Tag Archives: olive oil

Penne with Swiss Chard

Penne with Swiss Chard

Penne with Swiss Chard

Penne with Swiss Chard, Carrots, Onions & Garlic

I prepared several different dishes using Swiss chard this week using a 2-3 minute steam or pan-sauté. But for the last ten years my daily green juices included chard with a variety of other greens, ginger and a green apple. Why? Because this vibrant rich dark green leafy vegetable is a nutrient powerhouse!

But cooking with chard is new to me and I was surprised and pleased at how quick, easy and versatile it is to work with. It can be added to soups, salads, used as a wrap, added to sweet  and regular potato mashes, stuffed in roasted onions and simply sautéed with onions, garlic and an array of other vegetables, then tossed with a whole grain like rice, farro or a soba noodle or pasta. Make sure the soba noodle or pasta is 100% whole grain–not just an “organic whole grain” because unless it is appropriately labeled it is impossible to know how much whole grain the product contains.

The key to working with chard is to remember that it is done cooking in less than 3 minutes– whether it is sautéed or steamed. Remembering this tip will result in vibrant, rich greens that make dishes pop with color as well as retain the most nutrients.

Ingredients per person:

  • yellow onion, 1/2 diced
  • whole garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/2 sweet bell pepper
  • 6 small-medium rainbow chard, remove stalk and save
  • 2/3 cup 100% whole grain penne
  • quality California extra virgin olive oil – 2t
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice – 1 to 2T
  • fresh ground salt and pepper to taste


  • Dice onion and mince garlic and let sit 5 minutes to release healthy sulfurs.
  • Wash chard, remove stalks, fold and cut into ribbons; then roughly dice.
  • Wash carrot and use spiralizer for quick julienne cuts. Turn carrots and cut again so the carrots are about an inch or so long.
  • Boil water for pasta. When you use 100% whole grain pasta, it generally takes about ten minutes. I like my pasta and vegetables al dente.
  • While pasta is cooking (be sure to stir to prevent clumping) warm sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil for each serving.
  • Add onions. Use water from the pasta for any additional liquid you need to prevent sticking. The starch from the water adds a wonderful flavor and texture allowing you to cook with less oil and yet retain wonderful flavors.
  • When the onion is brown, add garlic and carrots and sauté for another minute or so. The thinly sliced carrots allow you to quickly cook the vegetable resulting in the retention of more flavor and nutrients.
  • Add the chopped chard. Turn heat to low, add pasta water, if needed, stir and cover for 2-3 minutes.
  • Your pasta should be done by now. Drain pasta and toss with chard, onions, carrots, olive oil, lemon juice. Add fresh ground salt and pepper to taste.



Fennel Roasted Butternut Squash with Garlic

Fennel with Roasted Butternut Squash

Fennel  Roasted Butternut Squash with Garlic

While fennel can be served raw, sliced for salads or crudités, it can also be roasted with root vegetables or winter squashes for a filling and colorful side dish. If you add roasted chickpeas or serve over a bed of farro it makes a complete meal.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F

Serves 4



Fennel: Remove core  with v cut

Fennel: Remove core with v cut

  • Fennel  –  4 cups diced
  • Fennel fronds  –  1 T minced
  • Butternut squash  –  4 cups cubed

Herbs & Spices

  • Garlic cloves  –  4 minced
  • Grated lemon peel  –  1 t
  • Fresh ground coarse sea salt and peppercorns to taste

If you’re brave and like it spicy try High5’s Mountain Mama’s Gritty Herb MixCombine the following in a pepper/herb grinder:

  • Himalayan pink rock salt  –  1 T
  • Coarse sea salt crystals –  2 T
  • black and red peppercorns –  3 T
  • mustard seeds –  1 T
  • coriander seeds  –  1 T
  • roasted onion flakes  –  2 T
  • roasted garlic flakes –  1 T
  • Chili Pepper flakes  –  1 T
  • Dried Lemon Peel  –  1 T


  • Extra virgin olive oil  –  1 T


  1. Wash butternut squash and score (I generally score 4 times). Place squash whole in oven on parchment-lined baking pan. While squash is cooking, wash and core fennel. Thinly slice fennel and set aside.
  2. Mince garlic.
  3. Remove butternut squash from oven. It should be firm. Run under cool water (easier to handle),
    dente, then peel and dice-it's so much easier. Check out Tips below.

