vegetables, beautiful vegetables 2008

thank you to everyone who got involved with vegetables, beautiful vegetables 2008! As with last year, there are some fantastic vegetarian dishes here, so if you need some new inspiration, tuck in!


vegetarian blt = beans + lettuce + tomatoes. well, according to dana from dulcedo, that's how you take this classic combination and turn it veggie. what a great idea, and so beautifully executed - make sure you visit her blog to get a closer look at this open sandwich made with little multicoloured heirloom tomatoes and uncooked yellow and green beans.

dana also makes the great suggestion of using a sun-dried tomato dip in place of mayo on her blt.


another option for tomatoes, this time on little garlicky sourdough crostini, are these caprese bites from redacted recipes. the combination of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella is a much-loved classic but, as ann says, it is the quality of ingredients that really matters, so save this for tomato season!


while tomatoes aren't yet at their best here in the uk, asparagus is a different story!

the english asparagus season has started and this recipe for asparagus with fried tofu and charred caper dressing, from hipppolyra at fuss free flavours, is going on my list of things to try.

if you're not used to buying or cooking with tofu, or fancy making your own, hippolyra has some great tips as she's a big fan of the stuff.


another seasonal vegetable which i've been making great use of are fresh peas. this pea and chive risotto which uses pearl barley in place of risotto rice, is the creation of ulrike from kuchenlatein and looks wonderfully creamy.


courgettes (aka zucchini) are a real summer favourite of mine and i'm always delighted to be the recipient of any extras which vegetable-growing friends might have.

this pasta with zucchini and goats cheese looks like a fabulous and very flavoursome dish, which is here courtesy of sarah from homemade. she also promises that it's quick and easy to pull together - ideal if you need to eat asap!


tessa from the portobello kitchen is a fellow londoner who believes in healthy eating, particularly when it comes to getting her five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

this spinach and mushroom quiche with a sweet potato crust is both vegan and gluten-free, as well as being our second recipe to use tofu!


cristie from edible antics offers another recipe which calls for ripe and flavoursome tomatoes - pasta with olives and tomatoes. it's also a great dish if you need to stock up on fresh vegetables as, apart from the tomatoes, it relies on storecupboard ingredients.


roasted carrots with cumin and lime - what a great combination of sweet, earthy, spicy and tangy flavours! sandy from eat real suggests serving these as a side dish and urges us to try some of the more unusual varieties of carrots that are available.


these stuffed green peppers are filled with spicy mashed potato and onion filling, topped with feta cheese and tamarind chutney and then baked.

inspired by dishes she's eaten in local restaurants, mansi from fun and food, served them with a gently spiced yoghurt sauce. it sounds delicious!


brinjal is a word from my childhood, meaning eggplant, or aubergine. the budding cook says it is not one of her favourite vegetables and i have to confess that it took many years for me to find ways of cooking it that i like. this brinjal curry, flavoured with tamarind and a hint of coconut looks like something i'd like to try.


the third curry in a row! 

his time it's a dal, gingered red lentils courtesy of mary from shazam in the kitchen. mary says "they are fantastically good... soothing comfort food which knocked (her) taste buds for a loop." i love dal and this recipe really sells itself to me - i'll be trying this soon! 


gay, a scientist in the kitchen in the philippines, was my partner in taste & create a few months ago and if these papaya and coconut spring rolls had been on her blog then, i'd have been trying them out!

as well as papaya and coconut, the spring rolls also contain carrot and are flavoured with garlic and fresh coriander - perfect for serving with one of gay's dipping sauces.


look at the colours in that salad! however, it is the sweet potato and kasha burger that you should be looking at. described by ricki from diet, dessert and dogs as having a savoury, almost smokey flavour, this is another dish that is worth investigating.

and in case you're wondering, kasha is buckwheat.


this caramelised vegetable tart has appeared as part of vegetables, beautiful vegetables before. last year the maker was meeta from what's for lunch, honey but this year it is judith from shortcut to mushrooms. maybe it's a sign that i should be giving it a a try as well...


and speaking of what's for lunch, honey this is meeta's contribution -  ricotta, pesto and muhroom lasagne.

