Day 20: Green Bean & Cabbage Tagine

Recipe & photo updated in 2007

2005: Hmmm. Worth nearly an hour's time? Perhaps. But no, not in my emerging definition of a meal's "vegetable".

With three weeks of a veggie-a-day under my belt, I am thinking that the only dishes that qualify require fewer than 15 minutes of prep time and fewer than 30 minutes to get to the table. And even THIS is feeling excessive -- feedback?

Still, this dish is good. Another time, to save time, I'd use a bag of shredded cabbage, frozen green beans and diced tomatoes -- in fact, at least as far as the beans go, I believe frozen green beans would be of much higher quality than the fresh I found at the supermarket yesterday.

2007: This was quite good, a simple vegetable stew and served over a baked potato, was filling for supper.

Active time: 25 minutes (see ALANNA's TIPS)
Time to table: 1 hour (with occasional stirring)
Makes 8 cups -- a lot

1 tablespoon olive oil (reduced from 2 - 3 tablespoons)
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 pound cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 pound green beans, trimmed, snapped
5 cloves garlic (from a jar!)
2 teaspoons garam masala (see TIPS)
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup dry wine (red or white is specified, I used dry marsala from the pantry)
28 ounces canned tomatoes (see TIPS)
1 cup water
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, cabbage and beans as they're chopped. Saute until onion and cabbage start to brown. Stir in garlic and spices, stir well and cook 1 - 2 minutes. Add vinegar and wine, let cook til liquid is absorbed, scraping pan from bottom occasionally. Add tomato and water, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.

8 Servings: 90 Cal (19% from Fat); 3g Protein; 2g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 17g Carb; 5g Fiber; 95 g Calcium; 2mg Iron; 733mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 1 point

  • To shorten time #1: Use a bag of chopped cabbage and frozen green beans.
  • To shorten time #2: Use a skillet with a larger surface area. My largest is only 10 1/2 inches in diameter. But is isn't deep enough to hold this much so I switched to a 10" Dutch oven. A half-inch change in diameter doesn't sound like much -- but reduces the surface area by 20%. The recipe specified a 12 inch skillet which has 1/3 more surface area than my Dutch oven. It had to make a difference.
  • According to Epicurious, garam masala is an Indian spice mixture that often includes pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, cardamom, dried chiles, fennel, mace and nutmeg. In traditional Indian cooking, cooks pride themselves on their own variations. Still, you can buy a mixture in most grocery stores these days. Here are two recipes, one and two.
  • Do you ever hesitate to buy a new spice because you think you won't use it again? Me, too. I've learned to search the Web, especially Epicurious, for it and nearly always find other really interesting recipes. Epicurious has 18 entries, for example, for garam masala. NOTE: Epicurious doesn't pay me for these recommendations, I just really like it.
  • "Careful" cooks use whole canned tomatoes and crush them, just like, I read, chefs do, because better tomatoes are used. "Convenience" cooks are happy to substitute diced canned tomatoes -- to my mind with no difference in results. Do look for brands that don't contain unneeded corn syrup.
Adapted from Splendid Table, a great food-talk radio show on NPR. The host is Lynne Rosetto Kasper, one of the most knowledgable and creative folks EVER about food -- and in a real-world, cookin'-at-home way. Her notes with this recipe say that with the addition of egg noodles and Parmesan cheese, this would make a great casserole; I suspect she's right.
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.