Go green: 3 spring veg recipes
Find fresh new ways to eat your favourite veggies this spring, says food writer Anya Kassoff.
Kale wraps with chickpea-avocado mash
‘I love the idea of these wraps and will often throw together some version of these with whichever fresh ingredients I have on hand, mostly for a quick solo lunch. This recipe is more sophisticated, with a balanced combination of tasty components. Here, I pair sweet roasted carrots with a hearty chickpea and avocado mash, and round it off with the crunch of tart cranberry relish. The blanched kale leaves should keep well for a few days in the fridge, if you want to wrap as you go.’
Makes 7 to 9 wraps
For the chickpea-avocado mash:
150g dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
2 bay leaves and/or a 2-inch piece of dried kombu kelp (optional)
A few whole black peppercorns (optional)
1 ripe but not too mushy avocado
Juice of 1 lemon
50g fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1⁄4 small red onion, finely chopped
Handful walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
Freshly ground black pepper
For the roasted carrots:
5-7 small to medium carrots (peeled, if not organic)
1 tsp melted coconut oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the cranberry relish:
150g seedless grapes
100g fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed if frozen
1⁄2 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
Large handful fresh coriander leaves, torn
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
For the wraps:
7 large or 9 medium kale leaves
Cashew cream or tahini sauce, for serving (optional)
1 To make the chickpea-avocado mash, drain and rinse the chickpeas, then place them in a medium saucepan and cover them with plenty of water. Add the bay leaves and/or kombu kelp and peppercorns, if using, then bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat to a strong simmer and cook, partially covered, for around 30 mins or until the chickpeas are soft. Add salt to taste during the last 10 mins of cooking.
Use this time to roast the carrots (see number 3). Once the chickpeas are ready, drain them well, reserving the cooking liquid for a soup or stew, if desired. Let the chickpeas cool, then discard the bay leaves or kombu and black peppercorns.
2 Combine the chickpeas and avocado in a medium bowl and roughly mash them together. Add the lemon juice, coriander leaves, red onion, walnuts, cumin seeds, salt, plus black pepper. Thoroughly stir to combine; season to taste and adjust as needed.
3 To roast the carrots, preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas mark 7. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper, then place the carrots on it. Drizzle them with coconut oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Mix to coat using your hands. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast for 20-30 mins, flipping them once halfway through, until they are soft when pricked with a knife. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the carrots to cool. Slice them in half crosswise (if you have thicker carrots, also slice them lengthwise.)
4 To make the cranberry relish, combine the grapes, cranberries, jalapeño, coriander and ginger in a food processor. Pulse to chop and combine all the ingredients into a chunky relish.
5 To make the kale wraps, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over a high heat. Submerge 3-4 kale leaves at a time in the boiling water for 30 secs, holding them by the stems, then immediately remove the leaves from the water and rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Trim the thicker parts of the stems along the length of each leaf.
6 Lay one leaf at a time on a chopping board. Add roughly 2 heaped tbsp of chickpea mash to the centre of the leaf, top with 2-3 carrot pieces, then finish with about 1 tbsp of cranberry relish.
7 Fold the lower end of the leaf over the filling, then fold in the sides and tightly roll it up. Repeat with the remaining blanched kale leaves and fillings and serve them as is, or with the sauce of your choice. These rolls should keep well for up to five days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Spring vegetable black rice pilaf
‘This quick and easy dish showcases vibrant spring greens against the dramatic, dark purple grains of black rice. You can improvise and add or substitute any available spring vegetables you like here – for instance, broad beans, asparagus or sugar snap peas.’
1 1⁄2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
1⁄2 green chilli or jalapeño, seeded and sliced
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Zest and juice of 1 large or 2 small limes
500ml vegetable broth or water
200g black rice
Bunch of asparagus, tough ends removed, sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces
400g fresh or thawed frozen peas
100g chopped spinach leaves or baby spinach
1 Warm the oil in a large, heavy- bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chilli or jalapeño and stir it for 30 secs. Add the leeks and sauté for 5 mins, until they start to soften.
2 Add the garlic and salt and black pepper to taste (add more salt here if using water instead of vegetable broth), then sauté for another 2 mins until the garlic is fragrant. Add the lime juice and cook for another min, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
3 Add the broth or water to the pan, increase the heat to high, then bring it to the boil. Add the rice, evenly scattering it over the broth. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 30 mins, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
4 Add the asparagus and stir to incorporate. Cover the pot and let the pilaf cook for 7 mins, until the asparagus is crisp and tender.
5 Toss in the peas, spinach, lime zest, and a pinch of salt. Stir thoroughly until the spinach wilts, then remove the pot from the heat. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, then serve immediately.
Spring vegetable chowder
‘This simple soup gets all of its creaminess from the addition of new potatoes. It is as bright in flavour as it is brilliant in green colour from tender peas, green onions, leafy greens, and herbs.’
1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds, freshly ground
1⁄2 tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced
2-3 small or medium new potatoes, cut into small cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
800ml vegetable broth or water
400g fresh or frozen English peas
120g greens, such as spinach, rocket or watercress
2-3 green onions or chives, thinly sliced, for garnish
Handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped (optional)
1 Heat the oil in a medium-sized soup pot over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, onion and a few pinches of salt. Sauté for 5 mins. Add the garlic, celery, potato cubes, a pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste, and cook, stirring, for another 5 mins, until fragrant.
2 Add the lemon juice and let it absorb for 1 min, then pour in the vegetable broth or water. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, until the potatoes are tender, for around 10-15 mins.
3 Add the peas and greens to the soup and stir until the greens wilt. Transfer around a third of the soup to a blender, then blitz until creamy. Return this blended soup back to the saucepan and stir to combine.
4 Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding extra salt and pepper if necessary. Serve the chowder garnished with sliced green onions or chives and fresh mint leaves, if desired.
Recipes from Simply Vibrant by Anya Kassoff (Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc). Photographs