Indian Fried Cabbage and Peas Breaks the Cabbage Image
Cabbage. This vegetable has an image problem. Cabbage, like many vegetables, has a bad reputation. It has been cooked to death without much thought to flavor. It is known as dreary, boring veg that is served in gulags. It was a poor person’s food. Easily available and cheap. Plenty of butter and salt makes it ok to eat. Back in the day, spices were a luxury, but it is 2019 and spices are abundant. So let’s move away from cabbage boiled to mush. There are other ways to prepare cabbage where you will want to eat it. Without being threatened that there will be no dessert until you finish it.
Sometimes I just buy veg at Aldi on a whim and cabbage was my most recent purchase. I do like a challenge. I had an idea to use a recipe out of the Thug Kitchen for roasted cabbage, but I decided to go South Asian with a curry base. Indian Fried Cabbage and Peas breaks the cycle of bland and boiled. While it is soft, it is bursting with flavor and color. If you are trying to cut down on rice, then this is a good substitute in texture if you chop it finely enough. I used my food processor. It was efficient getting the pieces to a perfect size for quick cooking.
While I love kitchen gadgets, none of my kitchens have been big as well as moving a lot, I have had to be very selective with my gadgets. My Kitchen Aid food processor is twenty or so odd years old and I am glad I have it. It is a workhorse making hummus, sauces, and shredding veg. Gadgets have to have a purpose and used weekly for me to keep them in the kitchen or at all. Guess I am the Marie Kondo of kitchen stuff. My list of must-have for the kitchen is electric tea kettle, slow cooker, toaster oven, stand mixer, air fryer, and food processor. I do not own a hand mixer, an electric can opener nor juicer.
Fried Cabbage and Peas
Back to the Indian Fried Cabbage and Peas. This recipe was quick and simple. Cabbage, cumin seeds, coriander, paprika, salt, pepper, fresh ginger, and green peas. All should be pantry items. I use fresh ginger in a bottle. It is just great to have on hand ready to go into a recipe. Same with bottle minced garlic. All the flavor without the fuss.
While Indian Fried Cabbage and Peas can be the main dish if you add another veg dish such as Okra Tomato Curry. Instead of rice, I served this with Coconut Cilantro Curry Grilled Chicken.
Indian Fried Cabbage and Peas
- 1 Cabbage, shredded or finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive or veg oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin Seeds
- 1 inch ginger, grated or a tablespoon of squeezable ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 cup frozen or fresh Green Peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a pan over med-high heat and add cumin seeds and ginger sautéing for a minute
- Add cabbage, paprika, coriander powder and salt mixing well
- Add 1/4 cup water.
- Cover the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes till the cabbage is tender.
- Add in the green peas and cook for another minute or too.
Creamy Parmesan Gnocchi with Kale
Creamy Parmesan Gnocchi is one of the only recipe where I can get my guys to eat kale without faces of pure disgust. The menfolk in my house are not fond of kale or any other bitter greens regardless of how it is prepared. You can simmer those greens with pork, butter, and salt for years and it still isn’t tasty enough. So this is a challenge since dark leafy greens are good for you.
While I like all sorts of greens, be it not often prepared in a healthy manner outside of spinach, I want to get more greens in my family’s diet outside of salads. In the summer, salads are wonderful, but in the winter something warm and hearty is needed.
Fits the Bill
This is where Creamy Parmesan Gnocchi fits the bill. It is a one-pot meal with simple ingredients. Outside of kale and maybe gnocchi – and I’ll come to that in a minute – are pantry items. All it is veg broth, minced garlic, milk, butter, white beans, and chunk Parmesan cheese. My pantry has an array of canned white beans such as Northern White, Cannellini, and butter beans. Use whatever you have in your cabinets. The final texture may change, but do what works best for you. Shock your pantry with bottled minced garlic and veg broth. I always have “real” butter on hand to cook and bake with in my kitchen. Don’t skimp on the Parmesan cheese. Buy a chunk and grate it yourself. One it is cheaper and two it is real cheese.
You can buy various types of gnocchi today. I admit there are three packages of potato gnocchi in my cabinets along with penne pasta. I decided last winter I was going to make homemade gnocchi. As I continue to evaluate my relationship with processed foods, I look to make my food from wholesome ingredients. I have to say that homemade gnocchi is amazing compared to the store-made. Just a level of fresh and taste. While it is simple, there is a process in making them well. If you want to make homemade gnocchi then go here.
