Recipes: Delicious dishes to kick off 2012

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January 2, 2012
By: Nicole Navratil
Nicole Navratil

Whether you’re hosting a soiree with friends or having a quiet night in with your sweetheart, one of these meatless recipes is sure to hit the spot.

Angel Hair Pasta with Sunchokes, Tomato Sauce and Feta
Serves 2. Vegetarian


Ingredients

4 oz dried angel hair pasta
1 ½ cups store-bought tomato sauce
1 cup Jerusalem artichokes (also known as sunchokes)*
6-8 kalamata olives
1/3  cup feta cheese
2 cloves garlic
White wine vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
 
Directions
Peel the sunchokes using a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. Take care during this process — the skins are tougher than you’d expect. After peeling, chop the sunchokes into 1-inch pieces.

Place the sunchokes in a saucepan with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes. Turn the sunchokes every few minutes to cook all sides evenly.

Reduce heat to medium low. Finely chop the garlic and add it to the pan with the
sunchokes. Add a splash of white wine vinegar, cover, and cook for a few minutes longer. Chop the kalamata olives and add them to the pan, along with the tomato sauce. Stir to mix well, cover again, and cook for five to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bring a medium pot of water to boil over medium heat to cook the angel hair pasta. Add the pasta when the water is boiling; cook according to package directions (approximately six to eight minutes). Drain the water.

Divide the pasta between two bowls or plates. Spoon the sauce mixture over the noodles. Top with feta, and enjoy!

*About sunchokes: Sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) are a delicious local veggie. They are the edible tuber (root) part of a beautiful sunflower, and have a fantastic savory flavor. I discovered them at the Eastside Co-op in Northeast Minneapolis. If you’re short on time, give your local grocer a call first to see if they carry them. Sunchokes have been known to cause digestive discomfort, so enjoy them in moderation.

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Jalapeño Artichoke Dip
Serves 4-6. Vegetarian


Ingredients

1 package of cream cheese, softened
1 can artichoke hearts
1 cup vegan mayo*

1 cup Parmesan cheese
2T fresh jalapeño pepper (about half of one)
Salt & pepper

Directions
Drain the artichoke hearts and quarter them. Finely dice the jalapeño. Remove the cream cheese from packaging, place in a bowl, and microwave until soft (approximately 30 seconds to one minute, depending on the strength of your microwave).

Place the softened cream cheese, artichoke hearts and jalapeño in a medium bowl. Add the vegan mayo and Parmesan cheese, and mix well. Transfer to a small baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees for 30–40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Serve with pita, veggies, or baguette.

* The vegan mayo in the artichoke dip can be found at your local co-op, but I’ve also seen it at Cub. If you’re at one of the bigger grocery stores, check their natural foods section first. If you can’t find it, regular mayo will work just fine.

Nicole Navratil is a local blogger devoted to creative meatless recipes. Find her blog, “Pepperoni is Not a Vegetable,” at pepperoniisnotavegetable.com.