At least once a week I try to make a simple, no frills vegetarian dinner. I clear out the extra veggies that have accumulated in the fridge, and I usually roast them, or stir fry them up and eat them with eggs, or something like that. But you know what? This is just as easy, and looks so much more appetizing. It’s the vegetarian version of my salmon and cherry tomato skewers from last week. I’m getting hooked on this easy way to make a quick meal. This time I served the skewers on top of a simple saffron couscous.
I used cherry tomatoes, colorful bell peppers, mushrooms, baby eggplant and zucchini, baby artichokes, some radicchio and red onion. I think I even put on a couple of leftover stalks of asparagus. Nothing required any special prep, except maybe the baby artichokes, which I rubbed with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
Everything is bite sized, so the skewers take just 15 minutes in a hot oven. I drizzled them with olive oil and lemon, and gave them a good dose of salt and pepper before they went in.
There’s nothing earthshaking about these, but, like I said before, it’s nice sometimes to get back in touch with the simple flavors straight from the garden. A tomato shouldn’t need anything more than some olive oil and a little salt and pepper to make us happy. But it’s harder and harder to appreciate the taste of foods in their original state because we’re so used to eating out and buying prepared foods, all of which is loaded with other stuff to enhance our ‘enjoyment’ of it. I’m retraining my taste buds with dinners like this one!
Spring Vegetable Skewers
oven to 450F
colorful bell peppers
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Peel the tough outer leaves from the baby artichoke, cut off the stem and halve it. Rub lemon juice on the cut edges to keep it from browning.
- Cut the rest of the vegetables in bite sized pieces. Leave the cherry tomatoes whole. Thread the veggies onto skewers.
- Lay out the skewers on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. This will help with clean-up later.
- Drizzle the skewers with olive oil and lemon, then sprinkle liberally with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- Roast for 10 to 15 minutes until everything is tender and the tomatoes are starting to burst.
1 cup couscous
1 1/4 cups water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp saffron threads
1/2 tsp salt
- Add the olive oil and salt to the water and bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and add the saffron, crumbling the threads with your fingers as you add it. Stir and let it steep for a few minutes.
- Bring the water to a boil, add the couscous and stir well. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Fluff and serve.