All your fresh vegetable recipes should start with the best quality vegetables that you can get. This is done by growing your own or purchasing them from a local grower. This eliminates the time it takes for packing and shipping which causes fresh vegetables to lose its taste and also losing some of the nutritional value.
When you make your fresh vegetable recipes according to the growing season in your area, you not only get the best quality producing the best taste, but you can also save money. Today, most vegetables are in our markets all year round so it is possible to use them year round. As I said earlier this shipping process destroys much of the taste and vitamins.
When selecting any kind for your fresh vegetable recipes, they should be fresh, firm and ripe. Do not buy any which appears to be old. Avoid ones which appear to be withered, moldy or bruised; or ones under ripe or overly ripened.
For your fresh vegetable recipes using the “head types” look for nicely colored ones; heads of cauliflower should be a nice white and cabbage a pretty green or red. The leafy vegetables should have a nice color, no brown or yellow spots and be crisp. Peas and beans should have firm and crisp pods to produce a good quality dish. Always buy vegetables of medium size with a regular shape for the best flavor.
When purchasing vegetables, buy only the amount that you plan to use in your fresh vegetable recipes. They deteriorate quickly and are best tasting when cooked quickly. Over buying will cause you to lose money unless you preserve them in some way like canning or freezing. I add this because sometimes you will get a “buy” that is too good to pass up. If you are into saving money like I am, this is a great time to buy extra and either can them or package them for the freezer.
Whether you are preparing vegetables to make your fresh vegetable recipes or for preserving, it is necessary to wash all of them thoroughly; even if they look clean. A vegetable brush is a good item (and a necessary kitchen item) to use on many of them to get them clean. Head vegetables should be submerged in cold salt water for 30 minutes before using; this removes insects and freshens the vegetables. Leaf vegetables should be washed in fresh cold running water several times before eating.
Many good fresh vegetable recipes can be prepared in a variety of different ways. Some are very good as simply as boiling or steaming and adding butter. Stir fries or grilled vegetables can be great tasting. Here I want to focus on baked vegetable recipes such as in casseroles. So many of these can provide a whole meal and often without the addition of meat. With other ingredients like cheese you don’t even miss the meat. Many countries rely more on these great vegetables to provide their daily substance and use less meat.
VEGETARIAN LASAGNA RECIPE
This first of the baked vegetable recipes utilizes a favorite recipe of many pasta lovers and turns it into a delicious vegetarian lasagna recipe. No meat but makes a wonderful vegetarian meal!
Drain noodles; rinse spinach and steam in covered pan (no extra water) for 5 minutes.
In saucepan cook mushrooms, carrots and onions in hot oil until tender but not brown.
Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, olives and oregano.
In greased 9 X 13 inch baking pan layer noodles, cottage cheese, spinach, jack cheese and sauce.
Repeat layers reserving several cheese slices for the top.
Bake in preheated oven at 375F degrees for 30 minutes; let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with Parmesan cheese.
EASY VEGETABLE RECIPE
This is one of the fresh vegetable recipes which are made so easy by adding soup mix to flavor; so delicious after baking in the oven.
NOTE: I often add a little garlic powder, basil or some type of Italian seasoning.
Place onion, zucchini and pepper in a casserole baking dish.
Add soup mix, salt and pepper (other seasoning if desired).
Toss ingredients until combined; bake uncovered at 350F degrees for 34 minutes.
STUFFED EGGPLANT RECIPE
Preheat broiler to 500F degrees.
Remove stems from eggplant, cut in half lengthwise.
Make cuts in flesh 1 inch apart to within ¼ inch of skin; sprinkle cuts with salt.
Place eggplants cut side down on paper towels; let stand 30 minutes.
Squeeze to remove excess liquid; pat dry.
Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons olive oil; place cut side up in roasting pan.
Add 1/8 inch water to pan; broil 4 to 5 inches from heat source for 10 to 15 minutes to light brown.
Scoop out pulp and chop; reserve skins and set aside.
Sauté onion in 1 ½ tablespoons oil over low heat for 10 minutes or until very tender.
Season with salt and pepper and add to eggplant.
Place mushrooms in towel; twist to extract juices.
Sauté mushrooms in 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
Add mushroom mixture to eggplant.
Combine cream cheese, parsley and basil in a bowl; beat until fluffy.
Add cheese to vegetables and mix well; spoon mixture into eggplant skins.
Combine bread crumbs and Swiss cheese; sprinkle over filled eggplant skins.
Drizzle tops with 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter; place in roasting pan and add 1/8 inch water.
Bake in preheated oven at 375F degrees and bake 25 minutes or until brown.
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