Looking for an easy, nutritious, seasonal, tasty weeknight dinner? Give our springtime vegetable bake a try!
This vegetarian casserole combines your grain of choice along with roasted spring radishes, fennel, chard, creamy white beans, and a vibrant radish leaf vinaigrette. Roasting radishes and fennel brings out a different side of them. The radishes transform from their normal sharp peppery, crisp root to a tender, caramelized savory morsel. The fennel’s anise flavor is toned down and a sweet earthiness is amplified. The dressing is a tasty way to use the entire radish plant. The green leaves of the radish provide an herbal, peppery flavor to the vinaigrette as well as high amounts of nutrients to help aid in digestion, build elasticity of the skin, lower cholesterol, and support immune function. These greens are also rich in sulforaphane, a powerful anticancer antioxidant that has been shown to reduce inflammation and toxins as well as protect our DNA.
This dish brings together different tastes, textures, and flavors, which combine to create a satisfying and delicious meal packed full of anticancer, gut-supporting, and immune-boosting properties.
Springtime Vegetable Bake
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp dried herbs (oregano or thyme or basil or a mixture)
- 10-12 radishes, quartered (I like to use the multicolored bunch), greens reserved
- 2 fennel bulbs, ½-inch thick slices
- 1 bunch chard, stems removed and leaves chopped
- 1 ½ cups uncooked grain of choice (quinoa, rice, farro, barley)
- *I love to use up my leftover cooked grains and will use 2-3 cups
- 1 ½ cups white beans (cannellini work well), drained and rinsed
- *Best to use home-cooked beans or beans from a glass jar.
- Sprinkle of parmesan or nutritional yeast
Radish Leaf Vinaigrette
- 1 bunch of radish greens, washed very well
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1/3 cup vinegar (cider or champagne work well)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp maple syrup or honey
- 4-5 basil or mint leaves (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove any of the stalks from the fennel bulbs and then cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Cut each halved fennel bulb into 1/2 inch thick slices.
- Combine the oil, garlic, salt, pepper, curry powder, dried herbs, fennel and radishes in a large baking or casserole dish.
- Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes until tender and caramelized.
- While vegetables are roasting, cook the grains according to package and season with salt and pepper. (If using leftover cooked grains, skip this step.)
- Make the vinaigrette by combining all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until well combined.
- Remove vegetables from oven when cooked. Stir in chard leaves and allow the heat from the baking dish to wilt the greens.
- Stir in cooked grains, beans and ½ of vinaigrette and gently toss to combine.
- Sprinkle the top with parmesan or nutritional yeast and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the top begins to brown and crisp up.
- Remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 minutes. This dish can be served warm or at room temperature. When serving, drizzle the remaining vinaigrette, top with fresh herbs and more parmesan or nutritional yeast.
Radish: Cruciferous vegetable that has anticancer properties. Radishes are also great sources of fiber to help with balancing blood sugar and supporting gut health. Contains properties that help maintain the elasticity of our skin and boost our immune system.
Fennel: Contains a high concentration of over 28 different antioxidant compounds, which have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation, protecting cells from oxidative damage, providing antimicrobial and antiviral properties as well as lower the risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer, neurological diseases, and type 2 diabetes.
Chard: Greens such as kale, spinach, collards, mustard greens, arugula, and chard have been shown to protect bones from osteoporosis, reduce inflammation, support a healthy gut, strengthen the immune system, protect cognition, and supply high amounts of antioxidants. They are among some of the best cancer-preventing foods.
Garlic: Considered a prebiotic, meaning it feeds the “good” bacteria in our gut and promotes a healthy digestive system. Research supports that compounds in garlic, such as allicin, have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and cardioprotective properties.
Curry Powder: This is a very broad term and can refer to any number of unique spice combinations. The three main curry powders I gravitate towards are garam masala, madras, and tandoori masala. Though each blend is different, there are many overlapping ingredients in most curry powder blends. Cumin, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, chili, turmeric, cardamom, fennel, fenugreek, and paprika are all common spices in curry powder. This combination of spices has been linked to lower inflammation, boosted immunity and metabolism as well as support gut health. It can even make you feel good from the capsaicin in the chilies, which promotes the secretion of endorphins.
Beans: Good source of plant protein and folate. In areas around the world that have been identified to live the longest (Blue Zones) through research, beans have been shown to be a common staple of consumption. Excellent source of dietary fiber that promotes gut health (prebiotic), gut bacteria love beans.
Mustard: Make sure to read the ingredient list when buying mustard to ensure that it does not have added sugar or food coloring. All cruciferous vegetables are part of the mustard family. Mustard seeds are rich in glucosinolates, a compound that stimulates the body’s antioxidant defenses. This condiment not only adds flavor but can increase the anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anticancer effects of other ingredients.