Veggie-Filled Back-To-School Dinner Ideas

You may know how obsessed I am with the delicious flavours of fresh vegetables, but when I learned how powerful their nutrients are, my focus on incorporating them into my family’s meals hit new levels. It’s actually become a bit of a game I play to see how many I can fit on one plate, and sometimes, how many I can sneak into my 22-month-old’s meals (by blending broccoli into her pasta sauce, cauliflower and spinach into her smoothies and zucchini into her fruit-and-veg purees).

Taste and health aside, vegetables simply make life easier. Unlike animal foods, you don’t need to obsessively wash your hands, utensils and countertops after preparing them. After grocery shopping, there’s no need to rush home to get food into the fridge (besides leafy greens, vegetables do well at room temperature for hours). And lastly, cooking vegetables doesn’t require precise cooking times and temperatures as do turkeys, roasts and steaks…you pretty much can’t mess them up. They’re undoubtedly, the easiest things to cook!

Lastly, I truly believe veggies are the new black! Nothing bores me more than seeing a hamburger, chicken breast or steak on a menu. What could possibly be done to a chicken breast to make it fresh and exciting? It’s all been done before. Cauliflower steak or portobello burger on the other hand? Now that is a fresh and delicious idea. There are just too many great reasons to load up with local BC vegetables this fall and every season. Need a recipe to get your creative juices going? Here’s a veggie-centric dinner idea using tons of BCfresh veggies that my family loves…hope yours does too!

Roast Cabbage Wedges – Potato-Carrot Mash – Steamed Broccoli – BBQ Tofu

Serves ~6 (with leftovers)

INGREDIENTS

For the roasted cabbage wedges:
1 head cabbage (I used green but red works, too)
¼ c. + 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
½ c. parsley or cilantro
3 tbsp chives (chopped)
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 big clove garlic
½ c. pine nuts
¼ c. + 2 tbsp water
Salt and pepper (to taste)

For the potato carrot mash:
6 russet potatoes
3 carrots
Dairy-free butter (to taste)
Salt and pepper (to taste)

For the steamed broccoli:
1-2 big heads broccoli (cut into florets)
Dairy-free butter (to taste)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Handful hemp hearts (optional)

For the pan-fried BBQ tofu:
2 blocks firm tofu
1 tbsp oil
½ c. BBQ sauce

DIRECTIONS

For the roasted cabbage wedges:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Cut your cabbage into eight wedges by cutting it in half lengthwise, cutting those halves in half lengthwise and repeating those steps until you’re left with eight pieces. Avoid cutting away any of the core — it will hold your wedges together.
  3. In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add your cabbage wedges cut side down. Brush the other side with a bit of oil and cook until brown (about five minutes). Using tongs, gently flip wedges and cook for another five minutes or until brown.
  4. Transfer wedges to a parchment or silpat liner lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, prepare your sauces: in a small blender, combine parsley/cilantro, chives, evoo, vinegar, lemon juice, s&p and garlic and puree until smooth. Transfer sauce to a separate container and rinse out your blender.
  6. Make your second sauce by adding pine nuts, water and salt (to taste) to the small blender and blend until smooth. If you prefer the sauce thicker, add more pine nuts and blend again. Transfer this sauce to a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling (and store the leftovers in the fridge — it lasts for about a week).
  7. To serve, drizzle wedges with a generous amount of both sauces.

For the potato carrot mash:

  1. Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. Chop carrots, as well. Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove and cook potatoes and carrots until soft, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Once soft, drain the water, add in as much vegan butter as you like and mash using a potato masher or a handheld blender. (I find salt gets lost if you mix it into the mash — try sprinkling it on top of the potatoes once they’re dished out instead.)

For the steamed broccoli:

  1. Bring a small amount of water to a boil in a pot. Add broccoli florets and steam for seven minutes.
  2. Serve hot with vegan butter, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with hemp hearts for a nutritional boost, if you like.

For the pan-fried BBQ tofu:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add 1”-thick tofu steaks and fry 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Baste with BBQ and serve hot.

 

Thanks to BCfresh for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own. 

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