January 2010 Archives

Turmeric Roasted Rutabagas


Rutabagas aren't as commonly used in the US as turnips and yet they are, in my opinion, much more delicious.  In Scotland and other places in Europe rutabagas are known as "yellow turnips" or "Swedes".  When raw they have a similar sharp peppery bitter smell and a watery crisp consistency but when roasted rutabagas are much richer than regular turnips.  They are a golden color and sweeten with roasting.


In this recipe I have seasoned rutabagas with turmeric which intensify the golden color of the rutabagas and add an additional earthy tone to the flavor.  This is a simple side to make to dinner whether you are having a vegetarian main course or a meat dish.  It is a fall and winter root vegetable which can be stored in root cellars so may also still be available in early spring, but by mid spring should no longer be making appearances on the dinner table.  Enjoy it now!

Turmeric is not a spice I use often but I got inspiration from my friend Riana here on her flickr pages in her series on healing herbs and spices and how to use them in everyday ways.

4 medium to large rutabagas, trimmed cubed to 1" pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
a couple of pinches of coarse sea salt
several grinds of pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   In a large roasting pan or a large heavy duty baking sheet, spread out the rutabagas.  Sprinkle the salt and turmeric on the rutabagas.  Grind the salt on them.  Drizzle all of the oil on them and then, using a spatula, toss the vegetables in the oil and spices until thoroughly coated.

Put in the oven and every ten minutes turn the rutabagas with a spatula to be sure that all sides have a chance to roast.  When the rutabagas are soft and melting on the inside with crunchy golden roasted edges, they are ready to serve.  At this temperature it should take between 45 minutes and an hour.

Recipe Notes: You can cook these more quickly by increasing the oven heat to 400 degrees, but if you do this you need to check them more frequently to prevent scorching.  I like to use an herbed coarse salt on all my roasted vegetables, if you'd like to do the same but don't have any you can simply add  1/2 teaspoon of your favorite dried herb combination.

Veggie Burgers: Quinoa and Kidney Beans


Most people I know are omnivores so when they want something substantial to put in a bun they simply go for the classic meat burger.  I was brought up as a vegetarian and have never reconciled myself to the taste, and more particularly, the texture of meat.  So when I want to eat a substantial sandwich I turn to veggie burgers, and I don't want ones that are meaty and chewy.  I want one that is flavorful, robust, and textured without being toothsome.  So I am on a quest to develop a repertoire of veggie burger recipes that I can make, freeze, and then grab for easy nutritious meals when I haven't had time to cook from scratch.

This particular recipe can be baked or fried (sautéed) but will not hold together on the grill.  I will be experimenting with bread  crumbs which are a usual ingredient for their ability to soak up moisture and stiffen patties.  I didn't want to have breadcrumbs in this particular recipe because I wanted to keep the proportion of beans to grains at a 2 to 1 ratio.  The results are satisfying, flavorful, and just the perfect quick meal I was hoping for.


4 cups cooked kidney beans
2 cups cooked quinoa
3 large carrots diced small
1 large onion diced small
3 ribs celery diced small
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch cilantro (chopped well)
1-2 pickled (or fresh) jalapenos (finely minced)
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp salt

Makes 10 to 12 patties


Method: Have your kidney beans and quinoa prepared ahead of time.  Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan (on medium high heat) and add the carrots, onion, and celery.  Once they start lightly browning turn the heat down to med/low and stir frequently.  When the onions get soft and sticky they're done.  (It should take about 25 minutes.)

In a food processor combine the kidney beans and quinoa and pulse several times.  You want the beans to maintain texture but you want enough of them to be crushed that the beans and quinoa stick together.  Put this in a large mixing bowl.  Add the caramelized vegetables, cilantro, jalapenos, cumin, and salt and mix really well.

Form into patties.  You can make them any size you like.  I made mine palm sized and kept them fairly thick.

To cook: heat a tbsp of oil (any you choose) in a sauté pan and sauté patties on both sides until they develop a crispy brown crust.

To serve: I don't eat my veggie burgers with buns when I eat them at home.  I like to eat them with sliced avocado, some cheese melted on top, and some salsa.  These have a slight spiciness (depending on how many jalapenos you used) so if you like really spicy food you can use a super spicy salsa or a hot pepper sauce drizzled on top.  If you like your veggie burgers with a bun you can eat them with a bun as well with pickles, lettuce and tomato.


