ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen: Satisfying Vegetarian Mains

Vegetables take centre stage in this week’s colourful and tasty recipes.

Our Spaghetti Squash with Kale Pesto is simple and satisfying. Spaghetti squash gets its name as the flesh pulls into noodle-like strands after cooking. Roasting it cut-side down initially helps to reduce cooking time as the squash steams in its own skin. Prepare our simple Kale Pesto while the squash is cooking — using kale and parsley to replace most of the basil, and almonds in place of pine nuts help to reduce the cost of this flavourful condiment.

Distroscale

Wilted Swiss chard is baked in a creamy cheese sauce with a crunchy panko topping in our Swiss Chard Gratin. This hearty casserole can serve as a main dish on its own accord, or as a side.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH KALE PESTO

1 spaghetti squash (about 2 lb), halved lengthwise and seeded

1 tbsp canola oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup kale Pesto (recipe follows)

Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Brush cut sides of squash halves with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash halves cut side down, in a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake, turning squash halves over after 20 minutes, until squash is tender, about 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle, use a fork to pull squash strands free from shell halves; discard shell halves. There should be about 4 cups of squash. Transfer squash to a bowl. Add Kale Pesto and toss to combine.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Yield: Serves 6.

Kale Pesto

1 cup coarsely chopped kale leaves

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted

3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, chopped

Place all ingredients in a blender; purée until almost smooth. May be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Yield: Makes about 3/4 cup.

SWISS CHARD GRATIN

1 lb (0.5 kg) bunch Swiss chard

1 cup (250 mL) panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) or coarse dry bread crumbs

1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter, melted

1/4 tsp (1 mL) paprika

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter

1/2 cup (125 mL) diced onion

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter

2 tbsp (25 mL) flour

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) milk

1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup (125 mL) ricotta cheese

Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

1/2 tsp (2 mL) Louisiana-style hot sauce

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper

Wash Swiss chard thoroughly under cool running water. Remove stems and cut stems into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) pieces; set aside. There should be about 2 cups (500 mL). Tear Swiss chard leaves into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces; set aside. There should be about 10 cups (2.5 L).  To prepare panko topping, combine the next 7 ingredients (panko through garlic); set aside. Melt 2 tbsp (25 mL) butter in a large frypan over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add stems and sauté for 3 minutes. Add half of leaves and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until leaves wilt.  Uncover and add remaining leaves; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until leaves wilt.  Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Melt 2 tbsp (25 mL) butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Reduce heat and simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 cup (125 mL) Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, hot sauce, 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt and pepper. Add cheese mixture to Swiss chard mixture and stir to combine. Spoon into a greased 2 quart (2 L) baking dish. Top with panko topping.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8.
ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen’s column on healthy eating for busy families runs Wednesdays in the Calgary Herald’s food section. For tips on cooking, food safety or household matters, email bfkanswerline@atco.com or visit us at ATCOBlueFlameKitchen.com.
We apologize, but this list has failed to load. Try refreshing your browser.

This Week in Flyers