Fast, Flavorful Veggie-Filled Recipes

Turn the tables on your tastebuds with these veggie-packed dishes that are healthy and downright delicious.

By the time the new year rolls around, I am ready for a fresh start. I’ve eaten everything I can get my hands on during the holidays, so I start to crave healthier foods and anything green. Living next door to a well-stocked grocery store for the last year has made me realize how many vegetables I rarely cook.

These colorful, fast, and flavorful recipes are helping me change that. In the steak salad, I prefer to use a New York strip because it doesn’t need to marinate all day—and it tastes pretty darn good! The sesame salmon and veggies all cook on one baking sheet and are ready in about 15 minutes. I also threw in a warm, comforting tomato soup that starts with canned tomatoes and is ready in under an hour. So let’s branch out, get back in the kitchen, and keep up our healthy eating goals. We can do it!

Fennel-Apple-Celery Slaw

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, halved and cored, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fennel fronds
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler
Celery leaves for garnish

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in oil, continuously whisking, until dressing is emulsified. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if needed. 

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In a large bowl, toss the dressing with fennel, apple, and celery. Fold in fennel fronds and walnuts. Top with Parmesan and celery leaves. Serves 8

Learn from Leslie: Dressing can be made the day before serving. Store in the refrigerator. Toss with salad ingredients up to 1 hour before serving.

Fennel Facts: If you have never worked with fennel before, here are a few helpful preparation tips. Look for smaller bulbs. They will be more tender than the larger bulbs. Remove the fronds (dill-looking feathery part) and stalks. (Reserve the fronds for later use in the recipe.) Trim off the bottom of the bulb with a sharp knife. Then cut the bulb in half lengthwise. Remove the triangular-shaped core at the bottom of each half of the bulb. Discard any discolored outer pieces, and thinly slice the bulb horizontally. 

Sesame Glazed Salmon with Baby Broccoli, Carrots, and Edamame

2 tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon honey
4 salmon fillets
2 to 3 bunches baby broccoli, ends trimmed and any leaves removed
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ribbons with a peeler
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Frozen Edamame shelled beans (cooked according to package instructions)
Lime wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a shallow dish, mix together chili sauce and next 4 ingredients. Lay the salmon fillets in the marinade, skin-side up, and set aside for 15 minutes.

Place broccoli and carrots on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, toss to coat completely, and spread in an even layer, leaving room for the salmon in the middle. Place salmon fillets skin-side down; sprinkle salmon with sesame seeds, and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

Serve with warm Edamame beans and  lime wedges. Serves 4

Comforting Creamy Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in their juice (Leslie prefers San Marzano)
½ cup water
½ cup whipping cream
Fresh basil leaves (about 10 to 12)
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon celery seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
French Bread Croutons (recipe below)

In a Dutch oven, melt butter and olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the next 7 ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Use a spoon to break up the tomatoes. 

Remove from the heat, and allow soup to cool for a few minutes. In a blender in batches, puree until smooth. Return the soup to a clean pot, and rewarm if needed. Ladle into bowls, and serve with French Bread Croutons. Serves 4 – 6

French Bread Croutons: Cube several slices of French bread into ½-inch pieces; set aside. In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Scrape butter from the skillet, and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, and add the diced bread, stirring occasionally, until it is lightly browned. Remove from the heat, and stir in the browned butter. 

New York Strip Salad

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (16-ounce) Prime New York strip steak
8 to 10 cups chopped Romaine hearts
4 ears corn, cooked and cut off the cob
2 avocados, sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 bunch green onions, sliced
Pickled Red Onions (recipe below)
Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing (recipe below)

Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil and next 3 ingredients in a shallow dish. Place steak into marinade, and allow steak to come to room temperature, about 1 to 2 hours. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast-iron skillet to medium-high. Pat steak dry with a paper towel, and sear for a few minutes on each side. Place skillet into preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes until medium-rare to medium doneness. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. 

On a dinner-size plate, arrange lettuce, corn, avocados, tomatoes, green onions, and Pickled Red Onions. Serve with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing. Serves 2 – 3

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing

1 large bunch cilantro
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 garlic clove
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 jalapeño, seeded

Combine all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Adjust salt to taste, if desired. The dressing will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 cups

Pickled Red Onions

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Stir together all ingredients in a medium bowl. Place in a pint jar, and cover. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. The pickles will keep up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 cups

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