Tag Archives: vegetable

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce and Toasted Pine Nuts

I wasn’t always so gung ho about vegetables. Just like most other children, I was skeptical of new foods and needed some prompting to eat my vegetables.

So my dad came up with the idea of serving us broccoli with cheese sauce. Made with just a simple roux, milk, and shredded cheese, it was a 5 minute solution to get us to eat our veggies. And it worked! My sister and I would gobble them up and even ask for seconds!

Broccoli with cheese sauce and crushed toasted pine nuts

As I got older I found I liked the taste of broccoli on its own – especially roasted – so I haven’t thought about that cheese sauce in years. That is until I started dating JZ who has the taste buds of a 5 year old (and I say that in a loving way). So I’ve had to get creative with my veggies and whip out that cheese sauce for broccoli, maple glaze for roasted carrots, gremolata for green beans… basically anything to disguise the fact that I’m actually serving vegetables. So far everything has been a hit, I think (except for coleslaw!), but he especially loved that broccoli with cheese sauce.

I was inspired to add the pine nuts on top after I went to Beast in the fall and had rapini with spiced buttermilk aioli and pine nut crumble. The aioli wasn’t a cheese sauce, but it reminded me of the one from my childhood and gave me the idea to merge the two dishes into this one.

I used Gruyere, but you could really use any hard cheese like cheddar or Gouda or Parmesan. Or hey, go crazy and do a blend of cheeses. Either way, you can’t go wrong with cheese sauce, am I right?

Broccoli with cheese sauce and crushed toasted pine nuts

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce and Toasted Pine Nuts
 
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Steamed broccoli with an easy homemade cheese sauce. Toasted pine nuts on top add a great nutty flavour and texture to the dish!
Author:
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup of low fat milk
  • ¾ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp pepper or more to taste
Instructions
  1. In a small pan, toast the pine nuts over low heat (watching them carefully!) until they are golden in colour. Let them cool, then crush them in a mortar with a pestle. Add ¼ tsp of salt and then set aside.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Then add the flour, and whisk it into the butter for about a minute. Add about ¼ cup of the milk and whisk it in until smooth, then add the rest of the milk, grated cheese, and salt and pepper. Stir until thickened then remove from the heat.
  3. Place the broccoli florets in about 1 inch of water in a pot with a lid. Bring to a boil and let the broccoli steam until it is bright in colour. Drain and place broccoli in a serving dish. Top with cheese sauce and crushed pine nuts.

Broccoli with cheese sauce and crushed toasted pine nuts

How do you jazz up your vegetables?

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Kale Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Toasted Almonds, and Parmesan

Disclaimer: This post was written as a part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program, however all opinions expressed are my own.

I’ve seen a lot of articles about the top food trends for 2015 floating around Twitter. They probably say that kale salads are so 2014 (or 2013?), but I don’t care. I love a good kale salad. And I could definitely go for one right now after all those holiday cookies and desserts.

So even if kale is “over”, I’m going to go ahead and post this kale salad with sun dried tomatoes, toasted almonds, and Parmesan recipe anyways – because it’s darn delicious. And it’s sticking to one of my New Year’s resolutions to practice using and improve my skills with my new 50 mm f1.7 lens.

This Kale Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Toasted Almonds, and Parmesan is a healthy and delicious vegetarian side dish!

I’m not really one to make hard fast New Year’s resolutions, but there are a few things I’d like to work on this year. Other than photography, I also want to start cooking and baking with a bigger variety of whole grains because I have way too many containers of rarely used grains in my pantry that have been collecting dust for an embarrassingly long time. So if you have any great recipes for buckwheat groats, millet, wheat bran, quinoa flour, or freekeh, please send them my way!

I also want to start doing HIIT (or high intensity interval training) at GoodLife Fitness. Lately I’ve been doing mostly low intensity cardio like walking outdoors or easy cycling on the stationary bike, but I know once I find a job, my time will be more limited, so I will need to start getting more bang for my buck with exercise.

This Kale Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Toasted Almonds, and Parmesan is a healthy and delicious vegetarian side dish!

