Grilled Vegetable + Pasta Primavera

The literal translation of “primavera” means spring, which is an entirely appropriate name for this dish.

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Disclaimer: it’s been roughly 4 years since I’ve spoken a word of Italian, so I might not be wholly accurate in my translation, but can we just pretend that I’m remembering the word correctly?

I really liked whipping up this recipe. Being able to stand in the sunshine, grilling fresh vegetables and drinking a nice, cold glass of white wine is just about as perfect as a weeknight gets in my world. I mean, unless the vegetables are cheeseburgers and the wine is actually beer. Or a frozen margarita. Again, let’s play pretend.

So here’s the deal — you can throw in just about any veggie you want. You can use less crème fraîche and more olive oil if you want it to be a little lighter on the dairy. You can add more spices. Honestly, there are no less than 121,131,783,682 recipes on the internet for this dish — yes, I’m CLEARLY exaggerating — so feel free to get creative! And if I ever find THE perfect combination of aforementioned ingredients, you’ll be the first to know. I promise.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 2 yellow squash, halved lengthwise
  • 8 ounces haricots vert or thin green beans
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 12 ounces uncooked bucatini pasta
  • 1 (8-ounce) container crème fraîche
  • For garnishing: fresh basil, fresh oregano

Instructions:

  1. 1. Place first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Pour 1 tablespoon oil mixture over vegetables, tossing to coat. Marinate 15 minutes.
  2. 2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350° to 400°). Grill vegetables 5 minutes or until tender. Cut into bite-size pieces. Cover and keep warm.
  3. 3. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Toss hot pasta with crème fraîche and remaining oil mixture. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss pasta with vegetables; garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yields: 4 main dish servings, or 8 side dish servings

Recipe adapted from: Coastal Living

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Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Remember last week when I gave y’all that awesome recipe for chicken satay? Well, I served that chicken with these spring rolls, and it instantly became my new favorite meal.

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Roomie #2 is the first person I ever saw make spring rolls at home, and why it never occurred to me is, well, beyond me. I love these little things, and when they’re dipped in peanut sauce, I practically inhale them; they’re the perfect side dish or appetizer during these warm summer months. Plus, all those veggies cancel out the calories in the peanut sauce. Seriously. It’s science.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces rice vermicelli
  • 10-12 rice paper wrappers
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into spears
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • sesame seeds — optional
  • 1 batch of peanut sauce

Instructions:

  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente, and drain.
  2. Fill a large bowl or plate with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat. In a row across the center, place a few leaves of spinach, handful of vermicelli, a pinch of basil, a couple spears of cucumber, and a big pinch of carrots. Squirt a little lime juice over the top and sprinkle sesame seeds, if you’re using them. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce. Repeat with remaining ingredients until you run out of rice paper.photo 2(27) photo 3(8) photo 4(2)
  3. Serve with peanut sauce and enjoy!

Recipe from: Roomie #2

 

Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce

If I could swan dive into a large vat of peanut sauce, I would. Every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Except it probably would be more of a belly flop as opposed to a swan dive, but hey, who’s keeping score?

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I love love love peanut sauce. Probably because I love love love peanut butter. And when the peanut sauce is slathered all over marinated + grilled chicken, I honestly could die and go straight to heaven. Oh, and don’t forget the fresh spring rolls we had on the side (spring roll recipe coming soon). Y’all, this just made the top 5 list of favorite summer foods. It’s filling, but light enough for a hot day and healthy enough to not throw off your bikini bod plans.

Which reminds me. In my workout class yesterday, my instructor gleefully exclaimed that it was almost time for bikini season. Because who ISN’T jumping for joy over that news?

Rolls eyes dramatically.

When I informed her that some of us could use a few more weeks until we start prancing around in 8 square inches of fabric to cover our entire bodies, she looked me dead in the eyes and very solemnly informed me that “summer bodies are made in the winter”.

Oh. Well you want to know what I MADE this winter? Cookies. I made a lot of cookies.

Suffice to say, this instructor and I probably won’t be friends next winter.

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Ingredients:

for the chicken:

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce, (see Ingredient Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 12 wooden or metal skewers — if you use wooden, make sure to soak them in water for as long as possible (around an hour is ideal) to help prevent them from burning

for the spicy peanut sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons ‘lite’ coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste

Instructions:

  1. Whisk lime juice, oil, soy sauce, fish sauce and red pepper in a shallow dish until combined; add chicken and turn to coat. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
  2. To prepare peanut sauce: Whisk peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper until smooth.
  3. Preheat grill to high. Thread each chicken tender onto a wooden skewer. Grill until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, about 3 minutes per side. Serve warm or chilled with peanut sauce.

Yields: 4 servings

Recipe from: Eating Well