April 14, 2023 at 9:14 a.m.
Start thinking about hardy vegetables
The hardiest of vegetables that should be planted two to four weeks before the last frost are broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, onions, lettuce, peas, radish, spinach and turnips.
Now I don’t love cooking with all of those, but there’s some hidden gems in that list, and if you’ve never planted them, give them a shot and cook with homegrown ones, you might just fall in love!
The first one is a mouthful to say, and it’s certainly a hearty meal that you’ll get a mouthful of once it’s done. This is going to be a very green looking meal, so if you have a picky eater, presentation-wise, this one might be best to avoid, but the taste is unique and delicious.
PEA PESTO PASTA
1 1/2 c. packed basil
1/2 c. packed flat leaf Italian parsley
1 c. green peas (if frozen, thawed)
4 cloves garlic
1/4 c. walnuts
1 medium lemon, juiced
1/4 c. parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
1 pinch sea salt (plus more to taste)
1/4 c. olive oil
10 oz. gluten-free pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes*, chopped
1 c. loosely packed arugula
Fill a large saucepan 3/4 full with water, salt generously, and bring to a boil.
In the meantime, prepare pesto. To a food processor, add basil, parsley, peas, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, vegan parmesan cheese, and sea salt. Mix to combine. While the machine is running, stream in olive oil through the spout.
Continue blending, scraping down sides as needed, until creamy and fully combined. If it has trouble blending, add a bit more olive oil or water.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity/brightness, vegan parmesan for cheesy flavor, salt for saltiness, or peas for sweetness.
Next add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Be sure not to overcook, and drain when noodles are ‘al dente’ and still have a slight bite to them. Return to pan off heat and set aside.
Once your pasta is drained, heat a large saucepan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant but not yet browned.
Turn off heat and remove skillet from burner, then add cooked pasta and toss to coat.
Transfer to a serving platter or mixing bowl and add 3/4 of pea pesto and the arugula. Toss to combine.
Serve warm with additional pesto on the side, and garnish generously with additional parsley, pine nuts, and vegan parmesan cheese.
*If using sun-dried tomatoes that are very dry/crunchy, rehydrate by soaking in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
Next, we’ll make use of spinach, that always pairs well with chicken, but can be great on it’s own as well!
CREAMY TUSCAN CHICKEN
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
3 c. baby spinach
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add chicken and season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes are beginning to burst then add spinach and cook until spinach is beginning to wilt.
Stir in heavy cream and parmesan and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to skillet and cook until heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Look, I don’t love raw broccoli. Even if I use a vegetable dip, it’s a bit too dry and earthy for me. But, steamed or cooked broccoli? That I can get on board with! And then pair it with shrimp alfredo? I’m all in.
BROCCOLI SHRIMP ALFREDO
8 oz. uncooked fettuccine
1 lb. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. butter, cubed
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, cubed
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
4 c. frozen broccoli florets
1/2 tsp. salt
Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute shrimp and garlic in butter until shrimp turn pink. Remove and set aside.
In the same skillet, combine the cream cheese, milk and Parmesan cheese; cook and stir until cheeses are melted and mixture is smooth.
Place 1 in. of water in a saucepan; add broccoli. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-2 minutes or until tender. Drain. Stir the broccoli, shrimp, salt and pepper into cheese sauce; heat through. Drain fettuccine; top with shrimp mixture.
TFD: I sincerely hope everyone has gotten a chance to enjoy the warm weather at some point this week. It was a brutal winter, and these days are my answer when anyone asks ‘How can you live in Minnesota?!’ during the cold months. It’s truly beautiful outside.