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Vegan Planet: Vegetable Treasures

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Vegetable Treasures

Since the shopping choices are limited where I live, whenever we travel to DC as we did this past weekend, we always include a stop for groceries in Centreville, Virginia on the drive home, where we visit the Trader Joe’s and a huge Asian market across the street.

I like to think I know my way around a produce department, but every time I go to the Asian market, I find something new and interesting. This time it was tindora, tiny finger-sized squash that look like miniature cucumbers. I also got some gorgeous Swiss chard, kabocha squash, baby bok choy, Thai chiles, and tiny purple eggplants. Oh yes, and a quince.

Half the fun of shopping for these treasures is discovering interesting ways to cook them. I asked an Indian man scooping tindora into a bag how he prepares them and he explained how his little girl enjoys them. I noticed a woman examining a quince with great care. She told me that she likes to use quince in a stroganoff-type recipe, and now I’m obsessed with trying it that way. Not present in the photo are some oyster mushrooms, beets, and arugula that I also brought home.

I decided to cook up the chard first and sautéed it with lots of garlic, onion, chiles, and some sliced vegan sausage. I tossed it with a grain blend I picked up at Trader Joe’s that included Israeli couscous, orzo, red quinoa, and baby chickpeas, which I cooked in vegetable broth. The combination was wonderful, very homey and comforting, but with lots of great flavors and textures. I plan to use the leftovers to stuff that kabocha squash, and I’m still trying to decide how to enjoy those adorable tindora, so stay tuned.

In the meantime....

Go to for not just one but five chances to win a copy of 1,000 Vegan Recipes. And while you’re there, be sure to check out my Thanksgiving recipes.

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Hi Robin:
I made your Ultimate Shepard's Pie from Vegan Planet upon a friend's recommendation. (She bought Vegan Planet after looking at my copy.) I subbed 2 cans of beans for the veg meat patty since that's what I had on hand and it was delish! Can't wait to make it again. :)
The "baby" Bok Choy is actually "Pak Choy." I grew a wonderful batch of two varieties (green and purple) this season and am still harvesting this late in the season (they love cool weather).

Best to you! Mark (I got interested in it from visiting a Korean Market in Fairfax, VA a few years ago... wonderful stir-fried and cooks down quite a bit)
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