(Spicy red beans and sausage, roasted asparagus with rosemary salt, roasted-potato salad with parsley pesto, and no-knead bread)
I made a dinner for my friend's birthday and used it as an excuse to try some recipes from Bryant Terry's new Vegan Soul Kitchen. I was already a fan before using the book, and now all the more so. Go get it and eat (and drink) deliciousness! The asparagus and the salad came from the book. The red beans were made up on the spot, and the bread was based on this recipe, with a bit of freshly ground whole-wheat flour thrown in for good measure.
Roasted asparagus with rosemary salt
I'm just going to describe what I did rather than type out Terry's recipe since I only half followed his instructions (which involved a grill). Wash and trim a pound of fresh asparagus. Toss with a teaspoon or two of extra-virgin olive oil until well coated. Arrange in a single (crowded is ok) layer on a baking sheet and roast at 400F (or broil, if you watch it closely), turning after 10 minutes, until the flower ends crisp and the stems are deep green and slightly wilted. Remove from oven and sprinkle with rosemary salt, which is just a tablespoon or so of rosemary ground up fine with a couple tablespoons of coarse salt. I would have followed his instructions to sprinkle it beforehand with some fresh lemon juice if I'd had any left from the pesto, but my friend raved about it even without. So there you go.
Roasted Red Potato Salad with Parsley-Pine Nut Pesto
1/3 c. pine nuts
2 c. loosely packed, flat-leaf parsley leaves (I used one bunch of curly parsley)
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 Tbsp. mellow white or yellow miso
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (you taste this a lot, so don't cheat)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1/3, and it was just right)
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt (I skipped)
2 pounds small red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks (I used Yukon Golds)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice (I skipped)
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper (I skipped)
For the pesto:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Arrange the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast them for about 8 minutes, stirring after 4 minutes.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the pine nuts, parsley, garlic, miso, and lemon juice and puree. Slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and set aside.
For the salad:
Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and the olive oil. Toss to coat. Transfer the potatoes to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers ot the baking sheet and stir to combine. Roast for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the bell peppers well roasted. Transfer the potatoes and bell peppers to a large bowl, add 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of pesto (or more if you want it creamier), stir well, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature. Cover the remaining pesto with a film of olive oil in a tightly sealed jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks (use it for dressing pastas, spreading on toast, or topping fresh tomatoes). This pesto is great, and I slathered it on a crisped-tempeh sandwich with a slab of roasted red pepper and some lettuce, and it was fantastic.
Red beans and sausage (rough since I made it up and that was nearly a week ago now)
1/2 large onion, diced
several cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cajun seasoning
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (I used a rehydrated dried one)
1 Field Roast apple-sage sausage, diced
2-3 roasted red peppers, diced (I used these, which I'd found on sale a while back)
1 cup dried red beans, cooked and drained
1 cup crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes
Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until soft and transparent. Add the spices and the sausage; cook, stirring often, for 5 more minutes until the sausage begins to brown. Add the peppers, beans, and tomatoes. Stir well, then simmer 20-30 minutes until the liquid has cooked down and the mixture is thick but still moist (add a little more tomato juice, water or broth if needed to keep it from drying out). Ideally, make this a day ahead so the seasonings soak into the beans better. If you serve it on the second day you'll probably want to add more spiciness to it while reheating. This amount would serve four.