Weeknights can be a bit hectic, right? Not only does dinner need to happen, but the pressures of having a lunch ready for the next morning are mounting, too. This is what I’ve been feeling of late, and so this week was all about making quick dinners that provide easy lunches. I tend to make recipes that go well together for this blog, but this week I made three separate recipes that stand alone and use a lot of that glorious Root Radical veg.
The first dish I made is a puttanesca – salty, spicy, sweet, and saucy. I love puttanesca, and although mizuna is far from a typical add-in (I would usually use arugula), it lends a lovely spiciness. With the fresh basil, the salty capers and olives, and the sweet tomato, this dish provides a lot for your taste buds to think about. Stir in the pasta of your choice (I like linguine) and you’ve got yourself a quick dinner with some leftovers to spare.
Once I’d had a quick bowl of pasta puttanesca, I whipped together a shaved fennel salad with ground cherries. I used the salad greens as a base, but you could just as easily partially or fully replace with mizuna. I didn’t have goat cheese on hand, but I plan on adding some tomorrow to elevate this salad from a bright side dish to a more substantial meal (though still on the light side). The salad dressings makes use of the fennel fronds, and tempers all that anise flavour with a bit of dijon mustard.
The weeknight curry was the last of my cooking efforts for the night, and came together in no more than 30 minutes. I’m calling this a weeknight curry because it comes together quickly and makes for excellent leftovers for a work or school-day lunch. It leans towards Thai flavours with the use of lemongrass, lime leaf, ginger, and fresh chili. If you don’t want to source lemongrass and lime leaves, simply use a Thai curry paste of your choosing to add seasoning.
More Magnificent Meal Musings:
- Zucchini + Sweet Pepper Quesadillas with Pickled Red Onion
- Broccoli Melts on Sourdough Toast
- Hearty Grain Bowl with Roasted Broccoli, Pepper, Red Onion, and Miso Dressing
- Ground Cherry Compote
- Mizuna Salad with Pickled Red Onion, Goat Cheese, and Bacon
- Slow Sautéed Fennel with Dijon, Lemon, and Parmesan
Salty, spicy, sweet, and satisfying. I LOVE puttanesca, and although mizuna is not a typical add-in (usually I'd use arugula), it lends a lovely spiciness.
- 2 cups assorted tomatoes, chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- pinch chili flakes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp chopped kalamata olives
- 1 tsp capers
- 2 Tbsp basil leaves, chopped
- 1 handful mizuna leaves, de-stemmed and finely minced
Heat a large shallow pan on medium heat. Once warmed add the olive oil and chili flakes. Allow to warm until chili flakes start to sizzle, then add the tomatoes. Cook on a low simmer until the tomatoes have become saucy, about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions.
Once the tomatoes have cooked, add the olives and capers. When the pasta is ready and drained, add the basil and mizuna to the sauce and quickly stir in. Toss in the pasta and distribute sauce evenly throughout. Serve immediately with parmesan cheese.
Shaved Fennel Salad
This salad is bright, crunchy, sweet, and aromatic. The ground cherries provide a little pop of sunshine to the herbaceous fennel, while the dijon mustard tempers the bright anise flavour.
- 2 cups mixed salad greens, lightly torn
- 1 fennel bulb
- 12-15 ground cherries, halved
- tsp lemon juice
Lemon Fennel Dressing
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp dijon mustard (no need to measure – just a small dab)
- 1 tsp fennel greens, finely minced
- salt to taste
Start by washing and shaving the fennel. I used a vegetable peeler, but a mandolin would also work really well. If you don't have either of these, simply slice as thinly as possible. Place shaved fennel in a bowl and toss with lemon juice. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
To make the salad dressing simply combine all ingredients in a small jar.
In a small salad bowl toss together the mixed greens, ground cherries, shaved fennel, and salad dressing. I didn't have any on hand, but goat chèvre would be absolutely delicious on this salad.
I'm calling this a weeknight curry because it comes together quickly and makes for excellent leftovers for a work or school-day lunch. It leans towards Thai flavours with the use of lemongrass, lime leaf, ginger, and fresh chili. If you don't want to source lemongrass and lime leaves, simply use a Thai curry paste of your choosing to add seasoning.
- 1 small onion, sweet or red (I had a sweet onion leftover from last week, so I used that)
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil, ghee, or cooking oil
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
- 1 large carrot, sliced into thin sticks, about 1-inch long
- 1 sweet red pepper, sliced into thin sticks, about 1 inch long
- 1 small head of broccoli, stalks and florets sliced into thin sticks
- 1-2 stalks lemongrass, bruised with the edge of a knife and chopped in three
- 2 lime leaves
- 1/2 hot chili, seeds removed
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1/2 can coconut milk
- salt, to taste
Heat a large shallow pan on medium heat, and add preferred oil (I used coconut). Stir in the onion, lemongrass stalks, lime leaves, and chili. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the lemongrass is fragrant, and the onions begin to turn translucent.
Add the carrots and allow to cook for about another 3-5 minutes, or until the just start to soften. Add broccoli, ginger, turmeric powder, and lime juice. Allow to cook until broccoli starts to soften.
Add in the coconut milk, red pepper, and stir well. Allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until all the veg looks cooked but not overdone. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Before serving remove the lemongrass and lime leaves. Serve over rice, and garnish with cilantro if available.