These days when I have a meal, I don’t always start with the main course because sometimes the most interesting food on the table is the side dishes. Plant based eating changes your focus and I’m sometimes amazed at the imagination and ingredients that go into all of the foods that accompany the main dish. No, I’m not talking about garlic mashed potatoes, which I absolutely love, but dishes that stand and shine on their own, and this glorious side does just that. Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Carrots and Ginger is a great idea for Thanksgiving, and a year round favorite at my house. It’s also an excellent way to coax a picky eater or vegiephobe into eating something that’s good for them.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Carrots and Ginger
- 1 orange or red sweet potato
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 large shallot or small onion, chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
In a small saucepan, soften the shallot and garlic in a tablespoon of vegetable broth.
Add the sweet potato cubes and carrot with just enough vegetable broth to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until fork tender. Drain.
In a food processor or blender (you could just use a hand masher) combine the sweet potato, carrot, garlic mixture with grated ginger and coconut oil. You could use butter, but I find that the coconut oil adds a subtle flavor that I really love. Add a little almond milk or half and half for consistency. Blend until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro or parsley leaves, or orange zest.
You could pair it with black bean burgers topped with salsa and some steamed broccoli. This dish is just the right combination of sweet and savory. Save the leftovers (if there are any) to make sweet potato quinoa patties, but that’s another story.
Winter has finally arrived. The nights are crisp and cold and darkness comes early, so a warm, hearty soup seems like the perfect way to end the day. I love soups and chowders because they are so comforting and economical, and one of my favorite ways to add protein and save money too, is canned salmon. This recipe is fairly low fat and low calorie with lots of good nutrition, and it tastes yummy too. You can serve this with some crusty bread or crackers, and on the side I like to serve oven roasted root vegetables like beets and sweet potatoes. This is one side dish that kids usually love because it’s sweet. Below you’ll find both recipes.
Salmon and Wild Rice Chowder
Salmon Wild Rice Chowder
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon rubbed sage or poultry seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary (optional)
- 1 6 oz package of cooked Wild Rice Bits and Basmati Rice
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or use chicken or seafood stock)
- ¾ cup half and half (or whole milk if you prefer)
- 1 6 oz can of wild caught salmon
- 2 slices crispy bacon, crumbled
- Prepare rice according to directions and set aside. (I use Minnesota Cultivated Wild Bits and Basmati Rice that is distributed by Red Lake Nation Foods in Red Lake, Minnesota.)
- In a heavy sauce pan or soup pot, sauté the chopped onion and celery in 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth until the onions are translucent. Add the remaining vegetable broth, and the flour, salt, pepper, dry mustard and rubbed sage and/or other herbs.
- Stir in the cooked rice and the canned salmon. Bring to a simmer and pour in the half and half or milk. Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls and sprinkle bacon bits or parsley or chives on the top.
Side dishes help to make a meal complete. One of my favorites is oven roasted root vegetables. They’re fast, simple, tasty and so good for you.
Oven Roasted Beets, Onions and Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Beets and Sweet Potatoes
- 2 bunches of small/medium beets, peeled and quartered
- 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
- 1 red garnet yam, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into bit size pieces
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl or freezer bag combine the vegetables, garlic powder, sea salt, pepper and sugar along with enough olive oil to coat.
- Empty onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.
- Stir the vegetables and pour 1/4 cup of balsamic vingar over the vegetables and return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.
Serve on side or over a bed of greens. Save any leftovers for lunch.