Monday, December 12, 2011

And now for something completely different (food related)

My mother is making a beef meal for our family holiday get-together, and wants me to come up with a side-dish I can eat with it. I can't remember what she said she was making, other than that it was beef instead of ham, which I don't like and can't eat.

Does anyone have suggestions for a parve (non-dairy, non-meat) side dish? Preferably something relatively uncomplicated to make; I'll probably be making it and I have fairly minimal* cooking experience.

The only thing I'm coming up with is salad, which, cool, I love salad, but need to start figuring these kinds of things out anyways before I graduate, so I would love suggestions.

*I can make basics like pasta, red sauce, eggs, soups, stews, salads etc. but don't know a lot of cooking techniques.

ETA: In relation to the post just before this, an added request if possible: Suggestions for non-dairy/parve side dishes that aren't dry would be even more helpful.

Thanks to anyone who responds!


  1. Here via your link on the Shakesville blogaround:

    I don't know what you like or what your budget is, but here are some dishes I enjoy:

    Citrus Green Beans

    Sautee fresh green beans in a light vegetable oil with salt to taste. Mix orange juice with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste to make a dressing. If you want the dressing hot, you can add it to the pan right at the end. For a slightly fancier flavor, add a pinch or two of ground or grated ginger. If you like a slightly more acidic flavor, add a splash of lemon juice or white wine vinegar to the dressing. Garnish, if desired, with curls of orange zest or candied ginger.

    Roasted Parsnips

    Mashed Cauliflower

    You might also find a couscous recipe here that appeals to you:

  2. In the "things I forgot to mention" category, the butter in the parsnip recipe can be replaced with olive oil. The fat in that step is mostly to make sure the other flavoring things stick to the parsnips, though butter brings nice things to the party for those who eat it.

    The soymilk in the cauliflower recipe can be replaced with almond milk, if you aren't partial to soy. Nutty flavors go well with mashed cauliflower. Whatever "milk" is used, add the liquid a little at a time, until the consistency is pleasing -- it's easy to overdo it and then you have a side of cauliflower soup.

  3. Here via Shakesville! Are you a fan of root vegetables? You could roast some! If you google "roasted root vegetables" a ton of recipes come up, but I'm pretty sure the gist is:

    1. obtain potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, and other root vegetables as desired.
    2. cut them into hearty bite-sized chunks--like one-inch cubes.
    3. put them on/in some kind of baking receptacle & brush/drizzle with olive oil.
    4. roast them around 400-425 degrees for ~45 minutes (here the term "golden brown" is often applied.
    5. omnomnomnom

  4. Thanks, both of you! Tentatively, the roasted root vegetables sound fantastic, and they're even something I've watched done before. If I recall, my mother adds rosemary to them, and that sounds really yummy.

    @Teaspoon: Thanks for the tips on the replacements in those recipes. I'm going to start experimenting with milk and butter alternatives at some point, so it's useful to see options.

  5. There's a pretty good list of vegan substitutions here that might be useful when you start experimenting:

    There's also a ton of food prep videos online if watching someone else do something first helps you learn. Besides the usual YouTube and Food Network suspects, there are a bunch at Instructables and eHow

  6. Mashed potatoes made with olive oil and garlic instead of butter/milk are one of my favourite side-dishes. Or half regular potatoes and half sweet potatoes, mashed.

    French beans: in a shallow saucepan, saute half an onion (or even better, a couple of shallots) in olive oil, when they're getting translucent, add a pack of frozen french beans (long skinny green beans) and a few tablespoons of water. Cover and steam until the beans are barely tender but not yet limp (10-15 minutes). Drizzle with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. If you want to get super fancy, add slivered almonds to garnish.

    Have fun experimenting!

  7. Here from Shakesville! I've found that coconut milk is a really tasty substitute for dairy milk/cream. It's especially good for creamy soups. Simmer your favorite mushrooms, chopped, in coconut milk with a little minced garlic, lemon juice, and salt for a simple cream of mushroom soup (you can whisk in a tablespoon of flour to thicken, if you want a thicker broth). Or blend a can of unsweetened pumpkin paste with coconut milk for a thick, creamy pumpkin soup. (I usually season it with black pepper, salt, garlic and a pinch of ginger.)

    Best of all, you can a really easy dessert with coconut milk: simply leave a can of whole (not low-fat) coconut milk in the frigde for an hour, then whip it just like milk for a non-dairy whipping cream and sweeten with honey or powdered sugar. Layer coconut cream, lady fingers, and fresh or frozen berries for a trifle.

  8. Things I like personally:

    1) Equal parts celery, apples (Gala work well for this), and onion. Cut into bite-size pieces, mix together and place in casserole dish. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning (I totally buy the prepackaged kind) and cook at 325F for ~30 minutes.

    2) Sweet potatoes and jalapenos. I like about 1 jalapeno for every 3 sweet potatoes; YMMV. Chop sweet potatoes into bite-size pieces; finely dice jalapeno(s). Place 1 tbsp. cooking oil in pan; sautee over medium heat until potatoes are cooked (about 30-40 minutes).

    Both dishes end up fairly moist when I cook them.

  9. This is a really great, pretty and easy potato dish (the original recipe calls for butter, but I've easily substituted olive oil for my vagan friends in the past.)