This riff on a classic Provençal dish of simmered vegetables gets an upgrade by imparting the veggies with a slightly smoky flavour from the grill and then tossing them into a salad with nutritious lentils and a refreshing minty dressing. A perfect vegetarian main dish for the summer season, the lentils and dressing can be made up to three days in advance, while the vegetables can be grilled the day before your gathering. But dress the salad only before serving.
Place lentils, a couple pinches of salt, and 4 cups (1 L) water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer covered until lentils are tender but not too soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well.
Lightly sprinkle cut sides of eggplant with salt and let sit for 15 minutes (you will see beads of water form on the surface). Pat dry with paper towel.
Heat grill to medium-high. Lightly brush vegetables with oil and season lightly with salt. Grill vegetables, in batches if there is not enough grill space, until charred in a few spots and tender, flipping once. Remove vegetables from grill as they finish cooking.
Once cool enough to handle, chop vegetables into 1/2 in (1.25 cm) pieces, place in large bowl, and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain any liquid that has pooled in the bottom of bowl and then toss vegetables with lentils, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives, if using.
To make dressing, in blender or food processor container, place 1/3 cup (80 mL) oil, vinegar, mint, basil, garlic, honey, mustard, salt, and black pepper, and blend until smooth. Gently toss dressing with salad.
No backyard grill? These vegetables can also be prepared by roasting in a 400 F (200 C) oven. But do so on two baking sheets or in two batches to avoid overcrowding a single pan.
This stuffed eggplant is built upon layers of Middle Eastern flavours: smoky freekeh, tender chickpeas, and a herbal tahini sauce. The quick-pickled raisins add a sweet vinegary pop. Sweat it out Salting eggplant before cooking enhances the flavour by allowing eggplant to sweat out its bitterness and breaking its spongy texture.
In this enchilada riff, we stuff everything into a roasted poblano pepper shell, rather than tortillas, to pack an extra veggie serving into your meal and trim the starchy calories. If you can’t find poblanos, which are mild, dark green Mexican peppers, you can substitute green bell peppers. Flour power Made from nixtamalized corn (corn soaked in limewater), masa harina flour adds a touch of corny flavour to enchilada stuffing or a pot of chili.
These crab-stuffed portobello mushrooms can do double duty as a fancy starter for a casual dinner party or a light main course on any given night. Meaty and umami-rich portobellos serve as a holder for a light-tasting seafood salad. Gills begone Even though the gills of mushrooms are edible, they will darken and discolour everything they touch. Besides, after you scrape out the gills, you’ll have more room for stuffing. And don’t discard the stems; they can be saved and used when making veggie stock.
Serving saucy lentils in squash halves is a sure-fire way to elevate your plant-based menu. And, yes, the whole bowl is edible, skin and all. If desired, you can add dollops of Greek yogurt or sour cream. Spice of life Garam masala, a blend of spices traditionally used in Indian cooking, usually includes cardamom, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, fennel, cumin, and coriander. It’s great on roasted meats and vegetables.