More Quick Vegetable Ideas

The vegetable factory keeps cranking in my kitchen. So many of these dishes have been cooking in my family’s kitchens for many years. Try them out!

One: Broccoli with Garlic and Vermicelli. Basically boiled broccoli with a boost from garlic, olive oil, and the addition of a comforting handful of pasta.

Two: Crunchy Zucchini Slices with Mint. Here’s how to wake up zucchini!

Three: Stuffed Mushrooms. Turn mushroom stems into tasty mushroom stuffing.

Four: Mini Peppers with Crunchy Breadcrumbs. These are so delicate, and a savory surprise flavor pop.


Broccoli with Garlic and Vermicelli

Vege Broccoli1 bunch broccoli

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 pound (or handful) vermicelli or capellini

salt to taste

Cut off the broccoli stems, discard. Cut up broccoli heads into florets with some stem attached. Rinse under cool water.

Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water. Bring to a boil. Add a drizzle or so of olive oil and some salt. Add broccoli. Break up vermicelli into 1-2-inch pieces. Add to pan. Bring back to a low boil and cook until broccoli and pasta are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain. Adjust for seasoning — if needed, add more salt and/or another drizzle of olive oil.


Crunchy Zucchini Slices with Mint

Vege Zucchini Slices1 large zucchini, or 2 small

2 eggs

1/4 cup grated parmigiano

1 cup AP flour, or self-rising flour

olive oil for frying (about 1/4 cup in all)

salt to taste

1-2 mint sprigs, stems discarded, leaves torn into smaller pieces

Trim the stem ends off of the zucchini. If large, cut zucchini in half crosswise. Then cut each half into thin slices.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs with grated cheese. Add some salt. Add flour to a different (medium shallow) bowl. Season with salt.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. When hot. Dredge a few slices of zucchini in the flour, then coat each with egg mixture. Add to oil, repeat with more slices until they fill pan in one layer. Fry on each side until golden. Let drain on paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining slices, add more oil to pan if needed. Season fried slices with a little salt.

Transfer cooked slices to serving plate. Garnish with mint.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Vege MushroomsCheck out this easy recipe from an earlier post of mine:


Mini Peppers with Crunchy Breadcrumbs

Vege Peppers Bread2 cups mini bell peppers

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

2-3 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, stems discarded, leaves rough chopped

Salt to taste

Olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the stem tops off of the peppers, discard. Slice peppers in half lengthwise, clean out and discard seeds and membrane inside. Line a baking pan with foil. Drizzle a little olive oil on foil to coat.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together breadcrumbs, garlic, and parsley. Season with salt. Drizzle some olive oil to make a “wet sand” consistency.

Fill each pepper with breadcrumb mixture and place each one on the prepared pan in one layer. When pan is filled with stuffed peppers, drizzle a little olive oil on top. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, until peppers are tender and breadcrumb is golden. Serve hot or at room temp.


The Lowly Breadcrumb…Not

Toasted Breadcrumb

Toasted Breadcrumb

All you have to do is add a little olive oil to a sauté pan. Heat it a bit. Throw in a peeled, smashed clove of garlic. Add about a cup of breadcrumbs (regular, panko, fresh-made, either/or) and sauté until golden or dark brown. Season with salt & pepper. Discard garlic clove.

Now what?

I used to only make this when I made pasta with a seafood sauce. Toasted, flavored breadcrumb sprinkled on the pasta instead of cheese is the best way to enjoy seafood pasta.

But now I go crazy. I’m topping fish filets and then roasting them in the oven with some added lemon. (Sometimes I add a little grated parmigiano to the breadcrumb.)

Cod Filets with Breadcrumb Topping

Cod Filets with Breadcrumb Topping

I’m mixing the toasted breadcrumb with roasted or sautéed vegetables.  (Zucchini, roasted peppers, string beans, asparagus.)

Zucchini and yellow squash

Zucchini and yellow squash

Peppers, Capers, Breadcrumb

Peppers, Capers, Breadcrumb

Sprinkle some on top of scrambled eggs. Add it to the salad.  Stuff a chicken breast. Or a mushroom or tomato.

Roasted Tomatoes with Breadcrumb

Roasted Tomatoes with Breadcrumb

The crunch, the added flavor, the look of it (rustic, surprising, okay, yes, exciting) takes your dish to a deeper level. Maybe it’s from the cucina povera but necessity is often the muse of several bouts of serendipity.