People often give me weird looks when I tell them I'm vegetarian and none of the rest of my family is. Or maybe I've got something gross in my teeth... This week, it's probably asparagus. I went a little crazy when my local market delivered up local asparagus. I bought 4 pounds. Yeah... It's the first Spring vegetable. I can't help it. Plus, it's freakin' delicious. It's one of the few plants I'm genuinely sad I can't grow here in the Pit of Darkness. I also picked up a few early beets and some onions. Since I'm the only vegetarian, our meals are often two veg and a protein. The vegetables are always prepared vegetarian (no lard/bacon/fat back) and I just switch out the protein. Though more times than not, like tonight, we eat full vegetarian. My hubby won't eat beets unless they're roasted (they taste best roasted anyway, so no complaints here) so I decided to go ahead and roast the rest of the veggies, too.
any number of smallish* beets, I made about 7
feta or goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°. Wash and wrap beets in aluminum foil. Roast beets for about an hour. Beets are done when a knife pierces easily through to the middle. The time it takes to cook the rest of the meal should be plenty of time to cool the beets. When they've had a chance to cool off a little, it's easy to peel off the skin by pulling it back with a knife. Slice into pieces and sprinkle with a little feta cheese.
*(The larger the beet, the longer it will take to cook I've had some take over two hours!)
While the beets are baking you can prep the asparagus, onions, and lentils.
salt and pepper
Lower the oven temp to 350°, wash and snap off tough bits of asparagus. Lay flat on a baking sheet with no overlap. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake until tender which will depend on the size of your asparagus anywhere from 5-20 minutes.
salt and pepper
Wash the onions and trim off the roots and brown bits on the leaves, then give the same treatment as the asparagus. Cook time will be similar to the asparagus. I put mine on a separate baking sheet than the asparagus because I wasn't sure if it would cook faster. You can try cooking them on the same sheet, but be prepared to take them off early if they beat the asparagus.
salt and pepper
Lentils are the easiest beans to do as they cook up so quickly. French lentils hold their shape a little better than regular green or brown lentils but if you can't find French, the cooking method still applies. Rinse the lentils, check for rocks and put about 1 Cup of lentils into a pan with about 2 1/2 -3 Cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can also flavor the water with a little bullion or stock if you like.
This would be good with chicken or turkey if you decided to swap out the protein.
So as you can see, this meal took about 1 hour and 30 minutes to cook, but it doesn't require much babysitting so I actually only spent about 15 minutes in the kitchen. The hardest part of this meal is remembering to put the beets in the oven beforehand. That, and remembering to floss out the asparagus...
The boys are back and forth with lentils. Some days they love them, some days they don't. Today was a "don't" day. They are ambivalent toward asparagus. They'll eat it with enough coercion. But the beets? Those go flying. Big boy asked for seconds before he even got his plate to the table. Hubs and I loved all of it.