I love unusual veggies! I'm always looking for something new to try. Hear are a few of my favorites:
Similar to celery but with more flavor. It's related to anise, so the flavor is slightly reminiscent of black licorice (which sounds strange, but give it a chance). We love fennel so much I grow it myself. It is very versatile. You can use it in all the same ways you would use celery. You can slice it and eat it raw, put it in soups and stews, put it in risotto. I even put it in tuna casserole in place of celery. It is especially good with seafood. You can dice some up, saute it with a can of diced tomatoes and spices and serve it over halibut or another white fish.
Halibut Stew with Fennel and Lemon
1 lb halibut, diced in 1-in chunks
1 tsp olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp capers, drained
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup white wine
2 - 3 cups fat free chicken broth
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp dried thyme
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
20 oz fennel, diced
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, capers, and lemon and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2. Add wine and simmer for a minute or so, scraping up brown bits.
3. Add 2 cups of broth, parsley, thyme, and potatoes. Increase heat to med-high, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until potatoes are just starting to become tender.
4. Add fennel. Add more broth if necessary. Bring to boil and simmer until potatoes are fully tender.
5. Add halibut and simmer for a few minutes more until fish flakes easily with a fork. Stir in lemon juice and serve.
4 servings, about 315 calories per serving.
The root part of the celery plant. So much better than the tops. It should be coming into season soon, so watch for it in the produce section of your grocery store (here is a picture of it: http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphi...lery-root.gif)
. It is great chopped and mashed with potatoes (cut off the brown skin). You can also put it in soups and stews, or roast it and eat it by itself.
Here is a recipe for a Gratin of Celery Root, Potatoes, and Turnips
. Made with chicken broth and divided into 4 servings it is about 240 calories per serving.
I love turnips and it turns out that they are so low in calories that they are one of the foods that might have negative calories. Great in soups and stews but I like them sauted with a little bit of vinegar.
There are a bunch of turnip recipes at http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load...813035.html?12
Turnips Glazed with Vinegar
1 pound small turnips (about 8 small turnips with 1 inch of stems attached)
1 small shallot, minced (or 1/4 cup red onion, minced)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar, more to taste
1. Peel the turnips; cut into quarters, leaving the stems attached. Combine turnips, shallot, water, butter and salt in a large skillet. Stir; cover. Cook over medium-high heat until the turnips are almost tender but still slightly crisp, about 8-10 minutes.
2. Uncover; increase the heat to high. Cook until water disappears, bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan begin to brown, and turnips are covered in a brown glaze, 8-10 minutes.
3. Add the vinegar. Stir to mix well; scrape up some of the brown glaze from the bottom of the pan (you won't get it all). As the vinegar cooks down, feel free to add more.
2 servings, about 130 calories per serving if you use real butter.
Here is a recipe for Morrocan Chicken Soup
that uses turnips: http://recipes.bhg.com/recipes/recip...estid=1 26751
. My SO doesn't like squash, so I leave it out and increase the turnips to 2 cups and the carrots to 1 cup. I serve it over polenta. With my customizations, it works out to 6 servings at about 170 calories per serving, not including the polenta (which is about 125 calories per serving).
Kale and Chard
These are green leafy vegetables. I use them as a substitute for spinach because my SO won't eat spinach. I like chard especially, it has a nice mild flavor. They good sauteed in a little bit of oil, chicken broth, worcestershire sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper. You can also throw in some white beans for variety.
Italian sausage and Chard Casserole
20 oz fresh chard
1 lb Italian turkey sausage, casings removed and broken into chunks
1 cup onion (about 6 oz), diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz white beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp shredded lemon peel
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp pepper
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp butter or light margarine, melted
1. Cut leafy part of chard away from center ribs (save the ribs) and tear or cut into large chunks. Boil chard for a few minutes until just barely tender, then drain in a collander.
2. Dice chard ribs. Saute with sausage, onion, and garlic until onion is tender and sausage is cooked.
3. In large bowl, combine sausage mixture with chard, white beans, evaporated milk, cheese, lemon peel and juice, nutmeg, and pepper. Transfer mixture to 2 qt casserole dish.
4. Mix bread crumbs with melted butter and sprinkle over casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until heated through.
6 servings at about 360 calories each (if you use light margarine).
Okra is great sauteed with tomatoes and onions or in soups and stews.
Roasted Corn and Okra Salad
1 lb okra, tops removed and diced
1 cup onion (about 6 oz), cut into thin wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large rosemary sprigs
3 ears corn, kernals removed
1/2 - 1 tsp salt (try sea salt)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp black pepper
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
Toss okra with onion, olive oil, and rosemary sprigs and transfer to cookie sheet or large casserole dish. Bake at 450 degrees for ten minutes.
Add corn to okra mixture and bake for another 5 minutes. Test okra to make sure it is done. Toss with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve at room temperature.
4 servings at about 175 calories per serving.
Soy Beans (Edamame) and Fava Beans
I don't like peas, so I use these as a substitue for peas in literally any recipe that calls for peas. I also eat them just by themselves. Trader Joe's sells a great frozen veggie mixture called "Soycotash" that is corn, soy beans, and red pepper.
Sauteed Fava Beans, Onion, and Fennel
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion (about 6 oz), diced
1 cup fennel, diced
2 cups fava beans
1 tsp fennel seeds, ground
4 tbsp fresh dill (or 4 tsp dried dill)
1/2 tsp dried savory
1 1/3 cup chicken broth
2 cups chard, ribs removed and cut into large pieces
2 tbsp lemon juice
Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Saute onion and fennel for 5 min. Add fava beans and saute 3 min. Add 1 cup broth, fennel seeds, half of fresh dill (or all of dried dill), and savory. Bring to boil and simmer until favas are tender. Add more broth if mixture dries out. Stir in chard and cook for a few minutes more, until chard is tender. Stir in lemon juice and remaining fresh dill.