Sometimes I have trouble thinking of a good name for a recipe, especially when it’s something I have been making for myself without talking to anybody about it, because in my mind it can be called “kind of like what I made the other day” or “mmmmm” or “RY3A0128” or whatever. The name for today’s recipe comes courtesy of the Hearth and Soul Blop Hop, a recipe linkup that may just have a typo in the name this week, but I am feeling inspired by the idea of a Blop Hop, which sounds so much more lively and charming and Dr. Seussian than anything involving a blog, a word which still really sounds to me like it refers to something slimy and smelly that washes up on the beach. You wouldn’t want to eat that, but try my delicious Blop!
This recipe is a close relative of Improved Pasta Salad and Pasta Prima Becca and this nameless yummification of spring vegetables. It is a way of turning assorted vegetables and a backdrop (starch or salad) into a rich, satisfying, complete meal that is vegan and brimming with vitamins and such. Each of these variations has a slightly different flavor. This one is sharper and more summery, perfect for tomato and bell pepper season.
Measurements are extremely flexible. I haven’t actually measured anything the three times I’ve made this in the past two weeks. I’m just guessing at the approximate amounts I use, per serving. If you’re making many servings at once, you’ll need less oil per serving, but you do want plenty of oil–it’s the base of the yummy sauce/salad dressing, and eating fat with vegetables helps you absorb all their nutrients.
- diced onion–about 1/2 cup
- diced bell pepper, any color–1/4 to 1/2 cup
- olive oil–about 1/4 cup
- diced fresh ripe fabulous awesome tomato–at least 1 whole one
- shredded fresh cilantro or other fresh herb of your choice–1 or 2 stalks. I love cilantro, but I realize a lot of people hate it, and oddly enough I can taste what they hate about it: It tastes like soap! I just happen to think it’s a flavor of soap that is quite tasty in several contexts. If you don’t like cilantro or don’t have any handy, I bet this would be tasty with basil instead.
- nutritional yeast flakes (huh?)–2 Tbsp.
- shelled sunflower seeds–1 or 2 Tbsp.
- other vegetables, raw or pre-cooked, diced or shredded–up to 1 cup total. I made one batch of this with no additional vegetablage, one with kale, and one with the dried-out carrot sticks left over from my kid’s lunch and the last of the mushrooms I had sauteed in garlic butter several days earlier and used as a topping on all foods except cereal since then. All the versions were delicious.
- extra salt to taste
Backdrop for the Blop: Choose whichever of these foods you find handy or appealing.
- baked potato
- lettuce, spinach, or other raw leaves
- rice, couscous, or other grain
If any of the vegetables are frozen, for this recipe they need to be at least partially thawed. When I made the batch with kale, it and the green pepper were frozen; I broke off the amounts I planned to use and placed them in a Corningware bowl on top of the toaster oven where I was baking the potatoes. By the time I had cut up the onion, tomato, and cilantro, the kale and pepper had transformed from frozen chunks to flaky cold stuff, ready to add to the pan.
Place onion, pepper, and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, maybe reducing the heat a bit, until onion is pretty well browned. You may add other vegetables at any point in this process, depending on how well-cooked you want them to be. (I put in my kale and carrots about halfway through. My mushrooms were already cooked, so I just stirred them in at the end to warm them.)
Meanwhile, prepare backdrop, and slice tomato and shred cilantro. I discovered that the tomato knife does a great job on cilantro.
Turn off heat. Stir yeast flakes into blop. Taste it and add salt if needed. (Take into account whether or not your sunflower seeds are salted.)
Plop blop on top of backdrop. Sprinkle tomato, cilantro, and sunflower seeds on top.