Oh yeah, and speaking of working, I should probably also uhh start doing that. My dream career may not be within my grasp right now, but at this point I just want to find any job within my field to start making an income.

So here’s to 2015: a year to be filled with jobs, whole grains, and kale salads. Even if they are so 2014.

This Kale Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Toasted Almonds, and Parmesan is a healthy and delicious vegetarian side dish!

Kale Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Toasted Almonds, and Parmesan
 
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An easy and flavourful kale salad with sun dried tomatoes, toasted almonds, Parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette.
Author:
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10 cups loosely packed chopped kale
  • ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 3-4 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a small dish, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. If you are using a less sweet balsamic vinegar, you may want to add a touch of maple syrup.
  2. Pour the dressing over the kale and massage with your hands to work the dressing into the leaves, which helps to soften them. You may not need to use all of the dressing.
  3. Top the salad with the almonds, sun dried tomatoes, and Parmesan.

This Kale Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Toasted Almonds, and Parmesan is a healthy and delicious vegetarian side dish!

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

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Roasted fall vegetables with sage, Parmesan, and balsamic reduction

If you were to ask me about my favourite vegetable, I would say that hands down it is winter squash. The sweetness, the soft creamy texture, the way its sugars get caramelized in the oven… it’s seriously true love.

Roasted fall vegetables are taken up a notch with sage, Parmesan, and balsamic reduction in this healthy side dish!

You would know this if you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant with me because I get really excited whenever I see it on restaurant menus. Once I see squash listed in a dish, I am completely sold on ordering that dish without question.

This weekend I went to Lola’s Kitchen in Toronto and had the most incredible quinoa risotto with leeks, winter squash, kale, Parmesan cheese, and truffle oil with shrimp added on. It was the epitome of fall in one cozy, delicious dish! I also split the starter stuffed squash with my friends, which was quite good as well.

Roasted fall vegetables are taken up a notch with sage, Parmesan, and balsamic reduction in this healthy side dish!

My squash obsession isn’t limited to dining out though. I buy squash at least once a week at the market/grocery store and have no shortage of ideas for cooking it with all the squash recipes on my Pinterest boards. And sometimes I like to get experimental and come up with my own ideas for squash – like these roasted fall vegetables with sage, Parmesan, and balsamic reduction.

This dish was inspired by this Parmesan and sage crusted butternut squash from Ricotta and Radishes‘ blog (doesn’t it look gorgeous?). I had some sage to use up in my fridge, so I decided to make a twist on this recipe by adding Brussels sprouts and shallots. My reason was purely laziness – why make two separate vegetable side dishes for dinner when I could just combine them into one? I also added a balsamic reduction drizzle to tie tie the dish together.

The result is a healthy vegetable side dish with a complex medley of flavours. It’s definitely going to become a regular feature on my dinner table!

Roasted fall vegetables are taken up a notch with sage, Parmesan, and balsamic reduction in this healthy side dish!

Roasted fall vegetables with sage, Parmesan, and balsamic reduction
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and shallots in olive oil and sage, topped with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. A great healthy side dish for fall! Gluten free, nut free, and vegetarian with vegan option.
Author:
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • ¾ lb butternut squash, cubed
  • 3-4 shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic reduction
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. While it is heating, prepare your vegetables. Wash, trim, and halve the Brussels sprouts. Peel and cube the butternut squash into 1 to 1.5 cm pieces. Peel the shallots and cut into quarters. Don't cut off the ends of the shallots - this helps the layers stay together.
  3. Then combine the chopped sage and olive oil in a small dish, and pour it over the bowl of vegetables. Toss to combine, then add salt.
  4. Spread out the vegetables on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Then flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes before removing.
  5. Let cool slightly, then top with shredded Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
Notes
*To make vegan, omit Parmesan cheese.

Roasted fall vegetables are taken up a notch with sage, Parmesan, and balsamic reduction in this healthy side dish!

Looking for more vegetable recipes? You might like:

Broccoli with cheese sauce and toasted pine nuts
Sweet dumpling squash and arugula salad
Zucchini salad with Parmesan and basil

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