If I had sides to go along with this veggie burger, like steamed or roasted vegetables, I would use one patty per serving.  If it's going to be your whole meal, I would use two patties per serving.

Recipe Notes: I use 2 jalapenos for mine because I don't like really spicy food.  There is a wide variation in spiciness when it comes to jalapenos so be cautious.  I prefer them pickled because they have a little tangy taste to them.  Veggie burgers freeze well.  To freeze them: lay the formed patties on waxed paper on a baking sheet and freeze for several hours until they are hard, then put them in freezer bags.  For longer term freezing I recommend using a vacuum sealer.   Caramelizing vegetables takes time but in this recipe it adds an important dimension to the flavor so I don't recommend skipping it.

This recipe is vegan: unless you melt cheese on it or top it with sour cream.

This recipe is gluten free: provided the quinoa you buy was not processed in a facility that also processes wheat and if you use fresh jalapenos instead of pickled ones.

Tenement Stew (Cabbage Alphabet Noodle Soup)


It's difficult to photograph cabbage soup to advantage.  You have to imagine the wonderful aroma of cabbage and carrots and rich vegetable stock punctuated with garlic and thyme to be suitably impressed.


This is fall and winter food.  You can use items from your freezer and pantry.  I made this soup from only things I already had on hand.  The title of the soup is my nod to the hard life and how humble ingredients such as cabbage and potatoes have kept a lot of poor humans from starving.  There are people who undervalue both the wonderful flavor of cabbage as well as its nutritional contribution to the fall and winter diet.  Common cabbage is a good source of vitamin C, calcium, and Potassium.

When I first made this soup I did a cost analysis on it.  Here were my results:

Can this stew be made more cheaply than going out to eat a fast food meal? It turns out that the reason why poor people eat so much soup is because it's a cheap and nutritious way to feed your family. I priced out my ingredients (bearing in mind that my stock was free since I made it from my own vegetable scraps, and my thyme was almost free because I grew it and dried it myself) this soup cost .53 per serving.

That's for a cup and a half of nutritious and very tasty soup. Can you get a nutritious meal at McDonald's for .53 cents? That's a trick question. You can't actually get a nutritious meal there.  Try my tenement stew. It won't break your pocketbook. It will hardly make a dent in it.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 large carrots, chopped
1 large russet potato, cut into 1/2" cubes
1.5 pounds of chopped cabbage
2 cups cooked navy beans (or 1 can of rinsed white beans)
3 cloves garlic, minced fine or pressed
1 quart diced tomatoes (with its juice)
1 quart of stock (or water)
1/4 cup alphabet pasta (or orzo, or rice)
1 tbsp dried thyme
2 tsp salt (or to taste) pepper to taste a shake of cayenne pepper for heat


Heat oil in a soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and potatoes and stir frequently until the onions turn transparent. Add the stock and tomatoes. If the stock is still frozen just dump it in there and close the lid for a while, checking to keep vegetables from sticking. Now turn the heat down to medium and add the cabbage, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add some water to it. When all the vegetables are cooked through, add the cooked beans and the pasta and a shake of cayenne pepper. Cook for an additional ten minutes. When the pasta is done the soup is done.

This soup serves 6-8

Whether or not you need to economize right now, this is an excellent stew to eat when the wind outside is cutting through your wool coat and the rain is sheeting against your face. Eat it with a decent sized hunk of wheat bread with butter if you need to be out in that weather for long. The cayenne will help warm your blood, the garlic will help fend off the plague.

This recipe is vegan if the pasta you use has no eggs in it.
This recipe can be gluten free if you use a gluten free pasta: if you're making it for someone who is eating gluten free because they have to (they're allergic), please be very careful which pasta you use because some "gluten free" foods are made in factories where gluten is present.  If possible check with the person to see if they know of a safe brand.  OR just leave the pasta out altogether.

Recent Comments

  • angelina: We ate it up very fast! read more
  • Tarrant: oh my-this sounds appealling read more
  • Aimee: Oh, YUM. read more
  • angelina: For crying out loud, Angela, get on the vegan version read more
  • little big: I totally have that book! And the part II that read more
  • Angela (Cottage Magpie): Oh, that sounds gooooood! My favorite soup in all the read more
  • meigan1cameron: "White Bean And Basil Salad Recipe" is my one the read more
  • Karmyn R: I would not have thought to put squash with black read more
  • angelina: Allison- greet and compliment the snowdrops for me, will you? read more
  • Laura: Hi! This looks great, I always love your recipes! I read more