Chilled Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto, Sweet Corn & Sun-Dried Tomato ♥

Chilled Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto, Sweet Corn & Sun-Dried Tomato, another healthy salad ♥ A Veggie Venture
graphic button small size size 10 Zucchini Noodles? Thing is, they're achieving ritual status here in my kitchen. Yours too? Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. graphic button small size size 10

#TwoThings.

#1 Come summer, there must be some a magic moment when the zucchini and basil gods collude. How do I know? Because I made this supreme little summer chilled zucchini noodle salad for the first time on July 11, 2016 and for the second time, entirely by accident, on the same date exactly one year later. But the timing isn't really an accident, is it? That's because every year about the same time, the zucchini reach exactly the right size for spiralizing (not too small, not too big though definitely not baseball bats) and the basil is beginning to flower and needs cutting back to ensure the plants will continue to produce basil leaves well into fall, so naturally, hello pesto! (For the record, I'm totally in love with my extra basil-y, vegan pesto, Homemade Fresh Basil Pesto Without Cheese.)

#2 Do we even need a recipe for something called "Chilled Zucchini Noodle Salad with Pesto, Sweet Corn & Sun-Dried Tomato"? I definitely didn't use one the first time I made this. But we all loved it so much, I made a few notes to re-create later for pictures and well, you. Because with any luck, #1 is happening in your world too and a little nudge-nudge is all it'll take for you to drag out the spiralizer. If it's that easy? It's definitely Summer Easy.

This recipe is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes published all summer long since 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!

Recipe for Roasted Kohlrabi ♥

Roasted Kohlrabi ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, simple and delicious.
graphic button small size size 10 Today's easy kohlrabi recipe: How to roast kohlrabi, a simple way to cook kohlrabi, just cubed and oven-roasted. Low carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly. graphic button small size size 10

~recipe updated for a little new-to-you vegetable inspiration~
~first published way back in 2007~
~more recently updated recipes~

Easy. Simple. Healthful. And tastes good! In short, a win-win-win recipe.

Until now, I've only eaten kohlrabi raw, almost like apples except peeled and sliced. Raw kohlrabi is so full of flavor, moisture and most importantly for pre- and post-supper munchies, crunch. (Ha! Isn't it funny that my favorite way to eat kohlrabi is paired with apples! You'll love Kohlrabi & Apple Slaw with Creamy Coleslaw Dressing!)

So this is the first time I cooked kohlrabi, except for tucking some into this Warm Root Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette where the kohlrabi flavor was mish-mashed with the other root vegetables.

And drum roll ... Roasted Kohlrabi stays on the Keeper List! I also love to cook the kohlrabi greens (that is, the kohlrabi leaves) like this, I use this recipe for Asian Greens.

Fresh Kohlrabi ready for roasting ♥ AVeggieVenture.com
WHAT IS KOHLRABI? Back to basics! Kohlrabi (kol-ROB-ee) is a member of the turnip family. Some times it's called "cabbage turnip". Mostly I find kohlrabi with bulbs that are a pretty light green color but I've also seen purple kohlrabi on occasion. What looks like a bulb is actually just an enlarged portion of the stalk. Especially to eat raw, look for small ones, about three inches across. At the farmers market, like mine, they'll often still be attached to their greens which you cook like collards, low and slow. If you like broccoli stalks, you'll like kohlrabi!

ROASTING VEGETABLES Most vegetables are quite wonderful roasted. Plus, great news, no "recipe" is required to roast a vegetable, just a few tips tips, you'll love How to Roast Vegetables: 15 Tips & A Master Recipe.

COMPLIMENTS!
graphic button small size size 10 "[my husband] must have said at least three times, 'What is this called again? I really like it!'" ~ Kara
graphic button small size size 10 "What a delicious and simple recipe ..." ~ TheBaaBlogger
graphic button small size size 10 "I loved it. It was so good." ~ Anonymous
graphic button small size size 10 "Delicious! Even my 3 year old ate it up ..." ~ KimS
graphic button small size size 10 "It's a winner! Plus, on the glycemic index, it's a lot better for me than potatoes." ~ Anita
graphic button small size size 10 "I should have bought more because we loved the taste." ~ Lucilla
graphic button small size size 10 "delish! thanks for the instructions on such a light, delightful dish!" ~ lortz
graphic button small size size 10 "If you have never tried kohlrabi, give this recipe a try. I loved it." ~ Jan

Arugula Salad with Smoked Trout & Peach Preserve Dressing ♥

Arugula Salad with Smoked Trout & Peach Preserve Dressing ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, simple but special salad supper, makes up in minutes.
graphic button small size size 10 Today's salad supper, perfect for simple summer evenings: Peppery arugula tossed with a sweet fruity-mustard dressing, then topped with bites of smoked trout, fresh fruits and veggies. Totally adaptable, so simple but special. Destined for a go-to dinner! graphic button small size size 10

~recipe updated, first published way back in 2007~
~more recently updated recipes~

WAY BACK IN 2007
Day One: Christine from My Plate or Yours raved about a smoked mullet dip. We bantered back and forth a bit on e-mail.

