serving up sides: smashed potatoes and roasted broccoli (vegan, gluten free, dairy free)

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I was working on this post two weeks ago and then life happened. Or rather, bed bugs. Let’s just say “don’t let the bed bugs bite” is so not funny or cute to me anymore. Thankfully, we have the little buggers taken care of, but it was a lot of work. Good, but tiring at the same time. And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

It’s the night before the Royal Wedding and this feels like a very fitting recipe to share – so British, but with an nontraditional twist. I am most definitely an Anglophile since one of my grandmothers was British and we lived in England for a few years. I still miss it.

Something I don’t miss is meat. Which really surprised me at first. Before switching to a plant-based diet, I never gave veggies much thought other than I knew I was “supposed” to eat them and mostly as a side dish.

But now, I would (and have!) eat these smashed potatoes and roasted broccoli as a main dish because I love making a meal of sides! I mean, why not? They’re usually easy to pull together, give you variety and allow other family members to load up on their favorites and nibble on the rest.

 

Let’s serve up those sides, shall we?

 

 

Smashed Potatoes: If my meal doesn’t contain lentils or beans as the main feature, then it will have potatoes! Gold, russett or sweet. For these smashed potatoes, I went with organic gold potatoes which are creamy, have a lovely thin skin and are the perfect size for a side dish. Organic because potatoes are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and I like my veggies with out an extra dose of pesticides thankyouverymuch. To make them, you simply scrub them up, pierce them with a knife or fork and roast them in a 375 degree oven for 40-55 minutes are until very tender when pierced with a fork. After you smash them (with your hand or a potato masher, I highly recommend serving them with this easy vegan sour cream recipe and sprinkle of rosemary, salt and pepper.

 

Roasted Broccoli: I feel like roasted veggies is a millennial thing. And I couldn’t be happier. Growing up, we mostly ate raw or boiled veggies (a kickback to my grandmothers’ generation) which were good, but it meant we hadn’t discovered how amazing roasted veggies are. This is the first time I tried roasting broccoli and was thrilled with the results! As with the potatoes, I prefer mine simply dressed with salt, pepper a teeny bit of avocado oil. Why avocado oil? Because it’s better for high heat cooking and I love it’s slightly buttery flavor! Other oils (like olive) become unstable and hydrogenated at much lower temperatures. If you can’t find it locally, try this one by Chosen Foods.

 

Roasted/pan-seard Leeks: I’ve always love potato and leek soup (get my simple recipe for it here), but it never occurred to me to serve them with baked potatoes until now. I did these in our cast iron skillet (like this one) with only a little avocado oil, but you could try roasting them with the potatoes and/or broccoli too.

 

And here’s the printable version of the smashed potatoes and sides for those of you who are old school like me (give me paper over digital anytime!)

 

Smashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 

Simple, yet satisfying sides that also can eat as a meal.

Course: Side Dish
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • yukon gold potatoes
  • broccoli
  • leeks
  • salt
  • pepper
  • rosemary
  • avocado oil
  • vegan sour cream (optional)
Instructions
Smashed Potatoes
  1. Scrub the, pierce them with a knife or fork, place on a pan and roast them in a 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes are until very tender when pierced with a fork. After you smash them (with your hand or a potato masher, I highly recommend serving them with vegan sour cream recipe and sprinkle of rosemary, salt and pepper.

Roasted Broccoli
  1. Rinse the broccoli well then cut the broccoli "trees" from the stalk. Peel the stalk and cut into bite-sized rounds and spread out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a small amount of avocado oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until the broccoli turns a little crispy on the edges and becomes tender. You can add the broccoli to the oven during the last 15 minutes that the potatoes are cooking.

Roasted/pan-seard Leeks:
  1. Rinse the leeks and slice into rounds (use the white and light green parts). If you don't like waste, save the dark leafier part for soup stock or stews. To pan-sear the leeks, heat a pan (cast iron is best for this!), add a little avocado oil and then the leeks. Sear over medium-high heat until lightly browned, then flip and do the same with the other side.

    To roast, lightly dress them in avocado oil and add them to the baking sheet along with the broccoli. Flip once during cooking time to ensure even browning.

rainbow plate with roasted chickpeas and citrus garlic tahini sauce (vegan, gluten free)

 

As a food blogger, I want to believe that everyone will absolutely love what I create and share. One hundred percent. All the time.

This, of course, is not realistic…as my family frequently reminds me.

Take this rainbow plate, for example. Yum, right?!

Except if you don’t like red peppers, sweet potato, chickpeas, kale and/or eggplant, roasted, seasoned or dressed but not disguised in a soup or sauce. Since I happen to love all these veggies, this is a plate I want to dive into on repeat. I was hoping my family would want to do the same.

My youngest, however, “didn’t like that dinner” and it was like pulling teeth to get my other three to finish (they ate their favorite veggies first, but that is different for each of them)). Even my husband didn’t give it glowing reviews, because, well, right now I’m the only die-hard veggie lover in my family.

But despite the ho-hum, yuck reviews from my dearest ones, I’m still sharing this rainbow plate because I loved it and I know there are other veggie-lovers out there that will love it too.

It’s simple to make and balanced with protein from the chickpeas plus it gives you all the vitamins and antioxidants your body is really craving. It’s simply dressed with a citrus garlic tahini sauce (more protein +tang) and the veggies could be roasted up on the weekend to prep for a busy week ahead.

