Life Extension Magazine®
Basket of vegetable for cooking in the vegetarian silver spoon recipes

The Vegetarian Silver Spoon

The Vegetarian Silver Spoon offers hundreds of healthy, meat-free, Italian dishes. We provide four recipes to showcase the variety and simplicity of traditional Italian home-cooking.

By Laurie Mathena.

Originally published in 1950, The Silver Spoon cookbook soon became a global best-seller, featuring traditional, home-cooked, Italian dishes.

Numerous offshoots have been published since then, but the recently published The Vegetarian Silver Spoon is the first collection of strictly vegetarian dishes.

With more than 200 recipes for healthy, meat-free Italian dishes, The Vegetarian Silver Spoon includes ingredients that have come to define Italian cuisine, plus contemporary additions like spelt and buckwheat.

Each recipe is conveniently labeled as being vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, 30 minutes or less, and five ingredients or less.

Here, Life Extension® features four recipes from The Vegetarian Silver Spoon that showcase both the variety and simplicity of traditional Italian, home-style cooking.

—Laurie Mathena


Roasted Vegetable Salad

Roasted vegetable salad in a blue bowl

Preparation Time: 20 minutes plus resting time

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 2 round eggplants (aubergines), sliced ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thick
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 tomatoes on the vine
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Leaves from 1 sprig oregano
  • Salt

Preheat the broiler.

In a very hot grill pan, cook the eggplant (aubergine) slices for 30 seconds per side. Transfer them to a cutting board, cut them into small strips, and place them in a large bowl.

Brush the bell peppers with a little oil and place them on a sheet pan. Broil, turning them to ensure they cook evenly, until charred and softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven (keep the broiler on), transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (cling film), and let cool. Peel and seed the peppers, then thinly slice the flesh and add it to the bowl with the eggplant.

Lightly oil the tomatoes and place them on a sheet pan. Broil for 5 minutes, turning them over from time to time, until their skin cracks and begins to peel off. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Peel the tomatoes, transfer the flesh to a bowl, and mash with a fork until puréed. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and drizzle with the olive oil, then add the tomato to the bowl with the eggplant and peppers.

Serve the salad sprinkled with the oregano.


Broccoli, Kale, and Cauliflower Gratin

Broccoli, Kale, and Cauliflower Gratin in a white bowl

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 14 oz (400 g) broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (cavolo nero), leaves stemmed
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 3 tablespoons rice flour
  • 1 2/3 ups (400 ml) unsweetened rice milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) coarsely chopped raw almonds
  • Scant 1/3 cup (30 g) breadcrumbs
  • Salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly oil a baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes, then use a spider (skimmer) to transfer it to a colander to drain and cool. Repeat with the broccoli, transferring it to a separate colander to drain. Add the kale leaves to the boiling water and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, then drain and run under cold running water to cool. Squeeze out any excess water and chop the kale.

In a small saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the rice flour and toast, stirring continuously, for a few seconds. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the rice milk and whisk until combined. Reduce the heat to low and cook the béchamel sauce for 7 to 8 minutes.

Season with the nutmeg and some salt, then pour the béchamel sauce into a bowl. Add the cauliflower to the béchamel and purée with a hand blender until smooth. Add the kale and almonds, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Pour the cauliflower-béchamel mixture into the prepared baking dish. Arrange the broccoli on top and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, then bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.


Stuffed Cabbage with Buckwheat and Pumpkin

Stuffed Cabbage with Buckwheat and Pumpkin on a orange serving plate

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

  • ½ cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups (250 g) buckwheat, rinsed
  • 7 oz (200 g) peeled pumpkin, cut into small cubes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Handful of parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2/3 cup (80 g) chopped walnuts
  • Scant 1 cup (200 mL) vegetable stock
  • 1 small savoy cabbage
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • Salt and black pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the buckwheat and toast, stirring continuously, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2½ cups (600 mL) boiling water, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes.

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the pumpkin, garlic, a pinch of salt, and a scant ½ cup (100 mL) boiling water. Cook until the pumpkin is tender, then transfer it to a medium bowl. Mash the pumpkin with a fork and add the buckwheat, parsley, walnuts, a pinch of salt, and some pepper. Stir well to combine.

In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a boil.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Discard the outer leaves from the cabbage. Pull off 12 leaves, put them in the boiling water, and blanch for 2 minutes, then drain them and cut out the tough central ribs.

Spread the cabbage leaves out on your work surface (work in batches, if necessary). Divide the buckwheat mixture among the cabbage leaves, placing it in the center of the leaves and folding the leaves over the filling to make small parcels.

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the remaining ¼ cup (60 mL) oil. Add the onion and 2 tablespoons of the hot stock. Arrange the stuffed cabbage leaves in the saucepan, then add the remaining stock. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, until the cabbage leaves are translucent and the filling is heated through, then serve.


Summer Vegetable Soup

Summer Vegetable Soup in a white bowl

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1¾ cups (300 g) shelled fresh borlotti beans
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced into rounds
  • ¾ cup (150 g) brown rice
  • 10½ oz (300 g) potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 10½ oz (300 g) green beans, sliced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs marjoram
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
  • Leaves from 1 bunch parsley
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs mint
  • 3 tablespoons wild fennel or fennel fronds
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons (60 to 75 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the tomatoes and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes, then drain them and let cool slightly. Peel and seed the tomatoes, then chop the flesh.

In a large saucepan, combine the borlotti beans and 8 cups (2L) water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 40 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, the spring onions, and the rice and cook for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, and chard and cook for about 20 minutes more, until the vegetables are tender.

In the meantime, in a food processor, combine the marjoram, thyme, parsley, mint, fennel, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Process until well combined.

Let the soup cool slightly and serve warm or let cool completely and serve at room temperature. Top each serving with a spoonful of the herb pesto.


The Vegetable Silver Spoon book cover

Reprinted from The Vegetarian Silver Spoon (Phaidon 2020). Photo credit: Simon Bajada To order a copy of The Vegetarian Silver Spoon, call 1-800-544-4440 or visit www.LifeExtension.com

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