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Posts tagged ‘dandelion greens’

Black Eyed Pea Cutlets with Smoky Mushrooms & Dandelion Greens, and Roasted Corn

Who says vegetarians can’t have good cutlets?

Black Eyed Pea Cutlets with Smoky Dandelion Greens/Mushrooms and Roasted Corn

Many times when vegetarians think of a cutlet, they think of a mock frozen cutlet made from textured vegetable protein or another combo of highly processed ingredients. However, thanks to Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s Veganomicon, you can quickly make delicious cutlets highly from whole ingredients that are satisfying, hearty, and tasty!

In the book, the recipe is actually for Chickpea Cutlets. I did not have any chickpeas prepared, but I did have some black eyed peas on hand. So, I tried the recipe with these beans, and I thought they tasted great. I’ve also made these cutlets with black beans and gotten similarly tasty results. Eventually though I will make them with chickpeas!

You start by mashing the beans in a large bowl with olive oil until no whole beans are left. As you can see in the photo, I missed a bean or two. This won’t hurt the cutlets in terms of flavor but you’ll want the beans to be at least 99% mashed or else you’ll have problems shaping. You then add the rest of the main foundation: vital wheat gluten (used to make seitan) and bread crumbs. I never buy pre-made bread crumbs, but rather lightly toast one or two slices of bread, and then run them through the blender or mini food processor. Instant crumbs! You then finish up by adding minced garlic, water, soy sauce (I used Bragg’s liquid aminos), dried thyme, paprika, and dried rubbed sage. The book also calls for lemon zest, but I didn’t have a lemon and so left this out; the result was still tasty. You then combine the ingredients by folding a bit, then kneading for a few minutes until gluten threads form and the dough becomes kind of stretchy and pliable – basically, it shouldn’t be falling apart when you fold it over to knead.

Cutlet dough with gluten threads

Once you’re done kneading, you divide the dough into four equal parts, then pat each part into a flat, rectangular cutlet. It’s stretchy so don’t be afraid to really flatten and pull it out! You can always reshape the cutlet if it tears. You then lay the cutlets on a lightly oiled baking sheet, spray the tops with a little more oil, then bake at 375 F for twenty minutes. After 20 minutes, you flip the cutlets and bake for 8-10 minutes more. Wammy! Four tasty bean cutlets made in under an hour, and which freeze really well for future dinners!

With so much baking time, it is really easy to prepare sides while these cook, meaning your whole meal can be ready in under an hour. To start, I placed an ear of corn in the oven with the cutlets after about five minutes of the first round of cutlet cooking, so that the corn could roast for about twenty-five minutes. However, no cutlet dinner is complete without a side of greens! I decided to cook up some more dandelion greens, along with some baby portobellos for added heartiness. Lots of vegetables in this dinner – never a bad thing!

To prepare this side, I filled a skillet with about an inch of water and heated it on high, bringing the water to a rolling boil. I then added the greens and mushrooms, along with a teaspoon of liquid smoke to give it a nice smoky flavor (you may want to add more if you want it to taste really smoky). The veggies all quickly reduced in about five minutes, so you can cook this during the second round of cutlet baking.

Reduced smoky greens and mushrooms

When drained and ready to serve, you can add some seasonings to the greens and mushrooms. Salt and pepper works well, and I used seasoning salt, which added a nice multitude of flavors. I only gave it a few shakes though, so the spices wouldn’t overpower the veggies.

This is a nice Southern-style meal that’s hearty without gorging one’s stomach. It’s perfect for an outdoor summer dinner, or even in your livingroom! In the past I’ve also served these cutlets with mashed cauliflower, which makes for a great combo; and they also go well in a big sandwich with ketchup, mustard, tomato, and greens. Definitely give them a try!

Steamy greens fresh off the skillet!

Wheatberry and Dandelion Green Salad with Pesto

Mmm, healthy salads (and no, that’s not always redundant – just ask any chain restaurant)!

Wheatberry and Dandelion Green Salad with Pesto

Earlier this week I sang the praises of wheatberries, and suggested adding them to a salad. I followed my own advice and made them one of the staple bases of this filling lunchtime salad, along with some dandelion greens!

Dandelion greens are new to me in terms of food. I’ve heard health food types sing their praises for the past few years, but I’ve never picked them up for my own use until now. Whole Foods had some nice bunches for sale, and one of my goals each week is to never get the same leafy greens twice in a row, with an extra incentive to try and get greens I don’t normally buy. Dandelion greens fit this bill, and I’m excited to try them in some new dishes, especially since they supposedly do amazing things for your health* (the website claims that dandelion greens could, among other things, improve liver function, cleanse and purify both the skin and blood, and help treat various illnesses), and are a natural source of loads of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, iron, potassium, fiber, and more. Huzzah!

Who can resist such beautiful greens?

But the million dollar question – how do dandelion greens taste? I ate these greens straight up and raw in the salad (save for a pesto dressing) and the first thing I noticed was that they were very bitter. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a flavor to note – if you’re not a fan of bitter greens, then you may want to cook the dandelion greens a bit or perhaps swap out another green for this salad (I would recommend arugula on the stem, or kale). Have you ever eaten celery leaves? It’s a similar bitter flavor, but not quite as zippy. It’s kind of hard to explain. I, however, didn’t mind once I processed the flavor, and actually really enjoyed the way it paired with tangy tomato, sweeter asparagus, and neutral wheatberries, not to mention the pesto (I also love celery leaves, for the record).

This salad is very dense thanks to all the fiber, not to mention a good share of protein coming from the wheatberries and veggies. I used a pre-made pesto sauce, so no recipe for that (today) – use your favorite! I think the pesto adds a nice zip to all of the vegetables and especially the wheatberries, but you can use another dressing if you like.

Wheatberry and Dandelion Green Salad with Pesto (serves 1)

1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped dandelion greens

1/2 cup prepared wheatberries

1/2 of a medium tomato, sliced

3 stalks of asparagus, chopped

1-2 TB prepared pesto sauce

Toss all ingredients in a bowl until the pesto covers all of the ingredients evenly. Serve immediately.

*Just a note that I’m not a doctor and am not claiming that dandelion greens *do* perform health miracles, but rather *may.* Always consult a professional for advice on herbal medicine (or any sort of medicine) – certainly don’t consult a food blog!