Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vegan Sausage, Roasted Root Vegetables, and Sauteed Kale

This is my very favorite sort of meal. It's very simple, and the basic components are: a protein, starchy, garlicky oven-roasted vegetables, and leafy greens with vinegar. On this occasion, we ate Field Roast smoked apple and sage vegan sausages, roasted sweet potatoes, red potatoes, carrots, and local radishes with garlic, and local kale sauteed with onion and red wine vinegar. The combination of different colors, flavors, and textures are what makes this meal so special and appealing to me.

Aaron and I decided that although the vegan sausages were delicious (read my review of Field Roast sausages here), the real highlight of the meal was the roasted root vegetables. They are sweet, warm from the oven, and very rustic and comforting. I use this simple but extremely effective cooking method to cook root vegetables of all types, in all different combinations. Oh, and roasting radishes might sound odd, but the result is tasty - they lose most of their peppery bite and get very mellow, almost like a roast turnip.

Roasted Root Vegetables (makes four side-dish-sized servings):

What You Need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 8-10 medium-sized red potatoes
  • 4 carrots
  • 6-8 radishes (I used the purple-skinned variety)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
How to Do It:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the root vegetables into two-inch pieces. Try to get the vegetables into similar sized pieces, but don't be too worried with uniform shapes. Rustic is nice.
  3. Put the chopped vegetables and garlic into a roasting pan. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss everything together, making sure the vegetables are coated with oil.
  4. Roast the vegetables in the oven until tender, gently stirring every fifteen minutes or so to ensure even cooking - about forty-five minutes. Enjoy!

The vinegary kale provides a delicious counterpoint to the vegetables. The texture is more hearty, where the vegetables are soft, and the flavor is green and slightly bitter (as leafy greens are), where the vegetables are sweet. Its more assertive flavor balances out the gentle roasted carrots and sweet potatoes. The cooking method for the kale is again very simple and works for all sorts of dark green leafy vegetables, like collards, turnip greens, chard, and beet greens.

Sauteed Kale with Onions and Red Wine Vinegar: (makes four side-dish-sized servings):

What You Need:
  • 1 pound of kale, washed, stems removed, leaves cut into thin pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
How to Do It:
  1. In a large saute pan (I used a non-stick, wok-shaped pan), heat the oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onion, and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent - about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the kale to the pan and stir to combine (it will cook down quickly and considerably). If it seems to be drying out, add a tablespoon or so of water. Continue to cook until the kale is dark green and tender.
  3. Season with the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!

This, to me, is the best kind of vegan comfort food. And with its bright colors and abundance of different vegetables, you can tell right away that it is nutritious. In fact, according to the cookbook Power Foods (not a vegan cookbook, but with a distinct emphasis on plants) that I checked out from my local library, kale, sweet potatoes, and carrots are all designated "power foods" - some of the healthiest foods on Earth. So eat up!

No comments:

Post a Comment