Day Two 7 am: Arggh. I was, um, hooked. I woke up wanting smoked fish dip NOW. (For breakfast, Alanna?)

Day Two 11am: A client's husband was off to fetch fish from Bob's Seafood, the best (and in my opinion, only) place to buy fresh fish in St. Louis, for their supper. When I asked if he'd mind buying smoked fish for me, he and my client answered, nearly simultaneously, "You need a smoker!" Now he's an accomplished foodie and Anne Cori is chef so I trust their judgments without question. An hour later, he'd picked up the fish from Bob's, he'd picked up a stovetop smoker from her store, the wonderful Kitchen Conservatory – and she gave me a lesson in hot-smoking shrimp, scallops and trout!

And this stuff is heaven! I'm looking forward to learning more about the stovetop smoker – including, with any luck, some vegetables. More on that, later. (Fast Forward Two More Days: My first foray with smoker at home turned out beautifully, just scallops and shrimp and OH SO EASY.)

In the mean time, the sauce the client recommended for the trout turned out to be a delicious oil-free dressing on arugula – snipped fresh from the client's home garden. Yes, indeed, this is a client with "fringe benefits"! Thank you, Anne, thank you, Tom! And Christine, thanks to you, too, for the inspiration that started this odyssey!

UPDATE Eight years passed between Salad One and Salad Two but it wasn't eight weeks before the next one. So simple. So good. So perfect for a sumptuous summer supper. Just look how pretty! I've become partial to smoked whitefish but trout remains wonderful, so does hot-smoked salmon. And scallops!

AN EXTRA PERSONAL NOTE Looking back, I'm wondering if it was this morning that set in motion events that led to being invited to a 4th of July party at the client's home where The Man With the Hands and I first met. Could it be? It just might!

Red Pepper Hummus ♥

Red Pepper Hummus, another easy vegan appetizer ♥ A Veggie Venture
graphic button small size size 10 Today's easy appetizer recipe: A pretty chickpea and roasted red pepper hummus. Such pretty color! Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. graphic button small size size 10

After ten days and ten inches of rain and record flooding, on Friday the sun finally made a much-doubted welcome re-appearance here in Missouri. All of a sudden, our kitchen was sunlit again! All of a sudden, twas summer!

... which got me to digging around in the pantry for "summer food," the stuff that's so easy it almost makes itself, the stuff that as easily fuels a quick snack as somehow contributes to supper. Say hello to my latest hummus, this one a pretty pale hue of red, color-wise, as welcome as sunshine compared to my otherwise wonderful signature hummus, the Crazy-Smooth Crazy-Good Hummus and even the stuff-there's-no-getting-enough-of, the Roasted Eggplant “Hummus" (Eggplant & Chickpea Dip & Spread).

All three versions of hummus are extra-smooth thanks in part to the way I cook chickpeas especially for hummus, How to Cook Dried Chickpeas Especially for Hummus aka "Jerusalem Chickpeas". But this last time I made Red Pepper Hummus? No home-cooked chickpeas were ready to go so I pulled out a can of chickpeas and there was hummus in a few minutes, slightly rougher in texture but equally habit-forming.

So is cooking your own chickpeas recommended? Yes. But can you get away with canned chickpeas. Yes, thank our lucky stars sunshine.

This recipe is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes published all summer long since 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!

Baba Ganoush ♥ (Recipe for Middle Eastern Eggplant Spread)

Baba Ganoush, another easy vegan appetizer ♥ AVeggieVenture.com
graphic button small size size 10 Say hello to the traditional Middle Eastern spread that's found on meze platters in Middle Eastern restaurants along with hummus, tabbouleh, olivada and other shareables. This one's homemade, no more than eggplant, garlic, lemon, tahini and a touch of fresh parsley. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Paleo. Whole30 Friendly. graphic button small size size 10

~recipe updated, first published way back in 2008~
~more recently updated recipes~

BACK IN 2008 What's Baba Ganoush, you ask? First, let's just put this out there, that if you like hummus, odds are high that you'll like Baba Ganoush. And if you love hummus but avoid legumes, Baba Ganoush is your new savior, it's like a vegan, low-carb hummus: eggplant substitutes for chickpeas. So what is Baba Ganoush, again? It's a simple purée of grilled or roasted eggplant mixed smooth with garlic, lemon juice, tahini and parsley. It's a healthy Middle Eastern spread or dip that's traditionally served with pita bread but is easy to use up in other ways too. We like it schmeared on burgers!

