Vital Veggies

Crispy Shiitakes

Makes 1 cup  | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes

I swear people mistake these for bacon all the time, which isn’t really as strange as it sounds. Mushrooms are loaded with savory umami taste, as is bacon, and baking shiitakes leaves them crispy, just like you know what. The smell of the shiitakes baking is absolutely intoxicating. Make sure that they’re lined up single-file on the baking sheet and not piled on top of each other. Otherwise, they’ll steam instead of bake.

1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Place the shiitakes in a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil, salt, and paprika, tossing until evenly coated. Arrange the mushrooms in a single layer on the prepared sheet and roast until crisp and browned, about 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container for 2 days.

Reprinted with permissions from Clean Soups, copyright © 2016 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Basic Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients: 1 head of cauliflower, extra-virgin olive oil, and sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 425º

  2. Cut the cauliflower into roughly equal sized florets.

  3. Toss florets with 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of sea salt.

  4. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown.

  5. Serve warm or room temp.

Want more flavor? Try one of these variations.

  • Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a little chopped parsley or cilantro

  • Finish with a dollop of Toasted Cumin Citrus Vinaigrette or Parsley Mint Drizzle.

  • With step 3, add 1 clove garlic and 1 small clove shallot, minced.

  • With step 3, add 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder, a few grinds black pepper. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Basic Sautéed Greens

Ingredients: 2 to 4 cups greens (beet greens, chard, kale, collards, mizuna, bok choy or other leafy greens), extra-virgin olive oil, and sea salt

  1. Wash, strip and rip or cut the stems from your greens, then tear or cut the leaves.

  2. Heat your frying pan.

  3. Add a tablespoon of olive oil.

  4. Add flavorings, such as onions (saute for a minute or two) before adding garlic or spices (sauté for 30 seconds to a minute).

  5. Add the greens and a pinch or two of salt. Sauté until they wilt/soften and their color begins to darken. You may need to add a little splash of water or stock and cover for greens that take longer to cook, such as mustard greens or collard greens.

  6. Serve warm.

Cook notes:

  • Do the greens taste bitter? Try finishing them with a little acidity, such as a spritz of lemon, vinegar or mustard or with a little sweet, such as a few drops of real maple syrup, a few raisins or grapes. Read up on the Power of YUM.

  • Want more flavor? Try one of these variations:

    • With step 3, add a pinch or two of chili pepper flakes and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.

    • Try the Garlicky Leafy Greens.

    • With step 3, add 1 clove garlic, minced, and a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger. Just before done, stir in 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil.

    • With step 4, add yellow or red onion slices (about 1 cup) and sauté for 15-20 minutes to allow sugars to caramelize.

    • Finish with 1 or 2 tablespoons of raisins or chopped dates and pine nuts or toasted almonds.

Gregg’s Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Cranberries, and Swiss Chard

Gregg’s Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Cranberries, and Swiss Chard

When a confirmed, dyed-in-the-wool meat eater starts claiming a vegetable dish is his favorite meal of all time, that’s when I know I’m onto something. I made this for my husband, Gregg, and he went absolutely ga-ga over it. (And no, Gregg’s not one of those guys who would say it’s great just because I made it. He’s an honest food critic.) I’ve noticed that a lot of people who avoid vegetables gravitate to this dish. It could be because it’s colorful or comes in its own bowl, but I really think it’s because the hearty taste elicits a comfort food response. Squash has so many things going for it. It’s easy to digest and has numerous qualities—anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunity-boosting—that make it a boon for anyone dealing with cancer. Squash is also a natural vessel for all sorts of wonderful fillings. And if you aren’t in the mood for roasting squash, this quinoa pilaf makes for a yummy dish all on its own.

My Friend Jo’s Special Sauerkraut

My Friend Jo’s Special Sauerkraut

I’ll admit it: I’m a ham. Take the last time I demonstrated how to make sauerkraut. The recipe is pretty basic: pulverize some cabbage, pour some salt over it in a crock, cover, and ferment. Not the most exciting of demos—unless you’ve got a friend, like my friend Jo, with a great sense of humor and knowledge of moi. I told her I needed a mallet for the demo; she lent me her mother’s mallet. It was about eighty years old and five feet tall, and was so big I had to get on top of a milk crate to wield it. It was chancy—the room was filled with three hundred health care professionals—but we all got a good laugh out of it. Hijinks aside, sauerkraut is easy to make—and it’s a great probiotic, leading to a sound gut, which, as scientists are learning, makes for a sound mind.