Cauliflower – Vegetable, Pasta Sauce or Soup (Parve)

I like cauliflower. Not just because it’s one of those good-for-you cruciferous vegetables that dietitians rave about. I find it visually attractive, tasty and very versatile. If you need convincing, here’s an easy and delicious recipe.

Use half a cup of broth and serve as a vegetable. More broth turns it into pasta sauce. Add the full amount and you have soup. Serve with a sprinkling of grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, if you’d like.

By the way, this technique works well with broccoli too.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

1 medium head cauliflower, separated into small florets

½ to 4 cups vegetable broth (homemade is best; find out how)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté or saucepan. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s soft and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cauliflower and cook, stirring, until the cauliflower begins to soften. This should take between 5 and 10 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth, salt and pepper. (See instructions above for the amount of broth to use.) Bring to a simmer and cook just until the cauliflower is just tender. Don’t let it get mushy!

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Grains and Beans Made Easy

I’m a big fan of whole grains and beans. They’re full of vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates and protein. They’re a great source of fiber – a nutrient that most of us don’t get nearly enough of. They’re low-fat, salt-free, vegetarian and parve. They’re versatile and they’re delicious.

But most people stay away from them. They take too long to cook. They need to be pre-soaked. How many of us have time for that?

Thanks to the Israeli company Sugat, it’s now easier than ever to eat grains and beans. Their “10-minute Collection includes six mixes that take just 10 minutes to cook. They include grains like barley, spelt, rice, kasha and kamut as well as red, yellow and brown lentils and split peas.

How can whole grains and legumes cook in just 10 minutes? Sugat has done a little pre-cooking for us. All you do is bring some water to a boil. Add the mix and cook for 10 minutes. (I tried the Five-Grain Blend and found that it cooked to my liking in just 7 minutes.) Drain the grains and serve.

The possibilities are endless: Patties, pies, salads, soup, side dish or main course. I added vegetables an egg and cheese and used it to stuff red peppers. The next day I heated the leftovers with milk and cinnamon and enjoyed it as a breakfast cereal. The (English) website has lots of yummy sounding recipes for inspiration.

Look for these mixes in (Israeli) grocery stores near the packaged rice, grains and beans.

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Soup and Cornbread in the Sukkah

Soup and quick breads – breads made with baking powder or baking soda rather than yeast, are a great lunch or dinner choice during Sukkot. You can prepare soup ahead of time and make the bread just before dinner. The beauty of quick breads is that they really are quick – you can mix them together in less than five minutes!
Here’s a quick cornbread recipe. Try it with Red Lentil Soup for a delicious warm meal in your Sukkah. Chag Sameach!

Buttermilk Cornbread (Dairy)

¾ cup cornmeal

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 ½ cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C).

Line a 9 “(23 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt.

Using the same whisk beat the eggs slightly and then mix with the oil and buttermilk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just to combine.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 15-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6-8 servings

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Vegetarian Pasta Recipe

Here’s a light vegetarian recipe using summer zucchini. It makes a good weekday entree during the period before Tisha B’Av, when it’s customary to not eat meat.

From Food for the Soul – Traditional Jewish Wisdom for Healthy Eating, Gefen Publishing House

Pasta with Zucchini Sauce (Dairy)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, minced

5-6 medium zucchini, thinly sliced

2 cups non-fat or low-fat milk

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

freshly ground pepper

1 pound whole-grain or regular pasta tubes or spirals

Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion until soft. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring until slightly soft.

Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered over very low heat, until most of the milk has evaporated, stirring the mixture occasionally so that the bottom of the pan does not burn. Allow up to an hour of cooking for the milk to cook down with the zucchini into a sauce.

When the sauce is about half cooked, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta. Drain the pasta, rinse, drain again and set aside.

Add the cheese and ground pepper to the cooked sauce and mix with the pasta.

Serves 6-8

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Chana Rubin, RD

Food for the Soul

Traditional Jewish Wisdom for Healthy Eating
By Chana Rubin, RD

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