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Recipes: 3 vegetarian dishes for easy weeknight dinners

Get big savory flavors with tomato-zucchini tarts, a spin on the Egyptian eggah, and tamarind chickpeas with greens.

Tomato-Zucchini Tart With Za’atar and Feta.
Tomato-Zucchini Tart With Za’atar and Feta.Connie Miller of CB Creatives
Logo for magazine's cooking column w/ Christopher Kimball and cooks of Milk Street.

At Milk Street, we’re big fans of finding big, meaty, savory flavors without using any actual meat. In Egyptian eggah, a frittata-like dish, ground turmeric highlights the earthiness of carrots and sweet potato. From Beirut, we conjure a delectable croissant spiked with the herb blend za’atar to whip up a tomato-zucchini tart, made all the easier with frozen puff pastry. And inspired by a street food in India’s Punjab region, we pair canned chickpeas with tart tamarind and hearty collard greens braised with brown sugar.

Tomato-Zucchini Tart With Za’atar and Feta

Makes 6 servings

Frozen puff pastry sheets make this elegant and impressive vegetable tart easy to pull together. We use za’atar, a Middle Eastern herb blend, to add a perfect flavor accent for the vegetables. Poking holes in the rolled-out pastry helps it rise evenly, but leave a 1-inch border around the edges so the pastry forms a light, crisp outer crust.

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

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1 tablespoon za’atar

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

6 ounces zucchini, thinly sliced, or 6 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (½ cup), or 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup); divided

Chopped fresh mint or basil, optional, for garnish

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. Toss together the oil, za’atar, tomatoes, zucchini (or asparagus), onion, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Use a rolling pin to shape the pastry into a 10-by-14-inch rectangle, then place on the prepared baking sheet. Using a fork, poke holes all over the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border at the edges. Top evenly with half the cheese and the vegetable mixture, avoiding the edges. Bake at 450 degrees until the pastry is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and chopped herbs (if using) and drizzle with olive oil.

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Carrot, Sweet Potato, and Spinach Eggah.
Carrot, Sweet Potato, and Spinach Eggah.Connie Miller of CB Creatives

Carrot, Sweet Potato, and Spinach Eggah

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Eggah often is referred to as an Egyptian omelet or frittata. It can be basic and egg-centric or dense with vegetables, herbs, or even meat. Spices often are included in the mix, as well as baking powder to give the eggs a little lift. In this vegetarian version, crushed cumin seeds provide contrast in both texture and flavor against the sweetness of the carrots and sweet potato, and ground turmeric accentuates the golden color of the egg yolks and earthiness of the vegetables. As a final flourish, we make a tangy yogurt sauce to round out the dish.

You will need an oven-safe 12-inch nonstick skillet for this recipe. Let the hot omelet rest before cutting; it’s easier to slice and transfer to a plate after it has cooled for a few minutes.

This is delicious warm or at room temperature.

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon baking powder

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

8 large eggs

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately

2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater

1 12-ounce orange-flesh sweet potato, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater

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1 tablespoon cumin seeds, lightly crushed

1 5-ounce container baby spinach

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle position. In a large bowl, whisk together the turmeric, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the eggs and whisk until well combined.

In an oven-safe, 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and warm until shimmering. Add the scallion whites, carrots, and sweet potato, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until the leaves are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and stir vigorously with a silicone spatula from the edges toward the center until wet, soft curds form but the eggs remain slightly runny and spreadable, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the eggs are just set, 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven (the handle will be hot) and run a silicone spatula around the edge and underneath the omelet to loosen, then slide onto a cutting board. Cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, the scallion greens, and the lemon juice and zest and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the omelet into 6 wedges and transfer to a serving plate. Drizzle with oil and serve the yogurt sauce on the side.

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Tamarind Chickpeas With Greens.
Tamarind Chickpeas With Greens.Connie Miller/Connie Miller of CB Creatives

Tamarind Chickpeas With Greens

Makes 4 servings

Khatta chana, stewed chickpeas in a tart tamarind sauce, is a popular street food in the Punjab region of northern India. We learned to make it from Meeru Dhalwala, co-owner of Vij’s restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia. Dhalwala adds heft to the chickpea curry by spooning it over sautéed brown sugar greens, a nontraditional side dish. Our version combines chickpeas and collard greens in a delicious one-pot braise that dials down the sweetness and uses canned chickpeas for convenience. If you prefer kale, it’s a fine substitute for the collards.

Serve this dish spooned over steamed white or brown rice, and finished with a dollop of plain yogurt spiked with chopped fresh cilantro and mint.

The chickpeas don’t need to be rinsed; the starchy liquid that coats them helps to lightly thicken the sauce.

¼ cup tamarind pulp (2 ounces)

1/3 cup grape-seed or other neutral oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

5 teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Kosher salt

1 pound collard greens, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (3 cups)

2 15½-ounce cans chickpeas, drained

Lime wedges, to serve

In a 4-cup glass measuring cup or medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the tamarind pulp and 2 cups hot water. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then whisk to combine. Set aside.

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To a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds.

Add the collards and turn to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the collards begin to wilt and turn bright green, about 2 minutes. Strain the tamarind mixture into the pot, pressing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Stir to combine, then cover, reduce to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the collards are tender, about 40 minutes.

Add the chickpeas and stir to combine. Cover and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Serve with lime wedges.



Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home to a magazine, school, and radio and television shows. Globe readers get 12 weeks of complete digital access, plus two issues of Milk Street print magazine, for just $1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.