All posts tagged vegetable

No Noodle Pad Thai

Published September 26, 2016 by jenmatteson


I had the most perfect bachelorette party. Okay, maybe I’m a bit biased, but it was perfect for me! A handful of my best friends went to one of the girls’ family cabin in seek of some lady fun in the sun. Well, it was 50 degrees and rainy all weekend in the end of July. So, you can imagine we had no fun staying inside. Psych! We had a freakin’ blast! There were games, gifts, girl talk, drinks, dancing, a red flannel serial killer, late nights, drinks, lots of drinks, did I mention drinks? Oh, and best of all, fooooooood! Good food! And, food I didn’t have to cook. Somehow that always tastes better ūüôā


Why am I telling you a 3 year old story of a bunch of drunken girls that can dance and sing super well¬†ūüėȬ†?¬†Because my friend,¬†that was my introduction to a version of this “Pad Thai”. One of the girls, Kim, made this amazing zucchini noodle Pad Thai that was out of this world! I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t missing the actual noodles, and beside that, the dressing was bomb. She¬†used almond butter, which I prefer in this recipe. Sadly, I don’t keep it on hand at all times, so peanut butter is an adequate sub.


With the crap-ton of zucchinis I had from my garden¬†this summer (check out the huge one at the top of the picture above!), I just had to make this, and what better time than a wine night with two of the five that were at the bachelorette party. I generally squeeze the excess water from the zucchini because I don’t like how well they stick together afterwards. This time, I didn’t thinking I was using them right away, so the moisture may not water it down too much. It did, so I would certainly suggest using a cheese cloth to get the excess water out. The noodles will be a bit stuck together after, but once you dress them, they’ll loosen up just fine. The dressing brings such a rich, indulgent taste to the dish, but you don’t have to feel guilty because you are getting more than your share of vegetables, and who doesn’t love that!


No Noodle Pad Thai

Source: Adapted from Cookie and Kate
Servings: 4-6


1/4 daikon radish, peeled
2 medium carrots, peeled
3 medium zucchini
handful bean sprouts
4 green onions
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 lime, cut in wedges for serving

Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup almond or peanut butter
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 pinch red pepper flakes
3 tbsp. water


  1. Using a sprializer, mandolin or vegetable peeler, create “noodles” out of the radish, carrots and zucchini (you may want to squeeze the water out of the zucchini using a cheese cloth or other thin kitchen towel, clean – of course). Place in bowl and add bean sprouts,¬†onions, cilantro and sesame seeds. Toss to combine¬†and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, lime juice, tamari or soy sauce, honey, ginger and red pepper flakes. Slowly whisk in warm water to achieve desired consistency (you may not need 3 tbsp., you may need more. Make it how you like it!).
  3. Drizzle dressing over vegetable noodles and toss to combine. Serve with a wedge of lime and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fennel

Published March 28, 2016 by jenmatteson

I love sweet potatoes. While they seem to be more of a fall/winter vegetable, I can eat them all year long. As a matter of fact, this recipe is wonderful to make in the summertime while you are grilling. Throw everything together and in the oven, and forget about it for about an hour. All you have to do is watch the meat and make sure you have a fresh drink!What more could you ask for?

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

The brown sugar adds just a hint of sweetness to these potatoes, while the fennel pulls it all together with a pop of freshness, especially using the green tops. This is great for entertaining, or making it on Sunday for a week-long reheatable side dish.

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Pan-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fennel

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 10


4 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
4 fennel bulbs, halfed lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch wedges, some of the feathery tops finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground mace
salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes and fennel with olive oil, brown sugar, mace, salt and pepper.

2. Spread the vegetables on a foil lined baking pan. Roast for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes and fennel are tender and caramelized. Transfer them to a platter, sprinkle with t he fennel tops and serve.

Green Beans with Apple Cider

Published February 29, 2016 by jenmatteson

If you don’t have apple cider in your fridge this time of year, you are adulting incorrectly.¬†I suppose it’s past prime apple season, but it’s still a¬†perfect¬†winter warmer.¬†Not only is it delicious on it’s own (or with a smidge of brandy), but it’s great for cooking, too!


We eat a lot of vegetables in our house, but¬†I feel like I’m always doing the same thing with them. Saut√© in olive oil, salt and pepper, serve. Repeat. If you want to add a little excitement to your hum-drum vegetables, add cider! This is a quick, simple twist on green beans, which add just a little bit of sweetness. If you don’t have cider, don’t be afraid to use white wine. I did the last time I made these, and they were fantastic!