This a family favorite even with the kale in it, but when kale isn’t available then I use spinach. It is a quick vegetarian meal for a busy weekday night.
- - 1 tablespoon olive oil
- - 4 teaspoons minced garlic
- - 2 cups veggie broth
- - 1 cup milk
- - 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- - Salt and pepper, to taste
- - 16 ounces gnocchi
- - 3 cups chopped fresh kale
- - 1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained
- - ? cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- - Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
- - Add garlic; stir constantly for 1 minute until fragrant.
- - Add broth, milk, butter and a few dashes of salt and pepper.
- - Add gnocchi; stir to combine.
- - Cook, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes until gnocchi is soft and cooked through.
- - Stir in kale, beans and Parmesan cheese.
- - Cook until kale is just wilted.
- - Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
Quick and Easy Black Bean Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Attempting to lead hardened meat-lovers towards a plant-based diet is difficult. Black Bean Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes goes a long way in getting them to stop saying, “some chicken would taste nice in this.” That’s a huge hurdle is jumped.
Moving folks closer to a plant-based diet is hard. The biggest issue is the mindset. When I was a vegetarian over twenty years ago, I have to admit, vegetarian food was boring and tasteless unless you ate Indian. There was salad, potatoes, pasta, and cooked veg — western European food without meat. I would go into the local co-op buying canned soups and chili, and honestly, they weren’t delicious. Add in fact, that people believed it isn’t going to be filling as meat and that it is expensive, it is a tough sell.
Times have changed.
With an influx of spices, veggies, and cooking techniques from around the globe, vegetarian food has become more robust with flavors and textures. One of my goals in writing Well Worn Apron is to share with folks that plant-based meals are just as tasty, filling, and affordable as meals incorporating meat. Don’t be afraid to use spices, onions, and garlic in your cooking. In my kitchen, I use a lot of chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, thyme, dill, rosemary, gram masala, and curry powder. Pack your fridge with bottled minced garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. I keep spice mixes such as Montreal and Lemon Pepper seasonings. And eating more plant-based meals doesn’t have to be expensive if you stock your pantry. Buy lentils, beans, coconut milk, and veggie broth in bulk then add in the fresh veg or frozen veg. Slow cookers are great for vegetarian meals.
Black Bean Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes is an excellent recipe to sample as a yummy vegetarian meal. Even though my photo doesn’t do the meal justice. It tastes pretty darn good.
Black Bean Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- - 6 small sweet potatoes
- - 1 cup cooked quinoa
- - 1 tablespoon olive oil
- - 1 yellow onion — diced
- - 1 red or yellow bell pepper — diced
- - 1 jalapeño — cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- - 2 teaspoons minced cloves garlic
- - 2 teaspoons chili powder
- - 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- - 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- - 1 (15-ounce) can black beans — rinsed and drained
- - 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- - Juice from 1 lime
- - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- - Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- - Line rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- - Scrub sweet potatoes, pat dry, and prick sweet potatoes with fork.
- - Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size.
- - Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Leave the oven turned on.
- - Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to package instructions. You should have about 1 cup cooked total. Set aside.
- While the sweet potatoes bake and the quinoa cooks, prepare the filling.
- - Heat the olive oil in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium.
- - Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and salt.
- - Cook until the vegetables soften and the onion begins to brown.
- - Add the garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin.
- - Stir to coat the vegetables in the spices, then cook until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- - Stir in the black beans and quinoa. Remove from the heat.
- - Stir in the sour cream/yogurt, lime juice, and 1/2 cup cheese.
- - Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.
- Assemble the meal.
- - With a fork, make a split then open the split and lightly fluff the insides to make space for the toppings.
- - Place the sweet potatoes back on the baking sheet, then stuff with the quinoa–black bean mixture - Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, then return the sweet potatoes to the oven.
- - Cook until the filling is heated through and the cheese melts, about 5 minutes.
Turkish Eggplant Tomato Casserole
One of my favorite vegetables is eggplant. I am always looking for new ways to cook eggplant. I can never eat enough of Turkish cuisine. It is one of the cuisines I hope to explore more of in the future to cook.
So when I came across Imam Bayildi or Turkish Eggplant Tomato Casserole, I had to make it. While this is a simple recipe, it is time-consuming. About an hour and a half so it isn’t a quick weekday meal, but a leisurely weekend one. Do not let the time scare you off, It is worth making it.
