Usually when I sit down to plan the recipes for this blog, I come up with a whole meal plan with cohesive dishes. This week, I decided to something a little bit different – I wanted to highlight different veggies and their uses as condiments and sauces. The foundation of your meal (be it grain, meat, bread, pasta, salad, etc.) is transformed into a flavourful feast when paired with the right sauces and condiments. If I find myself eating cucumber salad for the third time in a week (no complaints here!) I can switch up the flavouring and turn it into a meal that tastes and feels totally different (think cilantro-lime-peanut vs. red wine vinegar-feta-toasted almonds). I’ve listed a couple of ways that you can use the below recipes, but feel free to try something totally new (and let me know!).
Below you’ll find three recipes. Peperonata (a bit of a stretch to call this a condiment!) is excellent with bread (crumble feta and sliced olives on top for an added flavour burst), pasta, or simply as a side dish. The chermoula is often used as a marinade, but I mixed it into some mayo and used it as a sandwich spread. You could also drizzle it over salads and grain bowls, into frittatas and other egg dishes. And then there’s the quick pickles – you know what to do with these! They add a zip to any sandwich, wrap, salad, or grain bowl.
I’d love to hear about your favourite condiments, sauces, and dressings – let’s help each other explore new flavours!
More Magnificent Meal Musings:
- Chermoula Chicken (or Fish) with Grilled Beans, Zucchini, and Pepper
- Roasted Tomato Sauce with Onion, Garlic, and Pepper
- Veggie Paté with Carrot, Onion, Green Beans, and Garlic
- Cold Rice Noodles with Cucumber, Carrot, and Cilantro
- Veggie Fritters with Zucchini, Carrot, Onion, and Garlic and a Cilantro Sour Cream Sauce
Peperonata is usually made with red and/or orange bell peppers – I decided to give it a try with our red/green peppers, and it worked out beautifully! This recipe is far from traditional but it is very delicious. Eat with focaccia or on grilled baguette. I may even just pile some onto some pasta for a quick lunch!
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 bell peppers, seeded with membranes removed, and thinly sliced (about 1/4-1/2 inch)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, puréed
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for the bottom of the pan
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 basil stems
- 5-10 basil leaves, chopped
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
Add enough olive oil to a deep pan or pot to cover the bottom. Heat over medium, and once warmed add the onions. Allow to cook until translucent and slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and allow to cook for another minute or two.
Add the peppers and allow to cook, stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes until tender. Stir in the puréed tomatoes and basil stems, and cook until the liquid has reduced and the peppers are extremely tender about 20-35 minutes, or more if necessary. Stir in the olive oil.
Remove basil stems, and add in salt and pepper to taste. Stir in torn basil leaves. The consistency should be incredibly soft.
Serve warm, chilled, or at room temperature.
This is a versatile sauce – add it to mayo for a sandwich spread; marinate chicken, fish, or tofu; mix it into couscous; or drizzle it over scrambled eggs and toast. It is subtly spicy and the acid is nicely tempered by the savoury cumin. I used cilantro, but you can also substitute half with parsley. This recipe comes from Samin Nosrat's Salt Fat Acid Heat, a cookbook I highly recommend.
- 1/2 tsp cumin seed
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves and upper stems, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 inch length of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 small jalapeño
- 1 lime, juiced
- salt, to taste
Begin by toasting the cumin seeds in a dry cast iron pan for a few minutes, until the aroma is released and the seeds start to pop. Pour the seeds into a mortar and grind with a pinch of salt.
Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse until there are no chunks. Taste and add more salt or lime juice, according to taste. Refrigerate until serving.
Lime Quick Pickled Cukes
These cukes are zesty and refreshing – great for snacking or piling in a sandwich for added crunch and flavour. I chose to add lime to these for a brighter flavour than if I'd just used vinegar. There's also a wee bit of spice from the jalapeño!
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup vinegar, white or rice
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, slightly crushed
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 2-4 slices jalapeño pepper
Stir together the water, vinegar, lime juice, salt, coriander, and mustard seeds. Pile sliced cucumbers and jalapeño into a mason, and pour liquid mixture over top. All the slices should be covered in the brine. Cover, shake, to distribute seasoning, and refrigerate until serving.