Green Beans with Apple Cider

Source: Adapted from Food Network
Servings: 8


32 oz green beans
olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup apple cider
salt and pepper


1. Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add green beans and boil for 4-6 minutes, or until tender, but with a bite. Remove from heat and drain beans. Set aside.

2. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and the onions and cook until beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cider, raise the heat to medium-high and cook until liquid is reduced and syrupy, about 5 minutes.

3. Add beans to the pan with onions and cider. Toss to coat, salt and pepper to taste.

Meatless Monday: Balsamic Roasted Veggie Wrap

Published February 24, 2014 by jenmatteson

I am getting really tired of this winter.¬† All these veggie sandwiches makes me excited to start planting my garden and having fresh produce at my fingertips daily!¬† But alas, it’s¬†still awful cold out ūüė¶¬† To try to get into the spring state of mind, I wanted to try another veggie option for my friend’s baby shower, and this time, it’s a roasted wrap!¬† This takes a bit longer than the hummus supreme sandwich, as you have to first salt the eggplant and let the excess water drain, then wait for the vegetables to roast ūüė¶¬† But don’t worry, the wait is worth it.

Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Wrap

The veggies are soft and sweet and the arugula adds a little crunch and extra freshness.¬† I would make a large batch of the roasted veggies so you can have this wrap every day for lunch, ready to go.¬† Cold or warm, it’s delicious.¬† You could use lavish, pita or tortilla wrap, like I did.

Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Wrap

Roasted Vegetable Wrap

Source: Inspired by Vegan Soul Power
Servings: Makes about 4 wraps


1 large eggplant (or 2 small), peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
kosher salt
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2″ dice
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 pint button mushrooms, rough chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I used blood orange balsamic, but use what you like/have)
fresh cracked pepper
16-20 basil leaves
1 cup arugula
4 tortilla wraps


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Place diced eggplant in colander and sprinkle generously with salt.  Toss to coat evenly.  Set over bowl or sink and let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Excess water will begin to drain from eggplant.

2. To a large bowl, add eggplant, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.  Drizzle with olive oil and half the vinegar.  Add salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.  Transfer vegetables to prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes.  Halfway through, flip vegetables.  With 5 minutes remaining, drizzle additional vinegar over vegetables.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.

3. Divide basil and arugula among tortilla wraps, and top with roasted vegetables.  Wrap as desired and enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Published January 6, 2014 by jenmatteson

This week is mashed potato week!¬† Not officially, just here on Becoming Pigzilla.¬† I really wanted to get these recipes out before the holidays, but we were really ‘potatoed-out’ after all the whipped sweet potatoes I shared before Thanksgiving.¬† But don’t worry, you don’t need to be celebrating a holiday, or even entertaining company¬†to make any of these mashed potatoes.¬† They are each a little different and would be a fun addition to you weekday menu.

Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

A few months ago, I was having a conversation with my grandmother about mashed potatoes.¬† She asked me if I had ever used mayonnaise in my potatoes, which I said, “absolutely not, that sounds weird.”¬† I don’t remember who she said did it, but I do remember her telling me they were fantastic.¬† After thinking about it, I supposed it couldn’t be all that bad, and it would add some rich creaminess to the potatoes.¬† Funny enough, the next week, I was loyally reading my Food and Wine magazine, and came across a series of mashed potato recipes made with mayonnaise.¬† If my grandmother and Food and Wine were telling me to use mayonnaise in mashed potatoes, then I must try it.

Turns out, they were both right.¬† I made these mashed potatoes for the Pigzilla family Christmas dinner, and everyone seemed to love them.¬† I especially thought they were so luxurious and velvety – they really live up to their name of “rich and creamy”.¬† I know it sounds weird, but just try it out.¬†What I did was add a little mayonnaise at a time after all the other ingredients were mixed in.¬† Taste as you go, and you’ll be able to notice the difference.¬† Don’t go overboard with the mayonnaise though, otherwise the flavor will become too overpowering and the consistency can become kind of questionable.¬† These potatoes were the perfect vessel for a classic brown gravy.¬† They are also a fantastic base for two of the other mashed potato recipes I’m sharing this week, bacon and mustard mashed potatoes and cheddar jalapeno mashed potatoes.¬† Stay tuned!

Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 10-12


4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil.  Add a generous amount of kosher salt and simmer over moderate heat until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain potatoes.

