Every year, around this time, my love for vegetables seems to expire. All summer, I’ve embraced simplicity, drizzling tomatoes with olive oil, eating cukes on my way home from the market, and schmearing plain corn with butter. When I dig a little deeper into my fatigue, though, the truth comes out: I’m not tired of all vegetables, just raw ones.
The answer, during this time of vegetable plenty, is to use the harvest in recipes, not just in salads. And I’ve got tons of recipes, for veggie side dishes and mains, that will make all those plants palatable again. Ditch the kale salad and get cooking!
**12 Great Cooked Veggie Dishes for Salad Fatigue**
1. Baked Tomatoes with Breadcrumbs & Thyme. Turn tomatoes into warm, gooey, and crunchy little numbers simply by slicing them and roasting them beneath a crown of breadcrumbs. These taste delightful at room temperature, so make them in advance, ditch the boring caprese salad, and delight in tomatoes anew.
2. Quick Cabbage with Mustard Seeds. Much as I adore a good slaw, I love how cooked cabbage takes on an almost butter aspect–without, however, much butter added at all. I start this dish by toasting mustard seeds in hot oil. After that, there’s not much more to do, besides savor the warm, almost-creamy vegetable.
3. Roasted Caponata Salad with Goat Cheese & Chickpeas. OK, so you might not usually eat eggplant or zucchini raw anyway, but in this simplifed, roasted version of caponata, you’ll love how the softened vegetables mingle with their tangy-sweet dressing, hearty chickpeas, and creamy cheese.
4. Iranian Greens Omelet. A new-to-me style of cooking eggs, Middle Eastern omelets are made by overstuffing beaten eggs with lots of filling–or so it appears. In fact, though you’ll feel like you’re throwing in way too many greens, the spinach, herbs, and scallions cook down to make this a totally vegetable centric main course.
5. Corn Pudding. Look, I think you could take anything, combine it with milk, flour, butter, and sugar, bake it, and it’d taste okay. Yet off-the-cob corn is the perfect match for this set of ingredients, and this recipe, from my friend Kate’s mom, is an extraordinary side. If you’re daring, just turn it into your main course and maybe bring back a salad to eat on the side (I realize that’s contradictory advice in a no-salad post).
6. Roasted Fennel. A spin in the oven turns crisp, licorice-flavored fennel into something sweet and tender. The very edges grow crisp while the center become soft and juicy. You can eat the roasted fennel on its own, or pile it on top of salads (if you’re still into them) or inside pretty much any sandwich.
7. Seared Radicchio Salad. Radicchio is a beautiful vegetable, with dark green outer leaves hiding the purple-and-white head underneath. It’s also a little bit bitter, too much for some tastebuds when served raw.
8. Potato, Leek & Fennel Gratin. Now we’re truly in comfort food territory–without leaving our vegetable fixation far behind.
9. Baba Ganoush. You’ll hardly remember you’re even eating your vegetables as you dip pita wedge after pita wedge into this creamy vegan eggplant dip. You can even spread baba ganoush on an egg-and-vegetable sandwich for a slightly tweaked version of the Sabich Sandwich.
10. Heirloom-Tomato Pizza Stuffed Zucchini Boats. Taking inspiration from pretty much my favorite food ever–pizza–I use roasted vegetables as both “crust” and filling. Pretty late-summer zucchini act as containers for a savory filling of heirloom cherry tomatoes, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, and plenty of garlic.
11. Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes. I have a serious soft spot for sun-dried tomatoes–their chewy texture and sweet taste–but it took me a while to learn to make my own. One way to get through bushels of the remaining tomatoes is to bake them slowly, with garlic and herbs, until they’re dried and delicious–a different fruit altogether.
12. Eggplant & Zucchini Lasagna with Fontina. When I’m in doubt about an ingredient, my go-to move is to add pasta and cheese. That’s what I’ve done in this summery lasagna, to brilliant effect. Even though it appears just plain rich, this baked pasta dish is also rich in veggies.