mushroom lasagne has been on my list of things to make for absolutely ages (years!) but, given david is not a fan of mushrooms, i've yet to try it.

this combination of gently flavoured ricotta, fresh green basil pesto and earthy mushrooms had meeta wriggling her toes in delight as she ate it - i think i need to try it for myself!


these baked vegetable cutlets contain an amazing array of vegetables - cauliflower, peas, potatoes, green beans, carrot, beet, celery and chickpeas! flavoured with indian spices and fresh herbs, they sound wonderful. healthy too given that they were baked, rather than fried, by lisa's kitchen.


lisa's serving suggestion for her vegetable cutlets is exactly what siri's kitchen has provided for us - tomato coconut chutney!

and when i say that it came from siri's kitchen, it is actually the creation of her "special someone" rather than something of siri's own. a dish truly made with love, aren't we lucky?


even hardened carnivores, and ruth from once upon a feast is self-confessed, eat vegetarian meals on a semi-regular basis. and ruth certainly seems to know that the key to good veggie eating is to forget about what to substitute for the meat and just focus on the beautiful vegetables. this mushroom, herb and baby beet green pasta does just that and that looks wonderful.  


hetal from isha's kitchen offers us a quick and easy side dish which she suggests keeping in the back of your mind any time you're hosting friends or family and likely to think "have i made enough?"

these garlic sugar snap peas are exactly as she describes and incredibly quick and easy to make.


savoy cabbage is often thought of as a wintery vegetable but these savoy patties with cucumber salad and yoghurt dip are a much fresher and more spring-like option.  the flavours of the patties, shown on balu's blog, are very fresh and would be perfect for a light lunch or simple supper.


courgette flowers are something that i've never managed to find in the market (bad timing as i know they are available) but would love to cook with. this "light, tasty and quick" basil and zucchini tortellini is courtesy of graziana from erbe in cucina.


i love beetroots, both for their earthy flavour and their vibrant colour. this beet rosti with rosemary is a fabulous idea - the woody rosemary will add, i am sure, a wonderful dimension of flavour to the beet. served with a salad made from beet greens and chevre, this lovely dish was served up for us by ali and jon from things we ate for dinner.


anna from morsels & musings regularly cooks vegetarian food. interestingly, she thinks that some cuisines lend themselves better to vegetarian cooking than other. she had not found this to be the case with thai food, until she made this bamboo shoot salad. she says that "its spicy kick and sour tang" works wonderfully well. and it has the added bonus of being vegan!


pete from this edible life is another committed carnivore who has been getting creative with some vegetarian dishes. in fact, he too has created a vegan dish! he describes his pretty vegetables as a deconstructed ratatouille -  a stack of marinated roasted vegetables with a tomato emulsion and a virgin mary sorbet. what a wonderful summery version of a classic dish!


broad beans and artichokes - two of my favourite vegetables and a real sign that spring has sprung and summer is on the way! hania from organically cooked combines these two vegetables to create a greek dish of broad beans with artichokes. cooked slowly until tender, the vegetables are served in a lemony sauce and hania suggests feta cheese and sourdough bread to accompany them.


devil's club gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce - what a fabulously named dish! using wild and foraged food is a regular feature on laurie's lovely blog mediterranean cooking in alaska. devil's club is a wild plant which apparently has an energising complex flavour which includes hints of resin and pine. laurie uses it in place of spinach to make these gnocchi which are served with a creamy gorgonzola sauce.


zlamushka's spicy kitchen suggests that we try her korean seasoned eggplant. this is another aubergine dish which i'm going to need to test - the seasoning is actually a marinade made from soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic plus sesame seeds and oil. oh, and some chilli flakes to give it a spicy kick! this is added to the cooked aubergine and sounds great for using with almost any vegetable. 

and that's it. apart, of course, from my own contributions during national vegetarian week of asparagus pesto, radish and broad bean salad with green tahini dressing, falafel and roasted vegetables with basil oil and halloumi.

if i've missed anyone, please let me know but in the meantime, enjoy your veggies!