2. In the same saucepan, melt butter in milk over moderate heat.  Remove from heat and press the potatoes through a ricer into the saucepan and mix well.  Fold in the mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce

Published January 4, 2014 by jenmatteson

I mentioned a few posts back that I lead a cooking-dinner party for a group of women a  few weeks ago.  I led the girls in cooking a meal, starting with these zucchini fritters.  I fell in love with these fritters the first time I test made them.  The ladies really liked them; so much so, they sorta forgot we had the rest of the meal to make and took a break to feast on these babies.

Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce

I even made these as an appetizer for my family’s Christmas dinner – and even my picky family, including my mom, liked them!¬† Not only are they good, but they are a great way to get your serving of vegetables in.¬† Plus, I have another way to use up the copious amounts zucchini that grows in my garden each summer.¬† YAY!

Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce

The fritters are simply seasoned with salt and pepper, and served along side a soy dipping sauce.¬† While I liked the soy dipping sauce, I thought they fritters were great on their own as well!¬† They are pretty hot when they come out of the pan, and cool off quickly, so I wouldn’t suggest these for a party, maybe a seated dinner would be best as they aren’t quite as good¬†when they’re room temperature.

Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce

Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce

Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 4-6


For the soy dipping sauce:
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 ¬Ĺ tsp sugar
crushed red pepper

For the fritters:
3 ¬Ĺ lb zucchini, grated
¬Ĺ tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
¬ľ cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tbsp cornstarch
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil


1. Make soy dipping sauce: Mix vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and red pepper in small bowl until sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.

2. Make fritters: Place zucchini in colander set in the sink and toss with ¬Ĺ tsp salt.¬† Let stand 10 minutes, and then wring zucchini dry in kitchen towel.¬† Place zucchini in large bowl and mix in egg, flour, chives and cornstarch; season with salt and pepper.

3. Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium heat.¬† Working in two batches, drop ¬ľ cupfuls of zucchini mixture into skillet, flattening slightly; cook until golden brown and crisp; about 3 minutes per side.¬† Transfer fritters to a paper-towel lined plate; season with salt.¬† Serve with soy dipping sauce.

DO AHEAD: Fritters can be made 30 minutes ahead and kept warm in 200‚Āį oven.

Roasted Parsnips with Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing

Published June 11, 2013 by jenmatteson

I like parsnips, but I don’t recall ever eating them plain (they always seem to be in something) and I know for sure I’ve never cooked with them.¬† I saw this recipe on Food and Wine and thought I’d expand my horizons and my veggie¬†arsenal.¬†In case you’re wondering, parsnips are those huge white carrot looking vegetables with the waxy exterior.

Roasted Parsnips with Mustard Vinaigrette

My bestie¬†was in town from Duluth, so we had planned to get together on Saturday night.¬† Nate offered to smoke us a chicken, so I was simply in charge of everything else.¬† It was quite nice!¬† We ended up having a little party as my friend’s mom, PJ, and our neighbor and her son came for dinner.¬† It was honestly a weird grouping of people, but we had the best time chatting and eating and ended up staying up until almost 3:00 AM!¬† That’s surely a sign of a good time!¬† Kristin brought the most delicious LIGHT raspberry lemonade cake.¬† It was fluffy, sweet and tart, and the best part is that there was only 130 calories in one serving.¬† Don’t mind the fact that I ate two pieces…

Roasted Parsnips with Mustard Vinaigrette

Seeing as though the group had grown from 3 to 6, I was little concerned about the parsnips as they aren’t necessarily a “main steam” vegetable, and entertaining a larger group of people gives you a higher chance of picky eaters. Thankfully for me, everyone was willing to give them a try, and actually seemed to like them.¬† PJ¬†said she liked them more than sweet potato fries, and she said sweet potato fries were her favorite.¬† What a great compliment!¬† I served a mustard vinaigrette as a dipping sauce, and that really gave the parsnips a tangy bright flavor, but it wasn’t even necessary.¬† The vinaigrette was tastey though, and adapted quite a bit from the original recipe based on what ingredients I had on hand.¬† I still have some leftover and it’ll make a great salad dressing as well. ¬†Overall, these were¬†a delicious and fun way to get out of our everyday vegetable rut!

Roasted Parsnips with Mustard Vinaigrette

Roasted Parsnips with Mustard Vinaigrette

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 4


2 lbs parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick
2/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp parsley, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/3 cup olive oil and parsnips.  Toss to coat evenly and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the parsnips on a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast for 30 minutes, until caramelized.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together vinegars, Dijon, and sugar.  Drizzle in remaining 1/3 cup olive oil until vinaigrette reached desired consistency (you  might not need it all).  Stir in chopped parsley. Serve alongside roasted parsnips.

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