September 9, 2012

Recipe: Amazing Summer Squash, Carrot and Spinach Side

Yesterday, I threw together the week's vegetable remnants into a cast iron pan, slow-sauteed everything together, and discovered a stunning side dish.   No-salt, low-fat, high-flavor, and GERD-friendly!   (Credit to J., who encouraged me to toss it all together.)   My stomach felt fantastic after our meal, which included grits and veggie sausages.


Ingredients (for two servings)

4 medium carrots
2 small yellow summer squash
1 cup (or more) fresh spinach
1 large garlic clove, pressed through garlic press
Olive oil

Note:  Vegetables from the greenmarket are recommended.   (Find a farmer's market in your area at Local Harvest.) You just can't beat the flavor of greenmarket produce -- it makes a difference in the results, especially in recipes where the vegetables are the centerpiece.

  1. Peel and thinly slice the carrots.  Cut on an angle for a more glamorous effect
  2. Heat olive oil in medium-low heat; add carrots and cover.  (Note: I saute almost exclusively using cast iron pans.  This greatly improves the flavor and texture of the vegetables (and provides iron for a vegetarian diet.  For a quick intro to the advantages of cast iron, see Mark Bittman's article on the "humble cast iron pan."  I also have the advantage of a gas flame.  Using different kitchen technologies will vary the cooking time/heat requirements.)
  3. Wash and cut the summer squash in half lengthwise; cut lengths into slices.
  4. Add squash to pan, stir and cover.
  5. Wash and chop spinach leaves only (no stems).
  6. Add the spinach to the pan with a small amount of water.  The vegetables should be "basting" in a small amount of liquid during the cooking process.  Keep covered and stir occasionally.
  7. Cook for a few minutes and add garlic.  Continue cooking and stir occasionally; add more water as needed to keep vegetables from drying out. 
  8. Turn off heat and let sit covered for a few minutes before serving.  (Here's where the cast iron is again handy, keeping food warm for a longer period.  You may need to reheat for a moment before serving if your pan has cooled down.)
This could go well with any grain; grits are especially wonderful (and gut-friendly).  And, what a great way to use up the week's "old vegetables."

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