Cookbook suggests enticing ways to eat more vegetables

Chicago TribuneOctober 24, 2013 

The title of food writer Joe Yonan's new cookbook seems to jump out like a scolding from your mom: Eat Your Vegetables.

Yet that's not Yonan's intent at all. Writing in the introduction, the Washington Post food editor explains that he wants readers to try the recipes because they sound good; he's not proselytizing.

Yonan, who describes himself as mostly vegetarian, has written a vegetarian book, but he describes it as a vegetable book. His message: Think about eating vegetables; don't focus on avoiding meat.

There is plenty to entice in Eat Your Vegetables, from simple sandwiches — grilled cheese tricked out with kimchi (make Yonan's or use jarred) and Asian pears — to the more involved, such as this Mediterranean flavor powerhouse: a chickpea pancake topped with broccoli, eggplant dip (or use store-bought baba ghanoush) and feta. Yet even that pancake comes together quickly: Pour the easy-to-whisk-up batter into a hot skillet, then pop it into the oven, no flipping.

Yonan targets the single cook, but you can adapt the recipes upward. Then get ready to celebrate your vegetables.

For this recipe, look for chickpea flour in ethnic markets.

Chickpea pancake with broccoli and eggplant

½ cup chickpea flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 very small head broccoli or several florets broccoli, sliced

¼ cup store-bought baba ghanoush

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon crumbled feta

1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk together chickpea flour, salt, water and 1 tablespoon olive oil until smooth.

Heat a small (8-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium heat; when hot, pour in remaining olive oil. When oil shimmers, pour in batter. Transfer skillet to oven.

Bake until pancake is golden brown on top and pulls away from edge of pan, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove skillet from oven; turn oven to broil. Set a rack so skillet is 4 to 5 inches from flame.

Meanwhile, steam broccoli in a steamer basket over an inch of simmering water in a small saucepan until crisp-tender.

When pancake is done, smear baba ghanoush on top. Cover with broccoli. Season with pepper to taste; sprinkle with cheeses. Broil until cheese melts and broccoli browns slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove; let cool slightly. Slide onto a plate; cut into wedges to eat. Makes 1 serving

From Eat Your Vegetables by Joe Yonan

Nutrition information per serving: 767 calories, 46 g. fat, 13 mg. cholesterol, 64 g. carbohydrates, 24 g. protein, 1,615 mg. sodium, 7 g. fiber.

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