Happy New Year!
It’s somewhat ironic that the first recipe I’m sharing on my wild game food blog this year is a meatless one. I decided to do so because January is a time when I hit the reset button and give my body a break from all the rich foods and alcohol that I overindulged in throughout the holidays. My theory is simple, when you eat good, you feel good. For me that means having lots and lots of greens on the menu and of course, a weekly meatless meal.
This is an example of what a typical vegetarian dinner at my house looks like: A roasted broccoli and tomato salad with arugula, sprouted quinoa, jammy eggs, and finished off with a generous drizzle of Bagna Cauda and squeezed lemon.
Embrace Meatless Monday
I think there are a few misconceptions when it comes to meatless dinners. Probably the most common thought is that you’ll be left unsatisfied and still hungry. But I also think that a lot of people believe it means just eating a bunch of side dishes. These couldn’t be further from the truth.
I find a lot of enjoyment in cooking vegetarian meals. I think as a chef its a fun challenge to create a cohesive, satisfying dish in which each ingredient has a purpose. That means each item adds something specific, such as acid, fat, texture, flavor, protein, fiber, etc. For me, the perfect meatless dish has to hit all those notes and this roasted broccoli salad certainly does. It proves that you don’t need meat to make vegetarian night satisfying or flavorful.
The broccoli and tomatoes are roasted until slightly charred, which add not only texture but concentrates their flavor. A simple layer of quinoa is used as a base for more substance and protein. I imagine it as a blank canvas that begs for a punch of flavor. That is where the Bagna Cauda comes in, it is an umami bomb that makes you crave more.
Bagna Cauda, which translates to “Hot sauce or Hot Bath”, is an Italian condiment that is typically served warm as a dip with veggies and bread. Traditionally it consists of olive oil, anchovies, garlic and butter. My version is healthier but pretty similar. I omit the butter and instead add a touch of lemon zest and minced parsley. This flavorful oil becomes the base for a zesty salad dressing. And yes, I realize this is technically not a “vegetarian” meal because there are anchovies in it… but its close enough, right?
The last component added to this giant veggie bowl is an egg. Lately I’ve had a bit of an obsession with soft-boiled eggs, aka jammy eggs. According to Bon Appetite, the perfect jammy egg is boiled for exactly 6 1/2 minutes. I have tested their theory and they came out perfect. Once the timer goes off, just ladel em’ out into an ice bath, crack, peel and enjoy. Couldn’t be any easier.
- 4 small heads of Broccoli, with Stems
- ½ Pint of Cherry/Small Vine Tomatoes
- Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
- Juice of Half a Lemon
- Oil for Cooking
- Salt + Pepper
- 4 eggs
- ¼ Red Onion, thinly sliced
- 2 Cups Cooked Quinoa
- 2 C. Arugula
- Parsley for Serving
- Lemon wedges for Serving
- ½ C. Olive Oil
- 4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
- 4 Anchovy Filets, roughly chopped
- 1 T. minced Parsley
- Zest of Half a Lemon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Use a peeler to peel the outer woody layer of the broccoli stems. Roughly chop the stems into pieces. Chop the broccoli into florets. Spread the broccoli across a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, the juice of about half a lemon, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes if using, salt & pepper. Place tomatoes on a separate sheet pan and drizzle with oil and season with salt & pepper.
- Roast the Broccoli for about 35-40 minutes, until tender and slightly charred. Roast the tomatoes for about 25-30 minutes, until starting to burst.
- Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Ladle each egg in and set the timer for 6½ minutes. Remove the eggs and place in a bowl of ice water. Once cool, crack and peel each egg and slice in half.
- In the same pot with boiling water, you can blanch the sliced red onions (inside of a small strainer) for about 30 seconds to tone down the pungent flavor and make it more mild. Set it aside and pat dry.
- Pour the water out of the pot, dry it off and set it back on the stove over medium-low heat.
- Add olive oil, minced garlic and anchovies to the warm pot over medium heat. Allow it to gently cook until the garlic starts to turn golden in color. Turn it off the heat and let it cool (it will continue cooking while cooling, so don't let it burn). Add the Zest from half a lemon and the tablespoon of minced parsley.
- To serve, Mix the cooked Quinoa, Arugula, Roasted Broccoli, Tomatoes, sliced Red Onion in a large bowl. Top each plate with the jammy eggs and drizzle with the Bagna Cauda. Serve with extra lemon wedges and parsley.