This dish is nice year round. It can be served warm or at room temperature. I have served it with hummus and pita or a cucumber salad. It also would go nicely with roasted or grilled meat.
Imam Bayildi Turkish Eggplant Tomato Casserole
- 2 pounds of medium-sized eggplant (I prefer Japanese eggplant, but Italian will do) thinly sliced
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1-4 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Dash of cinnamon
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 1 Preheat the oven to 350F.
- 2 Lightly salt the eggplant slices and allow to stand for 20 minutes. Pat the slices dry and set aside.
- 3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil.
- 4 .Pan fry the eggplant in batches over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add more oil as necessary between batches so the eggplant doesn't burn, but try not to have too heavy a hand - the pan just needs to be greased.
- 5. Remove the eggplant to a plate.
- 6. Add the onion to the skillet and saute over medium heat until soft.
- 7. Add the garlic, chili flakes, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and cinnamon. Cook for one minute more, until fragrant.
- 8 Add tomatoes and simmer until thickened slightly, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half the parsley.
- 9. Spread a layer of tomato sauce in an oven proof casserole dish. Layer eggplant and sauce.
- 10. Cover with foil or casserole lid and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the eggplant is very soft and the sauce has reduced.
- 11. Let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
- 12. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.
Farm Fresh for Eggplant Okra Curry
During the summer, local fresh produce is abundant like eggplants and okra. Perfect for this simple eggplant okra curry dish that’s vegetarian. As I am traveling up the East Coast of the US on my way to our new home in Newport, Rhode Island, I plan on taking advantage of locally grown produce. Currently, I am on the Northern Neck of Virginia which is on the Chesapeake Bay. Farm fresh produce and just off the Bay seafood is in abundance. Honestly, I have been here since Friday night and it is Monday now and I have been to the produce stand three times! So glad they take bank cards as payment. The tomatoes, corn, peaches, berries…. yum! You can not OD on fresh tomatoes and corn, can you? If yes, then I will gladly go that way. I think by the end of three weeks here they will know me by name and I will know them.
Back to the eggplant okra curry. The produce stand had a quart okra and small local eggplants. How could I pass them? They needed to come home me and have me cook something. I am trying to get back on the plant positive lifestyle again so I decided to make a veggie Indian curry. Indian cuisine like many of the regions of the world is focused on veggies and fruit. As I traveled with a trunk of my spices, Dutch ovens, and other favorite cooking things, I had everything on hand to make it. The ingredient list is simple with spices you can get at your local grocery store. If you have fresh tomatoes, you can chop them up. It would take about 5 Roma or 2 big slicing tomatoes. I used my canned since I rather eat those beauties of slicing tomatoes with a little salt and pepper.
You can make it as a meal by adding naan or rice, serve it as a side for grilled chicken, or throw it in a food processor making a warm dip. Either way, it is not over powering and I have kept it mild in spiciness for those who aren’t into the heat. If you are looking for more Indian-style or vegetarian recipes, check out here.
Now go find a local produce stand and see what you came make. Since I have leftover okra, I will be trying out Thug Kitchen’s Baked Okra and Potato Hash.
Simple Eggplant Okra Curry
- 2-4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 small onion, sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoons turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 large eggplant, chopped into 1 inch cubes
- 1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 lb okra, trimmed and chopped
- Kosher salt to taste
- Generous turns of the pepper grinder
- Bunch of cilantro, chopped
- In large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium to medium-low heat.
- Fry the cumin seeds until fragrant.
- Add the onion cooking until soft
- Then add turmeric, cumin, and coriander cooking for a minutes.
- Add the eggplant and okra cooking for about 15 minutes just until it begins to soften. (you may have to add more oil.)
- Add the tomatoes and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stir in cilantro.
Simple Bean Salad is a No Cook Side
Let us face it. No one regardless of how great your air conditioning is during the summer, you still hesitate turning your stove on to make something. This simple bean salad is a perfect no cook side or a nice vegetarian meal for the summer.
It is easy to make and beats anything you can buy pre-made out of a bottle or can. Sure it takes 15 to 20 minutes longer than opening a can, but it will taste a lot better and you can control the intensity of flavors.
Try some other sides and salads
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- A few generous turns of the pepper mill
- Combine beans, celery, red onion, parsley, and rosemary in a large bowl.
- Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Mix dressing throughly with the bean mixture.
- Serve chilled or at room temp.