Red Pepper, Spinach and Sweet Potato Hash

Photo by Karielyn Tillman

This week the bag from Glade Road Growing will include sweet peppers, and baby spinach. This hash makes a nice side to serve with leftover roast chicken or pork.

If you'd like to make it a vegetarian meal instead, after the hash is cooked, stir in 2 cups of cooked drained black beans.  Divide the hash into four sections.  Make a slight well in the center of each section and crack a duck egg (or chicken egg) into each well.  Turn down heat to medium low and cover and cook for for another 4 minutes.  For a vegan version, substitute tofu "sour cream" for the eggs, but only heat until it's warmed through.

Serves 4


2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely diced
1 red bell red bell pepper, diced
1 or more cups of  baby spinach, chopped, with 2 tablespoons reserved for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed peeled and minced
fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped to make 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1.  Add oil to a cast iron skillet and heat on medium until a bead of water evaporates.  Saute'  onions, garlic and ginger until translucent and add the sweet potatoes, red pepper flakes, cumin, cardamom, poppy seeds, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until the sweet potatoes are soft and slightly crispy on the outside.

2.   Add the diced red bell peppers, chopped spinach (except for the reserved amount) and gently toss for about 1-2 minutes until the spinach is wilted.  Remove from heat, garnish with fresh chopped spinach and serve.


Peperonata (Sautéed Bell Peppers With Tomato, Onion, and Garlic)

Photo by Vicky Wasik for Serious Eats.

The bag from Glade Road Growing this week will include salad mix, bell peppers and tomatoes.  If your bell peppers have a reddish or yellowish tint, you can let them ripen on the counter and they will be sweeter.  The traditional southern Italian recipes I've seen call for the colored peppers, but this is delicious with green peppers, too.  You may want to add demerara  sugar or  honey, though, at the end, a little bit at a time, until the flavor is balanced, to make up for the lack of sweetness.

This makes a nice side veggie hot, or chilled, it's a great spread on bread or can be tossed with cooked pasta or quinoa.  If you want to make it a whole meal, along with the pasta, stir in 2 cups of cooked chickpeas or white beans or lentils and serve over salad mix.


Serves 4


6 tablespoons of  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 medium cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, root end removed and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 large bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
Tomatoes, chopped, to make 2 cups
1 sprig basil,  sliced into ribbons, with stem discarded (or save for veggie broth) or 1/2 teaspoon dried
Sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper


1.  In a cast iron skill, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until just starting to turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in onions, increase heat to medium-high, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 20 minutes.

3.  Transfer to a large pot and add tomatoes and basil and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer, then lower heat to maintain simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are very soft, about 1 hour. Stir in remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir in vinegar and the sugar or honey, if necessary.  Serve right away, or chill, then serve reheated, slightly chilled, or at room temperature.


Beth's Vegan Chili

Photo for Tracey Medeiros's The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook by Oliver Parini of Burlington, Vermont, which features a recipe for the chili served at Burlington's City Market/Onion River Co-op.

JP tells me that this week's bag share from Glade Road Growing will include tomatoes and peppers, so I thought I'd give you my recipe for vegan chili.

Last week, I mentioned that I had attended a pot luck on Sunday.  One cook, a vegan, told me that she never used fake meat when she cooked for herself or her husband, but that she used it to make recipes my "special" for meat eaters.

I disagree!  Meat eaters know what meat tastes like and fake meat and tvp, besides being highly processed, really don't taste like meat.  Instead I suggest that you use spices and whole ingredients. To add a bit of richness, my chili recipe includes cocoa powder, cinnamon and paprika, in addition to the more traditional spices, plus some miso, instead of salt to give depth of flavor.  You could also deepen the flavor by adding diced roasted sweet potatoe instead of the carrots and some sautéed chopped mushrooms.  To get the texture of the meat or tvp, I suggest cooked barley, or if you're gluten intolerant, quinoa.  Because I don't have any Mexican oregano, I also use some fresh chopped basil in the garnish.

I top my chili with greek yogurt or labneh, but of course that's not vegan.  Instead you can use this recipe for tofu "sour cream."


Serves 8

2 cups dried beans (your choice of black, navy, kidney, red beans or lentils, or a combination thereof)
1 cup of barley or quinoa

1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups diced heirloom tomatoes (about 2 medium--you can use canned diced unsalted tomatoes, when tomato season is over)
2 cups of water
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
4 tablespoons of miso, thinned with water

Greek yogurt or "tofu sour cream"
1 cup of chopped heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup of fresh basil, cut into slivers
1 shallot, peeled and sliced thinly (or substitute a bit of red onion)


1. The night before or at least 3 hours before you start the soup, bring beans to boil with 4 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight lid then turn down heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse well. Bring back to a boil, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes and then let soak for an hour or overnight. Rinse a second time and bring back to boil with a bay leave and cook until soft. Drain.

2.  After you start the beans, bring the grain of your choice to boil with 4 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight lid then turn down heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse well. If you are using quinoa, bring back to a boil, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes, turn off the heat and leave covered for at least 20 minutes until it absorbs the water.  For barley, you will need to cook it longer for it to be tender, so after it sits for the 20 minutes, cover the barley with water and bring back to a boil and then simmer until it is tender and the water is absorbed.

2. In a dry, seasoned cast iron skillet, toast the spices and set aside.   Add the oil to the skillet and cook onions, until they are softened. Add the celery, the peppers, the carrots and the garlic and cook the mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes.  Transfer to a large heavy-bottomed pot.  Add the tomatoes and water, the tomato paste, the cocoa, the cooked beans and grain and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

4. Stir in the spices and simmer the soup, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

6. Take off the heat and season soup by stirring in the thinned miso.

7. To serve, divide soup into  individual bowls, garnish with yogurt or tofu sour cream, chopped fresh basil, cilantro, tomatoes and shallots.


