Sunday, July 28, 2013

Savory Vegetable Tower - GREAT VEGAN OPTION!

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Savory Vegetable Tower
Savory Vegetable Tower
I absolutely LOVE portabella mushrooms!! While I also love eating red meat, I understand that it is not very good for you. Therefore I try and keep my meat consumption to a minimum and keep my consumption ratio at 80% Vegetables and Grains vs 20% Lean meat protein (very little red meat). That being said I find myself very tempted by red meat and the taste of a good steak. That is where a portabella mushroom comes in. If properly seasoned and cooked a portabella mushroom has a similar taste and texture of a good steak. Whether on a sandwich or in the vegetable tower recipe here, portabellas are a life saver when the red meat urge strikes. This has become a family favorite and an almost weekly menu item. Serve with a side of Cajun style dirty quinoa or brown rice. ENJOY!

Savory Vegetable Tower

The key to these great tasting vegetables is properly marinating them. While you could run out to the store and buy balsamic vinaigrette, it would be full of preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. So why not just make your own, therefore you know what is in it. I feel the same way about the pesto. Premade pesto is full of preservatives and high in calories. In my recipe I replace pine nuts with omega-3 laden walnuts and lowered the cheese content, therefore you get an AMAZING pesto that is not only delicious but pretty good for you (2 tbls 85 calories). This is a very simple recipe but first you need to get your Balsamic Vinaigrette and Pesto together and then I’ll tell you how to assemble your tower! 
What you need
This recipe is enough for 2 people so adjust accordingly
2-3 Summer Squash cut into 1.5 inch slices
2-3 Zucchini cut into 1.5 inch slices
1 Sweet Onion cut into 1.5 inch slices
1 large tomato cut into 1.5 inch slices
1/2 Eggplant cut into 1.5 inch slices
4 Portabella Mushroom caps destemmed
Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette (Recipe Enclosed)
Walnut Pesto (Recipe Enclosed)
Balsamic Vinaigrette
Balsamic Vinaigrette

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

This simple to make vinaigrette is what I use to marinate the vegetables in. Simply find a tight lidded container large enough to fit all your vegetables. Toss them in and marinate overnight.
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
Dash salt and pepper

Whisk together the Vinegar and mustard, then slowly add the olive oil to incorporate. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Walnut Pesto
Walnut Pesto

Walnut Pesto

 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, (2-3 bunches)
 1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted (see Tip)
 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 large clove garlic, quartered
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place basil, walnuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, oil, water, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse a few times, then process until fairly smooth, or to the desired consistency, scraping down the sides occasionally.
Preparation and Assembly of Vegetable Tower
I personally think nothing tastes better than a grilled vegetable, but not everyone has access to a grill. So that being said you can roast these vegetables in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until they are tender, tomatoes will take less time so add them in the last 10 minutes. If you do have access to a grill by all means use it. 10-12 minutes on each side (tomatoes 5 minutes on each side) over medium flame will do the trick.
Time for assembly! In the center of a plate place one tablespoon of walnut pesto, top with one portabella mushroom followed by tomato, and then eggplant. Follow that up with another portabella and top with a tablespoon of pesto.  I like to place my squash and zucchini around the outside of the plate but if you are brave you can try and stack them as well. Serve and ENJOY! :)  

1 comment :

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