Pascale’s Kitchen: Lots and lots of vegetables

Cooked vegetable dishes and salads are usually considered side dishes that accompany a heavier main dish, especially when it comes to festive meals. 

 ROASTED VEGETABLES ANTIPASTI PLATTER (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
ROASTED VEGETABLES ANTIPASTI PLATTER
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Every year, after Shavuot has come and gone, something different happens to me in the kitchen. All of a sudden, I start preparing lighter dishes that don’t take much time or effort to prepare, which means that I don’t end up spending as much time in the kitchen. 

The days are longer, and the weather is warmer, but it’s still really nice out, not boiling hot like it is in July and August. And I usually continue cooking in this fashion until I start thinking about what special dishes I want to prepare for the upcoming High Holy Days

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This week, I’ve decided to focus purely on vegetables. Cooked vegetable dishes and salads are usually considered side dishes that accompany a heavier main dish, especially when it comes to festive meals. 

Some people have always loved eating vegetables, while others eat them mainly just so they can get all the necessary nutrients to be healthy. One of the reasons I love vegetables is that there is such an incredible variety, with different colors, textures and flavors. Vegetables can be used in extraordinarily complex dishes, or just washed and chopped up and thrown together in a simple salad. 

In my mind, there’s nothing better than enjoying a mouthful of a tasty salad or taking a bite of a savory cooked vegetable stew.

 Pickled vegetables (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Pickled vegetables (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

In the summer months, I try to find easy recipes that can be put together quickly using lots of different colored vegetables. Also, if you prepare a nice-looking plate of veggies, arranging the shapes and colors in an aesthetic fashion, and perhaps adding some legumes or other interesting topping, it can end up being a stupendous signature salad. 

The first recipe is for a roasted vegetables antipasti platter that will open up your palate for the rest of the meal. These vegetables are roasted over an open flame, and leave gorgeous grill marks on each piece. Alternatively, the vegetables can be roasted in an oven. 

The next recipe offers alternative methods for cooking turnips and kohlrabi with thyme.

The third recipe is for a multicolor pepper and tuna salad, which can be a meal all on its own, and is also a great salad to take with you to work.

The fourth recipe is for pickled cucumbers, which are actually very beneficial when you’re trying to lose weight. They are pickled in vinegar, which is what makes it possible to store them on your shelf for quite a while. And you can actually pickle any vegetable you want.

Last but not least is a recipe for Salata Bilhayda’ir, a recipe that hails from Tripoli. It’s a simple but incredibly tasty salad that is great served with fresh bread and hard cheese.

ROASTED VEGETABLES ANTIPASTI PLATTER

Makes 5-6 servings. 

  • 3 bell peppers of varying colors (red, yellow, green)
  • 3 large spicy peppers
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 light green zucchini
  • 6 pumpkin slices
  • 3-4 small red onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 basil leaves, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt

Roast the vegetables in the oven or cook them over an open flame, then remove the pith and seeds from the peppers. Do not wash the peppers, so as to preserve the roasted flavor. 

Slice the eggplant, sweet potato and zucchini into circles or an oblong shape. Place them on a roasting pan and cook over an open flame or roast them in the oven together with the pumpkin slices. Slice the onions into quarters and roast them. 

Arrange the vegetables in lines on a serving platter, so that the colors are intertwined nicely. Sprinkle garlic, basil and salt on top. Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top. 

Level of difficulty: MediumTime: 1-1.5 hoursStatus: Parve

BAKED TURNIPS AND KOHLRABI WITH THYME

Makes 6-8 servings.

  • 2 turnips, cut into quarters or eighths
  • 2 kohlrabies, cut into quarters or eighths
  • 2 light green zucchini, cut into quarters
  • 5 garlic cloves, cut into quarters or halves
  • 3-4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 Tbsp. dried onion
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix well. 

Line a tray with baking paper and spread the vegetables on the paper. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes. Serve hot. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 30 minutesStatus: Parve

 MULTICOLOR PEPPER AND TUNA SALAD (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) MULTICOLOR PEPPER AND TUNA SALAD (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
MULTICOLOR PEPPER AND TUNA SALAD

Makes 6 servings.

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 green pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced into strips
  • 6 parsley sprigs, chopped
  • 4 artichoke hearts (optional)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 cans (340 gr.) tuna
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp. spicy paprika
  • 4 pickled cucumbers in salt

Heat the oil in a large pan. Sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes, then add all the pepper strips and parsley. Sauté a few more minutes. 

Slice the artichoke hearts and tomatoes into quarters. Add them to the pan and stir. 

Drain the tuna and add to the pan. Add the tomato paste and mix. 

Season with salt, pepper and spicy paprika. Sauté for 5 more minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. 

Chop the pickles into small pieces and add them to the pan. Mix and remove from the flame. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 30 minutesStatus: Parve

PICKLED VEGETABLES

Makes 3 liters.

  • 4 carrots
  • 2 medium kohlrabies
  • 2 large red peppers
  • 1 green pepper
  • 6 celery stalks
  • ¼-½ head cabbage
  • 1 medium fennel
  • ½ cauliflower
  • 1 cup vinegar or lemon juice
  • ½ lemon, sliced (optional)
  • 4 Tbsp. salt

Peel the carrots, turnips and kohlrabies. Slice them into ½-cm.-thick slices. Chop off the tops of the peppers and remove the seeds and pith. Slice the peppers into ½-cm.-wide strips. Chop the celery into 12-cm.-long pieces. Cut the cabbage into thick pieces. Cut the fennel into eighths. Split the cauliflower into medium-sized pieces. 

Add all of the cut vegetables in the following order to a large jar that has an airtight closure. First, add a layer of carrot pieces, then the cauliflower, turnips, celery, cabbage, fennel and peppers. Then, start again with the carrots and continue with layers of all the other vegetables, too, until you’ve added all of the vegetables. 

Pour the vinegar and salt on top of the vegetables. Add water to cover. Seal the jar and shake well. Store in a shaded spot until serving. Once the jar is opened, store in the fridge. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 30 minutesStatus: Parve

SALATA BILHAYDA’IR (VEGETABLE SALAD)

Makes 6-8 servings.

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1 onion
  • 3 medium carrots
  • ¼ head cabbage
  • Juice from ½-1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the tomatoes, cucumbers and onion into small pieces. Grate the carrots finely. Cut the cabbage into thin strips. 

Add all of the vegetables to a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well and serve. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 20 minutesStatus: Parve

Translated by Hannah Hochner.