Before I loved the garlicky, lemony taste of Baba Ganoush, I loved the sound of Baba Ganoush, pronounced [bah-bah gah-NOOSH]. Say it three times, you might love the sound too – but it only takes one taste of baba ganoush to love how it tastes!

ALTERNATE SPELLINGS (These are for you, Word Dancers!) Baba ghanoush; baba bannoujh; baba-ganouj; babaganoush

TAHINI Baba Ganoush calls for tahini, a thick paste of ground sesame seeds. Look for brands that contain only sesame seeds. It comes in a big jar and is expensive so you'll want to be able to use it in something other than Baba Ganoush. The other classic recipes that calls for tahini is hummus, it's a signature ingredient in recipe like mine, Crazy-Smooth Crazy-Good Hummus but also shows up in places like Armenian Tahini Bread. It's not-quite-everyday ingredients like tahini that inspire me to keep up this list of favorite ingredients. Anyone else you know who knows all their best recipes that call for tahini? Useful, eh? :-)

For the record, I don't recommend Trader Joe's Tahini Sauce product, it is not tahini. Since that product launched, Trader Joe's also sells small-ish jars of tahini, it's not bad but I prefer the imported bottles. Tahini should be stored in the refrigerator. Over time, it will separate, just run it through the food processor to reconstitute the tahini.

2017 I adore recipes that stand up to the test of time. This recipe for Baba Ganoush is especially useful because you can grill or roast the eggplant, either one, whichever works better. And then with a few pantry ingredients, it's a matter of adjusting to taste. Next time, I'll use a bit more parsley, the green color is quite pretty!

Baba Ganoush is easy to make thus easy to add to a regular repertoire. In fact, that's what my notes recommend, "Definitely make more often. Easy, easy."

Thomas the Tank Engine Vegetable Trains ♥

Thomas the Tank Engine Vegetable Trains ♥ A Veggie Venture
graphic button small size size 10 Hosting a Thomas the Tank Engine theme party? Here's a fun addition to kids' birthday parties and family gatherings with a train theme, colorful and healthy! It's just bell-pepper train "cars" with cucumber "wheels" filled with fresh vegetable "cargo". It's easy to make and great fun for a buffet table centerpiece! graphic button small size size 10

So exactly what is it with little boys and trains? And for that matter, big boys grown men and trains? Twin grandsons are eight now so Thomas the Tank Engine has lost some of its allure. What hasn't, however, is the daily challenge of assembling wooden train tracks that cross the living room floor and then u-turn into a bedroom and under the beds. At Christmas, their PopPop (aka The Man With the Hands) built a two-level train platform with several loop-di-loops that dominated the living room for weeks. Young to old, we gathered round the platform, mesmerized by the tiny battery-charged trains circling round and round, holding our breaths each time "Percy" first faltered then chug-chug-chugged his way up a steep mountain track.

And what is it with me and vegetables? :-) I borrowed a few extra wood train tracks to assemble railroad cars from bell peppers and cucumber slices, then stuffed the train cars with other vegetables. Twas fun! Thanks to my sister Adanna for the inspiration!

How To Microwave Asparagus ♥

How to cook asparagus in the microwave ♥ AVeggieVenture.com.
graphic button small size size 10 Today's microwave recipe: How to cook fresh asparagus in the microwave, quick 'n' easy and absolutely delicious. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Cal. Low Carb. Naturally Gluten Free. Paleo. Vegetarian. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". graphic button small size size 10

~recipe updated, first published back in 2014~
~cuz everybody should eat asparagus this good!~
~more recently updated recipes~

F-A-I-L. How in bloody h-e-double-toothpicks in nine years of cooking vegetables did I ever miss this most basic way to cook asparagus? These are my explanations feeble excuses for somehow overlooking the microwave for cooking asparagus:

graphic button small size size 10 "Couldn't see for looking," my mother used to say when she couldn't find something and then suddenly, there it was, right before her eyes.
graphic button small size size 10 Some times the most obvious is least expected.
graphic button small size size 10 Some times it's possible to hide in plain sight.

When the first asparagus showed up in the supermarket a couple of weeks ago, Missouri was still a frozen, snowy place. Buying asparagus felt like defying winter, a determined act of spring hope. I threw the first batch in the microwave for lunch one day, grabbing the camera after the first bite: perfect, absolutely perfect. That night, I put another batch in the microwave: again, a hit. I remembered my long-time favorite asparagus steamer and relegated it to the basement storage room year-round. For a fast fresh vegetable, microwave asparagus is terrific!

NOW. I know some people object to microwaves and strongly believe that a microwave removes nutrients from food. I don't share that idea but do respect your viewpoint. If you'd like to comment, do but be polite and respect my viewpoint as well. Impolite comments will be microwaved deleted. For those who appreciate the speed and convenience of microwaves, check out the brand-new page, Microwave Vegetable Recipes.