Out of the Garden

QUICK VEGETARIAN MEALS FROM THE BOUNTY OF YOUR GARDEN

By Carol Gelles
Photograph courtesy of The United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Assoc.

SPINACH AND MUSHROOM SALAD
If you serve this as a main-dish salad, you may want to garnish it with sliced or chopped hard-cooked eggs for a heartier dish.
6 cups lightly packed bite-size pieces fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onions
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
11/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
1/2 clove garlic, minced
Pinch salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach, mushrooms, and onions.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the oil, lemon juice, mustard, tarragon, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Makes 61/2 cups; serves 4 to 6. Variation: Add hard-cooked egg slices or wedges.

SPRING VEGETABLE SOUP
This very light, broth-based soup is just perfect for a light meal, even brunch.
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup fresh shelled peas
4 to 6 thin asparagus, quartered lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
6 snow peas, julienned
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

  1. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and peas and simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes or until carrots and peas are tender.
  2. Add the asparagus, snow peas, and parsley, and simmer, 2 minutes longer. Makes 4 cups; serves 4 to 6.
    Variation: Use almost any julienned seasonal vegetable.

    SZECHUAN BROCCOLI
    This recipe will serve only three if it is the sole entree. If other dishes are served this can feed four or more. Serve with brown or white rice.
    3 Tbs. water
    2 Tbs. mirin (rice wine) or dry sherry
    2 tsp. soy sauce
    1 Tbs. hoisin sauce
    1 tsp. cornstarch
    2 large bunches broccoli
    3 Tbs. vegetable oil
    1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional)
    1 tsp. sesame oil

    1. In a medium bowl, stir together the water, mirin, soy sauce, hoisin, and cornstarch; set aside.
    2. Cut the broccoli heads into florets; peel the stems and slice thin. Set aside (about 14 cups cut up broccoli).
    3. In a wok or large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the broccoli; cook, stirring, until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.
    4. Add the sauce; cook, stirring, until broccoli is coated, about 1 minute. Add the sesame oil. Makes 9 cups; serves 3 to 4.
      Variation: Add 1 cup sliced red or green bell peppers when you add the ginger and garlic.

      PASTA WITH OLIVES, GARLIC, & PINE NUTS
      I used regular canned black olives for this recipečno need for fancier ones. Linguini was my pasta of choice, but ziti or any pasta will do.
      12 ozs. pasta
      2 Tbs. pine nuts (pignoli)
      1 1/2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      2 cups chopped tomatoes
      1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
      3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
      1/2 cup small pitted black olives, halved
      1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
      Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
      Shaved or grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

      1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
      2. While the pasta is cooking, toast the pine nuts in a dry medium-sized skillet over medium heat until partially browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from skillet; set aside.
      3. Heat the oil in the skillet used to cook the pine nuts. Add the garlic; cook, stirring, 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes, parsley, and basil. Cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until tomatoes are softened. Add the olives, salt, and drained pasta; cook until heated through. Grind pepper over pasta, and sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired. Add toasted pine nuts and toss to combine. Makes 6 1/2 cups; serves 4 to 6.

        LITTLE APPLE TURNOVERS
        Most turnovers are too big for a single serving. These are just right.
        3 cups chopped, peeled apples
        1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
        1/3 cup sugar
        2 Tbs. currants
        1 sheet Pepperidge Farm prepared puff pastry
        Confectioners' sugar

        1. In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together the apples, lemon juice, and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in currants. Cool.
        2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
        3. Thaw pastry according to package directions. Roll out to 12-inch square. Cut into 9 squares. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons filling in the center of each square. Brush edges of pastry with water and fold over into triangle. Press lightly to seal. Prick top with fork for ventilation.
        4. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden; cool. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

        5. Variation: Use any prepared pie filling instead of the apple mixture.

          From 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes, by Carol Gelles. © 1996 by Carol Gelles. Excerpted by arrangement with Macmillan. $30. Available in local bookstores, or call 800-428-5331.