Now That’s Entertaining: Fresh Veggie Dishes from Vedge

January 20, 2014

Dining out and eating healthfully don’t always go hand-in-hand. But we’re lucky here in Philadelphia, for our hometown is also home to Vedge, a local fave and rising star on the national culinary stage, a restaurant equally dedicated to the principles of vegan living and elegant eating. For those of you not logistically fortunate enough to count Vedge among your dining options, chef-owners Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby have provided two delicious, quick-to-make, veggie-centric recipes from their recently published cookbook, Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking, that you can prepare at home.

‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ Baby Scarlet Turnips and Their Greens with Garlic Jus

The turnip, a relative of the radish, is not the easiest vegetable to love. While it does make a surprisingly light and almost fluffy puree, its flavor can sometimes be a bit astringent, which is why turnips must be used only when they are very fresh. Enter the baby scarlet turnip, with its bright, sweet flavor and crisp greensit will make you a turnip lover after one bite. This dish is built around the natural flavors of baby scarlet turnips, but if you can’t find them, just use standard turnips, cut into 2-inch chunks.


Prep time: 5 minutesCook time: 15 minutesServes 2 to 4

1 pound baby scarlet turnips with their greens
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic


Preheat the oven to 400‚°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and prepare an ice bath. Chop the greens off the turnips, leaving about 1 inch of the stems intact. Chop the greens into 1-inch lengths. Set aside the greens. In a medium bowl, toss the turnips with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Transfer to a sheet pan and roast until fork-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, blanch the chopped greens in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain the greens, shock in the ice bath for 5 minutes, then drain thoroughly. In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil just until it ripples. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it is light brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, then deglaze the pan with ‚½ cup water. Add the blanched greens to the pan, return to the heat, and heat through, 2 to 3 minutes, making sure not to overcook them. Transfer the greens and jus to a serving dish and arrange the roasted turnips on top. Serve immediately.

‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ Marinated Chioggia Beets and Their Greens with
‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ Nigella Seeds and Sherry Vinegar

My latest obsession is nigella seed. Known also as black cumin or wild onion seed, it offers an exotic flavor and a crunchy texture to your cooking. Here, they pack a little punch of earthy pungency on top of the sweet candy-striped Chioggia beets. If Chioggia beets are unavailable, standard beets will work just fine in this recipe.


Prep: 5 minutes, plus 15 minutes resting timeCook time: 15 to 30 minutesServes 2 to 4

1 large bunch Chioggia beets, their greens separated (1 to 2 pounds)
‚¼ cup canola oil
‚¼ cup sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons nigella seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and prepare an ice bath. Blanch the greens for 2 minutes. Use tongs or a sieve to transfer the greens to the ice bath. Shock in the ice bath for 5 minutes, then drain thoroughly. Leave the water boiling. Using the same boiling water, boil the beets until fork-tender, anywhere from 12 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the beets. Drain the beets and set them aside to cool. Meanwhile, combine the oil, vinegar, nigella seeds, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Toss the blanched greens in this dressing. Rub the warm beets with a kitchen towel to remove the skin without dyeing your fingers. Dice them into 1-inch cubes and toss in the vinaigrette with the greens. Let stand at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours, then serve.

Photography by Michael Spain-Smith