Honey-Ginger Baby Bellas with Ginger-Miso Kale and Quinoa

Family vacations can be inspiring on so many levels.  Recently we went to visit family in the Midwest, and while we were there, my stepmom introduced me to Honey Vinegar.  As soon as I came home I ran over to Epicurean Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegars and brought home some new ingredients to play with.  Tonight we used the honey-ginger white balsamic vinegar and blood orange olive oil to marinate baby portabellas.  They were amazing, paired with kale that was steamed and then tossed in a miso-ginger dressing.  Top it off with some quinoa, and we had a pretty delectable meal.  If you don’t have specialty vinegars lying around, this would still work very well with rice wine vinegar and olive oil.  If you would rather not use any oil and save yourself some fat and calories, simply omit the oil altogether and it will still turn out great!

Honey-Ginger Baby Bellas

6 Baby Portabellas or large stuffing mushrooms, sliced

1 Tablespoon blood orange olive oil

2 Tablespoons honey-ginger white balsamic vinegar

a splash of soy sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss ingredients together in a large bowl, then spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10-15 min.

Steamed Kale w/Ginger Miso Dressing 

Dressing recipe is adapted from one featured in The New York Times on July 22, 2009, which was adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons mild miso (yellow or white)

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into smaller pieces

salt and pepper, to taste

1 large bunch kale, roughly chopped

1.Put all ingredients (except kale, salt and pepper) into a mini food processor or blender and process, or blend, until dressing reaches desired consistency (1-2 minutes). Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

2.Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a large pot.  Add kale, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and steam 5-7 minutes.  Drain and toss with dressing (there will be quite a bit if dressing left over). 

Quinoa

If you’ve never cooked quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), don’t be intimidated.  It is easier than cooking rice!  FYI: quinoa should always be rinsed before using.

Add 1 cup quinoa (rinsed) and 2 cups water to a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 20 min.  Done!

Pesto and Marinara Eggplant Bake

Tender eggplant, savory pesto, homemade marinara and cheezy tofu ricotta come together to make an incredible dish!  Serve with a warm crusty baguette and fresh green salad.  And don’t forget the red wine!  If you want to go the quick and easy route, just use prepared pesto and pasta sauce, and skip down to the tofu ricotta part of the recipe.

Marinara

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sweet red pepper, choped
  • 4-6 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large can of whole tomatoes (or 1 qt.)
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (1 tsp. dried)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh oregano (1 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • crushed red pepper and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat about 3 Tablespoons of water in a large pot.  When bubbly, add onions and garlic.  Stir until fragrant.
  2. Add peppers and mushrooms. Cook until moisture from mushrooms is released and evaporates.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 min – 1 hour.
  4. Turn off heat and if you desire a smoother sauce, blend with an immersion blender to reach desired consistency. You could also just transfer some of the sauce to a blender and puree it there, if you prefer.

Pesto

  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds (or walnuts)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend or pulse until it reaches your desired consistency.
  2. Store in an air-tight container.  You will have a lot left over. 🙂

Tofu Ricotta

  • 1 large package firm tofu, drained
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 shakes of garlic powder
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl, mash drained tofu until roughly the consistency of ricotta cheese.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.

Tofu Bake Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Slice 1 large eggplant into 1/2 inch round slices.
  3. Spoon just enough marinara in to cover the bottom of the pan
  4. Lay eggplant in a single layer (or double up if necessary) on top of the sauce.
  5. Top eggplant with ricotta mixture, then the rest of the sauce.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of pesto onto the top and gently spread them out a bit with the back of a spoon.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.