Side Dishes

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

Remember last week in the asparagus with creamy orange sauce post how I went on and on about how I struggle with finding simple, healthy and tasty vegetable recipes? Well, I stumbled across another solution last week!

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

Behold: steam-sautéed broccoli! I’m sure plenty of folks have been using this quick technique for years, but I am giddy with excitement over it.

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

The broccoli gets lightly sautéed in the pan, a small amount of flavorful liquid is added before putting the lid on, and the broccoli steams up right in the pan!

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

I used chicken broth for the liquid and that combined with the garlic infused oil you sauté the broccoli in made it so shockingly delicious.

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

I came across this quick recipe in a new cookbook I found at the library that is filled 100% with only vegetable recipes. It is chock-full of gorgeous color photos, which is essential for a quality cookbook perusal. The author almost didn’t include this recipe because it was just a way to cook broccoli that she had been doing for years and it is so simple she didn’t even really consider it a recipe. But her sister requested it’s inclusion and I am so happy she did. No more plain steamed broccoli in my house!

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 small cloves or 1 large clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, crowns cut into bite-sized florets and stalks peeled and diced, kept separately
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Place the oil and the garlic in a large skillet or pan then place over medium heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the diced broccoli stalks to the pan and cook for about 1 minute while stirring.
  2. Add the broccoli florets to the pan and stir to combine the broccoli with the garlic oil. Cook the florets for 3 minutes, or until the broccoli turns bright green in color.
  3. Add the broth then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan. Let the broccoli steam for about 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is desired tenderness. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
Notes
If you prefer using only broccoli florets, simply omit the broccoli stalks.

Recipe slightly adapted from Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables.

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

These next couple weeks are all about simple weeknight recipes. Sometimes when I plan the meals for the week I have such large ambitions and enthusiasm. It’s a Sunday morning, I’m feeling well rested, and Matt and I are ready to head to the grocery store with nothing but a lazy day in front of us.

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Skip ahead to a regular weeknight. I was just at work for 9 hours, now I’m driving through traffic to pick Matt up at work and go home, we’re hungry, tired and that hour long multistep dish is so not happening. Sound familiar?

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I absolutely love cooking, but most weeknights, dinner is just something I want to get done so I can get to work on my to-do list, read or just flop on the couch. Lately, one of my biggest dilemmas has been coming up with different, but still quick, ways to cook our veggies. Enter this asparagus with creamy orange sauce!

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and orange zest are combined to provide a bright and tangy complement to steamed asparagus stalks. The sauce adds a little something extra to the asparagus while adding only a minute more of cooking time.

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

So keep it simple, but exciting, this weeknight and jazz up your veggies!

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound asparagus spears
  • 2 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • Pinch of paprika, ground cayenne pepper or chili powder depending on heat preference
  • Slices of oranges for serving, optional
Directions
  1. Snap off the woody stems of the asparagus and discard. Steam until crisp tender.
  2. Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, zest and ground spice in a small bowl. Spread over the cooked asparagus before serving. Serve with the sliced oranges if desired.

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mushrooms, oh mushrooms! They are an ultimate ingredient sent straight from the heavens. Mushrooms are amazing for a wide variety of reasons. One is their versatility- sauté them, bake them, roast them, grill them- you get the idea. Another reason for their amazingness is that they complement and enhance so many dishes and cuisines. French, Japanese, Northern Italian and Chinese cooking all would be lost without the heavenly mushroom. The final reason, at least in today’s list as I’m sure there are many, many reasons, mushrooms are just so amazing is one that you probably are aware of, but have never put a name to it. It is the mushroom’s umami quality.

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Uma-whatnow? Umami has long been defined by the Japanese as the fifth taste (in addition to sweet, salty, sour and bitter), which is described as a delicious savory or meatiness. You know that indescribable rich taste you get from a mouthwatering cut of steak, an oyster, or a generous shaving of Parmesan cheese? That, my friends, is umami taking over your tastebuds.

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

In 1985 scientists determined that the umami taste was caused by foods high in glutamate. In the last 15 or so years, it has become a popular term among chefs, critics and foodies in the United States so you may have heard it before on Top Chef or the Food Network. To me, umami describes a bite that isn’t a sweet dessert, but makes you go “oh-my-this-is-melting-in-my-mouth-amazing-is-this-real-life-right-now???”, or, you know, something along those lines.

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

These balsamic roasted mushrooms will definitely make you experience that fifth taste. Chop up some mushrooms, toss them with balsamic and herbs, then bake until tender and this dish could not be any easier. Serve alongside some steak, tossed with a cream sauce pasta, on top of a spinach salad or just eat them by the forkful. Wait until you see how I serve them later this week!

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • 16 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick foil and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the garlic, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard and parsley in a medium bowl. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper then place on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms are golden and tender, tossing once during cooking.

Sautéed Snow Peas with Cranberries & Walnuts

Sautéed Snow Peas with Cranberries & Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love discovering new ways to cook up my favorite vegetables instead of my usual steaming or roasting methods. When I came across these snow peas with toasted walnuts and dried cranberries I knew I had to make them. The flavor profile screams fall and nicely complements the dry rubbed roast pork tenderloin I posted last week.

Sautéed Snow Peas with Cranberries & Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I like to cook the snow peas until they are just tender, but still have plenty of crunch so the little peas pop out of the pods when you bite into them. It’s the little things, folks. This side dish can be made in less than 10 minutes making it a huge keeper in my book.

Sautéed Snow Peas with Cranberries & Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

The tartness of the dried cranberries and lemon juice pairs well with the nutty earthiness of the toasted walnuts.

Sautéed Snow Peas with Cranberries & Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I used the same dried orange cranberries I bought from Trader Joe’s that I used in my fall trail mix and that hint of orange seemed to make the dish even more flavorful. If you aren’t able to find orange cranberries you could try substituting half the lemon juice for orange juice or adding just the faintest amount of orange zest to the finished peas.

Sautéed Snow Peas with Cranberries & Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces snow peas
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ⅓ cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the snow peas and sauté until bright green, but not floppy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Recipe from Vegetarian for a New Generation:  Seasonal Vegetable Dishes for Vegetarians, Vegans, and the Rest of Us.

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

This cauliflower… I’m getting weak in the knees. Who thought I would ever be exclaiming such things about some cauliflower?

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

There are several things that this dish has going for it. One is that the cauliflower is roasted in the oven. Almost every vegetable on the planet automatically tastes amazing when you oven roast it. See proof here, here and here. Then there is the inclusion of lemon, which always brightens up a dish.

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finally, there is the Parmesan. This recipe doesn’t call for a lot of cheese, but the nutty and melty Parmesan topping adds just the right balance to the roasted cauliflower.

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

Did I mention that you get to put this right in the oven then forget about it? Always a bonus in my book. So make this cauliflower tonight, but make sure you invite me for dinner.

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into small & medium sized florets
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan
  • Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Line a large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Spread the cauliflower florets in the prepared roasting pan then drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice. Top with the garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, making sure to stir 1-2 times during cooking.
  4. Remove from the oven and place in a serving dish. Immediately top with the Parmesan and chives.

Recipe from The Food Network.