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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Use or Lose - Beet Green Minestrone and Baked Cauliflower

This week's leftovers inspired me to go Italian. These two dishes can easily be made 100% vegetarian/vegan by swapping vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

                                                       The Leftovers:
Chicken stock - I made a bunch in bulk
Some marinara that I made in a coffee cup
Stale bread
Most of a head of cauliflower
Beet greens from some beets that hubby pickled

The plan:
Definitely a soup, with the chicken broth and the marinara mixed in for color and flavor. Stale bread becomes bread crumbs so easily; tear it up and bake at 250 for 30 minutes or so, then crumble. I don't want to mess with the cauliflower too much, I like the taste. Beet greens can be treated like just about any other green, so don't throw them away!






Lentil Minestrone with Beet Greens

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped

4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1 large bunch of beet greens
1 cup dry lentils
4oz dry pasta

Heat oil in a large pot. Cook onions and garlic over low heat until just soft. Add the stock, water, tomatoes, and marinara sauce. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
Meanwhile, prepare the greens. You want to do this carefully; stem and grit are not pleasant things to bite into!
Start by cutting away the hard stems.













Then, wash the leaves thoroughly.
















Shake the water out and cut the leaves into small pieces, I use kitchen shears.

Add the chopped greens to the pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 45-60 minutes.
Next, add lentils and pasta. Adjust cooking times per package directions; example, if the lentils take 35 minutes and the pasta takes 8 minutes, add the pasta after the lentils have cooked for 27 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Baked Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp melted butter, optional

Preheat oven to 400. Cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces and put the pieces in a baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Top with a layer of breadcrumbs, and drizzle butter over breadcrumbs if you like. Bake for 30 minutes.


These two dishes compliment each other nicely for a light lunch. Don't forget the bread and wine! :)