Veggies on the counter

Grilled Pepper and Onion Salad with New Potatoes

Posted in side dishes by veggies on the counter on June 30, 2012

This salad recipe is inspired by the popular festivities held in Lisbon and Porto around this time of the year. In these events, it’s common seeing people gathering on the streets to eat, and you can literally feel the smell of barbecued foods in the air wherever you go – mostly sardines and peppers. I don’t eat sardines (or any fish for that matter), so I came up with a recipe that still conveys the spirit of the festivities, but that is animal-free. I don’t usually brag about recipes I post here on the blog but I have a special place in my heart (and belly) for this one. I made this salad three times since last week and I seem not to get enough of it (as a matter of fact, I also had it for lunch today). To make it more of a complete (nutrionally speaking) meal, you can toss in some grilled tofu or cooked red beans. You could also eat it in a bruschetta, by grilling some bread slices and topping it up with spoonfuls of the salad (I’d leave the potatoes out in that case). I believe you can add flavour to your foods without depending on oil to get it, but it’s crucial to this recipe to use the amount of the said ingredient specified in the directions and not a bit less .The oil and vinegar mixture will coat the vegetables thoroughly, imparting them a beautiful flavour so, make also sure you use a good quality olive oil in here. Olive oil is a key ingredient to many Portuguese-inspired dishes, and this one really is no exception. Enjoy!

Grilled Pepper and Onion Salad with New Potatoes

(serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side)


1 medium sized red pepper, cut into strips

1 medium sized green pepper, cut into strips

1 large onion, cut into rings

10 small new potatoes, skins on (about 300 grams)

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing the vegetables

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon capers (optional, but highly recommended)

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 small handful coriander, coarsely chopped


1. Fill a medium sized pan with water, add the potatoes and about 1 teaspoon of salt, and let it boil. Once boiling, decrease the heat to medium and cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes. Then, pass them through cold running water. Transfer the potatoes to a cutting board and when they’re cool enough to handle, cut them into halves. Set aside.

2. Brush a grilling pan with olive oil and set it on high heat. When it’s hot, but not smoking, add the peppers’ strips, skin side down, seasoned with a pinch of salt. Grill them for 7 to 10 minutes, or until slightly charred – to get visible grilling marks, I like to press down the peppers’ strips with the back of a spoon against the grilling surface. Grill on the other side for about 5 minutes. Transfer the grilled peppers to a plate and set aside.

3. Add the onion rings (also lightly salted) to the grilling pan and cook them for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft and browned.

4. In a medium sized bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the red wine vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and whisk until incorporated.

5. Put all the vegetables (onion, peppers’ strips and boiled potatoes) on a large serving plate. Pour the oil and vinegar mixture over them and toss well. Finally, add the capers (if using), minced garlic and coriander on top. Serve immediately.


Roasted Beetroot Soup with Cumin Potatoes

Posted in soups by veggies on the counter on August 15, 2010

Everybody’s seem to have some kind of issue with beetroot. Some people only can eat them in salads, mixed with other veggies, some others can’t really stand them, and then there are those individuals (aka me) that could live on beetroot for the rest of their lifes and remain totally happy (well, sort of…).

I’d argue that the best way to cook beetroot is to roast them, as roasting enhances their sweet flavor and also adds a bit of a smoky taste. Roasting the beetroot is the step that will take longer when making this soup, but I assure you it is totally worth it. Apart from that, the soup couldn’t be more simple to make: just put the required ingredients on the food processor, blend until smooth, serve, eat. The addition of dill complements well the sweetness of the beetroot, and the crispy potatoes, with their hint of cumin, add crunchiness and depth to the soup. As I specify in the directions, you can adjust the amount of water to your liking (the amount mentioned makes for a soup on the thick, creamy side, as it is how I like mine), but bear in mind that if  you thin it, you’ll probably have to adjust the seasonings afterwards.

Roasted Beetroot Soup

(serves 2 to 3, depending on the consistency you want your soup to have)

350 grams raw beetroot

200 grams natural unsweetened soy yoghurt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 small garlic clove

3 tablespoons finely chopped dill, plus a bit more for garnish

1/3 cup water

for the cumin potatoes:

260 grams waxy potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cubbed

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

a pinch of salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

2. Place the beetroot in a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the beetroot with salt, and roast for at least 1 hour, or until tender.

3. Let the beetroot cool a bit before handing them. Then peel them under running cold water and cut into small cubes.

4. In a food processor, combine the cubbed beetroot, soy yoghurt, garlic clove, olive oil, dill, and water, and process until smooth. Taste, adjust the seasonings, and if the soup seems too thick, add a bit more water to thin it to your liking. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding a bit more salt if necessary.

5. Divide the beetroot soup among 2 or 3 bowls. Set aside.

6. To make the cumin potatoes, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, then add the potatoes, salt and ground cumin. Cook, covered, for approximately 15 minutes, giving the pan a good shake every 5 minutes. They’re ready when crisp and uniformly golden brown.

7.  To serve, scatter 2 or 3 tablespoons of  the potatoes over each bowl of soup. Sprinkle each bowl with a bit more dill and serve immediately. The soup can be enjoyed cold or at room temperature, although I prefer the latter.

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