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

(this post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you)

 

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.

minestrone soup with sesame parmesan (vegan, dairy free, soy free)

(This post contains affiliate links which helps fund this blog but at no cost to you.)

With fall officially peeking around the corner and an early chill in the air – at least around here – I’m starting to crave  warm, comforting foods. Especially big pots of them for plenty of leftovers which matches with our busier back-to-school schedule. Like this minestrone soup.

I first came across this minestrone soup recipe in this cook book while I was trying to find more veggie-based recipes but before I went all in with a plant-based diet. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since.

One of the things I love about it is the subtle addition of zucchini. This is key when your garden produces monster-sized ones because you forgot to pick it (ahem). And when you are more of a zucchini liker than zucchini lovers. And in case you didn’t catch it, here’s a zucchini recipe I shared last week. The other thing I love is the use of rosemary – an herb I thought was a strange addition at first, but it definitely makes this soup sing.

 

I’ll warn you that although this minestrone soup is more labor intensive than many of my other soup recipes (like this one and this one), it’s completely worth it because of the quantity it makes and how well it freezes. If you have children who are able to handle a knife, have them help you with the chopping. Even a young child could help break the frozen green beans or help with the lettuce spinner for the spinach.

The original recipe called for using parmesan cheese. Since this wouldn’t fly for a vegan recipe, I whipped up some sesame seed parmesan which can be sprinkled on or stirred in (which also happens to boost the calcium and protein as well!). For those of you watching your fat intake (especially due to heart disease), you’ll be happy to know the soup is made without any oil and you can skip adding the parmesan altogether.

 

 

 

This soup tastes even better the second day because the flavors are able to develop. If it works, plan ahead and make it the day before you actually plan to eat it!

 

Minestrone Soup with Sesame Seed Parmesan
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
 

This soup is chock full of vegetables and herbs and tastes even better the second day after it's been made. The sesame seed parm is a nod to the traditional recipe and boosts the calcium and plant-protein and is just plain fun to sprinkle on.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the soup
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped carrots
  • 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups finely diced tomatoes (or 1-14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4.5 cups water
  • 2 small zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup green beans in 1" lengths
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped spinach
  • 2 cups beans (white or kidney)
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp crumbled rosemary
  • freshly ground pepper
For the sesame parm
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
Instructions
For the soup:
  1. Add the onion and garlic along with 1" water to a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook until the onion is translucent, then add in the carrots, celery and tomatoes. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Add all remaining soup ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45-minutes to 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender. Adjust seasonings as needed.

For the sesame parm:
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender and mix until thoroughly combined and the sesame seeds are crumbly and look like parmesan cheese. Can be stored in an air-tight jar in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

Recipe Notes:

I prefer this soup with the vegetables (especially the tomatoes and zucchini) finely chopped - or in the case of the zucchini, shredded. This especially helps when serving it to children who tend to be suspicious of large chunks of vegetables - or adults who feel the same way. 😉

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  •  Click here for my favorite mini food processor
  • I get both my nutritional yeast and sesame seeds in bulk at Whole Foods, but you also can find them here and here.