If you absolutely dislike one or more of the veggies I’ve included on this plate, just switch it up for a different vegetable of the same color. Because that’s the beauty of cooking and recipe sharing.

 

rainbow plate with roasted chickpeas
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

An easy, delicious way to "eat all the colors," this rainbow plate combines roasted veggies with raw kale to give you all the nutrients and is dressed with a tangy garlic tahini sauce.

Course: Entree, Main Course
Servings: 2 people
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the Rainbow Plate
  • 1-2 red pepper, cut in strips
  • 2 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 15-oz can chickpeas
  • kale, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
For the Citrus Garlic-Tahini Dressing
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
Instructions
For the veggies:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 as you prepare the veggies. Add sweet potato and eggplant cubes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chickpeas by combining them in a bowl with the seasonings and toss to coat well. Spread on a baking sheet.

  3. When the sweet potatoes have cooked for 15 minutes, remove from oven and rotate for even cooking. Add the eggplant and red peppers to the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired and return to the oven for another 25-30 minutes or until all the veggies are tender and roasted.

  4. At the same time, add the pan of chickpeas to a different rack in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until they are slightly crispy. It's helpful to stir them a couple times during baking for even crisping.

For the dressing:
  1. While the veggies are roasting, mix all the dressing ingredients in a blender or small food processor, blending until thoroughly combined. Dressing can be stored in an air tight jar in the fridge for one week.

To assemble the rainbow plate:
  1. Add veggies and chickpeas in rainbow order to each plate, using as much kale as desired. Drizzle dressing over each serving.

 

big summer salad with tahini ranch dressing and herbed walnut croutons (vegan, no added sugar)

Summer is made for salads. Big salads. Because cool greens, fresh herbs and colorful veggies that are finally in season just beckon on hot, hazy days.

At least once a week I try to plan a salad for dinner and I wanted this one to capture the abundance that spills from the garden. As a main meal, I wanted it to feel “meaty,” so I diced up some sweet potatoes and roasted them in the oven and further “beefed” up the protein with herby walnut croutons. Since I had a package of farro on hand from my sister, I cooked up some of that too.

My veggies of choice for this salad are:

  • lettuce (your favorite kind, but I prefer delicate green leaf for this one)
  • spiralized zucchini
  • shredded carrots
  • tomatoes
  • snap peas
  • corn
  • cucumber
  • sweet potato

As a side note…did you know that you can eat the skin of a sweet potato? I always assumed I needed to peel it until I read otherwise in The Seven-Day Rescue Diet*. I love the added texture and vitamins plus another way of reducing kitchen waste!

For the ranch dressing, I slightly adapted my garlic herb dressing from my favorite BLT Salad. I may try a cashew version of this dressing down the road since cashews lend themselves so well so dairy-free creams, but tahini is more budget friendly so I went with it this time.

 

Ever since I had children, I’ve discovered that even though they are birthed from the same parents, they have completely different taste buds. Go figure. To avoid personally having to customize each salad (which would definitely exceed the limits of mental capacity) and to make veggie eating a (more) enjoyable experience for my brood, I plate the lettuce, but create a veggie buffet on the table for the fixings. That way, each person can select the toppings they like best and I never have soggy lettuce leftover that often is a downfall of pre-mixing a salad.

I would love to hear if you try this tip! And/or have you tried something like this with your family? How do you encourage your children to eat their greens?

 

  • Click here for my favorite food processor and the veggie spiralizer I use
  • Click here for the avocado oil.

 

big summer salad with tahini ranch dressing and herbed walnut croutons
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

Cool greens, fresh herbs and colorful veggies capture the abundance that spills from the garden on hot, hazy days. Diced sweet potatoes, herbed walnut croutons and tangy ranch dressing round out this salad to make it a satisfying main meal or easily scale it back for a side.


Course: Main Course, Salad
Ingredients
For the salad
  • lettuce
  • zucchini, spiralized
  • carrots, shredded
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • corn
  • snap peas, chopped
  • cucumber, diced
  • farro (about 1/4 c. cooked/person)
  • sweet potaotes, diced
For the tahini ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dashes freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tsp fresh chives
  • 2 1/2 tsp onion powder
For the herbed walnut croutons
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp avocado oil
  • dashes salt and pepper
Instructions
For the salad
  1. Place the diced sweet potatoes (seasoned with salt and pepper if desired) on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper in a 350 F oven for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through.

  2. Cook farro according to package directions.

  3. 3. Prepare veggies while the sweet potatoes are cooking.

For the tahini ranch dressing
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until thoroughly combined. Pour into a glass jar. Can be stored in the fridge for up to one week.

For the herbed walnut croutons
  1. Add all ingredients to a small mixing bowl and stir thoroughly until the nuts are well coated with the herbs (using your hands is helpful). Turn onto a metal baking sheet or pie tin and pop in the oven with the sweet potatoes. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant. *Keep an eye on them as they go quickly from lightly toasted to burnt.*

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: While I didn't include the portion sizes for the salad ingredients, here is a general guideline for adult portion sizes:

  • one generous handful of lettuce and one medium carrot per person
  • one small spiralized zucchini per 2-3 people
  • one medium sweet potato per 2 people
  • 1/8-1/4 cup of corn, cucumber, snap peas and farro per person
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes per person

I like using organic frozen corn and simply let it thaw since GMO free corn on the cob is hard to find (and it's easier!)

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