Friday, May 16, 2008

Calabacitas Casserole with Polenta and Caesar Salad

These two recipes are pretty simple, the Casserole comes from Rachael Ray (not a huge fan, but this recipe is great) and the salad is from Veganomicon. I got lazy when making the croutons and used garlic salt in place of roasted garlic... worked perfectly too, less mess. I made the dressing the night before, so all I had to do was make the croutons and open the pre-cut romaine lettuce bag.

Veganomicon Caesar Salad:

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves roasted garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 medium loaf French or Italian bread (little less than 1 lb.), stale and torn or sliced into bite sized pieces
¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup blanched, slivered or sliced almonds
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3/4 lb. silken tofu (fresh, not vacuum packed is best)
1⁄4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon capers
4 teaspoons caper brine
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
salt to taste

1 large head Romaine lettuce, chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper
Handful or two of spinach and arugula, torn into bite-sized pieces (optional)


1. Prepare the dressing: In a food processor or blender, pulse the sliced almonds till crumbly. Empty ground almonds into an air tight container that you’ll be using to store the finished dressing in. Place garlic, tofu and oil in food processor or blender and blend until creamy. Add lemon juice, capers, caper brine, sugar, dry mustard powder and pulse until blended. Adjust lemon juice and salt to taste. Pour into container with the ground almonds and whisk to combine. Cover and allow dressing to chill in the refrigerator for a minimum 30 minutes, optimally 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

2. While dressing is chilling prepare croutons. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl combine olive oil, roasted garlic and lemon juice. With a fork or immersion blender mash or blend the roasted garlic till creamy. Add torn bread and toss to coat each piece with the garlic/oil mixture. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt if desired and bake for 12 to 14 minutes until golden brown. Toss the croutons twice during baking. Remove from oven and cool croutons on baking sheet.

3. To assemble salad, pour 2-3 cups for each individual serving (depending if it's a side or entree) of lettuce/greens--and if using--vegetables, tempeh, etc. into a large bowl. Ladle on about 1/3 cup dressing (or more or less to taste), and use kitchen tongs to toss greens and coat with dressing. Add warm croutons, toss again and transfer to serving plate. Sprinkle with a little freshly cracked pepper. If not serving right away, warm croutons in 300 degree oven for 5-8 minutes before adding to the salad.

Calabacitas Casserole with Polenta

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups corn kernels, defrosted
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 green chili pepper or 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
2 small to medium zucchini, diced
1 small to medium yellow squash
1 large yellow skinned onion, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, diced if desired (with juice)
2 teaspoons dark chili powder
Salt and pepper
1 (16-ounce) tubes prepared polenta
2 cups of Monterey Jack Cheese (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, corn, garlic and chilies. Saute 3 minutes, add zucchini and yellow squash and onions, season with salt and pepper, chili powder; cook 7 to 8 minutes.

3. Add stewed tomatoes and heat through. Transfer to baking dish. Cut 1 tube of polenta in 1/2-inch slices lengthwise or into “coins.” Top vegetables with polenta and cheese. Place in hot oven to warm polenta, 8 to 10 minutes.


Carrie said...

Yum! I love polenta, I'll have to try that out!

Karyn said...


I make calabacitas all the recipe, I just use what I have in the house...

I also like stuffing it into a Poblano pepper and baking it...