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Posted on Sun, Sep 6, 2009 : 4:15 p.m.

A2eatwrite: Vegetarian Labor Day or Harvest Dinner

By Jennifer Shikes Haines

Shikes Haines - Vegetarian Labor Day dinner
Labor Day can be a very social time or not so much.

We have a mix this weekend - we had a dinner with friends last night, I had friends over for breakfast this morning, but the rest of the weekend will be spent at Dancing in the Streets, Radio Free Bacon and with some good books.

Last night’s guests included a vegetarian, and since all of us love vegetarian cooking, I decided to go that route.

We had a truly great, if non-traditional, “Labor Day” dinner, that didn’t involve a grill in any way, shape or form.

Pasta with Basil-Pistachio Pesto, Roasted Tomatoes and Kale


For the slow roasted tomatoes and kale:

1 pint cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried 1 1/2 cups washed, torn kale 1/2 TBS kosher salt 1 TBS olive oil

For the pasta and pesto:

4 cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (domestic or other parmesan can be substituted, but it's best with the real thing) 3 cloves garlic 1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachios, shelled 1/3 cup olive oil minus 1 TBS

6 oz. of whole wheat fettucine 1 cup pasta water


1. About 4 1/2 - 5 hours prior to serving, preheat the oven to 225. Toss the kale and tomatoes with 1 TBS olive oil and 1/2 TBS kosher salt. Spread in roasting pan. Stick in oven and roast for 4 - 5 hours, stirring every hour and a half or so. 2. Bring pasta pot to a boil. Cook fettucine according to instructions. 3. While pasta is cooking, process pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender. Start with the garlic, cheese and nuts until ground fine, then process/blend basil, and finally process in the olive oil. There are recipes which will tell you to use the feed tube for the olive oil, but I go ahead and process the whole thing together and it's worked just fine. 4. When pasta is done, reserve a cup of the pasta water and drain and rinse the pasta with cold water to stop it from cooking and to remove some of the starch. Get a big bowl and toss the pasta with the pesto and pasta water until the pasta is well coated and the texture is how you like it. (You don't need to use all the pasta water - I usually use between 1/2 a cup and 2/3). Lastly, toss with the roasted tomatoes and crush and sprinkle the kale over all (when kale slow roasts, it becomes crisp).

Serve with lots of freshly ground pepper and grated parmesan to taste.

Serves 6.

Shikes Haines - Basil Pistachio Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Kale

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 6 Serving Size: 1 serving

Amount Per Serving Calories 403.1 Total Fat 20.2 g Saturated Fat 3.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat 3.0 g Monounsaturated Fat 12.1 g Cholesterol 6.6 mg Sodium 172.8 mg Potassium 500.8 mg Total Carbohydrate 46.2 g Dietary Fiber 9.7 g Sugars 1.3 g Protein 14.9 g

Note: While this is not a low calorie or low fat dish, keep in mind that saturated fats are very low and monosaturated (the good fats) are high. This also has a whopping 9.7 grams of fiber and 14.9 grams of protein.

Shikes Haines - vanilla ice cream with peach rum sauce
We served this with Scaletta Green Bean Salad, Kalamata Olive Twists from Mill Pond Bread and Calder vanilla ice cream with this Peach Rum Sauce.

All the vegetables are at perfect ripeness and the dinner was a snap to prepare, even if I had to be home due to the slow roasted tomatoes and kale.

Enjoy your Labor Day festivities!

Photos: Vegetarian Labor Day dinner: Basil-Pistachio Pesto with Roasted Tomatoes and Kale, Scaletta Green Bean Salad and Olive Kalamata Twists; pan of tomatoes and kale ready to go into the oven; close-up of Basil-Pistachio Pesto with Roasted Tomatoes and Kale, vanilla ice cream with Peach Rum Sauce.

I'm Jennifer Shikes Haines and my blog is a2eatwrite. Please contact me at: Jenshaines at gmail dot com.


Jennifer Shikes Haines

Sat, Sep 12, 2009 : 11:22 a.m.

Thank you for the kind words, Mary!


Sat, Sep 12, 2009 : 11:16 a.m.

I made this for dinner the other night and my husband said only one word upon finishing this dish "Excellent!". I am enjoying many of your recipes!

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Wed, Sep 9, 2009 : 9:19 a.m.

Jenn, it's always nice to mix things up a bit! Goofball - hopefully there will be plenty of fodder here for your vegetarian friends.


Wed, Sep 9, 2009 : 6:15 a.m.

cool. We have a vegetarian friend and when it comes to vegetarian cooking my mind goes "oh lettuce, tomatoes, what else can I serve, help, panic,..." and then draws a big blank :) Good to know I can find rescue here


Tue, Sep 8, 2009 : 5 p.m.

I feel better not being the only person NOT grilling out on Labor Day. This looks awesome Jenn!

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Tue, Sep 8, 2009 : 10:40 a.m.

Dawn - I hope you enjoy the recipe, and I don't know if it's also available at other locations, but I know I've been able to find it consistently at Plum Market on N. Maple.


Tue, Sep 8, 2009 : 8:48 a.m.

This recipe looks great, and really uses in-season produce in a different way -- look forward to trying it. But tell me, where can you get Calder ice cream in Ann Arbor?

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 6:52 p.m.

Thank you, Dru!


Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 6:37 p.m.

Sounds very tasty.

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 11:17 a.m.

Thanks for the kind words, Anne!


Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 11:06 a.m.

Oh, your lucky guests! This sounds wonderful!

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 8:37 a.m.

Thanks so much, Linda! Needless to say, we enjoyed the company tremendously, too.;-)

Linda L.

Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 7:43 a.m.

AS one of the lucky guests at this meal, let me say that it was delicious. The company was outstanding as well.

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 6:45 a.m.

Thanks so much, Stefanie! I think I'll actually be doing many vegetarian recipes, because that's more where my heart (and tastebuds) are.