Foods

Garden Plate: Microgreen-based meals that blend the flavors and nutrients of spring

Microgreens are the pandemic pioneers that fit in with the trend of self-sufficiency and home gardens. They might take up a space as large as a full backyard or as small as an indoor countertop garden. This column makes great use of the first vestiges of spring gardens, no matter the size.

Lemon basil pasta with pesto provides a nice dose of microgreens. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Pesto and pasta are a perfect marriage made on a plate. This recipe brings the vibrant flavors of microgreens and lemon to the forefront.

LEMON BASIL PASTA WITH MICROGREEN PESTO

Servings: 4

For the pasta:

Favorite long pasta of your choice (angel hair works nicely here)

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if they’re on the large side

1 small bunch basil, torn

½ lemon zested

Grated parmesan cheese to serve

For the pesto:

1 clove garlic

3 cups microgreens of your choice (a mixture of arugula and spinach work well)

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

To make the pesto:

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, except the olive oil. With the appliance running, slowly drizzle in oil.

For the pasta:

Boil several quarts of salted water in a large pot. Cook pasta according to directions and drain but do not rinse.

To assemble:

Remove cooked pasta to a large serving bowl and toss with pesto, tomatoes, basil and lemon zest. Serve immediately with extra parmesan cheese to garnish.

Tip: This pesto is divine on any grilled fish or seafood.

Adding pita bread underneath a bed of tabbouleh will turn this salad into its own kind of pizza. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Hummus and tabbouleh often are on the menu in our house for a quick bite. Here, the best of both worlds shine through — a fast and nutritiously pleasing meal.

MICROGREEN TABBOULEH SALAD “PIZZA”

Servings: 4

Four large whole-wheat pitas

1 cup of prepared or homemade hummus (see recipe below)

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (low fat or fat free is perfect)

For the tabbouleh salad:

1 cup prepared and drained bulgur wheat

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped

1 cucumber, seeded and chopped into ¼-inch dice

1 bunch each parsley and mint, chopped fine

½ clove garlic, minced

2 scallions, trimmed and sliced fine

2 cups mixed microgreens (any mixture works but try to use something with a kick, like radish microgreens)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

For homemade hummus:

1 can well-rinsed and drained chick peas

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the hummus:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the ingredients except for the tahini and lemon juice. Pulse until smooth. While the processor is running, drizzle in the oil and juice and season to taste.

Note: The recipe can be altered to taste by using less/more garlic, tahini or lemon juice.

To prepare the tabbouleh salad:

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes for flavors to meld before using.

To assemble the pizzas:

Toast the pitas until warm and slightly crisp. Distribute equal amounts of hummus, salad and crumbled feta cheese on each pita and serve.

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