On a first day of Fall, I had an assortment of summery and Fall produce.
I had some summer patty squashes, amazing purple haricots “verts” (which do turn a green color when they are cooked :)), apples, sweet and delicious San Marzano tomatoes, and nettles. Yes, nettles!, that old flame of mine which had made a come back. It was also a particularly busy day for kiddo and me. So to honor the change of season while using a variety of vegetables, keeping the nutritional content high, and cooking something relatively quick, I decided to make a simple plate with a quick vegetable ragu over quinoa (protein boost and whole grains), purple beans with roasted walnuts (added nutrients, good fats and omegas), and slices of apple for a simple but fresh finish (added fibers, vitamins and low glycemic index ending).
For the ragu, I chopped a few patty squash, 2-3 tomatoes and nettles. I sautéed them in a little extra virgin olive oil with a garlic clove cut and left in halves (so I could easily remove them after the cooking), added a little water, and let them simmer for a while until they were cooked and soft, and the flavors had developed. When the ragu was cooked, I finished it with some toasted pine nuts. Meanwhile, I cooked the quinoa: 1 cup of quinoa per 2 cups of water with a little salt, brought to boil, then cooked on simmer with a lid on until all the water had been absorbed (about 15').
The purple beans side dish was a very simple and extremely flavorful affair: steam them until cooked but still firm, coat them with olive oil, sprinkle them with chopped walnuts roasted in the oven or on the stove, season with pepper and salt, preferably smoked Alder salt if you have any (like I was lucky to find at my store).
Then I just cut half an apple into fine slices and layered them for prettiness. I was lucky to have found some delicious Mutsu apples at the Farmers Market, a variety that has a great sweetness (they are derived from Golden Delicious and you can tell), with just a little tartness while being perfectly crisp (they are also called Crispin :)). After foregoing apples for a while now, I am glad to be able to enjoy them every once in a while.
This plate was such a comforting way to start a new Fall, with some warm dishes, lovely flavors and textures, and a little sweetness to finish. Farewell Summer!
By the way:
- Nettles are divine and give a lovely nuttiness to pasta sauces and ragus (and many more things), but if you cannot find them, you can replace them with spinach or the green parts of chards.
- You can also replace the San Marzano tomatoes with 4-5 ripe medium Roma tomatoes (do wait for them to ripen up on your counter - not in the fridge! - if store bought), and the squashes with zucchini.
- This plate is gluten-free, dairy-free, and the ragu dish is low in FODMAP, as is the bean side-dish in moderation.