    Roast whole butternut squash just before al dente, then peel and dice–it’s so much easier. Check out Tips below.

    cut in half lengthwise then cut in one inch sections. Peel and cube. Save seeds and extra squash (refrigerate or freeze) for preparing mashes or soups later in the week.

  4. In large bowl combine squash, fennel and olive oil. Mix thoroughly and transfer to baking pan, spread evenly and bake for ten minutes.
  5. Add minced garlic and herbs to fennel-squash, stir and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes or until butternut squash is done.
  6. Garnish with fennel fronds, grated lemon peel, a twist or two of fresh ground coarse sea salt and fresh ground peppercorns.

The Scoop – The perfect ingredient

Most of you already know why I always buy extra virgin olive oil from California. I prefer local, California has some of the best quality olive oils in the world (several from the Foothills) and tests conducted at the University of Davis discovered that almost 70% of olive oils from Europe failed to meet extra virgin standards or were adulterated while 9 out of 10 California olive oils met these standards. Sources: UCD report; and It’s not Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

High5 Tips

Winter squashes 

Once I discovered you could roast winter squashes and pumpkins whole—without cutting them—they became a staple at the ranch. They’re much easier to work with this way. Simply score the squash in quarters and place on a baking pan (lined with parchment for easy clean-up) in 375° F oven for 20 to 60 minutes—the time depends on how firm I want the squash and how big the squash is. A 5 lb squash is generally tender and ready to mash in 60 minutes.

For this recipe, I will roast the squash just before it reaches “al dente” (firm but not hard) because I am going to cube it and bake it again with the fennel.

I also use this method when I’m going to freeze squash or use it in dishes that require additional cooking time such as stir fry, soups or stuffings.

Mountain Mama’s Gritty Herb Mix

Inexpensive glass spice grinders used for herb mixes

Inexpensive glass spice grinders used for herb mixes

There is no better way to add flavor then fresh herbs and spices or freshly ground herbs and spices. Because I don’t need the extra calories from fat, I generally minimize the amount of fat I use and maximize the herbs and spices. In addition to using less fat, this also allows me to use less salt without compromising flavor.

Over the next few months I will post several herb and spice combinations–some subtle, some spicy and hot but all are made from combinations of whole seeds, peppercorns, flakes, dried peels etc, which when freshly ground using an old hand-held pepper grinder really add taste to a dish.


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Chickpea Cassoulet with Basil, Parsley and Thyme

Chickpea in coulet By Tina May garbanzo coulet 006

Photo credit: Tina May

Cassoulet the peasant stew from southern France, has many versions but all contain beans with herbs and breadcrumbs. Traditionally,  cooked in a cassole, a round glazed earthen pot, this dish is a baked stew and while  somewhat time-consuming, the fusions of tastes and smells are wonderful and guaranteed to take the chill off a winter day.

At the High5Kitchen I prepare our breadcrumbs with 100% whole wheat bread mixed with basil,  parsley, thyme, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. You will want to bypass breadcrumbs purchased at the market once you’ve checked out the typical ingredients used and make the High5Kitchen Semmelbrösel/ Breadcrumbs.

I dislike rushing when I am cooking so the first thing I do is collect all the ingredients, then wash and rinse produce and chopped, mince, dice as needed, setting each aside on my cutting board. Then I go to work. This dish requires preparing a stew, sauce and topping. You will need a soup pot (which can double for the sauce), a skillet and a two-quart oven proof baking dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Serves 4
Asterisks (*) indicate suggested substitutions.



