Maro Nalabandian’s Winter Vegetable Recipes

Maro doing a cooking demo at a GIEI event

Maro Nalabandian is a Montgomery County MG and a professional chef. She shares her skills and recipes with us at GIEI events. Here are a few of her favorite winter veggie recipes.

Roasted Winter Root Vegetables

2-3 parsnips                                                        
1 large potato                                                    
2 sweet potatoes or equal amount pumpkin    
1 medium onion                                                 
3 carrots                                                              
2 Tbsp. olive oil   
Freshly cracked black pepper, as needed  
Coarse salt, as needed  
1Tbsp. balsamic vinegar  
1-2 Tbsp. honey, maple syrup or agave nectar                                   
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp. dried
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or 1 tsp. dried

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

·       Wash, peel and cut vegetables into 1 inch small cubes. Put all vegetables into a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and honey on top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, herbs and garlic. Toss all together and empty into a large baking tray; bake uncovered 30-40 minutes. Halfway through cooking, stir them around and give a taste test. Put back in the oven and roast the vegetables till fork tender and golden brown.

Winter Vegetable Salad

½ container each mini kale leaves and arugula
½ bunch escarole, chopped
10 radishes and their fresh baby leaves, washed and sliced
2 tart apples, washed, peeled, seeded and diced into ½ inch cubes
¼ cup sugared pecans (optional)
½ cup of dried sour cherries

Have all the salad green ingredients ready in a large salad bowl. Reserve the pecans and sour cherries to add on last.

Lemon Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. shallots, finely minced
1-1 ½ lemons, freshly squeezed
½ tsp. sugar, honey or agave nectar
1 sprig of fresh thyme leaves and ½ sprig of fresh oregano leaves, minced
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. bottled water, as needed (for a lighter version)
Freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt, as needed

In a measuring cup add the above six ingredients. Whisk while drizzling the olive oil very slowly to emulsify. Add the water, a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and whisk.

Add the vinaigrette a few tablespoons at a time to the salad, as needed, toss, taste, adjust seasonings and serve.

NOTE: Cover and refrigerate the leftover vinaigrette to use again, but bring it to room temperature before using.

Cupcakes with Parsnips and Cardamon

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Spread out and make ready 15-18 cupcake liners in two cupcake tins.

Have ready ½ cup of dried sour cherries, cut in half and mixed with 1 tsp. of flour. Have ready ½ cup of walnuts, chopped in small pieces. Set aside.

4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. ground cardamon
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 ½ cups parsnips, grated with a hand grater on medium-large holes, or on an electric shredder

Mix the eggs and sugar together in a stand mixer, whip well. Add the oil very slowly on medium-low setting, then the vanilla and mix on med/high for a few minutes.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then add to the mixer little bit at a time on med-low, raise the setting to med-high till all is combined.

Fold in the grated parsnip by hand, add the cherries and walnuts and mix all together. Put batter into the cupcake tins and bake for 30-35 minutes till a light pink color or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Optional: You may want to serve with cream cheese frosting with orange flavor and zest.

Erica’s note: if you think parsnip cupcakes sound strange, just think carrot cake – the vegetables are very similar! More of Maro’s recipes to come soon.

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