Beth's End of Summer Minestrone Soup

Photo by J. Kenji López-Alt, who is managing culinary director of Serious Eats magazine and author of its column, The Food Lab.  

Hope you had a happy Labor Day!

I got to celebrate the weekend with two potlucks (one on Friday on Terry's porch and another on Sunday at Miko's) plus a house concert on Saturday with John Bullard thanks to Beth Kelsey and Bud Bennett to benefit the PEO International scholarship fund  (with yet another potluck--and Bud let me know the interview he did with John for RU's Archives and Special Collections are posted here: part one and part two).

Monday night friends' Mike Gangloff and Matt Peyton DJed world beats at Rising Silo at Glade Road Growing, which meant dinner by Tabula Rasa on Glade (a zucchini panino on rosemary focaccia), roasted beets, blistered shishito peppers and a pint of green tea kombucha/ginger beer.)

All this to explain while I'm not posting as usual on Sunday night.  When I was talking to JP on Saturday about the share it was pretty cold and he suggested a soup.  Minestrone came to mind. Or maybe pasta fagioli, although I wasn't as sure of the recipe.  I heard the librarian at the Newman circulation desk tell another patron they'd be open for Labor Day, so, with all the cooking, good food, music and friends, I waited until Monday before going to the farm to walk over to Tech to post this.  I found the doors locked. Maybe I misheard.  Next time I'll look up the schedule!

The one consolation for filing this later than usual is I get to tell you exactly what is in this week's Glade Road Growing bag and tailor the recipe accordingly for: celery, potatoes, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, sweet peppers, and summer squash.  The only additional veggies you need for my version are and onion, greens and basil.  The version pictured uses green beans, in addition.  But as the chef who made it, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt writes:
If all were right in the world, there would be as many recipes for minestrone—the Italian soup of simmered mixed vegetables and beans—as there have been individual pots of it cooked. That's because it's really more of a process than a fixed recipe. It's a hearty, easy, delicious meal that you can make with a couple of pantry staples and whatever fresh vegetables you happen to have on hand.
He has a handy table here on how to prepare most any veggie you might want to add.

Traditional minestrone often has pancetta or bacon (about a quarter pound for this amount of soup.) Although my recipe is for the vegetarian version (for vegan omit the cheese), Ben Wilke of Strong Earth Farm has pork bellies in the Pork Honesty Freezer at Glade Road Growing.  Just chop the pork and add it with the onions. Or smoke it first, to make bacon.  Or cure it in the fridge and hang to dry per Our Daily Brine.  Or Ben suggests that you can bake it in the oven at 325 degrees F for about 40 minutes.

This recipe serves four for a main dish, but if you want to stretch this further, for each additional serving, add one quarter cup of dried beans, 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of dried pasta and one ounce of cheese, shredded.   If you want more than double the recipe, I'd add additional vegetables.   If you don't have enough fresh tomatoes, you can substitute canned diced tomatoes to supplement. It will keep 4 three days in the fridge.


Serves 4


1 cup of dried beans (cannellini beans are traditional traditional, but you can substitute other white beans such as Great northern or navy beans and I like to combine the white beans with garbanzos and red beans or kidney beans--probably because I grew up eating canned soup.)
3 cups of water

1/4 extra virgin cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 rib of celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 sweet pepper, diced
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped (If there are not enough in the farm share, you can use 6 tablespoons of tomato paste and 1/2 cup of water for each cup you must substitute to make 2 cups.)
4 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
1 or two summer squash, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 pound potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch dice.  If the potatoes or Purple Majesties, you may want to peel them, as they have a thicker skin
1/2 pound greens (kale, chard, arugula, spinach or cabbage or combination) rinsed, drained, stems discarded, and the leaves chopped (about 6 cups)
2 cups of water
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of miso, thinned with water
1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (about 3 by 1 1/2 inches--optional, if you prefer to make this recipe vegan plus 4 ounces of cheese shredded.)
fresh basil to garnish

2 cups dried whole wheat pasta (ditalini--shown--is traditional, but you can use elbow, fusilli, penne, shells, orecchiette or any other small pasta.)


1.  The night before or at least 2 hours before you start the soup, bring beans to boil with 3 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight lid then turn down heat to simmer for 5 minutes.  Drain and rinse well.  Bring back to a boil, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes and then let soak.  Rinse a second time and bring back to boil with a bay leave and cook until soft.

2.  In a cast iron skilled cook onions, until they are softened.   Add the carrots, the celery, the sweet pepper and the garlic and cook the mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the squash and the potatoes and cook the mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the greens cook the mixture, stirring, until they are wilted Add the tomatoes, the water and the cheese rind and simmer the soup, covered, for 1 hour.  Remove the rind and bay leaf.

3.  Drain the white beans, reserving the liquid.  Purée half of them , in a blender or food processor with 1 cup of the reserved liquid, and stir the purée and the remaining white beans into the soup.

4.  Simmer the soup, uncovered, for 15 minutes, thin it if desired with some of the remaining reserve liquid.

5.  While the soup is simmering, put on the pasta to cook according to directions and drain and toss with a bit of olive oil.

6.  Season soup with pepper and miso.   Add pasta if you are serving immediately or if, not, refrigerate pasta and soup in separate lidded jar(s) for up to three days and combine and reheat before serving.

7.  To serve, divide soup into hot soup in individual bowls, garnished chopped fresh basil and shredded cheese.