  • Yellow Onion………….. 2 medium (1 whole & 1 chopped)
  • Carrots……………………….. 1 1/2 cup chopped


  • Tomatoes, plum ………. 2-4  chopped or 2 cups

Whole Grains


  • 2 ½ cups of cooked, drained chickpeas

Nuts/Seeds/Herbs & Spices

  • Flax seed…………………… 2 T freshly ground
  • Italian Parsley, fresh ………. 1 cup chopped
  • Garlic cloves……………………….. 4 minced
  • Cloves………………………………….. 3 whole
  • Italian parsley………………… 2 sprigs + ½ cup chopped
  • Basil……………………………… 1T chopped fresh (1 t dried)
  • Thyme………………………… 1 T chopped fresh (1t dried)
  • Black Peppercorns………… freshly ground to taste
  • Pinch of salt


  • Tomato sauce …………  1 ½ cups  (homemade or purchased in glass container)
  • Olive oil, extra virgin from California …………. 1-2 tbsp (*or to taste)
  • Juice of lemon…………… fresh squeezed 1-3 tbsp
  • Pinch of sea salt


1.  To make chickpea stew: Push cloves into whole onion and place in a large pot with chopped carrots, 2 minced garlic cloves, parsley sprigs and cooked chickpeas. Cover with an inch or so of water and gently cook until carrots are tender yet firm (about 15-20 minutes).

2. Drain and reserve liquid (save onion with cloves and parsley sprigs for homemade vegetable broth or discard in compost pile) and set chickpea mixture aside.

3. To make sauce: heat 2t olive oil in skillet on medium heat only (smoke point) and add chopped onion, remaining minced garlic clove and sauté until onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Then transfer to pot and add

  • tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of reserved chickpea cooking liquid
  • lemon juice 1T
  • chopped tomatoes
  • dried herbs (basil and thyme). If using fresh herbs, do not add until the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 45 minutes to an hour then remove pot from heat and set aside.

4.  To prepare topping

  •  Use same skillet, heat 2 t olive oil on medium heat and add 1/3 of the bread crumbs and all the chopped parsley.
  • Cook stirring until golden—about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and add the remaining bread crumbs and fresh ground flax-seed. Set topping aside.

5.  To bake cassoulet

  • Place chickpea mixed with sauce in oven proof baking dish, top with 1/3 crumb topping and bake for 15 minutes.
  • With back of spoon, push bread crumbs into the chickpea mixture and add 1/3 breadcrumb topping and bake another 15 minutes.
  • With back of spoon, push crumbs into mixture and add remaining crumbs. Bake an additional 10 minutes, then place cassoulet under broil and brown. (Watch carefully as this takes less than 5 minutes and varies considerably with individual ovens).

Serve immediately.
Things to consider:

I like to make this dish in the winter, when it’s raining or snowing and I’m forced in doors. The rich, earthy smells of garlic and onions and herbs fill the kitchen and warm a winter day but I miss the fresh tomatoes of summer. To compensate I use tomatoes from the garden, which I have frozen as I prefer them to canned or winter tomatoes from the market.  Here are a few things you can do.

1.  Use two cups of frozen tomatoes in the sauce, leave the skins on (for nutrient benefits of skins) and blend with an immersion blender.

2. Make the bread crumbs ahead of time from old bread or bread scraps that you have saved.

3. Prepare stew and sauce at the same time (while toasting bread crumbs if they are not premade). Instead of using the reserve liquid from the chickpeas, use vegetable broth.

4. Make extra sauce and freeze it.

5. Soak chickpeas the night before and cook with the stew mix, adding the carrots during the last twenty minutes. For homemade chickpeas visit High5Kitchen 101 review.

6. If you love garlic, consider adding 8 smashed garlic cloves to the chickpea mix before baking!


Related High5Kitchen Links on Chickpeas

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