The past week, we have been cooking some delicious vegetarian dinners from Nina Olsson’s cookbook Feasts of Veg.

Nina Olsson is a creative and art director for food magazines, a travel writer, and photographer. She is a Swede living in Amsterdam, has 4 vegetarian cookbooks under her belt, and has worked with food magazines sharing eco-conscious recipes since 2014. More information is available on her site Nourish Atelier or Instagram. (I must have been living under a rock as she has 120k+ followers!).

Chantal recently picked up her second cookbook, Feasts of Veg (2018), and we have been trying some of the super-healthy recipes that hail from kitchens all around the world. Despite being intended to provide “food for gatherings”, the quantities in the cookbook are ideal for family dinners but are easily scalable to cater to parties and larger groups of people. Also great to see are the specific pointers for Vegan and Gluten-free dietary substitutes for each of the recipes.

This recipe was a stand out weekday dinner, as it was quick, delicious, and versatile as it was equally amazing for dinner (warm, with a fried egg) as lunch salad the next day (cold, with an extra drizzle of olive oil and topped with a boiled egg).

There were some necessary modifications, though. As I couldn’t find separate cavolo nero in the supermarket (although kale would have been a great substitute), I resorted to our favorite pre-made 400g / 14oz Italian stirfry veg packs with cavolo nero, broccoli, spring onion, and chestnut mushrooms. Slightly less cavolo nero than the 150g / 5¼oz in Nina’s recipe, but the additional chestnut mushrooms lifted my 250g / 9oz pack to the desired 300g / 10½oz. Overall, we had 200g / 7oz more vegetables compared to the original recipe (can’t harm, eh?), and due to the broccoli florets, the cooking time was about twice the time than if you would only have cavolo nero (4-5 minutes). After mixing everything together, we found it delicious but a tad dry, so we added about 125ml / ½ cup of vegetable stock, which was quickly absorbed.

It was the first time that we tried the nutty-flavored red rice, which was really good and whose firm structure gives you something to properly chew on. The addition of the avocado and fried egg is simple yet tasty and balances the rice from a textural perspective. The garlicky chestnut mushrooms and the spring onions from the veg pack were sufficiently pungent to season the vegetables and the rice, and the squeeze of lemon really lifts up the dish. It didn’t need any salt, but it could have used some kick, which we added with a generous sprinkle of shichimi togarashi, a Japanese spice/pepper mix. In the picture from the cookbook, you also clearly see some chili flakes on top.

The recipe (serves 4)

  • 200g / 7oz red rice (alternatively use brown, wild or basmati rice)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g / 5¼oz cavolo nero, woody stems removed and sliced
  • 300g / 10½oz chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • a handful of flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan (optional)
  • 4 fried eggs, preferably sunny side up
  • ½ lemon, in wedges
  • 2 small avocados, sliced
  1. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet (ours needed 15 minutes), drain and set aside
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat and stirfry the mushrooms for 2 minutes. Then lower the heat to medium-high and continue to stirfry for 2-3 minutes until the juices have evaporated
  3. Increase the heat to high again, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan as well as the garlic and cavolo nero. Stirfry for 2 minutes until the cavolo nero starts to wilt. Add the rice, parsley and Parmesan (if using), turn the heat down to low and let everything fry for another 2-3 minutes. Taste and season to taste.
  4. Serve in bowls and top with the fried eggs, some additional parsley, and the lemon, and avocado slices.

 

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