’t very juicy, feel free to use two)
- half a minced jalapeño
Cook rice using your preferred method. I generally use a rice cooker, but just follow your usual method.
While rice is cooking, remove skin and seed from avocado. To do this, run a knife lengthwise along the avocado through the fruit around the seed. Twist halves apart, and use your knife to knock out the seed. I generally cross hatch it with my knife and then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, but since you are mashing it you can just take it out in one chunk if you like. Discard skin and seed and place flesh in a bowl. I was going to take photos of this process, but sometimes I don’t feel like re-creating the wheel so to speak. There is a lovely diagram of how to cut an avocado here as well as additional information about them.
Juice lime(s) over avocado. Mince about 1/4 cup fresh cilantro and mince or press clove of garlic. Add to avocado. Use a fork to mash together. Season with a pinch of salt.
When rice is cooked, mix together with mashed avocado mixture. Serve hot.
I came to spaghetti squash late in life and skeptical of any one who claimed it was ‘just like’ spaghetti. While I quite like it, could possibly even wax poetic about my love of it, I still think it only superficially resembles the pasta it’s named after.
I love this dish as a side for just about anything (pictured here served with veal cutlets), and have also been known to eat it as a vegetarian main served with a nice crusty bread and a salad.
Serves: 4 as a side dish
You will need:
- 1 medium/large spaghetti squash
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 2 tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
- about 70g or 2.5oz of soft goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut stem ends off of spaghetti squash, scrape out seeds (roast like pumpkin seeds if you wish, they are super yummy!) and cut in half length wise.
Place cut sides down on a cookie sheet and place on middle rack in oven for 45min. At 45 min flip over and check to see if strands separate easily from the skin. If they do not, put back in oven for another 15 min (you can leave cut side up). When squash is tender, remove from oven and use a fork to gently pull the squash flesh from the peel and to separate the flesh into strands. You can either use the skin as a bowl or put it all into a separate bowl for serving.
Melt 2 tbsp of butter and mix in the chopped fresh parsley. Mince or press garlic into the butter. Give it a good whisk. When squash is finished cooking and you have scraped it into ‘spaghetti’, drizzle with butter/parsley/garlic mixture and sprinkle with goat cheese for serving.
This is a quick and tasty side dish. If you have some fresh herbs, add them at the end when you mix in the cheese. If you’ve been following the blog, you may notice that I often use fresh asiago instead of fresh parmesan. I find it has a similar delicious nutty flavour, but is generally less expensive.
Time: 25 min- most of this is hands off time.
Serves:2-3 as a side
You will need:
- 1 cup orzo*
- 1 1/2 cups veggie broth or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (or use 2 cups of broth if not using wine)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup fresh shredded asiago or parmeasan
Place butter in a pot to melt over medium heat. When butter is bubbly, add orzo. Do NOT add the broth at this point! Stir pasta in butter for about 3-4 minutes until about half of it has turned brown and toasty looking.
add the orzo to the butter
cook until some is golden and brown
At this point, add the wine and broth of your choice, and cover. Cook about 15 minutes covered, stirring occasionally, until nearly all liquid is absorbed. When liquid is almost all absorbed, remove from heat and keep covered for about 5 min. Stir in shredded cheese and herbs if using and serve.
*if you find this isn’t QUITE enough for you, but doubling would be too much, try 1 1/2 cups of orzo, 3 cups of liquid for a bit more 🙂