Food

5 days of delicious dinners: Veggie burgers, easy pasta and more

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
TODAY Show: Siri Daly cooks up a healthy meal of veggie burgers and rutabaga fries. -- February 17, 2016

I spent the morning getting my seeds started for planting in the spring, and my head is aflutter with images of beautiful tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers emerging and gracing our plates in about 4-5 months. That got me thinking about preserving and pickling—something I hope to do more of with this summer’s bounty. Perhaps that’s why Tuesday’s salmon recipe by chef George Mendes caught my eye. It includes a quick pickled cucumber, and if you’ve never pickled anything yourself, you’re in for a treat that will hopefully inspire you to try the technique on loads of other produce. They’re a great palate cleanser in an otherwise heavy or fatty meal, and if you’ve got veggie-phobic eaters in your household, this might just be the ticket for getting them to try something that comes from the earth.

There are a number of specialized ingredients on the shopping list, but hold tight, all of them have fine substitutions (I’ve included suggestions in the parenthesis) in case you can’t find them in the store. Wheat berries are usually sold in the bulk section and a great fiber-rich alternative to rice, but I usually opt for farro, which is slightly more expensive but more tender and quickly cooked than wheat berries (try cooking them in veggie or chicken stock for extra flavor). Honey powder (for the chicken recipe) is something I just ordered for my own kitchen, and while the recipe suggests substituting white sugar, my cheffie voice tells me light brown or turbinado might be a better choice because you’ll get more depth of flavor. And who doesn’t want that?

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

SHOPPING LIST

  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 yellow onion
  • 1 bunch scallion
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 mildly hot green Korean chile (or Anaheim chile)
  • 1 ¼ pound white mushroom (can be sliced)
  • 2 ounces enoki mushrooms (or shitake, oyster or crimini mushrooms)
  • 1 handful arugula (optional)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 medium russet potato
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • Fresh bay leaves
  • 1 cup wheat berries (or farro)
  • ½ cup brown lentils (or 1 cup, cooked)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 whole wheat buns
  • 1 quart vegetable stock or vegetable base
  • 1 tablespoon good quality beef base (such as Better than Boullion)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • ½ cup honey powder (or light brown sugar)
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes (preferably with garlic, onion and oregano)
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta or any other pasta
  • 2 cups rice wine (or white or apple cider) vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 container media crema (or crème fraiche or sour cream)
  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 4 slices Provolone cheese or other melting cheese (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup brandy or cognac
  • 1 pound salmon fillet
  • 1 1/2 pounds tender steak
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 pound bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Pantry ingredients:

  • Red wine vinegar
  • Whole black peppercorns
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Brown sugar
  • Ketchup
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Dijon mustard
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