Although I am a far cry from a vegan, my world has been tipping toward veggies lately in a more substantial way. Main dish vegetable melanges- all of which happen to be vegan as well gluten & chemical-free- are becoming a daily at home. Luckily, my sister Nicole has been advising me on ways to turn your typical tossed and sauteed veggies into epic, memorable plates. Here are the lemony spring veggies I had for dinner- full of fennel, sweet onion, tomatoes and peas- to spark your own Spring & Summer vegetable main-courses!
The trick to this dish is lots of olive oil… and lots of lemon zest. Without both, you will have sauteed vegetables that are just fine, but far from the sweet and savory dish I can’t shake from my mind. You can add of subtract veggies as you wish, but the fennel and sweet onion pair- along with the lemon infusion- make this spectacular.
Lemony Spring Veggies
- 1 bulb of fennel. this is the best scent in the world, freshly chopped fennel.
- 2 cups of organic cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium sized sweet onion
- 2 cups of fresh shelled peas, or a small bag of peas, DEFROSTED rather that cooked.
- 1 juicy medium-sized lemon
- salt, pepper & lots of olive oil (*not extra-virgin)
Chop up the fennel and sweet onion (I slice in quarters and then slice into thick pieces).
Heat a liberal amount of olive oil in a big skillet pan. turn the flame to low. Add the fennel and onion, tossing a bit to coat. Throw in the tomatoes and cover.
As it cooks down, cover in 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. The onions and fennel will slowly cook down and wilt a bit, and the tomatoes will burst as they cook. It will look something like the above. Keep tossing it as it cooks.
Continue to simmer covered until the onions and fennel are tender and turning translucent. Now: add the lemon. Grate (on the fine side of a grater) the outer zest (just the yellow, not the white) of your lemon into the dish as it simmers. Now, cut that lemon in half, squeeze the juice into a cup, remove the seeds and add the juice to the mix. This will continue to cook, covered, for another 15-20 minutes, tossing frequently.
There will be a lemony, glistening sauce forming in the skillet. See if it needs more salt and pepper. Liberal amounts of pepper do well here to balance the sweet and sour.
To finish… toss in your peas and heat them through in the mix. This serves 6 as a big side dish or 2 hungry people as a main dish. It is spectaular when cold! Enjoy!!! xoxo Dana