Friday, January 30, 2009

Winter Root Vegetable Salad

I'm all about using the internet for any food recipes I may need, but sometimes it is nice to have a coordinated selection of recipes to browse through. So last week I finally broke down and bought my second vegetarian cook book.

For the past few years I've been living out of "The Clueless Vegetarian" by Evelyn Raab. It's a great starter book: it explains the different types of vegetarians, introduces you to alternative protein and iron rich foods gently (lots of beans, tofu, seitan, tempeh, etc.), helps you and your family work with your vegetarian-ness so you can all eat peacfully, and helps out with lots of other necessities otherwise lost on someone new to the diet.

I thought it was finally time to purchase another veggie book, and I ended up selecting "The Vegetarian Cook's Bible" by Pat Crocker. I'm really enjoying the book: there is a ton of information about different fruits, veggies and herbs, including nutritional info, when they are in season, how to store them and what to do with them. She also includes recipes to create your own spice mixtures, such as red and green curries, Cajun and Ethiopian Hot Pepper as well as tea blends. Best of all, her recipes are seasonal (she must be Canadian), and often she includes suggestions on how to make a summer dish with what's available during the cold months and vice-versa.

This is the second recipe I've tried from the book (the first was a mushroom-barley soup with chocolate) and both turned out well.

Warm Root Vegetable Salad with Winter Vegetable Dressing

2 beets; trimmed and quartered (I didn't have beets handy so left them out)
2 small turnips; trimmed and quartered (I grabbed rutabaga instead)
2 carrots cut into large chunks
1 parsnip cut into large chunks
(I added one small sweet potato as well)
1/2 onion chopped into large chunks (I used red)
1 can (10 oz/300 g) water chestnuts; drained and chopped (I omitted these)
1/3 cup Winter Vegetable Dressing (recipe below)

In a small saucepan, cover beets with water. Cover and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool slightly, then slip skins off.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover turnips, carrots and parsnip with water. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool slightly (I cooked everything a bit less, drained it, then through it all into the oven with the onion chunks, olive oil, salt and pepper to roast everything slightly).

In a large bowl, toss the cooked veggies, onion and water chestnuts with the Winter Vegetable Dressing, Serve warm or at room temperature.

Winter Vegetable Dressing

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp curry; home-made or store-bought (I used store bought)
2 tsp organic can sugar (I used some Agave nectar)

In a jar with a lid or small bowl, combine oil, orange juice, vinegar, curry and sugar. Shake or whisk well to mix.

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